GOP Uses Thurgood Marshall’s Opposition To Slavery To Attack Elena Kagan
If this is the best Republicans can do after they’ve had months to prepare their talking points against President Obama’s likely nominee, it’s pathetic. The late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshal, for whom Elena Kagan clerked, said in a 1987 speech that the Constitution was “defective” as originally written. Kagan paid tribute to Marshall in a law review article in 1993, shortly after Marshall’s death.
Marshall cited in particular the definition in the original Constitution to slaves as representing three-fifths of “free Persons” when counting the nation’s population. That reference was rendered moot with the ratification, following the Civil War, of the 13th and 14th Amendments abolishing slavery and granting full citizenship to all people born in the U.S.
Kagan quoted him as saying the Supreme Court’s mission was to “show a special solicitude for the despised and the disadvantaged.”
Now the Republican National Committee is asking:
“Does Kagan Still View Constitution ‘As Originally Drafted And Conceived’ As ‘Defective’?” the RNC asked in its research document. “And Does Kagan Still Believe That The Supreme Court’s Primary Mission Is To ‘Show A Special Solicitude For The Despised And Disadvantaged’?”
Marshall believed the Constitution needed to be amended. Apparently so should anyone who supports any of the amendments.
“I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever ‘fixed’ at the Philadelphia Convention. Nor do I find the wisdom, foresight and sense of justice exhibited by the Framers particularly profound,” Marshall said. “To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today.”
Kagan’s tribute to Marshall for the Texas Law Review, Kagan noted that Marshall “allowed his personal experiences, and the knowledge of suffering and deprivation gained from those experiences, to guide him.” And that’s a problem?Click here for reuse options!
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