SCOTUS set to declare racism over. Isn’t that nice?

Must. Hit. Head. On. Wall. Adam Serwer:

Pop champagne: Racism is over.

“There is an old disease, and that disease is cured,” Bert Rein, the attorney leading the legal challenge to the Voting Rights Act—the landmark law intended to ensure all Americans can vote—told to the Supreme Court on Tuesday. “That problem is solved.”

Rein represents Shelby County, Alabama, one of the jurisdictions covered by a key section of the Voting Rights Act called Section 5. Under Section 5, parts of the country with histories of discriminatory election practices have to ask for permission—or “preclearance,” in legal terms—from the Justice Department before making any changes to their voting rules. But the South, where most of the covered jurisdictions are, has changed, Rein said, and the law, although once justified, is now unfair and unconstitutional. The five conservative justices on the Supreme Court seemed to agree. “The Marshall Plan was very good too, but times change,” argued Justice Anthony Kennedy.

That’s not to say all discrimination is a thing of the past. In the eyes of the high court’s conservatives, America has transcended its tragic history of disenfranchising minorities, but there’s still one kind of discrimination that matters: Discrimination against the states covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Justice Antonin Scalia said that it was “sort of extraordinary to say” that “Congress can just pick out…these eight states,” referring to the states covered by Section 5.
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Governor Tom Terrific

Still doing his bit for the plutocracy!

HARRISBURG, Pa.—State and school employees would be forced to forgo nearly $12 billion worth in pension benefits over the next 30 years if Gov. Tom Corbett’s pension reform plan is approved, according to an administration analysis released Tuesday.

The itemized summary marked the first time the administration has publicly disclosed estimates of the savings and costs associated with the multifaceted pension reform plan Corbett unveiled in his budget address this month.

The Republican governor’s proposal to reduce future benefits for current employees is the centerpiece of his pension-reform initiative. But it faces an uphill fight in the Legislature and possibly the courts.

“We will maintain that doing so would be unconstitutional,” Wythe Keever of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, said Tuesday.
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The war on teachers continues

And now, the war on teacher pay begins in Philadelphia:

It’s going to be a long summer.

The Philadelphia School District wants its teachers to lengthen their workdays, give back up to 13 perent of their salaries, and forego pay raises at least until 2017. It wants to reduce the money paid out to departing employees, weaken seniority and give principals full authority over hiring and firing teachers.

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers officials on Tuesday confirmed some details of the district’s initial contract proposal, which the Inquirer has obtained. School officials have been saying for months that they need up to $180 million in labor givebacks annually to avert a five-year deficit of more than $1 billion.

The teachers’ contract expires in August.
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