It was actually a good day
Two things happened on June 26, 2018, that were good. First, Latinx Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonja Sotamayor along with Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg authored the most significant written dissent, delivered orally, of any U.S. Supreme Court decision in at least two generations to the hideously regrettable decision in Trump v. Hawaii. The decision that upheld Donald J. Trump’s blatantly racist and racially bigoted ban on adherents of the Islamic faith’s ability to enter the United States on national security grounds. The version approved by the Supreme Court was the third iteration of Trump’s travel ban for Muslims. One would expect that staff at the U.S. Department of Justice should be able to get a travel ban constitutionally correct on a third try.
The Sotomayor dissent is a thing a beauty and fury and rage. It calls a spade a spade. It makes that statement with such force and vigor that Chief Justice Roberts in response to the dissent does the all but unimaginable: he declares invalid the original decision in Korematsu, the shamelessly racist decision that upheld the illegal internment of American citizens of Japanese descent during WWII. German and Italian Americans were not treated in this way even though they had national and cultural ties to America’s Axis enemies.
I am not sure if having Korematsu declared invalid was Justice Sotomayor’s goal, but that she accomplished this as something of a by-blow to her attack on the majority opinion in Trump v. Hawaii is noteworthy. Let me put it this way, maybe she doesn’t hit like a girl. In the current military parlance, she shoots like one.
The other good thing that happened involved a young woman, a self-identified Democratic Socialist, Alexandrina Ocasio-Cortez. Ocasio-Cortez, took out the incumbent Democratic Congressional Representative, a man who was fourth in line in the current House Minority leadership. A man who had well known ambitions to becoming the next Democratic Speaker.
Ocasio-Cortez represents the new demographic in what was once a white ethnic working class Congressional district. It is now a majority minority district full of hard-working immigrant families from places other than Ireland and Italy. To his credit, the man Ocasio-Cortez defeated, was gracious in conceding the contest, he dedicated and performed the song “Born to Run” for her. If elected, Ocasio-Cortez will be one of the youngest people ever elected to Congress. It’s less about balance than is about the transformational process of politics.
As I said, it was a good day.