TPMEditors' Blog Opinions, Context & Ideas from TPM Editors

Truly Unprecedented

The deeply personal back and forth this week between Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor over race is without parallel in the court's history, legal experts tell Sahil Kapur.

Part of the reason for that of course is the unhappy historical fact that racial and ethnic minorities haven't had a seat on the Supreme Court bench until the last 47 years. But part of it, too, may have been the calculation by the likes of Thurgood Marshall that a direct public confrontation would not be productive in the long run.

The highlight of Sahil's piece may be the anecdote offered by a former Marshall clerk in which Marshall pulled his punch toward the other justices in his dissent in a 1973 case.

But we know Marshall's personal feelings about the white justices on matters of race were stronger than what he wrote in that dissent. An Adam Liptak piece during the Sotomayor confirmation in 2009, which very nearly anticipates this week's clash, quotes Marshall from an interview that appears to have been given after he left the Court: "What do they know about Negroes? You can't name one member of this Court who knows anything about Negroes before he came to this Court. Name me one."


Conservatives are not pleased with Justice Sonia Sotomayor's dissent in yesterday's affirmative action case, even if they reaffirmed the right to ban it. Instead, Sahil Kapur reports they're complaining that she's "legally illiterate" and writing about "emotion." If those aren't codes for her race and gender, I don't know if I know what is.

Common Problems

Ed Kilgore: Despite its origins with business-minded Republicans, "opposition to Common Core is rapidly becoming a 'true conservative' litmus test, and a major factor in the 'invisible primary' leading into the 2016 presidential cycle."

More on the Fox Effect, Part 4

TPM Reader BG hits on a point I've been thinking about a lot in this "Fox Effect" series. As we've noted, you don't just stand up a cable news network and suddenly everyone's a cranky racist sending Obama witch-doctor emails. If only it were so easy. But I also don't think it's just as simple as saying that Fox is a mirror of the political journey/worldview of one generation or cohort of the American population. It's clearly been a driver of political ideas and, for many, political identity, coupled with and growing out from conservative talk radio.

One key in my mind has been to affirm and normalize views that have been considered unacceptable to express or at least express out loud. And that's no small thing.

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Aaaaand Resigned

Hometown Mayor who turned out to be a big supporter of guy who allegedly shot up that Jewish Community Center has resigned.

What? There's a Fox Effect Movie?

What the heck? It turns out there's a Fox Effect movie.

Here's the filmmaker's blurb from the successful Kickstarter that funded the project ...

When the filmmaker's parents moved to a place where her father had a long solo commute to work and started listening to Talk Radio to alleviate the boredom, her family saw him change from a non-political Democrat to a radicalized, angry Right-Wing Republican. What happened to Dad?

Trailer after the jump ...

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That Must Have Been Awkward

This isn't really the Fox Effect, but man, this request must have led to some awkward moments. From TPM Reader JB ...

I recall the moment I knew my Dad, an engineer and a very rational guy, had changed. In Dec. 1999, he called all of his kids and grandkids to join him to experience the fallout from Y2K together. His house was full of supplies for survival.

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More on the Fox Effect, Part 3

An interesting spin on the Fox Effect story from TPM Reader TB, on how Fox News turned his mother against Oprah ...

The note you shared about the Fox effect I think is something that really should be taken quite seriously. My parents are similar to what most people have discussed here. They actually would never use racial epithets around us, probably not at all, but there was definitely a feeling of African-American’s being dangerous and out for trouble presented by them. Thank goodness that as we as a country evolve, I think so do these views, but obviously we still have a long way to go.

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