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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

 
Historical Blindness

Stuart Rothenberg, usually a fairly dry and non-partisan observer, just said on CNN that one could rightly blame "the court" for the impending nuclear showdown in the senate. He claimed that until the late 60's the court never involved itself in the kind of controversial issues that upsets people. Even William Schneider looked surprised.

I guess Stu had a wild 60's because he apparently doesn't realize that there was a little kerfluffle about the actions of the supreme court quite awhile before the late 60's --- long before the rightwing adopted a "culture of life," they were screaming about this:


Thurgood Marshall, center, chief legal counsel of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is surrounded by students and their escort from Little Rock, Arkansas, as he sits on the steps of the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C., Aug. 22, 1958.

The right wing responded with their usual alacrity:





Update: Transcript

ROTHENBERG: I simply wanted to add, Wolf, that if you want to know who to blame ultimately for this confrontation that we have now, I think you can almost make the argument that can you blame court, because the court got us into these kinds of issues in the late '60s and early '70s. Before that, when you and I didn't have so much gray hair, we didn't talk about these issues. But the court decide these issues were relevant and individual rights needed to be protected. And so now they've gotten into the whole other area.

BLITZER: Go ahead, Bill, and I'll add one point. But, go ahead, Bill.

SCHNEIDER: That's exactly what's got conservatives upset, because they say the court has overreached. It's overextended. It's become a judicial activist, the court. And they say we want to curb the court they have broken the separation of power by legislating in too many areas. But Democrats say, no, we want to protect the separation, that the Congress is reaching too far. They used the Terri Schiavo case as an instance where Congress, in their view and the view of many Americans, try to cross over the lines and direct the courts to do a certain thing. And the courts refuse to go along.

BLITZER: Hasn't the Supreme Court, Stuart, always, though, been involved in shaping actual policy? Brown v. Board of Education 1954, ending segregated schools. Did the court go too far in that particular decision?

ROTHENBERG: Well, I don't know about a particular decision, Wolf. Everybody has their own opinions about the decisions. But I think you're generally right, that the court has sought to expand its role in interpreting law and interpreting the Constitution. And Americans have conceded the right to the court do that. So I don't -- the American public is, too, somewhat at fault. They looked to the court to do these kinds of things. And we're in the situation now where Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, agree that the court has such an important role in deciding what our rights are that now everything's a political fight.




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