Patterico's Pontifications

7/7/2005

Arlen Specter: Probably Not a Liar — Just Colossally Clueless

Filed under: Judiciary,Morons — Patterico @ 8:50 pm



Frequent commenter and Confirm Them blogger Andrew is upset at Arlen Specter, who continues to spread the falsehood that Robert Bork favored segregation. Given that Bork said exactly the opposite at his confirmation hearings (Specter was there), the question arises: is Specter a liar? Or is he just woefully ignorant (and therefore unqualified for his post as Committee Chairman)?

My guess is the latter. Most Senators are pretentious gasbags, and Specter is far from being an exception. Anyone who has read Bork’s book “The Tempting of America” knows that Specter’s knowledge of constitutional law is almost laughably superficial. The guy just doesn’t have a clue.

I’m filing this under “Morons” instead of “Scum.”

I still agree with Andrew that Specter owes Bork an apology. But he already did, even before his recent comments.

What a shame that the Chairman isn’t someone who knows what he’s talking about — for example, someone like John Cornyn.

22 Responses to “Arlen Specter: Probably Not a Liar — Just Colossally Clueless”

  1. “But the combined disingenuousness of the Brown opinion and the obvious moral rightness of its result had, I believe, a calamitous effect upon the law. This was massively ironic, because the result in Brown is consistent with, indeed is compelled by, the original understanding of the fourteenth amendment’s equal protection clause.”

    That’s from Bork’s Book.

    Also, when I talk about undoing the damage of the Warren Court, I’m talking about damage like this.

    Angry Clam (f05866)

  2. Well I think its very nice of originalism to say that just as there is original understanding there is also original mistake.

    actus (d1b91d)

  3. The real problem is that the media, even the supposedly, educated interviewers, let people like Specter get away without commenting. The only way to stop all this blathering is to have hard questioners come right back for clarificaton – such as – Are you saying that Bork was ……. . The questioner does not have to know the subject to be tough. Most of these people wil start sounding mealy mouthed after a few tough clarifying qustions.

    Davod (51e146)

  4. Well I think its very nice of originalism to say that just as there is original understanding there is also original mistake.

    Indeed. That’s why the original Constitution (and, in an odd coincidence, the current one, too) has this nifty provision from Article V:

    The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; or, failing that, five Supreme Court Justices shall make some new shit up instead.

    Xrlq (e2795d)

  5. “Indeed. That’s why the original Constitution (and, in an odd coincidence, the current one, too) has this nifty provision from Article V:”

    Ah, but Bork’s original mistake gets judicial resolution and review, not amendment review. Perhaps he sees what the court did in Brown as a penumbra of the amendment process.

    actus (cd484e)

  6. Senator Specter – Slanderer

    ConfirmThem.com takes Senator Arlen Specter to task for accusing Judge Robert Bork of supporting racial segregation.
    Specter said:
    [I]deology could come into play if it is very, very, very extreme, and we had the situation with Judge Bork. And whe…

    The Unalienable Right (7a057a)

  7. Um, no.

    He sees it as undoing constitutional damage that the Court itself did.

    Angry Clam (f05866)

  8. Liar, or Compromiser?

    Isn’t Arlen Specter the guy who came up with the “magic bullet” theory?

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)

  9. “He sees it as undoing constitutional damage that the Court itself did. ”

    That original intent was wrong? Sure. But that wasn’t only the court coming up with that original intent that found separate to be equal.

    actus (cd484e)

  10. I’m sorry, but I just have to ask what the fuck are you talking about?

    Plessy wasn’t based on original intent, nor were the decisions that followed and relied upon it. Neither was Brown, and that’s what made it a mistake.

    Angry Clam (f05866)

  11. “I’m sorry, but I just have to ask what the fuck are you talking about?”

    Bork’s quote in the link. He says the original intent assumed that separation and equality were possible, but that that was a mistake:

    “They wrote a clause that says “equal protection of the laws.” I think it may well be true . . . that they had an assumption . . . that equality could be achieved with separation. Over the years it became clear that that assumption would not be borne out in reality ever.”

    Bork seems to think that Brown is true to the original intent of the 14th. For me, you also have to accept the “original mistake” of the 14th too.

    actus (cd484e)

  12. Or that the 14th only applies to the states and not the federal government, which is the case.

    Angry Clam (f05866)

  13. Or that the 14th explicitly requires “equal” protection, but is silent as to the issue of separation vs. togetherness. Under that view, “separate but equal” would be constitutional in theory, but unconstitutional in practice, as every real, existing “separate” system would fail the “but equal” test. Which is basically what Brown ended up saying anyway.

    Xrlq (5ffe06)

  14. “Or that the 14th only applies to the states and not the federal government, which is the case. ”

    That’s very nice but I don’t know what it has to do with this.

    “Under that view, “separate but equal” would be constitutional in theory, but unconstitutional in practice, as every real, existing “separate” system would fail the “but equal” test.”

    Right. and that’s the original mistake. The assumption that turned out to be wrong. That’s what Bork is referring to.

    actus (cd484e)

  15. I don’t see why that should be considered a mistake. The drafters of the Fourteenth Amendment intended to mandate equality, not to dictate to the states how they could or could not reach that goal. The mistake was in Plessy, which elevated the non-constitutional “right” to be separate above the constitutional mandate to be equal.

    Xrlq (e2795d)

  16. “I don’t see why that should be considered a mistake”

    They made a mistake in assuming that separate and equal could work. I don’t know Bork’s explanation for plessy, but in the quote provided the mistake seems to be of the framers.

    actus (cd484e)

  17. Where’s the evidence they “assumed” any such thing? The Fourteenth Amendment doesn’t commit anyone to the position that segregation either can or cannot work. It doesn’t address segregation at all. Maybe that was a “mistake” in the sense of a sin of omission, but it doesn’t sanction separate but equal. On Plessy did that.

    Xrlq (ffb240)

  18. In an article in The American Conservative, the great conservative commentator Tim Carney wrote that perhaps one reason the White House did what it did in this race was because with Specter as the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, it would provide President Bush with a reason (i.e., excuse) not to appoint an anti-Roe justice to the U.S. Supreme Court… Carney asserted that President Bush may not want that atrocity to be overturned during his term, as that could cause a great deal of complications and unwanted problems for him.

    I was thinking the other day: If President Bush does what I was fearing that he’d do (after the O’Connor vacancy came up) – if he nominates Gonzalez to the Court – then what do you we should do? What do you think the reaction to this will be, from us in the Blogosphere, and from the true conservatives of our nation?

    Another thought I had the other day… And this may be even more pertinent, now that, via Mister Politics, I see that Drudge is reporting that Bob Novak is reporting that “…Rehnquist will announce retirement today after Bush’s plane touches down at Andrews AFB approx. 4:50 PM EDT”… That apparently did not happen, but there are reports that an announcement will come on Monday.

    My idea was this: I saw, in the Blogosphere after the O’Connor announcement, a few people suggest that the President choose Ann Coulter for the spot. Our friend Howard Phillips at The Conservative Caucus has suggested another well-known conservative for President Bush to nominate to this position.

    But I had another idea. I found out, when we were in middle school, that there is actually no age requirement for federal judges. And we of course know that these judges are able to serve for life. So…

    Why not appoint a young[er] conservative to serve in this position?

    I mean…

    How about Josh Claybourn or Rory Miller??

    Aakash (a075a3)

  19. OK, this wins my vote for best line in the blog for the last year. It may have just cost me the price of a new laptop, because I now have hot chocolate all over my keyboard.

    “I am filing this under “Morons” instead of “Scum”.

    I love it.

    David

    David Harr (f03296)

  20. “Where’s the evidence they “assumed” any such thing?”

    I’m really going by Bork’s quote here. That’s what he says. In his originamlism, there is original understanding, with room for original mistake. That’s not how I read the 14th, but it is nice to know that in his originalism we can still find original mistake.

    actus (54a28a)

  21. Spector is perhaps clueless, the author of the magic bullit theory. He ought to be tried for conspiricy after the fact in the murder of JFK.

    Peter McGuire (c9804b)

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    Rhys (35fde4)


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