The Occasional Muse
My humble opinion on current events
June 24, 2003
Power-Hungry High Court
The wise, impartial, and humble Supreme
Court on Monday established a novel legal tenant, one that may haunt
America for decades: Racial discrimination in pursuit of diversity is no
vice, and equal treatment in pursuit of opportunity for all is no virtue.
By a 5-4 vote, the court approved the
admissions policy at the University of Michigan's Law School, which discriminates
against whites and Asian-Americans to engineer a proper proportion of
currently in-vogue minority groups: African-Americans, Hispanics, and
And don't think all African-Americans,
Hispanics, and Native Americans benefit. Only those whose applications are
approved while the school needs members of those groups benefit.
Applications by minorities that are reviewed after the law school hits
"critical mass" are rejected as the school then selects whatever
white and Asian slots are left. That's one dirty little secret of
affirmative action that its supporters will never admit.
The school denied it used quotas, but
Hillary Clinton's favorite judge William Rehnquist saw right through that
falsehood. In his dissent, he called the law school's policy "a naked
effort to achieve racial balancing." He points out that between 1995
and 2000, the school admitted between 13 and 19 Native Americans, between
91 and 108 African Americans, and between 47 and 56 Hispanics. Why, he
asks, is it necessary to admit only 19 Native Americans to reach
"critical mass" and a relatively whopping 108 African Americans?
Why the disparity?
Rehnquist offers more statistics to prove
his case. The percentage of admitted minority applicants mirrors very
closely the percentage of the pool of applicants belonging to the
preferred minority groups, much too closely to be mere coincidence. For
example, in 1995, 9.7 percent of applicants were African-American and 9.4
percent of admitted applicants were African-American. In 1998, 4.2 percent
of applicants were Hispanic and exactly 4.2 percent of admitted applicants
were Hispanic. In 2000, 1.0 percent of applicants were Native American and
1.1 percent of admitted applicants were Native American.
Rehnquist concludes the obvious:
The Law School has offered no explanation
for its actual admissions practices and, unexplained, we are bound to
conclude that the Law School has managed its admissions program, not to
achieve "critical mass," but to extend offers of admission to
members of selected minority groups in proportion to their statistical representation
in the applicant pool. But this is precisely the type of racial balancing
that the Court itself calls "patently unconstitutional."
So the majority of the Supreme Court
knowingly approved a blatant and illegal quota system for the sake of
diversity. Yes, the court rejected the undergraduate admissions
but one must conclude it did so only because the policy wasn't sneaky
enough. Few Americans will ever be aware of the numbers Rehnquist cites,
and will instead get the impression that the law school just harmlessly
helps a few minorities without discriminating against anyone else or
running a quota farm.
In a truly Orwellian moment, Justice
Ginsburg writes in her concurring opinion that "it is well documented
that conscious and unconscious race bias, even rank discrimination based
on race, remain alive in our land, impeding realization of our highest
values and ideals."
Justice Ginsburg is so so blinded by her ideological
fervor and imagined purity that she fails to see that she herself has just
approved and legalized such rank discrimination.
But there's another odious aspect to this
ruling. In her majority opinion, Arizona's own Sandra Day O'Connor wrote
We have long recognized that, given the
important purpose of public education and the expansive freedoms of speech
and thought associated with the university environment, universities
occupy a special niche in our constitutional tradition ... Our conclusion
that the (University of Michigan) Law School has a compelling interest in
a diverse student body is informed by our view that attaining a diverse
student body is at the heart of the Law School's proper institutional
One would think that a quality education
would be the "heart" of any school's "proper institutional
mission." But not Sandra Day. A school must now be diverse. In fact,
diversity is now a "compelling state interest," and race
discrimination is permitted to achieve that interest.
But I have a question. Who decided
diversity was a compelling state interest? Why, Sandra Day and her minions
on the Court. Does the Supreme Court have the authority to decide what is
and isn't a compelling state interest? Perhaps the executive branch has a
say in that? Or maybe the Legislative branch, made up of the people's
representatives, should have a role in deciding what that compelling state
interest should be.
Who shredded the Constitution and gave the nine
unelected potentates on the Supreme Court the power to decide for the
entire country what its compelling interests are?
Which is more galling: the Court's supreme
arrogance or unabashed power grab?
This decision demonstrates that the
Constitution of the United States is dead. Oh, the government will follow
its benign rules and procedures, like lifetime appointments for federal
judges and two-year terms for representatives, but as a document that
determines and limits the powers of the federal government, the
Constitution is toast. The Supreme Court can rule however way it likes,
regardless of what the Constitution says, and regardless of its
long-forgotten role as guardian of the Constitution. The President and Congress can
propose a prescription drug benefit, despite any constitutional authority
granting the government to run a pharmacy. On and on it goes.
The tyranny of the Supreme Court must be
checked. If our elected representatives and President won't do it, then
it's up to us to do it ourselves.
Arrest Comes to the
Phoenix Bishop Thomas O'Brien has now
become an answer to a future trivia question: Who was the first bishop to
and charged with a felony in the United States of America?
Those who read my
earlier muse about O'Brien's unprecedented immunity deal will not be
surprised. The bishop admitted shuttling priests accused of sexual
misconduct to other parishes without alerting parish officials, and had to
sign the agreement to avoid testifying in front of a grand jury and
possibly facing felony charges of obstruction of justice.
But that's not why he was arrested. On Saturday
night, June 14, a car registered to the diocese that only O'Brien drives
struck and killed one Jim L. Reed, who was crossing a Phoenix street. That car did not
stop. Another car rolled over Reed right afterward, and that car and
driver have not been located. But a witness saw the first car strike Reed,
and he followed the car and copied the license plate. Police tracked the
car to the diocese and discovered it was used solely by O'Brien.
Officers arrived at O'Brien's home Monday
morning. The car's front windshield was smashed on the right side. O'Brien
acknowledged he was the car's only driver and was driving in the vicinity
of the hit-and-run accident and thought he had struck a dog or cat, or had
been hit by a rock. Police didn't buy his story and they took him downtown
and booked him. Later that evening, O'Brien faced the judge and was
released on bail, after having his passport removed and being denied a
request to attend a church conference in St. Louis.
O'Brien was already reeling from the
immunity agreement. His public relations campaign gained little traction
as most of the Valley turned against him. His conduct in this hit-and-run
accident confirms many people's suspicions that this man is morally
For drivers, hitting a pedestrian is a
traumatic experience, even when it's not the driver's fault. The guilt and
anguish are overwhelming. Most drivers stop and offer what assistance they
can. Some continue driving, perhaps in a state of shock. Of those who
continue driving, some later realize they've made a huge mistake and
turned themselves in to accept the consequences. Some don't care what
they've done and do their best to ignore it or pretend it didn't happen by
trying to get the car's damage repaired. The law is not kind to these
people, because they have ducked their responsibilities to their fellow
O'Brien turned out to be one of those
people. He did not turn himself in that night or the next day. He spent
Father's Day at a pool party at his sister's house while the wife,
children, and family grieved. After being notified on Sunday that police
were looking for a diocese car involved in a hit-and-run, he still did not
turn himself in. Instead, on Monday morning, he arranged to have his car
fixed. Luckily, police officers showed up before he could cover up his
Most gallingly, O'Brien ignored his sacred
duty as a priest to administer last rites and left a man dying in the
street. That is inexcusable and reprehensible. If he had stopped, odds are
he would not have been cited - Reed was jaywalking. It's funny how doing
the right thing normally works out in the end. O'Brien either does not
realize that or forgot it long ago.
Unfortunately, it took this tragic accident
for the Vatican to realize that O'Brien was not fit to be a bishop for the
Phoenix Diocese. On Wednesday, June 18, word reached O'Brien that the pope
had demanded his resignation. Yet O'Brien resisted
for three hours before finally succumbing to his deserved fate.
While the Muse is satisfied that O'Brien is
gone, he is not happy about the situation and does not revel in the
Bishop's plight. The moral authority of the Catholic Church and its
leadership are in serious jeopardy, in perhaps the worst crisis in its
modern history. Now is not the time for vengeful jubilation, but somber
reflection and prayer.
O. Ricardo Pimental's column
last Thursday was right on the money (believe me, you won't read those
words in the Pimental Patrol very often). He rightly says that if the pope
had done his job by forcing O'Brien to resign after word leaked of the
Bishop's immunity agreement, Jim Reed may still be alive today.
The bishop was returning home from a
confirmation ceremony. He was performing his role as bishop. If he had not
been bishop Saturday night, he would not have attended the ceremony, and
probably would not have been driving on that road Saturday night. True,
the second car may have hit Reed, but maybe not. So the pope deserves some
blame, too. Mr. Pimental deserves credit for pointing this out.
However, one last thing must be said, and
it may not be well-received, because it could be construed as blaming the
victim. But it is true that Jim Reed should not have been jaywalking
across a busy street. An intersection with a brightly lit crosswalk was
only 100 feet away - if he had taken the time to cross the street at that
intersection, he may still be alive.
The bottom line is this. Jim Reed's death
was a tragic accident, not a crime. The bishop waited until after the
accident to commit the crime.