The U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision on Thursday effectively eliminating all affirmative action admission polices at colleges and universities across the country – with the complete exception of U.S. military academies, after a request from the federal government in the form of an amicus brief. The decision was entirely along ideological lines.
“The court ruled that both programs violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution and are therefore unlawful,” NBC News reported. “The vote was 6-3 in the UNC [University of North Carolina] case and 6-2 in the Harvard case, in which liberal Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was recused.”
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote the minority opinion, with her two fellow liberal justices, Ketanji Brown Jackson and Elena Kagan, joining. Justice Jackson also wrote a dissenting opinion, with the other two liberal justices joining.
Often, justices writing a dissenting opinion will end it with, “I respectfully dissent.” This time, both merely offered, “I dissent.”
And both dissents were scathing.
“With let-them-eat-cake obliviousness, today, the majority pulls the ripcord and announces ‘colorblindness for all’ by legal fiat,” accused Justice Jackson in her dissent. “But deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life. And having so detached itself from this country’s actual past and present experiences, the Court has now been lured into interfering with the crucial work that UNC [the University of North Carolina] and other institutions of higher learning are doing to solve America’s real-world problems.”
“No one benefits from ignorance,” she continues. “Although formal race-linked legal barriers are gone, race still matters to the lived experiences of all Americans in innumerable ways, and today’s ruling makes things worse, not better. The best that can be said of the majority’s perspective is that it proceeds (ostrich-like) from the hope that preventing consideration of race will end racism.”
Justice Jackson did not in any way hold back.
In a footnote she eviscerated Justice Clarence Thomas so completely NYU professor of law Melissa Murray highlighted it and tweeted, “911, I’d like to report a murder.”
Some excerpts from that footnote:
“Justice Thomas’s prolonged attack…responds to a dissent I did not write in order to assail an admissions program that is not the one UNC has crafted. He does not dispute any historical or present fact about the origins and continued existence of race-based disparity (nor could he), yet is somehow persuaded that these realities have no bearing on a fair assessment of ‘individual achievement’.”
“Justice Thomas’s opinion also demonstrates an obsession with race consciousness that far outstrips my or UNC’s holistic understanding that race can be a factor that affects applicants’ unique life experiences. How else can one explain his detection of ‘an organizing principle based on race,’ a claim that our society is ‘fundamentally racist,’ and a desire for Black ‘victimhood’ or racial ‘silo[s]…in this dissent’s approval of an admissions program that advances all Americans’ shared pursuit of true equality by treating race ‘on par with’ other aspects of identity…”
“The takeaway is that those who demand that no one think about race (a classic pink-elephant paradox) refuse to see, much less solve for, the elephant in the room— the race-linked disparities that continue to impede achievement of our great Nation’s full potential. Worse still, by insisting that obvious truths be ignored, they prevent our problem-solving institutions from directly addressing the real import and impact of ‘social racism’ and ‘government-imposed racism’…thereby deterring our collective progression toward becoming a society where race no longer matters.”
Justice Jackson also referenced Chief Justice Roberts’ decision to exempt military academies from this ruling.
“The Court has come to rest on the bottom-line conclusion that racial diversity in higher education is only worth potentially preserving insofar as it might be needed to prepare Black Americans and other underrepresented minorities for success in the bunker, not the boardroom (a particularly awkward place to land, in light of the history the majority opts to ignore).”
Justice Sotomayor slammed her conservative colleagues for once again ignoring stare decisis, the concept the Court should respect prior Supreme Court decisions as precedent.
“It is a disturbing feature of today’s decision that the Court does not even attempt to make the extraordinary showing required by stare decisis. The Court simply moves the goalposts, upsetting settled expectations and throwing admissions programs nationwide into turmoil. In the end, however, it is clear why the Court is forced to change the rules of the game to reach its desired outcome.”
Ultimately, she concludes: “Today, this Court stands in the way and rolls back decades of precedent and momentous progress. It holds that race can no longer be used in a limited way in college admissions to achieve such critical benefits. In so holding, the Court cements a superficial rule of colorblindness as a constitutional principle in an endemically segregated society where race has always mattered and continues to matter. The Court subverts the constitutional guarantee of equal protection by further entrenching racial inequality in education, the very foundation of our democratic government and pluralistic society. Because the Court’s opinion is not grounded in law or fact and contravenes the vision of equality embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment, I dissent.”
The cases are: Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, and Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina et al.
Image: Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States
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The Christian Ziegler/Moms for Liberty Scandal Could Hurt Ron DeSantis
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis attempted to distance himself from Florida GOP Chair Christian Ziegler and his wife Bridget, the co-founder of Moms for Liberty—but his close involvement with them could spell trouble for him.
On Thursday, Christian Ziegler, elected this year as chair of the Florida Republican Party, was accused of sexual assault. The accuser is a woman who says she’s had a regular three-way sexual relationship with both Zieglers.
DeSantis told ABC News Thursday night that Ziegler should resign as chair.
“He’s innocent until proven guilty, but we just can’t have a party chair that is under that type of scrutiny,” DeSantis said.
Before Thursday, DeSantis was close with the Zieglers. In February, during DeSantis’ fight with Disney, he appointed Bridget Ziegler to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, a new board overseeing Disney’s theme parks in Orlando, according to Variety. DeSantis has not called on Bridget Ziegler to step down from either the district or her position on the Sarasota County School Board.
Last year, Christian Ziegler opened a rally for DeSantis, and has backed DeSantis’ using of the culture war to make a name for himself.
“All you have to do is Google Christian Ziegler Ron DeSantis, and you’ll see no one has been in the press more than I have promoting the governor and what he’s done because I think he’s done an outstanding job, especially on the cultural issues, which for me, are a big passion of mine,” Ziegler said in a March interview with CBS Miami.
DeSantis’ approval ratings as governor have been falling. In a poll taken in November, before the allegations against Christian Ziegler were made public, DeSantis’ overall approval had fallen four points since July, to a 49% approval rating. But among independent voters, his disapproval rating rocketed to 60%, a 14-point boost during the same time frame. Disapproval also grew by 10 percent, to 80%, among Black voters.
The allegations against Christian Ziegler are serious. Ziegler is accused of sexually assaulting the woman he and his wife and a standing sexual relationship with on October 2. He’s also accused of secretly recording video of their previous sexual encounters.
Though DeSantis has called on him to resign, other GOP leaders have supported Ziegler.
“If the allegations are true I’m pretty sure change will come at the [Republican Party of Florida] but I don’t believe it for a minute,” Lee County GOP Chair Michael Thompson told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. “Christian’s the chairman. Christian’s still the chairman of the organization until something else happens. We don’t anticipate Christian leaving as the chair.”
“Innocent until proven guilty,” Thompson added. “That’s what our justice system needs to get back to and that’s for everybody across the board, not just for Trump, not just for Ziegler… let’s not try to convict people in headlines. Let’s see the evidence.”
Moms for Liberty Deletes Statement Supporting Co-Founder Whose Husband Is Accused of Sexual Battery
The far-right Christian nationalist organization Moms for Liberty issued, then later deleted, a statement declaring support for its co-founder after her husband, the chairman of the Florida Republican Party, was accused of sexual battery by a woman who allegedly has had a consensual “three-way sexual relationship” with the married couple.
“The Sarasota Police Department is investigating a sexual battery allegation against Florida GOP Chair Christian Ziegler, a political bombshell in the home state of former President Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis,” The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.
“The alleged sexual battery occurred inside the woman’s home in Sarasota last month,” the nonpartisan Florida Center for Government Accountability adds, citing a police report. “According to sources close to the investigation, she said she and both Zieglers had been involved in a longstanding consensual three-way sexual relationship prior to the incident.”
The FLCGA also reports the “complaint was filed on October 4 and the alleged sexual battery occurred inside the woman’s home in Sarasota on October 2, according to the [police] report. Among the few words that went unredacted in the report are ‘rape’ and ‘sexual assault complaint.'”
“Christian Ziegler is also alleged to have secretly videotaped the sexual encounters between the couple and the woman, sources said,” the FLCGA added.
Bridget Ziegler, the Moms for Liberty co-founder and the spouse of Christian Ziegler, “has become a star within the MAGA movement,” the FLCGA notes, adding she was “personally endorsed for her school board seat by Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, who also appointed her in March to the state board that oversees the special district previously overseen by Disney World prior to DeSantis’s politically motivated feud with the entertainment company.”
Moms for Liberty was named an anti-government extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Thursday afternoon Moms for Liberty responded to the fast-spreading news reports, issuing a statement on the social media platform X saying they “stand with” Bridget Ziegler.
“Yet another attempt today to ruin the reputation of a strong woman fighting for America,” the group said, calling her a “badass” in a post that has since been deleted. Florida’s Voice confirmed the deletion.
In 2021, Donald Trump at a Florida rally thanked then-Florida GOP vice chair, now Chairman Christian Ziegler, calling him a “friend,” someone who “made our country great,” and a “warrior.”
Watch below or at this link.
‘Outrage’: MSNBC Slammed for Canceling ‘Vital Voice’ Mehdi Hasan
It’s being called a “revamp,” an “overhaul,” and a “shakeup,” but media critics, journalists, and journalism experts are expressing outrage at MSNBC for its decision to cancel the weekend show anchored by Mehdi Hasan, who many see as an important voice against authoritarianism and the far-right.
Calling Hasan an “outspoken opinion host,” and “a cult favorite online for his tough interview style and impassioned monologues,” Semafor‘s Max Tani reported MSNBC “privately announced” the cancellation of Hasan’s show Thursday morning. Hasan “will become an on-camera analyst and fill-in host. The network plans to expand host Ayman Mohyeldin’s weekend program to two hours to replace Hasan’s show.”
MSNBC is also moving Jonathan Capehart’s show to 6 PM on Saturdays and Sundays, and is cancelling Yasmin Vossoughian’s weekend show.
The cable network will launch a new weekend show, “The Weekend,” which Mediaite reports “is billed as a politics and Washington-focused program. It will be hosted from Washington D.C. by MSNBC anchors Alicia Menendez, Symone Sanders-Townsend and Michael Steele on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 to 10 a.m. ET. Both Sanders-Townsend and Menendez will be leaving their weekend programs to join the new show.
“Hasan has come under fire recently over his coverage of the Gaza war, specifically from conservative critics angry over his pro-Palestinian stance,” The Daily Beast adds. “Last month, Semafor reported that Hasan was one of three Muslim broadcasters who had been quietly pulled from the anchor’s desk following the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack. A network official vehemently denied Semafor’s reporting that Hasan and others had been sidelined.”
“The same criticism Hasan has received over Israel-Hamas coverage from media rivals, however, has also followed fellow Muslim-American colleagues Velshi and Mohyeldin, who have retained their shows and even seen their roles expanded. Furthermore, as Confider reported in September, the revamped weekend lineup was already being hashed out prior to the start of the conflict in Gaza.”
Many, including those who have been critical of some of Hasan’s views, are expressing anger and outrage over the cancellation of his show, and concern for the direction of corporate media in general.
“This is an outrage,” declared journalist and media critic Dan Froomkin.
“As the warning signs for authoritarianism are going off, why demote a journalist who is really good on this topic?” asked Don Moynihan, professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy.
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Wesley Lowery, now an associate professor of investigative journalism at American University, wrote on social media that Hasan “is the best on-camera newsmaker interviewer in journalism.” He suggested, “someone give him a livelier version of what Charlie Rose once did. If you vow to measure the impact of your investment based on the quality of the journalism, not ratings or clicks, I’ll EP the first season.”
“Without a doubt,” wrote former Chicago Tribune editor Mark Jacob, who writes a newsletter on politics and the media, Hasan “has been one of the most incisive anchors on MSNBC. The cancellation of his show is an outrage — and yet another example of how major media are failing us.”
“They still have a Republican former congressman hosting a show for like six hours every morning though right?” snarked political strategist, writer, and former Media Maters executive vice president Jamison Foser.
“Wow,” exclaimed Max Burns, a Democratic strategist and columnist. Hasan “is easily one of the sharpest, toughest, best-researched interviewers working today. His back-and-forths with politicians both left and right should be models for how to do the job effectively. What a ridiculous decision.”
Burns continued, writing: “I look at bizarre news like this and think to myself, if this industry is tossing aside singular forces of journalism like Mehdi, what hope is there for anyone? Clearly doing the job well isn’t protection from corporate decisions.
Sherrilyn Ifill, the civil rights attorney, professor of law and former Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF), wrote that Hasan “has shown over and over again that he is so good at his craft. His is the journalistic rigor we need in this age of misinformation, lies, and wanna be celebrities masquerading as public servants. I cannot imagine not wanting to elevate his platform.”
“Oh no,” declared David Rothkopf, the foreign policy, national security and political affairs analyst and commentator, calling Hasan a “vital voice.”
“This is MSNBC’s loss. This is a cowardly move,” wrote conservative and former GOP congressman Joe Walsh, who said he and Hasan “disagree on plenty, especially with what’s happening in the Middle East. But Mehdi is an important and valuable voice. And he’s damn good at what he does. It’s so important that ALL viewpoints get heard. Bad move.”
In September Hasan “grilled” GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy. Watch that interview below or at this link.
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