On Hardball tonight, Pat Buchanan noted that he supported Nixon Supreme Court nominee Harrold Carswell:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: How well does she [Sonia Sotomayor] compare to Howard [sic] Carswell?
BUCHANAN: Harrold Carswell? I would think probably she's right in the same league, Chris.
MATTHEWS (laughing): Pat, that's an insult, and you know it. That -- Lawrence --
BUCHANAN (laughing): I supported Carswell!
Buchanan not only supported Carswell when Nixon nominated him in 1970, he continues to defend Carswell against charges of racism. In a 2005 column, Buchanan claimed "Liberals smeared Nixon nominees [Clement] Haynesworth and Carswell as racists."
Now, where ever would anyone have gotten the idea that Harrold Carswell was a racist? Maybe from a speech Carswell gave at an American Legion gathering in which he said: "I believe that segregation of the races is proper ... and the only practical and correct way of life in our states. I yield to no man in the firm, vigorous belief in the principles of white supremacy and I shall always be so governed."
Yeah, that's probably it.
When that speech was uncovered, Carswell did his best to pretend he didn't stand by it. But his judicial record cast doubt on those claims:
While he was a district judge, 60% of his 23 civil rights decisions were reversed by the Fifth Circuit Court. In 1963, he dismissed a complaint on behalf of blacks who were trying to attend a Tallahassee theater; the Circuit Court reversed his ruling with the biting comment, "These orders are clearly in error."
[I]n a suit to desegregate the faculty of a formerly all-black school near Pensacola, Carswell reasoned that the Supreme Court's desegregation decisions in 1954 and 1955 referred only to students, not to faculty.
After becoming a circuit-court judge, he joined in granting a desegregation delay to five Southern states. It was a decision tacitly endorsed by Nixon's Southern strategist, John Mitchell. In mid-January, as Carswell and Mitchell were dining and discussing the impending appointment, the Supreme Court reversed Carswell's decision and told the states to desegregate by Feb. 1.
And to this day, Pat Buchanan defends Carswell -- who supported segregation and boasted of his belief in "white supremacy" -- from charges of racism, and laughs about his support for Carswell.
Pat Buchanan is perhaps the best-known bigot in America. He called Martin Luther King Jr. "one of the most divisive men in contemporary history." He called Adolf Hitler "an individual of great courage" and wrote a column questioning whether World War II was "worth it" and wondered, "[W]hy destroy Hitler?" He defends a self-proclaimed white supremacist from charges of racism. Nearly every day, he demonstrates contempt for women and minorities.
MSNBC's continued employment of him says a lot about the cable channel.