SCOTUS review: Discussing major cases

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Arizona State University law professor Paul Bender and Attorney Stephen Montoya of Montoya, Lucero and Pastor joined Arizona Horizon to review the latest, big cases handed down by the U. S. Supreme Court. The discussion began with the point made by President Biden, who commented on the fact this is not a normal court.

“I guess I agree with him,” Bender said. “This was going to be an interesting term. It’s the first full term where all three Trump appointments were sitting, and so everybody’s interested in what this term is going to look like. For most of the term, it looked like it wasn’t going to be as conservative as people feared.”

However, the last week of the term was a complete turnaround, and it went back to what people did fear: an extremely conservative court, Bender said.

Details on the affirmative action case

“What the court decided was that race-conscious affirmative action done by a governmental school is unconstitutional, and done by a school that gets federal financial assistance, which almost everybody does, is a violation of federal law Title VI. Where they get that from, I don’t know,” Bender said.

“I really think the case was mis-lawyered. I was looking at the briefs this morning, and I was listening to the oral arguments. Neither Harvard nor the University of North Carolina, a member of the confederacy, a slave state, argued that any reparative justice or the demand for reparative justice toward the African American community justified affirmative action,” Montoya said. But that’s exactly what would have won, he added.

“The court has gotten the 14th Amendment all wrong. The Constitution is not color blind. The 14th Amendment is not color blind. The Congress that proposed the 14th Amendment is not color blind. The main purpose of the 14th Amendment was to ratify a statute that Congress had passed, which was race specific. They wanted to give Black people the same rights as white people. That’s what the statute said,” Bender explained.

The purpose of the statute was to integrate society and bring Black people into the community, and the fact that the court now says it violates the 14th Amendment is astounding, according to Bender.

Paul Bender, ASU Law Professor; Attorney Stephen Montoya, Partner at Montoya, Lucero and Pastor

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