Sunday, November 15, 2009

The repercussions of judicial appointments

The Oregonian published a short feature on the works of Justice William O. Douglas in their Nov. 15 issue.

I like hearing about Supreme Court Justices who spend their time working to help make this country a better place for us all, in contradistinction to justices such as Antonin Scalia who present arguments from the bench that are so myopic and logically flawed* that a C-student on the 7th grade debate team could refute them in four or five sentences.** (If Scalia is among the top echelon of Conservative thinkers in this country--based on his presence on the Supreme Court--then Conservatism and the entire country are in dire straits.)

If anyone wants to learn more about Justice Douglas, I recommend the Oregon Encyclopedia entry on him, and Adam Sowards new book, The Environmental Justice: William O. Douglas and American Conservation, Oregon State University Press, 2009.

* Here's what I mean, from the excerpts of Lithwick's article:

"'The cross doesn't honor non-Christians who fought in the war?' Scalia asks, stunned.

"'A cross is the predominant symbol of Christianity, and it signifies that Jesus is the son of God and died to redeem mankind for our sins,' replies [Peter] Eliasberg, whose father and grandfather are both Jewish war veterans.

"'It's erected as a war memorial!' replies Scalia. 'I assume it is erected in honor of all of the war dead. The cross is the most common symbol of … of … of the resting place of the dead.'

"Eliasberg dares to correct him: 'The cross is the most common symbol of the resting place of Christians. I have been in Jewish cemeteries. There is never a cross on a tombstone of a Jew.'"

"'I don't think you can leap from that to the conclusion that the only war dead the cross honors are the Christian war dead,' thunders Scalia. 'I think that's an outrageous conclusion!'"

** It must have pained Eliasberg to have to point such a thing out to Scalia, but I imagine he was expecting it.


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