The United States Supreme Court has denied the state of Arkansas the right to execute two prisoners out of 8 slated to be put to death this month. This decision was made before the state’s lethal injection drugs expire. These would be the state’s first executions in 12 years, since Eric Nance in 2005.
As the results from Tuesday’s presidential election rolled in state by state, half of the country responded with shock and disbelief. Throughout social media, post after post inquired how a Ku Klu Klan-endorsed candidate with no previous political experience, numerous accusations of sexual assault and multiple lawsuits could so quickly ascend to the highest office in the land.
Clarence Thomas has held a seat on the United States Supreme Court for just a day over 25 years. From one perspective, it could be said that he was the most powerful black man in U.S. politics pre-Obama. From another, he has a long history of conservative politics and has been accused of sexual harassment. But should his legacy be officially acknowledged as a part of African American history?
That same question is bing raised after a petition was launched on StandUnited to have Thomas included in the recently opened National African American Museum on the National Mall.
In a 5-3 ruling on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Supreme Court struck down Texas HB2, a bill that heavily regulated abortion providers and resulted in the closure of half of the state’s clinics. The Court determined that requiring clinics to qualify as surgery centers and ensuring abortion doctors have hospital admitting privileges at local hospitals places an “undue burden” on women seeking abortions.
In a 4-3 decision (with Justice Elena Kagan recusing herself) the Supreme Court upheld the Fifth US Circuit Court’s ruling that the University of Texas at Austin appropriately utilizes race in its college admissions policy.
Under this policy, the school admits the top 10% of all high school applicants for 75% of spots and uses an holistic review process (where race is considered alongside personal and academic achievement) to fill the remaining 25% of spots.
In the next few weeks, the Supreme Court is poised to rule on the legality on Texas HB2, a bill which requires all abortions (both medical, or early terminations which utilize the abortion pill, and surgical) to be done in ambulatory surgical centers or for abortion doctors to have access to hospitals. These additional requirements have been found to be unnecessary and unsafe barriers for typical abortion procedures. In fact, these requirements have caused abortion clinics all over the state of Texas to close, leaving the entire state with only 10 clinics to serve all of its citizens.
Everyone always says: “Just be patient. Once all the old racist, misogynist white men die, everything will be fine.” If that’s true, then perhaps, this week’s news about Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s unexpected death should be considered a collective step closer to the goal of dismantling systemic racism.
To be honest, Scalia was trash. It’s been a few days since he was found dead and that truth is still evident. People (mostly conservatives) will defend his record, calling him a patriot or some other term that is actually violent towards non-Whites. But, most folks know that Scalia’s actions while on the SCOTUS were primarily in support of the oppression of non-whites, women, and other marginalized groups and the maintenance of institutional racism. His death, then, is not really very sad.
HBO has released the first trailer for their upcoming series, Confirmation. The series will tell the story of Anita Hill (Kerry Washington) as she goes through the process of giving her testimony during Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearings of his alleged sexual harassment.
On January 25, 2016, the United States Supreme Court has decided that states have to place a ban on mandatory death-in-prison sentences for juveniles retroactively.