Hence, Fourth of July 1776, 1964, 2010 is a recommended read, though I don't agree with all of it, Part I felt most interesting:
Even as Washington paid homage to Byrd’s triumph over his origins last week, the Capitol played host to what the Supreme Court’s only black justice, Clarence Thomas, might call a “high-tech lynching.” The victim was, of all people, Thurgood Marshall — the nation’s first black solicitor general and first black Supreme Court Justice, nominated to both jobs by L.B.J.
The pretext was Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings in the Senate. Marshall had been a mentor to Kagan, for whom she clerked in 1988. He is also a hero of our history, a brave and brilliant lawyer whose advocacy in many civil rights cases, and most especially Brown v. Board of Education, helped open the doors for landmark legislation like the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Even before last week’s ceremonial hazing of Kagan, the G.O.P.’s only national black political figure, Michael Steele, attacked her for writing approvingly of a speech Marshall had given calling the original text of the Constitution “defective” — a restrained adjective, actually, for a document that countenanced slavery. On the first day of the Kagan hearings, Marshall received many more mentions (35) than even that other Republican archenemy, President Obama, in the accounting of Talking Points Memo. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma said they weren’t sure they could have voted to confirm Marshall to the court. Jon Kyl of Arizona, a state that suffered years of economic boycotts because of its opposition to the King holiday, faulted Marshall’s jurisprudence for advancing “the agenda of certain classes of litigants” (wonder who?) and for being out of the “mainstream.”