When President Johnson nominated United States Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court, he was confirmed by the Senate 69-11 with 20 Senators not voting. 32 Republicans voted for Marshall. Ten Democrats–all from Southern states including the recently deceased Robert Byrd and Watergate hero Sam Ervin–voted against joined by one Republican, Strom Thurmond.
Fast-forward 43 years and Marshall would not have a hope in hell of finding 32 votes from this crew of Republicans.
John F. Kennedy said, “forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” Here are some of the names of the enemy: Jeff Sessions. Jon Kyl. Orrin Hatch. Charles Grassley. John Cornyn. These are the men whom in their impotent rage and frustration are trying to slime a man dead since 1993 in the hopes if they can dirty up the legacy of Thurgood Marshall as a wild-eyed radical and “liberal actvist” they might be able to derail Elena Kagan’s nomination.
Kyl: “Justice Marshall is a historic figure in many respects And it is not surprising that as one of his clerks she held him in the highest regard. Justice Marshall’s judicial philosophy, however, is not what I would consider to be mainstream.
As he once explained, you do what you think is right and let the law catch up. He might be the epitome of a results-oriented judge. And, again, Ms. Kagan appears to enthusiastically embrace Justice Marshall’s judicial philosophy, calling it, among other things, ‘a thing of glory’.”
Grassley: “Your Marshall memos indicate a liberal and seemingly outcome-based approach to your legal analysis.”
Cornyn: “[I]t is more about his judicial philosophy what concerns me and this has already been mentioned it is clear he considered himself a judicial activist and was unapologetic about it .”
Hatch: “There’s no doubt that he was an activist judge. “Let’s admire the man for the great things he did, but let’s not walk over and wipe out the things that really didn’t make sense as an obedient student of the practice of law.”
During the first day of Kagan’s confirmation hearings, Republicans mentioned Marshall’s name 35 times as opposed to 14 times of President Obama. Has anyone informed them Marshall was confirmed 43 years ago? Oh, and he’s been dead for 17 years too. I know conservatives hate science, but do they have a hard on against calendars too?
This is a particularly scummy approach even for Republicans used to low blow, gutter politics. If Kyl, Sessions and the rest of the right-wing cabal on the Judiciary Committee don’t know they are walking on a racial land mine by sliming Marshall it can only be they don’t care if they are.
Sitting two rows behind Kagan was the great man’s son, Thurgood “Goody” Marshall Jr. He had come to support his father’s former law clerk but found himself listening to his father being savaged as an unprofessional and unprincipled jurist.
Not one of the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee cited a single case where Justice Marshall’s supposed legislating from the bench, but that wasn’t the point. Not even these group of pinheads would be stupid to go all-out in trashing Thurgood. The point was to use a dead man to make a live woman look bad.
While trashing Marshall’s judicial legacy is a disrespectful and dumb, it won’t hurt the GOP’s standing with African-Americans any (which is close to non-existent) and helps them not look totally impotent limp dicks to their base.
Shameless political theatre and posturing is an ugly thing. It gets only uglier when it’s being done by stiff old White guys who have done less on purpose for racial progress and equality than Marshall did accidentally. Kagan is no Sonia Sotomayor with a natural constituency of support behind her, but the GOP knows they don’t have the votes to keep her off the Supreme Court. This is just kabuki theater to warn President Obama that the next time around thing may be a bit different when there are fewer Democrats in the Senate than there are now. Thurgood Marshall’s historical legacy can’t be tarnished by these whiny bitches. The Republicans know they can do so with no price to pay.
Politics. What a racket. : (