Saturday, October 01, 2005

Janice Rogers Brown: A libertarian Supreme Court justice would be nice

As Bush contemplates his final decision for Sandra Day O’Connor’s seat on the court I would like him to remember his promise to bring someone of Scalia and Thomas’s judicial philosophy to the bench. I would also like him to remember a specific member of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Janice Rogers Brown. Known for biting words of dissent in numerous court decisions and her words in “A Whiter Shade of Pale”, a 2000 speech to the University of Chicago Law School, she will surely be attacked and “borked” most likely by the Democrats if selected by Bush. An African-American female, she surely fits the diversity model the Democrats and some Republicans want in the next Supreme Court nominee. Her judicial philosophy however will not run with many members in Congress or the liberal interest groups. Here are some comments by interest groups:

“Justice Brown threatens to wreak havoc on worker, consumer, environmental and civil rights protections from her seat on the D.C. Circuit”—Alliance for Justice

“Justice Brown’s entire career shows that she has no respect for the federal regulatory process or for the role of the federal government whose laws she would administer, particularly laws that address the long-standing problems encountered by racial and ethnic minorities, women, workers, seniors, and others.”—Congressional Black Caucus

Here are some quotes by Janice Rogers Brown:

"Discrimination based on age is not, however, like race and sex discrimination. It does not mark its victim with a 'stigma of inferiority and second class citizenship' (citation omitted); it is the unavoidable consequence of that universal leveler: time."-- Stevenson v. Superior Court 1998

"The Framers understood that the self-interest which in the private sphere contributes to welfare of society — both in the sense of material well-being and in the social unity engendered by commerce — makes man a knave in the public sphere, the sphere of politics and group action. It is self-interest that leads individuals to form factions to try to expropriate the wealth of others through government and that constantly threatens social harmony."8Collectivism sought to answer a different question: how to achieve cosmic justice — sometimes referred to as social justice — a world of social and economic equality. Such an ambitious proposal sees no limit to man's capacity to reason. It presupposes a community can consciously design not only improved political, economic, and social systems but new and improved human beings as well.—“A Whiter Shade of Pale”

Writing 50 years ago, F.A. Hayek warned us that a centrally planned economy is "The Road to Serfdom."3 He was right, of course; but the intervening years have shown us that there are many other roads to serfdom. In fact, it now appears that human nature is so constituted that, as in the days of empire all roads led to Rome; in the heyday of liberal democracy, all roads lead to slavery. And we no longer find slavery abhorrent. We embrace it. We demand more. Big government is not just the opiate of the masses. It is the opiate. The drug of choice for multinational corporations and single moms; for regulated industries and rugged Midwestern farmers and militant senior citizens.—“A Whiter Shade of Pale”

"If we can invoke no ultimate limits on the power of government, a democracy is inevitably transformed into a kleptocracy - a license to steal, a warrant for oppression."—another speech

Is Janice Rogers Brown an extreme libertarian? Yes. Would she be what many would consider an “activist” judge who would ignore precedent in many cases? Yes. But would she bring back to the Supreme Court Bench what the Constitution (in my opinion) was originally written for and currently supposed to be interpreted? Yes. This is not endorsement by any means but I feel she would be an asset to the court by restoring the government to a background in public life where it should be. Also reasons why I think it would be great if she were nominated:

1. The liberal outcry here at Madison and during the hearings

2. Her quotes would be intelligently debated both in the hearings and in the public arena

3. A libertarian voice in high judicial office


  • No question about it: she'd be great. But the outcry would be equally great. How loud are we talking? Here's a "wish list" of people who would surely please this White House that might go over just as well as Ms. Brown:

    Robert Bork
    Miguel Estrada
    Ann Coulter
    Rick Santorum
    Tom Delay

    (And each of them would have a distinct advantage: Bork avenges the pre-Contract with America party, Estrada is the first Hispanic to get on the court, Coulter brings sex appeal back to the bench, Santorum saves a messy senatorial race in Pennsylvania and Tom Delay, well, umm... Don't mess with Texas!)

    By Blogger Mac VerStandig, at 12:49 AM  

  • Very true. It would be a very close vote after the filibuster and there probably would be a number of Republicans which would vote against her (Snowe, Collins, Chaffee, and possibly others Specter, Vocinovich, etc). She would be a very controversial pick and would leave a long and exhaustive battle. I do highly doubt she will be nominated though.

    By Blogger Tim, at 9:43 PM  

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    By Blogger RT the LT, at 12:35 AM  

  • Random comment on an old post:

    CNN briefly mentioned the possibility of the next Supreme Court vacancy, and amont the qualified, interesting candidates they saw for the nomination:

    Janice Rogers Brown.

    By Blogger BadgerZach, at 1:21 PM  

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