Tuesday, July 30, 2013

GWorks Reviews: Adam Liptak’s To Have & Uphold

As Adam Liptak, Supreme Court correspondent for The New York Times since 2008, has done the fine favor of distilling marriage equality into fewer than 50 electronic “pages,” I feel I should reciprocate with a short review.

To Have and Uphold is a clear and engaging—at times even dramatic—recounting of marriage equality’s recent past.

There. Done.

Mr Liptak takes us on a tour. We start in the Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy delivers his Opinion for a 5-to-4 majority in US v. Windsor, the case striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), defining marriage as between a man and a woman. He endures Justice Antonin Scalia’s acid dissent from the bench.

We get some history, too. We see the early boldness of California’s Supreme Court on race and marriage equality. We cruise through increasing state activity, including both California’s Proposition 8, recognizing marriage as between a man and a woman, and the multiplication of states legalizing same-sex marriage.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

GWorks Interviews: Wade Henderson

“I was always a firm believer in the promise of what America offered its citizens but on the receiving end of policies that segregated and kept out vast numbers of the American people. I felt always that I was in turmoil because it was hard for me to reconcile the promise of America with the reality of America. As a student of history I also was familiar, of course, with the journey from slavery to freedom of African Americans but also of the country of which we are a part.”

Wade Henderson is President & CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund (The Leadership Conference), the nation's premier civil and human rights coalition. Representing a diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations, The Leadership Conference promotes and protects the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. Mr Henderson is also Joseph L. Rauh, Jr., Professor of Public Interest Law at the David A. Clarke School of Law, University of the District of Columbia.

Part One: A Firm Believer The civil & human rights activist discusses his work, the Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, & how recent gains by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Americans fit in to the arc of America's struggle with equality.

Part Two: Never Past Shelby County v. Holder, the 25 June 2013 Supreme Court decision declaring unconstitutional the “coverage formula” of Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965; the roles of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jnr, and Justice Clarence Thomas; and knowing the Civil Rights movement has seen worse.

Part Three: In Context(s) The balance between the progress America has made with racial equality and the challenges we confront—in voting and beyond.

Part Four: Faith & Experience What the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder means for civil rights advocacy and how change will come in a dysfunctional political atmosphere.