The Corner

Dobson On Judges

I was the guest on Dr. Dobson’s radio show when he referred to the KKK and the white robes when we were discussing the men in black robes (see Jonah today). It has been taken completely out of context by David Brock and others. Context is important. We had been talking for 20 minutes or so about the Court’s history, including the fact that it not only upheld slavery, but imposed it on the free territories in Dred Scott. We also discussed Plessy, in which the Court held that separate but equal is equal under the 14th Amendment. Moreover, we talked about the Court upholding the internment of 110,000 Japanese Americans. Obviously, this isn’t the complete history of the Supreme Court, but when it came to slavery, segregation after Reconstruction, and massive due-process violations during World War II, the Supreme Court as an institution has done enormous damage to this nation. That’s not to give a pass to the other branches of government, or to ignore the good things the Court has done. But we must be honest about the full legacy of the Court. That’s what Dr. Dobson’s reference was about. (As an aside, there have been justices who wore white robes or were racists in black robes.) Beyond critiquing Dr. Dobson’s comments, I find the Court’s liberal supporters largely blind to the history of the Court, unwilling to engage in a substantive debate of its power or the societal impact of its exercise of power. They dismiss the early history of the Court, legitimate criticism as provoking threats against judges, and so forth. They’re so enamored with and committed to government by the judiciary that the same critical thinking they use in analyzing the elected branches is absent here. This is simply intellectually dishonest. So, they prefer to demonize Dr. Dobson, or Tom DeLay, or John Cornyn, or whomever. But it’s time to engage on the substance.

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