Sunday, April 13, 2014

(Part 7--Thomas's Voting) The Supremes' Record in Racial Discrimination Cases: Decisional & Voting Figures for the Roberts Court

Let's get to Justice Clarence Thomas.

We've already looked at the records of Chief Justice Roberts, Justices Scalia and Kennedy, and the Court as a whole. The next most senior Justice is Thomas. So let's see how he's been voting in these cases involving issues of racial discrimination.

First up, as in previous posts, is a look at his support for complaints brought by Whites versus his support for those brought by Racial Minorities. Here's Thomas's record alongside those of his 3 colleagues that we've seen in previous posts.
(click graphs to enlarge)
Like Roberts, Scalia, and Kennedy, Thomas voted to uphold all of the complaints in racial discrimination cases brought by Whites. Again like those others, he voted much less frequently to uphold complaints brought by Racial Minorities. Beyond that, Thomas's support for the complaints of Racial Minorities is, like Scalia's, the lowest we've seen.

Indeed, if we exclude those clearer, more straightforward cases, where the Court was in unanimous agreement, his record is even more striking. Let's look at Thomas's voting in the closer cases, where the Justices were divided.
No change of course in the 100% support for complaints by Whites. As for the complaints brought by Racial Minorities, Thomas--again, like Scalia--did not vote to uphold any of them.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

(Part 6--Kennedy's Voting) The Supremes' Record in Racial Discrimination Cases: Decisional & Voting Figures for the Roberts Court

Thus far in this series, we've focused on the records of the Supreme Court as a whole, of Chief Justice Roberts, and of Justice Scalia. We looked at how the Court decided and how those Justices voted in cases involving issues of racial discrimination.

Now let's turn to Justice Anthony Kennedy. In doing so, we'll juxtapose his voting record alongside that of Roberts and Scalia.

As in the last two posts, let's start with the bluntest voting breakdown we've been considering: how frequently Justice Kennedy supported complaints brought by Whites and how frequently he supported complaints brought by Racial Minorities. Here are the figures for Kennedy--again, depicted alongside those for Roberts and Scalia.
(click graphs to enlarge)
As depicted in graph 1, Kennedy voted to uphold every claim (7 out of 7) involving racial discrimination brought by Whites. As we've seen previously in this series for Roberts and Scalia, Kennedy's record in support of complaints brought by Whites was a perfect 100%. 

Regarding complaints brought by Racial Minorities, Kennedy supported roughly half of them. Notably, his record of 45% (5 out of 11) to uphold Racial Minority claims is higher than Roberts', and much higher than Scalia's. Kennedy's record would seem to be consistent with his reputation for being more ideologically moderate on many issues than the other conservatives on the Court.

That contrast is sharper when we exclude cases with unanimous decisions--i.e., cases where the issues seemed clear enough that all the Justices agreed, including Scalia. So, considering only the non-unanimous, closer cases--those where the Justices were divided--here's what Justice Kennedy's record looks like, alongside Roberts' and Scalia's.
Of course, the 100% pro-White claimant voting record of Kennedy, as well as that of Roberts and Scalia, does not change. The 3 of them voted to uphold the White complaint in every case, whether the racial discrimination issue was clear or close, whether the Court's decision was unanimous or divided.

As for Kennedy's voting on complaints brought by Racial Minorities, his record is virtually the same when the unanimous decisions are excluded. But the contrast between his record and that of Roberts and Scalia is even more stark.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Saratoga Highlights--2013 (Part 5: Top Ten #'s 5, 6, & 7)

NYRA just mailed the applications for season seats for the 2014 Saratoga meet. Completed mine immediately, and now the countdown to the July 18th opening day becomes more intense.
But while dreams of this year's 40 days of the best horses, the best... Well you know the mantra. Let's continue our reminiscences about last season.

Thus far in this series we've looked at the (my) first 4 picks of last year's Top Ten:
1 Will Take Charge in the Travers
2 Princess of Sylmar in the Alabama
3 Wise Dan in the Fourstardave
4 Royal Delta in the Personal Ensign.

Let move to the next 3 of the 2013 meet's best.

Highlight # 5
Alpha, winning the Woodward

The Woodward is one of the premiere races run all year, at Saratoga or anywhere. In recent years, the Woodward produced some of the greatest races won by some of the greatest champions. Havre de Grace and Rachel Alexandra and Curlin and Lawyer Ron. And before them, there was Ghostzapper, Mineshaft, Lemon Drop Kid, Cigar, and Holy Bull among others.

(click to enlarge any photo)
Alpha (right front) Holding the W-W Lead
by Bob Mayberger
Well in 2013, the line-up included Flat Out, Successful Dan, Ron the Greek, Paynter, and the longshot at 8-1, Alpha. And what would you know?

From the outside, Alpha was taken immediately to the front by Johnny V and he never gave up the lead. He was challenged early by Paynter and then in deep stretch by Flat Out. But he dug in and prevailed by a head.

Alpha (right) by a Head at the Line
by Adam Coglianese
Alpha's last victory came at Saratoga in the previous year's Travers (in the dead heat with Golden Ticket), just a month after he had won the Jim Dandy. He had not won in the intervening 6 races, and he has failed in his 4 attempts since the Woodward.

But the then-4 year old son of Bernardini was certainly the star on that last Saturday of the 2013 meet.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

(Part 5--Roberts' Voting) The Supremes' Record in Racial Discrimination Cases: Decisional & Voting Figures for the Roberts Court

In the last post in this series, we looked at Justice Antonin Scalia's record. We saw that his voting heavily favored complaints brought by Whites, and virtually never those by Racial Minorities.

We also saw that, regardless of the claimant's race, he rarely voted for the position that would help protect Racial Minorities. Moreover, we saw that his record did not correspond to support for race-blind equality either. Instead, his voting largely opposed measures and arguments for the promotion of race-blind equal treatment--except where the beneficiaries would be White.

[Disclosure: Yes, I find Scalia's record appalling--if not wholly surprising. But the description of Scalia's record is based on how he actually voted, not on my or anyone else's opinion of the Justice himself.]

Now let's turn to Chief Justice John Roberts. Let's look at his voting, and also look at how his record compares to Scalia's. First, what about voting in support of complaints brought by Whites versus those brought by Racial Minorities?
(click graphs to enlarge)
As depicted in graph 1, Chief Justice Roberts' record is somewhat less stark than Justice Scalia's. His voting has been just as supportive of complaints brought by Whites--as in perfectly so. But his voting has been more supportive than Scalia's of those brought by Racial Minorities.

Roberts' voting support of Racial Minority claimants has not been strong. But it has been double that of Scalia's. Indeed, if we exclude the unanimous decisions--where the issues were sufficiently straightforward to garner every Justice's vote, including Scalia's--the contrast becomes sharper. Take a look.
In those cases where the Justices divided--i.e., those closer cases where there apparently were strong arguments on both sides--Roberts did sometimes vote to uphold the complaint brought by Racial Minorities. As we've seen, Scalia never did.