Re-embracing Warren?

RE-EMBRACING WARREN?…. Looking over the “accomplishments” listed on the Republican National Committee’s entertaining new website, we find this gem from 1954: “A Republican Wrote the Brown v. Board of Education decision.”

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional. The author of Brown v. Board of Education was a Republican, Chief Justice Earl Warren.

Warren entered Republican politics in 1938 with his election as Attorney General of California. Four years later, he was elected Governor. Earl Warren delivered the keynote address at the 1944 Republican National Convention and was the GOP’s 1948 vice presidential nominee. President Eisenhower appointed him Chief Justice in September 1953.

I suspect the RNC knows this, but modern, conservative Republicans hate Earl Warren. He’s been reviled for decades. Even Eisenhower, upon leaving office in 1961, reflected on his biggest mistakes during his two terms and said “they are both on the Supreme Court,” in reference to Warren and William Brennan, both of whom turned out to be far more liberal than the Republican president had hoped.

Indeed, for the right, the dreaded Warren Court is a model of “judicial activism.” Earl Warren is considered by today’s Republicans as the kind of high court justice to avoid. For the Republican National Committee, in 2009, to characterize Warren as some kind of Republican hero, and the Brown decision as a Republican “accomplishment,” is ridiculous.

But perhaps I’m being too hasty here. Perhaps this signifies a change in Republican direction. If the RNC now wants to re-embrace Earl Warren and hold him out as an example of party greatness, I’d be delighted.

I kind of doubt it, though. This is, more likely, a cheap an embarrassing attempt for the RNC to characterize itself as diverse and tolerant. It’s not subtle: “Look, Warren was a liberal Republican! See how great we are on civil rights?”

I’m curious if the Republican base is comfortable with nonsense like this.