Last Saturday, the nation was shocked by the sudden death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, 79, of natural causes. Scalia was well-known for his bulldog-ish attitude and his conservative, strict constructionist judicial philosophy — although, he rejected this term, prefering “textualist” or “originalist”. Nonetheless, Scalia opposed to broad interpretations of the Constitution’s text, leaving him famously opposed to gay marriage, women’s rights, the Voting Rights Act, and affirmative action.
Scalia’s death will have immediate impact on several high-profile cases scheduled to be decided this Supreme Court session, and legal scholars at SCOTUSblog say the predicted tie votes will likely lead to reargument in the next session after a new Supreme Court Justice is appointed to fill the vacancy left with Scalia’s passing.
Meanwhile, the fight over whom President Obama will nominate to the nation’s highest court — or, even whether the Senate will obstruct these proceedings until after a new president has been inaugurated — has already begun. Just hours after Scalia’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed that Senate Republicans would refuse to confirm any person nominated by President Obama to the Supreme Court.
Although these days, Former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao is predominantly seen stumping with husband Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConell, Chao has built an impressive history as a public servant in her own right, breaking through a number of barriers to Asian Americans in Washington.
Her career in politics began in the Reagan Administration when Chao, a Republican, worked as Deputy Administrator of the Maritime Administration of the US Department of Transportation. She went on to serve as Deputy Secretary of Transportation and later as Director of the Peace Corps under President George H.W. Bush. Eventually, she was appointed as the 24th Labor Secretary under the junior Bush, and became the only Cabinet member of George W. Bush’s administration to serve out his full two terms. Chao is the first Asian American woman to be appointed to any of these positions, including as a Cabinet Secretary — the nation’s highest appointed office.
A staunch conservative, Chao has politics that are very nearly the polar opposite to my own. There’s very little I agree with when it comes to Chao’s philosophy (less that I agree with when it comes to her husband Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell), but no one can or should deny Chao’s accomplishments as a forthright and powerful Asian American woman in politics.
That’s why, in my mind, there is absolutely no justification for the racist, anti-Asian tirade of Kathy Groob, a Kentucky-based Democrat and founder of the Elect Women PAC, earlier this week.
Since 2001, Reappropriate has been the web's foremost Asian American activism, identity, feminism, and pop culture blog!