Friday, September 23, 2005

Oh, snap!

From Yahoo! News:

[Warren] Beatty, who has criticized the governor several times this year, called [Schwartzenegger's] initiatives "union busting" and "fascist."

Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Margita Thompson said "we don't care that much about Warren Beatty, and based on his ticket sales from the past generation, I doubt anyone else does either."

* * *

A statewide Field Poll taken in June showed that just 24 percent of California voters would be inclined to elect Beatty governor, while 53 percent said they weren't inclined and 23 percent had no opinion.

Saturday: Michigan at Wisconsin

   This Saturday, the Michigan Wolverines and the Wisconsin Badgers renew their storied rivalry.

   You didn't know that Michigan and Wisconsin were rivals? Neither did I until a couple of years ago.

   A friend of mine from law school went to Wisconsin for his undergraduate education. One day, we got to talking about football, and he mentioned what a great rival Michigan was.

   I looked at him blankly. And then I explained to him that Wisconsin was -- at best -- fourth on our rivalry depth chart behind Ohio State, Michigan State, and Notre Dame. Add Minnesota to the mix (we play them for the "Little Brown Jug" almost every year) and Wisconsin drops to fifth.

Fifth in the Big Ten (plus Notre Dame). That's a great rivalry.

Well, it's a great way to start the Big Ten season at least.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Benedict XVI: gay priests verboten

   I was deeply disappointed by this news today: it seems the Catholic Church will be barring gay men from the priesthood, rather more proactively than it has in the past.

   I am not prepared to examine this in any real depth right now because 1) the document affirming this policy has not yet been released, sustaining a few lingering doubts that the press actually got the story right; and, 2) I don't really feel like digging out my catechism this evening.

   The always thought-provoking John Scalzi has a few thoughts on the matter that I can't disagree with. Here is the money line:

I'm not Catholic and never was . . . so I don't really get a vote here, but in my opinion, any man who can keep it in his pants for Christ is showing a level of devotion that deserves merit.

A good point. If a man is willing to turn his life over to God, does it really matter whether he forsakes henceforth the company of women or men to do so?

   I may post on this in greater detail, but I suspect my thoughts will be largely unchanged when all the facts come to light.

Gratuitous Internet Quiz

You are a

Social Conservative
(38% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(70% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid

[Hat tip: Tinkerty Tonk]

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A new name enters the fray

   Justice Karen Williams?

   The Washington Post is reporting on the conventional list of possible nominees for Justice O'Connor's seat:

White House officials are keeping the shortlist of possible nominees secret, but three Republicans close to the president said it includes men and women, whites and minorities. Among the names mentioned are Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales; Edward Charles Prado and Priscilla R. Owen, both from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit; Consuelo Maria Callahan, from the 9th Circuit; Larry Thompson, former deputy attorney general; Maura Corrigan, a member of the Michigan Supreme Court; Alice Batchelder of the 6th Circuit; Karen Williams and J. Michael Luttig, both from the 4th Circuit; Michael McConnell, from the 10th Circuit; and Samuel A. Alito Jr. of the 3rd Circuit.

I had not yet heard Judge Williams's name mentioned, but Steve Dillard at Southern Appeal has it on good authority that the Fourth Circuit judge is a very likely candidate.

   For me, the good money is still on Michael McConnell of the Tenth Circuit. But then, I was also sure he would be the last nominee.

Thoughts on the decline of American journalism

Classical Values has an incredibly thought-provoking post on the decline of the traditional media in the United States:

Bottom line: even if the blogosphere consisted entirely of raving right wing news parasites, it is not in the interest of any parasite to have its host die.

Read the best piece I've seen in the last twenty-four hours here.

Another chink in the armor

   Less than twenty-four hours after Harry Reid announced he would vote against the confirmation of John Roberts, the minority leader was upstaged by the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Ranking member Patrick Leahy of Vermont announced this morning that he will vote "yes":

Leahy said he still has some concerns about Roberts. "But in my judgment, in my experience, but especially in my conscience I find it is better to vote yes than no," he said. "Judge Roberts is a man of integrity. I can only take him at his word that he does not have an ideological agenda."

This can't end well for Reid. Now that he has painted himself into a corner, his caucus will appear fully divided on the issue of judicial nominees.

   Here's hoping the GOP can make something of it. Unfortunately, I'm not sure Bill Frist is the one to acheive any advantage from it.

UPDATE: David at Blue Mass. Group, a far more liberal blog than this one, takes a comparable view of the Democrats' strategy. He's not at all happy about how things are shaking out.

WaPo takes Reid to task

   The Washingon Post (which is getting to be a daily read around here) is wagging its editorial finger at Sen. Harry Reid this morning:

IN ANNOUNCING his opposition yesterday to the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to be chief justice of the United States, Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) made a remarkable statement: "The president is not entitled to very much deference in staffing the third branch of government, the judiciary." Leave aside the merits of the Roberts nomination, which we support; if Mr. Reid regards Judge Roberts as unworthy, he is duty-bound to vote against him. But these are dangerous words that Democrats will come to regret.

* * *

Do Democrats really want the American confirmation system to move in that direction? Republicans may still be in the majority the next time a Democratic president nominates a justice. Is it now okay for them to vote against a person who -- as Mr. Reid put it of Judge Roberts -- is "an excellent lawyer" and "a thoughtful, mainstream judge" who may make "a fine Supreme Court justice" simply because the nominee doesn't represent their ideal? When that day comes, and Democrats cry foul, remember what Mr. Reid said about how little deference he believes he owes Mr. Bush concerning Judge Roberts.

Read the whole thing here.

   Memories are long in the Senate. I doubt this is really a standard that Reid wants to set for the future because Republicans would get no small satisfaction in exacting recompense later. De-politicizing judicial nominations is something that garners fair bipartisan support, but the desire to abide by the old rules after a reversal of fortunes is all but universal.

   Which of those two options do you suppose would prevail?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Telling it like it is...

Glenn Reynolds notes that Gen. Honore has, perhaps, coined a new catch phrase: "Stuck on stupid."

Ah.... If this catches on, it won't be long before someone with nothing better to do sets these little words to an old ad jingle:

You are stuck on stupid, and stupid's stuck on you.


Reid to vote "no" on Roberts

   WaPo reports that Senator Harry Ried will vote against the confirmation of John Roberts, citing Roberts's reluctance to answer the Senate Democrats' ridiculous questions.

Reid is just asking for trouble any way you cut it. After Roberts made the senators look like exasperated nitwit over the course of four days and barring a major calamity, Reid just can not come out ahead on this one.

He told members of his caucus to vote their consciences and that suggested that Roberts was not worth filibustering. So, there go the Democratic members of the Gang of 14, in all probability. That's a minimum of 63 aye votes.

So, not counting himself, Reid now has to see where the other 46 votes fall and herein lies his problem.

As I noted earlier, a grand show of futile opposition to Roberts on the implicit ground that he won't pass Chuck Schumer's litmus test and that he won't pre-judge cases, but certainly not in a way that promotes the Dems' policy preferences, can only hurt the party next year as it tries to take back the Senate. Every newly energized member of the Democratic base will be counterbalanced by a disaffected independent voter. Given the current Bush approval ratings, they have a pretty good shot at it; do they want to lose a few critical votes from voters in swing states?

By the way of example, my mother, the only true swing voter in my swing state family (yes, we do tease her about it), has already had enough of stonewalling. Her articulation of the word "Democrats" in a tone that straddles exasperation and foreboding has been my fair barometer that something the party is doing could be playing a lot better among independents in Michigan. [Yes, I know it's a small sample set and lacks representation; I'll chalk it up to coincidence once it's proven wrong.]

Worse yet for Reid, though, is if Roberts picks up 30 or more Senate Democrats. I have no delusions that Ted Kennedy will vote "yea," but Dianne Feinstein seemed to waver a little during the hearing, so she might. In any event, if a significant majority of Democrats vote to confirm Roberts, then Harry Reid will appear an even weaker leader than he already is.

I doubt he -- or his party -- want that within a year of the election. While Schumer is charged with planning the campaign, Reid is its most prominent face. I doubt he wants it at all blemished when opportunity is so close at hand.

But, then, why would I complain about this series of missteps.

Forget I said anything at all.

'Ugly' Woman Sues TV Show in Death of Sister

   That's the headline. Someone is kidding about this lawsuit, right?

A Texas woman has sued ABC's popular reality show "Extreme Makeover" for more than $1 million claiming among other things that an abrupt cancellation of her appearance on the program led to her sister's death.

* * *

The suit claims the "Extreme Makeover" crew manipulated Williams' sister, Kellie, into making cruel statements about Williams' looks.

The night before Williams was to begin her makeover, the show's producers told her it would take too long for work on her jaw to heal. They canceled her appearance and sent Williams home where Kellie, distraught over what she had said about her sister, eventually killed herself, according to the suit.

"Sometimes Deleese blames herself for Kellie's death," the suit said.

Confessions of an editorial bastard

   For someone who took particular pride in lording over his 2L law journal staff last year, pushing them (occasionally) to the breaking point to get a better product, this website that I just found is a little bit of a happy place.

   (So, I had a little bit of a reputation. I didn't mind, and my editor-in-chief and managing editor rather appreciated it.)


   To use an old adage, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. However, somewhere between the "final" product some academics submit for publication and the application of some of these easily internalizable rules, you can come awfully close.

   And along the way, you incidentally create more critical writers and editors. Two of my former staff members now hold positions on the five-member executive board; one is the editor-in-chief.

   [/crowing. I mean it this time.]

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Latest RINO Sightings are up!

   Evolution is hosting this week and did a great job with the submissions.

See, especially:

Restless Mania on whether West Virginia is a legal fiction; and

One Good Turn on The New Republic walking a fine line.

Decisions, Decisions for Schumer

   Following up on this post, it seems that Robert Novak has a source who overheard Senators Schumer and Feinstein in an elevator expressing their dismay at their inability to score points against John Roberts during the confirmation hearings last week.

   [Yes, I am well aware that Novak has had some accuracy problems of late. But then, you, dear reader, are the one jumping from blog to blog; for your sake, I hope you have at least a grain of salt or two in hand in any event.]

In response, the Democrats have so hardened their posture that a unanimous Judiciary Committee vote by them against Roberts is probable. In the full Senate, the most that Roberts can hope for is probably eight Democrats, or 63 total votes.

   If this is true, Schumer does realize that this strategy will not win him any voters as he runs the Democratic senate campaign next year, doesn't he? The best he can hope for with this tactic is a zero-sum outcome, but the more likely result is the repulsion of a critical sliver of independents who think that a lot of time and hot air is being wasted on holding back the "mainstream conservative" he asked for in the first place.

[Hat tip: Decision '08]

German Election in Stalemate

   The German parliamentary elections ended in a near-tie over the weekend with neither of the two major parties winning a clear majority. Don Surber rightly notes that the shoe is on the other foot after Germans thought Florida in 2000 was just so funny.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

WaPo on Roberts: Confirm Him

   The Washington Post is spot-on concerning the confirmation of John Roberts:

Judge Roberts represents the best nominee liberals can reasonably expect from a conservative president who promised to appoint judges who shared his philosophy. Before his nomination, we suggested several criteria that Mr. Bush should adopt to garner broad bipartisan support: professional qualifications of the highest caliber, a modest conception of the judicial function, a strong belief in the stability of precedent, adherence to judicial philosophy, even where the results are not politically comfortable, and an appreciation that fidelity to the text of the Constitution need not mean cramped interpretations of language that was written for a changing society. Judge Roberts possesses the personal qualities we hoped for and testified impressively as to his belief in the judicial values. While he almost certainly won't surprise America with generally liberal rulings, he appears almost as unlikely to willfully use the law to advance his conservative politics.

   More importantly, the Post should be commended for looking beyond any immediate misgivings it -- or Senate Democrats -- might have.

For this reason, broad opposition by Democrats to Judge Roberts would send the message that there is no conservative capable of winning their support. While every senator must vote his or her conscience on the nomination, the danger of such a message is considerable. In the short term, Mr. Bush could conclude there is nothing to be gained from considering the concerns of the opposition party in choosing his next nominee. In the longer term, Republicans might feel scant cause to back the next high-quality Democratic nominee, as they largely did with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

Emphasis mine. Maybe Chuck Schumer really is waking up at night wondering how he is going to vote on this nominee. If he's not, given the tension between the position WaPo articulated and those held by AFJ, PFAW, NARAL, etc., maybe he should be.

   After all, he has a party-wide Senate campaign to run next year.