Part 3 of the series, "The Structure of Lies in Conservative Jurisprudence".
“I realize that it is an unpopular and unhumanitarian position, for which I have been excoriated by "liberal" colleag[u]es, but I think Plessy v. Ferguson was right and should be re-affirmed.” – William Rehnquist, “A Random Thought on the Segregation Cases”, memo prepared as clerk for Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, 1952
For a number of reasons, the American people generally have a hard time understanding the significance of judicial nominations, a collective cognitive weakness which conservatives have exploited masterfully as a major strategic component in their ideological warfare over the past 50 years or so. One side of that strategy is the development of a rhetorical framework of pseudo-principles that people can be rallied around—and I'll be discussing that later on as this series progresses. But a more obvious side of that strategy is aggressively hiding, suppressing, or obfuscating clear tell-tale evidence that the general public can understand, and which serves to repulse them. This is the focus of the present diary, along with two more on the confirmations of Clarence Thomas and John Roberts.
In his 1971 confirmation to the Supreme Court, William Rehnquist committed perjury on two separate issues, which were repeated again in 1985, when he was confirmed as Chief Justice. First, he lied about the notorious “Brown memo” quoted above. Rehnquist admitted authorship (which was undeniable) but claimed it was written at the direction of Jackson, and relfected Jackson's views, not his own—even though the “I” who had been “excoriated by 'liberal' colleagues” was obviously not Jackson, but Rehnquist, the only Supreme Court clerk at the time who felt that Plessy should be upheld. Second, Rehnquist lied about his personal, adversarial involvement in voter suppression efforts aimed at minority voters in Arizona in the late 1950s and early 60s. Rehnquist admitted being involved in the efforts, but only as a legal advisor, while a former Assistant US Attorney, James Brosnahan, and others testified that Rehnquist had been personally involved in challenging and intimidating individual voters.