Casualty of Capitalism

Exiled into Wilmington, Delaware by virtue of corporate layoffs. (Note: Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this blog are Copyright 2005, Michael Collins, and cannot be used without permission.)

Location: Wilmington, Delaware, United States

Graduate of University of Maryland School of Law; University of Maryland, College Park (Economics/Political Science).

Monday, August 15, 2005

Raspberry: Discard Your Vote, Obey Your Masters

I haven't written anything about politics lately because of time constraints and a lack of anything substantive to say. Not much of importance has happened lately to merit comment, anyway. In fact, politics for the last couple of months has so lacked substance, that I came to the realization that what goes for political "news" these days is little different than reality show-style political soap opera. Boring.

I did read a column today, however, that blew my mind. William Raspberry writes weekly in the Washington Post. In general, I read his column and am able to give it worthy consideration, even if his politics differ from mine. He is not afraid to buck the common wisdom on his side of the political spectrum on occasion and suggest some not so popular reforms (for his bretheren).

Today, however, he went unhinged. He traded in composure and reason for rant, and exposed his deepest held beliefs. Those beliefs, it appears, betray a belief that the Supreme Court should be a court that solves the people's problems rather than one that interprets the laws; in other words, a superlegislature.

Raspberry's first several paragraphs are mere filler that set up his final points, contained in the columns last two paragraphs. These paragraphs read:

The point: Nothing in that glide path suggests exposure to anything that might temper his conservative philosophy with real-life exposure to the problems and concerns of ordinary men and women. Roberts is undeniably bright, said my friend, but his life has been one of quite extraordinary privilege.

And then it occurred to me: Roberts's life has been amazingly like that of the man who wants to put him on the court -- but with better grades.

First, (I firmly believe this and have remarked on it several times on this blog...why don't writers listen to me?) Raspberry loses all credibility in the single instant that he takes a cheapshot at the president through the column's last four words. {Teacher's voice} Again class, personal attack = immediately loss of credibility. And this personal attack that has nothing to do with the rest of the column! In four words of conclusion, Raspberry decimated any authority he had to make a persuasive argument...for what? The article is about John Roberts, not the president! A foolish error.

Second, what does the exposure to real-life problems have to do with interpretation of the law? The Supreme Court isn't an equity court where the judges are free to decide cases based on what they perceive to be fair, rather than black letter law. The Supreme Court's role is to interpret the Constitution, U.S. Code and other federal rules and regulations appearing on the books. There is no federal common law. Therefore, the only reason why "exposure to real-life problems" would matter, would be if the author wants the court to solve people's problems without regard to what is written in the code or constitution: i.e., legislate from the bench. {Teacher's voice} Class, this is what we call "judicial activism".

Oh, and don't miss how Raspberry automatically assumes (as would most of his reading liberal audience) that privilege is an inherent negative. (Ed. - Hey, what about affirmative action?) Roberts may have breezed through the ranks, but his record shows that it was merit that propelled him, not nepotism or politics. He may have been able to attend private schools by virtue of his father's money, but I think anyone can agree that how you got into the school isn't as important as what you did when you arrived. Roberts graduated #1 in his class.

There you have it.

What ever happened to the idea that if you are qualified, you should be affirmed? This writer is basically saying, "Yeah, but…" and also hoping to (somehow) stick it to the guy he is referring to in the final four words of the column. It's sad, because usually I respect William Raspberry's point of view. This one is just unhinged.


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