Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Activist judges overturn decades old handgun ban

Posted in guns, Supreme Court by allisonkilkenny on June 28, 2010

Digby makes a super logical observation while discussing today’s SCOTUS decision to overturn a decades old handgun ban, which is that this ruling is obviously the work of pro-gun zealots.

Of course, this plainly obvious truth is obscured by a media that refuses to call right-wing legislating “activism,” but consistently labels center-to-left-wing judges and nominees as radical extremists, who should be feared and condemned.

I missed the Kagan hearings this morning, but from what I’m gathering it was pretty much a high tech lynching of Justice Thurgood Marshall. Seriously. Evidently, he was one of those “activist” judges (and a community organizer too, I’m sure)and I think we all know what he was agitating for, don’t we?

Meanwhile, she is an “out of the mainstream” elitist, weirdo (lesbian, NY Jew) who worked for a you-know-what and liked it. Ever since Beauregard Sessions ascended to the ranking Republican position on the Judiciary Committee whatever uhm … subtlety the Republican strategy once had has evaporated into crude dogwhistling.

Right. See, Marshall was a lunatic leftist extremist, but Scalia and Thomas are ideologically consistent.

Marshall supported individual rights, including a woman’s right to determine the fate of her body, and opposed the death penalty – all hallmarks of an unhinged, unserious liberal. Yet, Clarence Thomas, the judge most inclined to strike down Congressional laws, and the guy who wanted to throw out Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act as an unconstitutional intrusion on states’ rights, is a hero worthy of mainstream praise.

This double standard was on display recently in the recent Sotomayor confirmation hearings. The now-judge was portrayed by Republicans as a bleeding heart liberal, who would almost certainly seize Wall Street’s assets and redistribute the wealth because – ya’ know – she grew up poor. It’s called “identity politics” AKA “You’re not a white man, and we’re freaked out by that.”

The big tizzy over Sotomayor was that she would obviously ooze “empathy” at poor people since she too bears the shameful mark of an undesirable, a pretty damn stupid assumption considering The Very Serious Samuel Alito said the following at his confirmation hearing:

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Judge Samuel Alito’s Nomination to the Supreme Court

U.S. SENATOR TOM COBURN (R-OK): Can you comment just about Sam Alito, and what he cares about, and let us see a little bit of your heart and what’s important to you in life?

ALITO: Senator, I tried to in my opening statement, I tried to provide a little picture of who I am as a human being and how my background and my experiences have shaped me and brought me to this point.

ALITO: I don’t come from an affluent background or a privileged background. My parents were both quite poor when they were growing up.

And I know about their experiences and I didn’t experience those things. I don’t take credit for anything that they did or anything that they overcame.

But I think that children learn a lot from their parents and they learn from what the parents say. But I think they learn a lot more from what the parents do and from what they take from the stories of their parents lives.

And that’s why I went into that in my opening statement. Because when a case comes before me involving, let’s say, someone who is an immigrant — and we get an awful lot of immigration cases and naturalization cases — I can’t help but think of my own ancestors, because it wasn’t that long ago when they were in that position.

And so it’s my job to apply the law. It’s not my job to change the law or to bend the law to achieve any result.

But when I look at those cases, I have to say to myself, and I do say to myself, “You know, this could be your grandfather, this could be your grandmother. They were not citizens at one time, and they were people who came to this country.”

When I have cases involving children, I can’t help but think of my own children and think about my children being treated in the way that children may be treated in the case that’s before me.

And that goes down the line. When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account. When I have a case involving someone who’s been subjected to discrimination because of disability, I have to think of people who I’ve known and admire very greatly who’ve had disabilities, and I’ve watched them struggle to overcome the barriers that society puts up often just because it doesn’t think of what it’s doing — the barriers that it puts up to them.

So those are some of the experiences that have shaped me as a person.

COBURN: Thank you.

Mr. Chairman, I think I’ll yield back the balance of my time at this time, and if I have additional questions, get them in the next round.

SPECTER: Thank you very much, Senator Coburn.

Careful, or you might step in some of that empathy Alito keeps squirting everywhere. Except, when Conservatives cry about their grandparents, it’s called having a big heart, or caring about the American spirit, or some other bullshit you’d read on a greeting card.

Now, the same fake concern over “identity politics” is happening again. Is Kagan a secret, radical, butch lesbian, who will make eunuchs of Republican men while they sleep, and then parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, victoriously pumping her fistfuls of balls above her head? Probably not, but let’s spend a week pretending she will, so nothing productive can get accomplished!

What makes this political theater particularly annoying is that there’s plenty to criticize Kagan about. Greenwald put together a comprehensive list over here. She lacks a judicial record, and even a clear academic writing record. She’s been silent on the Constitutional controversies of the past decade, though she did step up to defend some of the more radical Bush-era approaches to executive power.

She’s also yet another ivy league, handpicked elitist, and yes, she happens to be a woman, but it’s not like she went to a — ready the fainting couch — state school. These days, the greater controversy would be a poor candidate. A rich woman can still fight her way into the political arena, but a poor person can’t afford the fees to get their mug in front of the cameras.

Like I said – LOTS to criticize there. But the conversation always disintegrates into a screaming match about who’s more of an ideologue. As I wrote back in the midst of the “Wise Latina” hysteria when old white men were literally crossing their legs to shield their testicles from the fiery Latina prospect:

All judges are activists, even when they claim to be “strict Constitutionalists” like Scalia. Even a justice that claims to strictly adhere to the word of the original law must occasionally creatively interpret the arcane language of the Constitution as Scalia did in District of Columbia v Heller. (He said self defense is a “central” constitutional right that requires the ownership of guns (specifically handguns) be permitted so that it can be fully exercised. Crowbarring “handguns” into the definition of “right to bear arms” might have opened up Scalia to accusations of being a “right-wing activist,” but luckily, he avoided such inconveniences.) Whenever interpretation occurs during rulings, justices rely on their past experiences, ideologies, biases, prejudices, and yes — the most dreaded of human qualities — empathy.

All nine justices are — in their own ways — activists, and today five pro-gun activists beat the four gun control activists. Yes, Kagan is an activist, just like Sotomayor, Alito, and Thomas are all activists. It’s just that the right-wing activists get shit done, and the left-wing activists constantly try to convince the louder bullies that they’re playing by the correct set of rules.

One Response

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  1. Nate Bear said, on July 1, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    That photo of all the guns makes mys stomach churn. (or it could be the chocolate chips on an empty stomach)

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