Republicans Attack the Deceased Justice Thurgood Marshall

From Dana Milbank, "Kagan may get confirmed, but Thurgood Marshall can forget it," Washington Post, June 29, 2010:
As confirmation hearings opened Monday afternoon, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee took the unusual approach of attacking Kagan because she admired the late justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom she clerked more than two decades ago.

"Justice Marshall's judicial philosophy," said Sen. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, "is not what I would consider to be mainstream." Kyl -- the lone member of the panel in shirtsleeves for the big event -- was ready for a scrap. Marshall "might be the epitome of a results-oriented judge," he said.

Stephanie Jones comes to the defense in "Thurgood Marshall's legacy deserves cheers, not sneers," Washington Post, June 30, 2010:
It was Marshall who, with Howard Law School Dean Charles Hamilton Houston, his mentor, conceived and then painstakingly effectuated the jurisprudence that led to the striking down of the odious "separate but equal" doctrine that threatened to destroy this country. While many decry "activist judges" (by which they seem to mean judges who uphold civil rights for minorities and women), those judges who undermine civil rights often demonstrate the most extreme forms of activism. Judges such as those who declared in Plessy v. Ferguson that racial segregation was constitutionally sound turned the Constitution on its head and made a mockery of equal protection. Those activist judges subjected an entire segment of Americans to more than half a century of state-imposed degradation, subjugation and humiliation.


Black College Enrollment Up Because of the Recession

The Pew Research Center has found a significant increase in college enrollment from 2007 to 2008. It attributes this increase to primarily to a surge in minority enrollment. The enrollment of first-time, full-time, first-year college students increased 15 percent for Hispanics, 8 percent for blacks, 6 percent for Asians, and 3 percent for whites.

This increase is only apparent with data from postsecondary institutions on first-time, full-time, first-year college students. Other data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on the broader category of 18- to 24-year olds enrolled in college finds a decline in college enrollment for blacks. It is possible that the numbers for first-year students are up while the total enrollment numbers are down.

Minorities and the Recession-Era College Enrollment Boom

College Enrollment Hits All-Time High, Fueled by Community College Surge


Metropolitan Unemployment by Race

African American unemployment rates

"The black unemployment rate in both the Detroit and Minneapolis metropolitan areas was just over 20% (see Table 4). These were the highest rates for blacks. Washington D.C. had the lowest black metro unemployment rate in 2009, 8.1%. Fourteen of the metro areas had black unemployment rates that exceeded 11.3%. None was less than 7.3%. By contrast, in 11 of the 18 metro areas analyzed for blacks, whites had unemployment rates below 7.3%.

"The black-white unemployment ratio was highest in Minneapolis and Memphis. In these metropolitan areas, the black unemployment rate was three times the white rate. In both of these cities the black-white gap was also over 10 percentage points. The black-white ratio was lowest in Detroit, but blacks were still 1.5 times as likely to be unemployed as whites. On average, blacks were twice as likely to be unemployed as whites."

--From Algernon Austin, "Uneven Pain: Unemployment by Metropolitan Area and Race," Issue Brief #278 (Washington, D.C.: Economic Policy Institute, 2010).


Hear Algernon Austin and others discuss the 3-to-1 black-white unemployment disparity in the Minneapolis metro area on Minnesota Public Radio.

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--Algernon Austin, Ph.D.


Hispanics Now Lead in Teen Births

Of the major racial/ethnic groups, black teens used to have the highest teen birth rate. Between 1990 and 2008, however, the black teen birth rate was nearly cut in half. Hispanics experienced a much smaller decline which left them with the highest teen birth rate.

The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that roughly 1-in-4 Hispanic 19 year old females are mothers, but 1-in-5 black 19-year-old females are mothers. The comparable white rate is about 1-in-10.

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--Algernon Austin, Ph.D.

Copyright © 2005-2010 by Algernon Austin. All Rights Reserved.