erinlefey: (Default)
[personal profile] erinlefey

I'm really, really trying to avoid the "Democrats=Good, Republicans=Bad" arguments. It gets us nowhere. Life's more complex than that. There are great views on each side, if they are analyzed carefully. There's also a lot of stupid views on both sides.

That being said, there is a particular...thing...going on with Republicans right now that just baffles the crap out of me. During the ongoing Supreme Court confirmation hearings, top Republicans complained about a judicial activist, someone whose views were out of the mainstream, a judicial philosphy that concerned them greatly.

No, not Elena Kagan. They were talking about THURGOOD MARSHALL. They mentioned him 35 times. As a side note, Justice Marshall was already confirmed by the Senate...43 years ago. The man died in 1993.

I don't get it.

Elena Kagan is going to be confirmed. It's pretty well guaranteed, unless she sets the table on fire during questioning or jumps onto the table to do a strip-tease. Republicans could say nothing, or read a magazine, it wouldn't change the outcome one whit.

So why, repeatedly, would they talk badly about one of the most well-known and honored justices of the last century? One who happens to be a major Civil Rights leader. Who is the first African-American justice on the Supreme Court. He's the lawyer who argued Brown v. Board of Education and won! Ended "separate but equal"! Appeared before the Supreme Court 32 times, and won 29 of them! Won Browder v. Gayle, which ended the Montgomery bus boycott! Seriously, go look up Thurgood Marshall in Wikipedia. He was crucially involved in so many civil rights victories.

Republicans want to clarify that they are against THIS?

And, just to make the optics worse, one of the Repblicans leading these charges is Jeff Sessions. Properly known as Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III from Alabama. You can't get a better "Old South" name than that.

I mean, was there a point to this? All I can see is cranky old white people fussing about the world being different from the 1950's, and they don't like it, with a nice dose of "uppity black people" thrown in.

Is there something there other than that? I really want there to be. Help me out.

Date: 2010-06-30 02:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The issue here is that Kagan has no history as a judge in her own right. So the Republicans are "noting" her past as a clerk to a judge who they disagree with. The clerk often learns her judicial philosophy at the feet of her mentor.

It's all just a ploy to be able to say the words "Kagan" and "Judicial Activism" in the same paragraph.

Date: 2010-06-30 02:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Except, from what I understand, Supreme Court appointees were not always judges in the past. The practice of only taking people who were actual judges beforehand is an artifact of the last 40 years or something.

Date: 2010-06-30 03:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, I understand that. This was just an attempt at an explanation of why Thurgood Marshall is coming up in this hearing.

Date: 2010-06-30 03:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ah, okay. My misunderstanding. :)

Date: 2010-06-30 03:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Any idea on why they think this is a winning strategy, though? I just don't get that...

Date: 2010-06-30 04:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Repeating the phrase 'judicial activist' has been their only strategy for defeating supreme court judges for a very long time. You can look to Bush's arguments for Alito/Miers/Roberts, for example, and you will see that the argument was largely that they were *not* "judicial activists".

I don't think the argument is meant to score points with the general public. The general public really doesn't much care about the judicial philosophy of supreme court judges. I think the argument is meant to score points with the Republican base, especially since the Republicans know that the appointment of this particular pro-corporate centrist is going to go through. And with the Republican base "judicial activist" = someone who "created new rights with Roe v. Wade".

And in that context, connecting to Thrugood Marshall is no longer a random non sequitir.

Date: 2010-06-30 04:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Need to make a sign - "Judicial Activist" is the new "Uppity"
Edited Date: 2010-06-30 04:32 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-06-30 02:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
the journalists are saying that there's also a "look over here at this mess! No, ignore that whole Citizens United ruling. Don't look at THAT! aw, mannnn..." kinda thing going on.

In other words, guys like Cornyn think they're better off slamming "activist" judges than opening up a conversation about how our country deals with corporations and their interests.

Date: 2010-06-30 03:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
But it still doesn't make them look good. I can buy the distraction argument. But by knocking one of the most revered civil rights leaders of the 1900's?

I just don't see the gain, and see lots of downside.

Date: 2010-06-30 04:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The good news is, you're right in that there isn't much gain and is a long-term drawback for the GOP to be doing this. But they can't seem to stop themselves. The party's in a crisis, in that the inexorable tide of demographics is slowly marginalizing a lot of their core cultural issues.

See the following article from 538:

Date: 2010-06-30 11:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*shrug* beats me. If I tried to explain everything Cornyn did, that would be more than a full-time gig...

Date: 2010-06-30 03:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, Republicans do want to clarify that they're against that.

Not the all people being created equal thing, mind you. They'll say they're OK with that. But then they'll say that everyone went about it the wrong way by trumping State's Rights.

... conveniently glossing over the fact that if State's Rights hadn't been trumped there would be segregation and anti-miscagenation laws on the books in several states TODAY.

So they'll say "Judicial Activism" and "Encroaching Federal Instrusion On The States", when they mean "Our backwood-ass aging pool of voters are still wishing Hoover had been able to discredit King".

And this isn't a Democrats=Good Republicans=Bad thing, this is a Liberals=Good Conservatives=Bad thing. When Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, a LOT of white conservative Democrats in the South became Republicans, and the Party of Lincoln became the Party of The Southern Strategy.

Date: 2010-07-01 07:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Nothing to add to the discussion except that Jeff Sessions is commonly referred to as "Fuckhead Leghorn" around our house.


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