Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

. . . 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?”

Dear Reader,

Your charitable support for First Things is urgently needed before July 1.

First Things is a proudly reader-supported enterprise. The gifts of readers like you— often of $50, $100, or $250—make articles like the one you just read possible.

This Spring Campaign—one of our two annual reader giving drives—comes at a pivotal season for America and the church. With your support, many more people will turn to First Things for thoughtful religious perspectives on pressing issues of politics, culture, and public life.

All thanks to you. Will you answer the call?

Make My Gift
More on: Current Affairs, Law

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles