Last night we finished reading Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' memoir, My Grandfather's Son. Thomas has always been our favorite Supreme Court Justice and reading his memoir has made us admire him even more. He is very honest about his struggles with depression, alcohol, divorce, education--everything.
But the thing that stood out to us, and the reason for this post, was his description of his Senate confirmation hearings. We remember watching these hearings on TV. It was where we first learned about sexual harassment. We remember asking our father (though we doubt he'll remember) why the guys on TV seemed to be attacking then Judge Thomas. Our father, who'd voted for Bush Sr. and supported his nomination of Thomas explained that some people had said things about Thomas that weren't true and that before he could join the Supreme Court, they needed to make sure everyone knew it. We'd never watched C-SPAN before, didn't really understand what they were talking about, but we recognized a good man when we saw him (Thomas) and what Thomas in his book calls a "high-tech lynching" when we saw that, too.
As we read the book, we learned what it cost Thomas, his wife, family, friends, the Bush Administration--everyone who supported him--to be drug through the mud by the cabal of liberal Senators, groupthink Civil Rights organizations, pro-choice women's groups, and their willing echo chamber/propaganda machine, the mainstream media. "Ludicrous" does not even begin to describe the shameful event that played out on C-SPAN and in the press.
Suffice it to say that My Grandfather's Son is one of the best books we've read in some time.
The next President will nominate 1-2 new Supreme Court justices. If nominated by a Republican, they could conceivably change the future of American jurisprudence--abortion, property rights, affirmative action--all these and more could and probably would be reconsidered by a newly conservative Supreme Court.
Rudy Giuliani has admitted that his personal beliefs are pro-choice. In order to placate social conservatives and win the Republican nomination, he stated that he would nominate judges in the mold of Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia. While somewhat comforting, the experience of Judge Thomas illustrates why this may not be enough. The most recent justices nominated to the court--John Roberts and Samuel Alito--replaced conservative William Rehnquist and nominally conservative Sandra Day O'Connor. Though they were opposed by Democratic Senators and the aforementioned interest groups, because it wouldn't change the balance of the court, they largely got through without a fight.
However, if a Republican somehow manages to win the next presidential election, John Paul Stevens, who seems to be awaiting a Democratic president, may not live long enough to see one and could be replaced by a conservative judge. As this would upset the "balance" of the court, you can expect a fight on the scale of Clarence Thomas, with the same amount of dirty politics. Such a fight requires especially a President who principally believes in and would support a nominee who would face the sort of character assassination faced by Clarence Thomas.
Giuliani has made no secret of his personal pro choice beliefs. We're afraid that when push comes to shove, a President Giuliani would quickly back away from his justice "in the mold of Alito & Scalia" and instead nominate someone more palatable to the angry lynch mob of liberal interest groups.
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