Thursday, September 08, 2005

Speaking Ill of the Dead

Alan Dershowitz is not someone with whom I agree with any regularity. And I disagree with his attacks on Rehnquist's youth and clerkship -- very unforgivingly one-sided view of events, it seems to me, cherry-picking character assassination -- though in proper context the incidents he cites might well mean what he says they mean. But it's his evaluation of Rehnquist's career as Chief Justice, which spans most of the time I've been aware of the Supreme Court as an institution, which rings true:
Rehnquist’s judicial philosophy was result-oriented, activist, and authoritarian. He sometimes moderated his views for prudential or pragmatic reasons, but his vote could almost always be predicted based on who the parties were, not what the legal issues happened to be. He generally opposed the rights of gays, women, blacks, aliens, and religious minorities. He was a friend of corporations, polluters, right wing Republicans, religious fundamentalists, homophobes, and other bigots. [emphasis added]
That Roberts clerked for Rehnquist shouldn't immediately disqualify him*, but that kind of partisanship, that regressive conservativism which is unworthy of the name, is not the kind of reliability which we should be looking for in a Supreme Court Justice, Chief or otherwise. [via Sideshow]

* Update: This, on the other hand, is the most damning review of Roberts' career I've seen yet, one that seems to actually distinguish between his "work-for-hire" and his fundamental views. [via Chapati Mystery]

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