Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele thinks he’s found a zinger to use against President Obama’s just-announced Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan. But zingers have a nasty habit of boomeranging. Here’s Steele (emphasis mine):
Given Kagan’s opposition to allowing military recruiters access to her law school’s campus, her endorsement of the liberal agenda and her support for statements suggesting that the Constitution “as originally drafted and conceived, was ‘defective,'” you can expect Senate Republicans to respectfully raise serious and tough questions to ensure the American people can thoroughly and thoughtfully examine Kagan’s qualifications and legal philosophy before she is confirmed to a lifetime appointment.
She thinks the Constitution is “defective”? Good Lord! She must be some kind of wild-eyed judicial activist!
Oh wait …
Kagan quoted from a speech [Justice Thurgood] Marshall gave in 1987 in which he said the Constitution as originally conceived and drafted was “defective.” Marshall cited in particular the definition in the original Constitution to slaves as representing three-fifths of “free Persons” when counting the nation’s population….
“I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever “fixed” at the Philadelphia Convention. Nor do I find the wisdom, foresight, and sense of justice exhibited by the Framers particularly profound,” Marshall said. “To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today.”
You know what? I’m guessing that most Americans think that the whole 3/5 of a person thing, along with the fugitive slave clause, were really terrible ideas that never should have been enshrined in the Constitution in the first place. They were, indeed, “defects” in the original document that have since been corrected.
So, Chairman Steele, if you want to try to make your case that Kagan is some kind of hippie because she thinks that the endorsement of slavery represented a “defect” in the 1789 version of the Constitution, knock yourself out. You will fail. Just as pretty much everything else you’ve tried has failed.