Sunday, June 24, 2007

Try to love one another right now

Just a few days ago I mentioned the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling here. And now it's suddenly back in the news in a frightening way. From Sunday's LATimes:
BROWN vs. Board of Education, the Supreme Court's landmark declaration that racially segregated public schools were unconstitutional, may be the court's only ruling in the last 200 years that virtually everyone today agrees was "rightly decided." It is simply unimaginable that a president would appoint, or that the Senate would confirm, a court nominee who failed to pay homage to the 1954 decision.

. . . Under Roberts' reinterpretation of Brown, the decision's central message is that government must be strictly "colorblind" because all racial classification is inherently pernicious. In this view, there is no legal or moral difference between a school assignment program (like those at issue in Brown) that enforces racial segregation and others (like Seattle's and Louisville's) that are designed to ensure some measure of integration.

WTF? First, read the whole article. Then worry, and weep. What is the real issue with Brown that would cause the hyper-reactionary Supreme Court to revisit it?

First, take a look at this map:

Yep. Segregation of races was required by law in 17 Red states. While it may have been unintentional for Wikipedia to use red for the rascist states, I really don't think so. Many of those states are still considered red today.

Sometimes the Supreme Court gets it wrong: Dred Scott, Plessy v. Ferguson, Bush v. Gore. Breathtakingly, disastrously wrong. In re: Plessy, the SCOTUS reversed it's infamous decision with Brown. Separate But Equal was banished forever. Or not. Wikipedia goes on:
Brown is often referred to as Brown I, because the following year, 1955, the Court completed its ruling. In this second Brown decision, Brown II, the Warren Court ordered the states' compliance with Brown I "with all deliberate speed." Brown II was argued by Robert L. Carter, who had earlier initiated some of the cases consolidated at the Supreme Court into Brown I. Even so, formal compliance with the provisions of these two cases was not expedited, and in the South most public schools would not be desegregated until about 1970 under the Nixon administration. Nearly twenty years after Brown, school desegregation would come to the court's attention again in two cases involving the use of busing to integrate students across school districts: Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, 402 U.S. 1 (1971) and Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717 (1974).

I'm going to go out on a limb here, and drop all the niceties and legal issues. Frame it all you want, Judge Roberts, the reason you want to re-visit Brown has nothing to do with how to implement programs that try to counter segregation and racism. The "colorblind" status you wish to confer to the law will ignore insults and inequities based on color.

Welcome to the world of Judge Roberts, where the law is a process, and people don't matter.