"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Friday, April 29, 2005

Just Because You Say It, Doesn’t Make It So

This falls into the – “everyone has a right to their opinion, but not their own set of facts” category.

Chanting "Save our courts!" more than 100 people gathered on the steps of the Bergen County Courthouse on Wednesday to protest Republican efforts to appoint "right-wing judges" to the federal courts.

Rep. Steve Rothman, D-Fair Lawn, vowed in a statement distributed by spokesman Brice Peyre to oppose "forever" out-of-the-mainstream judges bent on rolling back decades of progress on civil rights, the environment, workers' rights and religious liberties.

"This is about insane people getting on the court," said Josephine Cilia, 52, of Fort Lee, a teacher at Cliffside Park High School. "Everybody ought to be here. It's a question of the fundamental rules of democracy."

"The right wing is trying to take over the entire system of government, including the last resort - which is our judiciary, which is fundamental to our system of checks and balances," said Lewis Miller, 33, of Mahwah.

Teddy Stern, 22, of Englewood said he traveled to the courthouse after hearing about the rally from his mother. "I'm troubled that the conservative right is interpreting the Constitution a lot like they interpret the Bible, which is to say selectively, to support their own agenda," he said.

Joan Mokray of Franklin Lakes said protesters are counting on New Jersey Sens. Jon Corzine and Frank Lautenberg to help stop the GOP effort.
For one we wish reporters would ask: “Rep Rothman, can your provide some examples of Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown’s attempt to roll back civil rights, workers’ rights, religious liberties or devastate the environment?” Hey, protesters: “Can you cite an example to back up your charges?”

Repeating accusations over and over does not make them true. Rothman’s objections to Judge Janice Rogers Brown’s nomination have no basis in fact. To read the truth about Judge Brown see this report or Thomas Sowell’s "The Lynch Mob Gathers for Janice Rogers Brown, Part I, Part II and Part III."
The fact that Justice Brown received a 76 percent vote of approval from California voters in an election to confirm her appointment to the state Supreme Court hardly fits the label that Senator Schumer and other liberal Democrats are trying to pin on her.

California voters are hardly known for being on the far right. Yet they gave Janice Rogers Brown the highest vote of approval among the four justices on the same ballot.

The truth carries little weight -- if any -- in political efforts to block judicial nominees.
A picture is worth a thousand words and this liberal cartoon should tell you where the obstructionists are coming from:



At 4:22 PM, Anonymous aegidius said...

On Justice Janice Rogers Brown

The 'Golden Eloquence'of Rogers Brown

California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown, nominated for the D.C. Circuit, cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 10-9 vote, with Senator Larry Craig praising Brown for speaking with "golden eloquence" about basic rights. But a report from the People for the American Way and the NAACP reveals Justice Brown's true record. Brown on seniors: "Today's senior citizens blithely cannibalize their grandchildren because they have a right to get as much "free" stuff as the political system will permit them to extract." Brown on age discrimination: "Discrimination based on age does not mark its victim with a stigma of inferiority and second class citizenship...it is the unavoidable consequence of that universal leveler: time." Brown on New Deal programs, such as Social Security: "The New Deal...inoculated the federal Constitution with a kind of underground collectivist mentality. The Constitution itself was transmuted into a significantly different document...1937...marks the triumph of our own socialist revolution." Brown on government: "Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline in the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible." Brown, ignoring Supreme Court precedent, argues that racially discriminatory speech in the workplace is protected by the First Amendment. She has also denounced the Supreme Courts landmark ruling U.S. v. Carolene Products; a view which, if adopted "would signal the death-knell for a vast range of health labor, and environmental standards it enacted during the last century." The NYT characterized her record as a "war on mainstream legal values that most Americans hold dear.""
Source: http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=38364#3

At 4:26 PM, Anonymous aegidius said...

More on Justice Janice Rogers Brown

Excerpt from a press release from People for the American Way:

For Immediate Release: 10/21/2003

Judicial Nominee Janice Rogers Brown - To the Right of Thomas and Scalia

California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown, nominated by President Bush to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, has a record of ideological extremism and aggressive judicial activism that makes her unfit to serve on the appeals court. Remarkably, her judicial philosophy puts her even further to the right than the most far-right justices now sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

In August, People For the American Way and the NAACP released a joint report opposing Brown's confirmation. In recent weeks, her nomination has met increasing opposition, both in her home state and nationally, from groups including the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the Alliance for Justice, AFL-CIO, Alliance for Retired Americans, Americans for Democratic Action, Feminist Majority, NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc., NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Bar Association, National Council of Jewish Women, National Organization for Women, National Senior Citizens Law Center, National Women's Law Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, Planned Parenthood, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and the Sierra Club. Brown's confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee has been scheduled for Wednesday, October 22.

When Brown was nominated to the state supreme court in 1996, she was found unqualified by the state bar evaluation committee, based not only on her relative inexperience but also because she was "prone to inserting conservative political views into her appellate opinions" and based on complaints that she was "insensitive to established precedent."

- - - - - - -

Source: http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=12566

At 4:31 PM, Anonymous aegidius said...

From People for the American Way on Priscilla Owen:

Priscilla Owen

A Federalist Society member and currently a justice on the Texas Supreme Court, she was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Owen has been criticized as one of two judges on the “far right wing” of the conservative Texas court, further to the right than President Bush’s own appointees to that court when he was governor. In one decision in which she dissented, Owen called for a very narrow view of a state law concerning the ability of minors to obtain an abortion without parental notification. Although they served together for only a relatively short time, then Texas Supreme Court Justice Alberto Gonzales - who is now chief White House counsel - criticized or joined other justices’ criticism of positions taken by Owen in numerous cases. In another dissent, Owen effectively sought to rewrite an important state civil rights law to make it much harder for employees to prove that their rights were violated.

Her confirmation was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 5, 2002, nonetheless, President Bush has re-nominated her.

- - - - - - -

Source: http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=14175

See also summaries of dissents by Owen in a couple of cases, at URL above.

At 5:00 PM, Blogger Enlighten said...

Okay, but why did the vast majority of voters in such a "blue state" as Calif. vote for Brown if her ideas are "out of the mainstream"?

Have her leagal rulings as a Judge come under fire from the voters or just from, what some might categorize as, out of the mainstream left-wingers?

A differnce of opinion doesn't make Brown unqualified to be a Judge. Have your read the Thomas Sowell articles?

Read them, you just might change your mind.

Thanks for taking the time to read our blog.

At 9:28 AM, Anonymous aegidius said...

Again, thanks for your welcome. You (y'all?) are welcome, in turn, to visit my blog, and post comments, in the same spirit. Please let me know if you have any difficulties (it's new, I'm getting used to how it works).

Thomas Sowell? That's the best you've got? Wow. He starts out calling People for the American Way (PFAW) a "far left" organization, and then complains when critics call Bush's appointments "extremist" or "activist" (the complaint against "activist" federal judges comes, of course, from resistance to civil rights activism in the '60s and '70s).

If I ever get around to compiling a catalog of examples to illustrate logical fallacies, I'll remember Thomas Sowell. But, really, it's hardly necessary, since Rush Limbaugh has already offered enough fallacies to fill a textbook on logical errors and fallacies.

If you want a clue about what's really going on with Bush's nominations to the federal bench, read The Making of the Corporate Judiciary.

At 9:41 AM, Anonymous aegidius said...

For more on the cartoon showing Brown as Clarence Thomas with a wig, see: Cover Story.

At 3:13 PM, Blogger Enlighten said...

You could also have read the report(with link) in our post before the Sowell link. Have you read it? Labeling something doesn’t make it so – in terms of the fallacies of distraction – you have attached my sources but haven’t refuted what they’ve written. And what does Rush Limbaugh have to do with what we posted and our questions to you?

You wrote: “The complaint against "activist" federal judges comes, of course, from resistance to civil rights activism in the '60s and '70s).” Why of course? Civil rights were not granted by the courts, but rather through legislation – albeit despite a handful of Democrats using the filibuster in the Senate to block civil rights laws. Ironic isn’t it that Democrats are now threatening to filibuster a black female judge?

Legislating from the bench from our perspective has picked up steam since Roe vs. Wade – but it didn’t start there. Antonin Scalia gave a speech recently that traces his view on this phenomenon – if we can find it, we’ll post it.

We've also noted the overwhelming vote of the people in Calif for Judge Brown - does that not count as meaningful or something to be considered in terms of Brown’s acceptability to regular people? The American Bar Assoc. gave Brown the thumbs up. Clearly,there are large segments of the population that believe her past performance as a judge is acceptable.

Is your fear that Brown will be an activist judge? One as Rep. Rothman said that is “bent on rolling back decades of progress on civil rights, the environment, workers' rights and religious liberties. “ Where do these allegations come from? A fear of how she might rule as a judge?

What specifically makes anyone believe Brown would roll back civil rights, for example? Which civil rights do aniti-Brown groups think she would take away?

These are the question we think you might want to address to bolster your position.

At 5:40 PM, Anonymous aegidius said...

I responded to the Sowell links because that's the direction you pointed me in. Alas, Sowell's columns are trivially bad at logical persuasion, though some might get caught up in his overheated rhetoric. Not worth spending much time with, and certainly not worth a point by point refutation.

The other link was a bit more interesting, a worthy work product for an astroturf PR operation (see Alexander Bolton's report from December 1, 2004, for The Hill). But Kay Daly's report is focused on side issues, as are your questions. The BushCo goal in nominating Brown is not so much dismantling civil rights, though that could well be an appreciated by-product for Bush's confederate supporters, as it is securing greater power for corporations.

As the Mother Jones article I linked to above exposes, the real goal for BushCo is corporate power, and making the US a better place for rich people. Brown's radical notion that the Constitution enshrined a political economy and her disregard for stare decisis are reasons enough to oppose her nomination. Opposition by civil rights groups, merited by Brown's chaotic and inconsistent rulings on cases touching on settled civil rights issues (see "Loose Cannon," the PFAW/NAACP Joint Report [warning - PDF file], are useful in piercing the absurd right wing pretense that Democratic opposition is based on Brown being a black woman.

As for where opposition to "judicial activism" comes from, I think you've left out an important dimension of the civil rights struggle when you point to legislation (that, after all, really only established federal protection for those rights, not the rights themselves, which are inherent in the Constitution, as amended). Remember Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, (1954)? That was only one step (a landmark of course) in the long legal battle of the NAACP to have civil rights recognized.

Oh, and those Dixiecrats that fillibustered civil rights legislation, you know what happened to them, right? They either retired or turned into Republicans. Following the pattern of Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms.

At 11:30 PM, Blogger Enlighten said...

You again dismiss our sources with “trivially bad at logical persuasion”, although you don’t provide any specifics.

When did the People For the American way become a nonpartisan group producing unbiased work product and campaigns. Just because the People for the American has an opinion, doesn’t make their work product accurate or whatever documents they produce the final word on any subject.

Brown’s thinking that you cited above we happen to agree with, except U.S. v. Carolene Products and her defense of free speech. We are not familiar with the Carolene Products case or the context of her free speech opinion. Perhaps once we learn more will we might agree with her line of reasoning in those cases as well.

Your referenced Bolton article states:

"Well-funded liberal groups are also ramping up their efforts to block any conservative nominee."

"Ralph Neas, head of People for the American Way, said his group has been preparing for a Supreme Court battle ever since he joined it five years ago."

So we now know the People for the American Way’s aim was to block any Bush nominee that didn’t share their political point of view. “Our political point of view is better than your political point of view” is not a strong argument.

Is Brown qualified to be a Judge, we would say yes. Not based upon her point of view, but on objective criteria.

Brown has the necessary education, experience, she's a California supreme court judge elected by the people, the America Bar Association has rated her qualified for the postion, the President has nominated her and the majority of the Senate wishes to vote to confirm her. Advantage Brown.

You write: “Brown's radical notion that the Constitution enshrined a political economy and her disregard for stare decisis are reasons enough to oppose her nomination.”

What “political economy” does Brown believe is enshrined in the Constitution - the right to own private property without fear of it being taken by the government – that “political economy?” When did that become a radical idea?

Is stare decisis enshrined in the constitution? Some people believe that without a disregard for stare decisis Plessy v. Ferguson's "separate but equal" might still be law.

We would give the advantage to Brown.

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