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Friday, May 17, 2019

"I may have been fired by the people who brought us Guantanamo Bay and Reduced Fat Triskets, but at least I leave here with my dignity!"

Wypipo mostly stopped lynching negroes, and they had the advantages of the Green Book anyway, so why bother integrating schools and protecting their right to vote, amirite?

A couple years ago we were in Topeka, Kansas.  A couple years before that, Michelle Obama was in Topeka, and people got upset that she reminded them of structural racism.  Because that's beneath our dignity as Real Americans.

As I've observed before, the concept of 'dignity' has been a key element in a variety of SCOTUS cases:

  • Trop v Dulles (1958): The basic concept underlying the Eighth Amendment is nothing less than the dignity of man.
  • McKaskle v Wiggins (1984): [T]he right to appear pro se exists to affirm the accused's individual dignity and autonomy.
  • Planned Parenthood v Casey (1992): These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment...Part of the constitutional liberty to choose is the equal dignity to which each of us is entitled. 
  • Lawrence v Texas (2003):  It suffices for us to acknowledge that adults may choose to enter upon this relationship in the confines of their homes and their own private lives and still retain their dignity as free persons...The stigma this criminal statute imposes, moreover, is not trivial. The offense [is] a criminal offense with all that imports for the dignity of the persons charged.

That word is not used in Brown v Board, issued on this day in 1954, but dignity is still clearly at the heart of that landmark decision:

To separate them from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone. The effect of this separation on their educational opportunities was well stated by a finding in the Kansas case by a court which nevertheless felt compelled to rule against the Negro plaintiffs:

"Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law; for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the negro group. A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. Segregation with the sanction of law, therefore, has a tendency to [retard] the educational and mental development of negro children and to deprive them of some of the benefits they would receive in a racial[ly] integrated school system."

The words of the [14th] amendment...contain a necessary implication of...exemption from legal discriminations, implying inferiority in civil society...

So today it's fitting that the Democratic House voted 236-173 for dignity and equality:

“This vote is a monumental step forward in the fight for true, lived equality for LGBTQ people," said Ronald Newman, national political director at the ACLU, in a statement after the vote. “Finally, our elected officials stepped up to affirm that our nation’s civil rights laws protect everyone. It is now incumbent upon the Senate to finish this work. The ACLU will continue to fight for the advancement of this crucial legislation, and will be taking note of the members who stand in its way. The time for full equality for LGBTQ people is long overdue.”

The Equality Act, or H.R. 5, would provide protections nationwide on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation against discrimination in employment, schools, credit, housing, and public accommodations, and federally funded programs. The bill would also codify certain anti-discrimination protections for women and would extend discrimination protections for people of color. The members of the LGBT Equality Caucus — representatives David Cicilline, Angie Craig, Sharice Davids, Katie Hill, Sean Patrick Maloney, Chris Pappas, Mark Pocan, Mark Takano — originally sponsored the bill.

Naturally, Mitch McConnell has no plans to bring this up for a vote in the Senate. Because he's an undignified asshole, upon whom history will rightfully shit.


May 17, 2019 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, Soaking In Patriarchy | Permalink


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