Friends of Webster

Raised in the house, but field certified.

Justice Served in New Haven, Connecticut (MSNBC)

White Fire Fighters

Link to Article on Justice Kennedy’s Opinion: Equal Civil Rights is Blind once equal civil rights is had. 

June 29th, 2009 Posted by | Conn. Law | no comments

The Vitriolic USNA Diversity Debate/The one-sided CGA Diversity Discussion

(1) Navy Times: Annapolis Professor at Odds with Minority Recruiting Practices (2) The Capital: ‘Cost’ of diversity at the Naval Academy is a Price Worth Paying (3) Cummings: CGA Can do a better job on Diversity 

The most interesting aspect of the Coast Guard Academy’s diversity issue is the lack of an all-inclusive debate.  The Coast Guard’s official blogs have nearly ignored the topic.  Two prominent unofficial blogs have also veered off into different directions. 

The more service-aligned blog, CGBlog.org, includes the contributions of active duty personnel and a mutually-beneficial relationship with CG headquarters. The writers are passionate about their service to the country and they often recognize operational successes that go unnoticed. The media usage and format is aesthetically pleasing and official looking. The diversity of the team nearly reflects the make up of the Coast Guard. No one writes anonymously, however there is an apparent rumor that psuedononymous blog names serve as an unfettered and unfiltered vehicle for opinion and initiative. Officials from Coast Guard headquarters frequently post clarifying statements and answer requests for information via post comments.  

The service-maligned blog, Coast Guard Report, has a strategically anonymous feel to it. They are mostly, if not all, members of sea-faring services.  They are minorities and they care about minority issues. The level of research and writing skill far surpass the notion of the site being used in the manner of anon/pseudo trolls. The attraction to the site is to the information and analysis that each post provides. Little to no information provided to the blog arrives from communication by named sources; sources take a bit longer to evaluate and verify because of the lack of cooperation from CG HQ. 

CGBlog contributors, with the exception of Peter Stinson, seldom address the CG’s non-operational (often explosive) issues that arise in media. Coast Guard Report (CGR) contributors thrive on that information.  CGR has generated interest enough to break at least two regionally/nationally covered stories.  After perusing dozens of comments on the media’s account of these diversity issues, it is easy to see the line that has been drawn.  For the majority of minorities, diversity is opportunity. It is America at its finest.  For the racial majority, diversity is an issue that they refuse to discuss. Or, diversity is a liability and the discussion of it would reveal raw emotions that are too strong and maybe too politically incorrect to own up to.  Most notably, the sentiment found on comment boards is that minorities would be too intellectually inferior to perform well on that platform. It is a divisive issue and it takes time so people need to calm down… 

Brown v. Board of Education (Brown I) was argued 10 years before the first black graduate of the Coast Guard Academy was indoctrinated.  The case that is widely called “Brown II” rebutted the original class action suit, nine years prior to Merle Smith’s 4th class year. “Brown III” was addressed and legally resolved in 1978. The effects of that 1978 verdict were not implemented until 1994. The success of that verdict wasn’t seen until 1999; one district in Topeka, Kansas achieved the notable status of “full desegregation.” De jure segregation ended in the American south long before Cadet Merle Smith’s indoctrination in 1962.  De Facto segregation continued for 48 years in Topeka, Kansas and there, full integration is still in its infancy. A half-century is not too extensive of a wait to achieve the government’s standard of diversity in the most notable landmark segregation/civil rights litigation in U.S. history. 

The number of African-American applicants has decreased steadily since 2006. See Myrdal’s Principle of Cumulation. I’ve read that 3,400 students applied to the CGA class of 2013.  Elsewhere, it is noted that while there are only five black appointees in the class of 2013, only 35 or so applied.  There is little substantive similarity between the current de facto issues and the de jure issues that were addressed in Brown. The comparison lies with the de facto issues that lingered after the de jure segregation had been outlawed. The diversity problem that Congressman Cummings is incensed about couldn’t possibly take longer to mend than Brown v. Board of Education. If Cadet Merle Smith’s arrival on Mohegan Avenue started the clock, 48 years runs in 2010. How much can an institution change in a year?

June 22nd, 2009 Posted by | Conn. Law | no comments

Ricci v. Destafano; Civil Rights at the Forefront

The New Haven, Connecticut Fire Department has the entire legal world abuzz.

WSJ: New Haven’s Racial Test

NPR: Supreme Court Hears Fire Fighter Promotion Case

World Mag: Supreme Court Tackles Race (again)

Connecticut Law Tribune: New Haven Race Case Inspires Vigorous Debate

From the looks of it, this Supreme Court case will leave many unsettled stomachs.  No matter the side of the fence you stand, this quintessential race case will shake the foundations of both.  The question seems to be discriminatory intent or Disparate Impact?  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 preceeds my opinion.  It should not be what is best for those black firemen but it is what is best for the sovereignty of law. The Equal Protection Clause has been used as grounds for plaintiffs and defendants for decades but even after 45 years, the question remains, “Equal Opportunity” or “Equal Outcome?”

Opportunity has to be met with preparedness, true, and Equal Outcome has failed occasionally in the past but where should the Supreme Court draw the line? Where should other African-American starved organizations draw the line when the issue of black membership arises?

I glanced over some recent posts on the Coast Guard Report and there is similar conversation in the comments section of, “Connecting the Dots: Appendix C to the Booz Allen Hamilton Report on Coast Guard Civil Rights.”

It would serve the Coast Guard well to have a case like this in the national spotlight. Sometimes Civil Rights issues need to be thrust upon an organization to force resolution. With the break down of the CG office of Civil Rights and the special attention profferred by Congressman Elijah Cummings, it seems as though now may be that time.

April 22nd, 2009 Posted by | Conn. Law | one comment

Obama’s Ear is to the Ground, soon He Will be Asking the Advice of this USCG Officer

CDR Glenn Sulmasy knows what he is talking about. He taught me volumes about the Geneva Convention, ICC–The Hague, UNSC, the World Court, and the general principles of Constitutional/Criminal law.  Can’t say it hasn’t come in handy. Joking aside, the points in the recent opinion pieces will open some stubborn eyes.  I am sure that he and I disagree about a lot, but one thing that has always drawn me to his analyses is the simple concept of America as a beacon of light. The premise that America should lead by example is dismissed as idealism by some.  To others, this was envisioned from the beginning. It is a requisite for the “more perfect union” that we strive to attain. Sulmasy’s viewpoints have gone seemingly unchanged since I sat for every law course possible at CGA. President-Elect Obama will be calling him to his office, sometime in the near future. I sense that he respects those willing to take unpopular stands.

 OBAMA1.jpgSulmasy.jpg

“Restoring America ‘s image is best served by ensuring all detainees are afforded a timely trial. The National Security Court System, a hybrid of the two prevailing approaches, will best achieve the delicate balance between ensuring the safety of our nation, while still ensuring the promotion of human rights and the rule of law.” -CDR Sulmasy

 

Point/Counter Point: Glenn Sulmasy and David Kaye-LA Times

CDR Glenn Sulmasy, USCG: Create Hybrid Courts for those Held at Guantanamo-The Day, CT

December 18th, 2008 Posted by | Conn. Law | no comments

Pennsylvania Ave?