Thursday, September 08, 2005

Rehnquist: Enemy of Individual Rights

Rehnquist was an extremely influential and reactionary judge. For the last three days we have heard what a great guy he was, great, and Hitler was nice to his cats. So what if he was a nice guy who gambled a lot, his importance was to stop and roll back the legal gains of the 1930's-70's particularly in regard to individual rights and the expansion of democratic/social guarantees.

1) Interstate Commerce/power of Congress: R and his cronies have limited the role of Congress (the most democratic branch) on interstate commerce grounds so that their powers are severly curbed, rolling back the gains of the New Deal and beyond. They think that Congress's job should be limited to interstate commerce. This calls into question things like the Clean Water/Air Act.

2) Individual Rights: He opposed Roe v. Wade because he did not think there was a right of privacy in the constitution. Privacy was rolled back by R.

3) He was a hack: Bush v. Gore was his decision.

4) Separation of Church and State: he didn't think it exists! Vouchers: fine!

5) Rights for criminals, social rights like education, health, etc.. forget about it.

6) Equality for all: no way, it's a a white guy world and if you want "special rights" go to Russia.

I got most of this information from Cass Sunstein on Fresh Air.

1 comment:

Land J. said...


Not much to argue with there. It reminds me of exactly what happened after Reagan died last year. Everyone extolling his virtues and all criticism was deemed utterly inappropriate, even if it was completely true. Enemy of Individual Rights is a very good way to describe Rehnquist. His only redeeming factor is that he's from Shorewood and so it's rare to have someone from this area achieve such prominence in American society.

BTW, I commented on your Sheehan post a little ways down, in case you miss it.