Saturday, February 20, 2016

Thurgood Marshall

Today as the USA officially bids farewell to Justice Antonin Scalia, I remember Justice Thurgood Marshall who spent a life's work seeking to transform "Liberty and Justice for All" from a beguiling abstraction into a concrete reality.

I can't say that I share all the gushing reverence for the High Court that's dominated the all the public discussion lately, certainly not since December 2000.


In the midst of all the gushing eulogies over Antonin Scalia's passing is this refreshingly caustic appraisal by Jeffery Toobin of The New Yorker:

Like Nick Carraway, Scalia “wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever.” The world didn’t coöperate. Scalia won a great deal more than he lost, and he and his allies succeeded in transforming American politics into a cash bazaar, with seats all but put up for bidding. But even though Scalia led a conservative majority on the Court for virtually his entire tenure, he never achieved his fondest hopes—thanks first to O’Connor and then to Kennedy. Roe v. Wade endures. Affirmative action survives. Obamacare lives. Gay rights are ascendant; the death penalty is not. (These positions are contingent, of course, and cases this year may weaken the Court’s resolve.) For all that Presidents shape the Court, the Justices rarely stray too far from public opinion. And, on the social issues where the Court has the final word, the real problem for Scalia’s heirs is that they are out of step with the rest of the nation. The public wants diversity, not intolerance; more marriages and fewer executions; less money in politics, not more. Justice Scalia’s views—passionately felt and pungently expressed though they were—now seem like so many boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. 

1 comment:

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Calm settled over me when I saw TM's photo (and remembered his coffin in the National Cathedral)...thank you, Len