Fearful of the light

Her story is now fairly well known.  Born to sharecroppers in Luverne, Alabama,  Associate Justice Janice Rogers Brown became the first African—American woman to sit on the California Supreme Court.  Prior to that, this champion of judicial restraint was Deputy Attorney General for the state's Criminal & Civil Division, Legal Affairs Secretary to Governor Pete Wilson, and a Justice on the California Circuit Court of Appeals.  President George W. Bush nominated her to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2003 and re—nominated her in February 2005.

In the aftermath of the GOP's surrender to the minority losers, it might be useful to look at the status quo ante, highlighting the nature of the malignant animus of Judiciary Committee Senators towards this outstanding nominee and the reasons for it.

The superior qualifications of Justice Brown were of no consequence to the senatorial massahs who run the Democrat plantation. Those rich white folks cannot abide an uppity female who is not only black and conservative, but holds radical beliefs about slavery. Oh no, those massahs and their People For The American Way overseers could not allow anyone who believes that big government and the welfare state enslaves people — clamping shackles on their potential — to serve at that important circuit court level. 

"Big government is not just the opiate of the masses.  It is the opiate. The drug of choice for multinational corporations and single moms; for regulated industries and rugged Midwestern farmers and militant senior citizens."

Worse than that, in the same speech, Justice Brown made blasphemous comments about Democrat patron saint FDR's grand scheme. 

'I have argued that collectivism was (and is) fundamentally incompatible with the vision that undergirded this country's founding.  The New Deal, however, inoculated the federal Constitution with a kind of underground collectivist mentality.'

What Senators Schumer and Kennedy, Leahy and Boxer and their fellow ideological cotton growers perhaps feared even more is the ability of Justice Brown to inspire, to bring her scintillant intellect to bear as a jurisprudential beacon, illuminating constitutionalism: they are fearful of the light.  

In another of her brilliant speeches, a May 2003 commencement address at Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law, she talked about searching for a theme, how

'only one word, one image, surfaced.  The word, that image, was 'Light.' Sometimes sharp and white, like the flash of a lighthouse beacon. Sometimes the soft, full radiance of sunrise.' 

She developed her theme, how light is a metaphor for, among other things, truth:

'Light as an analogue of God's creative activity...in the Christian liturgy God is light...and truth 'I am the way, the truth and the life...'  Historically, and poetically, and, I believe, actually,' she told the graduates, 'light and truth seem indissolubly linked.'      

She herself can certainly be philosophically poetical:

'What if the universe was created solely so that we might see?  What if God, when He spoke the universe into existence by saying 'Let there be light' was calling forth not just the creative properties of light but consciousness itself?

...What if all creation was set before us like a textbook... so that our hearts might be ravished by the perfection of a single rosebud; our minds dazzled by the complex landscape of an atom; our spirits humbled by the immense, breathtaking splendor of a night sky?'

Such a mind as this is anathema to those existing in the stygian realm of malevolent blindness; who pursue the dark ways of power.  They dare not let such an enemy — one who challenges graduates, and all of us, to be 'defenders of the light' —  to advance.  Now they will as part of The Deal.  They will pretend that all the lies they have told about her were never spoken, but they are on the record.  And the light of Justice Janice Rogers Brown will shine through.

John B. Dwyer is a military historian.