Today's Blogs

Turning Brown Upside Down?

Bloggers react to the Supreme Court’s decision on school integration programs and mark the death of the Senate immigration bill.

Turning Brown upside down? With another 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court rejected race-based integration in Jefferson County, Ky., and Seattle. Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the decision, saying that “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” But bloggers are honing in on the concurrence written by moderate Justice Anthony Kennedy.

On the Supreme Court School Integration blog established by the NAACP, constitutional lawyer Samuel Bagenstos believes Justice Kennedy’s separate opinion will have more impact than the majority opinion: “It recognizes that school districts have a constitutionally permissible role in alleviating the effects of private discrimination—and that they may take account of race in doing so, so long as racial classifications of individual students are used only as a last resort.”

At SCOTUSblog, reporter Lyle Denniston analyzes Kennedy’s thought process: “What was fully on display on Thursday, amid a great deal of courtroom drama and soaring rhetoric, was the contest that is going on within the Court to influence Kennedy and his vote. And, in that contest, it can be argued that the Court’s liberal bloc – although it seems increasingly isolated on some of the bigger decisions – is having a substantial effect on reinforcing Kennedy’s instinct to keep staking out the middle.”

“The final thing worth noting about the opinion is that because Kennedy takes a position in between the plurality and the dissenters, his position may end up serving the same function as Justice Powell’s Bakke opinion did,” notes Jack Balkin at Balkinization. “It will set the boundaries of future debate about the scope of race conscious policies. … It’s good to be the Swing Justice.”

Brad Hamlett, guest-blogging for Not Very Bright, heralds the end of “reverse segregation,” arguing that such programs only reinforce discriminatory practices. “Both segregation and reverse segregation use the same means to achieve different ends, but the ends do not justify the means. … [We] are a sufficiently creative, intelligent society that we can develop a policy to promote diversity that doesn’t use reverse segregation.”

But Goldy at Horse’s Ass, a lefty outpost on Washington state politics, is concerned with the court’s direction: “Seattle is gradually becoming a segregated school district. Those on the right who cheer this decision, and who cheer their success at establishing a rigidly ideological majority on the bench that has no use for the doctrine of stare decisis and no respect for the wisdom of those justices who came before them, will be held politically accountable for the consequences of their agenda. Unfortunately, politics will come four years too late to save our nation from the Roberts Court.”

Read more about the today’s Supreme Court decisions. In Slate, Walter Dellinger, Dahlia Lithwick, and Stuart Taylor Jr. discuss  the case.

Amnesty denied: President Bush’s immigration bill died in the Senate Thursday after a cloture vote fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed to bring the bill to a vote. Bloggers, many of whom live-blogged the vote, see it as a victory for conservatives and a defeat for president Bush.

Ed Morrissey at conservative Captain’s Quarter immediately mocked a Senate-floor rant by Ted Kennedy: “Well, no one bloviates like Ted Kennedy. It’s more of what Durbin said, but just louder. However, I had to laugh when Kennedy said, ‘Year after year, we’ve had the broken borders.’Yes! Exactly! Let’s fix that before we start worrying about normalization! ‘This bill is strong; it’s fair and practical.’ It’s also about 20 hours old, and most of us haven’t had the opportunity to review it properly—including most of Kennedy’s colleagues.”  Jonah Golberg, on the National Review’s Corner, also dissected Kennedy rhetoric on the spot: “Senator Kennedy just shouted that the choice before the Senate on the immigration bill is between ‘voting for our hopes, or voting for our fears!’ … Fear is often quite reasonable.  I have a reasonable fear of alligators. Hopes, meanwhile, are often irrational and goofy. I hope eating lots of cashews will give me laser-vision and super-strength.”

Post-vote analysis commenced with Slate’s Mickey Kaus,who’s been flooding the zone with immigration coverage, writing: “Fifteen Dems vote against cloture, making it unclear if Senator Reid has achieved what seemed to be his unadvertised dream: A failed bill he could blame on the Republicans.” Pamela Gellar Oshry of Atlas Shruggs concludes simply: “The people have spoken.”

BorderReporter’s Michael Marizco, a freelance writer who covers immigration issues in Arizona, posits that the entire proceeding was a sham: “There’s no real interest in resolving immigration. The papers run the same, ‘Congress wrestles with immigration,’ story four times a year on average. Congress loves to pretend they control the memory-holes of information. Each time they run us through their circus, they pretend it’s the first time.” Cantiflas at The Daily Kos concurs, calling the bill inherently hypocritical: “My own feeling has been that we need to pass legislation for the right reasons. We have secretly welcomed the Mexicans and their families to work  in our country under a “wink wink” policy. … [The bill] didn’t address either the real needs of these families who come to our country nor set up an orderly system to manage the border in the future. Immigration reform will remain, like the alcoholic on the couch, a real problem we can’t have a real dialog about.”

And the ever-amusing Wonkette places the immigration bill in the “Department of I’ll-Be-Back,” warning that it’s not over yet: “The seemingly dead bill is just in the bathtub, about to burst out cackling (in Spanish) when Nancy Pelosi goes in there to seductively brush her hair.”

Read more on the death of the immigration bill.