PROTESTING THE PROSECUTION
Holy Land 5
FROM THE WEB
Net Briefs - 07-09
Nicolas J.S. Davies
Big Brother AT&T
Courts & Education
Socialists or Satanists?
Target Planned Parenthood
GAY & LESBIAN COMMUNITY NOTES
A Jewish Anarchist
Tyranny of Oil
OFF THE TABLE
Z PAPERS ON VISION & STRATEGY
Z PAPERS ON VISION & STRATEGY
Gabriel matthew Schivone
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U.S. Courts: Enemies Of Education?
Is there a constitutional right to education? Legal scholar and civil rights advocate Erwin Chemerinsky says there is. "There has to be a right to education in the Constitution," he declares, "and equal protection is a Constitutional imperative." But according to Chemerinsky, this right has been fundamentally undermined by the Supreme Court. With the retirement of Justice David Souter and the possible retirement in the next few years of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens, the role of the court in defending the right to education will be thrust into the national spotlight.
What role might their replacements play in guaranteeing education to U.S. children and reversing the conservative momentum of the last three decades? Chemerinsky believes that without popular pressure and new judicial appointments that reverse the present course, the right to education will be further constricted and may even be lost because of the steady "deconstitutionalization" of this right. "The Supreme Court has followed a steady course over the last 35 years of undermining the right to education."
Chemerinsky has a long history as a civil rights advocate, which turned his appointment in 2007 as the founding dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law into a fight. Although the university regents approved him, UCI Chancellor Michael V. Drake, who originally hired him, withdrew the invitation saying Chemerinsky's views were "polarizing."
While Drake claimed that he had not received any pressure to withdraw the nomination, media reports unearthed efforts by conservative California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George, Los Angeles Supervisor Mike Antonovich, and a group of Orange County Republicans to kill the appointment. Although Chemerinsky is one of the country's most respected constitutional scholars, they cited his opposition to the death penalty and his support for civil rights. In the end, his reputation and his defense by legal authorities nationwide moved UCI to restore the appointment.
In speaking to a meeting of California teachers earlier this year, Chemerinsky gave ample indication of the reasons why some of the most right-wing elements in California politics might not want to see him head one of its most prestigious law schools. He recalled the case of San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, decided in 1973. In that case, he explained, the plaintiffs proved a disparity in funding of four or five to one, between poor Latino communities and more affluent Anglo ones in San Antonio. In a five to four decision, however, the Supreme Court held, in a decision written by Justice Louis Powell, that there is no right to education in the U.S. Constitution. Wealth disparities, therefore, were permissible, even under the equal protection language of the 14th Amendment.
"Many expressed surprise," Chemerinsky noted, "since states require the education of minors in their own Constitutions. But Powell ruled there was no right to this on a Federal level." Other similar decisions followed. The funding disparities noted in Texas, he says, are no different from those in California districts.
Chemerinsky connected this philosophy to the Supreme Court's decision upholding the legality of school vouchers. "They have one purpose only," he asserted. "That is to take funds out of the public school system and transfer them to parochial schools. In a 1982 decision, the court found that in Cleveland, where 95 percent of voucher money went to religious parochial schools, the system did not amount to state support of religious instruction. Fortunately," he said, "the voucher system hasn't caught on, but the court has ruled it legal."
In this environment it's no surprise that he views political action as necessary to the preservation and extension of civil rights. In fact, while he paints a dark picture of the legal panorama, he sees the main possibility for change arising from Obama's administration. A window for change has opened, but Chemerinsky warns it will not stay open long. He cites the early years of the Clinton administration, which delayed on the appointment of new judges. After two years in office, and the loss of Congress to the Republicans in 1994, that Administration began appointing judges as conservative as those appointed by Clinton's predecessor.
Chemerinsky is a legal authority on the impact of race on education and says that political action in support of desegregation has been integrally connected with extending the right to education. Some people believe, he says, that the watershed Brown v. Board of Education immediately desegregated schools, thus ensuring the right to equal education for all students. In reality, while the Supreme Court held that segregation, the system of "separate but equal," was unconstitutional in 1954, for the next ten years there was no movement to comply with the decision. It was only after Title 6 of the Civil Rights Act threatened to withhold funds from schools that didn't desegregate that compliance began. "From 1964 to 1988 schools became less racially segregated as a result," he recalled. "But since 1988, they've become more segregated, and at an accelerating rate."
He traced the change to a 1974 case that prohibited the transfer of students between different school districts in order to desegregate schools. "In Chicago, where I grew up, the schools are now 95 percent Black and Latino, yet just over the border, they're 95 percent white, and this is true in almost every metropolitan area. Yet the court said there's no remedy for this." This was followed by other decisions in the early 1990s, holding that once desegregation orders had been in effect for a brief time, those orders should end, whether or not the effect of doing so would lead to further resegregation. Further five to four Supreme Court rulings held that even voluntary desegregation plans that used race as one factor in assigning students were unconstitutional.
In California, Chemerinsky described a similar impact from Proposition 209, which he campaigned unsuccessfully to defeat. He cites the disparity in racial diversity between private law schools, which are not constrained by Proposition 209's prohibition on affirmative action, and public law schools, which are. "Five years afterwards, the Stanford Law School had 9.5 percent African American students, and USC 11 percent. UC Berkeley's Boalt Law School had 3 percent and UCLA 2 percent. One student told me that in her three years at Boalt she never had a Black student in her class. The Supreme Court," he warned, "is likely soon to constitutionalize Prop 209."
Even the erosion of academic freedom, Chemerinsky asserts, is connected to court decisions undermining the right to education and desegregation. He cited the Supreme Court's decision in the Garcetti case in Los Angeles, holding that public employees have no First Amendment protection for speech on the job, even when they're fired for carrying out their responsibilities. The court has similarly eroded the rights of students to free speech, he says. "How can you teach students about the First Amendment if the people teaching them, and they themselves as students, have no First Amendment rights?" he asks.
"This can be changed, however, and it must be changed," he concludes.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: email@example.com; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; email@example.com; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; email@example.com; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; email@example.com http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; email@example.com; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; email@example.com; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.