Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Two articles on the late Judge Rehnquist

Here's a pretty interesting article on Judge Rehnquist's ardently anti-gay life.

Rehnquist Was Arch-Foe of Gay Rights:

William Hubbs Rehnquist, chief justice of the United States, died late on September 3 at age 80 after serving 33 years on the Supreme Court. He was undoubtedly one of the most steadfast opponents of lesbian and gay rights during his lengthy tenure, and the author of two particularly demeaning and homophobic opinions.

This article has a fairly good history of his anti-gay policies. I think this section is particularly telling:

The Gay Lib opinion is the more colorful and revealing, since a dissenting judge can express his feelings without having to compromise to hold together a court majority in support of their opinion. The trial court had ruled that the University of Missouri could refuse to recognize Gay Lib because a psychiatrist testified that an assembly of gay students would lead to acts of criminal sodomy. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, on a divided vote, finding the students’ right to assemble and advocate their views overcame the state’ speculative interest in preventing unlawful sex. Arguing that the Court should have taken the case, Rehnquist addressed the university’s justification for denying recognition.

“Expert psychological testimony below established the fact that the meeting together of individuals who consider themselves homosexual in an officially recognized university organization can have a distinctly different effect from the mere advocacy of repeal of the State’s sodomy statute,” the future chief justice wrote. “As the University has recognized, this danger may be particularly acute in the university setting where many students are still coping with the sexual problems which accompany late adolescence and early adulthood…

“From the point of view of the [gay student activists], the question is little different from whether university recognition of a college Democratic club in fairness also requires recognition of a college Republican club. From the point of view of the University, however, the question is more akin to whether those suffering from measles have a constitutional right, in violation of quarantine regulations, to associate together and with others who do not presently have measles, in order to urge repeal of a state law providing that measle sufferers be quarantined.”

However, if you want a more opinion-oriented article, this one might be of interest: Telling the Truth About Chief Justice Rehnquist.

My mother always told me that when a person dies, one should not say anything bad about him. My mother was wrong. History requires truth, not puffery or silence, especially about powerful governmental figures. And obituaries are a first draft of history. So here’s the truth about Chief Justice Rehnquist you won’t hear on Fox News or from politicians. Chief Justice William Rehnquist set back liberty, equality, and human rights perhaps more than any American judge of this generation. His rise to power speaks volumes about the current state of American values.

I recommend both articles. They make for interesting reading.


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