Tag Archives: SCOTUS

Meanwhile, On Tumblr: Surprise, Surprise! SCOTUS Rules Against Native Americans

By Andrea Plaid

Image via pbs.org.

Image via pbs.org.

As you know, the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) did the One Step Forward/Three Steps Back Dance when it came to rights for marginalized people. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-gender marriage and made rather questionable rulings regarding affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act (VRA), the justices’ ruling negatively impacted Native American nations’ right to their children and, ultimately, tribal self-determination. Colorlines’ Aura Bogado explains in the most popular post of this past week:

In a 5 to 4 decision today, the Supreme Court ruled that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) does not block termination of a Native father’s parental rights. The court appears to have ruled as if it was deciding the issue based on race—when a better lens to understand the case, called Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, is through tribal sovereignty.

First, some quick background on the case and on ICWA itself [sic]. Christy Maldonado gave birth to a baby in 2009 whose father, Dusten Brown, is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Because of self-determination, the Cherokee Nation decides who its citizens are—and because Dusten Brown is Cherokee, his baby, named Veronica, is Cherokee as well. Maldonado and Brown lost touch by the time the baby was born, and Brown was never informed of the baby’s birth. Maldonado decided to put the baby up for adoption, and a white couple named Melanie and Matt Capobianco took Veronica into pre-adoptive care.

So what does ICWA do? The act was created because of incredibly high rates of white parents adopting Native children; in states like Minnesota, that have large Native populations, non-Natives raised 90 percent of Native babies and children put up for adoption. Those adoptions sever ties to Native tribes and communities, endangering the very existence of these tribes and nations. In short, if enough Native babies are adopted out, there will literally not be enough citizens to compose a nation. ICWA sought to stem that practice by creating a policy that keeps Native adoptees with their extended families, or within their tribes and nations. The policy speaks to the core point of tribal sovereignty: Native tribes and nations use it to determine their future, especially the right to keep their tribes and nations together.

But leave it to the Supreme Court to miss the point altogether this morning. The prevailing justices failed to honor tribal sovereignty in today’s ruling.

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Lunch Break Tidbits: Discussing Affirmative Action on Al Jazeera’s The Stream

Yesterday I appeared on Al Jazeera’s The Stream to discuss Affirmative Action policies in college admissions and hiring. Also on the panel were Ari Berman from The Nation, Jerome Hudson from the National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives, Michigan Daily‘s Yash Bhutada and libertarian blogger Kristin Tate. With only 40 minutes to discuss what is a highly contentious and layered topic in light of the Fischer vs. UT SCOTUS ruling, here’s a wrap up and slight elaboration on some of the points made on yesterday’s show.

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Racialicious Crush Of The Week: Barbara Jordan

By Andrea Plaid

Barbara Jordan. Via fashionmodeldirectory.com

Watching last night’s vice presidential debates, I thought about which woman I’d could easily see shredding Congressman Paul Ryan’s arguments with as much–if not more–aplomb than Vice President Biden. Of the many I thought of, I came up with the late congresswoman Barbara Jordan.

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Racialicious Responds to the Firefighter Reverse Discrimination Case

A Racialicious Roundtable, compiled by Latoya Peterson and Thea Lim


On April 22, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case of Ricci, et. Al, v. DeStefano, et al., a case brought by seventeen firefighters who claim that they were discriminated against by the City of New Haven after the City decided to throw out the results of a required advancement exam. The New York Times story notes:

Mr. Ricci did well, he said, coming in sixth among the 77 candidates who took the exam. But the city threw out the test, because none of the 19 African-American firefighters who took it qualified for promotion. That decision prompted Mr. Ricci and 17 other white firefighters, including one Hispanic, to sue the city, alleging racial discrimination. [...]

The city says it was merely trying to comply with a federal law that views job requirements like promotional tests with great suspicion when they disproportionately disfavor minority applicants.

“The fact of the matter is it’s a flawed test,” said Victor A. Bolden, the city’s acting corporation counsel.

Mr. Bolden added that he had sympathy for Mr. Ricci. “There’s no question that there are people who are disappointed,” he said. “But disappointment doesn’t lead to a discrimination claim.”

The promotion exam was offered in the fall of 2003, and no one has been promoted since, Mr. Bolden said.

The suit brought by Mr. Ricci and his colleagues says that the city’s rationale for throwing out the test is illegitimate and that they were denied a chance for promotion on account of the color of their skin.

Since this made the Court’s docket, it officially became a matter of serious weight. I called together some of the other correspondents and we had a chat about what this case means, what it could mean for industries that seem to just stay segregated, and the unanswered questions we still have after examining the available briefs and news articles. – LDP

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