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The Latest Affirmative Action Decision Isn't Just About Race

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The Supreme Court's decision sweeps away decades of equal protection precedent.

Patricia J. Williams, The Nation

20140503/1399135998_9883.jpg Source: abovethelaw.com

May 2, 2014  |  The name of the Supreme Court’s latest case involving university admissions describes the battle lines: Schuette, Attorney General of Michigan v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary. When the Court found for Schuette, headlines declared the decision a landmark ruling against affirmative action. But technically, the Court did not retreat from its prior holdings: race sensitivity is still a constitutionally permissible criterion when weighing the applications of similarly qualified candidates.

The case addressed a challenge to Article I, Section 26, of the Michigan Constitution, which altered the decision-making capacity of the regents and trustees of the state’s public university system. Section 26 took away those boards’ ability to use otherwise constitutionally permissible race-sensitive criteria for admissions—i.e., a backdoor way of banning affirmative action in the state. Schuette was also a broad capitulation to an old notion of states’ rights, allowing localities to opt out of federal equal-protection measures designed to dismantle segregation. Following this ruling, states can merely override those measures, one by one. The bottom line? What is expressly permissible as a matter of the US Constitution is now forbidden in Michigan. Not only that, it has removed affirmative action in Michigan from the democratic process. Where once these policies were negotiated through elected university boards, requiring a degree of popular will, Section 26 has ended discussion with a blanket ban.

Patricia J. Williams, a professor of law at Columbia University and a member of the State Bar of California, writes The Nation column "Diary of a Mad Law Professor."

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Drug Cocktail Used In Executions Is Too Painful To Use On Animals

Veterinarians in at least one state are barred from using a three-drug formula used on several inmates, including Clayton Lockett last week. 

 

Simon McCormack, Huffington Post

 

n-CLAYTON-LOCKETT-large570.jpg Clayton Lockett

05/07/2014 | The drug cocktail used to execute an Oklahoma inmate who writhed on the gurney before eventually suffering a massive heart attack is deemed too painful to use on animals, according to a new report by The Constitution ProjectI'll.

Veterinarians in at least one state are barred from using a three-drug formula used on several inmates, including Clayton Lockett last week. Lockett, who was convicted in 2000 of murdering a 19-year-old woman, died almost two hours after the lethal injection drugs were administered.

 

Simon McCormack is a Crime and Weird News editor for the Huffington Post.

 

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Standing Up For Our Rights

  • "Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will." --Frederick Douglass
  • Part 1: New Mexico stands up against police brutality
  • Part 2: Missouri Protesters Arrested After Demanding Their Lawmakers Pass Medicaid Expansion 

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest



Part 1: New Mexico stands up against police brutality

new-mexico-police-brutality-demo.jpg April 21, 2014 | Sydney Hodge of the Party for Socialism and Liberation reports on the Albuquerque, New Mexico movement against police brutality that has emerged in the wake of the killing of James Boyd captured on video.

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Part 2: Missouri Protesters Arrested After Demanding Their Lawmakers Pass Medicaid Expansion

More than 100 protesters and clergy members were removed from the Missouri Senate galleries on Tuesday, after they burst out into chants demanding the state accept Obamacare's Medicaid expansion.

Josh Israel, ThinkProgress

MOProtest-638x287.jpg Protesters called on state lawmakers to expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act. (Credit: Missouri Progress) 

May 6, 2014 | More than 100 protesters and clergy members were removed from the Missouri Senate galleries on Tuesday, after they burst out into chants demanding the state accept Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. Missouri is one of 24 states that has not yet accepted the more than $2 billion in federal funds available to the Show-Me state.

The Springfield (MO) News-Leader reported that the protesters shouted, “Medicaid Expansion! Do it now!” and “Missouri Senate expand Medicaid, bring dignity, do your jobs!” Capitol police reportedly removed more than 100 people and arrested 23 clergy, delaying the Senate’s session by nearly an hour.

Josh Israel is a senior investigative reporter for ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Previously, he was a reporter and oversaw money-in-politics reporting at the Center for Public Integrity, was chief researcher for Nick Kotz’s acclaimed 2005 book Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Laws that Changed America.

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The Post-Constitutional Era

The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear our challenge to the law that lets the military indefinitely imprison U.S. citizens is another example of the transformation of the judiciary into an enemy of the Constitution. 

Chris Hedges, Truthdig

postconstitution_590.jpgActivist Lauren DiGioia is arrested Jan. 3, 2012, during a demonstration in New York City’s Grand Central Station held to call attention to the National Defense Authorization Act, signed by President Barack Obama on the previous New Year’s Eve. (AP/Mary Altaffer) 

May 4, 2014 | The U.S. Supreme Court decision to refuse to hear our case concerning Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which permits the military to seize U.S. citizens and hold them indefinitely in military detention centers without due process, means that this provision will continue to be law. It means the nation has entered a post-constitutional era. It means that extraordinary rendition of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil by our government is legal. It means that the courts, like the legislative and executive branches of government, exclusively serve corporate power—one of the core definitions of fascism. It means that the internal mechanisms of state are so corrupted and subservient to corporate power that there is no hope of reform or protection for citizens under our most basic constitutional rights. It means that the consent of the governed—a poll by OpenCongress.com showed that this provision had a 98 percent disapproval rating—is a cruel joke. And it means that if we do not rapidly build militant mass movements to overthrow corporate tyranny, including breaking the back of the two-party duopoly that is the mask of corporate power, we will lose our liberty. 

“In declining to hear the case Hedges v. Obama and declining to review the NDAA, the Supreme Court has turned its back on precedent dating back to the Civil War era that holds that the military cannot police the streets of America,” said attorney Carl Mayer, who along with Bruce Afran devoted countless unpaid hours to the suit. “This is a major blow to civil liberties. It gives the green light to the military to detain people without trial or counsel in military installations, including secret installations abroad. There is little left of judicial review of presidential action during wartime.”

Chris Hedges, a weekly columnist for Truthdig, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has reported from more than 50 countries, specializing in American politics and society. 

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