Douchebag of the Day

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For Thursday, May 28 I would like to nominate, as douchebag of the day, Wendy Long, legal counsel to and spokesperson for the reactionary Judicial Confirmation Nutworks. This outfit has placed itself at the forefront of the virulently unhinged, dangerously unbalanced right-wing smear campaign that is being waged against Sonia Sotomayor, Barack Obama’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, and Ms. Long has stepped up eagerly and enthusiastically to carry its misguided banner.

Almost as soon as the White House announced Sotomayor’s nomination, Long released the group’s official comment, a press-release so bizarre in its lack of connection to objective reality, that it stands as a classic WTF?! moment in this nascent confirmation fight:

“Judge Sotomayor is a liberal judicial activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important that the law as written,” said Wendy Long, counsel to the conservative Judicial Confirmation Network.

“She thinks that judges should dictate policy and that one’s sex, race and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench. … She has an extremely high rate of her decisions being reversed, indicating that she is far more of a liberal activist than even the current liberal activist Supreme Court.” (emphasis added)

Yeah, you read that right. The Supreme Court, headed by doctrinaire conservative Chief Justice John Roberts and boasting such reactionaries as Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas is a “liberal activist” court in the eyes of the clinically insane intellectual heavyweights who run the Judicial Confirmation Nutworks.

In the segment from Hardball that is embedded above, Long lets loose with another river of douchebaggery that expands upon, and enhances, our understanding of just how out to lunch this lady and the organization she represents really are. Most notable in my mind is Long’s refusal to accept the perfectly obvious point that a Supreme Court composed of jurists representing a diversity of backgrounds and ethnicities is both desirable and more likely to render just decisions than a court composed entirely of white men:

Matthews: Do you think we’re better off with a balanced court with some representation of America besides  white males? Is it better to have a court with some women on it? Is it better to have a court with some people that aren’t white or caucasian?…

Long: I think that’s completely irrlevant.

Matthews: Irrelevant?

Long: It’s not better and it’s not worse. An all male white court overturned Plessy V. Fergusson in Brown V. Board of Education. All male, white courts are perfectly capable of representing every type of person in America…

Curiously absent from Ms. Long’s disingenuous rumination was any recognition of the fact that Plessy, the Supreme Court decision that enshrined the legality of separate but equal was the law of the land for sixty years before it was overturned in Brown! Yes, it may have been an all white, male court that overturned Plessy, but it was also an all male, white court that affirmed Plessy, a fact that seems uniquely un-problematic to Ms. Long.

Shortly after this exchange, Long responds to Chris Matthews suggestion that the quality of empathy is useful to a jurist, and objects to Matthews characterization of the thought processes that justices employed in reaching a decision in Brown V. Board of Education. In that famous case, psychologists were brought in to describe to Supreme Court justices how young black girls, when presented a pair of dolls, one black an one white, described the white doll in positive terms while denigrating the black doll. The “Clark doll experiment” allowed justices to peer into the minds of young, black children and understand the damage that segregation had inflicted upon their psyches. In short, the experiment allowed justices to empathize with black schoolchildren, and see the world as they do.

Long, however, will have none of it, insisting rather categorically and without any evidence or reasoning to back her up that: “...what happened was, Plessy was a lawless decision, Brown is what the constitution, and all men being created equal and the aspirations of our declaration of independence are all about.”

See, white males are perfectly capable of handing down just decisions as long as they simply adhere to the constitution and don’t let their judgments become clouded by such irrelevant, muddle headed, fuzzy, liberal, nonsense as whether the institutionalized racism of segregation is psychologically damaging to young black girls. Arriving at the correct decision is easy, you see, as long as Justices merely follow the law and don’t allow themselves to be distracted by considerations such as the human cost of one particular interpretation of an ambiguous statute over another.

Of course this bizarre myopia leads to the inevitable question: if the justices in Brown were simply following a strict constructionist reading of the constitution, then why did eight of nine Justices render a “lawless” decision sixty years earlier, and why did that decision stand for three whole generations? And an even more compelling argument against Ms. Long can be leveled by meditating upon the following question: does anyone seriously believe that a Supreme Court composed of individuals from varying backgrounds, income levels, and ethnicities would have allowed Plessy to stand for sixty years? Or, indeed, have ruled that way in the first place?

Ultimately, in deciding what sort of Supreme Court is desirable, the question isn’t whether a court comprised exclusively of white, male, christian, property owners can theoretically render just decisions regarding questions of race, gender, sexual preference, religious freedom, etc.The question is whether it is just to ask minorities –who must live under these decisions– to wait sixty years for the aforesaid all white, male, Christian, land-owning Justices to “realize” that they “misread” the constitution when they denied these citizens justice and equality under the law in the first place.

Serolf Divad lectures on U.S. Contitutional Law to a cluster of peyote cacti located somewhere in the American Southwest.


She already won Wingnut of the Day, but I have no problem awarding her our highest honor.


Ah, I seem to have missed that one. Luckily the bulk of my post focuses on the Hardball interview, so she’s got lots of douchebaggery to mine.

And right on cue, Veep Joe sends me a personal email:

President Obama hit a home run with his nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court — and not just because she’s the “woman who saved baseball” by ending the strike in 1995…

Then again, I await the Soto Jacked on Steroids meme.

@nojo: I got it twice. He must’ve forgotten to bcc Obama the first time around.

@mellbell: I got it twice as well.

And I note that Tweety was particularly unhinged in that segment; mixing things up, misinforming …

@mellbell: @blogenfreude: Did I not contribute enough to get double emailed?

Note to email marketers: the formal version of my Life-cereal loving first name is only used by banks, the government, and my mom when she’s pissed at me. You only frighten me when you get chatty with it.

Would they rather Barry pick Torqumada?

what happened was, Plessy was a lawless decision

I beg your fucking pardon?

Plessy was a model of judicial restraint:

the enforced separation of the races, as applied to the internal commerce of the state, neither abridges the privileges or immunities of the colored man, deprives him of his property without due process of law, nor denies him the equal protection of the laws, within the meaning of the fourteenth amendment

If the civil and political rights of both races be equal, one cannot be inferior to the other civilly [163 U.S. 537, 552] or politically. If one race be inferior to the other socially, the constitution of the United States cannot put them upon the same plane.

It’s an amazingly contemporary ruling, one which would be applauded by the Federalist Society. Harlan, in dissent, would be considered the interventionist radical.

The saddest thing is that Sotomayor seems like a swing vote at best, who’ll vote with the wingnuts and their puppet masters more often than not.

I’ve seen zero evidence that she’s a “liberal” of any kind, let alone an activist. I’m sure she’ll be roundly applauded by the DC press corpse when she sticks it to true liberal/human rights/civil rights/environmental advocacy groups.

@Original Andrew: Someone called her nomination “between the judicial 40-yard lines”. Barry’s still squatting on the middle, and you can’t knock his political judgment — he remains the sublime triangulator.

On the other hand, maybe we weren’t the people we’ve been waiting for.

I am absolutely loving this! The nutters have gone so far off the deep end over this nomination that they seem to be digging the GOPs grave even faster than I previously thought had been possible.

@Jamie Sommers: We seem to have dueling Douchebag of the Day threads on the nutters’ heads exploding.

“Latino KKK without the hoods and nooses.”

Brilliant, Tom. Keep flapping that mouth.

@Jamie Sommers: Which does the RW hate more: blax or Hispanix? Sad to say that I am related by marriage, however, to some Hispanic yahoos who would follow the brownshirts’ line on Madame Future Justice.

Noteworthy: Iran demands more water from neighbors. Sounds like my neck of the woods.

@SanFranLefty: For the GOP, incomprehensible asshattery is the new black.

@redmanlaw: Good question. I imagine it’s entirely situational depending on which group they think is most useful to them at the moment. We can only know that such self-loathing people hate themselves more than any other group or individual.

Dear gawd, this menace is a sitting judge on a United States Court of Appeals! Why haven’t impeachment proceedings started yet?

@SanFranLefty: He obviously has never heard of “Las Gorras Blancas” a late 19th century Hispanic land rights group that wore white hoods or caps. They were active in the area around Mrs RML’s hometown of Las Vegas, NM abound 1880-1890.

@redmanlaw: Wow, that manifesto is a wellspring of cool quotes, i.e.:

We are not down on lawyers as a class, but the usual knavery and unfair treatment of the people must be stopped.

We have no grudge against any person in particular, but we are the enemies of bulldozers and tyrants.

If the fact that we are law abiding citizens is questioned, come out to our homes and see the hunger and desolation we are suffering; and “this” is the result of the deceitful and corrupt methods of “bossism.”


OK, I thought this federal case sounded familiar, and it turns out we have seen this movie before:

California Registered Domestic Partnership Does Not Confer Standing to Challenge the Federal DOMA:

A gay male couple sued under the U.S. Constitution challenging California’s marriage law and the federal so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA), seeking a California marriage license and the full range of federal rights that come with marriage. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the district court correctly abstained from deciding the constitutionality of California’s marriage law while the state courts actively are considering that question under the state constitution, but incorrectly decided that the couple’s registered partnership gave them standing to challenge the constitutionality of DOMA. Smelt v. Orange County, 447 F.3d 673 (9th Cir. 2006).

So essentially, “the fundamental right to marry does not extend to same-sex couples, and even though the federal DOMA does harm homosexuals as a class, it is within the bounds of congressional powers to do so.”

Granted, this is a federal court ruling on the federal DOMA and not on the CA SC’s decision about it’s own constitutional processes, but it’s not encouraging to say the least.

Shit – go look at the video I just put up – it’s the most painful, sphincter-clenching thing I’ve ever seen.

@Jamie Sommers: Merde est brun, mais il est aussi verde.

@JNOV: Good lord what have you been eating? Wait nevermind TMI. Anyway, what the hell is an “activist judge”? A judge who…does…stuff? Not like those nice passive judges who never rule on anything, I guess. The problem is the GOP keeps trying to use language for manipulation instead of communication. Oh and the other problem is trying to reconcile 20th century nostalgia19th century morality with 21st century reality.

@redmanlaw: Of course not. tommy gets his history from DW Griffith movies.

@drinkyclown: Methinks our friend needs to cut back on the roughage a tad.

@drinkyclown: Yes, and of course the other meme is that not only does she…do…stuff…but she asks questions!!! OMFG! She asks questions! She actually reads the briefs before the hearing and has questions prepared for the attorneys! She nails your ass to the wall if you’re not prepped.

That kind of sounds like a guy named Scalia.

Not that I speak for the other Stinquers, Esquire, but for fuck’s sake, that’s why you’re an attorney. Especially if you’re going in to argue at the FUCKING SECOND CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS OR THE FUCKING U.S. SUPREME COURT – you should prepare and moot for weeks on end. I have spaz attacks before a simple motion in superior or district court and think up every question I could be asked, and then am dying to be asked the questions. So a good attorney WANTS to have a hot bench like Sotomayor.

If nothing else, it would be a pass-the-popcorn moment to see Scalia and Sotomayor play tag team from opposite ends on semi-unprepared attorneys in front of the SCOTUS. As opposed to Thomas leaning back in his chair and semi-sleeping (which I have observed with my own eyes).

@SanFranLefty: Holy crap we need to make a reality show where they all get drunk in a mansion for a week and we film it, that would be better than Flavor of Love for sheer trainwreck entertainment value!

@SanFranLefty: Case in point: Moonbeam’s stooge at the Cal Supremes. I’m just a country philosopher, but I’ve weathered enough seminars to know you’ll get nailed if you’re not on your game. These things are chess matches, and you need to think more than a few moves ahead.


So, you’re saying she’s a “hot bench”?

That alone gets my vote. (Not that I have one, and not that I should.)

@Pedonator: I guess we should call her a “juez del banco de la salsa,” verdad?

@Pedonator: No…Si, se pica.

Or was that “Si se puede” as the Latino KKK puts it?

/TJ/ Tweety has the faggot-loving lawyers on his show right now!

@SanFranLefty: No, that’s “Viva la Raza!” …which I say every morning before I brush my teeth!

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