The Honorable William O. Douglas went to Columbia Law School, taught at Yale, and found his way to the U.S. Supreme Court as an Associate Justice, courtesy of FDR.
He was a hero of mine. I wanted to clerk for him but he said he only took on clerks from out west from whence he came. This is not to say I would have gotten the clerkship if he got his law clerks from New York, from his alma mater and the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.
I wish Justice Douglas were alive today to write and speak to the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He would surely join former Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, a Nixon appointee, who objected to Kavanaugh, as unfit for service as an Associate Justice because, in large part, of Kavanaugh’s express partisan bias.
Douglas wrote “Points of Dissent” when I was young but still smart enough to get his meaning.
It was a discussion of the law and facts at the time, that is, in the 60s and early 70s.
It was about the right and scope of First Amendment “free speech” exertions.
Like then, to paraphrase Douglas’ article, we are suffering under “a climate of conformity” among the political class. It is dominated by “a narrow spectrum of social and political opinion,” almost entirely autocratic and discriminatory. It is a toxic condition sustained by slander, scapegoats, and entirely anti-intellectual. In effect, it pushes back individual rights and freedoms presumed to exist at law and in practice, but gravely endangered. Wrong-headed know-nothing politicians are dismantling and compromising historic institutions of government including our courts that the founders established in 1787.
Some are amazed that this attack on Justice Kavanaugh has prompted dissent. Really? The day after Mr. Trump’s inauguration, women marched on Washington to protest Mr. Trump’s callous disrespect for women. Mr. Trump could have chosen a nominee without Kavanaugh’s shortcomings but Trump cared more that this nominee might also protect him from the ongoing Mueller investigation.
In the recent hearings and floor fight focused on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to join the Supreme Court, Judge Kavanaugh was rightly attacked for his inconsistent positions on whether Roe was “settled law,” for his alleged sexual misconduct with Dr. Christine Ford, and whether he lied under oath. This narrow political class brushed past these weighty objections.
11 white men on the Senate Judiciary Committee trivialized the right of a woman to be let alone, but didn’t trust themselves even to question Dr. Christine Ford, so they brought in a ringer, a woman, to question for them.
These Republican Senators insisted, in effect, that Dr. Ford must have somehow been confused who assaulted her, although she testified quite convincingly of how Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her while laughing with his drinking buddy, Mark Judge, both entirely unconcerned about the grave fear she experienced that she might be killed or raped.
The Republican Senators were hell bent on confirming an unworthy judicial nominee, in the face of his out-of-control, intemperate, angry, shouted, crying and partisan tirade.
It was another blow to the FBI’s integrity, already under attack by Mr. Trump, that the nation was informed of the Bureau’s anorexic “investigation” of Judge Kavanaugh, directed by Mr. Trump and his staff.
The Senate staged a political show, the truth a silent bystander, manipulated by the toxic sophistry of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
This harshly partisan proceeding, confounding any hint of due process, that is, “fundamental fairness,” confirmed an Associate Judge who has already indelibly smudged the high court’s presumed reputation for probity and impartiality.
“We the people” cannot rely on these elected public officials to preserve and protect the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights.
Thus the cause for dissent.
We all know from “1984” and “Brave New World” what the alternative approaches to government are, and what some elected officials in this nation presently prefer.
“We the People” must not ignore the constraints imposed upon our basic freedoms, by this alt-right political class, and risk being “diminished” in our dignity and freedom.
“We the people” must publicly decry the arbitrary rule by an ever-expanding, ever-demanding autocracy.
“We the people” must elect instead those who would restore the original promise of America.
Many of these promising candidates across the nation are women running to defend their rights, and everyone else’s, so elect them in November, and throw the bums out.