I've been thinking recently that it's got to be just an extra stroke of bad luck for Trent Lott -- and to a degree the whole Republican party -- that this whole scandal is breaking just as the Supreme Court is hearing a case on the constitutionality of cross-burning.
But it turns out there's more. It's almost like a harmonic convergence of recrudescent, whack-jobian, good-ole-boy racism. And it's all bearing down on Trent Lott's head.
You'll remember that yesterday morning TPM broke the story of the amicus brief then-Congressman Trent Lott filed on behalf of Bob Jones University back in 1981.
Well, it turns out there's another amicus brief in the mix. You'll also remember we talked yesterday about Trent Lott's friends at the Council of Conservative Citizens. That's the white supremacist group, the leaders of which Lott often meets with and for whom he's been known to pen an occasional newsletter column. (Here's an excellent backgrounder on all matters relating to the CCC from a watchdog outfit that tracks hate-groups.) Well, it turns out the Council of Conservative Citizens filed an amicus brief in the cross-burning case! Yes, it's all coming together! And guess which side they're on?
(New York Post columnist Robert George first discovered this new amicus brief morsel and flagged it in The Corner.)
Now it's worth noting that there are legitimate constitutional questions raised by laws banning cross burning. And one certainly needn't be a racist to raise such first amendment issues. But you don't have to get too far into the CCC's brief before you start finding some ... well, entertaining reading.
This from the 'Statement of Interest'...
The particular emphasis of the Council is the protection of the expressive rights of the millions of Americans of British and European descent who hold to conservative views on matters of racial and ethnic relations.
I guess that's one way to put it.
Or here's another nugget from the 'Summary of Argument'...
Because it is a symbolic expression of political speech, government cannot criminalize cross burning on account of the fact that various persons and groups who may have the occasion to view such conduct may become angry or fearful.
Various persons and groups who may become angry or fearful. It really doesn't get much choicer than that, does it?
All brought to you by the friends of Trent.