Now this has got me real hot…

It takes a lot of nerve to attack Elena Kagan, whose record is quite distinguished, for her service with and admiration of her former boss, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (she was one of his clerks back in the day). Chief among the race-baiters is none other than RNC HNIC Michael Steele who had this ignorant mess to say re: Kagan:

Given Kagan’s opposition to allowing military recruiters access to her law school’s campus, her endorsement of the liberal agenda and her support for statements suggesting that the Constitution “as originally drafted and conceived, was ‘defective,’” you can expect Senate Republicans to respectfully raise serious and tough questions to ensure the American people can thoroughly and thoughtfully examine Kagan’s qualifications and legal philosophy before she is confirmed to a lifetime appointment.

Leave it to the GOP to figure out a way to racialize Obama’s Supreme Court selection. It’s honestly just undignified and desperate-like. Seems like no matter who Obama would have picked, they would have used that person as a vehicle to call Obama a socialist/marxist/racist. What is wrong with these people? Here’s what Thurgood Marshall actually said regarding slavery and the Constitution (with my emphasis on the part Steele is taking out of context):

[T]he 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. When contemporary Americans cite “The Constitution,” they invoke a concept that is vastly different from what the Framers barely began to construct two centuries ago.

For a sense of the evolving nature of the Constitution we need look no further than the first three words of the document’s preamble: ‘We the People.” When the Founding Fathers used this phrase in 1787, they did not have in mind the majority of America’s citizens. “We the People” included, in the words of the Framers, “the whole Number of free Persons.” On a matter so basic as the right to vote, for example, Negro slaves were excluded, although they were counted for representational purposes at threefifths each. Women did not gain the right to vote for over a hundred and thirty years.

These omissions were intentional. The record of the Framers’ debates on the slave question is especially clear: The Southern States acceded to the demands of the New England States for giving Congress broad power to regulate commerce, in exchange for the right to continue the slave trade. The economic interests of the regions coalesced: New Englanders engaged in the “carrying trade” would profit from transporting slaves from Africa as well as goods produced in America by slave labor. The perpetuation of slavery ensured the primary source of wealth in the Southern States.

Despite this clear understanding of the role slavery would play in the new republic, use of the words “slaves” and “slavery” was carefully avoided in the original document. Political representation in the lower House of Congress was to be based on the population of “free Persons” in each State, plus three-fifths of all “other Persons.” Moral principles against slavery, for those who had them, were compromised, with no explanation of the conflicting principles for which the American Revolutionary War had ostensibly been fought: the self-evident truths “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

So let’s all be clear — Michael Steele wouldn’t have the job he has now if it weren’t for the pioneering, dangerous & fearless work of Thurgood Marshall who, as Chief Counsel for the NAACP, won several landmark cases improving the human rights and freedoms of all Americans, including Brown vs Board of Education which killed legalized segregation in this country.

The Constitution is a great document that has been imitated the world over for its vision of a government and a society that permits its citizens maximal liberty, freedom, justice and equality. But it was defective in that the original vision of liberty, freedom, justice and equality really included only a fraction of American citizens. Blacks were considered 3/5th of human beings in the Constitution and women were not allowed full rights. Amendments to the Constitution have been made to perfect the Founders’ vision which was clouded by the bigotry of their time. (And I’m being generous here with that last statement.) Those were all good amendments. Nothing that Marshall said is untrue — it’s all based in the historical documentation from the letters of the founders. This — from the GOP — is not likely to be appreciated by the kind of people (women, minorities, young people, post-racist independents) that Republicans will need if they intend to be a viable party in this century (from Steele’s

And Does Kagan Still Believe That The Supreme Court’s Primary Mission Is To“Show A Special Solicitude For The Despised And Disadvantaged”? “For in Justice Marshall’s view, constitutional interpretation demanded, above all else, one thing from the courts: it demanded that the courts show a special solicitude for the despised and disadvantaged.  It was the role of the courts, in interpreting the Constitution, to protect the people who went unprotected by every other organ of government — to safeguard the interests of people who had no other champion.  The Court existed primarily to fulfill this mission.”  (Elena Kagan, “For Justice Marshall,” 71 Texas Law Review 1125, 5/93)

Look y’all — all of this is elaborate code intended to call Kagan a nigger-lover, socialist/communist and “activist judge” who might actually care about & consider the rights of the oppressed, the poor, the immigrant, women, small business owners, etc. It’s deeply troubling that it comes from a GOP led by a black man whose life would be very different were it not for the brilliance and bravery of Thurgood Marshall. I call for Michael Steele to do one of 2 things – either

a) call off the dogwhistle attacks on Kagan which conjure up ugly connotations of defending slavery, segregation and denying the vote to women


b) turn in his black card and fully embrace with Justice Clarence “Uncle” Thomas total race traitor status.

I also call on prominent African-Americans to push back on the bigotry to let the GOP know that this line of attack well…crosses the line.

Kagan IMHO is a great pick and rounds out the court with more (and needed) female representation. I’m pulling for her. She’s no extremist but instead has consistently sought balance among competing interests. Like Obama — don’t believe the “radical” hype. Kagan’s considered pretty moderate. Get the myths vs facts over at Media Matters.

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