The makeup of the current Supreme Court can be seen, in one way, as a big success story for certain minorities. It is a triumph, in fact, for two groups which have historically had to put up with a lot of discrimination and lack of political representation in America. These two groups are not defined by gender or race, but rather by religion. Broken down on religious lines, today's Supreme Court has members from just two religions, both of which had been historically underrepresented on the highest court: Roman Catholics and Jews. There are six Roman Catholics currently serving on the court (Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Sonia Sotomayor, and Clarence Thomas) and three Jews (Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Elena Kagen). This is undoubtedly a story of rising up from underrepresentation. But, bearing in mind that America is a country with almost too many religions to count, have we actually moved into a problem of overrepresentation or lack of diversity? The question is on my mind today, obviously, as a result of the decision today in the Hobby Lobby contraception case. Three Jewish Justices and one Roman Catholic voted against five other Roman Catholics in a case defining the dividing line between religion and government -- a decision which affects us all.
Archive of Articles for June, 2014
'Tis the season when the political press all goes a-courtin'. So to speak.
This column is somewhat of a departure for me, since I rarely take much note of what actors say, even on the subject of politics. Well, I should qualify that, I suppose, to read "actors who are not currently governors, senators, or presidents." But even with all the attention being focused on Gary Oldman's recent interview with Playboy, I feel the need to point out the fact that while everyone else is focusing on some bizarre and offensive things Oldman said, nobody seems to have mentioned his segue into the subject -- which is even more bizarre (to me, at least) than the rest of what he had to say.
Enough digression, though. Last night, Senator Thad Cochran pulled off an upset of sorts, by defeating his Tea Party primary challenger in the rematch atmosphere of a "top two" runoff election. His chance of victory had been seen by many (at least before the election results began coming in) as increasingly unlikely -- which is why the political world is abuzz over what just happened down in the Magnolia State. Consider the fact that Cochran came in second in the original primary, and it was only due to a third candidate being in the race that he was even given the second chance of a runoff election (because main Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel failed to reach 50 percent of the vote, to put this another way). Because of this, and because of what was perceived as the growing national momentum of the Tea Party after Eric Cantor's epic defeat (more on this in a moment), it seemed Cochran was doomed. The energy was supposed to mostly be on the Tea Party's side, and turnouts for runoff elections are notoriously low, so most watchers of politics had all but written off Cochran's chances to pull off an upset victory. And yet, against all this conventional wisdom, Cochran still won -- he successfully "iced out" the Tea Party.
As we were entering into the shank of primary season a few weeks back, I wrote an article discussing how the political world would view the gains and losses of the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. Since that time, we have seen the Tea Party lose many big races, and spectacularly win at least one race. Today, voters in Mississippi are going to add another chapter to this saga, as they decide the runoff election between sitting Senator Thad Cochran and his Tea Party challenger.
In all the pontificating on what now should be done (and what should have been done previously) in Iraq, one subject oddly never seems to be on the table. I find this a bit strange, because it really should be a subject worthy of debate -- if only to add to the finger-pointing about what could have been done to avoid the current situation. From hawks to isolationists, though, nobody seems to ever bring up the possibility of Iraqis performing their own airstrikes. To put this another way: where is the Iraqi Air Force?
Today, we're going to have a special edition of the talking points, where we get to know a Montana politician who seems to be seriously considering taking on Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. But before we do so, it was a busy week otherwise, so let's just dive right into it. First, a look at what's going with Republicans.
The votes are in, and the Republican House caucus has just elected Kevin McCarthy as their new Majority Leader and Steve Scalise as their new Majority Whip. All of this was precipitated, of course, by the current Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, being handed his hat by the voters in his home district. After a roughly one-week "campaign" (which many have likened to a high school popularity contest such as the election of class president), McCarthy will now move up from the third-ranking Republican leadership position to the second, and Scalise will now take over from McCarthy.
Vice President Joe Biden was right. Let's begin with that.
No column today, sorry. Spent the whole day dealing with various automotive problems. Fair warning: I might need another day next week to finish up several repairs and registration hassles (Oh, joy! The D.M.V.!).
Tomorrow's column, however, should be a substantial one on the subject of the Middle East, whose situation I've been [...]