This week, Nancy Pelosi called on Congressional leadership to shed its halls of statues bearing likenesses to and honoring Confederates. Yet, for me, as a constitutional law scholar, the most troubling of the busts and statues at the Capitol is that of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney—who wrote that Blacks were “of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race.”
Living as a Black woman in Minneapolis and dealing with constant racist episodes, “I often felt as if I were in a strange sociological experiment,” writes Michele Goodwin—so much so that her biracial daughter did not feel comfortable returning to the city. “But this needn’t have been my family’s story. So how do we fix this?”
The briefing was stunning—not only for what the president conjectured to senior medical officials and media in attendance, but also for what it reveals about another crisis in the United States, namely a crisis in education in America. As comedians spoofed and memes mocked the president, the real tragedy resided not simply in his bizarre conjectures, but in a devaluing of education and science.
The path for Wisconsin voters was fraught by voter suppression, conservative organizations essentially lobbying the Wisconsin Supreme Court by letter (rather than the typical filing of briefs), and the failure of the United States Supreme Court to uphold civil liberties in a time of health crisis.
Containing the spread of COVID-19 and reducing the risk of its spread will not be achieved through pandering to xenophobia, racial stereotypes or weaponizing racism.
What June v. Gee will come down to is the integrity of our institutions.
The legacy of legislators and judges turning a blind eye to rape and sexual assault underscores why it matters who sits on our courts—and why the Senate must do better in vetting candidates and adopt a formal process to address sexual assault allegations.
Those who care about women’s health and rights should be concerned about Justice Kennedy’s retirement, but not for the reasons offered by pundits who frame his retirement as a grave loss on women’s issues.