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Politics & Power

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Two Courts Go In Very Different Directions on Equality

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 will likely be remembered in history as an historic day for the advancement and limitation of diversity and civil rights in our society. In Washington D.C. the first African American President of the United States of America nominated the first Latina to the U.S. Supreme Court affirming the growing diversity of the American people. In California, the California State Supreme Court ruled that the narrowly passed voter initiative re-defining of marriage in the State Constitution as being solely between a man and a woman was valid under State law. In the same ruling the Court upheld the nearly 18,000 same-sex marriages licensed during the time period when it was legal in California further muddying the issues surrounding gay rights in California.

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is the daughter of immigrants from Puerto Rico who came to the U.S. during World War II. Her father died when she was nine years old and left her mother to raise her and her brother as a single working mom. Judge Sotomayor grew up in the Projects in New York City and was diagnosed with diabetes as a child. This child of immigrants who grew up under very humble circumstances won admission to Princeton and Yale Law School based on her exceptional abilities as a student. Sotomayor has practiced law as a prosecutor and worked with corporate interests before being first seated to the federal bench by President George H.W. Bush in 1992. In 1998 she was seated on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals more than a year after the announcement of her nomination by then President Bill Clinton. Her nomination to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama was not unexpected and she is expected to win confirmation despite rumblings in conservative ranks that she is an activist judge that will try to legislate from the bench. With confirmation likely the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the nationís highest court was a bellwether moment for equal opportunity in America.

On the other side of the country and equality stood the gay community in California where the California Supreme Court ruled that the controversial Proposition 8 that made same-sex marriage unconstitutional under the California State Constitution was legal. For the first time in California a law denying equal rights to a group of people has been held up as being constitutional by the State Supreme Court. This stands as a decision that may change the face of the same-sex marriage debate across the country. With same-sex marriage legal in some form in several states the usual liberal leader of the nation is seemingly leaning in the opposite direction which begs the question of whether America is actually ready to embrace equality for homosexuals on any real level. Denying the right to legal marriage to one group of individuals based on religious interpretations of marriage as a basis for laws seems to fly in the face of the assumption of a separation of church and state in America. To have a policy of that nature affirmed by the liberal California courts could be indicative of an underlying societal prejudice against homosexuals in America stronger than belief in equality for all under the law.

Going forward Tuesday, May 26, 2009 will likely be remembered as the day when America showed its duality of nature. While we embrace diversity on some level we still have subtle bigotries that influence our laws and we as a nation have not yet come to the place where we can live the ideal of equality for all in our society.

Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | Give your feedback on this article. | Click icon to Digg this article



Get Involved

Do you sit and yell at the TV when politicians come on? Do you shake your head sadly whenever you see a homeless veteran? Is that all you tend to do?

It's time to put up or shut up America. We all love to talk about how we could do things better or how we would do it if we were in charge. Well, it's time to put your money where your mouth is. If you can think of it, you can write it down. If you can write it down, you can type it. If you can type it, you can e-mail it and if you can e-mail it, you can send it here.

We at Reform America are committed to giving voice to anyone who wants to put their ideas out there to make our nation a better place. As the readership grows, we are able to take those views to a wider and wider audience. Grassroots campaigns begin with voices speaking out. You have opinions. Voice them. We aren't about conservative or liberal. We aren't about pro-this or anti-that. We're about Americans and the First Amendment. Reform America is about politics by, for and of the people. You are the people. You only need to speak up. America is listening. Send your article to: stories@reform-america.net



Have You Been Downsized Due to Outsourcing?

For several years now we have listened to some within the business community tell us that America can't compete on a global scale unless they send our jobs overseas where they can be done cheaper. The question becomes, if we don't have good paying jobs here, how can we sustain our own economy? We want to hear from you. Have you lost your job? Have you been forced into a lower wage job due to outsourcing? Has outsourcing been a success for you? Did you end up in a better job?

Tell us your story so we can make sure the politicians see how outsourcing really impacts the workers who are backbone of America. Send your story to stories@reform-america.net





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All written items received by Reform America become the sole property of Reform America. Reform America reserves the right to publish or otherwise disseminate (with author acknowledgment noted) the contents of any written materials received by us at our discretion. By sending written materials to Reform America, the author agrees to these terms and holds Reform America harmless for any use of the items they submit. | Views expressed in articles submitted to Reform America by our readers do not necessarily reflect the views of Reform America or its staff.