Sunday, August 12, 2007
Are there literally no standards for columnists anymore? George Will's column today is deliberately misleading on several levels. There is quite the difference between a dispute over opinion, but Will attempts to deceive his readers about the dispute over the nomination of Leslie Southwick to the 5th Circuit.
Obama is not scary, just disappointing.His candidacy kindled hope that he might bring down the curtain on the long-running and intensely boring melodrama "Forever Selma," starring Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. It was hoped Obama would be impatient with the ritualized choreography of synthetic indignation that degrades racial discourse. He is, however, unoriginal and unjust regarding the nomination of Leslie Southwick to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, whose jurisdiction is Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
That's a nice little bit of racist drivel by Will. Obama is a race hustler if he objects to this candidate, who is beyond reproach.
Southwick, currently a law professor, joined the Army Reserve in 1992 at age 42 and transferred in 2003 to a National Guard combat unit heading to Iraq, where he served 17 months. He is 57 and until last December was a member of a Mississippi appellate court...But because he is a white Mississippian, many liberals consider him fair game for unfairness. Many say his defect is "insensitivity," an accusation invariably made when specific grievances are few and flimsy.
While I honor Southwick's service, he was not "a combat troop" as George Will implies here. He was going over as a member of JAG, as a military lawyer. Will continues using sins of omission to distort reality in the rest of this column. The idea that the man is only being attacked because he is white furthers Will's goal of making this dispute all about racist liberals and blacks attacking the poor white man.
Obama, touching all the Democratic nominating electorate's erogenous zones, concocts a tortured statistic about Southwick's "disappointing record on cases involving consumers, employees, racial minorities, women and gays and lesbians. After reviewing his 7,000 opinions, Judge Southwick could not find one case in which he sided with a civil rights plaintiff in a non-unanimous verdict." Surely the pertinent question is whether Southwick sided with the law.
To some of Southwick's opponents, his merits are irrelevant. They simply say it is unacceptable that only one of the 17 seats on the 5th Circuit is filled with an African American, although 37 percent of Mississippians are black. This "diversity" argument suggests that courts should be considered representative institutions, like legislatures, and that the theory of categorical representation is valid: People of a particular race, ethnicity or gender can be understood and properly represented only by people of the same category.
That is one way of looking at the evidence. It is dishonest. Here is Judith Shaeffer's take after watching the confirmation hearings.
Southwick was given every opportunity yesterday to disassociate himself from these rulings, and he spurned them all. In fact, when Senator Kennedy asked whether, in retrospect, he wished he'd written a separate opinion in the N word case, Southwick replied, "don't change horses in midstream." And when asked by Senator Durbin to identify one instance in his career when he'd stepped up to take an unpopular position on behalf of the voiceless and the powerless, Southwick could not give one single example.
It's all about Al Sharpton though in George Will's mind, or at least his column. There aren't any good reasons for the man to be opposed.
In 1998, Southwick was in the majority in a 5 to 4 ruling that upheld a state administrative agency's action in overturning a punishment imposed on a state employee. A white female social worker had been fired after referring in a meeting to a colleague, who was not there, as "a good ol' [expletive]." The court on which Southwick served ruled that the agency given broad latitude to review such discipline had not abused its discretion in deciding that the firing was disproportionate punishment, given that the woman had a hitherto unblemished record and the man, although offended, said the woman's words had caused no workplace problem. By law, the court could not overturn the agency's actions without finding legal error or "arbitrary and capricious" judgment.
Will is being too sensitive. The expletive deleted was nigger. A social worker called a colleague "a good ol' nigger". The hearing officer who reinstated this social worker after she had been fired, likened this slur as akin to meaning "a teacher's pet". Southwick agreed.
001, Southwick was in the majority in an 8 to 2 ruling finding no legal fault with an official's decision to transfer a child from the custody of a bisexual mother to the father. Southwick's opponents note that the opinion and a concurrence he joined contained "troubling" words such as "homosexuals" and "homosexual lifestyle." Troubling, presumably, because not using the word "gay" was insensitive. But Bill Clinton, announcing his 1993 "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding gays in the military, used the term "homosexual lifestyles," and the U.S. Supreme Court, in its landmark 2003 decision that anti-sodomy laws are unconstitutional, spoke of a "homosexual lifestyle."
Here the dishonesty goes into full swing. Other people have used that phrase. It reminds me of the racist argument that since black people use the n word, it is ok for people who wear sheets and burn crosses to do the same thing. Southwick btw didn't just agree that it was ok to take a child away from a mother because she was a lesbian, he also joined a ruling that was signed off just by him and one other judge stating the homosexuality by itself could be the only factor justifiably used to take a kid from their parent.
The other judges said sexuality could be one thing they can use. I don't agree with that reasoning, but Southwick went even further. You could be a PTA mother of the year with a high income, highly successful child and an axe murdering ex could come out of prison and be given custody solely on the basis of the sexual orientation of the parents.
Why does Obama think Southwick should have ruled differently in the two Mississippi cases? Because he thinks Southwick applied the law inappropriately? Or because he does not like the result? Obama is seeking the office from which federal judges are nominated. Southwick has explained himself, in writings and in testimony to the Senate. Now Obama has explaining to do.
No, George Will. You and your newspaper have some explaining to do. This judge is a radical on race and sexuality. You distorted the objection to his record. You tried to puff up his record as a combat veteran, and you have smeared Barack Obama as a racial con artist for objecting to the judge's record.
This is acceptable in the Washington Post? If George Will wants to argue that it's not acceptable to fire somebody for calling a person a "nigger" and that it is ok to take all children away from homosexuals on that basis alone, let him do it. George Will isn't stupid enough to openly argue these positions. Instead, we get served a steaming bowl full of crap in the paper of record for the nation's capital.