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The Softer Side of Ted Olson

By Kevin Fayle on August 19, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019
I have to admit: based on my own personal political leanings and my memories of the arguments that Ted Olson made in front of the Supreme Court as Solicitor General during the Bush II years and as Bush's counsel for Bush v. Gore, I was pretty sure when I first heard of the Olson-Boies Prop 8 lawsuit that he had only signed on to somehow sabotage the whole affair at just the right moment.

I wasn't the only one.  Many gay rights groups kept out of the lawsuit until they were certain that the odd-couple pair of lawyers running the show wasn't up to anything, only to meet with resistance when they finally did try to intervene.

Now, the NYTimes has a good article out that explores this seeming contradiction between Olson's image as the Bush administration's legal defender and his decision to champion a lawsuit that gives the vast majority of Bush supporters the heebie-jeebies. 
Essentially, Olson comes down on the ideologically conservative (ie, limited government intervention in the free will of individuals) side of the Republican party rather than the radical evangelical wing.  Olson, according to the article, doesn't see anything incongruous between his decision to take the case and his conservative pedigree. 

In fact, he sees opposition to Prop 8 as a logical outgrowth of his conservative beliefs.  The same antipathy to government discrimination that underlies his opposition to affirmative action, for example, requires him to oppose a law that treats classes of people differently based on their sexual orientation.

The article, and the related opinion pieces about the lawsuit, are very entertaining and enlightening reads.  Check them out, and you might find your previously-held opinions about Ted Olson changing.

Whether from negative to positive or positive to negative . . . well, that depends on you.

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