Does Gordon Giampietro Need a Defense?- Prof. Hadley Arkes in The Catholic Thing

Writing in The Catholic Thing, Professor Hadley Arkes defends Gordon Giampietro, a nominee for a federal district judgeship in Wisconsin in a piece titled “Does Gordon Giampietro Need a Defense?” 

A “controversy” was generated because of a supportive comment that Mr. Giampietro posted on a column written by Professor Arkes in The Catholic Thing four years ago. Professor Arkes had noted how the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had “changed the regime,” by bringing the federal government now into the problem of hiring, firing and promotion in small private businesses, including decisions on tenure in small colleges. Mr. Giampietro posted a comment, noting that because of the wrong of slavery, and the culture wrought in the South, the federal government has had to intervene more often in the States. Without that intervention, he suggested, we might have a more vibrant federalism. For these perfectly apt comments, Mr. Giampietro has been pilloried by the “usual suspects.”  Professor Arkes points out that nothing in Mr. Giampietro’s critical comments would mark any willingness on his part to abandon the Civil Rights Act. As Professor Arkes says, we may have “serious misgivings about the way in which that Act has been misused, but we would live with that Act nevertheless out of respect for the reasons that led us to accept it in the first place.”

Some Excerpts:

“In other words, his [Gordon Giampietro] point was that it was the wrong of slavery, and the corruption of culture wrought in the South, that made it necessary to enlarge powers of a federal government and penetrate these local tyrannies. Without that extension of federal power, he surmised, we would have today States with a far wider freedom to reflect their local ethics and the better angels of their nature.Surely there is nothing the least implausible in a reading of that kind, a reading that liberals as well as conservatives have come to share.”

“My own surmise is that Mr. Giampietro would share my reading of that Act of 1964: that we may have serious misgivings about the way in which that Act has been misused, but we would live with that Act nevertheless out of respect for the reasons that led us to accept it in the first place.”

“And yet, for holding this tempered view of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Giampietro has been called a “racist” by people who have so absorbed the clichés of the day that they have lost any sense of the historical record or the questions of principle that once troubled liberals as well as conservatives on this issue.”

Read the Full Piece Here