Do you ever hear something that gets you thinking? It’s happened to me after hearing a presentation by Marcia Coyle, Washington Bureau Chief and Supreme Court correspondent for The National Law Review. She’s covered the Supreme Court for 25 years and written extensively about its decisions. Her stories were interesting and entertaining, but she made a couple of points that have me pondering.
Ms. Coyle’s opinion is that the decisions made by the court in the near future will have far reaching effect in that they will have more to do with social issues rather than with challenges to power as in recent cases concerning Obamacare and Arizona’s immigration law. A case in point is Fisher vs. University of Texas which has received national attention and certainly is a topic of conversation around these parts. The question, of course, involves affirmative action.
There is a case to be made for affirmative action when one considers the intent was to create diversity and take race out of the selection process. Has it worked? Ask different people and you’ll get different answers, but, obviously, Ms. Fisher felt that the University of Texas discriminated against her because of her race. Now she has challenged the university’s selection process and her case has landed in front of the Supreme Court, once again making race an issue of national concern.
How this case got to the Supreme Court is in itself amazing to me after hearing Ms. Doyle say that roughly 2% of submitted cases ever make it. So, I wonder, what makes the Fisher issue so special? And whatever decision the Court makes, will it be the right one? I suspect there will be ramifications no matter what because of the deep political division in this country. Some folks will say hooray while others will feel that politics played too big a part in the decision.
As for me, I have to continue thinking about affirmative action and whether or not it has run it’s course. My idealistic self believes that all of us should have the same opportunity regardless of color or sex provided the required standards are met. I know from personal experience, however, that is not always how it happens.
When it comes to social issues, I’m very glad not to be sitting on the Supreme Court. How about you?
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3 thoughts on “It’s Got Me Thinking”
I love that Alycia….!
Lulu, this is a very thought-provoking topic. I was prepared to respond to it, but after reading Alycia’s very well said response, I’ll just say, I agree with Alycia. Well done, Lulu and Alycia! laurie
In an ideal world, everyone would have a fair chance regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, weight, height, eye color….the list could go on and on. The unfortunate truth of it, however, is that prejudices exist at all levels for as many reasons as there are humans living on this earth. Sure, there are instances where common sense should win out (it would be unwise at best to have a blind person on the job as an air traffic controller or to hire a 15-year-old as a bartender), but for the most part arbitrary ticks should be shelved in favor of fairness. This country’s track record is less than admirable when it comes to playing fair, starting as far back as when the settlers first landed here. It is no secret that certain human groups have been cruelly subjugated and/or enslaved and endured more discriminatory practices than any human should. The aftermath of centuries of this conduct has not been pretty, and our nation still lags behind when it comes to human rights and common decency where the fair treatment of each member of its populace is concerned. (This despite our predilection for criticizing other nations about the treatment of their citizenry.) That being said, I don’t think that it is fair to ride on the coattails of injustice in a way that gives rise to and nurtures so-called “reverse discrimination.” Two wrongs don’t make a right. It’s time to get past the rhetoric, get past the finger-pointing and blame, get past the capricious imbalances that slope the playing field, and get past the victimization that in the end only serves to render us impotent. It’s time to stop the practice of pulling ourselves up by putting others down. (We saw a ton of this mess throughout election season!) It’s time to run our own race – whether it be in politics or life in general – and work to get ahead strictly based on our own merit borne of hard work and diligence. What Dr. King said about being judged not on the color of our skin (or whether or not we have a Y chromosome, or who our parents are, or how much is in our bank account), but on the content of our character needs to swing both ways. If you don’t make an earnest and honest effort to do the things necessary to get where you want to be in this life, you should not expect those things to be given to you. Likewise, if a person is doing all the right things and playing by the rules set forth by basic human rights, that person should be afforded every fair opportunity to move ahead without regard to their color, race, gender, etc. There will always be purveyors and patrons of the Seven Deadly Sins + 1 (prejudice), but turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to the ramifications will result in our ultimate downfall as a leader among nations. Idealistic thinking that we should all be able to EARN our place in life? Perhaps. Worth striving for as a world that yaps on about human rights to the point of even having an official Human Rights Council as a part of its inter-governmental structure? Damn skippy it is!