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. Continue reading