Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Damn Those "Activist" Judges! It Would Seem that Republicans Ain't Got No Love for "Troublemakers" Like Thurgood Marshall

The Kagan nomination is proceeding quite predictably. With rare exceptions, the confirmation process is an opportunity for the out-party to remain relevant and to score some points among their base. It is also a chance to marvel at good governance as these often boring rituals are a great lesson in civics.

While not elevated to spectacle (yet) by the 24 hour news cycle, the GOP's repeated criticisms of Elena Kagan for her admiration of Justice Thurgood Marshall is quite illuminating. Why? For once more Conservatives and the GOP show us who they have always been.

Do not misunderstand, I am all for spirited debate about the role of the Constitution and The Courts in American life: These conversations about the balance between freedom, order, personal rights, and State power are healthy and should be encouraged. And while I labor under no illusions that the rabble will become philosopher kings, I do hope (while not holding my breath) that the attention surrounding the nomination process sparks some reflection and civic-mindedness.

However, just as with Rand Paul's misreading of history, Palin and McCain's Herronvolk tinged "real American" populism, and the rise of the Tea Party Glenn Beck enabled brigands, I am always amazed at how some folks revel in being on the wrong side of history. I know that is a lot to expect, but it would be nice if one of the voices on the Right would admit that, "well, maybe, the forces of conservatism were wrong on Civil Rights and racial relations," or that "maybe these 'activist' judges who fought for expanded and full rights for all Americans were onto something..."

Ultimately, the Kagan nomination process is a chance to once more hash out what The Constitution is and ought to be. No easy answers are not be found. But, there are always some big questions to be asked. To point:

Is The Constitution...

Speaking for we the people or Just some people?

Democratic with anti-democratic tendencies or Anti-democratic at its heart and wrapped in a veneer of democracy?

A strong document that is immutable for all time? or A document that is strong precisely because of its ability to change?

A document that should be used to support corporate interests? or A document that should protect the people's interests against all others?

Colorblind? or Color-conscious?

A document written by supermen who were divinely inspired? or A document written by smart people making politically pragmatic choices?

A genius document that was flawed only in its application? or An imperfect document whose genius is that it can be corrected over time?

Written by selfish men who realized that self-interest was both the problem and the solution? or A selfless document, written by generous and brave men who only wanted to serve the common good?


Werner Herzog's Bear said...

I was at the doctor's office this morning (which was bad enough) and because the TV was on CNN, was forced to listen to Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III attack the "progressive movement" on the early 20th century. He went from attacking integration on Monday to tilting against basic labor and consumer protection legistlation on Tuesday. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

when the Democrats are in power, the Republicans claim to be champions of the Constitution. When the Republicans are in power, the Democrats fancy themselves as the safeguards of the document.

IMO, the Constitution is such a revolutionary and inspired text that no generation of Americans have been able to live up to it's standards. The men who signed it more than 200 years ago fell way short of adhering to its principles and so has each generation that has followed.

It's a damn shame that all of these extra regular conservatives have such horrible memory loss. They got down on their knees and licked George W's loafers when the Patriot Act was passed but they raise a stink when Obama renews it? WTF?

OhCrapIHaveACrushOnSarahPalin said...

I'm actually glad the bigots are betraying their true emotions about Thurgood Marshall. This way, they can not deny it when we rub their faces in their bigotry.

As re: the questions on the Constitution, I believe these conservatives get their textual literalism from those old, forced vacation bible school sessions. I'm also tickled to see all these so-called "Constitutionalists" move to try and get rid of the 16th Amend, 17th, probably with an eye to everything after the Bill of Rights.

And even in the BofR, all they care about is the 2nd and 10th amdnements anyway.


Thelonious said...

Conservatives believe that the Constitution protects the rights of individuals. White heterosexual individuals. When it's invoked to protect people of other hues and orientations, it becomes toilet paper.