Just A Suggestion…

I have never been more ashamed to be an American than I am today.

Family Research Council cofounder George Alan Rekers gets caught with his pants down (metaphorically) while palling around Europe with a Rentboy. Christervatives jump to his defense. It was a setup. He didn’t know the escort was gay. There’s no proof anything inappropriate occurred. He’s being crucified by the Left.

Look, I don’t give a crap if Rekers is gay. More power to him. But a gay Evangelical championing an anti-gay agenda screams of hypocrisy. That’s the problem here. Rekers is the guy who fought against the Boy Scouts allowing homosexuals to join their ranks. He led the fight to prohibit homosexuals from being able to adopt. He was one of the “pray-the-gay-away”-ers. 

The very same people who are defending Rekers are attacking the President’s latest Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan. Why? Because she’s a lesbian! (Full disclosure: So am I.) And I’m not talking about well-reasoned opposition to anything relevant to her ability to adjudicate. I’m talking about the most vile, despicable, hate-filled vitriol I’ve come across in a hell of a long time.

Kagan excelled at Princeton, Oxford, and Harvard. She clerked for Judge Abner Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Then she clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court She was pretty busy working for President Clinton. During his Administration she was an Associate White House Counsel, Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council. Then, in 2003, she was the first woman to be named Harvard University’s Dean of the Law School. She then became President Obama’s Solicitor General.

Now, if you Tea Klux Klan-ers want to go after Elena Kagan based on her stellar record, go ahead. Good luck. But if all you’ve got is a bunch of homophobic hate-speech, shut the hell up and move to Iran, where according to Ahmadinejad, there are no homosexuals.

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18 responses to “Just A Suggestion…

  1. I thought it was settled that Kagan was not a lesbian. Even Eliot Spitzer came out and said she’s straight. There’s irony in there somewhere.

    Interesting about the Boy Scouts. You must have heard that they lost that case in, I think Washington state, over scoutmasters molesting their charges. The BSA had a secret list of these guys, but apparently had such poor control over who the perps were that they ended up doing what amounted to a Vatican shuffle, apparently, as I understand it, not turning any of these guys over to the law.

    You do know the motto of the fundogelicals, right? “Reason is the enemy of faith.” Might as well be “Smart is the enemy of really, really stupid.”

    Nicely emotional rage-y post. 😈

  2. Nice job with your post. The hypocrisy from these evangelicals or “family values” conservatives every time one of their own gets caught doing a naughty is laughable.

  3. I really don’t care George Alan Rekers has a new ‘rent-a-boy’ every day mmmm or night, just don’t try to beat me up with your bible for my beliefs.

    As for Kagan, it’s not her knowledge base that concerns me. It’s her lack of bench experience that has me worried.

    • That’s not a problem. Some of the best Supreme Court Justices had little or no bench experience.
      Remember, the Constitution wasn’t written by a bunch of judges.

      • It’s a shame to try to raise an issue about her sexual orientation. But you should be a judge to be a Supreme Court candidate. The “I think she could be good” is a joke. It’s not a Dairy Queen, it’s the Supreme Court… By far the worst move from Obama.

  4. I think the real concern with this nominee is that Obama seems to want people on the court who will use this great power from a morally flawed point of view. The purpose of a justice is not to see one group or another as a historically abused minority of one type or another who deserves special consideration or empathy from the court. The court must view all parties blindly and give justice to a mulit-billion dollar corporation or crippled little Tiny Tim based on what the law strictly allows. To allow justices to bring “empathy” or “protected class status” into the equasion might make one “feel” better, but it ultimately undermines faith in the judicial system. Furthermore, it opens the doorway to exactly the same prejudices which have, in the past, inflicted so much injustice on one group or another. “Empathy” is transient, it comes and goes. The underdog group we all love to root for in a hollywood movie will not always be in favor. After all, what, if not “empathy”, put all those people into internment camps during world war II? What, if not “empathy”, created Jim Crow laws?

    Now I’m no fan of some crazy gay-bashing hypocrite, and no conservative I respect has jumped to his defense, but there are certainly reasonable questions this nominee needs to answer. A resume tells us very little about a person, very little.

  5. Empathy didn’t put the Japanese in internment camps. Fear and ignorance did that. Empathy didn’t create the Jim Crow laws. Racial hatred and arrogance did that to a historically abused minority.

    Empathy in justice is concerned with understanding the effects of the law on the people the law affects. Empathy is about tempering justice with mercy and understanding. To not do so is to effect a Taliban-like application of law.

    Justice is not about feeling better, and it is not about vengeance. Justice leavens the times, the laws, and the passions of the times in which it operates.

    • Ric: while your answer is quite poetic, the point you miss is that empathy depends on point of view. Since the point of view of all people is in some ways flawed, the only path to true justice is to rely on the law itself and not a consideration of the effect of the law. I’m sure that we would agree that Jim Crow laws were an abomination not because of some transient sense of white america’s pity or empathy, but because the constitution demanded it. To consider the effect of a law is the duty of the legislative branch of government. The Supreme Court should look at the constitutionality of the law, not to make subjective judgements about the nature or condition of the people or institutions before the court.

      And while I appreciated your reference to the Taliban, no reasonable person would accept such an unfair and loaded comparison. That’s sloppy

    • You’re the one who said empathy created the Jim Crow laws and the internment camps. Is that what you’re saying or not?

      As for the constitutionality of the laws, slavery was constitutional. Women not being allowed to vote was constitutional. Without the capacity for empathy to look at society, at the people, at the institutions of society, and the changes that happen, we would still have slaves and women would be fretting in the kitchen.

      Some of those changes come from the legislature, and some come from the court. When the institutions of the law disconnect from the people, for lack of empathy, society is indeed on the road to Taliban-like excesses. No reasonable person would have accepted that people would fly airplanes into buildings either, at least according to more than one person in our government, but there you have it. ‘It can’t happen here’ is a canard. It can, and when you take the human element out of law and judgment, the things we see as evil in other nations are a step closer to happening here.

      • Interesting. My position is that empathy for whites who didn’t want their world to change and for americans fearful that saboteurs had arrived before Dec. 7 brought us jim crow laws and internement camps. This is what I meant when I said that empathy depended on point of view. I mentioned it because this seemed to be a more substantive issue than if Mrs. Kagan was a lesbian.

        The cases you mention do give me pause to think, however. Both slavery and women’s sufferage were addressed by constitutional ammendments–by action of representative bodies. They reflect the way in which the constitution should reflect the movement and develpoment of the society because they reflect the will of the people. And while I believe it is shameful that these devices were not included in the original draft, I understand the political necessities and choices the framers were faced with. The capacity for empathy you rightfully bring up belongs with the people and with their elected representatives, not the courts. Current laws give the lower courts room for mercy in criminal and civil matters; these are not the subject of the vast majority of the Supreme court’s considerations.

        Let us suppose that we did “look to empathy” when decisions were close–as they always are at that level. How would one maintain faith in the judicial system if one did not have faith that all parties are treated equally? If one party is black, for example, do we hope justices will award them an extra 1% or 3% or what in their considerations? If this is done, have they received justice? No. Nor should we allow the Supreme Court to subvert the power of the legislature to enact policies which address what the court considers to be necessary; that is the job of another branch of the government. Would we ever allow the president to declare a law unconstitutional or allow congress to maintain a police force? No. Likewise, the supreme court must be kept in check, too.

        Either way, I’ve enjoyed your thoughtful and provocative responses thus far.

  6. Perhaps we’re using different definitions or understandings of empathy here. I see it as a tool one person uses to understand the life/situation/context of another person, or, if you will, group of people. I think that to suggest that empathy was the driver of Jim Crow laws is to confuse empathy with arrogance and privilege. Empathy is not a matter of mercy, though it may lead to mercy. It’s a tool for understanding people, human situations, and human consequences. You can empathize with a suicide bomber if you’re intelligent enough and sufficiently informed, but you’d still shoot him before he reached his target.

    As for all parties being treated equally, there’s more than one way to treat equally. If an injustice is perpetrated over a hundred years against one class of people, does treating them equally mean ignoring the full extent in time of the injustice, and ruling only on the limited time the case has been active in law? Understanding the severity of the injustice requires empathy, requires the ability to understand the full weight of the injustice. I think that ruling, or judging, without regard for history, in society and law, and context, makes for bad law.

    Fairness is too often in the eye of the beholder, and in politics that eye is usually the eye of the powerful, which defeats fairness. We can’t assume the Court is apolitical, when it obviously is not. One might hope for justices who practice empathy, as a check on those who practice nothing but law and favor and power or for whom a fixed ideology is their sole tool, which would appear to be the case with the so-called conservative justices on today’s Court.

    • Ric: I’ve enjoyed this healthy little debate, but I fear we are at an impasse. As you say:”Fairness is too oftten in the eye of the beholder.” The problem is “the eye.” Since we cannot fix “the eye” the court must be blind to the parties involved. This is not to suggest that after a court has ruled in one way or another that whatever happens next should be blind to history or the factors you mention. I still hold that it is wrong to consider other factors before a final ruling has been made.

      And since most are just as easily able to predict how liberal justices will rule on a given issue, it is wrong to suggest that conservatives only use ideology as a “fixed tool.”

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