Vol. 8    No. 13
JUNE 27, 2013

The Capital City Hues
(608) 241-2000

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Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Rita Adair, Ike Anyanike, Paul
Barrows, Alfonso Zepeda
Capistran, Theola Carter, Fabu,
Andrew Gramling, Lang Kenneth
Haynes, Rebecca Her, Heidi
Pascual,  & Martinez White
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                          Image, Not Substance
It’s been a heck of a week watching the U.S. Supreme Court hand down decision after decision that impact
the lives of millions of Americans. And it’s been a mixed-bag of decisions that in my most cynical frame of
mind seeks to create long-term policies that will eventually help bolster the conservative grip on this country’
s decision-making bodies. Oops, I’m sorry. The Supreme Court is supposed to be composed of nine justices
who strictly interpret the U.S. Constitution and apply that to state and federal governmental bodies.

Many of us were delighted by the Supreme Court decision in the Fisher vs. the University of Texas case that
concerned the university’s use of race as one criterion in its admissions policies. This case was a challenge
to affirmative action and most civil rights activists feared that the Supreme Court would end affirmative action
as we know it.

Well, the Supreme Court sent it down to a lower court for further review. We all breathed a sigh of relief until
we saw that another case challenging the University of Michigan’s affirmative action policies will be coming
up on the Supreme Court docket right about the time that the Texas case will reappear on the docket. I can’t
help but feel that the Supreme Court will take these two cases up together and then stick a legal spear into
the heart of affirmative action. The five-member majority including Justice Clarence Thomas, ironically an
affirmative action beneficiary, are waiting for the moment to kill affirmative action in a kind of Shakespearean

Then the Supreme Court gave a huge boost to the proponents of same-sex marriage when it struck down
DOMA, the federal Defense of Marriage Act that basically denied fringe benefits to the partners in a same-
sex marriage. Regardless of one’s views of same-sex marriage — I believe government needs to stay out of
folks’ bedrooms and stay alert for those who are a threat to our society — DOMA was an affront to the
equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution because it denied benefits to a class of individuals whose
marriages were in accordance with the laws of a state government, which the U.S. Constitution recognizes
as the lawful decision-maker in this area.

While this ruling was condemned by many conservatives, it is ironic that eventually it is probably
conservatives who will benefit from this ruling. I would venture to guess that there are LGBT individuals who
may be fiscally conservative who nonetheless have been supportive of Democratic candidates because
they fear the intentions of social conservatives and their track record as it relates to gay rights. Once gay
rights issues are removed through decisions like this Supreme Court decision, it would make it easier for gay
fiscal conservatives to vote for conservative candidates because the threat to their civil rights will no longer
be there even if the conservative candidate may personally be opposed to gay rights. So on some cynical
level, the Supreme Court made this decision in the advancement of conservativism as much as it did for the
civil rights of people who are gay. Nonetheless, it is the right decision.

And then we had the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the civil rights law that was
brought about by Bloody Sunday and the Selma to Montgomery march. While the Supreme Court didn’t strike
down the law per se, it struck down its important Clause 4, which required certain states and municipalities
with proven tendencies to deny African Americans and others their voting rights through the poll tax and
other insidious measures, to get preapproval from the U.S. Justice Department or the federal court in
Washington, D.C. before they could change their voting laws and procedures. In a 5-4 ruling, the usual
suspect Supreme Court justices struck down this clause, which effectively removes the enforcement teeth
of the act.

Not so long ago, by overwhelming majorities, Congress voted to extend the act another 25 years. In the face
of new laws being passed to deny people the right to vote i.e. voter id, the elimination of same day voter
registration and so on that disproportionately affect people of color, particularly African American, here is
Justice John Roberts, three other Euro-American make justices and Clarence Thomas — who seems intent
to prove that he is today where he is solely on his own merits without the aid of affirmative action —
declaring that discrimination in voting is over.

How out of touch are these people? Here the Congress, the body elected by the American people and the
President, also elected by the American people, declared by passing this law that discriminatory practices
and the forces that bring them into law are still present in American society and so people of minority status
need the protection of the law as stated by the U.S. Constitution. And then these five men who have been
appointed and do not experience life like most Americans, especially African Americans, put their finger in
the air and declare that voting discrimination is over. What a pompous, out-of-touch with reality decision.

But it should help reinforce the conservative grip on our governmental bodies. Oops, I’m sorry. The Supreme
Court is supposed to be composed of nine justices who strictly interpret the U.S. Constitution. Oh cynical me!