Tuesday, May 18, 2004

The recent 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling reminded me of an important truth: if people in America agree with the results of a ruling, they won't give a whit about the legal reasoning (or lack thereof) used to arrive there.

People in America generally think racial discrimination is a bad idea. Therefore, they laud Brown --despite the fact that it's a lousy ruling. Based on no legal reasoning at all, Brown was a landmark in the substitution of sociology and emotion for the text of the actual Constitution.

No less a liberal paragon than the New York Times headlined a story on the ruling in the next day's paper "A Sociological Decision: Court Founded Its Segregation Ruling On Hearts and Minds Rather Than Laws."

But all that's forgotten now. Instead, we look for judges to hand down by fiat the decision that guarantees results we like, Constitution be damned. Liberals and conservatives alike look at the results and ignore the reasoning. And we can thank Brown v. Board, at least in part, for that.

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