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High court to look at Michigan ban on preferences in university admissions
The Supreme Court Justices will decide the constitutionality high-profile challenge to affirmative action.
March 25th, 2013
04:48 PM ET

High court to look at Michigan ban on preferences in university admissions

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

Washington (CNN) – The Supreme Court agreed Monday to confront another high-profile challenge to affirmative action in college admissions.

The justices will decide the constitutionality of a voter referendum in Michigan banning race- and sex-based discrimination or preferential treatment in public university admission decisions.

The high court is currently deciding a separate challenge to admissions policies at the University of Texas, which did not involve a voter referendum.

A federal appeals court last year concluded the affirmative action ban, which Michigan voters passed in a 2006 referendum, violated the U.S. Constitution's equal protection laws.

Appeals court strikes down Michigan's affirmative action ban

It was the latest step in a legal and political battle over whether the state's colleges can use race and gender as a factor in choosing which students to admit. The ban's opponents say classroom diversity remains a necessary government role.

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Filed under: Education • History • Race • Where we live
Obama expects debate on immigration reform bill next month
March 25th, 2013
03:08 PM ET

Obama expects debate on immigration reform bill next month

By Alexander Mooney, CNN White House Producer

(CNN) – Seeking to ignite congressional movement on immigration reform, President Obama said Monday he expects the Senate to take significant action on the issue next month.

"I expect a bill to be put forward. I expect the debate to begin next month. I want to sign that bill into law as soon as possible," Obama said at a naturalization ceremony at the White House.

"We are making progress, but we've got to finish the job," Obama said.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • How we live • Immigration • Politics
March 25th, 2013
09:00 AM ET

The county where no one's gay

By John D. Sutter, CNN

Editor's note: John D. Sutter is a human rights and social change columnist for CNN Opinion. E-mail him at CTL@CNN.com or follow him on Twitter (@jdsutter), Facebook or Google+. This column contains language that may offend some readers.

Franklin County, Mississippi (CNN) - Statistically speaking, Franklin County should be straighter than John Wayne eating Chick-fil-A. The middle-of-nowhere rectangle in southwest Mississippi - known for its pine forests, hog hunting and an infamous hate crime - is home to exactly zero same-sex couples, according to an analysis of census data.

In other words: It's a place where gays don't exist.

At least not on paper.

Before I visited Franklin County, I figured there must be gay people living in Straight County USA. But I didn't expect anyone to be open about it - and with good reason. As part of this op-ed project, I recently ranked the Hospitality State as one of the least hospitable for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, based on its lack of legal protections. In addition to allowing gays and lesbians to be fired because of who they are, Mississippi is also gracious enough to let landlords evict gay residents.

Those are great incentives for a gay person to become invisible. And being invisible, of course, could mean avoiding census workers.

I drove to this place of rolling hills and misty valleys with a few questions on my mind: Can there really be such a thing as an all-straight county? If so, what is it like to be someone who never has met a gay person? Do you just watch "Glee" and figure it out?

If there are gay people in Franklin County, what keeps them hidden?

I spent a few days searching for answers before I realized I was making the wrong assumptions: It's not that gay people here (or anywhere really) want to be in the closet, necessarily. It's the rest of the world that pushes them in and shuts the door.

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