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Columns and Articles by Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman

July 07, 2023

Race-Based Affirmative Action

The Supreme Court Conservative majority has once more overturned previous set law in its latest decisions. They seem set to take things away from people, behavior at odds with popular concerns and at odds with all of these justices declaring at their Senate hearings that they believed in leaving set law alone.

It is becoming clearer every day that the older Republican party was much less ideological than today. Once, the majority of Court decisions were made by either unanimous or 7 to 2, and Congress and Senate could usually vote in a bipartisan manner. No longer.

One year ago, the country was roiled by the reversal of the Roe v. Wade rule almost 50 years ago that gave women the right to control their own bodies (with a few exceptions), which included ending a troubled pregnancy. The Court returned this issue to the discretion of the states, a number of which have gerrymandered the voting to disadvantage urban voters, largely Democrats, people of color, and the most educated.

The Court weighed in on the gerrymandering, to everyone?s surprise, but has issued two other rulings that take away long cherished benefits rather than expand benefits as former courts did.
They put a stop to universities trying to consider race in their admissions processes. When Affirmative Action is revoked, Black students drop off 10 percent.

Our country has been trying to remedy a situation that our predecessors has created in keeping Black citizens from succeeding. Red-lined real estate, pogroms against successful Black communities, inferior schools, diets, and health care, have kept all but the most dogged (and most talented) from breaking through. The Affirmative Action programs, though not perfect, have really made a difference. We now see many distinguished and educated Black men and women in positions of leadership and power.

University admissions programs have a checkered history. In the past, they were used to keep out woman (until courts intervened), and then had "gentlemen?s agreements" to keep out qualified Jews, until we finally had a Jewish Justice on the Supreme Court. Keeping out Blacks was automatic, with very few exceptions. Even military rules kept qualified Black soldiers from officers? schools, until the courts and President Truman intervened.

In the past, universities worried about having student populations too stacked with Jews or Asians (mostly Chinese), and they reversed affirmative action. The Asian and White students often felt disadvantaged by race, their race, while another race (Black students) were admitted. The Conservative Court accepted this concern, claiming falsely that there is no longer an issue of correcting racism. Today?s Court is not going to make American life better. It deprives, benefitting only a moneyed minority.

Another decision was to veto President Biden?s presidential order to cancel student debt, very much against popular majority will. Congress will have to address this when the majority of Republicans is voted out, as they must be in the next election.

This court also has a majority concerned with religious liberty, although religion is a voluntary thing not protected under the law. If a pious worker wants his religion respected so that he does not have to work on Sunday or wants time for prayer each day, the Court supports him. And if a web designer wants to refuse their services to a Gay couple wanting marriage announcements, the Court says religion is more important than equality.

The Courts is taking up gun laws, revoking removing guns from abusive husbands. This is another blow to women. And they are not stopping red states from allowing concealed carry for anybody, no permit required. Safer streets? How much National Rifle Association money buys Republicans?

Remember these gems from the past:
Job announcement: No Irish need apply.
Hotel clerk: We do not admit guests of the "Hebrew persuasion" (Jews).
Country club postings: No Jews, Mexicans, or dogs permitted.
Restaurants: No Coloreds allowed.
Women: The fetus is more important than the live woman.

Are we going to return to those good old days? Thank the Supreme Court and Republican fanatics. Term limits and ethics rules for all.

Vote, and we can fix this.

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Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of "How Do You Know That? Contact her at Lfarhat102@gmail.com or www.globalthink.net.