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Web Letter

The key problem here lies in this sentence: "What is new is the Roberts Court's comprehensive and direct assault on Brown's insistence that race-conscious discrimination requires race-conscious remedies."

In fact, the perceived segregation of our public schools is not at all "race-conscious" but rather an artifact of two things: (a) state assignment of children to schools is based mostly on where you live, and (b) people tend to live near people with similar socioeconomic status. Social clustering by race, all voluntary and the result of individual choices, results in social clustering at school.

As far as Brown goes, in 1989's Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co. Justice Scalia remarked in his concurring opinion:

While thus permitting the use of race to declassify racially classified students, teachers, and educational resources, however, we have also made it clear that the remedial power extends no further than the scope of the continuing constitutional violation. And it is implicit in our cases that after the dual school system has been completely disestablished, the States may no longer assign students by race.

It should be obvious that the "dual school system" is no longer such. What we have, instead, are liberals worried that communities have not sufficiently blended on their own, according to their view of things, and are just looking for a way to compel it.

Chris Burns

Austin, TX

Jul 26 2007 - 7:09pm

Web Letter

I have never been able to understand why people cannot see how affirmative action is directly self-contradictory. You don't solve racial discrimination with racial discrimination, and thinking that it does is simply ridiculous. It doesn't matter if you call it "positive" discrimination because all discrimination has positive and negative sides to it. There is no difference between white preferential treatment with minorities losing potential, and minority preferential treatment with whites losing potential. Either way, it is racial discrimination with people who are losing opportunities they deserve.

The only thing that solves racial discrimination is removing as much of it as possible and a healthy dose of time. Imposing institutional racism if anything creates more problems.

Edward Townes

New York, NY

Jul 2 2007 - 4:20pm

Web Letter

Judicial activism is when the ideology of the Justice as an individual is so well known and established that an average ninth grader can predict what the Justice's decisions will be on each case for his tenure on the Court.

Kudos to Reagan for appointing O'Connor and even Bush the Elder for the appointment of Souter. A true judge, and certainly one worthy of the Supreme Court, shouldn't be so painfully predictable. But openmindedness and temperance seems to scare this Administration. Experience obviously scares this President with respect to appointing Supreme Court Justices as well. Gone are the days of wisdom coming with age. Now we just want to "stack the deck" with 40-year-old Justices so they can serve on the court for a good forty years or so. That's not exactly what the Founding Fathers had in mind with lifetime appointments.

So the Law and the Constitution will have little to do with the rulings of the Supreme Court for the coming decades. We'll be treated to a lot of legal rhetoric, of course. But these aren't "decisions" on the part of the Justices...they're votes. We could save a lot of money and time if Roberts called his eight colleagues into a room and said, "Okay who doesn't want abortion? Raise your hand." 5-4. It's going to be 5-4 either way...ask the ninth grader.

Kim Stanley

South Riding, VA

Jul 2 2007 - 2:20pm

Web Letter

I think it is important that we protect the independence of the judiciary from assaults on it from liberals who are unhappy with its decisions.

Kevin Mulcahy

New York City, NY

Jul 1 2007 - 8:52am

Web Letter

I was a veteran of the Civil Rights revolution, though, due to my age at the time, in minor ways only. The main point that we pressed then was that government had no business classifying people by race at all. We maintained that the only way to treat people equally was to count them as individuals, by their skills and their personal accomplishments. Forty years later, that is still my opinion.

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, PA

Jul 1 2007 - 1:08am

Web Letter

As someone with absolutely no background in law, I would wish make some observations strictly from a layman's point of view:

Judges cannot escape the charge of activism. Both sides use the term whenever a decision does not coincide with their political agenda.

At the time of Gore v. Bush, the Supreme Court consisted of four liberals, three conservatives and two swing judges. Now, there are four liberals, four conservatives and one swing judge. That sounds even to me. On a personal note, my rural and Arizona upbringing causes me to describe Justice O'Connor as "one tough cowgirl." The fact that she variously enraged the entire political spectrum makes me think she was a damned good judge.

Schools have enough on their plate without deeming to be social engineers. This may require them to restrict freedom of speech, but that may be the most practical route. Issues like tolerance, morality and sexuality need to be addressed in the home.

Lastly and most sadly, forced integration has not worked. I rejoiced at its inception and innocently expected our racial divide to disappear within a generation. Today, even in heavily integrated schools, students most often congregate in racial groups and those divisions too often lead to violent confrontations. I don't have an answer but suspect the solution will not be found within our court system.

Robert Stephens

Flagstaff, AZ

Jun 30 2007 - 1:32pm