The Supreme Court has made an elegant start at cleaning up the mess of employment discrimination law, in part by insisting on a critical point. "The purpose of Title VII is to promote hiring on the basis of job qualifications, rather than on the basis of race or color," Justice Kennedy said. The goal was to create a workplace environment free of discrimination, "where race is not a barrier to opportunity." And yet "the City made its employment decision because of race. The city rejected the test results solely because the higher scoring candidates were white."More at the link.
Justice Samuel Alito's concurring opinion noted that New Haven never made any credible effort to determine whether the firefighters' promotional exam was a legitimate test of job-related skills; the decision to discard the test results was nakedly political. The tests, in fact, had been scrupulously designed and scrubbed of all possible racial bias.
Incredibly, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing in dissent, agreed with the willfully blind conclusion of the district court -- which had reasoned that New Haven's assessment "was race-neutral" on the grounds that "all the test results were discarded, no one was promoted." The panel on the Second Circuit effectively agreed with this nonsense.
Yet another Second Circuit judge, José Cabranes, properly posed the broad constitutional question at issue: "Does the Equal Protection Clause prohibit a municipal employer from discarding examination results on the ground that 'too many' applicants of one race received high scores and in the hope that a future test would yield more high-scoring applicants of other races? Does such a practice constitute an unconstitutional racial quota or set-aside?"
Unfortunately, only Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia addressed this issue -- and only briefly. "The war between disparate impact and equal protection will be waged sooner or later, and it behooves us to begin thinking about how -- and on what terms -- to make peace between them," he concluded.
All racial classifications are highly suspect under the 14th Amendment. The Constitution protects individuals from discrimination -- without respect to race. Distributing benefits and burdens on the basis of color was supposed to be the ugly mind-set the leaders of the civil rights movement struggled so heroically to change. We have not escaped such race-thinking yet, but this decision is an important step in the right direction.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
This is probably one of the best examples of the kind of biological fantasies generated by the so-called 'progressive' and 'reality-based' intellects of the left. Yesterday I talked about how the face of evil constantly renews itself ; however, the ultimate goal remains the same: it is anti-mind, anti-life, and anti-reality.
The parents who wish to deny the biological reality of their child are no different than all those who wish to deny reality in order to proudly disply their leftist credentials. They are no different from any other "selfless" sociopath who desires control over others; except that their particular brand of malignant narcissism couches its oppression of others in terms like "social justice" and "choice"--but it is tyranny nonetheless.
Is it any wonder then that, unlike the capitalist system they abhor, where basic human nature--both the good and the bad parts--is harnessed and made socially useful, the ideologically-motivated paents described above (and all the reality-denying morons of the left) intend to stamp out or ignore any aspect of human nature they don't happen to like, or which is inconvenient to their ideology.
Someone should tell them it has been tried many times before, and by much smarter tyrants than the current crop of ideologues will ever be. It won't work. It cannot work. It has NEVER worked.
Actually, I didn't "power down." It was James B. Webb who was down for the count (after the brutal pounding he took in the last round). He's back up, in any case; but I'm not in the mood to deal with this sick little boy right now, so please take a look at Andrew Klavan's recent dealings with another batch of beasts from the netroots swamps, "Attack of the Leftist Hate Monkeys!":
Last week, my Pajamas Express blog suffered an onslaught by these leftist haters. As far as I can tell, they were spurred on by someone named Glenn Greenwald, whom I don’t know, but who seems to have inspired them with a nonsensical personal attack of his own and then sent them forth like the Wicked Witch dispatching her flying monkeys. Now, my policy has always been to allow all comments on my site. I enjoy the debate, occasionally learn from it and frequently get a laugh from some hostile wit who lands a good one on me.There's more at the link.
So at first I shrugged off the Attack of the Leftist Hate Monkeys. As a result, they were allowed to darken the atmosphere for other readers and commenters and detract from the generally free and jovial bellicosity of online discussion. Thus, after a weekend of meditatively beating my wife, relaxing around the men’s room glory hole and skewering babies to watch them writhe and die, I’ve decided I’ll ever-so-slightly modify my policy. All opinions – by which I mean ALL opinions – remain welcome. Snarkiness, sarcasm, satire, pointed wit, commonplace nastiness will still make the grade. Even low-level name-calling is all right if it applies. Nothing wrong with the occasional “boor” or “knucklehead.” But cursing, strangled cries of hate-filled rage, disturbing personal attacks that reveal more about the attacker’s sick mind than we want to know—they’re gone. Send that stuff to my mailbox through my personal website. You can be sure I’ll give it the consideration it deserves.
Perhaps Mr. Klavan might take exception to James B. Webb's nickname. But before anyone has ideas, I'd suggest folks read John Hawkins' piece, "Attention Conservatives: Nice Guys Do Finish Last."
It's too bad James and his leftist friends have stooped to such a low level. But being conservative doesn't mean having to cave to these idiots.
It turns out that the Israeli Navy has seized McKinney's boat, the Spirit of Humanity, as it attempted to violate the blockade against outside intervention in Gaza. Fox News has the report, "Cynthia McKinney Demands Immediate Release After Her Gaza-Bound Boat is Seized by Israeli Navy":
Former U.S. lawmaker and Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, whose relief boat was seized by an Israeli naval ship Tuesday for the second time in a year, is demanding the immediate release of her and 20 other activists.More at the link.
McKinney, a longtime supporter of Palestinians, said her Greek-flagged boat, the Spirit of Humanity, was carrying medical supplies, cement, olive trees and children's toys to Gaza when it was boarded by the Israeli navy.
"This is an outrageous violation of international law against us," said McKinney. "Our boat was not in Israeli waters and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip. President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that's exactly what we tried to do. We're asking the international community to demand our release so we can resume our journey."
The Israeli military issued a statement Tuesday saying that the boat had attempted to break a blockade of Gaza and was forced to sail to an Israeli port after ignoring a radio message to stay out of Gaza waters.
Actually, I knew something was up. I received this notification from Cynthia McKinney's headquarters, dated June 24, 2009:
From Cynthia McKinney: We Leave for Gaza Tomorrow; I've Asked the White House to Intervene for our Saftey...I received a second notification on June 25th:
I just sent the following message to President Obama:
"Mr. President, Please ask the Israelis to not harm our boats and to let us proceed to Gaza. The Israelis are paying attention and have printed stories about our boats in both the Jerusalem Post and Ha'aretz. We are doing nothing more than what you have already requested the Israelis to do: ease up on the Gaza blockade. Please ask the Israelis to allow us to proceed to Gaza without harm. Sincerely, Cynthia McKinney"
You, too, can contact the White House (http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/) and ask them to send a message to Israel requesting our safe passage to Gaza. We pose no threat to Israel and represent real hope for change in US policy for the people of Gaza. I also contacted the State Department and the Justice Department with similar messages.
We are in a group training now. What will we do if . . . I'll upload pictures and some video (if I've mastered this video camera) to our http://www.dignity.ning.com/ http://www.dignity.ning.com/ and livestream.com/dignity pages. Please visit all of our pages listed below and join!!
DIGNITY will be planning some direct actions inside the U.S., too. Additionally, I have communicated with the authorities re Troy Davis and am in communication with Peltier's attorney.
As always, I do look forward to hearing from you!!
The Israelis are hopping mad. And they're flexing their muscles in all the ugly places. They can't ram us again without sparking an international uproar, so they're trying to stop us from leaving the port at all. The Limasol, Cyprus Port Authority which controls the port of Larnaca also, sent their inspector to Larnaca with a letter saying that the boat failed inspection, only thing, the letter was written BEFORE he even arrived in Larnaca to do the inspection! Reuters is doing the story at this very moment saying that we were prevented from leaving due to Cypriot authorities. We just learned from a Cyprus government source that pressure is being applied by Israel to deny us departure credentials. It appears, then, that Israel is putting us into contortions because they don't want us to take cement into Gaza. After white phosphorus, depleted uranium, DIME, cluster bombs, F16s, death, destruction, and mayhem. All of *this* over a few bags of cement. Can you believe???This really has nothing to do with promoting humanitarianism in Gaza. It has all to do with promoting Cynthia McKinney. Check the links to the "Dignity" page above. I've just skimmed them, but her supporters appear on the fringe of the left-wing fringe. Unfortunately, McKinney's playing an extremely high stakes game. It's dangerous business. And there's really not much she can achieve as one who's no longer in government and as one who's developed a reputation as acting outside of international law.
1. Read the Haaretz article here, showing Israeli concern about us taking cement to Gaza
2. Hear the interview with Don Debar on the contortions we're being put through by Cyprus Port Authority
3. Read the Reuters article here (interesting that the story broke in Israel and not Cyprus!!)
4. Individuals have already started to contact the Cyprus UN Mission and their DC Embassy to inquire why they are arbitrarily not allowing the Spirit of Humanity and the Free Gaza to set sail.
1. Here is the Ha'aretz article:
Last update - 17:00 18/06/2009
Activists plan to send Gaza cement, in violation of Israel blockade
By Reuters and Haaretz Service
http://www.twitter.com/haaretzonlineActivists campaigning for an end to Gaza's blockade by Israel will sail to the Hamas-run enclave from Cyprus despite the presence of the Israeli navy, they said on Thursday.
Two boats, including one carrying cement and building supplies -- materials not permitted in by Israel over fears that they could be used for military purposes -- will sail from Cyprus on June 25, the multi-national Free Gaza Movement said.
"We are taking 15 tons of cement, which is just a token of how much the Palestinians need, because the Israelis won't allow building supplies into Gaza," said Greta Berlin, a representative of the group.
The group started regular shuttles to Gaza from Cyprus in August 2008, but was turned back by the Israeli navy on its last journey in mid-January of this year.
Israel tightened a blockade on Gaza in 2007 after the Islamist Hamas took control of the enclave, a strip of land that is home to 1.5 million people.
Israeli forces bombed and then invaded Gaza in late December 2008 in a bid to rout out militants lobbing rockets into Israel, badly battering its already decrepit infrastructure.
* U.S. ups pressure on Israel to end Gaza blockade
* Ex-president Carter urges Obama to remove Hamas from U.S. terror list http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1093577.html
2. Hear Greta Berlin and I explain what is happening with the purposeful delay of our departure?http://www.livestream.com/wbaix
3. Read the Reuters article:
??? 12:54 25Jun09 -Cyprus halts aid boats bound for Gaza Strip LARNACA, Cyprus, June 25 (Reuters) ...
As I've noted previously ("Cynthia McKinney at Long Beach City College"), Ms. McKinney seems personally vexed by ideologically demons. Yid With Lid is absolutely correct in suggesting some sort of insanity.
And take it from Glenn Beck (who knows something about fringe conspiracies), "It's the whackiest rumor about Sarah Palin or any other politician so far this election."
A pregnant Governor Sarah Palin, interviewed by Alaska's TV station KTVA in Anchorage, April 2008.But Andrew Sullivan has gotten a lifeline from Todd Purdum's hit piece at Vanity Fair:
It remains true that no one in the MSM will investigate the details of this truly bizarre story - and MSM journalists instead have devoted their efforts to demonizing any journalist who tries.That's good, actually, that someone still believes reputation matters!
The one MSM newspaper that tried to report out the story of the pregnancy, asking the questions that any sane person would ask, was the Anchorage Daily News ....
But Palin refused to answer any questions and went on a tirade against the ADN. You can read the full story of this here. As I have said all along, I do not know what happened and the benefit of the doubt should go to Palin in the absence of actual journalism being committed. But the more her pregnancy with Trig becomes a campaign platform, a serious inquiry into exactly what happened in those few surreal days - days and decisions that she has made public and that reflect vital questions about her character and judgment - remains on the shelf of media deference. And the key witnesses who could verify it all - Palin herself, her husband, her doctor - still refuse to even take questions on the most bizarre series of events in Palin's entire life.
I believed then and I believe now that the MSM is too concerened [sic] with their own reputations and too deferent to power to even ask the questions. Which is another betrayal of their core purpose. And why they are dying. And deserve to.
As it is, far too many people take for gospel the word of Andrew Sullivan.
It's surprising too. Remember the comment by AOSHQ: "A brain-addled conspiracy crank unable to observe the minimum levels of respectability and human decency is simply not fit for polite company."
See also, Ed Morrissey, "A Picture Refutes a Thousand Nutcase Conspiracies."
And in case you missed it, see Christopher Badeaux's, "Through the Looking Glass With Andrew Sullivan."
Also Blogging: JammieWearingFool, "Sullivan: MSM Should Die Because They Won't Go Trig Troofer."
Hat Tip: Memeorandum.
Previously: "Trig Trutherism Lives!"
From The Politico, "Norm Coleman Concedes Minnesota Senate Race to Al Franken," and the New York Times, "After 8 Months, Franken Wins Senate Seat in Minnesota."
Most folks might appreciate the idea of the "citizen legislator" taking the fight to Washington. But with Franken, we're seeing the acccession of the most disgusting fever-swamp partisanship to Capital Hill.
See, "THE FACTS ABOUT AL FRANKEN."
Also, "Are You Franken Serious, Minnesota?":
In an effort to keep his promise to Minnesotans and prove his seriousness Franken called Senator Coleman, "one of the administration's leading butt boys." (Hey, wait. Isn't that what the PC police call, a homophobic slur?) Ask Ann Coulter if she thinks it's a homophobic slur. Not to worry though, Al Franken is a Democrat, and is pro-gay rights, so "butt boy" is ok for him to use. Which has me pondering this whole Al Franken fiasco; look at the Democrats today, they are driven by the extreme angry, anti- (fill in the blank), Left-wing sector of the Party.Don't miss Kathy Shaidle as well, "Send in the Clown."
Hat Tip: Memeorandum.
Also Blogging: Michelle Malkin, "Franken-fied: Make way for (another) clown; Update: Coleman statement added," and Hot Air, "Breaking: Say hello to Senator Al Franken; Update: Coleman concedes."
Only two things come out of Oklahoma.
Steers and queers.
Which one are you, boy?
I don’t see no horns.
You must be a queer.
Sometimes E.D. Kain reveals just a bit too much about himself. Here he is attempting to take down Robert Stacy McCain for alleged homophobism and sexism, and he ends up looking like a grotesque caricature of the most peurile practitioner of political correctness. At least his post is appropriately titled, "The Things People Say on the Internet" (emphasis added):
Here’s the frustrating thing to me about McCain. He can be a funny guy, with a good sense of humor. He’s obviously a talented writer. It’s just that he says such damn stupid things sometimes, and does it mainly because he’s ... an attention whore. His dissection of gay culture (and its apparently misogynistic nature) is absurd. I don’t know, but pretty much every gay guy I’ve met has had a veritable harem of girl friends. A lot of girls I know really like hanging out with gay men because it avoids that Harry Met Sally rule that all male/female relationships are inevitably about sex. And I have yet to meet one single gay man who is as misogynistic as many of the straight men I’ve known.
Then again, I’d give people overall the benefit of the doubt here – most men, gay or straight, that I know are not women haters. It is certainly not a defining feature. In fact, none of the gross generalizations Stacy evokes in his post are definitive in any way. That’s the funny thing about people – gay or straight, they’re each unique with a plethora of personal issues that compose their psychology. That’s the problem with psychology in general, but especially this hackish voodoo psychology that Stacy’s pushing.
I think E.D. needs to spend a little time with Lou Gossett, Jr. Not to mention Ernest Hemingway. (Just to toughen him up a bit. No insinuations here. Besides, E.D.'s got nothing on James B. Webb - NTTAWWT!!).
Related E.D. Kain posts, "Neoclassicons," and "Liberaltarianism and Intellectual Dishonesty."
But check Power Line, "Obama Stands With Castro, Chavez and Ortega":
More at the link.
In condemning the removal of Honduran President Mel Zelayaya by the Honduran military, Pesident Obama stands shoulder to shoulder with the Fidel Castro and his thug epigones Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega. Zelaya sought to conduct an illegal referendum to extend his rule. The Honduran military has sought to enforce the rule of law by providing for Zelaya's departure from the scene. Mary Anastasia Grady explains:
Yesterday the Central American country was being pressured to restore the authoritarian Mr. Zelaya by the likes of Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega, Hillary Clinton and, of course, Hugo himself. The Organization of American States, having ignored Mr. Zelaya's abuses, also wants him back in power. It will be a miracle if Honduran patriots can hold their ground.
That Mr. Zelaya acted as if he were above the law, there is no doubt. While Honduran law allows for a constitutional rewrite, the power to open that door does not lie with the president. A constituent assembly can only be called through a national referendum approved by its Congress.
But Mr. Zelaya declared the vote on his own and had Mr. Chávez ship him the necessary ballots from Venezuela. The Supreme Court ruled his referendum unconstitutional, and it instructed the military not to carry out the logistics of the vote as it normally would do.
See also, International Business Daily, "Banana Democrats."
Alvaro Vargas Llosa, "The Winner in Honduras: Chávez," and Glenn Garvin, "Nothing So Shocking About This Coup."
Cartoon Credit: Michael Ramirez.
For over a week, major American news outlets have broadcast on a virtual loop the video of the killing of Neda Agha-Soltan, an unarmed 26-year-old Iranian woman, by Iranian security services. The poignant footage of Neda dying before a throng of grief-stricken bystanders crystallized the vulnerability experienced by the millions of demonstrators who have filled cities across Iran to confront authoritarian forces determined to suppress their voice through brutal means. When the mainstream American press chose to broadcast the graphic video -- as moving as the footage is, it is difficult to watch -- it made a commendable decision that nonetheless highlighted its hypocritical attitude towards Palestinians who resist Israeli occupation on a daily basis, and who often meet the same fate as Neda.This is nothing but lies. Leftists always blame Israel and the "Jewish controlled" media. The truth is that the media's long been in open collusion with Israel's enemies. See for example, Caroline Click, "The Media's Enduring Narratives,"and "How and Why Muslims Riot in Liberal Democracies."
Every week, in the Palestinian cities of Bi'lin and Ni'ilin, local residents demonstrate beside international and Israeli solidarity activists for their basic human rights. The Israeli separation wall has been constructed through the heart of their communities, cutting them off permanently from farmland they have worked for generations. The Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the path of the wall was illegal, but construction continued unabated. When the demonstrators mobilize non-violently to stop the wall's construction -- to demand that the rule of law be honored -- the Israeli army has responded with massive force, killing, maiming, and brutalizing them on a consistent basis.
Notice how Blumenthal posts videos alleging Israeli atrocites, and then claims:
These videos are no less outrageous than the video of Neda's death. However, to my knowledge, no outlet from the mainstream American media has ever broadcast them ....This guy might as well be a spokesman for Jimmy Carter (it's "apartheid," remember?).
Direct action protest tactics only work if the brutal responses they provoke are recorded by influential media sources and projected to sympathetic audiences across the world. MLK's tactics in Selma would not have succeeded had he not been accompanied by camera crews ready to broadcast images of racist savagery to outraged Northern white liberals. The outpouring of American public sympathy for Iranian demonstrators might never have occurred had cable news outlets not made the courageous decision to broadcast Neda's killing vividly and repeatedly.
See Atlas Shrugs, "The Face of Evil: Hamas and Jimmy Carter." Also, Ben Johnson, "Carter Hearts Hamas."
UPDATE: Linked at Gateway Pundit! See, "Leading Dem Blog Huffington Post Equates Iranian Thugs Who Killed Neda to Jews."
Added: William Jacobson, "Neda Never Strapped on a Bomb."
Amazon.com Inc. ended its business relationships with marketing affiliates in Rhode Island so the online retailer could avoid collecting sales tax in the state.Check Memeorandum as well.
Rhode Island's state legislature recently passed a bill that would force companies to collect sales taxes if they have online-marketing affiliates—businesses that get a sales commission by featuring links to outside e-commerce sites on their own Web sites—in the state.
The Rhode Island termination follows a similar move by Amazon last Friday to end its relationships with affiliates in North Carolina as the state approached passing a similar law. Cash-strapped states across the country have looked at similar legislation to boost revenue. Such a law went into effect in New York last year.
Amazon, based in Seattle, sent an email to its Rhode Island affiliates on Monday saying that it was closing their accounts immediately. "This is a direct result of the unconstitutional tax collection scheme passed by the Rhode Island General Assembly with a veto-proof majority," said the message.
Also, Amazon warned California lawmakers about taxing its business in the state. See, "Amazon Threatens California Over Sales Tax."
It'd be disappointing to lose a newfound revenue stream from blogging. But more importantly, it'd be a collossal tragedy of economic stupidity if tax increases simply wiped out huge sectors of Internet commerce nationwide. It's certainly happening in a few states already.
Her appeal to people in the party (and in the country) who share her convictions and resentments is profound. The fascination is viral, and global. Bill McAllister, until recently Palin’s statehouse spokesman, says that he has fielded (and declined) interview requests from France, England, Italy, Switzerland, Israel, Germany, Bulgaria, “and probably other countries I’ve forgotten about.” (Palin, keeping her distance from most domestic media as well, also declined to talk to V.F.). Whatever her political future, the emergence of Sarah Palin raises questions that will not soon go away. What does it say about the nature of modern American politics that a public official who often seems proud of what she does not know is not only accepted but applauded? What does her prominence say about the importance of having (or lacking) a record of achievement in public life? Why did so many skilled veterans of the Republican Party—long regarded as the more adroit team in presidential politics—keep loyally working for her election even after they privately realized she was casual about the truth and totally unfit for the vice-presidency? Perhaps most painful, how could John McCain, one of the cagiest survivors in contemporary politics—with a fine appreciation of life’s injustices and absurdities, a love for the sweep of history, and an overdeveloped sense of his own integrity and honor—ever have picked a person whose utter shortage of qualification for her proposed job all but disqualified him for his?Read the whole thing, here.
Oh, and speaking of qualifications? See, "Is Palin Qualified? Obama’s Not Saying."
Added: From Purdum:
Another aspect of the Palin phenomenon bears examination, even if the mere act of raising it invites intimations of sexism: she is by far the best-looking woman ever to rise to such heights in national politics, the first indisputably fertile female to dare to dance with the big dogs. This pheromonal reality has been a blessing and a curse. It has captivated people who would never have given someone with Palin’s record a second glance if Palin had looked like Susan Boyle. And it has made others reluctant to give her a second chance because she looks like a beauty queen.
UPDATE:Actually, these aren't "mere intimations" of sexism, they're flagrant attacks against Palin as a mom. Here's Purdum's account of Palin's private side during the campaign:
All the while, Palin was coping not only with the crazed life of any national candidate on the road but also with the young children traveling with her. Some top aides worried about her mental state: was it possible that she was experiencing postpartum depression? (Palin’s youngest son was less than six months old.) ...Oh, wow! The leftists really did want to kill that baby!
* Joseph Russo, "John McCain's People Can Not Stop Trashing Sarah Palin."I assume that everybody has read the hit piece that will be published in the August edition of Vanity Fair. The Castroesque article is written by liberal writer Todd Purdam, the husband of former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers ...
* Jim Geragthy, "Palin's One of Those Tired, Ambitious, Resentful Enthusiastic Types."
Meanwhile: Celtic Diva claims she's "vindicated" by Purdum's hit piece; she links to another despicable Something Awful forum, and with a faux disavowal, posts this Photoshop:
UPDATE II: Dan Riehl has more, "As If McCain And Crew Didn't Do Enough Damage Already."
It took the story of one firefighter to expose the tension between fairness and affirmative action.Read the whole thing, at the link. See also, "Thoughts on this Term and the Next." And the readings at Memorandum.
The nation's four most prominent liberal justices ignored that tension Monday. By consequence, the liberal justices decided that equal outcome should trump equal opportunity, when the two values compete. And in that decision, supported by a chorus of liberal analysts, American liberalism continued decades of thinking that places diversity, not fairness, as its first principle ...
The uniform liberal view on affirmative action, or any legal issue for that matter, takes on a heightened resonance today. Democrats are hoping President Obama marks the beginning of an enduring majority. A primary aim of either party, when seeking sustained dominance, is to shift the court to their side. Had today's Court been left leaning, it would have almost certainly upheld a policy that denied a promotion based on the color of those promoted.
The Ricci case gets to the core of the American ideal of "the pursuit of happiness" as an "inalienable right." This right was most egregiously denied to blacks through slavery. It was not until the 1960s that the nation finally confronted and outlawed discriminatory practices. Affirmative action was instituted to correct past inequality.
Nearly a half-century later, liberalism faces new questions. In the time of the first black president, when white men's unemployment rate increases at twice the rate of black women in this recession, liberal thought has remained hinged to an earlier era.
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibited discrimination based in disparate treatment or disparate impact. In 1960s and 1970s America the tension between the two principles was mitigated by the need to right history.
The liberal opinion, written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on behalf of all four left-leaning justices, argued Monday that the "purpose" of Title VII's disparate-impact provision "is to ensure that individuals are hired and promoted based on qualifications manifestly necessary" and "do not screen out members of any race."
The liberal justices refused to reckon with the instances when the desire for "manifestly necessary" skills create an unequal racial outcome, as was the case in New Haven.
The conservative majority affirmed this tension Monday. It decided New Haven's actions amounted to disparate treatment, what the rest of us call overt discrimination.
Monday, June 29, 2009
On the surface, it seems like a blatant case of unlawful discrimination. The fire department in New Haven, Conn., administered an exam for firemen seeking promotions. "Many firefighters studied for months, at considerable personal and financial cost," as Justice Anthony Kennedy recounts on behalf of the Supreme Court's majority in Ricci v. DeStefano .
When the results came out, the city decided to deny promotions to the men who had earned them--because they were of the wrong race. Eighteen of them sued. The trial court summarily rejected their claim, and the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals--with La Jueza Empática, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, casting the deciding vote--upheld the decision. This morning the Supreme Court, on a 5-4 vote, overruled Sotomayor and her colleagues and held that New Haven had indeed violated the law by discriminating against the plaintiffs.
How in the world could the lower courts, now joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Paul Stevens, David Souter and Stephen Breyer, have countenanced this blatant discrimination? They accepted the New Haven officials' claim that they had to discriminate in order to avoid running afoul of antidiscrimination laws.
As Justice Kennedy explains in the majority ruling, federal civil rights laws prohibit two different types of discrimination: "disparate treatment" and "disparate impact." The plaintiffs in Ricci were plainly the victims of disparate treatment, which is prohibited by the plain language of the 1964 Civil Rights Act:It makes it unlawful for an employer "to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin."
In the 1971 case of Griggs v. Duke Power Co., however, the Supreme Court introduced the concept of "disparate impact." An employer that uses "testing or measuring procedures" on which minorities do not perform as well as whites has the burden of proving that its method of evaluation is "a reasonable measure of job performance." The Civil Rights Act of 1991 codified this principle into statutory law.
New Haven officials argued that they would risk a disparate-impact suit if they did not discriminate against the white firemen. The court rejected this argument:Before an employer can engage in intentional discrimination for the asserted purpose of avoiding or remedying an unintentional disparate impact, the employer must have a strong basis in evidence to believe it will be subject to disparate-impact liability if it fails to take the race-conscious, discriminatory action.
This is a very modest holding. It leaves the door open for permitting "intentional discrimination" in cases where there is "a strong basis in evidence" for disparate-impact liability. By framing the question as a conflict between statutory provisions, the court avoids addressing the question of whether New Haven's actions are constitutional, as Justice Antonin Scalia notes in a lone concurring opinion (citations omitted):[The] resolution of this dispute merely postpones the evil day on which the Court will have to confront the question: Whether, or to what extent, are the disparate-impact provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 consistent with the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection? . . .The difficulty is this: Whether or not Title VII's disparate-treatment provisions forbid "remedial" race-based actions when a disparate-impact violation would not otherwise result--the question resolved by the Court today--it is clear that Title VII not only permits but affirmatively requires such actions when a disparate-impact violation would otherwise result. But if the Federal Government is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, then surely it is also prohibited from enacting laws mandating that third parties—e.g., employers, whether private, State, or municipal--discriminate on the basis of race. . . .The war between disparate impact and equal protection will be waged sooner or later, and it behooves us to begin thinking about how--and on what terms--to make peace between them.
Scalia's colleagues seem less than eager to join that "war," however: No other justice joined his concurrence ...
More at the link.
I thought this passage on Sarah Palin was pretty interesting, especially the numbers on the Democratic respondents:
The Pew results reveal strong levels of support for Palin among evangelicals, but overall her support from self-described conservatives actually ebbed a bit from their highs last autumn during the late stages of the presidential contest. Oddly enough, since then her approval actually improved from 18 percent to 24 percent among Democrats, though this may be a result of a sympathetic boost resulting from David Letterman's jokes about Palin and her family earlier this month. (The poll was taken June 10-14, at the height of the national controversy over Letterman's remarks about the governor's daughter.)Also, don't miss Allahpundit's quote of the day, "For the Romney team, it’s not too much of a stretch to say that the campaign never really ended."
Disclaimer: This is a rare occasion in which I'm not critical of Silver. He's good, but not that good. Mostly, I like the t-shirt!
He links to Reuel Marc Gerecht's earlier essay, from 2002, "Regime Change in Iran? Applying George W. Bush's 'Liberation Theology' to the Mullahs."
Here's this longer section from Greenwald citing Gerecht:
Seven years ago, Reuel Marc Gerecht looked into the best crystal ball in all global strategy and wrote down what he saw in the pages of the Weekly Standard:If the United States stays in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein and his Baathist regime, and ushers in some type of a federal, democratic system, the repercussions throughout the region could be transformative. Popular discontent in Iran tends to heat up when U.S. soldiers get close to the Islamic Republic. An American invasion could possibly provoke riots in Iran--simultaneous uprisings in major cities that would simply be beyond the scope of regime-loyal specialized riot-control units. The army or the Revolutionary Guard Corps would have to be pulled into service in large numbers, and that's when things could get interesting. The clerical regime fears big street confrontations, afraid that it cannot rely on the loyalty of either the army or the Guard Corps.
And if an American invasion doesn't provoke urban unrest, the creation of a democratic Iraq probably will. Iraq's majority Shiite population, who will inevitably lead their country in a democratic state, will start to talk to their Shiite brethren over the Iran-Iraq border. The collective Iranian conversation about American-aided democracy in Iraq will be brutal for the mullahs (which is why the Bush administration should prepare itself for Iranian mischief in Iraq's politics once Tehran determines that the Bush administration is indeed serious about ensuring a democratic triumph in Baghdad). The Bush administration should, of course, quickly and loudly support any demonstrators who hit the streets in Iran. America's approval will not be the kiss of death for the brave dissidents who challenge the regime's armed defenders. On the contrary, such psychological support could prove critical to those trying to show to the people that the die is now decisively cast against the regime.
More than a testament to Gerecht’s uncanny grasp of theocratic politics, the passage highlights the thoughtfulness of George W. Bush’s much maligned Iran policy.
Among Bush’s critics it has become accepted fact that “the big winner of the Iraq War is Iran.” There are several arguments to support this view: the invasion empowered the fanatical Shia of Iraq, who inspired their ideological brethren across the eastern border; difficulties in establishing order in Iraq hurt America’s image as a formidable military threat; the U.S., in turn, needed Tehran’s help in subduing Iraqi unrest; without Saddam to worry about, the mullahs were free to follow through on plans for regional hegemony. All these arguments could be supported by events that were actually unfolding in the region – once upon a time. Today, few of them hold water.
You know, that's the thing about neocons: It's not so much "they knew they were right" and failed, but that they knew they were right AND stayed true to their principles when the chips were down. And as folks have been suggesting, "we're all neocons now."
This naturally hard for a lot of folks to accept (so brain-addled by neocon derangement as they are), but neconservatism's making a comeback, big time.
By the way, if you've never read it, now's a good time to check out Max Boot's, "What the Heck Is a 'Neocon'?"
Also, see Atlas Shrugs, "IRAN: Day 16 Liveblogging the Revolution."
The Wall Street Journal has the report on the election certification, "Iran Dismisses Vote-Fraud Claims."
But Lara Setrakian tweets, "Tehran crawling w/ basijis carrying sticks, some on motos sporting camouflage vests, the new thug uniform. they look ridiculous."
Related: "Iran Protests Drive Women to Stand Up," and "Why Iran's Women Are Rioting."
It's an old story for us, but I thought I'd share it since there's an interesting piece up tonight, "Poll: Rubio and Crist in dead heat among GOPers who know both" (via Memeorandum):
A June 24-26 Mason-Dixon poll for Ron Sachs Communications (MoE +/- 6 in primary questions, 4 in general election) shows Charlie Crist leading Marco Rubio in the Republican U.S. Senate primary 51 percent to 23 percent. Just 52 percent of likely primary voters had heard of Rubio, while Crist was almost universally recognized.It's no surprise. Crist voted for the Obama porkulus maximus back in January. He has no creds among the conservative base of the party.
Get this: Among Republican voters who recognize both candidates, 33 percent back Crist and 31 percent back Rubio.
Crist looks dominant against either of the Democratic prospects, but it'll be interesting to see how the grassroots conservative support for Rubio influences the final primary results in that race.
More at Not One Red Cent. See also, Dan Riehl, "Careful What You Wish For."
But check this out, from the Wall Street Journal, "Hurricane Charlie: The Republican Barney Frank":
Mr. Crist is ... pushing a federal disaster-insurance fund, probably because he knows the risks he's taking and wants all American taxpayers to bail out his Florida schemes when future hurricanes hit. Meantime, he continues to perpetuate the myth that Florida property owners can have billions of dollars of subsidized insurance at little expense or risk. It's this kind of something-for-nothing economics that gave us the debacle of Fannie Mae. With that philosophy, Mr. Crist would feel right at home in Washington.
Much is being written, of course. My interest here is to record the reaction on the far left of the spectrum. Clearly, leftist victimology, and continued claims of "accumulated racial disadvantages" and "institutional discrimination," are driving the discussion on the left. Here are a few samples, in no particular order:
From Glenn Greenwald:
As is true for most discussions of affirmative action, the fight over Ricci has completely ignored the countless ways that whites in America have long benefited, and continue to benefit, from exactly the sort of non-merit considerations which affirmative action opponents decry. As Justice Ginsberg noted, whites had a virtual monopoly for decades on firefighter positions until Congress extended Title VII to public employment ("firefighting is a profession in which the legacy of racial discrimination casts an especially long shadow"), and city officials in this case determined that the test in question was flawed because, among other things, it did not reward merit ....From Christy Hardin Smith:
Anyone who tries to tell you that this is simply a race issue or an easy call doesn't know jack about labor law.From Melissa McEwan:
A very disappointing, if unsurprising, ruling. Typically, it was Roberts, Kennedy, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas in the majority, with Ginsburg, Breyer, Souter, and Stevens dissenting. Ginsburg authored the dissent and noted, that the white firefighters "understandably attract this court's sympathy. But they had no vested right to promotion. Nor have other persons received promotions in preference to them."From Freddie DeBoer:
They had no vested right to promotion is pretty much the crux of the whole case, as far as I'm concerned. Seven words that say a hell of a lot about entitlement and privilege.
I am afraid for my country. This country has a permanent black underclass; Hispanic economic mobility is not much better. Decades of affirmative action have done little to fix that. Now, we appear ready to abandon those attempts to level the playing field entirely. Of course, principles and ideals are important. But my question is open, and I apply it to the most thoughtful opponents of affirmative action and the most rabid and unthinking alike: what are the effects, for our country, of a permanent racial achievement divide? And can we reasonably expect to maintain a peaceful and just society with such a gap between the races?From Joe Sudbay:
This decision will be the focus of a lot of spin today and for the next several weeks. Republicans have been looking for a line of attack on Sotomayor -- and may try to make this case a bigger issue. As far as I can tell, Sotomayor and her colleagues on the Court of Appeals were following precedence in their decision. Today, the Supreme Court changed the precedent and the interpretation of federal employment law.From Hullabaloo:
Those on the right wing will certainly spin this as proof positive of Sotomayor's incompetence, or her hatred of white people, etc. They've been preparing the ground for this ruling as a "seminal moment" that could derail the nomination, and they will come up with whatever distortions necessary to try to ensure that. But the charge rings pretty hollow and is based on a misunderstanding of the law, which is characteristic of many conservative arguments, actually.From Bit Tent Democrat:
In light of the SCOTUS' decision in Ricci, Congress must again act to rebuff the efforts of extreme right wing judicially activist Justices to roll back civil rights law ...From Darren Lenard Hutchinson:
As in Parents Involved, the extreme conservative, brazenly judicially activist Gang of 5 has made clear their own willingness to overturn actions by the elected representatives of the People to act to remedy centuries of discrimination.
The Congress can not let this brazen act of judicial activism stand. It must enact legislation overturning the Court's unprincipled decision in Ricci.
It is difficult to disagree with the White House statement (and the SCOTUS analysis), which says that the opinion proves that Judge Sotomayor is not biased.
As I stated in my prior analysis, even with the 5-4 reversal, 12 judges have voted against the firefighters, while 11 voted for them. This definitely shows that the issue was unsettled and that Second Circuit ruling was within the mainstream of legal thought (on a highly divisive issue).
I suspect that her opponents, however, will not let it go. Despite the fact that 11 other judges, including 4 who sit on the Supreme Court, have ruled the same way, they will still make noise about the ruling proving that she is unqualified for the Supreme Court. Ultimately, there complaints will have no effect.
BONUS OPINION ... From moderate Jonathan Turley:
It is a decision with which I expect most Americans would agree. It will be interesting to see if Congress attempts to amend the law to negate the ruling. The optics in “putting a thumb on the scale” of a test for firefighters is not good.
As for Sotomayor, these opinions have all of the substance that is missing in the Second Circuit opinion. Judge Cabranes is proven correct about the deeper issues here. One of my greatest concerns about Judge Sotomayor has been the lack of any deeper or more profound analysis in her opinions, which all too often tend to dismiss such issues.
Drawing on John Schwenkler, Conor Friedersdorf suggests that "prefab conservative" is the hot new term of day. It describes a kind of "off-the-shelf" right-wing talking head, prepackaged, like a home built with prefabricated construction (via Memeorandum):
The prefab conservative, or prefab-con, brings the same attitude to political discourse: rather than using reason and critical thinking to craft arguments that fit the real world, he trots out prefabricated memes, arguments and conclusions that are passably functional at best. All too often, they are even worse: the typical prefabcon lives in an intellectual house of ugly, wobbly walls that collapse on themselves in slight gusts. Undaunted, he throws up another structure on the same spot, though that wolf named reality is standing right there, ready to huff and puff again.For his key example, Friedersdorf offers up conservative talkshow host Kevin James, who came up empty-handed in a May 2008 appearance on Hardball with Chris Matthews. James' problem was that he clearly didn't know the history of the Munich crisis - you know, that little bit about "peace in our time" that has come to define craven diplomacy in the face of unspeakable evil. Yeah, Chris Matthews pounded Kevin James for ignorant posturing, and rightly so.
But staying with the World War II historical frame, perhaps Daniel Larison, Schwenkler's buddy over at the American Conservative, should throw his hat in the ring for nomination as the "prefab conservative" standard bearer. Few "intellectual" conservatives have abused the history of interwar European diplomacy as well as Larison.
I distinctly remember a dramatic post Larison wrote last year during the campaign, "Avoiding Key Details Is Essential In Warmongering." In apparent classic "prefab conservative" form, Larison wrote:
People will endure remarkable hardship, at least once, to expel an invader from their country. Like France after Verdun, the horrific experience might be great enough to force a nation into a purely defensive posture, but even post-WWI France, which is a better comparison with post-1988 Iran, did not sink into pacifism.This was a breathtaking revision of history, especially Larison's analysis of the Maginot Line and French pacifist public opinion. As I wrote at the time:
Indeed, the occupation of the Rhineland, security guarantees to central European states and the building of the Maginot Line all point not to pacifism, but to an assumption that another war might come and France should be prepared for it. The Maginot Line came out of the experience of Verdun, which was that the defensive position held the overwhelming advantage in modern warfare; the problem with the Maginot Line was not that it was defensive and therefore somehow “weak” or pacifistic, but plainly enough that it did not guard the entire border.
Historians have long since shown that "pacifism" in the interwar context is captured by the entire collapse of social will that indicates a stage existential crisis far beyond numbers of men under arms or military armaments. The French case is even worse than the British, for as Eugen Weber has shown in his book, The Hollow Years: France in the 1930's, the entire national posture in France in the face of the rising Nazi challenge was one of national decay, moral laziness, and cowardly inaction. If anything, the Maginot was the greatest French symbol of the refusal to fight. I mean, really, the Maginot Line was a huge national system of underground bunkers within which French troops could hide from German Panzer divisions! There was no "overwhelming" advantage to defense on the eve of World War II. It was the opposite, as the German High Command's blitzkrieg strategy was to illustrate in the rapid defeat of the French in 1940. Basic books of French interwar history have covered the theme of French pacifism and moral decay for decades. William Shirer's The Collapse of the Third Republic is the central first-hand journalistic account, and the outstanding scholarly synthesis of the historiography can be found in Robert Young's, France and the Origins of the Second World War. Young's theme is strategic "ambivalence" rather than pacifism, so if folks want to quibble with details, you might be able to throw Larison a bone with that.The exact historical debate on the origins the French collapse in 1940 is less important than discerning the countours of the "prefab conservative" template.
If historical cluelessness is a top criteria, Daniel Larison ought to be a frontrunner.
If it's really as Friedersdorf suggests, that "the prefabcon's core flaw is a misunderstanding of what it means to be principled," then it frankly seems that Friedersdorf himself should be in running as well! Hey, maybe Andrew Sullivan and the boys at Ordinary Gentlemen are "prefab conservatives" too. They seem to be, to a man, supporters of Barack Obama and the diplomacy of deceit and weakness, not to mention the abandoment of democracy and human rights. On that point, maybe someone who is a "prefab conservative" isn't conservative at all. Maybe "prefab conservative" is just another nifty little attack slogan that these "neoclassicons" have invented to advance the cause of postmodern hypocrisy. "Prefab conservative," as a term, is similar to "Rovian Islamist". It's not a term of meaningful debate. It's a moniker of excoriation, an attack grenade in the left-libertarian rearguard battle against the current top conservative on the American right.
If that's the case, no worries: Idiots like Larison are already totally marginalized. And folks like Conor Friedersdorf are simply chumming the waters to build a personal sinecure as a "house conservative" at some liberal mainstream journalistic outpost. Thank goodness the inane hypocrisy of these folks is so transparent. Let them stay over at American Conservative and the Atlantic. That way they won't bother anyone of real credentials on the genuine conservative right.
UPDATE: Dan Riehl links, and adds an interesting take on the "fundamentally flawed" languaged behind Friedersdorf's notion of "prefab-cons". See, "Pre-fab Isn't An Insult."
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Well it turns out, as William Jacobson reports, that Wonkette has hopped onto the double-barrelled attack-Trig bandwagon, with its vicious smear on the Palin family, "Sarah Palin Will Soon Condemn, Bomb Entire Internet."
As William so clearly argues:
It really is hard to understand why some adults feel the need to make fun of Trig Palin, a one-year old who has Down Syndrome. Politics alone cannot explain it. If you don't like Sarah Palin, fine, but why go after Trig?It's a good question: Why go after Trig? But not only that, why demonize conservatives for actually thinking that there are some realms of the personal that should be free from partisan battle. Didn't President Obama suggest during the campaign that "Palin's family should be off limits"? Well, not for Wonkette at least. Those folks just can't help attacking the Alaska Governor and her family:
The Virgin Palin, Our Lady of Eternal Anger, gave birth to the New Jesus at some point last year — or not, who knows, and now Andrew Sullivan just cares about Iran (which is a good thing!) so we’ll never find out the truth — and ever since it has been both a Cardinal/Venial Sin and Sharia Law that no mortal shall “desecrate” an image of the Sacred One … no one but Sarah Palin herself, because Allah both allows and encourages the use of the Holy Infant as a cheap political prop as long as such cruel hackery is performed by the Virgin Palin herself.Notice the layered slurs herein. By linking approvingly to Andrew Sullivan, Wonkette gives full endorsement to the most crazed schemes of the left's Bush-Palin-Rovian-Islamist derangement. For Wonkette, Governor Palin, not unlike the Islamist barbarians in the Middle East, will be launching a terrorist "jihad" against her ideological opponents.
Palin’s fury was such, when she found out some blog “on the Internet” had combined a picture of her cradling one of her Magic Babies together with a picture of her Jedi Master, some dingbat old radio talk-show clown in Alaska, that she did verily send her dumbest disciple, “Brother Meg,” to start a Jihad against the Entire Internet.
For added fun, Wonkette links to some horrid web forums featuring Photoshops of Trig Palin even more despicable than I've already seen this weekend.
When does it stop? When do leftists say enough is enough? No more joking! Haha, we've had our fun and recrimination. Full. Stop. Now!
This is not a case of society looking at events through some "poor retard blinders." Governor Palin was right to call out Alaska's Democrats for their malicious actions in attacking her family. As it is, this is pretty much par for the course on the secular collectivist left, as I've been saying all along.
See also, "Democratic Epic Moral Fail!" And The Rhetorican, "What Do Wonkette and Nazis Have in Common?"