Byrdís Finest Hours
was waiting for it to happen. Amidst conservativesí legitimate objections
to media self-censorship of Robert Byrdís "white niggers"
comment on Fox News, I was waiting for someone to bring up his opposition
to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Malkin accurately notes that if Byrd were a Republican, "Maxine
Waters and Ralph Neas and Julianne Malveaux and Al Sharpton and
all the other left-wing bloodhounds who sniff racism in every crevice
of American life would be barking up a storm."
discussing Byrdís former membership with the Ku Klux Klan, Malkin
writes, "The ex-Klansman later filibustered the landmark 1964
Civil Rights Act supported by a majority of those Ďmean-spiritedí
Republicans for more than 14 hours." She continues as
if to hammer the final nail in his coffin, "He also opposed
the nominations of the Supreme Courtís two black justices, liberal
Thurgood Marshall and conservative Clarence Thomas."
examine these supposedly damning positions.
federalism and property rights are conservative values. American
conservatism values the role of the private sphere and the separation
of powers between federal and state government enshrined in the
II and VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act transgress constitutional
and proprietary norms. The rather Democratic (understatement mode
Dionne Jr. notes how "the Civil Rights Act of 1964 consciously
overrode both statesí rights and property rights." (Barry Goldwater
courageously underscored the revolutionary centralization entailed
by Titles II and VII, breaking ranks and voting against the Civil
Rights Act. For this principled and appropriate stand, Walter Lippmann
and other thoughtless individuals maligned him as a segregationist.)
description of the Civil Rights Act as "landmark" indicates
endorsement, although that adjective in its most literal sense captures
the legislationís significance. It was landmark in the same
way that the Alien and Sedition Acts or Reconstruction Acts were
Sam Ervin objected to Thurgood Marshallís nomination to the Supreme
Court on the grounds that "Judge Marshall is by practice and
philosophy a constitutional iconoclast." Marshallís tenure
on the Supreme Court regularly validated Ervinís assessment. Whether
in misrepresenting the death penalty as inherently unconstitutional
(Furman v. Georgia) or promoting a constitutional right to
trespass (Amalgamated Food Employees Union Local 500 v. Logan
Valley Plaza), Marshall exemplified the worst kind of oligarchic
policymaking through adjudicative pretense.
Byrdís opposition to the Civil Rights Act and Marshallís nomination
suggests constitutionally vigilant conduct, not invidious pigmentary
passions. Itís unfortunate that he didnít support Clarence Thomasís
nomination the finest justice of our era just as itís
unfortunate that his stands against constitutionally corrosive policies
and persons are slanted to the worst angle possible.
appearance on Fox News was one of his less noble hours; his aforementioned
votes were two of his finest. Conservatives most of all should appreciate
Kantor lives in Boynton Beach, Florida.