“Does the House Report say that? Of course, the House Report says that.”
There really is no point in gloating, fretting, or prognosticating about what we’ve heard from the Supreme Court this week. Indeed, even Justice Scalia—the Great Grumpus Cat of the Supreme Court—can still surprise, and when weighing his homophobia in a tax fight, it’s hard to figure which way he’ll go.
Still, though, Chief Justice John Roberts provided an interesting, tangential branch in the discussion that some have noted.
Ryan Grim summarizes, for Huffington Post:
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Wednesday reacted incredulously to the notion that members of the Senate or the U.S. president may have been motivated to pass the Defense of Marriage Act by animus or moral objection to gay and lesbian couples. It was a window into his apparent belief that the U.S. is simply not a place burdened by such things as bigotry or racism.
When I read about Roberts’ remarks, I thought of a conservative associate who has a similar argumentative style; it is almost as if history doesn’t exist. It is a problem in our public discourse. Two people who are reasonably educated about history can have a thoughtful discussion about historical issues; it’s not the same, though, if one has to spend the whole time reminding the other of what is actually in the historical record. Obviously, the Chief Justice isn’t the only one; listen to how many educated pundits and analysts can’t seem to think back to recent history.
“Why do conservatives always get the conservatives, but we don’t get to get liberals? What the hell is that all about?”
—Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have.
That lede, via the Associated Press, seems a product of fifty years ago, although one might rightfully doubt if such a story would make headlines around the world back then. Arguably not, since one of the extraordinary notions about the tale is that it comes from the here and now. Here? Well, obviously, America; in this case it’s Hammond, Louisiana. Now? October 15, 2009, by the time stamp.
And looking to Hammond, we find Don Elizey telling us the unfortunate news:
A justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple last week because of concern for the children who might be born of that relationship.
Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace for Tangipahoa Parish’s 8th Ward, also said it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.
“I’m not a racist,” Bardwell said. “I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my house. My main concern is for the children.”
Beth Humphrey, 30, said she and her boyfriend, Terence McKay, 32, both of Hammond, intend to consult the U.S. Justice Department about filing a discrimination complaint.
The story is true. One Keith Bardwell, explaining that he’s not a racist, acknowledged to Hammond Star that his concerns about biracial children compel him to refuse marriage licenses to couples of mixed ethnicity.
But, of course, he’s not racist.
How can he be? This is a post-racial America. Or is it?
An early barometer, of sorts ….
• Adam Liptak, for the New York Times:
Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s judicial opinions are marked by diligence, depth and unflashy competence. If they are not always a pleasure to read, they are usually models of modern judicial craftsmanship, which prizes careful attention to the facts in the record and a methodical application of layers of legal principles.
Judge Sotomayor, whom President Obama announced Tuesday as his choice for the Supreme Court, has issued no major decisions concerning abortion, the death penalty, gay rights or national security. In cases involving criminal defendants, employment discrimination and free speech, her rulings are more liberal than not.
But they reveal no larger vision, seldom appeal to history and consistently avoid quotable language. Judge Sotomayor’s decisions are, instead, almost always technical, incremental and exhaustive, considering all of the relevant precedents and supporting even completely uncontroversial propositions with elaborate footnotes.
• Brian Dickerson, for the Detroit Free Press tells us all about Sonia Sotomayor, Princeton University residential adviser.
• Howard Kurtz, of the Washington Post, on the spin war.
• Daphne Eviatar and the Washington Independent strike back against early GOP rabble-rousing.
• Politico has broad early coverage, including Josh Gerstein and Eamon Javers projecting the political battle, Ben Smith and Josh Kraushaar on the politics of the pick, and Jeanne Cummings on GOP tousling over opposition strategies.
• Emily Bazelon discusses Sotomayor’s mysterious Ricci ruling—sure to be a focus of the confirmation politics—at Slate.
• The Hill offers up what are apparently the first round of RNC talking points.
• And then there’s Gawker with the yearbook photo, quote, and expectations of a requisite uproar.