Monday, April 29, 2013

Ken Mehlman, Lee Atwater and Sandra Day O'Connor Walk Into a Bar...*

O'Connor questions court's decision to take Bush v. Gore 
In interview at Tribune, retired justice also calls for merit selection of judges

By Dahleen Glanton, Chicago Tribune reporter April 27, 2013

Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor hasn't given much thought to which was the most important case she helped decide during her 25 years on the bench. But she has no doubt which was the most controversial.

It was Bush v. Gore, which ended the Florida recount and decided the 2000 presidential election.

Looking back, O'Connor said, she isn't sure the high court should have taken the case.

"It took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue," O'Connor said during a talk Friday with the Tribune editorial board. "Maybe the court should have said, 'We're not going to take it, goodbye.'"

The case, she said, "stirred up the public" and "gave the court a less-than-perfect reputation."

"Obviously the court did reach a decision and thought it had to reach a decision," she said. "It turned out the election authorities in Florida hadn't done a real good job there and kind of messed it up. And probably the Supreme Court added to the problem at the end of the day."

O'Connor, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, was the first woman to serve on the high court. Though she tended to side with the conservatives, O'Connor was known as the court's swing vote. Her vote in the 5-4 Bush v. Gore decision effectively gave Republican George W. Bush a victory over his Democratic opponent, then-Vice President Al Gore.

Of course this now merely an historical curiosity and only matters to you at all if you think that Al Gore would have governed any differently than George W. Bush. That Gore would have slept through PDBs on imminent terrorist attacks, invaded Iraq on false pretenses, turned global climate change into a punch line, let the Right completely off the leash, pissed away our budget surpluses, let New Orleans drown, gotten intimately involved in the Terri Schiavo case in order to mollify the American Taliban Party, etc. etc.

*On his deathbed and long after it was too late, Atwater repented of his ruthless and deliberate use of race-baiting to win elections for Republicans.  After he lost his job as chair of rabidly anti-gay Republican Party and long after it was too late, Ken Mehlman came out as gay and said he regretted being the highly-paid tool of people whose party was built on dehumanizing and discriminating against people like him.


D. said...

Ah, yes, telescopic 20/20 hindsight. Love it.

ChiefD said...

Yeah, fuck these late apologists and the horse's asses they rode in on. Too little, too late.

Anonymous said...

Did Atwater *really* relent on his deathbed? Or is that just an urban legend?


steeve said...

"gave the court a less-than-perfect reputation" "And probably the Supreme Court added to the problem at the end of the day."

This is standard for those in The Club, even those on "our team", and needs to be recognized and called out every time. They elevate high school level failures to doctoral theses.

"If you really study this situation and tease out every detail, it's barely possible to discern an imperfect understanding of an abstract procedure at the very edge of our current knowledge."

The failures of the media and politicians are so superficial that freshmen would get marked down for them.

Anonymous said...

IOW, they new what they did was wrong, but it paid well.
Someday we will learn that ideology is not what makes people who they are, it's what we do that defines us. Atwater and Mehlman have defined who they are for all to see. Maybe Mr. Mehlman, who is still alive, might do something to atone. Maybe the Repubs will apologize for Iraq.

Batocchio said...

Mary Matalin fiercely denies the deathbed repentance of Lee Atwater, or at least downplays its significance. In her world, he had nothing to apologize for. (She'll lie 'til her last breath.)

DeistPaladin said...

Well, I'm glad to hear that O'Connor is finally having some regrets about all the havoc, death and destruction she made possible. The scale of her repentance should be greater than "maybe" it was wrong.

Personally, I think it would be more appropriate if she were bolting awake every night in a cold sweat followed by sobs of "my God, my God, what have I done?" Then by day, she ought to be pleading with the world for forgiveness.

Reamus said...

ust a little late to be sorry Sandra. Lotta folks died because you raised you hand.

Take it to the troops that went to two wars six or eight times because you raised your hand and tell them how you really feel. Sure they’ll be in a forgiving mood

You sound like Robert McNamara revisited. He was sorry too.

Thanks anyway.Now sit down and shut up