Friday, August 31, 2012

Supremes will revisit affirmative action in college admissions

Fisher v. Texas, on the high court's docket for next term, will revisit the Grutter case.

What was Grutter?

Supreme Court of the United States

Barbara GRUTTER, Petitioner,
Lee BOLLINGER et al.

No. 02-241.

Argued April 1, 2003.
Decided June 23, 2003.
Rehearing Denied Aug. 25, 2003.
See 539 U.S. 982, 124 S.Ct. 35

Law school applicants who were denied admission challenged race-conscious admissions policy of state university law school, alleging that the admissions policy encouraging student body diversity violated their equal protection rights. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Bernard A. Friedman, J., 137 F.Supp.2d 821, held that the law school's consideration of race and ethnicity in its admissions decisions was unlawful and enjoined law school from using race as a factor in its admissions decisions. Appeal was taken. Sitting en banc, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, 288 F.3d 732, Boyce F. Martin, Jr., Chief Judge, reversed the District Court's judgment and vacated the injunction. Certiorari was granted. The United States Supreme Court, Justice O'Connor, held that: (1) law school had a compelling interest in attaining a diverse student body; and (2) admissions program was narrowly tailored to serve its compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body, and thus did not violate the Equal Protection Clause.


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Take a stand against voter suppression

Take Action!
Clicking here will automatically add your name to this petition to Duke Energy:
"The American Legislative Exchange Council has successfully promoted voter ID legislation that has the potential to disenfranchise up to 5 million voters — especially people of color, young people, and seniors. It also orchestrates extreme anti-environment legislation across the country that lets major polluters off the hook. I urge you to immediately and permanently stop funding ALEC."
Automatically add your name:
Take action now!
CREDO Action | more than a network, a movement.
Dear Jim,
For years, the right wing has been trying to stop people of color, young people, and seniors from voting in order to help Republicans get elected — and now some of America's biggest companies, like Duke Energy, are helping them do it.1
Duke has helped pass discriminatory voter ID legislation by funding a rightwing policy group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Voter ID bills linked to ALEC have already passed in seven states, and similar voter ID bills have been introduced in 27 other states.
That's why we're joining our friends at Color of Change and a growing coalition of civil rights and environmental organizations calling on Duke Energy to end its support of this rightwing organization.
Supporters of discriminatory voter ID laws claim they want to reduce voter fraud (individuals voting illegally, or voting twice). But such fraud almost never actually occurs, and never in numbers large enough to affect the result of elections. What is clear is that voter ID laws prevent large numbers of eligible voters from casting a ballot, and could disenfranchise up to 5 million people.
The truth is that voter ID laws are discriminatory — African Americans, Latinos, seniors, students, and the poor are all less likely to have the photo IDs necessary to vote under these laws. For example, if you've recently moved because of foreclosure or some other economic circumstance, you're more likely to have an address that is not your current residence on your driver's license. If you don't have a car, you're less likely to have a driver's license in the first place.
ALEC's voter ID laws are undemocratic, unjust and part of a longstanding rightwing agenda to weaken the voting blocs that historically oppose Republican candidates. We have to expose the major companies like Duke Energy that are helping ALEC suppress the votes of millions of Americans before it's too late.
In addition to Duke Energy's role in funding ALEC's voter suppression attempts, Duke is also a member of ALEC's Environment, Energy and Agriculture Task Force, which shapes ALEC's climate change denial and dirty energy agenda. Legislation drafted and supported by this task force undermines local environmental protections, thwarts efforts to address climate change and prevents major polluters from being held accountable.2
ALEC's extreme anti-environment efforts, which Duke Energy plays a key role in shaping and supporting, directly contradict Duke's frequently stated support for legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change.3
In the past, Duke has been sensitive to public pressure calling out its hypocrisy on environmental issues. In 2009, after the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity was embroiled in a forgery scandal intended to mislead members of Congress about pending federal climate change legislation, Duke parted ways with the group, saying its activities were "not consistent with Duke Energy's work to pass economy-wide and cost effective climate change legislation as soon as possible."4
The same is now true of Duke's support for the American Legislative Exchange Council.
We hope Duke Energy will simply do the right thing and stop supporting ALEC. If they don't, we'll be prepared to shine a spotlight on them and make sure the world understands what they're involved in.
Click below to automatically sign the petition to Duke Energy:
Thank you for standing up against voter suppression and environmental hypocrisy.
Josh Nelson, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. ALEC Corporations, SourceWatch
2. Environment, Energy and Agriculture, ALEC Exposed
3. Climate Change, Duke Energy
4. Duke Energy Quits Controversial Coal Lobby Front Group, Huffington Post, 9/2/09


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A court in D.C strikes down a voter-ID law in Texas

United States District Court,
District of Columbia.

State of TEXAS, Plaintiff,
Eric H. HOLDER, JR., Defendant.

Civil Action No. 12–cv–128 (DST, RMC, RLW).

Aug. 30, 2012.
Adam W. Aston, John William McKenzie, Matthew Hamilton Frederick, Patrick Kinney Sweeten, Texas Attorney General, Austin, TX, Asha L.I. Spencer, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiff.

Elizabeth Stewart Westfall, Matthew Colangelo, Meredith E.B. Bell–Platts, Bruce I. Gear, Bryan L. Sells, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC, for Defendant.

Before TATEL, Circuit Judge, and COLLYER and WILKINS, District Judges.

TATEL, Circuit Judge.

*1 Pursuant to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Texas seeks a declaratory judgment that Senate Bill 14 (SB 14), a newly-enacted law requiring in-person voters to present a photo ID, “neither has the purpose nor will have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race [,] color,” or “member[ship] [in] a language minority group.” 42 U.S.C. §§ 1973c(a), 1973b(f)(2). To satisfy section 5's effect requirement, Texas must demonstrate that SB 14 will not “lead to a retrogression in the position of racial minorities with respect to their effective exercise of the electoral franchise.” Beer v. United States, 425 U.S. 130, 141 (1976). For the reasons set forth in this opinion, we find that Texas has failed to make this showing—in fact, record evidence demonstrates that, if implemented, SB 14 will likely have a retrogressive effect. Given this, we have no need to consider whether Texas has satisfied section 5's purpose element. Accordingly, we deny the state's request for a declaratory judgment....

Why does it matter?

Check out the tenth and final episode of this season's "The Newsroom" for the answer:

The short answer is that voter ID laws are one more way that the GOP is striving to disenfranchise the poor, who are likely to vote Democratic.  Add this to the Citizens United decision and the busting of public-employee unions in states such as Ohio and Wisconsin, and the picture of a broad strategy to steal an election and a nation begins to take visible shape.

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State reciprocity may be the key to expanding on-line learning

Seal of the United States Department of EducationSeal of the United States Department of Education (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So say a group of alleged experts on the subject.

But, meanwhile, many states are going their own merry ways in filling the regulatory void left by the U.S. Department of Education.

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Wouldn't it be nice if people we admire would stick to what they know?

English: Clint Eastwood at the 2010 Toronto In...
English: Clint Eastwood at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A case on point: Clint Eastwood's stupid speech at the GOP Convention.

Eastwood is a good actor and a great film maker.  But he's no politician, his brief stint as a mayor notwithstanding.  Okay, he's rich and Republican.  I can deal with that.  But making an ass of himself at his age is hard to excuse.

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Contingent Faculty, Fall 2012: Survey Results

August 30, 2012

Dear Colleague,
In the summer of 2011, New Faculty Majority Foundation (NFMF) created a survey to gather data about back-to-school hiring procedures and working conditions experienced by contingent faculty across the nation. A report of the survey results has been produced jointly by NFMF and the Center for the Future of Higher Education. Our website has the report as well as a free download of the instrument and much of the data at:
We hope that the information will be useful in your local advocacy and education work. Thank you to all in the NFM community who participated in the study!
Please let me know if you have questions.
Best regards,
Esther S. Merves, PhD
Director of Research and Special Programs
New Faculty Majority Foundation
To help us continue our work, make a tax-deductible donation to the NFM Foundation at
To learn more about NFM, visit

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