October 20, 2013

Should Those Who Revere the Constitution Respect Those Who Don’t?

As one who deeply admires Justice Thomas and agrees with Tom Goldstein that he has been “our greatest justice,” I am distressed by Thomas’ televised public statements off the Court undercutting his courageous defense of the Constitution and rule of law on the Court. 
Having previously praised liberal activist justices as individuals, he subsequently proclaimed their written court opinions to be as worthy of respect as his own. But I contend here that this disregards opinions, in the most divisive cases, that are often value judgments disguised as constitutional interpretation. Thomas himself has made that point throughout his tenure.
In my view, to say that all value judgments are entitled to respect is to preach from the bible of leftist multiculturalism. Citing opinions Thomas has written, joined and opposed, I ask: are opinions entitled to respect when Thomas states that they (1) dissemble; (2) are lawless and illegitimate; (3) engage in arrogant usurpation of power, limited only by justices’ sense of what they “can get away with”; (4) are based on the belief by justices that blacks are inferior to whites; (5) use the same rationalizations earlier employed by slaveholders and segregationists; (6) sentence the most vulnerable  law-abiding citizens to lives of terror in order to protect gang members who inflict that terror, etc., etc.?
Of course, Thomas cannot be expected to publicly insult the activist justices he must work with. But this surely does not require him to go to the polar extreme by suggesting that his opinions, faithful to the law and reflecting widely accepted values, are no better than theirs. At a time when the left employs Alinsky rules, it is imprudent for conservatives to observe Marquis of Queensberry rules. Given detrimental abuse of power by many justices, it is ill-advised to legitimize what they do by declaring respectable the undemocratic imposition of their idiosyncratic harmful personal morality upon the American people.

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