Ever since it was revealed that Justice Sonia Sotomayor had once described herself as a "wise Latina," she has suffered the barbs of conservatives. The criticism ramped up this week after she offered an impassioned dissent in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, a rare 6–2 decision, upholding Michigan's ban on affirmative action.
The justices didn't take a position on the constitutionality of using minority status as a determinant in the college admission process, Talking Points Memo reported, but rather validated the state's right to prohibit it through voter initiative.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined in the dissent penned by Sotomayor, who also "took the rare step of reading her dissent at length from the bench Tuesday before a packed chamber."
In the dissent, Sotomayor warned judges, saying they "ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society."
In response, pundits lined up on Fox News and in other conservative news outlets to accuse her of being driven by "emotion"—code for being too much of a girl—and "overheated," with an "endless fixation on race."
It was as if they were asking, How dare a Hispanic woman bring her race or gender into a case that forever affects minority students, young people who can only dream of duplicating her remarkable life accomplishments?
The dissent, for those curious enough to read it, is emotional (as most humans are, unless they suffer from a disorder). It is also beautifully written, probing, and perfectly logical. It opposes the point of view of the majority of the court, expressing instead the point of view of many minorities in America.
To dismiss it for its "emotion" ignores the pain emotion is borne of.
It also forgets that the justice system is one of the most emotionally fraught areas of public life. It was emotional when, after 1954's Brown v. Board of Education decision, little Ruby Bridges was allowed to go to a desegregated school for the first time, a six-year-old flanked by federal agents. It was emotional when the Supreme Court affirmed a lower court ruling to declare the Montgomery bus system illegal, a major victory for Rosa Parks and African Americans who had boycotted the segregated mode of transport.
These are emotions worth having, and an American tradition of civil rights worth keeping alive.
In other news...
- American Doctors Killed: An Afghan police officer shot and killed three physicians visiting from the U.S. after they took a picture together in front of the hospital that specializes in treatment of child disabilities and women's health. The Taliban isn't claiming responsibility. Attacks on workers have been on the rise, and the fresh deaths raise concerns of instability as foreign forces withdraw. (via The New York Times)
- California Dreaming of Rain: Drought conditions have expanded in the Golden State this week, with the entire state now facing moderate to severe drought for the first time in 15 years. (via NBC News)
- Bloody Anniversary: It's been one year since the United Nations issued warnings that millions of Syrians were being endangered by the country's bloody civil conflict, and officials with the global organization say little has improved.
- Journalist Freed: Vice News reporter Simon Ostrovsky has been "safely released and is in good health," his employer announced Thursday morning.
- Net Neutrality: The Federal Communications Commission plans to propose rules that would give high-speed Internet providers a say in what content moves quickest in a sort of pay-to-play system in which a provider like ESPN.com or Facebook could give users a better video experience by paying off broadband providers. (via The Washington Post)
- Conspiracy Comrade: Russian President Vladimir Putin has mocked the Internet, calling it a "CIA project." (via The Associated Press)
The Daily Fix is your chance to act today to change tomorrow's headlines by taking action on the latest stories. Look for links to petitions, pledges, and other social actions embedded throughout these news items. Tweet your #TheDailyFix ideas to News Editor Shaya Tayefe Mohajer.