Doug Kendall, founder and president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, writes at the Huffington Post that the current battle over race-conscious measures is moving us farther away from achieving the promise of the landmark case.
While Brown’s status as an iconic victory for civil rights remains unquestioned, there is a darker lining to today’s anniversary. In today’s Supreme Court, Brown’s legacy and meaning is very much at a crossroads. Indeed, the conservative majority on the Roberts Court is weaponizing Brown to attack the very civil rights statutes that are essential for moving the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection toward fruition. Sadly, progressives today need to do more than celebrate Brown: we need to fight for its legacy and true meaning …
The battle over the constitutionality of race-conscious measures is often viewed as a fight over affirmative action. It is, but that’s only part of the story. In cases such as Shaw and Ricci v. DeStefano (another 5-4 case from 2009 in which white firefighters successfully challenged a city’s effort to avoid using a test it feared would have a disparate impact on African American firefighters) the Court has limited the remedies available under iconic laws such as the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, the very statutes passed to enforce Brown’s promise of meaningful equality. It’s like watching Brown devour Brown, and it’s horrifying to witness.
With cases such as Seattle Schools, Ricci, and, potentially, Fisher, Chief Justice Roberts is nearing his goal of ending all forms of race-conscious legislation. The problem is that this is moving the nation further from achieving the promise of Brown, not moving us closer toward it.
Read Doug Kendall’s entire piece at the Huffington Post.
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