Quick Takes

* One of the questions raised by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia is, “what happens to current cases under review when the Court votes in a 4/4 tie.” Both Linda Hirshman and Tom Goldstein tackle that one.

* Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog also writes an interesting analysis titled: How the politics of the next nomination will play out.

* For months now I’ve been thinking that Ted Cruz is running the best campaign in the Republican field. Remember a few months ago when people were pointing and laughing about how his superpacs weren’t spending money on televisions ads? Perhaps this is why:

The cluster of well-funded super PACs boosting Cruz’s candidacy is trying out a new tactic in the Palmetto State, indicating the extent to which super PACs are encroaching on traditional campaign turf.

And it has Cruz’s rivals scared.

Said super PAC, called Keep the Promise—which is actually sub-divided into several different PACs, each funded by a different billionaire family—has blithely tossed the traditional super PAC playbook to the winds. In fact, they’ve taken on typical campaign operations: gathering voter data, targeting likely Cruz supporters, and knocking on thousands of doors to get out the vote.

The super PAC has had upwards of 250 people canvassing the state, targeting the homes of persuadable Republican voters. Thus far, they estimate they’ve knocked on more than 93,000 doors. And by Election Day, they’re shooting to have knocked on 100,000. In any given week, they say, 100 to 150 individual people spend eight-hour days doing the door-knocking. And most of them get paid.

* Isabel Wilkerson – author of the best-selling book, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration – has written an article titled: Emmett Till and Tamir Rice, Sons of the Great Migration. She chronicles how Emmett’s mother, Mamie Carthan Till, was brought as a child from Mississippi to Chicago in the early 1920’s in order to escape the Jim Crow South. Similarly, Tamir’s great grandmother, Millie Lee Wylie, fled Alabama and settled in Cleveland.

It has been a century since the Great Migration that produced both boys began. Our current era seems oddly aligned with that moment. The brutal decades preceding the Great Migration — when a black person was lynched on average every four days — were given a name by the historian Rayford Logan. He called them the Nadir. Today, in the era of the Charleston massacre, when, according to one analysis of F.B.I. statistics, an African-American is killed by a white police officer roughly every three and a half days, has the makings of a second Nadir.

Or perhaps, in the words of Eric Foner, the leading scholar of Reconstruction, a “second Redemption.” That is what historians call the period of backlash against the gains made by newly freedmen that led to Jim Crow.

* On that note, perhaps it’s appropriate to end today with Jon Batiste performing the Beatles’ classic, “Blackbird.”

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.