Activist Judge Scalia: No Such thing As Gender or Sex Discrimination Protected by 14th Amendment

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said in a recently published interview that the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment does not prohibit discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation.

“Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex,” Scalia told California Lawyer. “The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t. Nobody ever thought that that’s what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws.” (He voiced a similar opinion in a speech in September.)

Marcia Greenberger, founder and co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, told the Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel that the comments are shocking. “In these comments, Justice Scalia says if Congress wants to protect laws that prohibit sex discrimination, that’s up to them,” she said. “But what if they want to pass laws that discriminate? Then he says that there’s nothing the court will do to protect women from government-sanctioned discrimination against them.”

The equal protection clause states: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in 1971 that the clause protected women from discrimination.

Liz Goodwin

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Activist Judge Scalia: No Such thing As Gender or Sex Discrimination Protected by 14th Amendment

Judging Judge Keith Bardwell

The face of Justice?

“I’m not a racist….They come to my house….they use my bathroom…”

By AFRO Staff

(October 18, 2009) – A Louisiana couple is outraged at a local official’s decision to deny them a marriage license because their relationship is interracial.

Hammond, La. residents Beth Humphrey, a White woman, and her fiancé Terence McKay, a Black man, were denied a marriage license by local justice of the peace Keith Bardwell in early October. Bardwell said his decision was based on concern for the welfare of children the couple may have.

After learning of Bardwell’s decision, Humphrey contacted local and national media.

“We are used to the closet racism, but we’re not going to tolerate that overt racism from an elected official,” she told CNN.

Bardwell is a justice of peace for Tangipahoa Parish’s 8th Ward and has served in the position for 34 years. His is scheduled to hold the office until 2014.

“There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage,” Bardwell said. “I think those children suffer, and I won’t help put them through it.”

“I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way,” Bardwell told AP. “I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else.”

U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said Bardwell’s practices and comments were deeply disturbing.

“Not only does his decision directly contradict Supreme Court rulings, it is an example of the ugly bigotry that divided our country for too long,” Landrieu said.

According to The New York Times, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has joined civil rights groups and others in calling for Bardwell’s resignation.

Tangipahoa Parish President Gordon Burgess said in a statement that Bardwell’s views were not consistent with his or those of the local government. But as an elected official, Bardwell was not under the supervision of the parish government, The Associated Press reported.

“However, I am certainly very disappointed that anyone representing the people of Tangipahoa Parish, particularly an elected official, would take such a divisive stand,” Burgess said in an e-mail. “I would hope that Mr. Bardwell would consider offering his resignation if he is unable to serve all of the people of his district and our parish.”

Although the couple is distraught by Bardwell’s decision, they said they realize that his views are not shared by most of the community.

“He’s not representing all the people that he is supposed to be representing,” Humphrey told CNN. “He’s only representing the people with his same opinions.”

Humphrey and McKay were later married by another justice of the peace in the same parish. Humphrey said she believes the incident occurred for a reason.

“I just think that God puts you in the right positions at the right time in order to stand up to people who choose to live their lives with hate,” she said.

According to CNN, Bardwell told a local Louisiana newspaper that in his experience, most interracial marriages don’t last. He said he always asks if a couple is interracial and, if they are, refers them to another justice of the peace. Bardwell said no one had complained in the past.

The number of interracial marriages has skyrocketed nationwide, nearly quadrupling between 1970 and 2005, the most recent year for which there is U.S. Census data. As of 2005, nearly 8.5 million Americans are living in “mixed marriages,” according to CNN.

According to the AP, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Judiciary Commission said investigations of the incident are confidential for now. However, if the commission recommends action to the Louisiana Supreme Court, that information would become public.

Judging Judge Keith Bardwell

Swine Flu, Mexico and Nomenclature

Swine Flu sans “the Mexican”: Linguistic Transmutations of the H1N1 Virus

The perpetually challenged Paris Hilton was asked today if she was worried that the swine flu was killing so many people in Mexico. Her reply was, “No. I don’t eat that.” Unremarkable in every sense of the word. But then the Israeli deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman today insisted, “The outbreak of swine flu should be renamed ‘Mexican’ influenza in deference to Muslim and Jewish sensitivities over pork…”. Remarkable, in every sense.

Swine Flu, Mexico and Nomenclature

The Truth About Reagan, Race and The GOP

from John Ehrenfeld

The Truth About Reagan, Race and The GOP

The GOP’s difficulties attracting minority voters to their camp today is in large part rooted in the anti-minority policies espoused by Ronald Reagan.

Oscar Eason, Jr., former president of the Seattle branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People says,

“During Reagan’s administration, the issues and concerns of the Dixiecrats became principally those of the Republican Party. It was precisely at this juncture that the Republican Party ceased being the Party of Lincoln and evolved into what it is today to the vast majority of black America, almost racially exclusive and dedicated to protecting and maintaining the status quo”.

Yet, it’s commonplace for the GOP presidential candidates to be in a perpetual state of reverential delirium, knocking each other over while frenetically stampeding to prostrate themselves drooling at the alter of Ronald Reagan. Each one claims to be the sole and rightful heir to the hallowed throne of the Gipper, the keeper of the conservative holy grail.

As each day goes by, the political canonization of Ronald Reagan becomes more indelibly etched into American political folklore. It has taken on an ethereal life of it’s own and has become one of the most reprehensible mischaracterizations and public relations scams in history. What’s particularly disturbing is not that the reactionary right embraces him as the second coming, to be expected, but that some Democrats and the media have also been sucked into buying the hallucinatory propaganda about Reagan as well. Oh, how nostalgic we are, he was just a harmless nice man who made everyone in the country feel good. Well, not everyone.

As the symbolic backbone of the extreme right-wing in this country and the guiding voice behind the GOP platform today, it’s important that the truth about Ronald Regan’s legacy be continually exposed and never forgotten. Regan was arguably the worst President in US history and one could legitimately point to a myriad of issues to prove this. A failed Middle East policy, extreme hostility towards labor unions, disdain for OSHA and the EPA, opposition to social programs for the poor, large federal budget deficits, support for brutal right-wing dictatorships, support for the racist regime in South Africa and of course, the Iran-Contra scandal.

Yet nothing speaks more succinctly to his failures than Reagan’s policies on race. When today’s GOP lauds Ronald Reagan, African-Americans should know what that legacy means and what the repercussions are in today’s world.

The Citizens Commission on Civil Rights said,

“Ronald Reagan caused an across-the-board breakdown in the machinery constructed by six previous administrations to protect civil rights.”

Many call Reagan a racist. Was he? I don’t know. But did he enable racist ideology in the United States? Absolutely. His actions spoke clearly to that point.

Symbolic moments in time tend to mean something in American politics. August 4th, 1964 was one of those times, the infamous day when the bodies of three murdered civil rights workers were found in Philadelphia, Mississippi. (The story was told in the Alan Parker film, “Mississippi Burning”). Sixteen years later, almost to the day, on August 3rd 1980, Ronald Reagan purposefully decided to deliver the first speech of his Presidential campaign in of all places, Philadelphia Mississippi. That Ronald Reagan would choose such a location to jump-start his campaign for President speaks volumes. There in his speech, he would embrace and endorse the treasured bible of the racist South, states rights.

Reagan’s presidency was an unmitigated disaster for minorities and that legacy plies it’s evil trade even today. The record is crystal clear and unambiguous.

1. Reagan strongly opposed passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the law that barred segregation in public facilities and discrimination in education and hiring.

2. In 1981 Reagan attempted to reverse a policy denying tax-exempt status to private schools that practice racial discrimination and sought to grant an exemption to Bob Jones University. This despite the school’s racist ban on interracial dating.

3. Reagan actively opposed passage of the Open Housing Act, a measure to end discrimination in housing.

4. As President, Reagan cut funding for civil rights enforcement.

5. William Bradford Reynolds, Reagan’s Assistant Attorney general for civil rights stated that the administration would no longer use goals and timetables to help eradicate racial discrimination and sought to make illegal voluntary affirmative action programs.

6. Clarence Pendleton, a divisive Black conservative, was appointed chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

7. Reagan pushed through a cut in federal taxes but balanced those cuts on the backs of the poor, slicing nearly $50 billion from the budget the first year.

8. Reagan cut social spending drastically, disproportionately effecting minority communities..

9. Reagan opposed race-based preferences at a time when minoritys were struggling to break free from the shackles of poverty and institutionalized racism..

10. Reagan attempted to fire Mary Frances Berry, the head of the Civil Rights Commission. She supported race-based preferences which Reagan opposed.

11. After taking office in 1981, Reagan began a sustained attack on the government’s civil rights apparatus, opened an assault on affirmative action and social welfare programs,

12. Reagan waged war on the small, Black Caribbean nation of Grenada which was no threat at all to the United States.

13. During his presidency, Reagan fired members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights who criticized his civil rights policies, including his strong opposition to affirmative action programs.

14. Reagan attempted to limit and gut the Voting Rights Act

15. Reagan slashed programs like the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act that provided assistance to many African Americans.

16. Reagan supported the apartheid government in South Africa and labeled Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress a notorious terrorist organization. In 1981, Reagan said he was loyal to the South African regime because it was “a country that has stood by us in every war we’ve ever fought, a country that, strategically, is essential to the free world in its production of minerals.”

African American leaders and organizations pressured Congress to take action and ultimately it passed sanctions against South Africa. Reagan vetoed the bill. But Congress overrode the veto.

17. Reagan also attempted to limit and gut the Voting Rights Act and he slashed important programs like the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act that provided assistance to many African Americans.

On election day 2008 remember. This country cannot afford another Ronald Reagan.

Note: Factual information contained in this post was obtained from multiple sources including:

MSNBC

Pacifica Radio

Time Magazine

Democracy Now

The Truth About Reagan, Race and The GOP

Subaltern Citizenship: Mexican American U.S. Citizen Illegally Deported to Mexico

A Mexican American man who is a U.S. citizen illegally deported to Mexico? Yes, it’s true and the story speaks to subaltern forms of citizenship that make its conferral seemingly meaningless for the ethnically marked body of the Chicano. The LA Times call this a case of “mistaken deportation.” Surreal.

From ACLU site

U.S. Citizen Illegally Deported From Jail Is Missing in Mexico
ACLU and Law Firm Seek Federal Help to Find Developmentally Disabled Man

Monday, June 11, 2007 printer version

LOS ANGELES — Federal immigration officers and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department illegally deported a U.S. citizen last month, the ACLU/SC has learned. He is missing in Mexico, and today the ACLU/SC and the law firm of Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court seeking his safe return.

Pedro Guzman, 29, was born in Los Angeles and raised in Lancaster, California. He was serving time at Men’s Central Jail for trespassing, a misdemeanor offense, when he was deported to Tijuana May 10 or 11. Mr. Guzman is developmentally disabled, does not read or write English well, and knows no one in Tijuana. He declared at his booking that he was born in California.

He spoke to his sister-in-law by telephone from a shelter in Tijuana within a day of his deportation, but the call was interrupted. Family members traveled to the city in an attempt to find him and have remained there, searching shelters, jails, churches, hospitals, and morgues.

There are no circumstances under which government officials may deport a U.S. citizen. Federal officials have refused requests by family members and a private lawyer to assist in the search for Mr. Guzman.

“This is a recurring nightmare for every person of color of immigrant roots,” said ACLU/SC legal director Mark Rosenbaum. “Local jail officials and federal immigration officers deported the undeportable, a United States citizen, based on appearance, prejudice, and reckless failure to apply fair legal procedures.”

“What has happened to Pedro Guzman is a tragedy,” said Stacy Tolchin of Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale. “His life may be in danger, and the government must act immediately to locate him and return him to the United States.”

Jail and Department of Homeland Security officials failed to identify Mr. Guzman’s disability and improperly obtained his signature for deportation from the United States. “The procedures for determination of legal status implemented by Los Angeles County deputy sheriffs … fail even minimal criteria for constitutional due process,” the lawsuit states.

Sheriff’s deputies trained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement conduct immigration checks at L.A. County jails. The ACLU and immigrant-rights groups warned that involving local law enforcement in immigration policing would lead to mistaken deportations and violate the due-process rights of inmates.

Anyone with information about Mr. Guzman can call the ACLU/SC at (213) 977-9500.

Subaltern Citizenship: Mexican American U.S. Citizen Illegally Deported to Mexico

The Jena Six

The Jena Six

I reproduce Vox Ex Machina’s fine essay below:

Looking for Justice in Jena, La.

Jena, La., has taken a leaf from the book of Paris, Tex. In yet another case, black teenagers have been arrested in a case of teens being teens. In yet another case, white teens were not given the same treatment.

White students at a local high school hung nooses from a tree when black students began sitting under it; it had traditionally been a tree used for shade by white students. They weren’t punished for it. When black students protested, the local D.A. told them that he could “make (their) lives disappear with a stroke of (his) pen.”

Fights broke out between the students. No white student was ever punished.

In the first weekend of December, a Black student was assaulted by a group of white students, and a white graduate of Jena High School threatened several Black students with a shotgun. The following Monday, white students taunted the Black student who was assaulted over the weekend, and one of the white students was beaten up.

Within hours, six Black students were arrested. “I think the district attorney is pinning it on us to make an example of us,” said Purvis. “In Jena, people get accused of things they didn’t do a lot.”

Soon after, their parents discovered that these students were facing attempted murder charges. “The courtroom, the whole back side, was filled with police officers,” Tina Jones, Bryant’s mother, recalls. “I guess they thought maybe when they announced what the charges were, we were gonna go berserk or something.” [Full story]

The students face charges on conspiracy to commit murder as well, and face up to 100 years in prison. For a high school fight. Because administrators didn’t take action against the racists who hung nooses from a tree, or against white students harassing and starting fights with black students for months.

This is why schools need to shut down bullying. And this is exactly why they won’t. Why stop bullying when it’s against students of color? Who cares if bullying causes the next Seung Cho, or Jeffrey Weise, or Kenneth Eng, or Jena Six?

After Columbine, there were anti-bullying initiatives, people speaking out, shouting out against bullying, against those poor boys who were so tortured that they had to shoot people. After Virginia Tech, have people spoken about the bullies Seung Cho faced? Not much. One mainstream article talked about it, but most have focused on his mental illness, his immigration status, his perceived motivations, how weird students at Virginia Tech found him, his plays.

Bullying leads to violence. Bullying leads to hatred. Bullying leads to fighting, and protests.

But when it comes to students of color, instead of cracking down on bullying, school administrators let it go. And then they call in police to interrogate 12-year-old girls or to arrest six black students, because the precious white bullies couldn’t be at fault. They’re white (or they’re popular, or they’re Christian … but mostly they’re white).

And then you have people like the Jena Six, who defend themselves from violence and get arrested for it, or Kenneth Eng, spewing hatred and laughing at violence, or like Jeffrey Weise or Seung Cho, who snap and take out as many as they can.

And then come the excuses.

Why don’t we try something new this time? How about the mainstream media, and the mainstream bloggers, and the mainstream protesters and legislators and law enforcement … how about you all WAKE UP?

Because your system is broken beyond belief, and it’s time you all started noticing that.

The Jena Six

Black Bodies and Unequal Justice in Jena, La.

“The tree was on the side of the campus that, by long-standing tradition, had always been claimed by white students, who make up more than 80 percent of the 460 students. But a few of the school’s 85 black students had decided to challenge the accepted state of things and asked school administrators whether they, too, could sit in the tree’s shade.”

That “black students” have to ask where they can sit for shade is disturbingly reminiscent of Jim Crow era racist practices and laws meant to deprive Blacks of their civil rights through institutional and quotidian obeisance to whites. Is deep south Louisiana still in the murky waters of uncivilized race-hatred? Yes.

” ‘Sit wherever you want,’ school officials told them. The next day, the nooses were hanging from the branches.”

And then a past of ignorance and racism emerged untouched by reason or state protection…

See Howard Witt’s story “Racial demons rear heads” in Chicago Tribune.

Black Bodies and Unequal Justice in Jena, La.

Lou Dobbs on the "Infirm" Latino Body

Lou Dobbs’ source on Mexican immigration issues and the politics of scientific rigor (mortis).

From Southern Poverty Law Center:

Dobbs said he stands “100 percent behind” his show’s claim that there had been 7,000 new cases of leprosy in the United States over a recent three-year period, and he further suggested that an increase in leprosy was due in part to “unscreened illegal immigrants coming into this country.”

Dobbs’ endorsement of the claim came after CBS correspondent Lesley Stahl challenged the leprosy figure during a profile of Dobbs on “60 Minutes” this past Sunday. Stahl cited a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services document that reported 7,029 cases over the past 30 years — not three.

The dispute highlights the SPLC’s concern that Dobbs and some others in the media are regularly using discredited and inaccurate information about immigrants — material that often originates with far-right ideologues and organizations dominated by white supremacists and nativists.

Dobbs and CNN reporter Christine Romans said they had gotten the information from the late Madeleine Cosman, who was described by Romans as “a respected medical lawyer” – but who, in fact, was a woman who repeatedly ranted about Latino men raping boys, girls and nuns.

Lou Dobbs on the "Infirm" Latino Body

University of Rhode Island Senate Admonishes College Republicans for "White Heterosexual American Male" Scholarship

Unidentified URI College Republicans and “White Heterosexual American Male” Scholarship Team Members (from URI CR site)

Senate punishes College Republicans for fraudulent WHAM scholarship ad

by Andy Blais

03/15/07 – The University of Rhode Island Student Senate denied the appeal of the College Republicans over a controversial scholarship at last night’s meeting.

The senate, along with College Republican Chairman Ryan Bilodeau, debated whether the “White Heterosexual American Male” scholarship violated the senate bylaws, which prohibit discrimination by any member group. However, the club never granted the scholarship to an applicant.

The Student Organization Advisory and Review Committee, chaired by Matt Yates, handed two punishments to the group. The first required the College Republicans to write a letter of apology to be printed in the Cigar.

The second requires the student group to have all of its activities approved by SOARC until February 2008.

The senate debated whether the scholarship, sponsored by the College Republicans, was protected by free speech or if it was in direct violation of the senate’s bylaws.

“Nowhere at that time was there any mention of it being political satire,” Yates said, referencing the first meeting his committee had with the College Republicans.

The senate also discussed the legality of false advertising and if the College Republicans had violated the law.

“The First Amendment does not in any way protect a group from committing fraud,” senator Jesse Whitsitt-Lynch said.

The senate also questioned the College Republicans if it had known it would never distribute the scholarship. Bilodeau said that the group knew from the beginning that it would not be handing out the scholarship.

Bilodeau agreed with the senate that he and his group were “ambiguous” in their advertisement, but stopped short of calling the advertisements a mistake.

He also didn’t agree with the letter of apology SOARC wanted the College Republicans to write. He claimed it was against the First Amendment, which grants free speech.

“We are sorry we are racist, bigot, homophobes, that’s basically what we’re asked to write forced speech is illegal,” Bilodeau told the senate.

In the end, however, the senate disagreed with Bilodeau. It voted by a two-thirds majority to uphold the punishment prescribed by SOARC.

The issue started in November during the University of Rhode Island College Republicans “Coming out Conservative” Week. During the week, it offered the WHAM scholarship to students willing to apply in the Memorial Union.

The College Republicans said the scholarship was meant to point out its disagreement with affirmative action.

On Nov. 29, the Cigar published a letter to the editor by Nicole Gunderson, who asked the senate to investigate the College Republicans. Gunderson accused the group of not following the student senate’s bylaws.

SOARC began hearings Feb. 5 that were held twice for both the committee and College Republicans to hear both sides and investigate the issue.

After SOARC made a decision on Feb. 19, the College Republicans appealed to the senate moderator, Vice President Rosie Mean, and was heard last night in front of the full senate.

University of Rhode Island Senate Admonishes College Republicans for "White Heterosexual American Male" Scholarship

L.A.’s Academia Semillas del Pueblo School Attacked by Radio Rants

Los Angeles Times, L.A. charter school sues radio station. Academia Semillas del Pueblo claims a talk-show host made slanderous remarks that led to security risks.

By Tami Abdollah and Howard Blume, Times Staff Writers
April 19, 2007

A year-long feud between a talk radio personality and an L.A. charter school is ending up in an unusual court case.

School administrators filed a lawsuit this week against KABC-AM (790) and Doug McIntyre, alleging the host of “McIntyre in the Morning” targeted the school in a slanderous, racially motivated campaign last summer that resulted in a bomb threat to the school and ongoing security risks.

Academia Semillas del Pueblo and Marcos Aguilar, the El Sereno school’s co-director, claim McIntyre “targeted the school for destruction because the children were Latino, the teachers were Latino, the principal director was Latino,” according to the suit.

About 92% of the school’s 327 students are Latino.

The school was founded in 2002 with the mission of “providing urban children of immigrant families an excellent education founded upon native and maternal languages, cultural values and global realities,” with teaching primarily in Spanish.

It became a focus of controversy last year when McIntyre accused the school of pursuing a racist, separatist and dangerously revolutionary agenda. The allegations were looked into by Los Angeles Unified School District officials. They found nothing politically worrisome, but they did have serious concerns about the school’s low test scores, which were a secondary focus for McIntyre.

The conflict between KABC and the school first made headlines last year.

Last June, a man tried to run down a KABC radio reporter who was outside the campus interviewing parents. The suspect was arrested on assault charges. School backers insist the incident had nothing to do with them.

KABC spokesman Steve Sheldon said the station would not comment on the lawsuit.

McIntyre has worked for KABC for about five years. His morning talk show, which is from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., has been on the air for roughly two years and is advertised as offering a “balanced look at the day’s hot topics with a healthy dose of humor that keeps listeners coming back for more.”

Talk radio hosts have long taken advantage of 1st Amendment free speech protections that give them broad latitude. The suit alleges, however, that McIntyre is guilty of civil rights violations for inciting others to harm the school and its students, as well as slander.

According to the court filing, McIntyre made a number of false statements, including: “His [Aguilar’s] job is to keep his school, his madrasa school, open so they can train the next generation of Aztec revolutionaries. Again, I want to make sure that we emphasize this: This school should close.”

The lawsuit also quotes McIntyre as allegedly saying: “Aztecs butchered and ate Spanish invaders. I wonder if they’re teaching that at ASDP.”

KABC would neither confirm nor deny whether McIntyre made those statements.

As a result of McIntyre’s comments, the school has had to hire security guards, adding tens of thousands of dollars to its operating costs, Aguilar said.

The lawsuit follows the firing of radio host Don Imus last week over a racist and sexist remark, which set off a large-scale debate over whether some talk-show hosts go too far.

“Shock jocks” are not new, said Marty Kaplan of USC’s Annenberg School for Communication. “The more they could make your jaw drop … the more their ratings went up — it has since become a standard genre.”

L.A.’s Academia Semillas del Pueblo School Attacked by Radio Rants