Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Phew. It was good to be back in class today... although I must say that, continuing the pattern of the last few days, I have very little to write about.
The morning was, well, the morning. I was groggy after staying up late to finish my paper (editing at 2 AM is not the wisest of choices, nor the most productive) and hadn't had breakfast before class, opting for an extra half hour of sleep instead. The choice was a good one: food would have made me sleepy. In class we went over Plessy v Ferguson and Brown v Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. Its funny, going over these landmark cases in such legal detail; everyone in the States thinks they know about them, equates Plessy to mean “separate but equal” and Brown as the shining beacon that ended all that, but there is so much more to each of them. Brown was such a lucky collection of circumstances that all added up to its incredible ruling: for instance, because that year was an election year, the people in the Brown camp put off pushing the case until afterwards to try and keep the political agenda and the politicians out of the Courts way, or at least as out-of-the-way as they normally were. And then after hearing the oral arguments, the Court essentially took a break from Brown since they did not have to announce their ruling for many months, and it was during this break that the Chief Justice, who had been a stout supporter of the constitutionality of segregation, passed away. He was replaced by the much more liberal Chief Justice Warren, who through his politics and essentially nagging of the other Justices brought about the unanimous decision that we have in Brown v Board of Ed. Fascinating!
Lunch was nothing more than a quick hop over to the library to print, edit, and reprint the final draft of my paper before wolfing down some grub at the dining hall; by that point I was starving!
The afternoon was movie watching. We learned more about Justice Hugo Black and the important role he played on the Court, and also a bit about his potentially-scandalous background. One of the movies was going more in-depth about what the actual effects of Brown were, and the last one dealt with the Japanese internment case Korematsu v United States. That video made me sick, frankly. For all that our generation is hardened to war photos and images of horrendous violence, apparently I'm still not quite immune to everything: the way our government, the United States government, treated their own citizens because their parents, grandparents, or even great-grandparents came from “an enemy race” is just sickening. No, not sickening: enraging.
Hmmm. That doesn't seem like a good note to end the blog on. On Fourth of July I promised more pictures but never got around to it; so here, a week late, are two of the photos I took on Independence Day. Good night and enjoy!