James Leroy Wilson's blog

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Souter, Spector, Kemp

Recent news items . . .

Justice Souter retires

Souter's appointment in 1990 was a defining mistake of George H.W. Bush's Presidency. Not the biggest one, not the one that cost him re-election, but a defining one.

How so?

When William Brennan retired in 1990, with Thurgood Marshall still sitting, Bush could have appointed Clarence Thomas to the Court and so have two African-Americans on the bench at the same time! The implicit message: No tokenism here, folks! I'm appointing Thomas because he's the best person for the job - even though African-Americans are now over-represented on the Court!

It would have left Democrats scrambling.

Instead, Bush replaced the white Brennan with the non-descript white guy Souter. Then the next year, when Marshall retired, Bush decided to fill the "token black seat" with Thomas. A political uproar ensued.

It turned into a farce, with Senate liberals essentailly railing against affirmative action and exploiting the stereotype of the oversexed black man for poltical purposes.

Thomas hasn't been able to live it down since, with many on the Left thinking still today he was unqualified. (Even though he did have the credentials, and from what I've read from their decisions, he's probably the most competent of the right-wing Justices.)

Anyway, the fact that Bush could have nominated Thomas in 1990, and then Souter (or someone else) in 1991, instead of the other way around, is a testament to his ineffectiveness as a party leader.

As to Souter's legacy, whatever. When the federal government demands more power, the Justices, whether Left or Right, gives it the green light nine times out of ten. So what the Court does hardly matters to me anymore. All responsibility for the bad laws the Court upholds belongs to Congress anyway. It is there we must focus attention.

Arlen Spector defects to Democrats

Well, he's pro-abortion. And that's the only difference between the two parties, so it makes sense.

Jack Kemp dies

I once was drawn to Kemp's vision of "market-based" solutions to America's social problems, enough so that I was a Republican in the 1990's. Although I've moved away from that, I never questioned Kemp's sincerity or intentions. He always seemed like a decent guy.

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