I’d like to honor two men who passed on recently: Gary Collins and Arlen Specter.
1. I watched Gary Collins on Hour Magazine when I was a child. Granted, he had his feet of clay (see here), but I remember him as a pleasant host on that program.
2. I used to not like Arlen Specter because I was a right-winger and I considered him to be a RINO on account of his pro-choice stance. But I admired him during the Roberts hearings (or perhaps it was the Alito hearings) when he was telling Senators Kennedy and Biden to let the judicial nominee answer their questions rather than interrupting him.
In terms of how I feel about Arlen Specter today, when I’m more left-wing, I don’t know. I find it funny that Kevin Costner mentioned him in the JFK movie as the “ambitious junior prosecutor” who came up with the magic-bullet theory (see here). I wonder how Arlen felt about that! And I was thinking back to a 1996 debate between Arlen Specter and Pat Buchanan on Meet the Press (I think that was the show). I recall Buchanan saying that a President should disregard the Supreme Court when it goes too far, as Thomas Jefferson did, and Specter then replied that we’re a nation of laws, and Pat Buchanan should not feel free to disregard institutions whenever they disagree with him. I tend to agree with Specter on that, whatever Thomas Jefferson did. Would I make obedience of the Supreme Court an absolute? Probably not, but I’d say that, if it were to be challenged, that challenge would have to take place reluctantly and after a lot of weighing of the options, for we don’t want a country in which people can just disobey the law whenever they feel like it. That would nullify necessary institutions.