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Two Supreme Court Cases Take Aim at Civil Rights

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The nation awaits decisions by the Supreme Court that could undo much of the progress achieved during the last 50 years for civil and equal rights in our country. This will occur if the Court declares either the "pre-clearance" -- Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 -- or the Act itself, unconstitutional and if it sets aside "affirmative action" as a useful tool for redressing some of the consequential effects Slavery and its legacy upon our current generation.

Section 5 requires certain designated states, principally from the "Old Confederacy," to obtain prior permission from the Dept. of Justice before materially changing their laws determining the qualifications and exercise of the right to vote within their respective states.

If this these pending decisions were not enough, in themselves, to give one angst and high anxiety, the Obama administration's decision to become more actively involved in the conflict in Syria and Obama's support for the pending 2013 immigration reform bill may be the proverbial "straw" that breaks the back of his support among progressives and significant leadership segments within the African-American community.

Many people do not know that America's first elected African-American president is poised to throw the high level of unemployment within the African-American community under the bus of the proposed 2013 immigration reform bill.

The current Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts may be the most conservative Court on civil rights issues since the Court's Dred Scott decision in 1857 under then Chief Justice Roger B. Taney.

Adverse rulings in the Voting Rights Act or affirmative action cases would not surprise me. Such rulings, together with President Obama's support of the pending immigration bill, without more concern about its impact on current black unemployment, however, do surprise me.

I underestimated the power of the unholy alliance of big donor high tech companies and corporate America, through its Chamber of Commerce, to determine and shape President's Obama's support for the pending immigration reform bill.

An Open Letter of the Black American Leadership Alliance, on June 3, 2013, a coalition of Black Labor leaders and organizations, stated that:

"More than 13% of all blacks are unemployed -- nearly double that of the national average, Congress must consider the disastrous effects that Senate Bill 744 would have on low skill workers of all races, while paying particular attention to the potential harm to African Americans..."

"Credible research indicates that black workers will suffer the greatest harm if this legislation were to be passed. We are asking that you oppose Senate Bill S.744 because of the dramatic effect it will have on the availability of employment for African American workers."

"...Most policy makers who favor the legalization of nearly 11 million aliens fail to acknowledge that decades of high immigration levels has caused unemployment to rise significantly, most particularly among black Americans. They further fail to consider how current plans to add 33 million more legal workers within ten years will have an enormously disastrous effect on our nation's jobs outlook."

"Many blacks compete with immigrants, particularly illegal immigrants, for low skilled jobs due to skill level and geography, and there are simply not enough of these jobs to go around."

The letter continues:

"Consider the fact that nearly 51% of African Americans do not have a higher education. In 2011, 24.6% of blacks without a high school diploma were unemployed. Even blacks with a high school diploma were unemployed at a rate of 15.5% that same year. Passing legislation to add additional workers to an already swamped labor market will only exacerbate these statistics."

Current unemployment among African-American male teenagers is 43.1%!

The intriguing political question is why is President Obama so willing to throw high black unemployment under the bus of legislative expediency to achieve immigration reform?

Is it all just a question of a major shift in political power and leverage?

Is the alliance of the needs of corporate America, especially the high tech companies together with fulfillment of the legitimate aspirations of millions of illegal immigrants for de facto amnesty simply so great that President Obama believes he can afford to politically sacrifice the needs of his most ardent base of support, the African-American community?

If not, then, the concerns of the coalition of organizations who wrote the "Open Letter" opposing the pending Immigration Bill should be addressed, NOW.

They are planning a major rally on July 15th, in Washington, DC as a follow up to their Open Letter of June 3rd, 2013. Their rally is scheduled forty-three days before the 50th Anniversary on August 28th, 1963, of greatest coalition of labor and minorities assembled at the March On Washington For Jobs and Freedom.

*Members of the Alliance Include:

Frank Morris, Former Executive Director, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, President and Founder of BOND (The Brotherhood Organization of A New Destiny); Bishop Felton Smith, Prelate of the Tennessee Eastern First Jurisdiction and Senior Pastor of New Covenant Fellowship Church of God in Christ in Nashville, TN; Charles Butler, Veteran Chicago area Talk Show Host of The Take with Charles Butler; Leah V. Durant, Former US DOJ Immigration Attorney and Executive Director, Progressives for Immigration Reform; T. W. Fair, President and CEO, Urban League of Greater Miami; Vernon Robinson, Former Council Member, Winston-Salem, NC and former candidate for US Congressional Office; Kevin Jackson, Radio Host and Executive Director, The Black Sphere; Leo Alexander, Broadcaster, Writer and Political Commentator, Washington, DC; Kevin Martin, Business Owner, Writer and Political Commentator; Tom Broadwater, National Chair, Americans4Work.