Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Speaking of Civil War Names . . .

. . . is Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (R-AL) named for Jefferson Davis and P.G.T. Beauregard?*

I ponder this question as I watch the man confess a shocking ignorance of the history of American law while on national television.

In case you haven't been watching Judge Sotomayor's confirmation hearings, I will summarize Senator Sessions' remarks:
White men are neutral. Everyone else is prejudiced. The application of American law was TOTALLY NEUTRAL AND OBJECTIVE before women, people of color, queers, and their allies started messing everything up.
I watch CNN at the gym, but I had to turn it off this morning. I really could not stand to hear Senators Sessions and Grassley accuse Judge Sotomayor of "activism" in the Ricci case when her ruling was based on precedent and law while Justices Scalia and Alito created a new standard in order to satisfy their political imperatives and bent over backwards to ally themselves with a lawsuit-happy fellow Italian-American. I'm certainly no constitutional originalist (no is, no one can be, no one should be). I just could not stand to see those smug idiots display their prejudices so baldly while simultaneously claiming to be "objective."

They live in a fantasy world, where our national aspirations have already been wholly fufilled. Sometimes I wonder why I bother to study American history, but now I know — so I can laugh in the face of anyone who says that the history of American law is a history of objective decisions rendered by impartial marble men.

Senators Sessions and Grassley (and others, I'm sure — I just didn't watch that that far) have criticized Judge Sotomayor for saying that her experiences and her individual perspective will undoubtedly color her rulings. Of course they will. Just as Justice Scalia's color his. Just as Senator Sessions' color his questions. Are they against introspection? Reflection? Acknowledgment of the inescapability of bias?

What a disgusting display of willful, partisan, racist, historically-illiterate ignorance.

*To be clear, he'd be an asshat whatever his parents named him — I just have Confederate names on the brain.

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