Monday, June 27, 2016

U.S. SUPREME COURT - Two Politically Charged Decisions

"Busy day at SCOTUS yields support for affirmative action, roadblock for executive orders" PBS NewsHour 6/23/2016


SUMMARY:  The reduced Supreme Court weighed in on two politically charged cases Thursday.  Justices confirmed the constitutionality of a college affirmative action program, but deadlocked on President Obama's executive action protecting millions of unauthorized immigrants from deportation -- thus nullifying the order.  Judy Woodruff talks to Marcia Coyle of The National Law Journal about the day in court.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  We return to the big day at the Supreme Court.  A split on immigration puts millions in limbo.  And justices uphold affirmative action.

We dig into both cases now with “NewsHour” regular Marcia Coyle, chief Washington correspondent of “The National Law Journal.”


MARCIA COYLE, The National Law Journal:  Judy.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  We know we need you here on days like this, especially on days like this.


JUDY WOODRUFF:  Let's talk about the affirmative action case first.


JUDY WOODRUFF:  What was it that the University of Texas case was about?

MARCIA COYLE:  Well, actually, this was the second time the Supreme Court had looked at how the University of Texas uses race as a factor in its admissions policy.

Back in 2013, the case came to the Supreme Court by Abigail Fisher, a student who was denied admission to the university in 2008.  And she claimed that the use of race as factor was why she was denied admission and that it violated the Constitution.

The Supreme Court, in 2013, led by Justice Kennedy, a 7-1 court, sent it back to the lower federal court, saying, you gave too much deference to the university's explanation.  You have to give the toughest scrutiny we have under the Constitution, and the university has shown — has to show there are no workable race-neutral alternatives.

Well, that lower federal appellate court held hearings, briefings, upheld the plan again.  It came back to the Supreme Court.  Abigail Fisher brought it back with a conservative organization that had backed her from the beginning.  And the Supreme Court today, in a surprising 4-3 decision, upheld the university's use of race, as Justice Kennedy said, a factor of factor of a factor.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Why do you say surprising?

MARCIA COYLE:  He had never voted to uphold an affirmative action plan, although he had written and spoken about the importance of diversity in higher education.  So, he did believe that it was an important, compelling interest to have a diverse student body.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Now, this was — there were some really strong opinions voiced here.  Justice Alito wrote, this is affirmative action gone wild?

MARCIA COYLE:  Gone berserk, that's what he said.

"Experts weigh in on the validity of Obama's immigration executive action" PBS NewsHour 6/23/2016


SUMMARY:  The Supreme Court's deadlock on President Obama's executive action preventing deportation of unauthorized immigrants represents the latest blow to the administration's attempts at immigration reform.  For more on the cases for and against the President's initiative, Judy Woodruff talks to Angela Maria Kelley of the Center for American Progress and Jon Feere of the Center for Immigration studies.

No comments: