I guess if your "mainstream" includes Roman Polanski, Michael Moore, Howard Dean and Jacques Chirac, then Brown really is "out of the mainstream." This proverbial "stream" they're constantly referring to is evidently located somewhere in France.
Liberals are always complaining that they haven't figured out how to distill their message to slogans and bumper stickers – as they allege Republicans have. Though it can't be easy to fit the entire Communist Manifesto on a bumper sticker, I beg to differ. (Bumper sticker version of the current Democratic platform: "Ask me about how I'm going to raise your taxes.")
The problem is, if Democrats ever dared speak coherently, the American people would lynch them. Fortunately for liberals, soccer moms hear that a nominee is "extreme" and "out the mainstream" and are too frightened to ask for details. (Ironically, based on ticket sales and TV ratings, soccer is also out of the mainstream.)
In addition to the fact that she is black and "out of the mainstream," the first item in the Times' bill of particulars against Brown was this:
"She regularly stakes out extreme positions, often dissenting alone. In one case, her court ordered a rental car company to stop its supervisor from calling Hispanic employees by racial epithets. Justice Brown dissented, arguing that doing so violated the company's free-speech rights."
Despite the Times' implication that Brown was "dissenting alone" in this case, she was not. The opinion of the California Supreme Court in the case, Aguilar v. Avis, was as closely divided as it gets: 4-3. Among the dissenters was Stanley Mosk, who was once described by the Los Angeles Times as "the court's most liberal member." When Mosk died in 2001, his obituary in The New York Times described him as "the only liberal on the seven-member court." I suppose if the Times had mentioned that a prominent liberal jurist had agreed with Brown in Aguilar, it would be harder to frighten silly women with that "out of the mainstream" babble.
But the real beauty part of Brown's dissent in Aguilar is that she was vindicating a constitutional principle that is second in importance only to abortion for liberals: no prior restraints on speech.
In a major victory for Avis, the jury rejected almost all of the claims against Avis by Hispanic employees, but did find that two managers – only one of whom still worked at Avis – had called Hispanics names. So the lower-court judge got the idea to issue an injunction prohibiting one single Avis manager from ever using derogatory language about Avis' Hispanic employees.
The injunction was broad enough to prevent the manager from using such language in his home, out of earshot of his employees, in a joking or friendly manner, as part of a hypothetical example, or even if his speech were incapable of creating a "hostile environment" under the law. Questions were also raised about whether he was even allowed to chuckle at the little dog in those "Yo quiero Taco Bell" TV commercials. It was basically a bill of attainder against this one manager (who was himself married to a Hispanic).
I note that liberals laughed at the idea that a "hostile environment" could be created by a single incident of a governor dropping his pants and asking a subordinate to "kiss it." But the mere speculative threat of a manager saying "wetback" – one time – was such a threat to the stability of the nation that the Times backed a prior restraint on the manager's speech.
Usually The New York Times is citing the law's antagonism to prior restraints on speech in order to wax eloquent about the Supreme Court's "landmark decision in the Pentagon Papers case." In a ruling that celebrated the very essence of the First Amendment, the court ruled that the government couldn't stop the Treason Times from publishing classified national-security documents. As the Times put it, that case had "made it clear that only a showing of concrete, immediate risk to the nation could justify a judicial order imposing a prior restraint on any kind of publication."
But apparently, there is one interest even more vital than preventing an immediate risk to the nation: stopping a supervisor someplace in America from ever using the word "spic." Anyone who disagrees is "out of the mainstream." And any minority who is not duly grateful to liberals for supporting prior restraints against certain words is only qualified to be the maid.
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