Quick Takes

* North Carolina Gov. McCrory and Republicans in the state legislature got put on notice today.

U.S. Justice Department officials Wednesday notified Gov. Pat McCrory that House Bill 2 violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act.

The department gave state officials until Monday to address the situation “by confirming that the State will not comply with or implement HB2.”

The letter says HB2, which pre-empted Charlotte’s anti-discrimination ordinance, violates Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which bars discrimination in education based on sex.

If that determination is upheld, North Carolina could lose millions in federal school funding. During the current school year, state public schools received $861 million in federal funding.

* Jim Nelson writes that President Obama will go down in history as one of the greatest presidents of all time. Here is the part of his argument that resonated with me.

Being the first black president of course secures a certain legacy. But what now feels distinctly possible is that, just as Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed, over time he may be judged less for the color of his skin than for the content of his character. That character came across every time haters or Trumpers or birthers tried to pull him down into the mud or question his American-ness. He just flew above it all. And, luckily, he took most of us with him. He was the Leader not only of our country but of our mood and disposition, which is harder to rule. At a time when we became more polarized, our discourse pettier and more poisoned, Obama always came across as the Adult in the Room, the one we wanted to be and follow…

With Obama, each thoughtful step of the way, from his soaring acceptance speech (“The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep…”) to his epic speeches on race and religion, his responses to the shootings in Tucson and Newtown, the killing of Osama bin Laden, the opening of Cuba (“Todos solos Americanos!”), and countless other momentous occasions, he knew how to speak to our better angels at a time when it was hard to locate any angels.

If you have any doubts about that, you’ll want to listen to the President’s speech in Flint today.

* I haven’t seen much reporting about this, but apparently former Attorney General Eric Holder talked about reparations during a discussion at Georgetown University recently.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder added his voice to the call for slavery reparations during a program at Jesuit-run Georgetown University.

Such reparations can take a variety of forms and may not necessarily mean cash payments to descendants of slaves, Holder said in a response to a question from a student during an April 29 program on race and justice.

Reparations, he said, “can mean a whole bunch of different things. You can come up with policies that take into account what slavery meant then, what it means now. Affirmative action can be thought of as reparations, you know? And it takes into account … the negative impacts of negative racial policies that have hobbled the progress of African-Americans, people of color in this country.”

* President Obama wrote an op-ed about the need for TPP.

Today, some of our greatest economic opportunities abroad are in the Asia-Pacific region, which is on its way to becoming the most populous and lucrative market on the planet. Increasing trade in this area of the world would be a boon to American businesses and American workers, and it would give us a leg up on our economic competitors, including one we hear a lot about on the campaign trail these days: China.

Of course, China’s greatest economic opportunities also lie in its own neighborhood, which is why China is not wasting any time. As we speak, China is negotiating a trade deal that would carve up some of the fastest-growing markets in the world at our expense, putting American jobs, businesses and goods at risk.

This past week, China and 15 other nations met in Australia with a goal of getting their deal, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, done before the end of this year. That trade deal won’t prevent unfair competition among government-subsidized, state-owned enterprises. It won’t protect a free and open Internet. Nor will it respect intellectual property rights in a way that ensures America’s creators, artists, filmmakers and entrepreneurs get their due. And it certainly won’t enforce high standards for our workers and our environment.

Fortunately, America has a plan of our own that meets each of these goals. As a Pacific power, the United States has pushed to develop a high-standard Trans- Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that puts American workers first and makes sure we write the rules of the road for trade in the 21st century.

* Finally, this oldie-but-goodie goes out to Jeb, Marco, Ted, John and all the folks at #StopTrump.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.