Matthews Sneers: 'Most Conservative' Supreme Court Would Have Upheld 'Separate But Equal'

Chris Matthews, clearly worried that the Supreme Court will overturn part or all of Obamacare, frothed about this "most conservative" court, Monday, insisting that the current right-leaning judges would have upheld "separate but equal" and struck down the 1964 Civil Right Act.

Matthews sneered, "I wonder whether this court would have backed desegregation in the Brown case? I doubt this pack of conservatives, which includes Chief Justice John Roberts, Sam Alito, and Anthony Kennedy, would have voted to knock down separate by equal back in the 1950s." The Hardball anchor foamed, "Would this court, voting as it does today, have upheld the 1964 Civil Rights bill?"

How does Professor Matthews know this? He didn't say.

Clearly unhappy, Matthews declared, "The fact is we have the most conservative court since the early 1930s and maybe more conservative than that."

According to Matthews: "These justices, led by Scalia, believe in original intent. They want to judge cases the way the Founding Fathers would. Well, the Founding Fathers, need I remind us all, wrote slavery into the Constitution."

On a day when the Supreme Court struck down part of the Arizona immigration law, it's odd that Matthews would declare this the most conservative court in 80 years. After all, Anthony Kennedy, sometimes sides with the court's liberals. Perhaps, "conservative" means disagreeing with Chris Matthews.

A transcript of the June 25 segment can be found below:


5:59

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the Supreme Court. Does anyone wonder, like I do, what this Supreme Court, the one personified by Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, would have done in the landmark decisions of the post-World War II era? I wonder whether this court would have backed desegregation in the Brown case? I doubt this pack of conservatives, which includes Chief Justice John Roberts, Sam Alito, and Anthony Kennedy, would have voted to knock down separate by equal back in the 1950s. I doubt this group would have removed organized prayer from schools back in the 1960s, that decision that ignited the Moral Majority. I doubt that this court would have recognized a woman's right to decide on an abortion in the 1970s. Let me proffer a tougher judgment: Would this court, voting as it does today, have upheld the 1964 Civil Rights bill? The statute which declared it illegal to refuse access to someone because of race to a restaurant, hotel, gas station restroom? Would Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Kennedy approved such a decision or would they have joined in the dissent? Well, maybe Kennedy would have. The fact is we have the most conservative court since the early 1930s and maybe more conservative than that. These justices, led by Scalia, believe in original intent. They want to judge cases the way the Founding Fathers would. Well, the Founding Fathers, need I remind us all, wrote slavery into the Constitution. It took a civil war and the 13th Amendment to get it out. That's Hardball for now.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org