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. . . from his dissent in Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois , in which the majority of the Court held that hiring or firing low-level government employees based on party affiliation violated the First Amendment, dealing a blow to the “If there’s a job that can’t be done by a Democrat, let’s abolish the job” school of patronage politics:

By supporting and ultimately dominating a particular party “machine,” racial and ethnic minorities have - on the basis of their politics, rather than their race or ethnicity - acquired the patronage awards the machine had power to confer. No one disputes the historical accuracy of this observation, and there is no reason to think that patronage can no longer serve that function. The abolition of patronage, however, prevents groups that have only recently obtained political power, especially blacks, from following this path to economic and social advancement.

“ . . . but what would a bunch of WASPs like you know about the compensating benefits of patronage?”

More on: Current Affairs, Law

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