Saturday, May 30, 2009

Those Who Cast Stones Had Better Be Prepared To Duck

One of the many unintended consequences of the right wing's sexist and racist attacks on Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor is the increased scrutiny of Supreme Court justices who have previously been confirmed. White men who were confirmed by a great majority and whom have been held up by the right wingers as having performed admirably after assuming their positions. Its funny what skeletons you find lurking in peoples' closets once you actually go looking for them.

Today Charles Blow compares the "she is a racist" attack on Judge Sotomayor over words she said in a speech in 2001, to some of the words and acts of former and current Supreme Court justices.

Now let’s look at a couple of the men who have ascended to the bench.

First, there’s former Chief Justice William Rehnquist. When the Supreme Court was considering Brown v. Board of Education, Rehnquist was a law clerk for Justice Robert Jackson. Rehnquist
wrote Jackson a memo in which he defended separate-but-equal policies, saying, “I realize that it is an unpopular and unhumanitarian position, for which I have been excoriated by my ‘liberal’ colleagues, but I think Plessy v. Ferguson was right and should be reaffirmed.”

Furthermore, Rehnquist had been a Republican ballot protectionist in Phoenix when he was younger. As the Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen correctly noted in 1986: Rehnquist “helped challenge the voting qualifications of Arizona blacks and Hispanics. He was entitled to do so. But even if he did not personally harass potential voters, as witnesses allege, he clearly was a brass-knuckle partisan, someone who would deny the ballot to fellow citizens for trivial political reasons — and who made his selection on the basis of race or ethnicity.”

Then there’s John Roberts, who replaced Rehnquist as the chief justice in 2005. That year, Newsday reported that Roberts had
made racist and sexist jokes in memos that he wrote while working in the Reagan White House. And, The New York Review of Books published a scolding article in 2005 making the case that during the same period that he was making those jokes, Roberts marshaled a crusader’s zeal in his efforts to roll back the civil rights gains of the 1960s and ’70s — everything from voting rights to women’s rights. The article began, “The most intriguing question about John Roberts is what led him as a young person whose success in life was virtually assured by family wealth and academic achievement to enlist in a political campaign designed to deny opportunities for success to those who lack his advantages.”

Gingrich tweeted that “a white man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw.” Make up your own minds about where Rehnquist’s and Roberts’s words and actions should fall on the racism spectrum, but both were overwhelmingly confirmed.

Until someone can produce proof of words and actions on the part of Sotomayor that even approach the scale of Rehnquist’s and Roberts’s, all I see is men throwing skeleton bones from class closets.

Some how I bet neither Judge Rehnquist nor Judge Roberts appreciate having their bigotted pasts revisted. I am not in the habit of giving wingnuts advice however you might want to quit while you're behind. Right now all you face is losing some Hispanic votes, but if you continue down this path you may well remove all legitimacy of the Republican party itself. Your call.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Come Hard Or Not At All!