Posted by Peter Lawler
We can’t have all this talk about BROWN without remembering Thurgood. For those looking for southern balance, let me add that it’s also Richard Petty’s birthday.
The real balance is Bob Toombs, born July 2nd (1810), just in under the wire. Richard Petty? Petty.
Thurgood Marshall, constitutional giant? I think not.
"Knee-jerk liberal ideologue." "ACLU favorite." "Judicial supremacist." "Robed master." "Hack."
All of those work for me. I believe Bob Woodward wrote that Marshall watched a lot of TV in his chambers in his later years and let his clerks do all the work. As for Brown v. Board, it's been said that Marshall could have gotten up and recited "Mary had a little lamb" at the Court and achieved the same result.
I was born in Florida and raised almost entirely in Texas and this regionalism is vexing and I assert rather 20th century, if not entirely 19th century.
I am an American, having taken the oath to protect the Constitution twice.
This deference to regional affilation be damned!
Dale, it's a bow to American History and its romance.
Thurgood Marshall had the inestimable good fortune of arguing cases before a high court that was already determined, a priori, to side with him.
And other than offer the dubious insight that "you can learn a lot about America by watching soap operas," I fail to discern what his presence contributed to the grand and storied legacy of Anglo-American jurisprudence.
His appointment actually veils the TRUE contribution of Clarence Thomas, who isn't a token, and who offers a unique take on Constitutional issues.
Thomas deserved so much better.
I want to emphasize that I'm sure the south doesn't consider a supreme court justice and a Nascar champ to have equal societal weight. Of course, I'm not IN the south, I'm in LA. And I DO think that Paris Hilton's sentence and Scooter Libby's carry equal weight.
Let the tangential argument begin!
Tangential arguments are clutter. Let them not begin.
Back to the point of the thread: Can anyone justify Thurgood Marshall, the justice, as anything other than a left-wing political hack?
It would appear that David Frisk actually ranks Petty higher than Marshall. Petty really did excel in his line of work. I would have pardoned both Paris and Scooter, simply because our jails are overcrowded and both are not menances to society.
Dan, Clarence's 59th birthday was June 23rd. He is a truly great man. And I concede Richard Petty's ability in his art. I was too frosty. On Thurgood's juridical "legacy," let me cite the Martinez case from the 70's, wherein he wrote an opinion striking down the Indian Civil Rights Act on the grounds that the tribal ways of the Indians ("from time immemorial") superceded the United States Constitution and Declaration of Independence, thus stripping civil rights protections from a large class of American citizens on the basis of their race. Thurgood will be remembered for his work with the NAACP. Clarence will vastly supercede his name as a justice. At least in that Hades in the sky, where all the tales are told, truly.
Thurgood deserves to be remembered for his work with the NAACP, just as especially the pre-Brown work of the NAACP deserves to remembered in general. Clarence is a great justice and always getting better, whereas Thurgood had the tendency to get worse.
Peter, you're allowed to conclude that Marshall was a disaster, who regularly voted with Brennan, and allowed his clerks to write his opinions for him, while he spent his time watching the boob tube in his chambers.
Marshall should forever serve as a cautionary tale about the perils of appointing people to high positions for no other real reason than the colour of their skin. Or their particular sex for that matter. Marshall, Gonzales, Meirs. And you can throw in Saint Sandra too. ALL cautionary tales.
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