Let me finish tonight with the Supreme Court and affirmative action.
The Roberts court decided today that states have the right to end affirmative action if the voters wish to do so.
If this court has a central narrative, it could be that those who held the advantage for most of this country’s history deserve to have it back if they can find the legislative or political means to take it back. If they do, the court won’t stand in the way.Whether it’s states that once were blocked from passing restrictive voting rules by the Voting Rights Act but are now free to do so, or the rich, who from the Robber Baron era through Watergate were free to spend unlimited sums of money to buy a candidate or two or 20.
Or states like Florida, Arizona, California, and Michigan, whose voting majorities have had enough of affirmative action, but don’t mind a few legacies getting a leg up at their family alma mater.
The Roberts court, or at least its majority, has had moments of siding with the victims of discrimination. They struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, and left the heart of the Affordable Care Act in place. But even those decisions left some people behind.
Sure, DOMA is gone, but the court hasn’t ruled that states can’t create laws barring same-sex marriage. And the Obamacare decision left millions of Americans vulnerable to a refusal by their state’s leadership to expand coverage for the poor, making the expansion of the federally funded program optional and leaving no redress for the individual citizen placed at the mercy of the politically powerful who feel they’ve done enough for the poor and won’t take one penny more from the federal government–even if it means helping their own citizens and keeping their state’s public hospitals open using money their citizens already paid in taxes.
And the court’s conservative majority has a novel means of explaining why they feel duty-bound to side with the “haves” and the “have mores.” Time has passed, they say, and unless discrimination is violent and obvious and in-your-face, it’s gone. Past. Over.
That’s something only the privileged could believe.