The AP reports some blockbuster news:
Like many towns across America, the exclusive lakefront community where Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. grew up during the racially turbulent 1960s and ’70s once banned the sale of homes to nonwhites and Jews.
Pretty shocking stuff. Of course, as the article acknowledges, the Roberts’s house “did not include a racially restrictive covenant,” and such covenants “had begun fading away” by 1966, the year they moved in. This little fact has led some wingnuts to ask: “what the hell is the point of bringing it up?” These right-wing nutcases don’t get it. The neighborhood once had them! . . . so, you know, it’s RELEVANT, dammit!
Well, I hate to be picking on Ruth Bader Ginsburg all the time, but I have some shocking news to report.
It appears that, like many towns across America, the community where Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg grew up also used covenants to keep the neighborhood homogenous.
You heard it here first. Ginsburg grew up in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. According to this site, her Brooklyn neighborhood “consisted mostly of poor, working class Jewish, Italian, and Irish immigrants.” No blacks there!
Here’s the shocker: Flatbush had also had restrictive covenants at one point. A New York Sun article advises that “Victorian Flatbush, of which South Midwood is a part . . . was settled in the late 19th century by affluent Protestant families who used covenants to keep the area homogenous.” (“Victorian Flatbush” is a part of Flatbush.) The Sun explains further: “During the 1930s, increasing numbers of Irish and Jewish professional families moved in.” Irish and Jewish families — but no blacks!
I hereby call for the impeachment of Justice Ginsburg. Who’s with me?
P.S. By the way, the covenants probably just had to do with how the houses looked, not the race of the people who lived in the neighborhood. [But see the UPDATE below.] That doesn’t make my news any less relevant than the story about Roberts. Either story is about as relevant as saying they once lived in neighborhoods with rapists and murderers.
UPDATE: In a comment below, Xrlq notes evidence in the story that the covenants were indeed racially restrictive covenants on sales after all.