Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Image via The Guardian.
By Guest Contributor Thomas L. Mariadason
The iconography of blind justice is ubiquitous. Expressionless Greco-Roman goddesses stridently clutching scales adorn courtrooms all across our country. At this point, the imagery is hardly eye-catching, but its familiarity helps numb our doubts about the nature of judicial objectivity. Sightlessness, after all, is the supreme analogue of impartiality.
One small catch: the metaphor of blindness—an ableist trope that frequently undermines itself —also suggests the inability to perceive the realities before us.
In a heavyweight dissent to the flyweight opinion in Schuette v. BAMN, Justice Sonia Sotomayor knocked the shut-eyed obliviousness out of her Supreme Court benchmates, exhorting them “to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination.”
I’m with Kweli on this one: “Right about now I’m feeling very grateful we have a Puerto Rican from the Bronx on the Supreme Court.”
By Arturo R. García
… That it was unanimous, was maybe the worst touch of what Amnesty USA’s Larry Cox called a “grotesque spectacle.” The Supreme Court of the United States of America made a man stay in a gurney for three hours while they decided whether he could keep living. And then they said no.
All of them said no. Without a published dissent, that’s how the record will read, reports of the Court not being “necessarily unanimous” be damned.
The system failed Troy Davis. It failed us all. My heart goes out to him, and to his family. And my thanks to Amy Goodman and Democracy Now for their excellent job covering this tragedy.
Consider this thread a safe space to talk about … about what we just witnessed, all of us. And how we can make sense of it.
“Two things are important to me,” she says over a sushi supper in downtown Corvallis. “Justice and love, and both of them clicked for me in Islam.”
Fakhraie grew up in a family where religion was respected but not forced on her or her younger brother, Anayat, 24. Her father, born in Iran, did not practice his faith. Her mother, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, studied religion with another woman but didn’t attend services.
“I was raised as a white girl with a funny last name and a foreign dad,” she says. As an adolescent, she was “the black cloud” over her parents’ house. “I was sullen. I hated everything.” Today she says she and her family are close, but her brother, a screenwriter in Los Angeles, remembers her black cloud days.
“At Christmas, we’d be opening presents and she’d be sulking in the corner,” he says. “She didn’t want anyone to take pictures. ‘Do we have to do this?’ she’d complain. She embodied the quintessential teenager angst.”
“I was a ‘why’ person,” she says. “I always wanted to know why.” Why, for example, was her father so strict with her when it came to boys? An avid reader, she began reading about Persian culture, which led her to the subject of Islam. She kept on reading. When she got to college, she read Fatima Mernissi’s “The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminist Interpretation of Women’s Rights in Islam.”
It was a breakthrough moment for her.
“I could be a feminist and a Muslim,” she says. “I was a feminist before I knew what a feminist was.” Fakhraie’s mother was the family breadwinner and her dad was “Mr. Mom.” She remembers being upset that her mom came home from work and picked up household chores.
“It was like a double shift,” Fakhraie says. “Fairness has always been an integral issue with me.”
–Excerpted from Fatemeh Fakhraie: A Feminist Muslim Breaks Stereotypes
Photo Credit: Utne