(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Monday, April 28, 2003

that darn Yglesias
When I was a college senior a few weeks from graduation, I was not spending my days following the intricacies of political debates, nor giving writing assignments to my elders. Perhaps later this week I will have time to do a sustained response to the article in the National Review, to which Matthew links, defending Bill Pryor's nomination. On a first skim, I note some misstatements -- for instance, his opposition to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was not limited to "one section," as the National Review article says (see here for the speech decrying Section 5 and also calling for unspecified changes to other sections of the Act), and the assertion that Pryor's support for incumbent Justice See over now-CJ Moore (who is more liberal than Justice See on some important issues such as arbitration) was somehow courageous for a Republican -- and at least one bit of praise that was carefully calculated to make him seem reasonable when he was in fact merely declining to be absurd. What I mean by the last bit is the article's reference to his refusal to make an argument that former Governor Fob James wanted him to make; that argument was that the First Amendment should not be applied to the States through incorporation under the Fourteenth. In other words, Gov. James wanted to argue that States are free, under the U.S. Constitution, to establish an official state religion if they darn well want to -- that the First Amendment limits only the Congress, and that the Fourteenth Amendment does not make this prohibition applicable to the States. I hope that we have not come to the point in our constitutional history where the qualification for the federal bench is merely the ability to recognize that this argument would be swiftly rejected by any modern court.

posted by sam 10:36 AM 0 comments


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