Iron Justice

Today the Washington Post features a column by the "liberal" Richard Cohen.  He writes:

In the meantime, Sotomayor will do, and will do very nicely, as a personification of what ails the American left. She is, as everyone has pointed out, in the mainstream of American liberalism, a stream both intellectually shallow and preoccupied with the past. We have a neat summary of it in the recent remarks of Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), who said he wanted a Supreme Court justice "who will continue to move the court forward in protecting . . . important civil rights." He cited the shooting of a gay youth, the gang rape of a lesbian and the murder of a black man — in other words, violence based on homophobia and racism. Yes. But who nowadays disagrees? 

No really.  His problem, so it seems, is that Sotomayor may be boring (unlike Scalia):

From Sotomayor, though, came not one whimper of regret about the current legality of capital punishment. Innocent men may die, the cause of humanism may stall, but she will follow the jot and tittle of the law, with which she has no quarrel anyway. Little wonder moderate conservative senators are enamored.

Contrast her approach to this and other problems with what Antonin Scalia has done with issues close to his own heart. Where in all of Sotomayor's opinions, speeches and now testimony is there anything approaching Scalia's dissent in Morrison v. Olson, in which, alone, he not only found fault with the law creating special prosecutors but warned about how it would someday be abused? "Frequently an issue of this sort will come before the court clad, so to speak, in sheep's clothing," he wrote. "But this wolf comes as a wolf."

My admiration for Scalia is constrained by the fact that I frequently believe him to be wrong. But his thinking is often fresh, his writing is often bracing; and, more to my point, he has no counterpart on the left. His liberal and moderate brethren wallow in bromides; they can sometimes outvote him, but they cannot outthink him.

It's not Iron Chef, it's the Supreme Court of the United States: boring yet principled predictability and meticulous correctness matter.

2 thoughts on “Iron Justice”

  1. It really does show what reward strucutre our media reinforces, doesn’t it.  “But, but, but Scalia would look at Sotomayer and say, ‘Jane you ignorant slut,’ while Sotomayer would never entertain us like a skit from Saturday Night Live.*  Sure he’s wrong in ways that harm our society, but he’s so much fuuuuuuuun.”  Today, as it happens, would have been Marschall McLuhan’s 97th birthday, somewhere he is looking down, winking, and making a rude Scalia-like gesture at us.

    *usual caveat, back when SNL was funny.

  2. in other words, violence based on homophobia and racism. Yes. But who nowadays disagrees?

    So nice we live in a world where violence based on homophobia and racism is a thing of the past. Remember that Phelps guy? Good thing he’s long gone. Remember when we used to have racially segregated neighborhoods that bred crime through a substandard educational system? Ah, what a wacky world it was.

    This is why I couldn’t care less about the death of print media.

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