Thomas Sowell

Maybe the non-stop denunciations of judicial nominees by Senate Democrats will seem relevant to some people but it is in fact wholly beside the point. Senators who don't like any particular judicial nominee -- or any nominee for any other federal appointment -- have a right to vote against that nominee for any reason or for no reason.

 That right has never been in question during the more than two centuries since it was conferred by the Constitution of the United States. So all this unending talk about what Senate Democrats don't like about Justice Priscilla Owen of the Texas supreme court or Justice Janice Rogers Brown of the California supreme court is completely irrelevant. Senators who don't like them can vote against them.

 The real issue is whether those Senators have the right to deprive all other Senators of the right to vote on these nominees. Nothing that is said for or against Justice Owen or Justice Brown has any relevance to the issue of some Senators denying other Senators the right to vote.

 The essence of bigotry is denying other people the same rights you have. For generations, it was racial bigotry which provoked filibusters to prevent the Senate from voting on bills to extend civil rights to blacks. But bigotry is bigotry, whether it is racial bigotry, religious bigotry or political bigotry.

 People who say that the right of unlimited debate in the Senate "has served this country well" can seldom, if ever, point to any specific benefit that has come from any specific filibuster.

 The detriment includes years of denying equal rights to minorities, when the majority of the people in this country were ready to grant equal rights but Southern Democrats prevented the Senate from carrying out the will of the majority by preventing other Senators from voting.

 Although this was the bigotry of the right, the bigotry of the left has since become pervasive, not just in politics but also in our educational system and in much of the media. Again and again, the left has claimed rights for itself that it denies to others.

 Schools and colleges that bombard students with propaganda in favor of homosexuality often stifle any contrary views with rules against "hate speech" that prevent any criticism of either homosexuality itself or the policies advocated by gay activists.

 Environmentalists who are against development think their views on this subject are a sufficient reason for unelected zoning boards and planning commissions to prevent other people from building homes or offices, even though there would not be any issue unless other people thought otherwise.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate