The Supreme Court is shaping up to be very significant in terms of issues involving race, at least the way I see this session. The justices are poised to decide some high-profile cases that could have long-term effects and certainly a huge impact on African and Hispanic Americans.
This is very serious because Ray Charles can see that the Roberts court is more conservative than any of its recent predecessor which surely does not bode well for minorities. Can I remind you that they do wear robes, which are more dangerous than the folks who wear the white ones.
Their decisions will have a huge impact on the president who suddenly finds himself running for reelection not only against Mitt Romney and the House Republicans, but now against the Court as well. The influence of the four conservative justices has already been witnessed in the January decision on Texas’ redistricting maps.
The big thing before them is the future of Healthcare, which is critical but there is another hot-button issue – anti-immigration laws. The top court will hear oral arguments April 25 on the Obama administration’s challenge to Arizona’s controversial law. The administration says such laws are irreconcilable with federal laws. Should the court uphold Arizona’s law, Latinos would feel the effects nationwide as other state will surely follow with more to do the same.
More serious, in my opinion, is the court’s ideological shift on affirmative action in an upcoming case that could undo the compromise reached in Grutter v. Bollinger. That 2003 ruling barred public colleges from using a point system to boost minority enrollment, but allowed race to be taken into account to achieve academic diversity. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a key swing vote, wrote the majority opinion is not there this time and her replacement, Justice Samuel Alito, reflects the court’s extreme rightward turn.
Another indication is that Robert’s made this statement that should provide some insight to his thinking: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race”. He wrote this regarding a 2007 decision striking down school desegregation programs in Seattle and Kentucky. If the issues of race and education or poverty were that simple!
The way this court has rendered decisions harkened back to a time I thought was long past. Maybe you can remember the Dread Scott Decision during slavery or Plessey v Ferguson which ushered in what history has recorded as “Separate but Equal”. If that does not ring a bell how about calling it as it was –Apartheid American style. I am going to go out on a limb and say the fate of Obamacare is not as dire as it appears at this moment.
I think it is possible, even likely, that the Court will uphold part if not all of the legislation because the Court is keenly aware of public opinion and hopeful still has a bit of sanity. With the public’s trust of the judicial branch tying a historic low of 63 percent, down thirteen points from just two years ago, it’s doubtful that Roberts—who has wanted to be seen as an impartial “umpire”—would choose to imperil that trust even further with a ruling that would place the Court squarely in the election-season crossfire.
Overturning Obamacare would be a political decision but this is the court that thinks – corporations are people. With that said, the other two issues – all bets are off! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…