Readers of this blog will know that every time I have read condemnations of Janice Rogers Brown with quotes from her that are "out of the mainstream", I have become more enamored of her.
JRB is opposed by the left and the Democratic Party because she is a strong supporter of property rights against government intervention. Reason has an interesting article noting that while Democrats in Congress were quick to attack her small government libertarianism, Republicans pointedly did not in turn embrace it. First, a reminder of why Brown makes everyone nervous:
Property and contract are, for her, the lifeblood of liberty; and when, in
the late 1930s, the country and the Supreme Court began treating property
rights cavalierly, they set loose an inexorably advancing leviathan state.
To Brown, moreover, it makes no sense to treat speech and privacy rights as
sacrosanct but property rights as trivial, when the Founders viewed all
those rights as of a piece.
More striking than Brown's philosophy is her tendency to express it in
language reminiscent of Barry Goldwater in his intemperate prime. In a 2000
speech to the Federalist Society in Chicago, she said, "We no longer find
slavery abhorrent. We embrace it. We demand more. 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." She spoke of the
Supreme Court's belated acquiescence to the New Deal as "the Revolution of
1937," resulting today in "a debased, debauched culture." There is much more
in this vein, and not just in her speeches. In a 2002 dissent involving a
San Francisco housing regulation, she declared that private property "is now
entirely extinct in San Francisco," replaced by "a neo-feudal regime."
And the Republic response?
Otherwise, Republicans ran away from Brown's ideas as fast as their legs
could carry them. Specter listed, approvingly, government regulations she
has upheld. Sessions: "She has ruled on hundreds of cases affirming
government regulations, for heaven's sake." Sen. Jim DeMint, (R-S.C.):
"While she would likely describe herself as a person who believes in small
government and limited regulations ... Justice Brown has voted consistently
to uphold economic, environmental, consumer, and labor regulations." Lott:
"She has consistently voted to uphold regulations in every walk of life."
You would almost think she was Walter Mondale.
It is depressing to me to think the Republican party is returning to its 1970's big-government conservative roots.