While McCutcheon v the FEC is an important case because it would finish the conservative dream of transforming our representative democracy to a corporatist dictatorship, the SCOTUS has a docket full of additional cases taking direct hits at established constitutional rights and social policy.
Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action brings affirmative action back to the Supreme Court. Unlike direct challenges to affirmative action, this case claims that states have a right to use the ballot initiative to ban it. Depending on the ruling. the Teatalitarian Party could see this case as a green light to circumvent the U.S. constitution. The question before the Supreme Court is whether an amendment banning affirmative action in a state constitution violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. constitution.
The state constitutional amendment that bans affirmative action resulted from a ballot initiative in 2006. The proposal was rejected by the 6th District Court in 2011 because “it places an unfair burden on those seeking to have race considered as one of many factors in university admissions.” Practically speaking, this means the constitutional amendment protects advocacy for white privilege while banning advocacy for greater diversity in the student body. Rick Snyder’s Attorney-General, Bill Schuette appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States which will listen to arguments for this case on October 15th.
The plaintiffs in McCullen v. Coakley claim that Massachusetts’ abortion clinic buffer zone law violates the first and fourteenth amendment rights of pro-birth activists who just want to be really close when they offer women sidewalk “counselling” the women never asked for. Of course, the pro-birth movement’s definition of “counselling” includes things like shoving pictures of aborted fetuses in women’s faces. Anyone can see you can’t do that 35 feet away.
They also like to tell the women that they will burn in hell, that abortions cause breast cancer and makes it harder to bear children later. But I digress.
The law, passed in 2000, establishes a buffer zone that keeps protestors 35 feet away from the clinics’ entrances and driveways. Originally, the law was passed following a 1994 mass shooting in which 2 abortion clinic employees were killed and several more people were wounded.
But, as the plaintiff’s lawyer explained ”You can’t stand outside 35 feet and communicate with people … You have to have eye contact.”
The plaintiffs claim the buffer law is really about “view point discrimination” directed at the pro-birth movement and they have high hopes that the court will “revisit some of its own prior precedents that led lower courts to believe that, as a matter of law, pro-life speech is less deserving of protection.”
The fact of the matter is the law keeps all protestors, regardless of viewpoint, 35 feet away from the abortion clinic. As such, the law doesn’t preclude the pro-birth movement from voicing their opinions to people who want to hear them. The fact that the pro-birth movement thinks that just because they do have a right to say whatever they want, it means they can literally force people to listen. Moreover, the extreme elements of the pro-birth movement aren’t satisfied with merely telling their lies and shoving pictures in women’s faces. As noted earlier, Massachusetts passed the abortion buffer zone law because a pro-birther shot several people outside an abortion clinic, killing two of them.
We also have the history of clinic bombings, pro-birthers harassing and killing doctors in the name of furthering their cause. In other words, this law was passed as a means to provide physical safety to patients and people who work at the clinics.
Conservatives aren’t happy with merely limiting women’s access to abortion under any circumstances, including those under which the mother’s life is at risk or the pregnancy is the result of rape. Now, they’re arguing that employers have the right to impose their religious beliefs about contraception on women they employ.
This time conservative activists are hoping the court rules in favor of employers stepping between women and their doctors in one or both of two cases. The Court will hear Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius at the request of the Federal Government. Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius is working its way through the legal system.
In Mount Holly v. Mount Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, which will be argued on December 4th, conservatives hope the court will gut the protections against racial discrimination provided under the Fair Housing Act.
In 2000, the township of Mount Holly began to buy homes in the low income and predominatly African American/Hispanic neighborhood. Most if not all of the homes were demolished and replaced with new, more expensive homes. The community sued the township, alleging that the township violated the Fair Housing Act and other anti-discrimination laws. In practical terms, they were priced out of their neighborhood and for that matter, priced out of any housing in Mount Holly, including rentals.
According to the DOJ’s amicus brief, the community presented a study during litigation, which concluded that the redevelopment plan the redevelopment plan would adversely affect 22.54% of the African-American households and 32.31% of the Hispanic households, but only 2.73% of the white households. The study also concluded that the new housing would be affordable to 79% of the entire county’s white households, but only 21% of African American and Hispanic households.
It isn’t hard to see that the township’s idea of improving the neighborhood would result in a radical change in the neighborhood’s demographics. It also isn’t hard to see why far right organizations like the CATO institute favor this form of neighborhood improvement and have joined with the Township in this case.
The Gardens’ residents can’t afford the new housing not because of their race but because of their poverty. While it’s a harsh truth that a disproportionate number of minorities live in poverty, claiming that making expensive products is racist and that these “racists” have an obligation to compensate the victims of poverty is absurd. The FHA was intended, in the words of Senator Walter Mondale, “to permit people who have the ability to do so to buy any house offered to the public if they can afford to buy it. It would not overcome the economic problem of those who could not afford to purchase the house of their choice.”
Of course, such thinking only makes sense to people who believe that laws protecting minorities from discrimination are an affront to the racial entitlement known as white privilege. Let’s face it, the same people who argue how unfortunate it is that a disproportionate number of minorities live in policy, have done everything to preserve it. They have worked to make college less accessible, eliminate protections against racism in college admissions. By creating obstacles to post-secondary education, conservatives are also denying the people affected by those policies the opportunity to get better paying jobs.
When combined with other policies that will inevitably result in creating an underclass largely comprised of racial minorities, the end result is creating more racial segregation. So while building more expensive houses is not, per se, racist, passing policies that inevitably result in racial segregation is.
Image: class warfare exists