Bush Republicans Continue to Play the Race Card:
Contact Your Senators Today

"When we opposed Charles Pickering, we were called anti-Southern . . . When we opposed Miguel Estrada, we were called anti-Hispanic . . . When we opposed Priscilla Owen, they were reduced to branding us as anti-woman, a complaint that is so laughable it's hard to even mention it. And in a particularly despicable ploy . . .when we opposed William Pryor, the right stooped to religious McCarthyism."

"Let the right-wing tactic of smears and name-calling subside and disappear. Let us not see the race card dealt from the shameful deck of unfounded charges as some stalwarts of this president's most extreme nominees have come to rely on as they inject partisanship and politics into the appointment and consideration of judges."

--Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-VT

I thought I had seen it all, but watching the Senate Judiciary hearings today for Janice Rogers Brown really took the cake. I saw Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama tossing softballs to a radically conservative black woman being considered for a federal judgeship. (I swear she was made up to look like Anita Hill.) Sessions actually quoted Martin Luther King at one point, to his and Ms. Brown's mutual delight.

Senators Feinstein, Leahy and Feingold each used Brown's own words to expose her for what she really is: a judicial advocate who gives little credence to legal precedent and is happy to serve the interests of the most radical right wing elements in this country. Not only is she unqualified to judge, I would guess that she is unqualified to interpret the law in any capacity, unless that means reading with blinders and 3-D glasses, where every conclusion is backwards and contrary to a law's intent.

Playing the race card has become a favored strategy of the Bush Republicans lately. They've played it several times with judicial nominations: Miguel Estrada, Priscilla Owen, and now Brown. They claimed that each of these nominations were "highly qualified," which simply isn't true. Republicans had the nerve to accuse Democrats of being racist for filibustering Estrada's nomination. Now they're calling the criticism of Brown a lynch mob.

These people have no sense of decency or irony, it seems. The clearly misguided things that Brown is on the record for saying, they use to defend her.

"Discrimination on the basis of race is illegal, immoral, unconstitutional, inherently wrong, and destructive of democratic society." A conservative firebrand, Brown has defended her opinions against racial preferences by stating that government has been "transformed from a necessary evil to a nanny, or a goody bag to solve our private problems."

As for government intrusion in general, Brown has said, "Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates, and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege, war in the streets … the precipitous decline of the rule of law, the rapid rise of corruption, the loss of civility, and the triumph of deceit."

And even while they attack those who criticize her as being special interest groups catering to the far-left, they lament that no one is defending her. Thomas Sowell, another black conservative apologist, writes: "The real question is whether the administration that nominated Justice Brown will mount a serious counter-attack or leave her out there, twisting in the wind, the way it did with Miguel Estrada and its other judicial nominees. Have you seen anything by anybody, anywhere, defending Janice Rogers Brown?" Well, duh, I'm reading your column, aren't I?

Do a Google search for yourself and you'll find the rightwing rhetoric to be clearly divisive and racist on Brown's nomination. The Democrats have been clear about their objections to Brown, which have nothing to do with race and everything to do with her extremist political philosophy and judicial advocacy. But those on the right continue to accuse the Democrats of racism, as if they are the only ones who notice that Brown is black. Ironic, huh?

Marni Soupcoff writes in the conservative FrontPageMag, "A Brown seat on the Supreme Court would mean one more vote for a jurisprudence of true [her italics, not mine] equal rights, rather than one of forced racial and sex preferences." Here is another example of the kind of disingenuous rhetoric I'm hearing from the right:

They take great pride in telling women, minorities, or those of some "special" classification, that the only political party which adequately addresses their unique needs is the Democrat Party. However, the "needs" of these groups are not what drive the Democrats to clamor for their attention. Rather, it is the fact that these groups have traditionally voted Democrat that earns them the attention of the Democrat Party elite. Take a women or a minority who happens to be a conservative, and the needs of that person are not quite as important as they used to be. In fact, that person now becomes persona nongrata to the Democrats.

If the far-right Republicans respected the process, and their colleagues, not to mention their fellow Americans, they would nominate candidates that weren't so aggressively unprincipled and intemperate in their views. Instead of nominating candidates that everyone can agree on, they continue to see how much they can get away with. And it's about time that stopped.

I'm stating the obvious here, but there is no sign of things improving anytime in the foreseeable future. Nothing will change in Washington until we have a Democrat in the White House and the Democrats back in charge in Congress, either the Senate and the House. Maybe some of them don't deserve our support or our respect, but the alternative has so far been a nightmare that keeps getting worse. There just aren't enough Republicans with the integrity and sufficient power to keep the GOP from being continually hijacked by the likes of Orrin Hatch, Jeff Sessions and other Bush Republicans.

Take a few minutes to make your views known to your senators. We can keep the Bush Republicans from getting away with this.