Sunday, September 04, 2005


Like Armando, I won't be hypocritical and suggest that deep down in my heart I really did like the guy for all of his now-insignificant flaws. I actually want to point out that the kind of discrimination we see in action in New Orleans right now was right up Rehnquist's alley.
While a law clerk to Justice Robert H. Jackson in 1952, (Rehnquist) argued that the separate-but-equal doctrine "was right and should be reaffirmed." At his confrimation hearing as chief justice in 1986, he denied that this represented hiw own view, but lied about this, as Jackson's secretary and others have confirmed and as his whole career shows. Additional evidence comes from a memo he wrote in a case that year, which did not come to light during the 1986 hearings:
It is about time the court faced the fact that the white people in the South don't like the colored people; the Constitution restrains them from effecting this dislike through state action, but it most assuredly did not appoint the court as a sociological watchdog to rear up every time private discrimination raised its ugly head.
And while a lawyer in Phoenix, Arizona, he opposed modest public accomodation and school desegregation proposals. - "States' Rights Assault on Federal Authority," by Herman Schwartz. Found in The Rehnquist Court, ed. by Herman Schwartz, 2002, p. 157.
I hope he rests in peace, but let's not act like he was admirable.


Anonymous Jo Fish said...

Yeah, the sooner they kick his moldering corpse into an undeserved gravesite at Arlington the better. TBogg had a great riff on Rehnquists activities as a race-baiting poll worker in Arizona in 1964, trying to discourage Latinos from registering to vote, since they voted heavily Democratic.

He was such a hack, that even Nixon had to be briefed on why he wanted to nominate him, and then as I recall the story promptly forgot his name until reminded by an aide.

4:49 PM  
Blogger George said...

And just think, if Rehnquist had retired 5 years ago then the winner of the 2000 election might have actually been inaugurated.

5:28 PM  

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