Pryor Convictions: Civil Rights, States Rights, Whose/Who’s Right? What’s Left?

Sixteen veterans of the civil rights movement have sent a letter to the Senate Judicary Committee opposing the nomination of Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor to the 11th Circuit. (Via Howard Bashman, via Sam Heldman) One of their many objections is that Pryor is “an avowed proponent of the modern states rights movement, now called federalism….”

Silly me. Ever since the late unpleasantness over the last election I’ve been thinking that it was Gore and the Democrats who were the ardent defenders of states rights and, well, federalism in Bush v. Gore.

Say What? (2)

  1. Jeff Medcalf May 8, 2003 at 11:37 pm | | Reply

    I have to say that this argument makes no sense. I understand that “states’ rights” was a cover for a lot of racism before in the Civil Rights movement, just as it was a canard during the Civil War (and an effective one, as it was sufficient to convince many honorable men to fight for the CSA who would not have fought to defend slavery). Even so, federalism is a doctrine that was part of the founding of our country. The whole argument to the citizens of New York to vote for the Constitution is the Federalist Papers. Are these activists basically saying that the Senate should reject this nominee because he is a believer in the founding principles of the US, which in fact the Senators have the task of defending?

  2. Brett Bellmore May 12, 2003 at 3:04 pm | | Reply

    I expect that they are saying that, though they’d not frame it so baldly. Virtually the entire liberal program, at the federal level anyway, relies on usurpations of power which run contrary to the “federalist” basis of our government. Many of them dating back as far as the New Deal.

    Were the courts to actually resume interpreting the Constitution according to it’s founding principles, the result would be ruinous those activists. Much of what they’ve accomplished at the federal level would have to be fought for state by state, with no guarantee that they’d win those fights. Thus they rationally fear a return of federalist principles, though it would be a bit much to expect them to be honest about *why* they fear it.

Say What?