The Constitution This Week: Affirmative action, gay marriage, and contraception

Holly Munson

News headlines, politicians, and hot-button issues come and go, but one 225-year-old document continues to emerge in our conversations about our nation’s most important questions and challenges: the Constitution. The Constitution is a big buzzword for Election 2012, and more than ever, citizens, pundits, and politicians are turning to the Constitution for answers–and sometimes ammunition, as they try to prove the Constitution is on their side.

Here’s a brief look at the top constitutional news stories and commentaries from this week.

1. The Constitution and … Affirmative Action

The Supreme Court announced this week that it will hear Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin in October. An undergraduate student is arguing that the university’s consideration of race in admissions (commonly referred to as affirmative action) violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

2. The Constitution and … Gay Marriage

The ProtectMarriage coalition, the organization defending California’s Prop 8 measure in court, announced this week that it will request the consideration of the full Ninth U.S. Circuit Court. The decision comes after a three-judge panel ruled 2-1 against the voter-approved measure banning same-sex marriage in the state.

3. The Constitution and … Contraception

The Obama administration’s mandate requiring birth control coverage for employees of church-affiliated hospitals and other organizations faced its first legal challenge this week. On Feb. 23, seven states asked a federal judge to block the rule, arguing it violated the churches’ First Amendment rights.

Constitutional Must-Reads

There is nothing constitutional about state-mandated transvaginal ultrasounds,” John W. Whitehead,

U.S. limits on government can’t work everywhere,” Ramesh Ponnuru, Bloomberg View

‘Negative’ Constitution still a positive force,” Edward A. Turzanski,

Holly Munson is the Assistant Editor of Constitution Daily, the blog of the National Constitution Center.