6 September 2005

A man who made his career undermining the rights and liberties of American citizens

The truth about Chief Justice Rehnquist according to famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
Chief Justice William Rehnquist set back liberty, equality, and human rights perhaps more than any American judge of this generation. His rise to power speaks volumes about the current state of American values.

Let’s begin at the beginning. Rehnquist bragged about being first in his class at Stanford Law School. Today Stanford is a great law school with a diverse student body, but in the late 1940s and early 1950s, it discriminated against Jews and other minorities, both in the admission of students and in the selection of faculty. Justice Stephen Breyer recalled an earlier period of Stanford’s history: “When my father was at Stanford, he could not join any of the social organizations because he was Jewish, and those organizations, at that time, did not accept Jews.” Rehnquist not only benefited in his class ranking from this discrimination; he was also part of that bigotry. When he was nominated to be an associate justice in 1971, I learned from several sources who had known him as a student that he had outraged Jewish classmates by goose-stepping and heil-Hitlering with brown-shirted friends in front of a dormitory that housed the school’s few Jewish students. He also was infamous for telling racist and anti-Semitic jokes.

As a law clerk, Rehnquist wrote a memorandum for Justice Jackson while the court was considering several school desegregation cases, including Brown v. Board of Education. Rehnquist’s memo, entitled “A Random Thought on the Segregation Cases,” defended the separate-but-equal doctrine embodied in the 1896 Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson. Rehnquist concluded the Plessy “was right and should be reaffirmed.” When questioned about the memos by the Senate Judiciary Committee in both 1971 and 1986, Rehnquist blamed his defense of segregation on the dead Justice, stating – under oath – that his memo was meant to reflect the views of Justice Jackson. But Justice Jackson voted in Brown, along with a unanimous Court, to strike down school segregation. According to historian Mark Tushnet, Justice Jackson’s longtime legal secretary called Rehnquist’s Senate testimony an attempt to “smear[] the reputation of a great justice.” Rehnquist later admitted to defending Plessy in arguments with fellow law clerks. He did not acknowledge that he committed perjury in front of the Judiciary Committee to get his job.

Let's see, Mr. Dershowitz has tarred Rehnquist as a bigot, racist, hypocrite, perjurer, anti-semite, and a rather unmemorable jurist. Perhaps Dershowitz was incited into this rant after his "bullying" on the Sean Hannity Fox News cable news program. While I am no fan of the segregationist chief justice, the timing of Dershowitz's blast is in poor taste.

I've always been astonished at how the general public holds in esteem judges, but dishes out heaps of scorn for lawyers. When, considering that judges are quintessential political animals, working and gaining rewards for purely partisan servitude. At various points in the nation's history, one party has been more strident than others — and over the course of the past 35 years, Republicans have exerted dominance over this branch of government, and only the Democrats have been forced the swallow the "compromise pill".


Not surprisingly, the class economic costs of Chief Justice Rehnquist are not even considered here... “Class” is a nonissue in a uniquely conservative country.

The media do not necessarily tell your what to think, but they tell you what to think about, and how to think about it.
--The Rise and Fall of Professional Journalism Robert McChesney

The truth is, that Chief Justice Rehnquist has rolled back many of the economic reforms that benefit the majority of the American people, developed by the “New Deal” of FDR.
(This is why I am so disgusted when Neocon compares George W. Bush to FDR in the same sentence).

The New Deal was developed because of the depression and a real threat of the complete collapse of America. After years of fighting and dying in American streets, American workers: the middle class and lower class, finally received SOME OF the government protections they so desperately deserved: an 8 hour work day; social security; a minimum wage, union protection, leading to wage compromise and true worker empowerment, etc.

Since the New Deal, but especially since the 1970’s and Nixon, conservatives have been slowing dismantling the New Deal and worker protections. Chief Justice Rehnquist is only the latest assault on the middle class and poor. Many of George Bush’s judicial nominations are going even farther, they want a complete repeal of the New Deal. Returning America to a time when many judges on the Appellate and Supreme Courts blocked worker reforms such as the 8 hour work day before FDR.

As I wrote in my web blog (a fuller history can be found at the link below):

Law after 1995

In the 1990’s, the Supreme Court once more changed course with regard to the scope of Congress’s powers under the Commerce Clause and whether the Tenth Amendment is a limit on the federal power. In 1995, in US v Lopez, the Supreme Court in almost 60 years found that a federal law exceeded Congress’s Commerce Clause authority. The Lopez case led to challenges of literally dozens of federal laws. In 2000, the Court reaffirmed Lopez in US v. Morrison. Additionally, in 1992, in New York v US and in 1997, in Printz v US, the Court again used the Tenth Amendment to protect state governments from federal encroachments.

The landmark 5 to 4 1995 Lopez case showed as unconstitutional the Congressional Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990.

I personally really don’t care about the “Gun-Free School Zones Act”, one way or the other, but if the Supreme Court has begun to roll back Congressional Commerce Clause laws beginning in 1995, what about minimum wage laws, overtime protection, monopoly busting, child work protection laws, sweat shop laws, and worker safety laws?

Who was on the Supreme Court at the time?
Rehnquist, the Chief Justice, a Republican appointee, appointed by Nixon
J. Stevens, a Republican appointee, appointed by Ford
O’Connor, a Republican appointee, appointed by Reagan
Scalia, a Republican appointee, appointed by Reagan
Kennedy, a Republican appointee, appointed by Reagan
Souter, a Republican appointee, appointed by Bush
Thomas, a Republican appointee, appointed by Bush
Ginsburg, a Democrat appointee, appointed by Clinton
Beyer, a Democrat appointee, appointed by Clinton

The fruits of 30 years of Republican Presidents was finally coming to fruit.

In the 1990’s the Supreme Court began to severely restrict tort liability, which made jury awards much more difficult against large corporations.

This was in the cases:

BMW of North America v. Gore (Ginsburg and Rehnquist dissented) (Page 211) In this case, for the first time, the Supreme Court argued that a ratio of economic damages to punitive (punishing) damages was to high.

In State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company vs. Curtis the Supreme Court reduced punitive damages that a customer had won against a very dishonest and unethical auto insurance company.

God help the working class as Republicans continue to dominate this country. The Republican working class deserves the economic destruction (such as Neocon and Mondo), because they helped created it, everyone else has to pay the price for their illogical decisions.

Full web blog:
The devastating LEGAL consequences of a Republican government on the working class

But hey, this is a non-issue to both liberals, republicans (or in the case of Naum, independents) because the corporate media has not “they tell you what to think about, and how to think about [this issue]”.

So I doubt that this issue will even be debated about much here (as compared if I were to raise the issue of abortion, etc.) It is a non-issue, as the elite in power, both democrat and republican, want to keep it.

I need to take my son to school…
What is truly disgusting, Trav is your complete lack of attention when reading my sh**.
Since when have I ever compared Bush to FDR? Come on now. You're supposedly a lawyer; if you summarized cases as bad as you do simple posts, you'll be on TV advertising for druggies and thugs. You're probably refering to my question with Naum asking if FDR owuld've been criticized for a natural disaster in WWII...this is not a comparison of two Presidents, Trav. It's a comparison of events....aye aye aye..

My head is reeling from your venom and hate in this post; and you're disgusted as well that I call the left "angry?"
You wrote:
"The Republican working class deserves the economic destruction (such as Neocon and Mondo), because they helped created it, everyone else has to pay the price for their illogical decisions."
Wow....now its the Socialist Inquisition. Thank you very much for your apathy, Trav. Let's see now, you wished Mondo's son a happy birthday, and then basically said he and his family (who depend on the wages of his labor and probably his wife) deserve to be economically destroyed...
Is this the tolerant Socialist speaking, the one that "almost wishes for the return of Communism to the USSR" (you stated this once as well--of course, the millions starved and killed by Stalin don't count in your inventory of murder by governments do they?); or is it the tolerant Atheist?
I also recall you wishing other horrible things that I "deserve" on your errr...blog. You must find peace, my friend. Have a nice day.
I must have pretty thick skin by now... such comments don't offend me NEO, I believe in fact that if Trav really really thought about it he would not wish anyone economic nor physical harm, he may have angers against the way society here in America seems to run in his views, which are debatable, but I wish no one ill in any way, perhaps it is the workings of greater things in my life, but I have no fear of a crashing economy or war or terror attacks. I am not afraid of the evil things happening in the world right now because I can also see the good things going on, the sacrifices people are making to help their fellow man, not just Christians but people of all faith. I love my family and want good things for them but I know that like the people who are now homeless, jobless, or what have you..the one thing they don't need to be is hopeless, if my faith brings me hope that I may share with others I do not think anyone's ideological grudges can stand up to that, nor do I believe EVIL will ever have the upper hand on humanity as I know that war is already over and won. Hate will always only end when those who run at you with hate are embraced in the ultimate unyielding embrace of the LOVE of GOD.

I will allow my words and actions stand for themselves....and the words and the actions of others speak for them. I will leave it up to others reading who may be more objective than others here to decide which is the more attactive, truthful, and wise.

>> Hate will always only end when those who run at you with hate are embraced in the ultimate unyielding embrace of the LOVE of GOD.
As I wrote before:
"God lord, I am so tired of the right calling the left "angry" and hateful. It has about as much credability as Fox news being called "fair and balanced". I can turn on the radio right now and hear the vitrol and anger that the right spouts. What hypocricy."

Any of your other comments deserve no response.

Neocon wrote:
"this is not a comparison of two Presidents, Trav. It's a comparison of events....aye aye aye.."

Yes, wars which both presidents oversaw. I was simply pointing out that FDR and Bush could not be ideologically different, as the reasons for the war could not be different. Sure the same tired "freedom and democracy" BS was rolled out for both, but they could not be different. Any mention of Bush in the same paragraph as FDR makes me cringe.

I know FDR made a hell of a lot of mistakes, and I didn't approve of a lot he did (I will leave the icon/hero worship to those on the religous and far right).

There is no point in arguing this, in fact there is very little to argue in your postings anymore. Naum said it best:

"written like a true neocon Bush believer, floating ad-hominem rubbish without addressing the facts that were posted"

All I have seen consistently for over a month from you Neocon, is a lot of ranting, and no substance.

I wrote a lot of substance in the posting you quote, a lot of history, and you dismiss it out of hand, picking only my own comments, you focus on the most inflamatory statments: one or two sentences, and adding your own inflamatory statements ignoring everything else.

Why are you still so angry about my comments? Did they hit too close to your own hypocricy?

Neocon, it is a shame that you have become a case study in illogical and irrational debate tactics:

*ad-hominem attacks

*Red herring attacks

*Taking my comments completly out of context.

There is a wonderful quote that I have yet to add to my list, I paraphrase:

One of the most effective ways of attacking someone is to show that they are not "one of us". That they have views and beleifs that are contrary to "our" ideals.

You are doing the same thing with your ad-hominem attacks.

trav1bailey is a "communist" you yell at the top of your lungs off the top of the rooftops, trav1bailey is an "atheist": forget the valadity of what he writes, and focus on the person instead (classic ad-hominem attacks).

As Ellen Schrecker, author of "American Inquisition: The Era of McCarth said": "Political repression in America...is American as apple pie". Haven't Americans learned anything from our sordid history of politcal oppresion? Of broad labels and political witch hunts? Unfortunatly as illustrated from your broad simplistic labels, the American people have learned nothing.

I expected the same from one of the former posters here, but not from you Neocon.
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"The Republican working class deserves the economic destruction (such as Neocon and Mondo), because they helped created it, everyone else has to pay the price for their illogical decisions."

Neocon, lets put this into context, you and Mondo avidly support an administration that wants to roll back the New Deal of FDR. We keep coming back to "Joe Republican", what started us all talking on this message board.

Maybe the "New Deal" is not a "big deal" to you, maybe being tough on crime is more important, or religious issues, or terrorism, or some issue that Bush extolls.

I am simply saying this:

If you actively support such measures, and willingly vote for such measurres, then you have no reason to complain when those measures come back and hurt you personally economically.

Republicans always talk about "personal responsibility" calling liberals "bleeding hearts" for caring about the poor and misfortunate. Case in point, along the same lines Mondo had a long message posted here about personal responsibility and individual choices (Mondo, I am sure that you will correct me if you did not mean this in this context).

Well, my sentence is along these same lines.

Supporting Republicans often means supporting the roll back of workers rights, rights which are then given back to the elite-- often big businesses.

If you and Mondo support this, okay. But you should take personal responsiblity for those choices, and pay the consequences for those choices.

Don't blame anyone but yourself if you or a family member get hurt and want to sue a corporation, and no lawyer was willing to take your case because of caps on torts.

Don't blame anyone but yourself is you or a family member get sick and go bankrupt, and get stuck paying back all the credit cards to multi-billion dollar credit card companies.

I could go on, but you get the point.

YOU made a conscious choice to elect a person who is very, very anti-worker, and very pro-business. You should pay the consequences of this choice as a responsible adult.

Unfortunatly, myself and 50 million Americans have to also pay those consequences of you and 53 million other American's choice.
Trav,Trav Trav...Let's relax here. I've never yelled at you being a communist. Frankly, you couldn't be an American and be a commie at the same time. Sure some try, but it doesn't work that way. You call yourself a Socialist, but even that's an extreme if you love being here.
Nevertheless, you did bemoan the chaos in Russia and note that a return to Communism might make things better. You did....I'm just reminding you.

I never screamed Atheist, nor have I ever judged you for being an atheist. In fact, I've rarely discussed religion, God, or anything in that vein on this site, especially with you. Hmmmm...because I'm a Conservative. I'm branded as such. Is that Ad Hominem, or Personal, Trav?
Once upon a time, Trav, I was encouraged that you wanted to discuss in seriousness historic events on another discussion site. The Joe Republican discussion was great, because you were courteous and passionate.
That went away rather quickly when you, Trav attacked the person with wild, wackjob accusations like the one above, instead of sticking to subjects at hand and arguing coherently. You are, Trav, what you've just accused me of above, and what's more sad is that you fail to see it-you're blind to your Ad Hominem, Red Herring, Out of Context discussions.
But don't try to brand me as:
"A case study in illogical and irrational debate tactics". No that's you to a tee. You bared your self on your own site. It's sad, because apart from Naum you were the only hope.

You don't have to tell me what I should or shouldn't complain about because of my support Trav. Thanks for your parental concern, but I'm a grown-up and have made my choices on my own. I won't complain about anything as long as I have my soul and the love of my family and friends.

I am humbled after reading Mondo's comment. And like Naum, I must also say Amen.

And in passing, Trav, have you noticed that while you and Naum agree on so much with slight little tiffs, that Mondo and I do the same? My God, Mondo disagreed with my out of line post above (out of line because I included Mondo, which was rude). Can you believe it! Mondo didn't complement me, nor did he agree in step!
Thanks for your comments Neocon.
(just letting you know I read them)
And now to ensure I'm no hypocrite, let me comment on the matter at hand. Naum, generally I agree with you. Lawyers are lawyers, whether as Judges, or politicians. Did I hear correctly, though, that Rehnquist was not a practicing attorney when chosen; in fact he wasn't one? Please correct me.

Also, I would disagree with the last point. I think over the last 35 years, a number of decisions have been made by "conservative" judges that have wreaked havoc over the conservative landscape so to speak. To me it's fascinating. Democrats haven't compromised, they seem to have simply gotten a ride.

One thing I hate from the right (yeah, my side) is the accusation that the liberal judges are activists, while the true justices are, of course conservative. I disagree. In fact, it was the Roberts yakking last month that really turned me off from Sean Hannity (that and the woman kidnapped in Arrubba).
I have no problem with Roberts, and I have no problem with naming conservatives. But it's hypocrisy to declare conservatives will not be partisan in decisions, and liberals always will. That's wrong in my book.
Trav, one thing I hate about myself, is after writing a blistering comment, I feel guilty. I'd be a lousy politician, leader, what have you.
And then you have to write, "Thank you, Neocon for the comments."
Now I feel really guilty.
Thank you Trav and have a good day.
I dont know if you are sincere about that last comment, but if you are thanks(?)I feel guilty sometimes too. In fact, I am going to erase that message on my web blog right now, it seems to be causing a lot of hurt feelings.

Neocon, would you support the traditional pre-1930s view on the commerce clause?

If you are not familar with it (I wasn't before law school) I can give you info on it.

There are follow up questions to this, but I will wait for your response if you are familar with the commerce clause and how it has been used.
Well, Neo I must say that you comment above almost brought tears to my eyes. I had no intention of humbling anyone, I think after all it is I who have been humbled of late and slowly if not painfully, through other sources in life, have learned that before we can rise up we must at first be brought to our knees. Sometimes the best things in life happen to us only after our egos become bruised or our hearts broken. Sometimes we have to be brought down before we know we need to rise up. There are many questions we all need to ask ourselves, one such is are we truly fighting the fight we are fighting because we REALLY believe what we believe or we simply don't believe what someone else believes?I guess I have an advantage because I have had the privilege of standing on both sides of the battle. I have seen things the way many who disagree with me see them and understand that its not a broad sweeping type of any person that can be Liberal or Conservative Republican or Democrat. Its simply in all cases an ideal of how things should be and how they are. If say you are Liberal its no surprise that you would be unhappy with the last two presidential Elections, I was disgusted when Bush beat Gore in 2000. I understand the misguided ways of the Libs, and though my views of politics have changed I am still the same person I was when I thought differently, so I cannot say ALL liberals are this or all conservatives are that, as none of us should I think. to say all republicans or conservatives are Warmongers is simply foolishness as is saying all liberals are "bleeding hearts" I think that the kindness and caring in America goes beyond party lines and political ideals. Its simply that some Americans feel this way and support that. There's so much I cannot agree with that Travis states and so much that I do have to think about because sometimes his questions are valid, even if his answers are not, in my view. Naum on the other hand seems to be a horse of a different color, strange what bedfellows dislike of some people will make.

Do I think the actions of our government and our president are criminal? No I do not. Do I think our government makes mistakes? Yes I do. But I will not call them criminals or EVIL, when I think that the truth is far from that fact. There are probably some Government, Military, Law enforcement people who are criminals, there are probably some of them who are EVIL. There are some people we live and work with every day who are both as well, but we shouldn't submit judgment on our leaders until a REAL HONEST investigation has been made and arguments for such cases are made based on truth and fact rather than ideals and suspicions.
"Do I think our government makes mistakes? Yes I do."

This is another conversation. I think I have touched upon this idea before...so I wont again here.
Yes, Trav I was serious. Commerce Clause? Not familiar. But, it's important to realize that the pre-depression era was SO much different than the post-era. In other words, it won't happen again. It just won't.

I disagree with you; no one could roll back what were perhaps the most important changes FDR made in the New Deal Era: specifically concerning banking laws, FDIC, SEC, etc. I truly believe these particular bills saved America, and for that, FDR deserves respect. My opinion on Social Security, however, is different-it worked once upon a time, but I don't believe it'll be necessary for my generation, nor for the next.
His work programs, though failing to overturn unemployment and the Depression, were responsible for incredibly significant projects. In Arizona, our state and US highway system was finally completed (not all paved, but graded with all county seats finally connected). It would've taken years otherwise. On a federal level, I don't think there be an Interstate system today (ca 1956)if not for the programs that worked on America's highways.
Schools, sidewalks, streets were paved, archaeological sites were excavated for the first time, you get my drift.
On my list of influential presidents in the 20th century, FDR would be second. Teddy the Man gets my first vote, of course. But FDR was a rock and in the War, a leader to be proud of (except the Yalta conference; he screwed up there, but I think he was very sick then).
Right now, I'm listening to a great interview on Medved with an author who wrote a book (Rising Tide) on the devastating 1927 floods along the entire Mississippi Delta, but especially Louisiana-one of the early examples of federal aid to a disater area.
"sometimes [Travis's] questions are valid, even if his answers are not, in my view."

Thanks. I appreciate it.

I like the new mondo better than the old one.

That said, you don't argue issues as much anymore, you sometimes tend to answer with semi-religious (and in my opinion off the topic) answers. This is is dissapointing to me because I come here to throw ideas around and get harsh criticisms, to find the fallacy and holes in my arguments. (it is also nice that I dont get kicked off this web blog like other web blogs)

But it is interesting to see your transformation.

Neocon is different too now. Whereas I like the new mondo. I miss the old neocon, but maybe I am to blame for the new neocon.

Naum seems the same though, along with Cali, when he/she posts.

(Notice how we usually ignore Cali's comments--LOL)
"except the Yalta conference; he screwed up there, but I think he was very sick then"

How so?

I was there at the site of the Yalta conference, in 2002, I walked among those halls. It was interesting.

Stalin later had some show trials there, which I am really happy to report that Ukraine now recognizes. The purge of Stalin is interesting. It is ironic that the king of cutting out political dissents that he took to the gulag was "cut out" of many photos, statues, etc, after his death.

On my Odessa tour website I have an example of this in Odessa, a statue that once had Lenin and Stalin, and only has Lenin now, check out the before and after photos:


(bottom of page)

After Peristroka and the collapse of the USSR, this once prominent statue which was located on the site of a church Stalin dynamited, was removed to the back of an obsure resort on the edge of town.
But FDR was a rock and in the War, a leader to be proud of (except the Yalta conference; he screwed up there, but I think he was very sick then).

My dad told me about a book that blamed Wilson's sickness for the failure of the League of nations and the lack of support in Europe for his plans.

Interesting. I didn't know FDR was sick at the time of the conference.

"Commerce Clause? Not familiar."

The commerce clause is the clause which talks about commerce between the states.

Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution, known as the Commerce Clause, empowers the United States Congress "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes."

The use of the Commerce Clause by Congress to justify its legislative power over citizens has been the subject of long, intense political controversy. Interpretation of the sixteen words of the Commerce Clause has helped define the balance of power between the federal government and individual states. As such, it has a direct impact on the lives of US citizens.

In 1905 the United States Supreme Court ruled that a state law limiting working hours was unconstitutional because it interfered with a "right to contract" implicit in the due process clause.

Though not absolute in invalidating economic and labor regulations, the Court still regularly struck down such laws (often under a narrow view of the commerce clause) until the late 1930's, when the Lochner era is considered to have ended with West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish, 300 U.S. 379 (1937), which upheld a state minimum wage statute.

For more on this:
FDR and the Supreme Court.

In the late 1930's, amid a near collapse of the United States, the rise of Facism and Stalinism. FDR was elected. FDR continued to have his labor laws overturned by the Supreme Court. FDR, in a very controversial move, threatened to pack the court, increasing the number of Supreme court judges.

See the court packing bill:

After this, the Supreme court began to see labor law differently, and allowed the states and congress to enact labor laws, miniumum wage laws, and minimum hour laws, including the overtime law.

Since FDR, Republican administrations (and some Democrats) have tried to weaken the worker protections enacted by FDR.

Including the Taft-Hartley Act, an anti-communist and anti-union law which weakened unions, amending the Wagner Act, which Congress had passed in 1935.

President Harry S. Truman described the act as a "slave-labor bill" and vetoed it. The United States Senate followed the United States House of Representatives in overriding Truman's veto on June 23, 1947, establishing the act as law.

More on the taft-harley act:

Nixon, Reagan, Bush 1 and Bush 2, all have taken bites out of the New Deal legislation of FDR.

I am not as familar with the previous presidents, but Bush just elected a very anti-new deal appelate female judge, Janice Rogers Brown, who feels that the the Supreme Court got it wrong in the 1930's, and new deal legislation is not constitutional and should be repeled, developments she has called "the triumph of our socialist revolution."

New York Times:

Many of the Republican Supreme Court justices, especially Bush 1's Clarence Thomas, have varying degrees of distain for the New Deal legislation.

America is not goign to wake up one day and have the complete Roll Back of the Commerce Clause. But Bush's agenda, and many Republicans, is to continue to weaken it, bit by bit destroying it.

Bush's minimum wage suggestions is another attempt to weaken the New Deal legilation, allowing states to "opt out" of the minimum wage.

Bush's passed overtime bill is another attack on new deal legislation, making more Americans ineligble for overtime protection.

This is just legislation off the top of my head. But yes, I do believe that the New Deal is being rolled back, albiet slowly.

I wont even go into Bush administration's regressive tax policies (rolling back many of Wilson's taxes), anti-union views, and amicus briefs in support of anti-worker/pro business legislation.

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