The musings of one Andrew Langer - defender of liberty, passionate protector of individual rights, foodie. (Note: Said Musings of Andrew Langer are his own, and the views represented herein are likewise his views, and not the views of any other people, entities, foodstuffs, etc [unless otherwise specifically and explicitly noted].)

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Rest In Peace, Mr. Chief Justice...

William Hubbs Rehnquist, Chief Justice, United States Supreme Court
October 1, 1924 - September 3, 2005
"To uphold the Government's contentions... we would have to pile inference upon inference in a manner that would bid fair to convert congressional authority under the Commerce Clause to a general police power of the sort retained by the States...To do so would require us to conclude that the Constitution's enumeration of powers does not presuppose something not enumerated... and that there never will be a distinction between what is truly national and what is truly local... This we are unwilling to do." Rehnquist, United States v. Lopez (1995)


Blogger The leftist southpaw said...

I thought I would share some thoughts on Justice Rehnquist, in his own words.

a 1952 memo from William Rehnquist, then a clerk to Justice Robert Jackson, on Plessy v. Ferguson.

The memo was called "A Random Thought on the Segregation Cases." It was initialed at the bottom, "whr," signaling that it had been written by none other than William H. Rehnquist, still less than 30 years old and two decades away from being appointed to the court.
Rehnquist's memo unambiguously stated that "Plessy vs. Ferguson was right and should be reaffirmed." It acknowledged that this "is an unpopular and unhumanitarian position for which I have been excoriated by 'liberal' colleagues." But in its key passage, it insisted that "one hundred and fifty years of attempts on the part of this court to protect minority rights of any kind — whether those of business, slaveholders, or Jehovah's Witnesses — have all met the same fate. One by one the cases establishing such rights have been sloughed off, and crept silently to rest. If the present court is unable to profit by this example, it must be prepared to see its work fade in time, too, as embodying only the sentiments of a transient majority of nine men."

Rehnquist went on: "To the argument … that a majority may not deprive a minority of its constitutional right, the answer must be made that while this is sound in theory, in the long run it is the majority who will determine what the constitutional rights of the minority are."

Rehnquist's memo concluded that the court should uphold segregation and refuse to protect "special claims" merely "because its members individually are 'liberals' and dislike segregation."

Or how about this one?

During elections from 1958 to 1962, Rehnquist was the director for the Republican Party’s “Operation Eagle Eye” program in Arizona. Leading teams of lawyers to various polling stations in Arizona, members of Operation Eagle Eye (dubbed “ballot security”) attempted to use legal methods to dissuade black voters. Before the passage of the Voting Rights Act, Rehnquist and his colleagues were often quite successful at using legal methods to rig ballots, thereby creating an undemocratic election.

The house in which Rehnquist lived during this time had a deed stating that the home could not be sold to any person not of the Caucasian race. Upon moving in 1974 Rehnquist bought a home in Vermont that contained a covenant prohibiting the sale of the property to “any member of the Hebrew race.”

Rehnquist, at his confirmation hearings in 1986, told the Senate Judiciary Committee he hadn't examined his deeds and knew nothing of the covenants.

Some lawyer!

In 1980, Rehnquist made his thoughts on the case of United States v Sioux Nations known to the press: “We conquered them, why should we pay for their land?”

This is the man who presided over the institution responsible for protecting our Constitution.

Some people have the view that government should be limited in its power, and interfere as little as possible in the lives of its citizens. So be it. But this was a man who could have benefited from reading Amendment XIV to the Constitution, at least once. For that matter, he would have done well to read the amendments it's sandwiched between, XIII and XV, as well.
(For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of civil rights, those are the ameendments that did away with a little something called slavery, and gave all citizens equal protection under the law.)

Looks like Rehnquist was all for equal protection- just as long as you didn't try to buy his house!

God bless Earl Warren. God bless William O. Douglas. God bless Thurogood Marshall. God bless John Marshall. God bless Brandeis, Cardozo, Fortas, Black, Brennan, Powell, White, Blackmun, and Stewart.

Mr. Rehnquist, rest in peace- if you can. Personally, with your past, I would have a tough time of it...

September 04, 2005 12:05 PM

Blogger Ilena Rose said...

Great response Southpaw.

Alan Dershowitz had this to say:

Alan Dershowitz: Telling the Truth About Chief Justice Rehnquist Alan Dershowitz
Mon Sep 5, 1:16 AM ET

My mother always told me that when a person dies, one should not say anything bad about him. My mother was wrong. History requires truth, not puffery or silence, especially about powerful governmental figures. And obituaries are a first draft of history. So here’s the truth about Chief Justice Rehnquist you won’t hear on Fox News or from politicians. Chief Justice William Rehnquist set back liberty, equality, and human rights perhaps more than any American judge of this generation. His rise to power speaks volumes about the current state of American values.


Let’s begin at the beginning. Rehnquist bragged about being first in his class at Stanford Law School. Today Stanford is a great law school with a diverse student body, but in the late 1940s and early 1950s, it discriminated against Jews and other minorities, both in the admission of students and in the selection of faculty. Justice Stephen Breyer recalled an earlier period of Stanford’s history: “When my father was at Stanford, he could not join any of the social organizations because he was Jewish, and those organizations, at that time, did not accept Jews.” Rehnquist not only benefited in his class ranking from this discrimination; he was also part of that bigotry. When he was nominated to be an associate justice in 1971, I learned from several sources who had known him as a student that he had outraged Jewish classmates by goose-stepping and heil-Hitlering with brown-shirted friends in front of a dormitory that housed the school’s few Jewish students. He also was infamous for telling racist and anti-Semitic jokes.

As a law clerk, Rehnquist wrote a memorandum for Justice Jackson while the court was considering several school desegregation cases, including Brown v. Board of Education. Rehnquist’s memo, entitled “A Random Thought on the Segregation Cases,” defended the separate-but-equal doctrine embodied in the 1896 Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson. Rehnquist concluded the Plessy “was right and should be reaffirmed.” When questioned about the memos by the Senate Judiciary Committee in both 1971 and 1986, Rehnquist blamed his defense of segregation on the dead Justice, stating – under oath – that his memo was meant to reflect the views of Justice Jackson. But Justice Jackson voted in Brown, along with a unanimous Court, to strike down school segregation. According to historian Mark Tushnet, Justice Jackson’s longtime legal secretary called Rehnquist’s Senate testimony an attempt to “smear[] the reputation of a great justice.” Rehnquist later admitted to defending Plessy in arguments with fellow law clerks. He did not acknowledge that he committed perjury in front of the Judiciary Committee to get his job.

The young Rehnquist began his legal career as a Republican functionary by obstructing African-American and Hispanic voting at Phoenix polling locations (“Operation Eagle Eye”). As Richard Cohen of The Washington Post wrote, “[H]e helped challenge the voting qualifications of Arizona blacks and Hispanics. He was entitled to do so. But even if he did not personally harass potential voters, as witnesses allege, he clearly was a brass-knuckle partisan, someone who would deny the ballot to fellow citizens for trivial political reasons -- and who made his selection on the basis of race or ethnicity.” In a word, he started out his political career as a Republican thug.

Rehnquist later bought a home in Vermont with a restrictive covenant that barred sale of the property to ''any member of the Hebrew race.”

Rehnquist’s judicial philosophy was result-oriented, activist, and authoritarian. He sometimes moderated his views for prudential or pragmatic reasons, but his vote could almost always be predicted based on who the parties were, not what the legal issues happened to be. He generally opposed the rights of gays, women, blacks, aliens, and religious minorities. He was a friend of corporations, polluters, right wing Republicans, religious fundamentalists, homophobes, and other bigots.

Rehnquist served on the Supreme Court for thirty-three years and as chief justice for nineteen. Yet no opinion comes to mind which will be remembered as brilliant, innovative, or memorable. He will be remembered not for the quality of his opinions but rather for the outcomes decided by his votes, especially Bush v. Gore, in which he accepted an Equal Protection claim that was totally inconsistent with his prior views on that clause. He will also be remembered as a Chief Justice who fought for the independence and authority of the judiciary. This is his only positive contribution to an otherwise regressive career.

Within moments of Rehnquist’s death, Fox News called and asked for my comments, presumably aware that I was a longtime critic of the late Chief Justice. After making several of these points to Alan Colmes (who was supposed to be interviewing me), Sean Hannity intruded, and when he didn’t like my answers, he cut me off and terminated the interview. Only after I was off the air and could not respond did the attack against me begin, which is typical of Hannity’s bullying ambush style. He is afraid to attack when there’s someone there to respond. Since the interview, I’ve received dozens of e-mail hate messages, some of which are overtly anti-Semitic. One writer called me “a jew prick that takes it in the a** from ruth ginzburg [sic].” Another said I am “an ignorant socialist left-wing political hack …. You’re like a little Heinrich Himmler! (even the resemblance is uncanny!).” Yet another informed me that I “personally make us all lament the defeat of the Nazis!” A more restrained viewer found me to be “a disgrace to the Law, to Harvard, and to humanity.”

All this, for refusing to put a deceptive gloss on a man who made his career undermining the rights and liberties of American citizens.

My mother would want me to remain silent, but I think my father would have wanted me to tell the truth. My father was right.

Alan Dershowitz is a professor of law at Harvard. His latest book is The Case for Peace: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can Be Resolved (Wiley, 2005).

September 06, 2005 8:00 PM

Blogger Ilena Rose said...

Here is Andy's hero ... who he campaigned for, parroted the lies, the double speak, and has defended and for whom he propagandizes.


Prensa Latina, Havana

What do Katrina, 9/11 and the War on Iraq have in Common?

by Elsy Fors

Havana, Sep 9 (PL)--Three holocausts in four years -- with a
balance of over 20,000 dead, billions of dollars in allocations for
the crusade against terrorism and the failing war effort in Iraq --
is what George W. Bush has to show for his 57 months as President.

A reader of the Los Angeles Times hit the bull's-eye recently,
referring to the United States' real plight, when he said in a letter
to the editor that the only natural disaster of that nation is Bush

The current President has faced the greatest disasters in several
decades, and perhaps in US history, during one term and nine months at
the White House. For the three events he bears full responsibility,
although he may not recognize it.

Take the attack on the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon
headquarters in Washington for instance. There were dozens of alerts
from intelligence sources that warned about plans in that direction.

Immediately after the collapse of the towers, the first to be ushered
swiftly and quietly out of the country were the family of Bin Laden
and other Saudi friends of the White House, tagged as suspects in the

Even before George W. Bush took the oath as President in January, 2001
he had already decided he would finish what his father supposedly left
undone in the Gulf War: the occupation of Iraq, overthrow of Saddam
Hussein and the control of Iraqi oil.

Under the pretext that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, an
allegation proven wrong shortly after the invasion of the Middle
Eastern nation, Bush gained what he needed most, support at home and
among his closest allies.

Thirty months and thousands of casualties later, the highest being the
number of dead Iraqi civilians, the occupying coalition led by the
United States has admitted to its inability to control the domestic

Millions of US citizens, according to critical media reports, have
begun to connect the war on Iraq, the "national security" masquerade,
the deep cuts in the budgets for social programs, the increase in
unemployment, tax cuts for the rich and the failure to plan preventive
measures to lessen the impact of a killer hurricane like Katrina.

Scientists had warned four years ago that a catastrophe was waiting to
happen in New Orleans, focusing on failing levees built to protect
that southern city from rising waters. Precisely this year, the budget
requested by the state of Louisiana for their repair was drastically

Now corpses of a yet-to-be counted death toll are floating through the
streets of New Orleans and other cities along the Gulf coast and the
Mississippi delta. Together with the loss of at least 10,000 lives, the
economic impact will be incalculable.

To quote only one statistic, the ports of New Orleans and nearby Lake
Charles handle 60 percent of all grain exports of the United States.
At a time when corn and other commodities are waiting to be harvested
in the Midwestern states, there are also Louisiana's, Mississippi's
and Alabama4s own agricultural losses to be considered.

Amid harsh criticism for his lack of leadership, President Bush sent
Congress a request for $51.8 billion in additional hurricane relief
yesterday, raising Katrina's cost to the federal government to $62.3
billion so far, easily a record for domestic disaster relief.

Already analysts fear a fourth disaster, offset until now by an
uncertain recovery coming from the military industrial complex. The
economy might fall into recession, spurred by astronomical budget and
trade deficits, further eroding the financial support of its main
European and Asian allies.

September 09, 2005 3:30 PM

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