The Spectacle Blog

Colbert King’s Values

By on 11.5.05 | 11:46AM

Colbert King, one of the WaPo editorial page editors, is up in arms today about the values baggage a Supreme Court nominee may carry. In his column, though, he points out a distressing problem with one of the Dems' only two issues.

Writing about constitutional lawyer John Davis's argument in favor of the "separate but equal" doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson in the Brown v. Board of Education case, King says:

This constitutional giant and lawyer of enormous analytical powers stood before the Supreme Court in December 1953 and argued that racial segregation was not only constitutional but also better for blacks. Defending the "separate but equal" doctrine in Plessy v. Ferguson, Davis proclaimed to the justices: "Somewhere, some time, to every principle there comes a moment of repose when it has been so often pronounced, so confidently relied upon, so long continued, that it passes the limits of judicial discretion and disturbance." Fortunately, the Warren Court, examining the Constitution, saw otherwise and in 1954 outlawed segregation -- Davis's legal brilliance notwithstanding.

Hmm. I wonder if King will say the same on some future day if the Roberts court, with soon-to-be Justice Alito aboard, overturns or limits Roe. When Sen. Specter starts talking about "super duper precedents," can someone -- maybe Joe Biden or Chuckie Schumer -- please hand him King's column?

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