Carol Platt Liebau: Nice Try, "Slow Joe"

Monday, July 02, 2007

Nice Try, "Slow Joe"

With this piece, Senator Joe Biden amply earns his nickname --"Slow Joe." The only reason anyone would pen such an easily rebutted, hyperbolic attack on the Supreme Court is for political reasons -- because the facts and the logic is simply not on Biden's side.

In his onslaught against the most recent Supreme Court term, Biden writes:

The first opinion turned back the clock on the country's achievements in advancing racial diversity in our public schools, dealing a major blow to the promise of equality and opportunity of the court's 53-year-old landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

That's not actually true. All the opinion said was that it's unconstitutional to fashion schemes that take nothing but race into account -- other plans, that include race as one factor among others, were left untouched. Does Biden really want to live in a country where people are judge and/or given certain privileges based on nothing more than their skin color?

The second opinion, just as destructive, prevented a female employee from recovering pay in a gender discrimination case, even though she demonstrated that she had been paid significantly less than similarly situated male colleagues.

This is misleading. The case to which Biden refers dealt -- not primarily with gender discrimination -- but with statutes of limitation, that is, the time period in which plaintiffs are required to file suit. All the court held is that, if someone wants to file a pay discrimination case, the allegedly unlawful acts that supposedly justify filing suit must take place within the statute of limitations. It's not enough to use actions that took place outside the statute of limitations as a foundation for one's claims.

The court's newest members also showed marked facility for manipulating First Amendment precedent, construing it narrowly in one case and expansively in another to achieve particular results. The first opinion drastically cut back the Constitution's protection of public school students' rights of free speech. The second opinion struck down key parts of campaign finance reform legislation that limited the influence of special interests in our elections.

Yes, it really is too bad that schoolchildren don't have the right to bring signs advocating illegal drug use ("Bong hits 4 Jesus") to school-related events, isn't it? And what's more, how outrageous that groups of citizens ranging from the ACLU and/or Right to Life have been allowed to criticize their elected officials -- the people subsidizied by their tax money -- within 30 days of a primary and 60 days of a general election! What next?

Obviously, given their behavior at last week's debate, Democrats have decided that they can make an issue of recent Supreme Court cases. But if they're going to make it stick, they'd better come up with a more intelligent -- and honest -- critique than that mustered by good ole' "Slow Joe."


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