YOU and the Supreme Court

If you are alive and own a television that has a channel other than BET, you may be aware of the ongoing Senate confirmation hearing of Samuel Alito, who has been nominated by your (not my) president, G.W. Bush to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. This, like ALL other matters of government, has direct implication on my life and yours. In case you may not believe me, let’s discuss why.

Being a Supreme Court is a great job for one main reason: it’s a job that you can’t lose! Once you get it, you’re basically stuck with it until you retire or die. Besides being a parent, I can’t think of another job with that level of security. I say all this to say that the nature of a person placed in such a position is very important. The question is, what is the nature of Judge Alito? I’m sure he’s a nice guy, a pleasure to be around or to have lunch with. What is more important is where he stands on certain judicial issues. I has been beaten to death that he would be sympathetic to a overpowering executive (read: king), and that abortion rights are nonexistent in his opinion.

I am more interested in Alito’s stance on issues of discrimination. I am not confident, given his judicial history, that Judge Alito will view the rights of all citizens equally in the same manner that Justice O’Connor did on many occasions (e.g. The University of Michigan Affirmative Action case). Justice O’Connor was important because her “swing” vote often came down on the side of civil liberties and civil rights. Judge Alito, with his decisions like the one in Williams v. Price. The Congressional Black Caucus, while I don’t agree with the financial practices of their foundation, is right on this one, as noted here.

I have been watching these hearings very closely. You can see them live on C-Span.org. Pay close attention to where Democratic AND Republican Senators stand on this nomination. Pay close attention to whether ANY of the Senators even mention Alito’s past decisions that have had racial implications. If they neglect to address these issues of Alito’s judicial philosophy, are they just as bad as he?

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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org. I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

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