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February 02, 2010

Annals of Supreme Hypocrisy

The first 'self-evident' truth asserted in America's revolutionary manifesto is that “all men are created equal;” yet when our founders, Jefferson among them, drafted a Constitution eleven years later in Philadelphia, that notion was cynically betrayed by their decision to embrace chattel slavery so seamlessly that neither word appeared in the document itself; nor was the institution of slavery addressed by the Bill of Rights appended before ratification. Instead, the onus of being a black slave was expanded judicially in 1857 when the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court explained that because they had been permanently excluded from citizenship by the Constitution, slaves could not sue for rights they didn't possess.

That reasoning so enraged abolitionist John Brown that his attack on a federal arsenal became the proximate cause of a bloody Civil War, one of the results of which was emancipation of all slaves. However, even that benefit was soon reduced by another terrible Supreme Court decision, namely that "separate" is the equivalent of "equal;" a notion that would allow a policy of Segregation supported by domestic terrorism to endure in the postwar South for almost sixty years before a Court presided over by an unlikely "maverick" finally agreed to uphold both the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments.

In that context, I don't think it either unreasonable or impolite for a nominally black President to publicly rebuke the Court’s current 5-4 Catholic male majority for putting his Office on auction to American Corporations. He's certainly read enough history to know it's not that long since other Americans were bidding on his father's ancestors or hanging them from trees; both activities cleared at the federal level by this Court’s predecessors.

For any who think I also hold the Court responsible for their uninformed meddling in the practice of Medicine and subsequent foolish endorsement of the war on drugs, the answer is a resounding YES!

I see Justice Alito's response as remarkably uncool and revealing; I also doubt that any of his trial judge colleagues would allow it in their court rooms.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at February 2, 2010 07:50 AM