Sunday, May 16, 2004

Will Somebody Please Explain?

Every once in a while, I check the columns on Townhall.com, just to see what conservatives are up to.  Some of the columnists, such as George Will, write articles that are worth reading.  His most recent one, Brown vs. Board, 50 years later, provides some interesting historical perspective.  Others, such as Phyllis Schlafly, write things that I disagree with, but I can see that she has a point.

Today's column by Pat Buchanan is weird.  Rise of a judicial dictatorship  starts in an unremarkable fashion:

When the Warren Court handed down its most famous decision, Brown vs. the Board of Education, on May 17, 1954, this writer had a ringside seat at a high school in the inner city of Washington, D.C.

The crux of his argument is in this excerpt:

But that May day in 1954, the Warren Court crossed a historic divide. It had executed, in the name of the 14th Amendment, a coup d'etat. It had usurped power over state schools that had never been granted to federal courts either in law or the Constitution.

The 14th Amendment had been approved by the same Congress that presided over the segregated schools of D.C. Thus it was obvious to all that that amendment did not outlaw what its authors had approved. But the Warren Court, impatient at the torpor of the democratic process, had established itself as a dictatorship of nine judges, and ordered the nation to do as it demanded.

The coup succeeded. Though President Eisenhower was stunned by Brown, he and the Republican Congress bowed and accepted the ruling as the law of the land to be enforced, if necessary, by federal troops, as it would be at Central High in Little Rock in 1957.

He goes on to list a number of SCOTUS decisions that he does not agree with.  His conclusion:

Today, we meekly await the court's judgment on whether we will have to legalize marriage between homosexuals. Were George III to return to life, he would roar with laughter at what a flock of sheep the descendants of the American rebels have become.

Honestly, I cannot see what his point is.  I've re-read the 14th amendment, which, of course, requires that no state deny anyone equal protection under the law.  Sure, the argument in Brown v. Board was that segregation had the practical effect of denying equal protection.  This was a judgment call on the part of the judges.  No surprise there: we hired the judges to make judgment calls.  That's what judges do.  How does this make us a flock of sheep?  And is being a flock of sheep wrong under the Christian tradition that he touts repeatedly in his column?

(Psalm 100:3)  Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his ; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

(Jeremiah 23:3)  "I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number."

(John 10:11)  "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."

(Ezekiel 37:24)  "'My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees."

If Buchanan had meant to imply that we should be ashamed of ourselves for obeying the Supreme Court, the 'flock of sheep' metaphor was entirely inappropriate.  Would somebody please explain what his column is supposed to mean?

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