Friday, April 15, 2005

Chances are you already know about the little Nuremburg rally Senator Frist is going to address, as The New York Times reports:

As the Senate heads toward a showdown over the rules governing judicial confirmations, Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, has agreed to join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as "against people of faith" for blocking President Bush's nominees.

Fliers for the telecast, organized by the Family Research Council and scheduled to originate at a Kentucky megachurch the evening of April 24, call the day "Justice Sunday" and depict a young man holding a Bible in one hand and a gavel in the other.

...Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and organizer of the telecast, ... stood by the characterization of Democrats as hostile to faith. "What they have done is, they have targeted people for reasons of their faith or moral position," he said....

Look, I think the fight against Bush's most extreme nominees has been remarkable. I admire the Democrats' success in blocking the worst of Bush's nominees and I support the fight to save the filibuster.

But at a certain point, shouldn't the Democrats go public with the actual case against these nominees?

I think this would be a good time to make a big public demonstration of what's wrong with these people -- do it at the exact time the broadcast is on the air. And since Frist, Perkins, and so on are arguing that the nominees are being "targeted ... for reasons of their faith or moral positions," maybe the Democrats should talk about some of those "moral positions."

William Pryor's view of punishment is a good place to start. Yeah, I think this is just what Jesus would do:

Defending the "hitching post"

In Hope v. Pelzer, 536 U.S. 730 (2002), [William] Pryor vigorously defended Alabama’s practice of handcuffing prison inmates to hitching posts in the hot sun if they refused to work on chain gangs or otherwise disrupted them. ... The post was a horizontal bar to which inmates were handcuffed "in a standing position and remain[ed] standing the entire time they [were] placed on the post." 536 U.S. at 734. The plaintiff in this case, Larry Hope, charged that he had been handcuffed to a hitching post twice, one time for seven hours, during which he was shirtless "while the sun burned his skin ... During this 7-hour period, he was given water only once or twice and was given no bathroom breaks. At one point, a guard taunted Hope about his thirst. According to Hope’s affidavit: '[The guard] first gave water to some dogs, then brought the water cooler closer to me, removed its lid, and kicked the cooler over, spilling the water onto the ground.'" 536 U.S. at 734-35.

Pryor’s brief contended that Mr. Hope had not been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment...

Or how about this, from Janice Rogers Brown: Aguilar v. Avis Rent A Car Systems, Inc. 980 P.2d 846 (Cal.1999), the trial court found that Avis created a hostile work environment in violation of the California Fair Housing and Employment Act by allowing one employee to subject Latino employees to racial slurs. The court issued an injunction to prevent the employee from using racial slurs and to prevent Avis from allowing him to do so. On appeal, Avis argued that the injunction was a violation of First Amendment rights. A majority of the California Supreme Court upheld the injunction. Astonishingly, Justice Brown disagreed. She argued that racially discriminatory speech in the workplace - even when it rises to the level of illegal race discrimination - is protected by the First Amendment. To reach that conclusion, Justice Brown had to ignore several decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court and had to embrace a philosophy that, if it were to become the law of the land, would make it almost impossible for judges or legislators to effectively stop racial and sexual harassment involving speech in the workplace. In her Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire, Justice Brown listed the Aguilar dissent as one of her ten most significant opinions.

Start with those, and go on from there. Do it in a public press conference. And, maybe, bring along a hitching post.

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