Saturday, June 30, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court & Obamacare

The decision Thursday by the United States Supreme Court and the reaction by several governors over the health care act known as Obamacare, reminds me of an earlier time in American History, but a time I was around to experience and remember.

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court in a landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education (Topeka) declared that state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students was unconstitutional.  This case overturned Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) which allowed state sponsored segregation.

In 1957, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus called out his states' National Guard to block black students' entry to Little Rock Central High School. President Eisenhower responded by deploying elements of the 101st Airborne Division and federalized Faubus' National Guard. Over 40 years later, I met one of the Little Rock Seven, Ernest Green, who had become an executive in the securities industry.

In 1963, I watched on live TV as Alabama Governor George Wallace personally blocked the door at the University of Alabama to prevent the enrollment of 2 black students.  Wallace, an ardent segregationist, had been known to repeat his mantra "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" several times for the TV audience. Wallace moved aside when confronted by General Graham and Nicholas Katzenbach, Asst. Attorney General. General Graham of the Alabama National Guard was ordered by President Kennedy to intervene and moved Governor Wallace to make history.

All Southern States required segregation by law and it would be many years before the fighting over the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in 1954 was fully implemented.

Now we have many of the governors of these same states fighting the implementation of the health care act as it relates to Medicaid. They are going to opt out of that part which would help the poorest citizens of their state. The south is still fighting the federal government, and I wonder how much of this fight is also tied to race?

Well, that is my opinion, and I am sure you have yours.

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