Really? Thurgood Marshall? Really?

Did I read that right?

The republicans decided that the best way to attack Elena Kagan is to chide her for admiring Justice Thurgood Marshall?  Really?  Is that where they want to make their stand?

Thurgood Marshall?

Chief counsel for the NAACP – the one who prevailed in Brown vs. Board of Eductaion and essentially dismantled legalized discrimination in this country. The first African American supreme court justice. The republicans called him an “activist judge” today.

What’s next?  How about trashing George Washington because, while it’s true that he won the war for independence, he did it by fighting dirty.  You know, hiding in the trees and dressing in shabby clothes – refusing to stand up and be shot.

My question to Senators Sessions, Cornyn, Kyl et. al. is this:  “Do you really want to be on the other side of that issue?”  It sounds to me like you do.  To my ears, it sounds like you’ve slipped and let your true racist feelings be known.  Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what it sounds like.

What do they mean by that?  Do they mean that being an African American, Justice Marshall used the supreme court to further his agenda of “equality for all under the law”.  Activist!  Changing the law!  Fighting dirty!  No honor!  Nevermind that he championed the rights of individuals (not just African Americans or minorities, but all individuals) over those of big government, big corporations and big banks.

Activist judge.

Sounds to me more like a knee-jerk reaction.  Common wisdom holds that all liberals are practically by definition “activists”.  Never mind the extreme right-wing activism we’re seeing in this year’s supreme court.  In this case, “activist” is code for “liberal” or…. “negro”.

I do believe that’s intentional.  I think they want to remind us all (and mostly their own base) that Kagan was steeped in and stained by the traditions of liberal African American politics.  They’re trying to tie her to the current wave of anti-Obama sentiment – the swell of racism that’s reared its ugly head and peered out from the shadows.

I believe this is calculated and intentional.

I also believe it’s stupid.  Or at least it should be. Thurgood Marshall was one of the great supreme court justices of our time.  There should never be political hay to be made by disparaging his memory.  The appearance of racism – whether real or merely inferred should be avoided at all costs.

But my greatest fear is that they will benefit from these statements.  Or at the very least, we’ll let it go.  Well I say “no”.  I can’t let it pass.  They slammed Thurgood Marshall in the hopes that the ripples might ruffle Kagan’s feathers a bit.

My question for you (in two parts) is this:

a) if you’re a Republican, are you happy with this?  Do these guys represent you?

b) if you’re not a Republican, will you remain silent and let this one pass too?


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