Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Wampum Blog tells us all about this lunatic Sutton that Bush his nominated.

And, there's a lot in this link here:

In race discrimination cases, Mr. Sutton successfully argued for nullifying claims under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in which a victim could show that he or she suffered discrimination but could not prove intent or motivation to discriminate. In Alexander v. Sandoval, Mr. Sutton argued that victims of discrimination must always prove intent to discriminate - an exacting standard requiring "smoking gun" evidence such as a blatantly discriminatory statement. Such evidence is unlikely to be uncovered in most cases. Mr. Sutton's argument had the effect of significantly undercutting enforcement of the landmark 1964 Act.


One of the clearest examples of Mr. Sutton's activism is his role in a recent Michigan case, Westside Mothers v. Haveman, in which poor infants and children with disabilities sought access to basic health care, evaluations and check-ups under Medicaid. Mr. Sutton filed
a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that Medicaid, or any other law premised on Congress' Constitutional spending powers, was not the "supreme law of the land." Such laws, Mr. Sutton argued, were therefore unenforceable by individuals and did not supercede state law. Mr. Sutton's reasoning would nullify multiple laws prohibiting race, gender, and disability discrimination by entities that receive federal assistance. This proposition, which the trial court adopted, was so extreme and contrary to fundamental views of constitutional law that the state of Michigan declined to defend it on appeal. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit - the very court to which Mr. Sutton has been nominated - reversed the trial court.

Mr. Sutton's role in Westside Mothers is instructive not only for the radical nature of his legal arguments but also for his active, and questionable, intervention into the case. As reported by Nina Totenberg on National Public
Radio, Mr. Sutton did not represent any parties in the case. Rather, he purported to represent an organization of municipalities, even though municipalities are not entitled to immunity under the Constitution and had no apparent interest in protecting the states' immunity. However, when the lawyer for the children and families made a routine request to confirm whether the organization's members had authorized Mr. Sutton's involvement, the trial judge denied the request and fined the children and families $6,000.