At this juncture in American history, when the citizenry seems to require frequent reminders of the landmark decisions and actions that poured and preserved the foundation of our constitutional democracy, we would do well to recall the transformative importance of Near v. Minnesota (1931), in which the Supreme Court delivered a ruling that built a wall of protection for freedom of the press against governmental censorship.
Nov. 1, was the date that paved the way for “the spirit of the season.” Many of you might be thinking, “Please, no! November first is much too early to begin talking about Christmas.” Don’t worry. I am saving the Christmas column for next month. This month I want to talk about a different season. One we typically don’t consider a season, but rather a holiday. A one-day celebration that occurs on the fourth Thursday of November. Just days away. I am talking about Thanksgiving.
Did you get your deer? On Monday of this week, it was the question of the day as determined deer hunters returned to work with or without their trophy. We didn’t hunt this year. Our deer stand is buried in downed trees from last Memorial Day’s storms. Yes, we could have sawed our way through the debris, the stand is still in the tree and although the cushion is dead, the stand itself survived the storm unscathed. However, the downed trees changed the patterns of the deer trails, and now the stand is in the wrong place. Our freezer was full anyway and we had nowhere to put the meat, so we offered to provide hunting support.
The controversial use by college admission committees of an applicant’s race was the subject of a five-hour hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court this week in cases involving Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. The lengthy oral argument brought to a fever pitch the long simmering question of the constitutionality of race conscious programs—affirmative action policies-- that were upheld in the Court’s landmark ruling in 1978 in Regents of University of California v. Bakke.