Charles C.W. Cooke is very upset that people who oppose antidiscrimation laws are compared to people who oppose antidiscrimination laws:
In this manner, too, have we come to discuss the ever-diminishing scope of private property rights, our debates centering nowadays not on whether individuals should have a general right to decide whom they will serve, but on why anybody would be asking these questions in the first instance. Think you should be able to decide who comes into your bar? Drop the act, Bubba, you must be in the Klan.
Let’s leave aside the silly assumption that businesses who want to be exempt from civil rights laws are all “individuals.” Do civil rights statutes violate longstanding “rights” of public accommodations to exclude customers for any reason of their choosing? Well, I have someone with some expertise with the subject right here, and:
[I]f an inn-keeper, or other victualler, hangs out a sign and opens his house for travelers, it is an implied engagement to entertain all persons who travel that way; and upon this universal assumpsit an action on the case will lie against him for damages, if he without good reason refuses to admit a traveler.
–Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England
This common law tradition, requiring public accommodations to serve customers with the ability to pay on equal terms, was carried over to the United States. Civil rights laws applying to public accommodations do not represent a dimunition of traditional rights; they represent a statutory recognition of long-standing common law rights. The Jim Crow “general right [of businesses open to the general public] to decide whom they will serve” arrangement Cooke prefers is the anomaly in the Anglo-American legal tradition, not civil rights laws. Generally, people who advocate for policies designed to advance segregationist policy preferences against well-established rights should not be surprised when they’re likened to segregationists.
The scope of the attack remains unclear, but this is evidently a frightening development.
The Titantic, the Hindenberg, the 2007 New York Mets, Martha Coakley:
National Democrats are haunted by memories of Martha Coakley’s unforced stumbles and missteps in 2010, which cost them a U.S. Senate seat in one of the country’s bluest states.
Four laters later, the Massachusetts attorney general might be about to blow another major contest: The race to succeed Deval Patrick as governor.
With two weeks left to go, a new poll by WBUR, which tracks the race weekly, found Coakley trailing for the first time against Republican Charlie Baker, a former health care CEO who served as secretary of finance and health under Gov. William Weld in the 1990s.
It’s still a close contest: Baker has 43 percent while Coakley has 42 percent, well inside the poll’s 4.4 percent margin of error.
But the troubling sign for Coakley is that Baker appears to be gaining steam down the stretch after consistently trailing throughout the campaign.
“It’s one of several polls which over the last week or so have shown a movement toward Baker,” Steve Koczela, the president of MassINC Polling Group, which conducts the polls, said. “Coakley has essentially been treading water while Baker’s been climbing.”
Coakley’s late drop-off seems eerily reminiscent of the 2010 special election against upstart Republican candidate Scott Brown, when the Democrat blew a huge lead, fell behind in the final stretch, and went on to lose.
Hopefully she’ll pull it out anyway, but it’s ridiculous that the Massachusetts bench is so shallow that someone who ran one of the worst campaigns in known human history — a bad campaign with very substantial consequences for the country, yet — could get nominated for a competitive race again.
Let’s just say that when Russell Brand briefly had that dreadful show that followed up Louie — come back Colin Quinn, all is forgiven — his choice of sidekick was
Hank Kinsgley Mr. Matt Stoller.
Really good fan’s perspective from Rany Jazayerli, especially the risk you know going in that this could be like the ’07 Rockies. I’ll be rooting for KC, but above all it would be nice to have a series that isn’t over quickly.
On the other side, Jonah’s piece on Bruce Bochy is excellent. As he says, the Jaffe/Birnbaum data established him as a first-rate manager even in San Diego, and he’s done a terrific job with the Giants.
…James Shields’s parents should have given him a name that kind of rhymes with “perfectly decent #2 starter.”
Shorter verbatim John Fund: “There’s no doubt that many people in our increasingly mobile and hectic society want voting to be as easy and convenient as buying fast food. But too much of anything can be bad — just ask someone who has gorged on drive-thru burgers and fries.”
Admittedly, Fund drew the short straw on this; attempts to stop or roll back early voting lack even the pretense of a non-partisan justification that other Republican vote suppression efforts have. Still, you’d think someone in Fund’s pay grade could up with something just a tad less transparently self-refuting than “voting on a Sunday is like eating 8 Double Quarter Pounders in one sitting!” The bullshitting about a single election day being “in the Constitution” is a little better, but really.
A Heritage Foundation hack has taken time off from crafting Democratic health care policy to point out the horrors of Obama’s nominee to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division discussing the War on (Some Classes of People Who Use Some) Drugs:
To begin, she believes that the misnamed war on drugs “is an atrocity and that it must be stopped.” She has written that the war on drugs has been a “war on communities of color” and that the “racial disparities are staggering.” As the reliably-liberal Huffington Post proclaimed, she would be one of the most liberal nominees in the Obama administration.
Pointing out the racial disparities of the drug war — facts you do not actually dispute — makes Gupta the real racist or something. As Serwer shorters it:
As Anderson noted in comments recently, Judge Dennis’s dissent from the 5th Circuit’s denial of an en banc hearing of its opinion allowing Texas to force most of the state’s abortion clinics to close without any legitimate independent justification is very good:
In upholding Texas’s unconstitutional admitting-privileges requirement for abortion providers and medication-abortion restrictions, the panel opinion flouts the Supreme Court’s decision in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania. v. Casey by refusing to apply the undue burden standard expressly required by Casey. Instead, the panel applied what effectively amounts to a rational basis test — a standard rejected by Casey — under the guise of applying the undue burden standard. The panel’s assertion that it applies Casey is false because it does not assess the strength of the state’s justifications for the restrictive abortion laws or weigh them against the obstacles the laws place in the path of women seeking abortions, as required by Casey. A correct application of the Casey undue burden standard would require that the admitting – privileges provision and medication – abortion restrictions be stricken as undue burdens because the significant obstacles those legal restrictions place in the way of women’s rights to previability abortions clearly outweigh the strength of their purported justifications.
If not overruled, the panel’s sham undue burden test will continue to exert its precedential force in courts’ review of challenges to similar types of recently minted abortion restrictions in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.”
Certainly, the history of Casey has shown the vast inferiority of the “undue burden” test compared to Roe’s strict scrutiny test. Nevertheless, despite its vagueness it has to mean a higher standard of scrutiny than rational basis, and the Texas statute could not survive any scrutiny more heightened than the rational basis the 5CA panel applied in practice. The panel acted as if the rational basis test Rehnquist tried to replace Roe with in his throw-Roe-from-the-caboose draft in Webster, and not Casey, was the controlling precedent. I fear that Kennedy might be headed in this direction, but at he very least 5CA can’t do it before he does.
You might think that the fact that the Supreme Court is willing to allow Texas to conduct an election with a racially discriminatory poll tax reflects a complete
disinterest unwillingness* to intervene in the electoral process. Of course, this is not exactly true:
There is no right more basic in our democracy than the right to participate in electing our political leaders,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in April.
Roberts spoke then for the court’s conservative majority in striking down part of a federal election law so as to allow a wealthy Republican businessman from Alabama to give more money to candidates across the country.
The contribution limit restricted the donor’s free speech, Roberts concluded, and the Constitution requires the court to err on the side of safeguarding that cherished 1st Amendment protection.
But the right to vote, which is the way most Americans participate in a democracy, has gotten far less protection from the Supreme Court under Roberts.
There is no starker example than the high court’s order early Saturday allowing Texas to enforce a new photo identification law that a federal judge had blocked earlier this month after deciding the law would prevent as many as 5% of the state’s registered voters, or 600,000 people in all, from casting a ballot.
Fortunately, the law in its majestic equality permits rich and poor alike to donate great sums of money to political campaigns, which will surely be a consolation to the disenfranchised.
*As Jacob Levy noted on the tweeter, this is a misuse of the word, a misusage I particularly regret in the context of discussing the Roberts Court and voting rights.
…and now come the grifters. It’s just amazing how important an issue ethics in gaming journalism* has gotten!
*Note: underlying “scandal” unlikely to contain any actual evidence even of unethical journalistic behaviors, although it might involve interminable screeds about how someone you don’t know allegedly cheated on someone you don’t know, and the next person to coherently explain why anyone else should give a rat’s ass will be the first.