Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Liberal Judges: Equality Violates Equal Protection Clause

Go figure!

Last week, a divided Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, which amended Michigan’s constitution in 2006 to ban racial discrimination and preferences in government contracts, employment, and education. In a 2-to-1 ruling, the judges claimed that the constitutional amendment violated the Constitution’s equal protection clause by eliminating racial and gender preferences. The two judges in the majority were appointed by Clinton; the dissenting judge was appointed by Bush.

The ruling contradicts common sense — how can the Equal Protection Clause require that people be treated unequally? — and turns the Constitution upside down. The ruling in Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action v. Regents of the University of Michigan also contradicts multiple prior court rulings over the years. A virtually identical state constitutional amendment in California, known as Prop. 209 or the California Civil Rights Initiative, was upheld in 1997 by another federal appeals court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Coalition for Economic Equity v. Wilson, a ruling that the Supreme Court declined to overturn. It was also upheld by the California Supreme Court in a 6-to-1 vote in Coral Construction, Inc. v. San Francisco (2010).

The court’s ruling striking down the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative was contemptuous of its own past precedents. In 2006, a different panel of the Sixth Circuit earlier overturned a preliminary injunction against the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative in Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action v. Granholm, concluding that the legal arguments against it had no merit. Those meritless legal arguments were the very arguments later relied upon by a different group of judges on the same court to strike it down in the July 1 ruling.

The Sixth Circuit’s bizarre ruling to strike down equality as a violation of equal protection will harm taxpayers by increasing the cost of government contracts. Taxpayers of all races pay more when government contracts are assigned based on race, rather than awarded to the lowest bidder. Even fairly mild racial preferences impose substantial costs on businesses and taxpayers.

For example, in the Domar Electric case, Los Angeles accepted a bid for almost $4 million to complete a contract rather than the lowest bid of approximately $3.3 million, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $650,000. The lowest bidder was rejected solely because it failed to engage in affirmative action in subcontracting. California’s Proposition 209 later limited this sort of racial favoritism by banning racial preferences, saving taxpayers money. A number of state affirmative-action programs have since been struck down under Prop. 209, saving taxpayers millions of dollars. The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative is modeled directly on Prop. 209. (I cite the Domar case because it involved an affirmative-action program that has been depicted by supporters as unobjectionable and unburdensome because it did not mandate racial quotas. Racial quotas can lead to even larger disparities between the lowest bid and the bid accepted by the government, resulting in much higher costs to taxpayers).

Similar savings in government contracts can be expected if the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative is ultimately upheld (it is codified in Article 1, Section 26 of the Michigan Constitution). The Michigan Attorney General has announced plans to appeal the ruling striking it down.


British Women's Institute banned from tending flowers on roundabout memorial in case they're run over

When a council scrapped a floral display at a war memorial to save cash, the Women’s Institute volunteered to tend the flowers for free. It seemed the perfect solution to the problem – until the dreaded health and safety issue reared its head.

A councillor deemed it ‘too dangerous’ to let the women look after the flowerbeds because they might be run over on the way to the memorial, which is on a roundabout where four minor roads intersect.

The extraordinary ban has infuriated the institute’s local leader, who pointed out that its members were perfectly capable of looking both ways before stepping off the pavement and that they ‘don’t all have Zimmer frames’.

The row started after Spelthorne Borough Council in Surrey last month decided to remove the display at Shepperton war memorial to help save £14,000 a year in gardening fees.

The nearby Upper Halliford WI sent a letter to the council saying its members would happily set up a rota to tend the flowers.

But Tory councillor Robin Sider, who sits on the planning committee and is also chairman of Shepperton Horticultural Society, said he reluctantly could not allow it. ‘It was a wonderful gesture,’ he said. ‘However the war memorial is on a very dangerous roundabout, so while I am appreciative of their help I can’t let them undertake the task in case any one of them was run over. 'It’s a very busy stretch there, where four roads meet. It would be too much of a risk for them.’

Julie Bloomfield, president of Upper Halliford WI, said she expected to fight the decision. ‘I told Mr Sider we could help out by tending the flowers, but he was very adamant that we should not jeopardise our lives to tend the war memorial. ‘I wouldn’t have thought it was much of a problem. We all know how to cross roads and not all of us have Zimmer frames.

'I agree with helping out when you can, but we are not being allowed to in this case because of health and safety concerns we might get run down.’

Catherine Broad, 54, who lives near the war memorial, said she was appalled the offer had been turned down. ‘When we are encouraged to dig in and help as part of Big Society, you would think this is exactly what is meant.’

Last year Bucknell Women’s Institute in Shropshire was told to complete a risk assessment despite having tended to the garden at the village railway station without an accident in 25 years.

And in 2004 the WI was banned from bringing home-made cakes into Saffron Walden Community Hospital, Essex, for patients because members’ kitchens had not been inspected.


Do Kids Prefer Playmates of Same Ethnicity?

Finding: "Birds of a feather flock together"

Multicultural daycares don't necessarily foster a desire for kids of visibly different ethnicities to play together. A study on Asian-Canadian and French-Canadian preschoolers has found these children may have a preference to interact with kids of their own ethnic group. Led by researchers from Concordia University and the University of Montreal, the findings are published in the European Journal of Developmental Psychology.

"We found Asian-Canadian and French-Canadian children seemed to prefer interacting with kids of the same ethnic background," says Nadine Girouard, a research associate in the Concordia Department of Psychology and member of the Centre for Research in Human Development (CRDH). "Both groups were more interactive with children of the same ethnicity and, when matched with kids from another background, preferred solitary play."

This study builds on previous investigations that have shown preschoolers prefer to play with children of the same ethnic group. The research team also observed how multicultural playmates could influence conflict among peers of the same ethnicity -- findings that contradict previous studies. "We observed that Asian-Canadian children frequently removed or attempted to remove toys from each other," explains Girouard. "When interacting with peers of the same ethnicity, Asian-Canadian pre-schoolers were more competitive."

Participants were recruited from six daycares located in Montreal and its suburbs: 30 mostly, second-generation Asian-Canadians and 30 French-Canadians. Children were paired with peers they had known for at least three months. According to the research team, social mores likely prompted a lack of interaction between cultures. "Asian-Canadian children talked less and they chose non-verbal ways to interact and collaborate," says Girouard.

French-Canadian children used longer sentences when interacting with same-ethnic peers, yet decreased their verbal interactions when playing with Asian-Canadian peers. "Children of both groups adapted their behaviours by speaking less in the case of French-Canadian children and by speaking more in the case of Asian-Canadian children," says coauthor Dale Stack, a professor in the Concordia Department of Psychology and CRDH member.

"Consistent with some past research, self-expression and social initiation are highly valued in Canadian culture, self-restraint and cooperation may be more important in Chinese and Asian-Canadian culture and this has an impact on multicultural peer interactions," she continues.


Britain's useless justice system -- too soft to be any deterrent

More than 150 rapists freed early from prison went on to rape again

Ministry of Justice statistics revealed last night the shocking extent to which sexual predators are re-offending, many after being freed from prison early.

The figures were described as ‘astonishing and alarming’, and prompted calls for tougher sentences for violent sex attackers.
Casebook of the serial offenders

Critics demanded better monitoring of dangerous offenders to ensure they cannot repeatedly commit horrendous crimes.

The disclosure comes after a storm of protest over Government plans to halve jail terms for rapists and other violent offenders who admit their guilt.

Ministers performed a U-turn over the proposal last month, but suspicion remains that judges are under pressure to reduce sentences and release offenders early as the Ministry of Justice seeks to cut millions of pounds from its budget.
Casebook of the serial offenders

Since 2006, a total of 154 convicted rapists have been jailed a second time for the same crime. It means these repeat sex attackers are responsible for around one in every 30 rapes.

The official data also shows a sharp increase in the numbers of rapists released from prison every year, and that more are serving less than half their sentence.

The figures were revealed in response to parliamentary questions by Conservative MP Priti Patel. Last night she said: ‘The public will be astonished and alarmed by these facts.

‘This is more evidence that these people should get longer sentences to be kept off the streets. ‘It is concerning that some of these rapists are being released too early and then going on to commit more crimes and causing untold extra trauma for their victims.’

Anti-rape campaigners said the protections put in place to stop dangerous criminals reoffending were obviously not working.

Angie Conroy, of Rape Crisis, said: ‘It may cost more for longer sentences and better offender programmes but the alternative is the cost to society of more rape attacks.’

A teenager known only as Emily, who was raped by convicted offender Alan Weston, said: ‘Rapists need longer sentences, not shorter ones. These people ruin the lives of others and they should not be allowed the same privileges the rest of us have.’

Emily, who suffered a nightmare ordeal lasting for 15 hours after she was snatched off the street, said her parents still become anxious whenever she goes out, calling and texting her constantly for details of her whereabouts. ‘It really upsets me to see the way it still affects my family,’ she said. ‘We are all still paying a price. Victims of rape and their families get a life sentence, so why don’t the rapists?’

The Ministry of Justice statistics show that a total of 4,960 criminals were convicted for rape attacks in the last five years. Of those, 154 – or around three per cent – had already been convicted of rape. More than one in ten already had a record for some form of sex attack. The figures also show a total of 769 rapists were released from prison last year, compared with 515 five years earlier.

Sentencing rules mean anyone sentenced to a fixed prison term short of life is automatically released at the halfway point.

There has also been a sharp rise in the number of offenders let out without having served even half their jail term. Last year 86 rapists served less than 50 per cent of their sentence, compared with just 15 in 2001.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: ‘Anyone who commits a serious, violent or sexual offence should, and will continue to, receive a long prison sentence. ‘We work to minimise the risk posed by offenders in the community through continuous risk assessment and management.’



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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