Sunday, October 2, 2016

It isn't often these days that I find a news article or website post that is worthy of actually mentioning  these days, given that so many hundreds of others have already shared the information and caused it to make the rounds on the internet. However, there remain odd pieces of information that sometimes spark enough inspiration in me to write something new and express my own views regarding that particular subject. Such is the case with this post by a man I had previously never heard of until reading someone else's words about him on

The man in question is Ethan Epstein, who claims to be a fan of the Supreme Court and the Constitution, yet several of his paragraphs seem to give the lie to his words. He admittedly is correct when he recounts the numerous bad decisions made by the Court, not once realizing that what is considered moral and what is considered often go hand in hand. He mentions several historically famous decisions such as Plessy v. Ferguson, Dredd Scott, and Korematsu v. United States, this last being the internment of Japanese citizens during World War II.

First, let's start with his mention of the Plessy v. Ferguson case. For those not in the know, Plessy v. Ferguson was the Separate but Equal decision, which affirmed segregation and was crucial in upholding the Jim Crowe laws of the Deep South. Where he goes wrong is in his comparison of that decision to the modern state of our educational system. Mr. Epstein states that our schools remain segregated due to the fact that inner city schools are populated mainly by minorities, while suburban private schools are populated by the Caucasian majority. This ludicrous for a couple of reasons, but let's focus on the obvious one. Plessy v. Ferguson reinforced the idea that government mandate could determine whether or not black citizens had the right to attend the same facilities as whites. No such restriction exists today, and in fact NO SCHOOL IN THE COUNTRY, save for one in Alabama that recently made national news for that very practice, puts that policy into effect any longer. Epstein seems to believe that that is not the case, despite the fact that P v. F was in fact overturned after Brown v. Board of Education. Economic and cultural factors are the main reason today why public schools are populated the way they are.

Second, after mentioning that todays Americans citizens would most likely unanimously agree on the wrongness of the above mentioned decisions, he says this:

Of course, there would be much less agreement about the Roberts Court. But I believe that it, too, has failed in some of its most important rulings. The Roberts Court has continually favored the rights of business over the rights of employees and consumers and all of us. It has made it much more difficult for those whose rights have been violated to seek redress through the courts by creating significant barriers to suits against governments and government officers. It has tremendously expanded the rights of corporations in the political process, such as by holding that they have a right to spend unlimited sums of money in election campaigns, while simultaneously limiting the rights of unions to collect dues from non-members to support collective bargaining activities. In fact, last term, in several cases, the Court unanimously rejected constitutional claims against government officers who had violated their rights.  In one case, the Court, in an opinion by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, found that a person’s First Amendment rights had been violated by firing him for truthful testimony given in court, but said that he could not recover because no case had ever established such a right.

Notice in the above quoted paragraph, he does not cite these supposed instances where the court has unanimously tamped down on minority rights by passing the decisions they have. The Roberts Court has made its fair share of bad decisions, I'll grant, but I doubt he and I would agree on just what those decisions were that were so bad. He makes mention in the next paragraph, however, of Obamacare and, without using its name, Roe. v. Wade. His tone, if you read the article, suggests that the decision to uphold these court cases  were GOOD ones, however, as he laments in the next paragraph:

It is likely that this term, or no later than next, the court will again be considering abortion rights, affirmative action and the Affordable Care Act. I am very worried that the conservative majority will allow the government to impose great limits on reproductive freedom, keep the government from using racially sensitive admissions policies to enhance diversity and interpret the Affordable Care Act to greatly limit its effectiveness.

Notice that language? He uses the positive sounding identifiers for the cases he likes, while at the same time lamenting the fact that our government won't be able to use "racially sensitive admissions policies to enhance diversity." My favorite one, though, is  "limit [the Affordable  Care Act's] effectiveness." Funnily enough, I came across this article that says exactly what the headline indicates.