Behind high court’s assault on civil rights

Protest outside Supreme Court building, June 30, 2023.

“Equal justice under law.” 

These words are inscribed above the main entrance to the Supreme Court Building. They are a deception and a lie! Three rulings on June 29 and 30 should have shattered any lingering illusion that the Supreme Court of the United States exists to uphold justice or equality.

First, on June 29, SCOTUS voted 6-3 to eradicate what remains of affirmative action in college and university admissions. The court long ago banned “quotas” that mandated a certain number or percentage of new students be people of color. Now even the weaker “race-conscious admissions policies” are banned.

Then one day later the court made it even harder for Black, Brown and all working-class youth to access higher education when it overturned President Joe Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness program. The plan, instituted last year, gave relief to millions of debt-burdened former students, writing off up to $20,000 in loan payments. 

The ruling affects working-class people of all ages. The July 2 Detroit Free Press reports about 864,000 people of all ages applied for loan forgiveness in Michigan alone. They include a 51-year-old schoolteacher, Lisa Mitchell, and her daughter Briana, a 30-year-old graduate student with $70,000 in student debt already accumulated.

Briana Mitchell explains:  “The costs of living right now are just so astronomical, and I think that the relief of not having to pay for the last three years really allowed me to be able to invest in my life differently than before, especially being a Black woman. Black women, statistically, make less than their white and male counterparts.” 

Black women have the highest debt for education.“On average, women graduate owing almost $22,000 in student debt, while that number for men is $18,880,” according to a June 9 Politico article. But “Black women graduate with an average of $37,558 in debt.”

This disparity will increase as a result of both SCOTUS rulings. The ramifications are many. For example, if fewer Black women are able to graduate from medical school, then fewer Black women are providing health care to their communities, which can translate to an even higher rate of Black maternal mortality.

But wait . . . there’s more

Not content with making racist rulings two days in a row, SCOTUS took the opportunity before its summer recess to attack the LGBTQIA2S+ community. The court ruled in favor of a bigoted evangelical, granting her the legal right to refuse to design a wedding website for same-sex couples. 

The case was based on a fictitious scenario. Colorado web designer Lorie Smith claimed “Stewart” (no last name given) contacted her in 2016 about constructing a website for his upcoming marriage to “Mike.” However, when a reporter for The New Republic contacted Stewart, using the contact information provided to the court, Stewart knew nothing of the case. He does not identify as gay and, as a professional web designer, would have no reason to hire Smith. 

Nevertheless the Supreme Court ruled that Colorado’s anti-discrimination law could not prevent Smith from exercising her so-called “free speech right” to practice discrimination if the opportunity did present itself. This ruling has potentially ominous consequences, as it implies that the First Amendment could now be used to legitimize any form of discrimination.

SCOTUS: pillar of white supremacy

Since SCOTUS’ creation by rich white men in 1789 until 1967, when Thurgood Marshall became the first Black justice, only white men served on the court. In 1981 the first woman was appointed.

John Marshall, the fourth chief justice named to the court, was an enslaver and a supporter of the heinous system of enslavement for his entire career. The fifth appointed justice, Roger Taney, authored the infamous Dred Scott decision, declaring “the special rights and immunities guaranteed to citizens do not apply” to African Americans.

On June 29 and 30 this unelected anti-democratic institution continued its tradition of upholding private property and white supremacy.

Abolish the Supreme Court! 

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