Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Supreme Court Confirms That We Are A Bigoted Nation (Above the Law)

Senator Robert Kennedy said at Berkeley in 1967, "It is not enough to allow dissent.  We must demand it.  For there is much to dissent from."  Resist. Bigotry is bigotry.

Supreme Court Confirms That We Are A Bigoted Nation

By upholding the travel ban the Court affirms that bigotry is still legal in America, just as it's always been.

At the core of Chief Justice John Roberts’s decision to uphold the Travel Ban is not a determination on whether Donald Trump is bigoted. The Court makes no ruling on that (largely obvious) question. No. The morally bankrupt core of Roberts’s opinion is that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter, to Roberts, if the President is a bigot or if his policies are inspired by bigotry or if the intent of his policies are to please bigots. It doesn’t matter that this Travel Ban is the third attempt at making good on Trump’s promise for a “Muslim” ban. It just matters that the words “I hate Muslims” aren’t explicitly written into the text of the ban. Since they’re not, Roberts finds the ban well within the President’s executive powers.
You can see from this paragraph just how proud Roberts is of his ability to be willfully ignorant (emphasis mine):
Plaintiffs argue that this President’s words strike at fundamental standards of respect and tolerance, in violation of our constitutional tradition. But the issue before us is not whether to denounce the statements. It is instead the significance of those statements in reviewing a Presidential directive, neutral on its face, addressing a matter within the core of executive responsibility.
We can argue, bitterly, about whether the Travel Ban is “neutral on its face,” as we have been since this version of the ban was released. But that argument misses the larger point.
The issue we have to come to grips with is that bigotry IS ENTIRELY LEGAL in this country, so long as the bigots don’t SELF-REPORT their bigoted ideology in legal documents. That is the standard set by the white ruling class of America. It’s entirely legal for laws and policies to be bigoted as long as you give the white people in charge any reason, anything at all, that allows them to IMAGINE the law or policy or action had non-bigoted motives.
We see this all the time. The Travel Ban case is the third case THIS MONTH where the divided Court has opted to authorize bigotry under the guise of policy nominally about something else. Yesterday, the Court ruled that racial gerrymandering was okay

In Masterpiece Cakeshop, the Court ruled that homophobia was okay, because statements opposing bigotry (from a regulator) are more problematic than actual practiced bigotry (by a baker). How the court ruled that the President’s avowed bigotry is not a problem towards a “neutral” law, but opposition to such bigotry as expressed by a state official renders the application of a law “biased” against the bigot, is beyond me. 
Oh, our decision to legalize bigotry doesn’t just happen in courts of law. You can go out to the streets, where any cop can shoot any black man, BECAUSE he’s a black man, and get away with it, as long as he comes up with some non-racial excuse for murder. You can go to the border, where we are currently jailing brown children and their families under the guise of “national security.”
You can go back to the very founding of this country, where slavery was never explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, and yet it was entirely legal to own slaves in half of the country.
We. Are. Bigots. Our laws ALLOW US TO BE. We are a bigoted nation. The hate for the non-whites, the non-Christians, the non-gender conforming, and the non-men is so infused into our national DNA that most straight white males don’t even NOTICE it. The bigotry is so normal to them that they require an explicit textual signal before they even contemplate its existence.
And the bigots are well ahead of this game. They know, they count on, being able to get away with their bigotry so long as it is not explicitly stated. They count on other whites being unwilling to call them out on it. They count on other whites thinking “there but for the grace of God go I,” and thus being complicit in bigotry that they themselves might not have independently come up with. John Roberts never would have issued the Travel Ban. But when the chips are down, Roberts plays on “team white.” He’d rather smear his own legacy in a fit of willful ignorance than stand up to the forces of evil.
Roberts today just shows himself to be a racist man, an ugly soul, and a coward. That makes him no different than 75 percent of the white men I’ve met. He’s the perfect avatar for the “educated” white male. He’s willing to call Korematsu “morally repugnant” and “gravely wrong” now that most other white people think the same thing, while at the same time authoring the next Korematsu because it’s not racist in the specific way his white brethren have come to acknowledge. Roberts is the rapist in the back of the room, the one who stands blocking the door, then argues that she didn’t try to leave.
I know a lot of you white people who have read this far don’t think I’m talking to you anymore. You’re on the “right side of history” on this issue. You too think that denying access to this country on the basis of religion is wrong, and gosh darn it, you wish that there was something we could do about this state of affairs.
You, most of you, are full of s**t. I see you. I know how you be. On this issue, litigated as it has been for over a year and a half, infused as it is with torrents of Trump tweets illustrating the clear intent of a man you already know to be a bigot, you can see yourselves clear to calling this policy wrong. But the next one? And the one after that? You’ll be right there with Roberts. You almost always are. “Neutral on its face” encapsulates your entire, bankrupt worldview. We are here BECAUSE of your appeasement to these people. Your religious belief — and I call it “religious” because you believe it despite being able to provide no scientifically repeatable evidence to the contrary — that somehow white people aren’t as racist as they’ve shown themselves to be (again and again, throughout history) is the context in which bigotry is legalized in this country.
I CAN’T GET HALF OF YOU TO DENY SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS A FREAKING SANDWICH. On its face, she’s just a person looking for a meal. Why should we concern ourselves with the larger moral realities of her existence? Gosh, if she can’t eat in peace because she’s a white supremacist propagandist, then maybe one day I won’t be able to eat in peace because of my moral failures. THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD GO I.
We will never get rid of bigotry in this country because a majority of white people are willing to suborn bigotry as long as it comes with a side helping facial neutrality. This case, this Court, and this administration can exist here because the white people here only acknowledge bigotry when the bigots self-report. And bigots, their lawyers at least, are simply not that stupid.
My response, analysis, outrage, and opposition to Trump v. Hawaii is best expressed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, in his Letter From A Birmingham Jail:
Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.

I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is, in reality, expressing the highest respect for law.
Trump v. Hawaii [Supreme Court]

Elie Mystal is the Executive Editor of Above the Law and the Legal Editor for More Perfect. He can be reached @ElieNYC on Twitter, or at He will resist.

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