Sen. Jon Kyl attacks legendary civil rights lawyer and jurist, Justice Thurgood Marshall

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

During the opening statements of the confirmation hearing for Elena Kagan on Monday, Sen. Jon Kyl and other Republicans thought it was a dandy idea to attack a legendary civil rights icon, Justice Thurgood Marshall.

That's just great. Jon Kyl, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham, both lawyers, were chastised by the U.S. Supreme Court in a footnote in the case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld for misleading the court in an amicus brief submitted by the senators, in which they asserted a live colloquy on the floor of the Senate that never happened as evidence of congressional intent for the Detainee Treatment Act. For the background story see, Invisible men. – By Emily Bazelon – Slate Magazine, and FindLaw's Writ – Dean: Senators Kyl and Graham's Hamdan v. Rumsfeld Scam The Deceptive Amicus Brief They Filed in the Guantanamo Detainee Case:

To assist the [Bush/Cheney] Administration, Republican Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jon Kyl of Arizona engaged in a blatant scam that was revealed during the briefing of Hamdan.

Senators Graham and Kyl not only misled their Senate colleagues, but also shamed their high offices by trying to deliberately mislead the U.S. Supreme Court. Their effort failed.

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Out of an apparent concern for interbranch comity, the High Court has chosen to ignore the bogus brief filed by Senators Graham and Kyl, rather than reprimanding the Senators. Nevertheless, when Graham and Kyl sought to file the very same brief, a month later, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columba, Slate's Emily Bazelon reports that court "issued an unusual order rejecting" their amicus brief alone, although they accepted five others.

This was a serious ethical violation for a lawyer. Kyl and Graham could have and should have been sanctioned by the D.C. bar.

These clowns aren't qualified to carry Thurgood Marshall's briefcase into a courtroom. How dare these shameful liars attack a legendary lawyer and jurist like Thurgood Marshall.

Here is how Dana Milbank described the hearing on Monday. Kagan may get confirmed, but Thurgood Marshall can forget it:

As confirmation hearings opened Monday afternoon, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee took the unusual approach of attacking Kagan because she admired the late justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom she clerked more than two decades ago.

"Justice Marshall's judicial philosophy," said Sen. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, "is not what I would consider to be mainstream." Kyl — the lone member of the panel in shirtsleeves for the big event — was ready for a scrap. Marshall "might be the epitome of a results-oriented judge," he said.

It was, to say the least, a curious strategy to go after Marshall, the iconic civil rights lawyer who successfully argued Brown vs. Board of Education. Did Republicans think it would help their cause to criticize the first African American on the Supreme Court, a revered figure who has been celebrated with an airport, a postage stamp and a Broadway show? The guy is a saint — literally. Marshall this spring was added to the Episcopal Church's list of "Holy Women and Holy Men," which the Episcopal Diocese of New York says "is akin to being granted sainthood."

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Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), the ranking Republican on the panel, branded Marshall a "well-known activist."

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Marshall's legal view "does not comport with the proper role of a judge or judicial method."

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) pronounced Marshall "a judicial activist" with a "judicial philosophy that concerns me."

The problem with this line of attack is that Marshall was already confirmed by the Senate — in 1967. He died in 1993. In the audience Monday, his son, Thurgood "Goody" Marshall Jr., sat two rows behind the nominee and listened with amusement to the assaults on his father.

These despicable creatures owe a public apology to the family members of Thurgood Marshall, his extended family at the NAACP which Marshall represented in a series of civil rights cases including the landmark Brown v. Board of Education, and the countless civil rights activists who fought and died for civil rights in this country who looked to Thurgood Marshall for inspiration. Thurgood Marshall is an inspirational American hero to many Americans, including me. When these Republican thugs defame Thurgood Marshall's good name and historic achievements they insult all Americans who honor him.

0 responses to “Sen. Jon Kyl attacks legendary civil rights lawyer and jurist, Justice Thurgood Marshall

  1. Tom Prezelski

    Kyl spoke in February of this year at the annual Lincoln Day dinner in Yuma. It was a routine speech in which the candidate spoke about the values Abraham Lincoln had given the Republican party.
    For a little perspective on Jon Kyl and his attitude about race, we should go back to this item from the New Times back in 1994 ( he first ran for Senate:

    During the question-and-answer period, a woman stood up to ask:
    “Isn’t it true that before Lincoln was shot, he was planning on sending all them blacks back to Africa?” The remark was greeted by widespread applause in the hall.

    Kyl answered meekly that he had never heard anything like that.
    Later, after the meeting, Kyl explained why he hadn’t taken a stand upon hearing the racist remark. “It was an ugly thing to say,” Kyl admitted, “but what are you going to do? . . . We need her, and those like her, to win.” There are some kinds of weak-kneed, sniveling sons of bitches that you don’t have to be in order to win election to the Senate or anyplace else.

  2. When you assume you make an ass out of you and… well, just you. Something at which you excel. I practice and on occasion teach constitutional law. I not only have read the opinions of Justice Marshall but many of the pleadings and evidence submitted in support of the arguments before the Supreme Court, and studied the historical background and context of each case. I know of which I speak. I have my doubts that you are as well versed.

    Justice Marshall was not an “activist” in the proper usage of the term. His opinions demonstrate a judicial restraint compared to Justices William O. Douglas and William Brennan. When given the opportunity, Republican Senators leveling this bogus “activist” claim could not name a single case to illustrate their point.

    You, however, point to Brown v. Board of Education conceding it was “rightly decided but the reasoning in the Court’s opinion is, at best, hokey.” Your purported “legal analysis” implies that you agree with the Plessy v. Ferguson “separate but equal” standard, but you don’t want to be seen as supporting it. I give you a grade of “F” for your superficial legal analysis. Don’t quit your day job.

    Critical analysis of the reasoning of the court and distinguishing the facts of a case is what I do in my practice. I have no problem with criticizing the opinions of any judge. Your straw-man argument that this is “culture hero” worship is, like you, without any substance or relevance.

    BTW, Thurgood Marshall was a young attorney for the NAACP who argued Brown v. Board of Education to the Supreme Court. He did not become a Justice until many years later. So this is not a good example of his purported “judicial activism.”

  3. “Thurgood Marshall is an inspirational American hero to many Americans, including me. ”

    Which shouldn’t mean that, if he was a results-oriented judge, he is above criticism. Meaningfully liberal government necessitates there being no saints and icons, no mere men elevated to the status of culture hero. People who get upset at criticism of historic figures because they have elevated them to hero status should be ridiculed for the flakes they are. (Some flakes hide behind pseudonyms instead of attaching their writings to their reputations. Prudent, but cowardly.)

    Likewise we should be able to say _Brown_ was rightly decided but the reasoning in the Court’s opinion is, at best, hokey. It’s amazing how much of a “Does not compute” response that one gets from people who never read the opinion but assume it must be something great.

  4. Michael Bryan

    Activist judges indeed. I think a court that finds that the 2nd Amendment is a personal right that directly restricts State sovereignty in contravention of more than two centuries of jurisprudential tradition to the contrary might fairly be labeled ‘activist’. Pot, meet kettle.

  5. Francine Shacter

    Please forgive me, I have to repeat my dear, departed mother’s words of wisdom: What people do to themselves, their worst enemies would never even consider doing to them! This is a Republican death wish in action! We can just sit and put our feet up, they’ll do themselves in with no help from us!