Move over Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, and Markos “Daily Kos” Moulitsas. Liberals have a new hero, and it’s uber-conservative Theodore Olson. Olson had already won the hearts of liberals and the LGBT community, and had conservatives scratching their heads, when he signed on to challenge Proposition 8, California’s anti-gay marriage law, in Federal District Court in San Francisco. But Olson’s emotional closing argument in the gay marriage case on Wednesday left his new supporters absolutely swooning.
Here are some of the many glowing reviews of Olson’s closing argument in the case:
- Kate Kendell, head of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said that “Ted Olson cleaned [opposing counsel] Charles Cooper’s clock.”
- Jenny Pizer, head of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund’s Marriage Project, said Olson did “an effective job” of citing U.S. Supreme Court precedent supporting the “freedom to marry as a right of individuals that is so basic and important that the state cannot abridge it.”
- Molly McKay of Marriage Equality USA: “He was awesome. It was fantastic. He truly put this case and framed it exactly in the American civil historical context. I can’t imagine a better and more articulated argument.”
- Cleve Jones, member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights board, said that “I was very moved and I was kind of surprised at what a poor job our opponents did.”
- Dustin Lance Black, who is also on the AFER board, stated that “it was amazing today to hear those federal constitutional arguments being made for the first time regarding relationship recognitions. It feels like the first piece of that promise was fulfilled – regardless of outcome – the first piece of that promise was fulfilled.”
It cannot be stressed enough how unusual it is for a conservative like Ted Olson, who has held important positions in the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations and whose representation of Bush in the Bush v. Gore case before the U.S. Supreme Court literally gave Bush the Presidency, to be the new darling of the Left. An equivalent might be if Keith Olbermann suddenly began putting all his efforts into advocating that schoolchildren carry guns to school to “make our schools safer,” or if Rachel Maddow led a push to outlaw all abortions, even in the case of rape and incest.
There is little chance that Ted Olson has suddenly become a liberal, or that he will side with progressives on many other social issues. In this case, Olson says he was strictly following the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which requires that everyone receive equal protection under the law, and the concepts of liberty, privacy, and marriage rights that pre-date even the Bill of Rights. But for now, Olson and his new liberal friends seem to be enjoying their honeymoon.
© 2010 Matthew Emmer — All Rights Reserved
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