The Supreme Court struck down abortion restrictions in Texas on Monday morning, with a 5-3 decision in the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. As activists celebrated, Dahlia Lithwick pondered the fact that it was Stephen Breyer, not one of the court’s three female justices, who wrote the “academic, abstract” majority opinion. “This isn’t just a women’s case about women’s rights and women’s health,” Lithwick points out. “It’s a case about pretextual laws that could have caused untold damage and about the constitutionally protected right to choose, which has been bolstered by a majority of the Supreme Court that includes two men.”
Meanwhile, Jeff Chang writes about the Court’s decision last week in Fisher vs. University of Texas II, finding the victory for the university’s particular approach to affirmative action to be somewhat less cheering than it might seem. Texas’ use of a “Ten Percent Plan” allows students from poorly-performing schools better access to top-quality public higher education. “Because school segregation tracks closely to economic inequality, the top 10 percent plans account for disparities in class, as well as race,” Chang acknowledges. “But they do so with an ‘OK, we give up’ kind of cynicism,” taking school inequality as a given.
In the next few decades, zoos should shift their tactics, displaying fewer charismatic megafauna from far-flung ecologies and more endangered local animals, argues Matt Soniak: “Rather than housing exotic animals that require habitat that far exceed what a zoo can reasonably offer, zoos should be converted into conservation centers equipped to help local struggling species find their footing again.” (But will people pay as handsomely to visit a zoo devoid of lions? Slate commenters are skeptical.)
In The New Republic, journalist Suki Kim describes her experience going undercover to write a book about North Korea’s elite, only to have it categorized as a “memoir” and then criticized for its methods. “As an Asian female, I find that people rarely assume I’m an investigative journalist; even after I tell them, they often forget,” Kim writes.
Willa Paskin enjoyed Sunday night’s Game of Thrones Season 6 finale, which represented a big departure from the show’s trademark bleak nihilism, immensely. “For all that the show has avoided certain kinds of narrative fulfillment, it is a story, and stories have to end,” Paskin writes. “In its season finale, Game of Thrones finally became the show it has tried not to be: the one that gives its audience what it wants.”
For fun: Browse F. Scott Fitzgerald’s scrapbooks, newly online via the Princeton University Digital Library.
Valentines and locks of hair,