Rik Schneider Online

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The New Republic: Opinion: David Fontana: U.S. Justice Sonia Sotomayor's Schuette Dissent: A National Treasure: Race Matters?


The New Republic: Opinion: David Fontana: U.S. Justice Sonia Sotomayor: Shulette Dissent: A National Treasure

U.S. Justice Sonia Sotomayor Dissent on the Shuelette Michigan Affirmative Action Case
"Consider this language from Sotomayor’s dissent, which is so unusually compelling in its simplicity in describing the daily experiences of millions of Americans:

Race matters to a young man’s view of society when he spends his teenage years watching others tense up as he passes, no matter the neighborhood where he grows up. Race matters to a young woman’s sense of self when she states her hometown, and then is pressed, “No, where are you really from,” regardless of how many generations her family has been in the country. Race matters to a young person addressed by a stranger in a foreign language, which he does not understand because only English was spoken at home. Race matters because of the slights, the snickers, the silent judgments that reinforce that most crippling of thoughts: “I do not belong here.”
"To see why this language matters, let’s put aside the merits of the case, which Jeffrey Rosen ably discussed, and focus on the audiences that this Sotomayor Style enables her to reach. "
U.S. Justice Sonia Sotomayor
"In my colleagues' view, examining the racial impact of legislation only perpetuates racial discrimination. This refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination. As members of the judiciary tasked with intervening to carry out the guarantee of equal protection, we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society. It is this view that works harm, by perpetuating the facile notion that what makes race matter is acknowledging the simple truth that race does matter."  

The New Democrat 

At some point, supporters of affirmative action are going to have figure out what is it for and why they support it. Is it to make up for the injustices to ethnic and racial minorities and Caucasian women in the past? Is it to make up for the fact that African-Americans and Latin Americans are behind Caucasian-Americans in economic and educational status?

This might be just the third time that I've agreed with and quoted Chief Justice John Roberts on anything. His decisions on the Affordable Care Act and the Defense of Marriage Act in 2012 and 2013  might be the only other times.  He got it perfectly right here when he said "If we are going to have a society where race does not matter, than race cannot matter."  He wasn't singling out any race or ethnicity.  He said "Race," period. 

That means that the United States Government cannot condone racial discrimination, even for good intentions to help communities that have been left behind. If the public or private sector discriminates against or for people because of their race, ethnicity or gender there will be distortions in the space of public transactions. Certain people would benefit from your discrimination, others would not.  In a society where race doesn't matter, not just officially but in actuality, you can't have laws that condone racial, ethnic, or gender discrimination as affirmative action does.