Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Court’

 

riots

Whenever I hear about the words peaceful protest and civil disobedience I think of tree hugging hippies that chain themselves to a tractor singing hymns. Answering violence with peace to me never seemed like a good idea. The only example I had to relate to the boycotting of the buses orchestrated by the NAACP and MLK Jr. Martin Luther King Jr was inspired Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy Satyagraha, which means adherence to truth. I am not against civil disobedience as a whole. I just feel that this cannot be the only course of action when you face corrupt governments, dictators, rebel armies, extremists and other psychopaths who would scowl at any measure of trying to make peace without the use of lethal force.

riot

For the most part I get it, using brutality against brutality ends in more bloodshed. Honestly though, after peace talks have failed, strikes that don’t grab anyone’s attention and interventions between the two parties have not and most likely will not agree, it’s no longer a matter acting “civil.” Take for instance back in 2011, in an attempt to overthrow Hosni Mubarak’s 30 year reign, protestors formed mass non-violent demonstrations.  900 of the protestors were killed during these demonstrations.In a twist of irony the Egyptian army who would not open fire on the crowd, which signaled the turn around in the protest that lead to Mubarak’s downfall. The army was not eager to relinquish power and ended up throwing the protestors in jail. Another protest in Libya against the military might of Muammar al-Qaddafi was met with rebellion after the peaceful demonstrations did not work. The turmoil was finally resolved after nine months of bloodshed that resulted in a body count with a range from 10,000 to 30,000 people.

Also in Syria in 2011 the civil war between Alawites, Christians and Drutes  against Assad’s barbarous regime that claimed close to 5,000 citizens a month for 7 months. That’s around 35,000 lives taken and this was supposed to be peaceful protesting. Even in American history, peaceful resistance resulted in lives lost. The Native Americans were forced off their land at gunpoint. After the Supreme Court ruled that they do not own land back in 1823, Native Americans made attempts to stay on their land. President Andrew Jackson enacted The Indian Removal Act, after the Supreme Court (Worcester vs Georgia)upheld their right to stay on the land. Jackson’s motives were,based on his acquirement of gold during the gold rush era. 4,000 Native Americans lost their lives on the Trail of Tears and this shows that even political and judicial victories will never overrule greed, corruption and disregard of human life.

riotsss

The greatest example that comes to mind for my case, not to abide by civil disobedience is Mahatma Gandhi. He wanted India independence from Britain. He fought to end discrimination and the heavy taxes on his people. During Gandhi’s time in South Africa he witnessed and experience deep seeded racism against himself and his people. This inspired him to rally allies and gather for a rebellion. However, during 1947 riots against Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs resulted in over half a million deaths, which is suspected to be more according to Jens Arup Seip in addition to over 100,000 imprisoned. India eventually gained independence in 1947. The irony in his non violent protests is that Gandhi was not against violence in his own words he argued, Gandhi explains his philosophy and way of life in his autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth. Gandhi realized later that this level of nonviolence required incredible faith and courage, which he believed everyone did not possess. He therefore advised that everyone need not keep to nonviolence, especially if it were used as a cover for cowardice, saying, “where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.”

I’m not against peace talks, and strikes I just know the rebellious spirit of the founding fathers still lives in the American spirit. Oppressive forces in this country are the militarized police in place of the British Red Coats. One thing that we need to keep in mind is the insatiable thirst for blood that was inherited from the mother country. It is not in our nature to understand peaceful resolve in my opinion without it being a secondary thought. We fell heir to the predatorial, rapacious,avaricious manner of the plunderers of the villages of our authoritarian rulers. The ones who were more domineering than anyone else.

 

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(Reuters) – Quest Diagnostics Inc on Tuesday became the largest U.S. company to start offering gene-based tests for inherited forms of breast cancer since the U.S. Supreme Court ended Myriad Genetics Inc’s monopoly on the tests for specific gene mutations.

Quest, the largest U.S. medical testing company by revenue, said its BRCAvantage tests will search for mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which dramatically increase a woman’s risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers.

After a long legal battle, the U.S. Supreme Court in June ruled that naturally occurring human genes could not be patented, effectively ending Myriad’s stranglehold on the market for BRCA testing.

Myriad’s BRCA tests gained worldwide attention earlier this year when Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie publicly announced she had undergone a double mastectomy after learning through the Myriad test that she carried the gene mutations and an 87 percent risk of developing breast cancer without the preemptive surgery.

Breast cancer kills about 458,000 people each year, according to the World Health Organization. It estimated that one in 300 to one in 500 women carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. An estimated five percent to 10 percent of female breast cancers are associated with inherited gene mutations with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations the most commonly identified cause, Quest said.

Despite the vast publicity surrounding Jolie’s announcement and the subsequent Supreme Court ruling, a national survey of 1,460 U.S. women aged 18 and older conducted for Quest found 72 percent of respondents had never heard of the BRCA test.

Fifty eight percent said they would want to know if they carried the high-risk gene mutations, yet only 17 percent of those who said they were familiar with BRCA testing had discussed it with a healthcare provider, according to the survey conducted this month by Harris Interactive.

The size of Quest could help spread awareness along with availability of the genetic testing. The Quest BRCA tests are now available in 49 states and awaiting a state review in New York, where it is expected to be available later this year, the company said.

Quest has more than 2,100 centers in the United States at which patients can submit blood samples for genetic testing. The cost of the test is about $2,500, a drop from the $3,000 to $4,000 Myriad had charged for its tests.

Quest said it believes the vast majority of women for whom BRCAvantage testing would be appropriate will have it covered under health insurance plans.

“Patients need to understand their cancer risks in order to make the most informed and timeliest decisions about their health,” Jon Cohen, chief medical officer for Quest Diagnostics, said in a statement.

Original Post –http://health.yahoo.net/news/s/nm/quest-to-offer-genetic-test-for-breast-cancer-risk

FILE - This Oct. 8, 2010 file photo shows the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court at the Supreme Court in Washington. Seated from left are Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, and Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Standing, from left are Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito Jr., and Elena Kagan.  The Supreme Court on Thursday, June 28, 2012, upheld the individual insurance requirement at the heart of President Barack Obama's historic health care overhaul. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
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FILE – This Oct. 8, 2010 file photo shows the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court at the Supreme Court in Washington. Seated from left are Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, and Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Standing, from left are Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito Jr., and Elena Kagan. The Supreme Court on Thursday, June 28, 2012, upheld the individual insurance requirement at the heart of President Barack Obama’s historic health care overhaul. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Just 10 years after the Supreme Court upheld the University of Michigan’s use of race in admissions as a necessary step to foster campus diversity, the justices are set to decide whether that state’s voters are allowed to ban affirmative action in admissions entirely.

The case, Schuette v Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, is one of several controversial cases on the docket in the 2013-14 term, which begins Monday.

The justices are also set to decide cases concerning campaign finance, prayer at legislative meetings, and abortion rights.

If the justices decide in Michigan voters’ favor, it could lead to a spate of states banning affirmative action through ballot initiatives and would almost certainly result in declining enrollments of minority students in public colleges around the country.

In 2006, Michigan voters approved a measure to amend the state constitution to prohibit the government from “discriminat[ing] against, or grant[ing] preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” The voter initiative, called the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, effectively banned affirmative action at state schools.

The measure came just three years after the 2003 Grutter v Bollinger case, where the court decided in a 5-4 vote that the University of Michigan Law School could grant admissions preferences to minority applicants in the interest of fostering diversity for the entire study body. (The decision barred the use of racial admissions quotas, however.)

Black enrollment has plummeted 30 percent at Michigan’s undergraduate and law schools since the 2006 affirmative action ballot initiative. Nine other states have barred the use of race in admissions as well, and the Supreme Court’s decision this year could either cement those policies or effectively eliminate them, depending on its scope.

The architect of the 2003 Grutter v Bollinger decision, Sandra Day O’Connor, has since retired and been replaced by the more conservative Samuel Alito, shifting the balance of the court rightward. That has led legal experts to believe affirmative action could be on the chopping block the next time an acceptable case reached the court.

But last June, the justices surprised court watchers by passing on the opportunity to strike down the University of Texas’s use of affirmative action in undergraduate admissions, sending the case back down to a lower court for review. And this Michigan case is not a good platform for the justices to consider the legality of affirmative action itself, since it addresses whether a state may ban affirmative action, not whether affirmative action is constitutional.

“The court may say something that bears on the Grutter case, but it’s not going to overturn the Grutter case,” Gail Heriot, professor of law at the University of San Diego and an opponent of race-based affirmative action, told Yahoo News.

If the court ultimately reverses itself on affirmative action and declares it discriminatory, it would most likely be when the University of Texas case wends its way back to the court, she added.

But the stakes are still high, both for voters who want to ban the use of race in admissions in their state and universities who say it’s incredibly difficult to maintain racial diversity on campus if they’re required to use totally race-blind admissions.

The argument in favor of allowing Michigan’s ballot initiative is that it’s well within a state’s right to bar preferences and discrimination based on race. Just because the Supreme Court says the Constitution allows racial preferences in admissions doesn’t force a state to do so as well, the argument goes.

The case against the ballot initiative is not so straightforward.

Affirmative action defenders say the initiative puts minorities at a distinct disadvantage because it singles them out and says universities cannot favor or discriminate against them while not singling out other groups that might be eligible for special treatment, including legacies, athletes, and veterans. That means that the children of alumni, for example, could lobby a university to privilege them in admissions, but minority applicants would have no ability to do so since the initiative has made it explicitly illegal.

That’s where conservative leaning swing vote Anthony Kennedy comes in.

In 1996 Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in Romer v. Evans, ruling that Colorado voters could not amend the state constitution to prevent the government from protecting gays and lesbians as their own group in anti-discrimination policies. Kennedy wrote that since this ballot initiative intended to single out gay people as ineligible for special protection, it violated their right to equal protection under the law.

Geoff Stone, a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago, says Kennedy will have to show that the Michigan ballot initiative is different from Romer and not discriminatory.

“In his own mind, [Kennedy] saw Romer as a law that was discriminating against gays and lesbians, whereas…he sees this as a law that simply guarantees racial equality,” Stone said. “It all depends on Kennedy.”

Most legal experts believe that Kennedy will join the four more conservative justices in upholding the Michigan ballot initiative. Justice Elena Kagan has recused herself, probably due to her work on the case as solicitor general under President Barack Obama. If the justices split 4-4, the lower court’s decision striking down the ballot initiative would stand.