They Don't See Race. Adam Liptak of the New York Times: "In a fractured decision..., the Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a Michigan constitutional amendment that bans affirmative action in admissions to the state’s public universities. The 6-to-2 ruling effectively endorsed similar measures in seven other states. It may also encourage more states to enact measures banning the use of race in admissions or to consider race-neutral alternatives to ensure diversity. States that forbid affirmative action in higher education, like Florida and California, as well as Michigan, have seen a significant drop in the enrollment of black and Hispanic students in their most selective colleges and universities.... Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in the longest, most passionate and most significant dissent of her career, said the Constitution required special vigilance in light of the history of slavery, Jim Crow and 'recent examples of discriminatory changes to state voting laws.' Her opinion, longer than the four other opinions combined, appeared to reflect her own experiences...." ...
... ** Charles Pierce: "The decision was written by Anthony Kennedy, who lives in that wonderful world where the law is a pure crystal stream running through green meadows, unsullied by the grit and silt that piles up in the actual lives of actual human beings.... What we are seeing, over and over again, is what happens when you combine the inebriate effect of American Exceptionalism in the philosophy of the law. Race does not exist as an issue in our country anymore because we have overcome it, because we are America and , therefore, Exceptional." ...
... Emily Bazelon of Slate: "In another context — gay rights — Kennedy has worried a lot about how a majority’s display of 'animus,' or prejudice, can hurt the minority. But he’s not concerned that’s what drove Michigan’s voters to ban affirmative action. This time he sees only an entirely valid democratic process. The single point on which Scalia and Sotomayor agree is that Kennedy has reinterpreted the 1960s and 1970s rulings beyond recognition."
Adam Liptak: "The Supreme Court signaled on Tuesday that it was struggling with two conflicting impulses in considering a request from television broadcasters to shut down Aereo, an Internet start-up they say threatens the economic viability of their businesses." ...
... David Carr of the New York Times: "... the Aereo case ... has a little bit of everything: legacy media hanging on to cherished business models, an insurgent with a crafty workaround and perhaps most important, the first big test of who owns and has rights to things that are stored in the cloud."
Campaign Money & Junk Food. Mark Bittman of the New York Times: "... the majority of Supreme Court members don’t see it that way; they believe that campaign finance limits restrict 'free speech.' This is the same argument used to defend the marketing of junk food to children. It goes like this: 'Anyone can say anything they want, but if you can afford to say it louder and more publicly than anyone else, that’s O.K.' It’s clear that this is true even if it harms the general public."
Ian Millhiser of Think Progress: Science proves it: "... Supreme Court justices cannot be trusted with our Constitution, at least as long as they are selected by political officials with a strong motivation to ensure that the justices are themselves highly partisan." They just can't wrap their brains around information that conflicts with their strongly-held beliefs.
Jaime Fuller of the Washington Post: "Everything you didn’t even think you wanted to know about Supreme Court retirements."
Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post: "After conducting an investigation, the Army inspector general rebuked [Maj. Gen. Michael T. Harrison Sr., the commander of U.S. Army forces in Japan] in August for protecting the colonel [from investigations of multiple accusations of bad conduct, including sexual assault,] and failing to take appropriate action. But the Army kept the results under wraps until this week, when it released a heavily redacted copy of the investigative report in response to Freedom of Information Act requests filed by The Post.... The Army suspended Harrison in June for mishandling the case involving the Japanese woman but only after she took her frustrations outside the chain of command.... The general’s handling of the case provides a textbook example of the Pentagon’s persistent struggle to get commanders to take reports of sexual misconduct seriously."
Maureen Dowd: "... next Sunday, in an unprecedented double pontiff canonization, Pope John Paul II will be enshrined as a saint in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Basilica. The Vatican had a hard time drumming up the requisite two miracles when Pope Benedict XVI, known as John Paul’s Rasputin and enforcer of the orthodoxy, waived the traditional five-year waiting period and rushed to canonize his mentor.... Given ven that [John Paul] presided over the Catholic Church during nearly three decades of a gruesome pedophilia scandal and grotesque cover-up, he ain’t no saint.... Perhaps trying to balance the choice of John Paul, who made conservatives jump for joy because he ran a Vatican that tolerated no dissent, the newly christened Pope Francis tried to placate progressives by cutting the miracle requirement from two to one to rush John XXIII’s canonization." ...
... CW: While the entire notion of sainthood -- as defined by the Roman Catholic Church -- is nonsense, the "miracle requirement" is exceptionally absurd. Could we please, in the 21st century, dispense with the notion that anyone can perform a miracle, which by definition is a supernatural event? There is no such thing. I suppose it's "progress" that one so-called miracle will now suffice to affirm a person's sainthood.
New York Times: "Although the Democrats currently have a 51 percent chance [of holding onto their majority in the Senate], that doesn’t mean we’re predicting the Democrats to win the Senate — the probability is essentially the same as a coin flip. The Republicans’ chances have been declining in recent weeks, falling from a recent high of 54 percent. This is mostly due to some unfavorable polls in Arkansas and Iowa."
Beyond the Beltway
Academic Freedom, South Carolina Style. Rosalind Helderman of the Washington Post: "The state’s House of Representatives recently voted to cut $52,000 in funding for the College of Charleston as punishment for assigning students to read 'Fun Home,' the graphic novel [about a woman coming to terms with her closeted gay father’s suicide] that formed the basis for [a] play [performed on campus]. House lawmakers endorsed a similar budget cut for the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg for using a different book with gay themes in its reading program.... [There is] a worsening political battle between South Carolina’s public universities and conservative Republican lawmakers, who argue that campus culture should reflect the socially conservative views of the state."