“This election”, says Columnist, Cal Thomas, “is about a lot of things, but it is fundamentally about the Constitution. He is right. It is fundamentally about the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. The appointments to the Supreme Court by the next President cannot be overstated. It is likely that he/she will appoint two, perhaps, three persons to the Court; a Court which will decide the future direction of this country. Blacks, and others, have always depended on the Court to decide issues of constitutionality without regard to political consideration at the time.
Even though it is the President who chooses the Supreme Court nominees, and the Senate that confirms them, it is the Court that really decides the direction of this country. That is why it is important that we elect the right person who will appoint the members of the High Court. Although his/her appointments to other departments are important, none can compare to the appointments to the Supreme Court.
Let us not forget that the Supreme Court interprets the Constitution in relation to the facts at the time that it is being interpreted. That is why over time, while the Constitution has not changed, the facts have. When the Supreme Court ruled in 1857 in the Dred Scott case that “Blacks had no rights that whites were bound to respect,”It interpreted the Constitution according to the facts at the time. At the time, blacks were slaves, and were considered as property.
In 1896, when the Supreme Court ruled that “Separate but equal is the law of the Land,” we were 32 years out of slavery, and we were subjected to humiliating racial segregation when we were defined as colored people, and were confined to colored restrooms, and forced to go to the back door, and ride on the back of the bus. Then in 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation, based on race, was unconstitutional, and in education, must end with all deliberate speed. All over the South, there was resistance, and all out rebellion. While segregation was legally dead, in practice it was not. And there was only resistance and rebellion. In Little Rock Arkansas, Nashville and Clinton, Tennessee, Birmingham and Selma, Alabama, Oxford, Jackson, and Philadelphia, Mississippi.
From Arkansas’ Ross Barnett to George Wallace standing in the school house door in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, declaring, “Segregation today, Segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever,” to Georgia’s ax handle wielding, Lester Maddox, southerners resisted and fought to maintain segregation. It was a way of life in the South, and whites wanted to maintain it.
It has been the Supreme Court that has upheld the rights of blacks, Latinos, and others. It is the High Court that has made sure that the Majority has protected the rights of the minority. It is, therefore, important that we elect someone on November 8, 2016 who will appoint judges that will continue to insure the rights of all Americans, “who hold these truths to be self-evidence, that all men are created equal, and who are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” That is why believers in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence can always “go high when others go low.”
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