Tuesday, March 30, 2021

"You'd Have To Ask The Local School District"

Plyler v. Doe, 1982.  That's where this starts: an uncontroversial Supreme Court decision that the 14th Amendment (equal protection of the law) does not allow states to discriminate between citizens and non-citizens when it comes to providing education to children.  I always remember that case because "Plyler" was Jim Plyler, superintendent of schools where I grew up.  I was out of that school district 9 years when that ruling came down, but I went to school with his children, and knew him outside his role as the superintendent.

And yes, the case stands, among other things, for the principle that this is not Rome, and we don't deny certain privileges (other than voting, basically) to non-citizens just because they are not citizens.  Citizens are not a more legally privileged class than non-citizens, which is the unstated assumption behind that stupid question.  Equal protection under the law, is equal protection under the law.  Still a difficult concept for xenophobia and racists, and those who think they aren’t, but still worry about how “non-citizens” are getting “privileges.”

The other stupid part of that question being:  education is a matter for the states, except where state law  conflicts with the Constitution (Plyler v. Doe).  If the schools in San Diego want to provide in-person education to undocumented children (who obviously don't have access to computers and the internet, at least on a regular basis), what's the problem?  People are trying to be decent to other people?  That's a scandal at FoxNews? Or are only white American citizens really "people"?

Jen Psaki is a gem, and a consummate professional.  Me, I'd have the White House Briefing Room rigged with ejector seats by now, and would use that power freely.

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