February 24, 2013 |
Over the next three months, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to end affirmative action, whether to overturn part of one of the most important civil rights laws in our country's history (the Voting Rights Act) and whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to the same marriage benefits as heterosexual couples. In almost every term, the justices exercise veto power over fundamental policy questions such as abortion, gun control and freedom of speech and religion.
January 15, 2013 |
Not since "Garbo Talks!" has a public figure's decision to speak attracted such attention. I'm referring, of course, to the media sensation created this week when Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas broke an almost seven-year-long silent streak to crack a joke during oral arguments in a case involving the adequacy of counsel in a Louisiana murder case. As The Times' David Savage reported, most of what Thomas said was drowned out by cross-talk, but apparently he had some fun with the idea that one of the lawyers in the case should be considered qualified because she attended Yale Law School, Thomas' alma mater but an institution about which he has mixed feelings.
December 4, 2012
Re "Patients' choices narrower, yet cost of insurance rises," Column, Nov. 30 David Lazarus' criticism of Anthem Blue Cross for making its customers buy their medicine from only the pharmacy it chooses makes no sense. Why would any thinking person oppose a volume drug discount deal with an online pharmacy that naturally requires the insured to use that pharmacy exclusively or pay more? Such contracts reduce drug costs markedly, and thus co-pays for which the insured are responsible.
December 4, 2012
Re "Affirmative action and the law," Editorial, Nov. 30 Your editorial fails to grasp the intent of affirmative action and equal protection in two respects. You comment favorably on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling 15 years ago that contrasted "equal protection rights against political obstruction to equal treatment" with "equal protection rights against obstructions to preferential treatment. " But you miss the obvious: Preferential treatment is warranted to achieve equal rights for those who otherwise would not have them.
November 30, 2012
As the Supreme Court mulls whether the U.S. Constitution prohibits state universities from taking race into account in admissions decisions, a federal appeals court has moved in a very different direction. It recently held that, far from forbidding affirmative action, the Constitution prevents a state's voters from doing away with it. The case, decided this month by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, was filed after Michigan voters approved Proposal 2, barring state and local governments as well as public universities from giving preferential treatment on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.
November 4, 2012
Re "Europeans clearly prefer Obama, survey finds," Nov. 2 I recently returned from a Mediterranean cruise, during which I met people from all parts of the world. It was astounding how interested and informed everyone was about our upcoming election. What was enlightening to me was the intensity with which the rest of the world awaits our election. As one passenger on that cruise put it to me, the fate of the world rests on what happens in the United States. At those moments I felt deeply the responsibility we have as a part of the global community and how gravely the rest of the world prays for our success as a harbinger of its own fate.