Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

Remembering President Wilson's Purge of Black Federal Workers

As we witness this unexpected and I think historic sea change at least in the symbolism of neo-Confederate nostalgia, it is worth remembering that the fight for equality and civil rights for African-Americans and against white supremacy in its various forms has never been a march in a single direction. If the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice, it's very much been a zigzag arc.

Even after the federal government withdrew its final support from Reconstructed, biracial governments in the South in 1876, those governments and movements didn't collapse overnight. Biracial politics and political movements continued on in diminished but persistent forms well until the 1890s, before being finally snuffed out in a wave of Supreme Court decisions, mass disenfranchisement and violence. As Gregory Downs noted in his article on the origins of Juneteenth, in the 1890s there were some 100,000 African-American voters in Texas. By 1906 that number had fallen to fewer than 5,000. The blanket of Jim Crow absolutism that had come to rest over the South by the first years of the 20th century may have looked like some time immemorial reality. But it was actually a very new creation, finally secured only in the 1890s through an interlocking chain of Supreme Court decisions, extra-judicial violence, new legislation and the collapse of interracial political coalitions.

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GAY MARRIAGE FOR EVERYONE!

Supreme Court declares gay marriage bans unconstitutional. Opinion by Kennedy. Roberts dissents, along with Scalia, Alito and Thomas. Each of the dissenters filed his own dissenting opinion. Scalia joined in the other three dissenting opinions.

The concluding paragraph of Justice Kennedy's majority opinion:

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The Mick Jagger Reality of Justice John Roberts

With the apparent demise of the Confederate flag, the vindication of Obamacare and chronic poor diet, these really are the days that try the elasticity of the arteries of post-55 white male America. But amidst the gnashing of teeth, one thing should be apparent. John Roberts really is the best thing that ever happened to Republican jurisprudence and the conservative judicial movement.

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Keeping It Real

TPM Reader NB has little time for rejoicing ...

Can we stop for a moment now that it's over and gaze in wonder at the fact that this was ever in question? That the plain meaning of this law could be overturned by four inartfully chosen words?

If I cast my mind back, I can remember the incredulity with which the cases that eventually became King v Burwell were received at the time. These were the acts of dead enders, a judicial grasping at straws.

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