Arguments yesterday in front of the Supreme Court could determine if same-sex couples get the same federal rights as others. Roberta Kaplan is representing Edith Windsor. She argued against the Defense of Marriage Act in the Supreme Court yesterday and discusses the case on "Starting Point."
She merely quotes her client's remarks regarding the arguments in saying "It was a good day."
The case of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin before the U.S. Supreme Court today could officially do away with affirmative action as we know it. The case could result in a rare 4-4 tie because Justice Elena Kagan has recused herself. But the issue is hardly new.
White student Abigail Noel Fisher sued the University of Texas after her college application was rejected in 2008. Texas provides admission for students in the top 10% of high school and the rest of the applicants are in a pool where race is taken into consideration. CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin, author of "The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court," joins Soledad on “Starting Point” this morning with more on the case and its possible outcome.
Affirmative action came up in another case in 2003, when Justice Sandra Day O'Connor decided that race may be used as one factor in admissions. The current case is a direct challenge to that decision.
The main difference between this case and the original case in 2003 is “the Supreme Court is different.”
“The facts are not significantly different. Every court that has looked at this issue since 2003 has simply followed Justice O’Conner’s instructions,” Toobin says. “Certainly the only implication you can draw by the fact that the Supreme Court agreed to hear this case is at least some justices think Justice O’Conner was wrong and they want to get rid of the consideration of race and affirmative action in university admissions.”
“This case really focuses on the 14th Amendment, and basically what Ms. Fischer says is, ‘Look, by considering race, you are not treating individuals as individuals. You are using racial categories, and that’s what the 14th Amendment was designed to combat,’” Toobin adds.
Toobin says the university disagrees and is arguing that “the educational environment is richer, is made better” through affirmative action.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Fisher v. The University of Texas today, an important case that will decide whether the University's race-conscious admissions policy violates the rights of some white applicants.
Specifically, the case concerns Abigail Fisher, a UT applicant who was denied admission and is arguing that the University's policy violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment because it allows officials to consider race when making admission decisions.
At the University of Texas, the top 10% of each high school class statewide is granted admission automatically. For those below the top ten percent, like Abigail Fisher, who was in the 11th percent, the University uses what it calls a "holistic review," where race is one of many factors considered.
University President Bill Powers says that race doesn't get much weight in the consideration, and and didn't play a role in Fisher's rejection.
On Starting Point this morning, Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger, who served as a defendant in two Supreme Court cases on affirmative action when he was president of the University of Michigan from 1996 to 2002, points out that the University of Texas' 10 percent policy is "unique to higher education."
"This case involves an usual set of facts," Bollinger says. "No other university uses that so it’s possible that the court just wants to look at that particular policy."
Bollinger also explains why he supports affirmative action, saying, "This is something that is part of the tradition in the United States of bringing people together from different life experiences to create a better, richer educational environment so all the students who are admitted to schools basically can do the work. We know that. They’re the very top students and within a pool of candidates and that’s how we select our student bodies."
As the health care ruling was made inside the Supreme Court yesterday, media outlets scrambled to make sense of the complex, 193 page ruling.
A little-known website called "SCOTUS blog" was the first to report that the law had been upheld and the blog's live feed peaked at over 800,000 views during Thursday's coverage.
SCOTUS blog co-founders Tom Goldstein and Amy Howe join Starting Point this morning to discuss their site's success.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the health care law championed by President Obama this Thursday.
Referring to the day of the ruling as the "nerd Super Bowl," CNN’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin tells Soledad O’Brien that he will be surprised if the court upholds the law in full on Starting Point this morning.
In terms of how the ruling falls in relation to the timing of the election, Toobin says, “[The Supreme Court] is very much aware of the politics surrounding everything they do.”
However, Toobin notes that he does not think the Supreme Court will “sit around and talk about what the political fallout of their decisions will be.”
Watch more from Soledad’s interview with Jeffrey Toobin in the clip above.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule this week on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The most contested portion of the bill which was passed in 2010 under President Obama, is the universal mandate, a requirement that all Americans get health care or face fines.
Acording to a CNN/ORC poll conducted in May, 43% of Americans support the health care bill, while 34% oppose it because it is too liberal, and 13% oppose it because it is not liberal enough.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has been vocal in her opposition to the bill and tells Soledad O'Brien on CNN's "Starting Point" she hopes to see a "full-scale repeal".
"This is absolutely unprecedented because government has never before, on the federal level, forced an American to purchase a product or a service just because that individual breathes," Rep. Bachmann says.
Watch more from Soledad's interview with Rep. Bachmann on CNN's "Starting Point" in the clip below.
UPDATED: Since the publishing of this blog, the Supreme court ruled to reject key parts of the Arizona immigration law. Read the latest on our This Just In blog.
CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on the likelihood of a ruling from the Supreme Court today on AZ immigration law and Obamacare.
Jeffrey Toobin explains why he thinks that the back and forth between the Justice Department and a federal court about President Obama's comments about the Supreme Court health care decision is "not a real controversy."
Jeffrey Toobin discusses a federal court's request that the Justice Department submit an explanation of fundamental constitutional questions dealing with the health care law.
CNN senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin talks about the ranging predictions for the SCOTUS decision on the health care law.