Monday, June 29, 2009

The Daily Strike-6/29/09-Reversed and Remanded

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. This might be one of the few days of the year that we start our entry with an item on the Supreme Court.

RICCI V. DEFESTANO: The Supreme Court today ruled in favor of mostly white New Haven firefighters, who claimed that they were victims of reverse discrimination. The city of New Haven had begun to administer tests for merit-based promotions to lieutenant and captain of the fire department. After no black candidates got promotions, the city scrapped the test, because it worried that it would be liable to lawsuit for violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination that has a "disparate impact." The court, by a 5-4 majority, decided that the white firefighters had indeed been discriminated against, and that exam given to firefighters didn't meet the test specified in previous cases dealing with Title VII. The opinion, written by Justice Kennedy, was joined by the four other conservative Justices: Alito, Roberts, Scalia and Thomas. Justice Ginsburg wrote a dissent in which Justices Stevens, Breyer and the retiring David Souter joined.

The case is significant in and of itself, but has added significance because of the role played by Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Judge Sotomayor joined a 2nd Circuit Court ruling that upheld New Haven's decision to abandon the test. Republicans jumped all over today's case, saying it proves that Sotomayor is out of the judicial mainstream. I think that's a pretty weak case to make, considering that it was a 5-4 decision made by an ideologically rigid right-wing majority. Still, Republicans are intent on applying the "throw anything and see if it sticks" strategy with Sotomayor. Her nomination hearings are set to begin on July 13th.

THE WHITE HOUSE: President Obama had a series of meetings at the White House today, in what was a good example of how diverse his agenda has become. Obama held a joint press event with Energy Secretary Steven Chu this afternoon, where he touted the administrations' new initiative to promote light bulb efficiency. The plan is designed to save taxpayers $4 billion on energy costs.

Later in the afternoon, the President met with Columbian President Alvaro Uribe. The two discussed a variety of topics, including the Colombian Free Trade Agreement, which has yet to be ratified by Congress, and the situation in Honduras. The President expressed hope that he can get the Free Trade agreement through Congress, although I doubt that Democratic leaders in Congress would try to force rust belt members to accept a free trade agreement after what they put them through on the Waxman-Markey climate bill. On Honduras, the President said that the military coup was "not legal" and could set a terrible precedent for Latin America.

This afternoon, the President held a reception at the White House, as we mentioned, celebrating LGBT Pride month. The President, who has faced criticism from the community for his failure to move on a variety of issues, promised to overturn the ban on gays in the military, and to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act. The President said he understood the community's frustration, but promised them that he will make progress. The President has been promising to repeal DADT since he began his run for President, and has not taken any action thus far. He has also not used his influence to push anti-hate crimes legislation or anti-workers discrimination bills through Congress. I wonder whether today's event will help ease some of the tension that the LGBT community has felt. In Obama's defense (and we always have to remember this), he is trying to save the economy, overhaul health care, end global warming, stop North Korea from detonating a nuclear weapon, win an unwinnable war in Afghanistan and deal with precarious situation in Iran. As much as it will frustrate a lot of us, he can't do EVERYTHING.

That's it for today. Leave us some comments. We'll see you tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. about:
    "The plan is designed to save taxpayers $4 billion on energy costs."

    Yes, ban consumers from buying what they want and applaud the savings!

    Edison's simple safe light bulb is bought 19 times out of 20 in the USA.
    The popularity is the reason to ban it: After all, that's why the savings are supposed to be so great,
    no reason to ban what people don't want.
    Think about it!

    The fact is that efficiency regulation on a product sacrifices performance, construction, appearance and price features, and does not necessarily give the savings suggested anyway.
    onwards regarding such effects of efficiency regulation on buildings, lightbulbs, cars, dishwashers and other products,

    About saving energy =
    Does society need to save energy? No, no shortage of electric energy sources...

    About "saving lots of emissions banning bulbs" =
    Does your light bulb give out any gases?
    Bans are unfair on emission-free energy households, now or in the future,
    and emissions can be dealt with directly - as is planned anyway - by using new cleaner coal or renewable (or nuclear) energy

    Also - Energy Secretary Steven Chu's lab was involved in developing the compact fluorescent light bulb, any clash of interest there?

    Why a ban is wrong:
    For a long list, with references, why a ban on ordinary light bulbs is wrong, see: onwards