Putting Radicals on the Bench

Last January, during oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Ohio v. OSHA,  involving the state’s challenge to the agency’s testing and vaccine mandates, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor stated “We have over 100,000 children, which we’ve never had before, in serious condition and many on ventilators.”   This was entirely wrong, earning four Pinocchios from the unabashedly liberal Washington Post.  The Post noted that about 5,000 children were hospitalized with suspected covid, with few if any on ventilators.  Was the Justice acting as an advocate or a judge when she made this false statement?  Jason Riley has this piece in the Wall Street Journal, discussing the danger in appointing political radicals as judges.  He cites President Biden’s nomination of Nusrat Choudhury to the Federal District Court for New York’s Eastern District.  For most of her legal career, Choudhury has been a racial justice advocate for the ACLU.  Last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee she was asked about a speech she gave at Princeton in 2015.

During that speech Choudhury said that “the killing of unarmed black men by police happens every day in America.”  When asked by Senator Kennedy if she actually believed that statement was true, she responded, “Senator, I believe in that statement I was making a comment in my role as an advocate, and I was engaging in rhetorical advocacy, as advocates do.”  The Senator asked again, “this is a really simple question counselor — do you believe that cops kill unarmed black men in America every single day?” She replied, “Senator, I said it in my role as an advocate.”

What the Senator was concerned about is that this judicial nominee’s statement at Princeton was a lie.  The kind of lie black scholar Shelby Steele calls “poetic justice.”  Riley explains:

They are narratives that play down or disregard reality and fact to advance a favored ideological position…..There is no evidence that police officers kill unarmed black men daily. Black deaths at the hands of police are statistically rare, and those involving unarmed suspects are rarer still. Arrests in the U.S. number more than 10 million in a typical year. According to a database maintained by the Washington Post, police shot 1,054 people in 2021, including 234 whites and 139 blacks. Thirty-three of those shooting victims were unarmed, including eight whites and six blacks.

Meanwhile, black homicides not involving police numbered more than 7,700 in 2019 and more than 9,900 in 2020 and are expected to surpass 10,000 when the 2021 figures are released. These civilian shooting deaths are the real scourge of low-income black communities, but highlighting them doesn’t advance the left’s political agenda. So such activists as Ms. Choudhury choose to keep the focus on law enforcement, even if it means distorting the truth and smearing police.

To make matters worse, mainstream media outlets go out of their way to spread the ignorance that these activists spew. Last week the New York Times ran a story about the rise in shootings in New York City and the impact on children, 40 of whom have been shot this year. Nowhere in the story are we told that the shooters and shooting victims in these tragedies are almost always black or Hispanic. Aside from a reference near the end to a candlelight vigil attended by “mostly young Black children between 12 and 14 years old,” race isn’t mentioned.

The narratives being pushed by woke elites such as Ms. Choudhury, and disseminated uncritically in the establishment media, are not only wrong but dangerous. They provide encouragement to the millions of Americans who have chosen to demonstrate against law enforcement in recent years, sometimes violently. They help explain why soft-on-crime policies are back in vogue, why police departments have trouble recruiting new officers, and why the number of cops killed last year grew by nearly 60%.

There are a couple of disturbing questions raised by this nominee’s responses at the hearing.  Are advocates for a cause expected to lie to the public?  If yes, does an advocate who has been lying for years to sell a false narrative, discover the truth when they become judges?   Politicizing the courts has been the goal of many democrat political leaders since reconstruction.  To a great extent they have succeeded.  The leak of Justice Alito’s draft opinion on abortion, clearly for political reasons, demonstrates that there is nothing that a radical will not do to further the cause.  Let’s hope that a rational majority of Senators vote to keep them off the bench.