REP. ALMA ADAMS
WHAT CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
WILL THE HIGH COURT UNDO
By Cash Michaels
The day after the conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that Roe v. Wade would no longer give women the constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy, a Facebook post put it best:
“Nothing like drinking your first cup of coffee in America where our so-called freedoms are being eroded by the court. Police no longer have to [Mirandize] you. Women have no control over their bodies and you can carry a gun damn near anywhere. Amerikka!”
What the writer was referring to was the High Court’s whirlwind blizzard of jaw-dropping decisions last week that fundamentally changed the America from what most citizens had taken for granted.
On Thursday, June 23rd, by a 6-3 vote, the high justices ruled that in fact police don’t have to advise suspects of their right to remain silent, their right to speak to an attorney, and their right to have an attorney present during interrogations by police, primarily because technically there is no constitutional right to any of that. And thus, suspects who are not Mirandized have no legal basis to later to file suit against authorities. All protections are not removed upon arrest, the court said, but essentially, the police are now more protected than ever before.
Before most people could catch their breaths about that ruling, on the same day, again by a 6-3 margin, the conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court shot down New York state’s restriction on who can carry a concealed weapon in public. The ruling reportedly affects six states plus Washington, D.C., and may spur future litigation as to who can and cannot carry a concealed firearm.
And then of course, Friday, June 24th brought the decision to end all decisions. By 6-3, the High Court, decided that after nearly fifty years, women did not have a constitutional entitlement to a medically safe abortion.
So now, states that want to maintain that right for women can. And states that want to outlaw abortion within their borders, can do so as well. immediately. Many advocates say the ruling will hurt poor women of color the most.
“This decision will affect everyone, but the impact will fall hardest on who already face barriers to care: Black and Brown women, those who live in rural areas or have lower incomes and can’t afford to cross state lines for care, young people and LGBTQ people, and women in abusive relationships,” said NC Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12).
So legal experts are now asking, “What basic constitutional rights are next on the target list?” Black conservative jurist Justice Clarence Thomas, the longest serving member of the High Court, wrote in his concurring opinion that the court “should consider”looking at it’s past rulings granting the right to contraception access, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriages.
Pres. Biden warned that now “a whole range of rights’ are on the chopping block. The court’s liberal minority wrote that the conservative majority is not done with its work. The LGBTQ community warns that the conservative majority is signaling an era of expanded restrictions on personal privacy.
In short, there is no such thing as “settled law” if the conservative majority follows Justice Thomas’s lead to roll back the rights of the past fifty years on the High Court.
Like a wise man once said, “Elections have consequences”
HBCUs ON THE
TO BLACK LIVES MATTER
By Cash Michaels
If your high schooler is considering a historically black college or university (HBCU) to attend in the near future, this is the right time to do it.
According to a recent article in the New York Times, HBCUs - of which there are 100 nationwide that enroll an estimated 300,000 students (80 percent of whom are Black) - are experiencing an unprecedented level of support and growth from all areas, and the Black Lives Movement is being credited for it.
Thus far, the Biden Administration has announced a record $2.7 billion in funding for HBCUs.
Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated $560 million to 23 public and private HBCUs ($45 million to NC A&T University in Greensboro - the nation’s largest HBCU), and Congress eliminated $16 billion in debt for HBCUs that had taken federal loans for capital projects.
And in December 2020, Congress also passed the HBCU Propelling Agency Relationships towards a New Era of Results for Students (HBCU PARTNERS), a law, according to The Hill newspaper, “that requires certain federal agencies to annually explain how HBCUs can compete more effectively for contracts and grants.”
In a state like North Carolina, that has more HBCUs the any other in the nation (ten), the renaissance is inescapable.
Recently, Fayetteville State University made headlines when it received a $5.8 million gift from a private, anonymous foundation in Raleigh.
Philanthropist Scott also shared her bounty with Winston-Salem State University to the the tune of $30 million, and $15 million to Elizabeth City State University.
And there have been numerous corporate gifts to HBCUs in North Carolina, and elsewhere, and the mindset turnaround has been impressive, especially since just a decade ago, several HBCUs were facing perilous times.
Some, like Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, were facing closing their doors over accreditation problems. In 2016, the NC General Assembly was seriously discussing shuttering Elizabeth City State University because of low enrollment. Fayetteville State University and Winston-Salem State University were also on the chopping block as well, if not having their names changed.
But it was in the aftermath of the tragic 2020 police murder of George Floyd that the Black Lives Matter Movement pushed for more support of, and investments in African-American institutions that American corporations and philanthropies saw the wisdom of opening their checkbooks. The result for HBCUs, in addition to help from the federal government, has been amazing.
“…[I]nvesting in HBCUs will bring a significant return on investment,” assures HBCU alum Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, CEO of The Hunt Institute in a 2021 op-ed. “But, before we see that ROI, it will require equitable investments now. They will need help with increasing financial stability through alternative funding revenue streams, substantially increasing endowments with more aggressive fundraising among philanthropists and other individual donors (including alumni) and foundations.”
Dr. Siddiqi continued, “ HBCUs are more than a band, more than a football team, more than Greek life, more than education. Historically Black Colleges and Universities are a place for students to “become.” They carry a legacy with the heritage of more than 180 years of producing some of the nation's top scholars, politicians, athletes, entertainers and individuals. These institutions and their students deserve the support of policymakers and education leaders to ensure their longevity.”