Thursday, January 26, 2006
Friday, November 25, 2005
"Scalia Asks: What Does France Know?," U.S. News & World Report, 7 November 2005, http://www.usnews.com/usnews/politics/whispers/articles/051107/7whisplead.htm.
While enjoying Thanksgiving, grokking Foreign Dispatches, and reading Freakonomics, I couldn't help cheering at judicial hero, Antonin Scalia. I wonder what Big Cheese thinks of this:
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is stepping up his campaign against judges using foreign laws to decide cases at home. And he's doing it with tart sarcasm. We ran into him last week at an American Spectator dinner, where he poked fun at fellow justices who like overseas opinions. "It will seem much more like real legal opinion if one can cite a foreign opinion to support the philosophic, moral, or religious conclusion or pronouncement," he said with a sneer. "You can put it right there in the opinion. It looks like legal opinion. It says so and so versus so and so." The justice considered the most conservative on the court added, "I dare say that few of us here would want our life or liberty subject to the dispensation of French or Italian criminal justice."
Pimp that ho, my daddio!
Sunday, November 13, 2005
"Ontario mom faces $2M libel suit for website about problems in neighbourhood," by Mike Oliveira, CP, 13 November 2005, http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2005/11/13/1305275-cp.html (from Slashdot).
I recently had a run-in with the unethical company known as NationMaster, so I was interested in this case:
Louisette Lanteigne of Waterloo, Ont., said she grew sick of what she saw during construction in her new subdivision and what appeared to be questionable building practices and labour-code violations.
She said she was constantly keeping her kids and their friends out of trouble, as they would keep running into hazards around their neighbourhood. She petitioned city council and got help but new problems would appear as quickly as the old ones got fixed, she said.
She launched her website in April to document her complaints and as a means for the province's Environment and Labour ministries to view the evidence she collected. She made about a dozen postings with photos and stories of sightings around her area.
Her efforts led to letters and kudos from various government officials for reporting alleged violations. Then-environment minister Leona Dombrowsky wrote her to say, "Your advocacy on behalf of your neighbourhood is commendable and I encourage you to contact the ministry . . .to report any further incidents."
Environment Ministry spokesman John Steele said work by people like Lanteigne is of great value because there aren't enough ministry workers available to spot every infraction.
"Obviously we can't have staff everywhere all the time, so we depend on the public out there as surrogate eyes and ears for the ministry," Steele said. "They're an important part of the ministry's work."
But not everyone was happy with her reports.
On Sept. 16, Lanteigne received news that she was being sued for libel by developer Activa Holdings Inc., one of the largest developers in the region.
The statement of claim said "the malicious, high-handed and arrogant conduct of the Defendant warrants an award of punitive or exemplary damages to ensure that the Defendant is appropriately punished for her conduct and deterred from such conduct in the future."
The company sought $2 million and an order to have the allegedly libellous material taken offline.
Remind you of anyone? Nation Master, perhaps?
It definitely sounds like Activa Holdings is the NationMaster of Canada!
If there's anything good about the news, it will popularize anti-SLAPP
The legislation is typically called anti-SLAPP, an acronym for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.
The laws reduce the risk of fighting lawsuits because if the plaintiff loses, they are responsible for all the legal fees. In Lanteigne's case, she will have to pay her lawyer regardless of the outcome.
"Typically with David-Goliath-type situations where a citizen is faced with large legal costs and aggressive litigious companies, it takes a lot of courage to persevere," said Rick Smith, executive director for advocacy organization Environmental Defence Canada.
Because this seems to be so widespread, I am modifying NationMaster Watch to include more anti-SLAPP resources.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Note: This is part of a series of reviews for Blueprint for Action. The introduction and table of contents are also available.
"Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court," copyright United Nations, last updated 21 February 2001, http://www.un.org/law/icc/statute/romefra.htm.
"Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating," by Thomas Barnett, 20 October 2005, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0399153128/102-4292267-8637755?v=glance [author blog]
The International Criminal Court, an intergovernmental organization that has refused to promise not to prosecute Americans, is an important part of Dr. Barnett's "Blueprint for Action"
It features in his sixth stage of "successfully processing politically bankrupt states"
6. The final step in the process would involve the criminal prosecution of the indicted / apprehended parties in the International Criminal Court (ICC) located in The Hague, Netherlands (52)
And while Barnett argues for American, and International Peacekeeper, immunity from ICC prosecution
My prediction is this: While the U.S. Leviathan [blitzkrieg] force will never come under the purview of the ICC -- because it will remain deeply embedded in military law -- the far more internationalized SysAdmin [peacekeeper] force, including U.S. components, must reach some blanket-clause protection regarding its activities in the Gap. The reality is that the ICC was not set up to prosecute the "crimes" of peacekeepers and Core military personnel intervening inside the Gap, but rather to extend the Core's principles of war crimes into the Gap and, in this way, provide some sense of international consequence for what in these chronic civil wars, long-running terrorist campaigns, and brutal dictatorships. (68)
He assures us the ICC won't be complicated by entanglements with the United Nations:
Moving on to the last of the six pieces in this A-Z system, I personally place a strong emphasis on funneling any "suspects" we pick up in this process toward the International Criminal Court, an institution that is both free and independent of the UN system as was recently set up specifically to target individuals for prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity, and related war crimes. (67)
To make sure his point is clear, Barnett later reiterates his suggestion
As for the trials, prisoners will need to be funneled toward the International Criminal Court, which is perfect for this sort of thing. But again, the Untied States, plus the Core group as a whole, would need to reach some direct modus vivendi with the court, and if that didn't work, the group would simply need to set up its own. But my guess is that the ICC would jump at the chance to be accredited in this additional manner, because so long as the United States considers it more of a threat to its ruling making than avenue for rule sharing with the rest of the Core, the ICC will remain vastly underutilized. And no, that wouldn't get us in bed uncomfortably with the UN, because the ICC is independent of the UN. (132)
Hmmm... regular readers of tdaxp may recall a note from International Law & Organization which seems to contradict this...
UNSC can vote to delay ICC proceedings for 1 year, renewable
So what does the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court say about this? What does the ICC say about its relationship with the UN?
The States Parties to this Statute, ... Determined to these ends and for the sake of present and future generations, to establish an independent permanent International Criminal Court in relationship with the United Nations system, with jurisdiction over the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, (Preamble)
Hmmm... that's a little vague... and it does say "permanent"
The United Nations can refer cases to the International Criminal Court:
The Court may exercise its jurisdiction with respect to a crime referred to in article 5 in accordance with the provisions of this Statute if: ... A situation in which one or more of such crimes appears to have been committed is referred to the Prosecutor by the Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations (Article XIII(b)).
And, like my notes said, can delay prosecutions... indefinitely
No investigation or prosecution may be commenced or proceeded with under this Statute for a period of 12 months after the Security Council, in a resolution adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, has requested the Court to that effect; that request may be renewed by the Council under the same conditions. (Article XVI)
The treaty also mentions special roles for the Secretary-General, the General Assembly, and other UN organs, but the Security Council's power to start and stop prosecution hardly makes the ICC "free and independent of the UN system" or even just "independent of the UN."
Except maybe in UN speech.
I am disappointed in Barnett's misleading statements. Perhaps he did not read the ICC treaty and has not read any good summaries of it. Or he very selectively used one word in the (non-binding) Preamble, "independent," while ignoring the substantial dependency of the ICC outlined in the treaty itself.
Jeff at Caerdroia linked to a controversial decision on parental rights.
For background, a public school sent out a poorly worded slip asking parents to allow the school to let a graduate student privately ask questions to students that may require "psychological help" to recover from. Particlarly, the flier read
Dear Parent or Caregiver:
The Palmdale School District is asking your support in participating in a district-wide study of our first, third and fifth grade children. The study will be a part of a collaborative effort with The California School of Professional Psychology — CSPP/ Alliant International University, Children’s Bureau of Southern California and the Palmdale School District. The goal of this assessment is to establish a community baseline measure of children’s exposure to early trauma (for example, violence). We will identify internal behaviors such as anxiety and depression and external behaviors such as aggression and verbal abuse. As a result, we will be designing a district wide intervention program to help children reduce these barriers to learning, which students can participate in. Please read this consent letter and if you agree, please sign and send it back to your school’s principal no later than December 20, 2001. The assessment will consist of three, twenty-minute self-report measures, which will be given to your child on one day during the last week of January. This study is 100% confidential and at no time will the information gathered be used to identify your child. Your child will not be photographed or videotaped. You may refuse to have your child participate or withdraw from this study at any time without any penalty or loss of servicesto which your child is entitled.
I am aware that the research study coordinator, Kristi Seymour, one research assistant, the Palmdale School District, Director of Psychology, Michael Geisser, and a professor from CSPP, will be the only people who have access to the study’s information. After the study is completed, all information will be locked in storage and then destroyed after a period of five years.
I understand answering questions may make my child feel uncomfortable. If this occurs, then, Kristi Seymour, the research study coordinator, will assist us in locating a therapist for further psychological help if necessary. If I have further questions, I may contact Kristi Seymour at 1529 E. Palmdale Blvd., Suite 210, Palmdale, CA 93550 at 661.272.9997 x128. I understand that I will not be able to get my child’s individual results due to anonymity of the children, but I may get a summary report of the study results.
I have read this form and understand what it says. I her[e]by agree to allow my child to participate in this district-wide study.” (emphasis in original). Additionally, two lines were made available on the “Parental Consent” form for the “Parent/Caregiver” to sign and date it.
Some parents who approved were rather surprised when their young children were asked to rate questions such as:
8. Touching my private parts too much
17. Thinking about having sex
22. Thinking about touching other people’s private
23. Thinking about sex when I don’t want to
26. Washing myself because I feel dirty on the inside
34. Not trusting people because they might want
40. Getting scared or upset when I think about sex
44. Having sex feelings in my body
47. Can’t stop thinking about sex
54. Getting upset when people talk about sex
Several parents were upset at the deception, and sued. The parents claimed the school's actions violated their "basic Constitutional right" “to control the upbringing of their children by introducing them to matters of and relating to sex.” This is the case of Fields v. Palmdale.
First, the Court appropriately states that it should not make law, only apply law to existing cases
We note at the outset that it is not our role to rule on the wisdom of the School District’s actions. That is a matter that must be decided in other fora. The question before us is simply whether the parents have a constitutional right to exclusive control over the introduction and flow of sexual information to their children.
Then, the Court notes that the State has a long constitutional history of running schools
In Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158 (1944), the Court recognized that parents’ liberty interest in the custody, care, and nurture of their children resides “first” in the parents, but does not reside there exclusively, nor is it “beyond regulation [by the state] in the public interest.” Id. at 166. For example, the state “as parens patriae” may restrict parents’ interest in the custody, care, and nurture of their children “by requiring school attendance, regulating or prohibiting the child’s labor and in many other ways.”
Many other findings are similarly concise. It appears that the Court is crafting a restrained opinion which narrowly strikes down the lawsuit. Even the second-to-last paragraph is fine:
Although we reach our conclusions with little difficulty and firmly endorse the School District’s authority to conduct survey for the purposes involved here, we reiterate that we express no view on the wisdom of posing some of the particular questions asked or of conducting an inquiry into some of the particular areas surveyed by the School District. That determination is properly left to the school authorities.
But this is the Ninth Circuit, a highly political, highly activist branch of the federal judiciary.
All valid criticism of the decision comes from the last paragraph:
In summary, we hold that there is no free-standing fundamental right of parents “to control the upbringing of their children by introducing them to matters of and relating to sex in accordance with their personal and religious values and beliefs” and that the asserted right is not encompassed by any other fundamental right. In doing so, we do not quarrel with the parents’ right to inform and advise their children about the subject of sex as they see fit. We conclude only that the parents are possessed of no constitutional right to prevent the public schools from providing information on that subject to their students in any forum or manner they select. We further hold that a psychological survey is a reasonable state action pursuant to legitimate educational as well as health and welfare interests of the state. Accordingly, the parent-appellants have failed to state a federal claim upon which relief may be granted. The decision of the district court is affirmed.
The Court's decision is dishonest. The bulk of the material is narrow, laying the groundwork for a finding against the parents. But then the Court creates law, saying the State has total rights to introduce sexual information in any way regardless of the faith or religion of the child or parent.
This enforced secularism is closer to French than American. And if Hillary Clinton's proposals are what is needed to stop this bigotry, then so be it.
Of course, just fixing the Courts would be even better.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
“Are Political Orientations Genetically Transmitted?” by John Alford, Carolyn Funk, and John R. Hibbing, American Political Science Association, May 2005, http://www.apsanet.org/imgtest/GeneticsAPSR0505.pdf (from Nebraska Liberation Front).
Today I attended Dr. John Hibbing fascinating lecture on the role of genetics in politics. His powerpoint was excellent, though I do not think he wants to make it generally available. Instead, I found a link to a scholarly article Dr. Hibbing has written that discusses some of the same points.
For those interested in the scientific details, please read the original article. Alternatively, at the end of the article I am putting some footnotes to allow one to read details without having the post bogged down by "boring stuff."
A political survey was given to many pairs of fraternal and identical twins. Fraternal twins are brothers or sisters that just happened to be born at the same time, while identical twins are genetically identical (identical twins are "clones" of each other). 
Using some math, the similarities and differences in answers between the sets of identical and fraternal twins were used to calculate environmental and genetic factors.  It did not matter is identical twins were raised as identical twins, raised as fraternal twins, or otherwise brought up. 
Every question was at least somewhat influenced by genetics and at least somewhat influenced by the environment. The least genetic -- those were "nurture" mattered the most and "nature" mattered the least -- were a person's party affiliation and their view of "liberals."
This makes sense. A party affiliation is basically a club, while in American politics "liberal" is used as an insult by almost everyone.
Interesting, while one's own party was almost entirely "nurture," "nature" was about twice as important in what one thought of the parties. That is, while it was almost genetically random what party you are, your genetic heritage -- your "nature" -- determines a littlw aht you think of the Democrat Party and the Republican Party
Yet, other factors are genetically more related -- particularly things involve money and blood:
What political issue is most closely tied into genetics? What political move would run into the deepest, most ingrained hostility?
There are many reasons that Conservatives may want to be thankful to the Warren Court, but Envel v. Vitale, which banned school prayer, is one of the biggest. The unique factors of American political culture make school prayer a center of gravity -- what the Germans called a "schwerpunkt" -- in the defense of conservatism. A smart liberal would try to go around it, as water goes around mountains.
Earl Warren was not a smart liberal.
In one swoop the Warren Court threw the progressive movement against the genetic/conservative schwerpunkt of prayer in schools.
That "liberal" is now an empty insult is a testament to Mr. Warren's work. So is the Bush Presidency, the Republican Congress, and the John Roberts-Samuel Alito Court.
Footnote 1: On Identical and Fraternal Twins
"The process of identifying in the laboratory the precise genes responsible for given human behaviors (especially those behaviors that do not have corollaries in lab-friendly animals such as mice) is extremely challenging. Fortunately, even without identifying the genes responsible, it is possible to compile information on the matter of most concern to social scientists: the extent to which attitudes and behaviors have a genetic component. The relevant procedures center on comparisons of monozygotic (MZ; frequently but erroneously called identical) twins and dizygotic (DZ; fraternal) twins.
"MZ twins develop from a single egg, fertilized by a single sperm, and share an identical genetic inheritance. DZ twins develop from two separate eggs, fertilized by two separate sperm, and are in effect simply two siblings that happen to be born simultaneously. As such, DZ twins share the same average of 50% of genetic material as do any two biological siblings. It is this fixed ratio (two to one) of genetic similarity between MZ and DZ twins, and the contrasting average equivalence of environment influence, that provides most of the power of twin designs. It is important to appreciate that the assumption of environmental equivalence is one of equivalence across types of twins, not across pairs of twins or across twins within a given pair. For example, there is undoubtedly at least some variability in parental socialization across siblings, even those of identical age, but acrossmultiple twin pairs the assumption is that this variability is essentially equal for the MZ and the DZ pairs."
Footnote 2: Mathematically Seperating Environmental and Genetic Factors
"Heritability is typically estimated by subtracting the correlation for DZ pairs from the correlation for MZ pairs and then doubling the resulting difference.At one extreme, if the correlations are the same for MZ and DZ pairs, suggesting that genetic similarity plays no role in similarity for that particular trait, then the result will be an estimate of heritability of zero. At the other extreme, a purely genetic additive trait should produce a correlation of .5 for DZ pairs and 1.0 for MZ pairs, resulting in an estimate of heritability of 1.0 (1.0−.5=.5, and 2 x .5=1.0). In a similar way, we can estimate the influence of shared environment, as opposed to shared genetic material, by doubling the correlation for DZ pairs and then subtracting the correlation forMZ pairs. Again, a purely genetic additive trait should produce a correlation of .5 for DZ pairs and 1.0 for MZ pairs, resulting in an estimate of the impact of shared environment of zero (2 x .5=1.0, and 1.0−1.0=0). At the other extreme, if the correlations are the same for MZ and DZ pairs, suggesting that genetic similarity plays no role in similarity for that particular trait, then the result will be an estimate of the impact of shared environment that is equal to the MZ or DZ correlation (e.g., if MZ=DZ=.4, then 2 ∗ .4=.8, and .8−.4=.4). Whatever is left over is taken to the unshared environment."
Foonote 3: It Does Not Matter How the Identical Twins were Raised
"Both caveats have been subject to sustained and varied investigation and neither has been found to hold up under empirical scrutiny. The argument of more similar treatment fails on several fronts. Parents frequently miscategorize their twins (DZ twins are often believed by their parents to be MZ twins) and the differential correlation persists in these instances of miscategorization. In other words, the degree of correspondence betweenMZtwins surpasses that of DZ twins even in the large subpopulation of twins thought by their parents to beMZtwins (Bouchard and McGue 2003; Bouchard et al. 1990; Plomin 1990). The contention that MZ twins have closer or more frequent contact than DZ twins turns out to be at best irrelevant. The correlation between the frequency of contact between twins and the similarity between twins on all attitudinal andbehavioral variables tested, including conservatism, is slight and actually negative (Martin et al. 1986). In other words, twins in greater contact with their cotwins are not more likely to share the same attitudes and behaviors, so even if MZ twins have more contact than DZ twins, this contact is not the cause of any elevated correlations. But the most powerful refutation of both of these criticisms comes in recent studies utilizingMZ and DZ twins raised apart. These studies uniformly validate MZ and DZ differences found in earlier studies of twins raised together. Arguments about the relative degree of shared environmental effects between MZ and DZ twins simply offer no credible explanation if the twins in question have been raised apart (Bouchard 1998; Bouchard et al. 1990). In effect, this naturally occurring, if uncommon, condition provides precisely the sort of laboratory control that we would want in an experimental setting.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
"The oh-so-Catholic Supreme Court," by Thomas Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 1 November 2005, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/002607.html.
Tom Barnett isn't just an important grand strategist: he is also a canny observer of American politics. If one corrects for Dr. Barnett's political persuasion, one gets a reliable guide of what to do.
For example: I was uncommitted on Harriet Miers until Tom Barnett supported her. Why? Dr. Barnett accurately predicted that if Harriet Miers was withdrawn, the next candidate would be "a truly right-wing justice." Sure enough, we got that candidate in Samuel Alito.
Now, Dr. Barnett confirms my membership in the Confirm Alito Coalition...
Bush went conservative all right, and now we've really got our threat to Roe v. Wade. The American Catholic church has let itself become defined by this issue, which accounts for the increasingly conservative caste of both the clergy and faithful.
Now, with Alito likely to join Thomas, Scalia, Roberts, and moderate Kennedy on the bench, we're looking at a majority Catholic Supreme Court. It wasn't that long ago (my early years) that there was a single, dedicated "Catholic seat" on the Court.
He also correctly lays the credit for the Catholic (and Evangelical) rise to the people who made it all possible: abortionists.
Now, thanks to the divisive issue of abortion, the Catholics are running the Court more and more.
He's obviously worried:
Really amazing when you think of it. When I was born, the great religious controversy was having the first (and to date, only) Catholic president, John Kennedy. Oh the concerns that the White House would be captured by the Vatican!
Well, the Vatican is coming awfully close to capturing the Supreme Court.
And as a moderate Catholic, I confess I am made nervous by this development.
Translation: as an abortionist, Alito makes him nervous. Good!
But then: Dr. Barnett jumps the shark.
Reversing Roe v. Wade is a chimera, a dream. With global connectivity, abortion can and will be outsourced to nations (like India, with its burgeoning medical tourism) on a low-cost basis. Our only alternative will be ultrasounds at airports to stop pregnant women from traveling abroad, which, quite frankly, will come off like some queer sci-fi future dystopia story or--worse--like some scene from a freaky socialist regime like old Nicolae Ceaucescu's Romania (that's how all those orphanages got filled up, my friends, not a pretty sight).
Foolish, foolish, foolish
Barnett's words are just a globalized version of the "backstreet abortion" criticism: if you criminalize something, it will still happen.
Law do not end behavior. Law cannot create a perfect world. There will always be murders, infanticides, robberies, thefts, etc. But the important part is law can be a tool in reducing crime. We can never end crime, but we can manage crime. We can't save all infants. But we can save many.
I would have expected a similar insight from Dr. Barnett, not an implicit comparison of the GOP to the Romanian Communist Party.
Monday, October 31, 2005
* Alito wrote the opinion for ACLU v. Schundler (1999), holding that a holiday display on city property did not violate the Establishment Clause because it included secular symbols, such as a large plastic Santa Claus, in addition to religious symbols.
* A dissenting opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 947 F.2d 682 (3d Cir. 1991), arguing that a Pennsylvania law that required women seeking abortions to inform their husbands should have been upheld. As JudgeAlito reasoned, "[t]he Pennsylvania legislature could have rationally believed that some married women are initially inclined to obtain an abortion without their husbands' knowledge because of perceived problems — such as economic constraints, future plans, or the husbands' previously expressed opposition — that may be obviated by discussion prior to the abortion." Chief Justice Rehnquist's dissent from the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision striking down the spousal notification provision of the law quoted Judge Alito's dissent and expressed support for Judge Alito's reasoning.
and from Outside the Beltway:
For a unanimous panel, upheld a lower-court order requiring a school district to allow a Bible-study group to set up an information table at an elementary-school back-to-school night. Reasoned that by preventing the group from displaying its literature, the district was discriminating on the basis of viewpoint. (Child Evangelism Fellowship of N.J., Inc. v. Stafford Township School District, 2004)
Dissented from a ruling by the 3rd Circuit as a whole that an elementary school did not violate the First Amendment rights of a kindergartener by taking down (and then putting back up) a Thanksgiving poster he'd made that said the thing he was most thankful for was Jesus. The majority decided to throw out the case on a technicality; Alito protested that the child's claim should go forward. (C.H. v. Oliva, 2000)
Dissented from a refusal to grant police officers immunity from a civil suit brought by a mother and her 10-year-old daughter who'd each been strip-searched because they lived in the home of a suspected drug dealer. Alito felt the police had behaved reasonably because the warrant led them to conclude that there was probable cause to search everyone in the house for drugs. (Doe v. Groody, 2004)
So a good guy. Alito is also a Catholic, which means that Bush has now replaced a Lutheran (Rehnquist) with a Catholic and now an Episcopalian/Anglo-Catholic with a Catholic. This should ease some of the criticisms of evangelical bias
The Volokh Conspiracy expands:
A Catholic Majority on the Court?:
There will be, if Alito is confirmed. This is an extraordinary development. It was, let's recall, only forty-five years ago that JFK's Catholicism was a major issue in a presidential campaign. As Ken Kersch and Philip Hamburger have shown, anti-Catholic sentiment played a large role in the development of modern establishment clause jurisprudence (in part through the influence of that old KKKer, Hugo Black). The leading separationist group after WWII was known as Protestants [now, Americans] United for the Separation of Church and State.
Captain's Quarters says:
Of course, the Democrats blew their one opportunity to get a moderate on the bench during the Bush administration by waiting until Miers withdrew before defending her. Prior to that, Charles Schumer and Pat Leahy took great pains to call her questionnaire response "insulting" and echoing conservative complaints that her resume seemed too lightweight for a nomination to the Supreme Court. Had they pledged to support her, Bush likely would have allowed her to coast through the hearings to a floor vote despite the dissatisfaction on the right.
(For the curious, Tom Barnett predicted this.)
To make it better, the one criticism CQ came up with is that he may be too libertarian!
DrumWaster has an even simpler formula for liking the pick:
I also heard Harry Reid is unhappy about this pick....makes me happy just to hear that. Heh.
Michelle Malkin notes that Confirm Them "if the Democrats staged a filibuster against Judge Alito or Judge Luttig because of their conservatism, 'the filibuster will not stand..'" tdaxp has written about Conservative judge victories in a strategic perspective, before.
TMH Bacon Bits links to Blogs for Bush's Confirm Alito Coalition
Thank you, President Bush.
Update: tdaxp's Washington correspondent Catholicgauze has two words to charges of a coming Catholic judicial theocracy: "Faster, please"
Update: Because of spam, I have ended trackbacks for this post :-(.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
"Maureen E. Mahoney," Lathan & Watkins LLP, http://www.lw.com/attorney/attorneysearch_profile.asp?attno=00571.
"Maureen Mahoney," Wikipedia, last updated 27 October 2005, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maureen_Mahoney.
"Mahoney," by Jessica Gavora, The Corner, 27 October 2005, http://corner.nationalreview.com/05_10_23_corner-archive.asp#080989.
Maureen Mahoney is an eloquent critic of Title IX, beyond the scope of her duties
Was Maureen Mahoney merely loyally representing her client (Brown University, whose case against Title IX sex quotas she appealed to the Supreme Court in 1997) when she went on the record with me opposing sex quotas in 2000? Perhaps. But why would she take the time to talk to me -- a writer she never heard of -- if she didn't believe what she was saying? The Cohen v Brown case was long over. The Supreme Court had refused to hear it. So why didn't she just tell me she was busy? And who opposes sex quotas but favors racial quotas? Who does that?
When I talked to her, one of the many great points Maureen made was that schools should be allowed to determine how many female and male athletes they sponsor based on interest in athletics (not quotas) -- just like they determine how many single sex dorms they have based on interest in housing. So where are all the Title IX lawsuits clamoring for "gender equity" in campus housing, I asked? Here's what Maureen told me in 2000:
There is a normative judgement going on here that underlies this whole thing. Some people have gotten together and decided that we think men and women should be equally interested in sports and therefore participation has to be fifty-fifty. But when you look at the housing situation you don't see universities saying, "We think men and women should be equally interested in living in campus dorms." What's different here is women have decided that men and women should be equally interested in varsity athletics. But as a normative matter, why should we think that? Why should we prefer that women play soccer as opposed to live in a dorm or dance ballet?
Why does this matter? Well, some biographical information from the Wikipedia:
Maureen Mahoney (born 1955) is an appellate lawyer at the law firm of Latham & Watkins LLP in Washington, DC who has argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. She served as deputy solicitor general in the George H. W. Bush administration, where she was a colleague of Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts.
Mahoney clerked for Justice William Rehnquist when he was an associate justice on the Supreme Court. She also clerked for Judge Robert Sprecher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
With Harriet Miers' recently withdrawing her Supreme Court nomination, Ms. Mahoney is being mentioned as a potential nominee to the Supreme Court.
From her corporate page:
Ms. Mahoney has handled a broad range of constitutional and appellate litigation in the Supreme Court and other courts throughout the country, representing clients as varied as the United States House of Representatives, Union Pacific Railroad Company and the Government of Saudi Arabia. She represented the University of Michigan before the Supreme Court and won the landmark case upholding the constitutionality of admissions programs that consider race as one of many factors in order to attain the educational benefits of a diverse student body. The Legal Times reported that this ruling was a “personal win” for Ms. Mahoney and called her “a skilled appellate advocate, unruffled and poised.” The Daily Journal awarded Ms. Mahoney the “Best Oral Argument” in the individual category accolade for that Supreme Court term and went on to say that she “withstood withering questioning from Justice Antonin Scalia while stressing the points relied upon by O'Connor in her opinion for the 5-4 court.” Most recently, she successfully argued her thirteenth case in the Supreme Court on behalf of Arthur Andersen in a challenge to the firm's criminal conviction. The Legal Times described the argument in Andersen as “one of the term's best.”
Ms. Mahoney argued her first case before the Supreme Court in 1988, when the Court specially selected her to argue a case. She won the case in a 5-4 decision, and the American Lawyer reported that “her presentation was so well-schooled, poised, and disciplined that, according to one justice, the justices passed notes among themselves during the argument praising Mahoney and asking questions about her background.” In 1993, Ms. Mahoney successfully defended a highly publicized challenge to US immigration policies. The American Lawyer reported that Ms. Mahoney used “forensic magic” in the argument, and David Broder's Washington Post column called her argument “superb.” She also represented the House of Representatives in its successful Supreme Court challenge to the Commerce Department's plans for the use of sampling in the 2000 census.
She was a leading candidate in July... will October be General Mahoney's lucky month?
Harriet Miers Withdrawn, Krauthammer Vindicated, The "Ha Ha" Guy Rejoices, Was Miers an Abortionist, Tom Barnett Thanked
"Miers Withdraws Nomination to Supreme Court," Associated Press, 27 October 2005, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,173665,00.html
Harriet Miers, that unqualified Supreme Court candidate who threw the White House into disarray, has been withdrawn!
Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to be a Supreme Court justice Thursday in the face of stiff opposition and mounting criticism about her qualifications.
It gets better: Bush used the Krauthammer Option (as described by Professor Bainbridge)
Bush said he reluctantly accepted her decision to withdraw, after weeks of insisting that he did not want her to step down. He blamed her withdrawal on calls in the Senate for the release of internal White House documents that the administration has insisted were protected by executive privilege.
"It is clear that senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House -- disclosures that would undermine a president's ability to receive candid counsel," Bush said. "Harriet Miers' decision demonstrates her deep respect for this essential aspect of the constitutional separation of powers -- and confirms my deep respect and admiration for her."
Even the Ha Ha Guy is happy:
Update: Her possibly pro-abortion views did her in:
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Ms. Miers, in a 1993 speech in Dallas, spoke approvingly about a trend toward "self-determination" in resolving debates about law and religion, including those involving abortion rights and religion in public schools and public places.
"The ongoing debate continues surrounding the attempt to once again criminalize abortions or to once and for all guarantee the freedom of the individual woman's right to decide for herself whether she will have an abortion," Ms. Miers said, according to a copy of the speech. "Questions about what can be taught or done in public places or public schools are presented frequently to the courts."
Concerned Women for America, a social conservative group that had been on the sidelines of the Miers nomination, reacted to the news of the speech by joining a coalition of conservative groups calling for her withdrawal.
Also, I want to thank Tom Barnett for warning conservatives off Miers:
This could get really ugly, but I am loathe to wish for something better, because I feel that, in Miers' defeat, we'll set the stage for a truly right-wing justice in her place. In my mind, centrists and Dems the country over were lucky to see O'Connor and Rhenquist so "moderately" replaced. Roberts will be a good herder of cats, I believe, and Miers was unlikely to do much harm [suc], being an intellectual lightweight.
If Miers goes down, and I now believe it is entirely possible (when the Wills and the Kristols abandon you and the Left is gearing up, you're in real trouble), we may all end up being happy with Roberts' tendency to rule as a real centrist (which I believe he will), because what we end up with post-Miers may be fairly hardcore.
Update 2: The blogosphere responds:
Outside the Beltway corrects me: it was the Krauthammer-Morrissey option.
My girl Michelle Malkin is relieved. Blogs for Bush drops Miers, keeps Bush. Grinding Gears gives just the facts. TMH's Bacon Bits does the same. Musing Minds tells it like it is, and looks at other blogs. Wingbang notes that Daily Kos is unhappy
The Wingnuts would not even wait for the confirmation process to unfold. The straw the broke the camel's back was, wthout a doubt, the disclosure of Miers' 1993 speech which may have signalled that Miers would uphold Roe. Miers wrote:
Purple States agrees, by the way. The Aggressive Conservative wonders whose next. Oblogotary Anecdotes demands "President Bush must heal the divide this nomination has created among the conservative base. He must name a clear cut conservative. No stealth nominees. If it means war with the Democrats then so be it." The Consortium prepares for war. Going to the Mat just expects experience. ryanVOX calls this "a perfect opportunity." GOP and the City blames Miers involvement in an underground rap group. bRight & Early just quotes Althouse.
Harriet Miers is sad. The Heretik ponders supernatural justice. Mark in Mexico talks ouija boards. WMD presents a nice bibliography. Ditto CatHouse Chat. PoliBlog goes with the flow. Decision '08 loves the ellipsis).
Publius Rendezvouz holds his peace.
Update 3 (28 October 2005): Brendan of I Hate Linux reports this horrifying thought from The Daily Show
the loyalties Miers showed Bush yesterday, with her withdrawing her name and trying to protect the privacy of what happens behind close doors there... is surly the kind of loyalty to be rewarded with perhaps... a supreme court nomination?