Saturday, March 26, 2022

Judge Ketanji Brown, lest you be judged

The law is a subject that I find fascinating, how it developed, and developed into principles that could uphold justice, and particularly how its philosophical concepts are best applied to the often messy realities of life. Whatever your opinion of my opinions on the subject might be, I've put in a great deal of time and effort over the years into writing numerous posts on law, justice, and diving into the history of how it has developed from its origins in ancient times, down to today, and where it's gone right and wrong along the way. I've dug into the records and opinions of early figures from Cicero to Edward Coke and  John Locke through our Founders, and down to the present day. I've looked into the often opposing opinions of judges nominated for the Supreme Court of the United States of America, from Thomas, Breyer, Garland, and how disturbing it is that legal pundits of 'the right', reflect the left turn taken by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.. But with Judge Ketanji Brown... I can't muster the interest to dig much deeper than a couple of the remarks she gave at her confirmation hearings.

Her relation to Critical Race Theory shows why. Not because she supports its ideas, but because she embodies its meaning. She has repeatedly written and remarked about her admiration for the founders of Critical Race Theory, Derek Bell, and Kimberle Crenshaw, and on at least one occasion she's lectured to students about its relevance to guidelines in federal prison sentencing, citing CRT as one of the interesting factors that should be considered when considering sentencing:
"...I also try to convince my students that sentencing is just plain interesting on an intellectual level, in part because it melds together myriad types of law – criminal law, of course, but also administrative law, constitutional law, critical race theory, negotiations, and to some extent, even contracts. And if that’s not enough to prove to them that sentencing is [sic] a subject is worth studying, I point out that sentencing policy implicates and intersects with various other intellectual disciplines as well, including philosophy, psychology, history, statistics, economics, and politics..."
, and with the likes of that in her easily searchable record, this is what she had to say about CRT in her confirmation hearings, in one of her exchanges on the topic with Senator Cruz,
“In your understanding, what does critical race theory mean?” Cruz asked the judge.

“Senator, my understanding is that critical race theory is, it is an academic theory, that is about the ways in which race interacts with various institutions,’ Jackson responded. “It doesn’t come up in my work as a judge. It’s never something that I’ve studied or relied on, and it wouldn’t be something that I would rely on if I was on the Supreme Court.”
, for her now to claim that 'CRT doesn't apply', is not just a lie, but it is an application of Critical Race Theory in action, especially in regards to its disdain for what is objectively true, that we know something to be true because it conforms to reality. The CRT'r requires the use of scare quotes to refer to 'objective truth', and usually will no nearer to the subject than Epistemology, and then only to deride its degraded modern expression of 'epistemic adequacy', on their way to touting the root of Critical Race Theory's, in 'Social Epistemology', and CRT's foundational roots in Charles Mills, where 'truth' is socially constructed through 'narratives' that best serve the interests of the 'authentic' group.

Why does that matter? Because it means that there is truly no reason to give her reasoning any consideration, her words purposely have no relation to reality beyond how they might move her narrative 'forward'. The only 'truth' she values, is what pragmatically 'works' to manipulate the listener to advance her ideological narrative. Such a point of view is not compatible with our Constitution, or with Individual Rights under the Rule of Law, such a person as 'Judge' Brown, has no business being involved in the law, let alone having a seat on the Supreme Court.

I don't need her to tell me that she puts 'objective truth' in scare quotes, when she's demonstrated so well that she believes just that. And given that, I find it hard to imagine why anyone would bother asking her for the 'reasoning' behind her sentencing of this criminal or that. It advanced her narrative and undermined our society and the rule of law. End of story. That's CRT's purpose and interest, and that is exactly what Delgado & Stefancic meant when they wrote an explanation of it for High School level audience with ‘Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, first edition (2001)':
"... critical race theory calls into question the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and the neutral principles of constitutional law..."
IOW: There is no reason for you to think that her words bear some intentional relation to reality. Why would anyone give her the credit of thinking that they might?

The frosting on the cake, of course, was her meme worthy reply to Sen. Blackburn asking her if she could provide a definition of a woman.
"No. I can't. Not in this context, I'm not a biologist."
, what she meant of course, was 'Sorry, no, that wouldn't benefit the narrative of lies that I am advancing, and intend to continue advancing while on the SCOTUS'.

I'm sorry, but 'Liar' is a far too respectful term for such a person as that, but if you're willing to have the likes of that 'darken counsel with words that have no knowledge', go for it, but know that if you judge her acceptable, or choose to judge not at all, you will be judged for that, and not just by me.

If the first concern that you, like Joe Biden, have about 'Judge' Brown, is about what her race is and that she is a woman (whatever that is), then you are a racist and a sexist. If your main concern about her nomination, is which political party she aligns with and furthers, rather than being deeply concerned with how the implementation of her ideas through our courts will affect the Rule of Law in our nation, then you are an ally of lies and are serving the advancement of hatred, death, and destruction.

For me, as she has shown herself to be, at best, an unjust person, she has no business sitting on any court of law in the land, let alone the Supreme Court of the United States of America. If Brown is confirmed to the Supreme Court, as it seems likely she will be, the prospects of our children's life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, will be that much the worse for it.


John Venlet said...

Because it means that there is truly no reason to give her reasoning any consideration, her words purposely have no relation to reality beyond how they might move her narrative 'forward'. The only 'truth' she values, is what pragmatically 'works' to manipulate the listener to advance her ideological narrative.

Van, I think, and not without reason, the above is true of all individuals who aspire to positions of high power, not just Brown, she is just the current individual in the spotlight. The entire governmental system is broken, compromised, and non-functioning. Your pointing out Brown's playing loose and fast with truth, though accurate, is of no avail to correcting our (the U.S.) problems. II Timothy 3:1-9 well sums up, in my opinion, where we are today, and Brown is the newest wannabe player in the game.

Van Harvey said...

John said "...the above is true of all individuals who aspire to positions of high power..."

John there's a lot of truth to that, of course, but there is a distinction to be made, in that the *traditional* power seekers, although they realize that they are manipulating people, and even realize that they're lying, they recognize that there is something True which they are trying to lie their way around. They understand that what is true, is what conforms to reality, and even if they lie with their every breath, that lie maintains at least some tenuous relation between them and an Epistemology which involves being mindful of reality, and their pretenses of it.

That's not the case with the CRT'rs. In their 'Social Epistemology', they've taken Kant & Hegel to the extremes which most moderns who follow them pretend "Oh, they didn't mean that!". The CRT'rs do mean that; there's no sense of feeling guilty at being 'caught in a lie'. They aren't trying to get around 'reality', they're only using words for the value their opponents put in them, in order to dominate them, in the name of increasing the power of the 'authentic' group over all others, and they do so to an extent that would make the most hardened old-school Marxists blush - they at least still made a pretense of valuing 'science' and 'economics', the CRT'rs despise even the pretense of that, or any other Western value.

Even the standard issue Pragmatist, who although they're unprincipled, on 'principle' (ahem), recognized there being some value in a *truth* being associated with the appearance of 'what works'. The CRT'r dispenses with those appearances by calling them 'racist!' and have no interest in keeping them up.

The funny thing is that the old-schoolers' still think they can handle them and use them. It's not going to end well.

John Venlet said...

Van, your insights are valid, and I understand the distinctions. I contend that the distinctions you note have no foundation upon which to be built if those distinctions' foundations are built simply upon man's gift of reason. Unless man has reference to someone higher than simply his reason, all contentions individuals make in regards to the points you reference cannot stand due to their reliance simply on man.

Van Harvey said...

John, I don't think we necessarily need part ways on that point, but I get it if you do. Still, IMHO, there's some ground between "...someone higher than simply his reason..." and " simply on man.", that's worth exploring.

Between solipsism and the acceptance of someone higher than a man's own mind, there is, I think, an intermediate step, without which one can neither properly rise up to that point, nor go any higher, and that is that unless a person refers to reality and insists that his reason conforms to it, his reason must be plainly meaningless, no matter who he thinks is or isn't higher, or *why*.

To rely simply upon man's whim, as with some (cough*Descartes*cough) who imagine that our thinking begins and ends in man's 'reason', is to imagine the world anew with yourself not only as being the final judge of all, but with yourself as God.

I strongly advise against that.

It's less a matter of "I think, therefore I Am!", than "It is (Reality), and it is as something (Identity), and in perceiving that I've become aware of myself (Consciousness)".

By adhering to reality, a man can become aware of not just what particular fact confronts him in that instant, but he begins to become aware of what is true, and the more he acknowledges that he becomes able to recognize principles which enable him to see what is true across time and place.

Where he goes from there... is up to him, but if he keeps his arrogance in check, he'll take notice that as rational, reasonable, and philosophically wise as the likes of Aristotle, Cicero, Marcus Aurelius, or Confucious were, neither they nor anyone else made the leap from reasoning that 'Value truth above all else' and 'Principles are important!', to seeing any problem with owing slaves, killing their enemies, or chucking a less than perfect infant onto an outlying hill to die - each of those existed harmoniously within the minds of the wisest of the wise.

They glimpsed not even a glimmer of "Every person is and must be equal before the law, no matter their wealth and status", let alone 'All men are created equal" and that "All are equal in the eyes of God"; the wisest of the wise notwithstanding, those later ideas were unknown and unthought of prior to Christianity (neither was Science as such, but that's another rabbit trail).

Not even the Jews quite made it there (though they came closest), it took a helping hand from above to lead man's reason to be able to see such self-evident truths.

Still, if you don't believe in God, reality still exists, and it really does matter whether you acknowledge the full extent of what that means. And if you do believe in God, reality exists because He created it, as it is, and as you are, designed your mind and its faculty of reason to benefit from recognizing it, and so enables 'those who help themselves' to recognize what is true and to climb higher by means of that.

Whether a person takes that last step, or leap, from something higher, to someone higher... God presumably created man with the ability to perceive and take or turn away from that leap, and the best I can tell, that choice is best made by starting at the bottom and reasonably working our way upwards until we reach the point of having to take that leap, or turn away from it, and that too seems to be by design.

John Venlet said...

Van, thanks for those thoughts, none of which I would argue against. That last step, the leap, must be taken by all men, as you note, though not all leaps land on a solid footing. I've found Francis Schaeffer's ideas on the leaps, in his book The God Who Is There, a well reasoned presentation which delves into just this subject of the leap of reason into faith.