May 31, 2009

Well done, thou good and faithful servant

On the rear of his car was a Christian fish symbol with the word "Jesus" inside.
A good ol' boy, and a contributing Factor.

Krauthammer one more time

Last Wednesday I mentioned this:
In the meantime, we can all be entertained by the comic spectacle of Faux News "expert" Charles Krauthammer at once decrying the application of judicial empathy generally while publicly pleading for judicial empathy on behalf of the Ricci v. DeStefano plaintiffs.

And, naturally, Dr. Krauthammer's focusing unwaveringly on the result of the case rather than on the process of reasoning employed in reaching it, like all good judicial conservatives invariably do.
Two days later Glenn Greenwald had a bit more:
Inveighing against Sotomayor's Ricci decision by touting all the sad things that happened to Frank Ricci (Krauthammer: "he spent $1,000 on books, quit his second job so he could study eight to 13 hours a day and, because of his dyslexia, hired someone to read him the material") is to demand that Sotomayor do exactly that which they claim is so inappropriate and which they accuse Sotomayor of doing: namely, deciding cases based on emotion, empathy and political views about affirmative action rather than the law and judicial precedent.
Like I said.

I wonder if Krauthammer the illustrious Faux News "expert" has even read the district court's decision in Ricci v. DeStefano.

Or has this local character:
The egregious judicial activism she displayed in Ricci v. DeStefano, in and of itself, is a disqualifier.
Again: judicial activism = result I don't like.

There's a link to the district court's decision (which a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed) in this useful discussion at the Connecticut Employment Law Blog.

I challenge any of Judge Sotomayor's conservative detractors to describe how her involvement with the case is an instance of "judicial activism," bearing in mind that the race-conscious hiring and promotion policies and directives at issue in Ricci — like them or not — are mandated by federal statutory and administrative law.

You know, that sacred "will of the people" stuff that judges appropriately exercising restraint are not empowered to upset.

The non-lawyer nails it

In the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's contribution to the Sonia Sotomayor "controversies" yesterday, U.S. Senator Herb Kohl, contra Chief Justice John Roberts, observes:
As all of us with any involvement in sports knows, no two umpires or no two referees have the same strike zone or call the same kind of a basketball game. And ballplayers and basketball players understand that depending upon who the umpire is and who the referee is, the game can be called entirely differently.
The sports metaphor, of course, was Roberts'. But appeals court judges make rules all the time. They also make policy. All the time.

Last week Justice Antonin Scalia, speaking for a 5-4 majority,* wrote up some policy for law enforcement in Louisiana — and, given the U.S. Supreme Court's jurisdiction, the rest of the country — when he retooled the circumstances under which a criminal defendant may be interrogated after having been appointed defense counsel.

Show me an appellate decision and I'll show you the policy announced. Judge Sotomayor's sin was stating an obvious truth, about which many fans of a "conservative judiciary" are in complete denial.

Hence her joking in the immediate wake of having stated it.

Speaking of non-lawyers, Donald Downs, twice identified by the Journal-Sentinel as "a professor of law" under the heading "Legal scholars [sic] weigh in," is in fact a professor of political science.

* Montejo v. Louisiana (.pdf; 42 pgs.)

May 30, 2009

If you like subpoena coladas ...

... this is getting kind of entertaining.

Props to Wigderson for his headline, "Hey! They sued Kilkenny!"

Gingrich in Milwaukee

Where a photo of you with the Newt will set you back a G-note.*
With Gingrich soon to headline a lucrative fundraising dinner to benefit House Republicans like Representative [X], this begs the question — will Representative [X] repudiate Gingrich's offensive remarks?

Even Senator John Cornyn, a top Republican leader in the Senate, took the unusual step of criticizing Gingrich's overheated rhetoric. Now will Representative [X] follow suit?
Democratic Party press release, via Marc Ambinder.

Or how about gubernatorial hopeful Scott Walker, who'll be toasting Newt Gingrich at the Wisconsin Club in Milwaukee on June 29.

* It's highly unlikely that very many Milwaukee County employees will be availing themselves of that tremendous bargain.

Sotomayor favors Whitey's fascist hegemony

In Pappas v. Giuliani, 290 F.3d 143 (2002), Judge Sotomayor dissented from the majority’s holding that the NYPD could fire a white employee for distributing racist materials.
Tom Goldstein's latest installment.

Further to Atty. Goldstein's observations, the suggestion that Sotomayor is unable to separate her community interests and activities from her professional responsibilities is perhaps the most intellectually insulting accusation leveled against the judge.

Well, almost all

The other day I saw a car on the street with a front license plate bearing the legend, "Jesus paid for it all!" It was parked beside an expired meter with a municipal citation folded under the wiper blade.

The lessons? Remember to always bring your camera and Milwaukee's parking checkers are even more evil than is generally acknowledged.

May 29, 2009

Keep it up, Rush*

How can a president nominate such a candidate [as Sonia Sotomayor]? And how can a party get behind such a candidate? That's what would be asked if somebody were foolish enough to nominate David Duke or pick somebody even less offensive.
That would be David Duke, who recently attended a holocaust denial conference in Tehran at the invitation of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Every one of these tasty little nuggets** will get wide attention and lots and lots of people are under the impression — mistaken or not — that Rush Limbaugh speaks officially for the Republican Party.

And all those official Republicans didn't help by apologizing to him.

* Here's how, and where.

** Which reminds me. The other day a guy on Wisconsin Ave. offered to trade me a whole box of ten Chicken McNuggets for a cigarette. I didn't accept, but it seemed like a square deal health-wise.

Pray tell, what argument might that be?

"While one could argue that a person who has twice lost a statewide judicial race ought not to be elevated to the federal bench, I doubt that argument will carry a great deal of weight with the senators or the White House," Esenberg said.
Considering the latter statewide judicial race* was financed with several million dollars worth of vociferous character assassination and resulted in an ongoing ethics investigation into the victor, I expect the argument might be a cinch to counter, whatever it is.

It's also debatable whether the move from a State's highest appellate court to a federal district trial court constitutes an "elevation."

* Attended by 19% of registered voters.

Read the decisions

The industrious Tom Goldstein again, who is halfway through reviewing about 100 Second Circuit Court of Appeals rulings dealing with race discrimination claims on which three-judge panels Judge Sonia Sotomayor sat:
In those 50 cases, the panel accepted the claim of race discrimination only three times. In all three cases, the panel was unanimous; in all three, it included a Republican appointee.
All 50 decisions were unanimous.

How come reporters can't do this? These are public records.

If you're in the neighborhood

Tonight at the Miramar Theatre on Oakland Ave. just south of Locust, there's a Battle of the Bands, starting around 6 p.m.

I have some kids (ages 11-14) that I've been coaching* for a few months who are performing as one of the warm-up acts. They'll be doing Come Together, You Can't Do That, Money, and Suffragette City. They're pretty darn good, and pretty entertaining too.

This is their latest, pre-punk incarnation. At their last highly acclaimed public appearance, they did Uncontrollable Urge, I Don't Wanna Go Down To The Basement, Psycho Killer, Pump It Up, and Paper (the lesser known Talking Heads number).

* As one of them put it, Tommy is our guru and we are his grasshoppers. (Grasshoppers on sucrose, that is.)

G. Gordon Liddy belches up his ratburger

I'm no gynecologist, but she'll be 55 years old next month. See what you're missing when you're not listening to the nut-right radio?

Stay classy, hombre blanco Republicano!

Krauthammer interprets the Constitution

A president is entitled to deference on his Supreme Court nominees. — according to a Fox News "expert"
No, he is not. He's entitled to — if anything — advice on his nominees. And the withholding of consent, which power is entirely within the purview of the Senate and without which the president may not make the appointment, is the opposite of deference.

Indeed, the Senate has the more compelling democratic legitimacy (at least since the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment).

Justice Sotomayor

"It's over," says Tom Goldstein:
With messengers like Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich, and a message that Judge Sotomayor is a racist, conservatives were talking just to themselves and sounding silly to everyone else. Statements like Curt Levey’s that there was a realistic prospect that Judge Sotomayor would have to withdraw her nomination just sounded stupid or willfully ignorant.
All those white males, at once privileged and oppressed, reacting violently to a couple of benign expressions of ethnic* minority self-awareness. And Gingrich, of all people, a supposed historian.

Evidently his area of expertise is not the United States.

Also, from the New York Times:
Curt Levey, executive director of Committee for Justice, a conservative legal group active in judicial nominations, said that "while it's fine to let your Puerto Rican heritage influence — or any heritage for that matter — influence your positions when you're on a board, it's quite a different story when you're a judge, and I wonder whether she knows the difference."
Why is that? Does Antonin Scalia likewise not know the difference between his enthusiasm for the death penalty and a Papal Bull?

* Not "race." "Latina" is not a "race."

May 28, 2009

The Party of Noh

AssGOP man accused of thespianism

This is why

Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor:
Guido Calabresi said Judge Sotomayor’s forceful and lucid arguments had persuaded him to reconsider his position in a number of instances. "And I'm a tough act," he said.
Obama knows he's unlikely to replace any of the Court's reliably conservative bloc, even if he serves two terms.

And he's counting on Sotomayor to be more persuasive among her colleagues than perhaps Justice Souter ever was.

This is something barely anyone has mentioned in all of the thousands upon thousands of words devoted to Sotomayor already, as those authors prefer instead to concentrate on peripheral matters, including a goodly portion of mostly irrelevant nonsense.

The Latino KKK

And Sonia Sotomayor is a a racist.
If you look at Mr. Tancredo's record, he's often spoken about things he doesn’t know anything about.
Yes, there's a lot of that going around.

Oh, and I got your advice and consent right here:
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, said Thursday he does not plan to vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.
Nothing like keeping an open mind, eh? Must be a speed reader.

A message from the 14th Ass. District

Thanks to George H.W. Bush for not only giving us the dim-glow of Justice Souter, but for appointing his even dimmer successor to the bench.
Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa)
What, no thanks for Clarence Thomas?

h/t Heartland Hollar.

But not empathy

"There were five things that were on Obama's mind: age, experience, independence, confidence, and diversity," Mr. Ogletree recalled. "And when I say diversity, it's not just background and race; I mean diversity of experience, of character, of judgment, and of points of view."
Yet according to the local conservative intelligentsia, we're to remain obsessed with "empathy," the derivation of which is the reply to a question posed to Obama during a Planned Parenthood event in 2007.

(Listen to the audio clip, wherein Prof. Esenberg asserts no fewer than three times* to radio clown Charlie Sykes that "empathy" is "the criteria" [sic] for Obama's judicial selections. Sykes, for his part, contrasts "empathy" with "following the law," apparently unmindful of just how much conflicting and contradictory law there is to follow.)

Has anyone thought to search for evidence of this despicable human trait within Judge Sotomayor's 17-year career as a federal judge?

Glenn Greenwald has:
Without a trace of sympathy or even interest in the plight of the plaintiff, Sotomayor methodically recounted the evidence of discrimination and, in as coldly and legalistic a manner as possible, concluded that Norville "produced insufficient evidence at trial to show that the hospital" discriminated against her. She thus affirmed the trial judge's dismissal of Norville's claims of race and age discrimination.
Perhaps this is why conservatives have lately directed their more substantive concerns instead to Sotomayor's ethnic gastronomy.

* First as a bald assertion, second in furtherance of igniting a strawman, and third in a conclusion. Quite the achievement.

May 27, 2009

Sotomayor's IQ is north of 100

Allows this NRO buffoon.

"Ramesh is usually a lot better than that," says Andrew Sullivan.

No, he is not. He is much worse.

And Faux News's Major Garrett

"Asked pointed questions about the matter."

Ye gods, these people are ridiculous. Looks like I called that one. Well, at least they didn't factor in 9,000 uncontested traffic tickets.
"I don't know if the number is 30%, 60%, 80%, or 90%," [Gableman] said, before adding, "I'm unaware of any study that contradicts those numbers."
That is one of the best quotes ever.

Blogger sued

For defamation.

I wouldn't be too concerned about having called someone "the Dark Lord" either, but I'd want to make fairly certain that a high-end housing development was contaminated by an adjacent landfill prior to making such an allegation. That's a wee bit more serious.

"The homes have value more than $1 million each, the lawsuit says."

And the Journal-Sentinel copy editors are still on vacation.

The GOP's seven stages of Soto-grief

Funny stuff from the New York Daily News:

Conservative critics predicted Sonia Sotomayor would face a grilling over a one-paragraph ruling she and two other judges on the Second Circuit issued last year.
I doubt much will come of that, as the United States Supreme Court will have decided that case's appeal by the time Judge Sotomayor sits down with the GOP "grillers" on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

She should have little or no problem explaining why she and her colleagues affirmed the decision of the district court below based on controlling precedent within the Second Circuit (and above).

If she's extra good at explaining, she may even educate John Cornyn and Tom Coburn that the Circuit Courts of Appeal aren't in the business of rewriting or overturning decisions of the Supreme Court, which is what the Supreme Court itself is likely to have done by then.

In the meantime, we can all be entertained by the comic spectacle of Faux News "expert" Charles Krauthammer* at once decrying the application of judicial empathy generally while publicly pleading for judicial empathy on behalf of the Ricci v. DeStefano plaintiffs.

And, naturally, Dr. Krauthammer's focusing unwaveringly on the result of the case rather than on the process of reasoning employed in reaching it, like all good judicial conservatives invariably do.

Next up: Stage 8 — Original intent and the right to bear nunchaku.

* See Axis IV Obama Derangement Syndrome.

Today's wingnut talking point

Actual Washington Times headline:

Sotomayor reversed 60% by high court
Three of the five majority opinions written by Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court were reversed, providing a potent line of attack raised by opponents ...
Moreover, said the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, "Of those three rulings, fully 100% were reversed." Added Moon: "Yeah I got nothin'."
"Her high reversal rate alone should be enough for us to pause and take a good look at her record. Frankly, it is the Senates [sic] duty to do so," said Wendy Wright, president of Concern Trolls for America.
Sadly, three out of 380 is less than one percent.

eta: I wouldn't have imagined that the Times's idiocy needed any additional explication, but Nate Silver provides it anyway.

May 26, 2009

Why is McIlheran still lying?

Obama said he wanted someone empathetic, and since this is, thus, chiefly about feelings rather than the law ...
Lying since November '08. Or, can he not, thus, help himself?

Ohio is taking our jobs: Scott Walker

That is, Scott Walker is taking our jobs to Ohio.
Michael Horne has the scoop.

In other news:
Satan & Co. hand Scott Walker his golf clubs.

Je suis arrivé

Some link love from the Wisconsin Law Journal.

Last week's link was to Marquette law professor Greg O'Meara's fascinating (and occasionally grisly) Jeffrey Dahmer paper, wherein Wisconsin's "not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect" defense* is subjected to French deconstructionist philosophy.

(This week must have been a slow one, comparatively speaking.)

* That defense was unsuccessful for Jeffrey Dahmer. But it was proven later, when he embraced Young Earth Creationism in prison.

Some clown like Orrin Hatch

A Court of Appeals grapples with the difficult questions, the gray areas in the law, and ultimately issues rulings one way or the other. These rulings then become the policy of that particular circuit, serving as controlling precedent in future cases. This is just as true in the ultra-conservative Fourth Circuit as it is the more liberal Ninth Circuit.

But in Simplistic Republican World, none of this actually happens. Good conservative judges don't "make policy," they simply enforce the law. The law is apparently always clear. Indeed it's a wonder that lawyers even bother to appeal cases in the Fourth Circuit. After all, they should know that the conservative jurists in that circuit will simply "enforce the law" (because they wouldn't dream of "making policy"), so the outcome should be very predictable.

Undoubtedly conservatives will point to Sotomayor's reaction to her own words as evidence that she was letting slip some secret about how liberal judges actually operate. But the obvious truth is that she was merely anticipating that some clown like Orrin Hatch might someday twist her words to mean something they don't.
The Anonymous Liberal

Let the clown parade begin.

eta: Oh, look, it already has. Milwaukee's own heavyweight clown and credible source for all things judicial, Charlie Sykes, thinks Sonia Sotomayor is "something of a lightweight" (citing Jeffrey Rosen's anonymous sources). That oughta sink this nomination for sure.

May 23, 2009

Sessions needs more time to grandstand

At the request of Republicans, the Senate Judiciary Committee postponed a planned vote Thursday on the confirmation of Indiana Judge David Hamilton to serve on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) singled out Hamilton's 2005 ruling that prayers said at the start of Indiana House sessions must not mention Jesus Christ or advance any religion.
This is a "troubling" ruling, says Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, who's only had IX-1/2 short weeks to examine it.

Judge Hamilton was reversed not on the merits or on his reasoning but on the question of the plaintiffs' legal standing to sue.

As discussed here previously, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals had initially agreed with Judge Hamilton that the plaintiffs had standing to proceed, and the 7th Circuit in effect overruled itself in light of a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in another case dealing with Establishment Clause standing that appeared in the meantime.

In short, we don't know whether Judge Hamilton would have agreed with the Court of Appeals that the interim SCOTUS decision had a bearing on Hamilton's 2005 ruling, nor do we know whether the Court of Appeals would have affirmed Judge Hamilton on the merits had the plaintiffs been able to maintain their standing to proceed.

So, not a sufficiently complete record to get all "troubled" over.

Rather, this is about the gentleman from Alabama's attempts at even greater heights of inanity as the committee's ranking Republican than he managed to scale during his tenure as a journeyman posturer.

Convicted mom is defiant, accusatory

This trial did not afford the opportunity to tell our side of the story. Every story has two sides. We did not enjoy the liberties of due process.
Yet Leilani Neumann decided — or at least participated in the decision — to neither testify nor to call any witnesses in her defense.
I didn't realize it would be a crime to pray for my daughter. I didn't realize the medical experts for the prosecution would consider me a medical expert concerning my daughter's condition. I have never read a medical book, I do not watch TV, and therefore have never seen a medical show. I do not know what a coma is, nor was I saying this word.
"The real issue is our government is anti-God."

This doesn't exactly come across like the statement of a person who understands the nature of the charge brought against them.

Leilani's stepfather says he's not happy with how the investigation and trial was handled, and the family plans on filing a legal action against the prosecution and judge.
That could mean a couple of things. They've fired their attorney, and/or they're going to be preparing one of those crazy Posse Comitatus-style lawsuits, the scourge of Wisconsin prosecutors.

The latter would resonate perfectly with the "No King But Jesus" tenor of Leilani Neumann's written statement released today.

Those darn Republicans

The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee approved diverting $1 million a year from the Department of Justice to give raises to assistant district attorneys and assistant public defenders.

Republicans voted against the measure, saying it would funnel money to defense attorneys that otherwise would have gone toward fighting crime and protecting victims.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right ... to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
And that darn Constitution, always getting in the way.

Numerous grounds for appeal

Here is a good post mortem on the Leilani Neumann guilty verdict in the Wausau Daily Herald:
A district appeals court is likely to hear the case next. Defense attorney Gene Linehan said he will argue that Neumann's conviction should be overturned because Marathon County Circuit Court Judge Vincent Howard refused to allow a faith-healing expert to testify at trial.

Linehan told a judge on May 13 that Thurman Scrivner, a Texas pastor, would testify that faith healing is a legitimate way that people of faith cure illness.
Behold Scrivner's webpage: Supernatural Divine Healing Ministry.

I think this character would have been pretty tough to qualify as an expert witness. Although he probably would have been fun to cross examine, considering how legitimate and effective "faith healing" was in this case, where the subject was not cured but died.

Except the prosecutors managed to successfully demonstrate Thurman Scrivner's complete and utter irrelevance in advance.

Leilani Neumann's husband Dale, who is scheduled to go on trial for the same offense in July, may be having second thoughts about continuing to maintain his innocence in light of yesterday's result, a possibility the judge alluded to in court yesterday, and which suggestion apparently did not please Dale Neumann's attorney.

See also: Rambo accused of unlawful phone use.

May 22, 2009

Prayer death

Nice headline. The prayers didn't cause the death; the prayers, like the goggles, they did nothing. That's the (totally unsurprising) point.
Marathon County District Attorney Jill Falstad described Leilani Neumann as a religious zealot who let her daughter, known by the nickname Kara, die as a test of faith.
There appear to be some strenuous objections to the State's characterization of the defendant as a religious extremist.

But when your 11-year-old daughter is suffering from a fatal disease, and instead of seeking medical attention you e-mail some fruitcakes at for prayers, I reckon that counts.

Marriage, the sacred institution

The couple first met when Fualaau was in the second grade. Their relationship became sexual when he was 12 and she was a 34-year-old married mother of four.
LeTourneau hosts 'Hot For Teacher' night at Seattle bar

Cindy Meneghin and Maureen Kilian first met in high school and have been in a committed relationship for thirty-two years. They have lived together for twenty-three years in Butler where they are raising a fourteen-year-old son and a twelve-year-old daughter. Through artificial insemination, Cindy conceived their son and Maureen their daughter.
So who, exactly, is "devaluing marriage"?

May 21, 2009

Two Republicans with better things to do

Walter B. Jones (NC) and Ron Paul (TX):

House votes not to prove Newt Gingrich a ginormous hypocrite

Adult Newts have lizard-like bodies and may be either fully aquatic, living permanently in the water, or semi-aquatic, living terrestrially but returning to the water each year to breed. The main breeding season for Newts is between the months of February and June.

Identifying tomorrow's criminals today

The free event will feature food, ice cream, finger printing for children, and music.
Police Dist. 6 to hold ice cream social

Because he's finally out of office

Favorable opinions of Cheney rise

Faith in the news

Testimony from the trial of Leilani Neumann, the Marathon County woman whose delusional beliefs include that physical illnesses are either the result of "sin" or else a "test" from "the Lord."

Neumann is charged with second degree reckless homicide for relying on prayer to cure her 11-year-old daughter of diabetes, the symptoms of which were evident for weeks — if not months — before the child died. She also believed prayer would bring the dead child back to life.
"Because God created everyone, and how can we be more powerful than God?" Leilani Neumann's other daughter testified. "He is all control. That is what we believe. We go to him with our problems because he is the one orchestrating everything. Why should we diss him and think a doctor would be more powerful than God or trust a doctor more than God?"
These people have obviously learned nothing, and according to this testimony, they would cause another death, given the opportunity.

May 20, 2009

Must be some other Pete Hoekstra

Rep. Hoekstra accuses CIA of cover-up

Gee, that can't be good for morale.

Scott Walker battles Satan

Satan prevails. Meanwhile, Walker GOP rival Mark Neumann faces off against Beelzebub's emissary, the Pope. Game two goes tomorrow.

On the appearance of bias

¶8 The right to an impartial judge is fundamental to our notion of due process. ...

¶9 Objective bias can exist in two situations. The first is where there is the appearance of bias. "[T]he appearance of bias offends constitutional due process principles whenever a reasonable person—taking into consideration human psychological tendencies and weaknesses—concludes that the average judge could not be trusted to 'hold the balance nice, clear and true' under all the circumstances." Thus, the appearance of partiality constitutes objective bias when a reasonable person could question the court’s impartiality based on the court’s statements. The second form of objective bias occurs where "there are objective facts demonstrating ... the trial judge in fact treated [the defendant] unfairly."

State v. Goodson, No. 2008AP2623-CR (Wis. Ct. App., May 19, 2009).

Related: For Gableman, every case is a controversy.

Democrat Gay Homosexual Atheist Party

Resolution language "tweaked," sez Reince Priebus of Wisconsin

"One of Steele's allies on the committee, Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer, told CNN the resolution is 'stupid' and 'ridiculous.'"

May 19, 2009

Creationists discover two new fossil gaps

47 MYO primate is evolutionary aunt
It was a small, tailed, probably tree-climbing, and now extinct primate — from a kind created on Day 6 of Creation Week.
Quite underwhelming, and more consistent with Noah's Fludd
Ken Ham
It's obvious who the real skeptics are.

Canon contract law

Crash on the couch = cohabitation.
The Teacher Agrees To:
"maintaining the highest standards and personal and professional conduct in conformity with the Gospel."
Ergo, they should probably all be fired.

Now here's your Catholic role model.

Keep the change

If it's "being delivered in a tea bag."

Just to annoy them

Strunk, Jr., and White.

Lawyers settle pension case for $13 million

Not bad.


Supreme Court sidesteps hate crime question

"Sidestep" suggests the court set about deliberately avoiding a difficulty. But in these three cases the facts were not sufficiently developed — there hasn't even been a disorderly conduct conviction yet — therefore the court determined the controversy to be "unripe."

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, on the other hand, does sidestep the language alleged to have been used by the defendants. The courts have no such compunction. So who's avoiding a difficulty here?

The newspaper, by employing euphemisms. Kind of ironic.

In the tradition of laws weren't always like this, share some of the jobs you had as teen that might have bent the idea of safety for minors a little.
If I had an account to comment, I'd share: "Copy editor."

Over before it began

Era of GOP apologies ends — Michael Steele
Steele also promised that Republicans will take on Obama with class and dignity.
Sure they will.


St. Francis Alderman Ted Jarosh, a gun owner who supports gun owner rights, had wanted a way for police to write municipal court tickets in cases in which a person who openly carried a gun violated the law.
How do you support gun owner rights and at the same time favor issuing citations to gun owners for exercising them?

Sowell preps us for SCOTUS hearings

The "brilliant" Thomas Sowell instructs:
Over the past two decades,* judicial confirmation hearings have often become exercises in character assassination against nominees that senators oppose for political reasons having nothing to do with the inflammatory charges that are aired on nationwide TV.
Yes, thanks for that, Sowell, who recently set up Obama's impending Supreme Court nominee as the choice of a latter day Third Reich.

* Apparently Sowell has never heard of Louis Brandeis.

Giving new meaning to "cloistered"

We all considered sexual abuse of minors as a moral evil, but had no understanding of its criminal nature.
That's strange, because God used to dispense legal advice quite freely and Archbishops are known for their regular chats with Him.

May 18, 2009

This time it'll work for sure

Before the start of the trial Monday, Leilani Neumann read from her Bible and circled the defense and prosecution tables several times in prayer.
"They didn't stop praying until supper time."

What an appalling tale.


The man-sized safe

Faux News reveals state secret revealed seven years ago:
In December 2002, neighbors complained of loud construction work being done at the Naval Observatory, which has been used as a residence by vice presidents since 1974.

The upset neighbors were sent a letter by the observatory's superintendent, calling the work "sensitive in nature" and "classified" and that it was urgent it be completed "on a highly accelerated schedule."
Nut-right goes bananas.

If by "educate" you mean "lie to"

Said R.J. Johnson, a spokesman for the Coalition for America's Families: "We educate the public on behalf of our membership and the issues and policies that concern them."
Via Patrick Marley.

For Gableman, every case is a controversy

Somebody has finally written something of two motions* currently before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, requesting that embattled judge Michael Gableman stand aside from participating in a criminal appeal, the review of which the court accepted last year.

One of the motions is directed toward Gableman himself — which he will almost certainly deny — and the other asks the court to consider Gableman's recusal on due process of law grounds, the factual basis for which constitutional argument is his well documented behavior during an election in which roughly 9.5% of Wisconsin's eligible voters managed to position him on the far right of the high court bench.**

David Ziemer in the Wisconsin Law Journal describes the broad contours of the motions in a report that also features a couple of remarkable observations from some famous local conservative Republicans. First there is this non sequitur issuing from Marquette University law professor Rick Esenberg:
Esenberg said the Massey case and the issues raised by Henak differ, which is why the motion has little chance of success.
In fact "the Massey case" (Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Company, Inc.; see the SCOTUS Wiki) is mentioned only tangentially in one of the motions, which expressly acknowledges that the questions presented by both cases are merely "similar," in that each involves third party contributions to judicial campaigns.

So it's less than clear why Allen's motion has "little chance of success" simply because it's different from Caperton. Not only that, but Caperton hasn't even been decided yet, so nobody knows what if any direct application it will have to Gableman's latest imbroglio.

According to Ziemer, Esenberg claims that "virtually all judicial candidates employ a 'tough on crime' philosophy, including Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson during her recent re-election campaign." Prof. Esenberg waxes syllogistic:
"If this motion is granted, then she — and virtually every other candidate who has ever run a contested race — should also be required to recuse themselves as well," Esenberg said.
Emphases added. But this doesn't at all follow either, given the substantial and substantive factual dissimilarities.

Gableman's campaign was devoted almost exclusively to this so-called "tough on crime philosophy" and isn't even remotely comparable to Abrahamson's. Rather, a prominent theme of the Chief Justice's recent campaign was an emphatic disabusing of the notion that judges "side" in advance with either plaintiffs or defendants.

Not only did Gableman continually and demonstrably promise to be an "ally" of law enforcement and its "war on crime," he went well out of his way to denigrate the professional experience of his opponent — so much so that Gableman has found himself up on ethics charges — and even further to disparage the very statutory and constitutional protections to which criminal defendants are entitled.

Abrahamson most certainly engaged in none of that business.

Moreover, the suggested test for Gableman's recusal under the circumstances is not simply whether or not he believes he can perform as an impartial magistrate, but whether a reasonable observer — in this case, the defendant/appellant, Allen — believes Gableman can, based on Gableman's own continuously repeated demonstrations.

This is a point that even the other conservative Republican quoted in Ziemer's story, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, appears to have overlooked:
Van Hollen said the motion [sic] "is an attack on our system of electing judges."

Van Hollen added that during an election, judicial candidates are allowed to express their views, within the limits of the law, and Gableman’s actions in 2008 were no different than past years.

"This in no way disqualifies them [justices] from being fair and impartial in a specific case," Van Hollen stated.
The latter is a daringly unequivocal claim. And it can only be true if one accepts that Gableman's actions were "no different than past years." But Gableman's actions were clearly quite different, in that they've succeeded in placing him in the unprecedented situation of being under investigation by the Wisconsin Judicial Commission.

No less an authority than former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske had never seen anything like it, describing Gableman's shenanigans as "sinking to new lows," and one may safely accord considerably more deference to her observations than to Van Hollen's.

While it's true that a large amount of financial, media, and other support came from third parties (including, instructively, Rick Esenberg), not only did Gableman do nothing to set himself apart from those attacks against his opponent, but Gableman embraced them enthusiastically by featuring them prominently in his speechifying, his campaign literature, and at his campaign website.

(That website has long since been reduced to a lone index page bearing nothing but a logo, but much of it was previously retrieved and is attached as appendices to the motions for recusal.)

If anything was an attack on Wisconsin's system of electing judges, it was the disgraceful campaign of Gableman and his supporters.

Diane Sykes, the George W. Bush-appointed Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals judge, herself a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice, called it "utterly inconsistent with the judicial role," and Gableman's notorious teevee ad a "particularly base and deceptive attack."

In any event, Caperton is more similar to Michael Gableman's situation than Esenberg lets on, since it deals with the appearance of bias created by massive campaign contributions to a judicial candidate by third party interests and according to the due process analysis, the appearance of bias is all that's required.

It was a core promise of Gableman's campaign he would not only be biased in favor of law enforcement but biased against criminal defendants. I don't know how even Esenberg could rebut that.

More specifically, one of the notable parallels between Gableman's case and Caperton is the involvement of the business outfit Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, which spent millions of dollars on Gableman's behalf and ran literally thousands of radio and television spots in the weeks before the April, 2008 election disparaging Gableman's opponent for his work decades ago representing criminal defendants.

Rick Esenberg is often presented in the local press as a detached, academic observer, a special favorite of right-wing dissemblers like Charlie Sykes and Patrick McIlheran, and it was in that apparent capacity that he lent himself and Marquette University's prestige to WMC in a video presentation that laid the groundwork for WMC's and ultimately Gableman's notorious attacks on his political opponent.

But Prof. Esenberg's subsequent energetic defenses of the most fanatically and egregiously dishonest of Michael Gableman's supporters did much to detonate that facade of academic disinterest.

* The motions and related documents are available here.

** One of the reasons why Gableman's ethics investigation merits a public hearing — the one his lawyers are seeking to avoid is so that the remaining 81% can learn more about what antics he got up to.

May 17, 2009

Rumsfeld gets religion

In happier times, with a foolish but useful Saddam:

More recently, as an apostle of Jesus Christ:

View slideshow.

GOP to vet federal judge on State questions

As President Obama prepares to name his first Supreme Court justice, conservatives in Washington are making clear that his nominee will face plenty of questions during the confirmation process on the legal underpinnings of same-sex marriage.
So she better start boning up on the Alabama constitution. Unless Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III & Co. can discover an exclusive right to "opposite marriage" in the United States one.

Speaking of potential nominees, here's an exchange that should disqualify Solicitor General Elena Kagan right off the bat:
"Do you believe we’re at war?" Senator Lindsay Graham asked. "I do, senator," she answered crisply.
Any prospective Supreme Court justice would understand that the Congressional authorization for the use of military force is not the same as a formal declaration of war, and reply accordingly.

If Prof. Kagan really believed the United States of America was "at war," surely she wouldn't have barred military recruiters from Harvard Law School in 2004. Would she have in 1943? Unlikely.

But at least Lindsey Graham got the answer he wanted to hear.

May 16, 2009

But they were already sexting with others

That's one way to improve your GPA.

Few have entered Miss Carmichael

(Don't miss comment #3.)

Dazed and unsteady on her feat

Marathon County Circuit Court Judge Vincent Howard's order was particularly ironic — directing medical attention for a woman on trial for refusing to do that for her dying daughter.

More from capper. Pointing to the "irony" is editorializing, for sure, but I found it appropriate. I liked the "feat" typo the best (since edited to "She wobbled and appeared dazed" in an updated version).

Po-Life Wisconsin

Not that abortion will be a central issue in the State governor race,* but at least prominent local GOP dissemblers Sykes and McIlheran can have something else to spin themselves into knots over.

* Or the Republican primary either, as both rivals apparently favor criminal prosecutions for rape/incest victims and their physicians.

I guess sometimes even the Antichrist gets one right.

Obama faces a political reality

Officials said the decision to proceed with military commissions came partly as a result of concerns that some detainees might not be successfully prosecuted in federal courts. They said that questions surrounding confessions made after the brutal treatment of some detainees had become an obstacle. Though some detainees, in so-called clean confessions, admitted to terrorist activities in 2007, they were not given the warnings against self-incrimination that are standard in law enforcement.
That's the nub of it, and I bet "partly" means about 95% partly.

No politician is going to withstand the outrage over a confessed conspirator walking free because he wasn't given an adequate Miranda warning.* Why didn't Obama think of this before? Wasn't he following the last two Wisconsin Supreme Court elections?

Here's a lawyer who pronounces Obama's decision "astonishing" and "mindboggling" without even once mentioning the Fifth Amendment.

* "A milestone of judicial overreaching." — A. Scalia, C. Thomas

May 15, 2009

They shoot carp, don't they?

Apparently. Looks like fun. Damned European fish.

Gableman lawyer vs. Michael Steele

According to, national Republicans are planning an "extraordinary special session" next week to officially rebrand the Democratic Party the "Democrat Socialist Party."

The resolution is, it will be recalled, the brainchild of one James Bopp, Jr., who is currently retained to defend the beleaguered Wisconsin judge Michael Gableman against State ethics charges.
When asked if such a resolution would force Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele to use that label when talking about Democrats in all his speeches and press releases, an RNC member replied: "Who cares?"
You'd think the GOP might be a little more concerned with its own sense of party unity in advance of a ridiculous attempt to tar its opponents as a bunch of Marxist-Leninists. But no.

Meanwhile the leader of the actual Democratic Socialists of America, Frank Llewellyn, appears to have a much firmer grip on rudimentary political theory than does the zany James Bopp:
"It’s objectionable," said Llewellyn, "because they’re giving socialism a bad name by associating it with the Democrats, who are the second-most capitalist party in the world. The election of this president, sadly, hasn’t changed that."
Washington Independent

Dobson: Just throw me in jail now

Evangelical leader gives up the ghost

Two years ago Louie Gohmert, a Republican Congressman from Texas, predicted that a colleague on the House Judiciary Committee could be held criminally responsible under federal "hate crimes" legislation for acts committed which were inspired by the colleague's allegedly making merry with former Justice Department official Monica Goodling's alma mater, Pat Robertson's Regent University.

May 14, 2009

Scott Walker wins the Stanley Cup

County Exec bulges the hemp in OT

But the other night he sucker punched a guy in the face.

There's only two ways courts operate

According to the illustrious Julaine K. Appling:
The ban on gay marriage will stay in place if justices stay away from any "personal agendas" and "interpret the law, and not make law," Appling said.
Or maybe the ban impermissibly contains two separate amendments: one pertaining to marriages and the other to civil unions. One needn't impose any "personal agenda" or make any new law to arrive at that conclusion. Because there's been plenty of law made already.

Earlier: Appling wants gays "charged" with fraud.

Craigslist already pimping again

That sure didn't last long: Glenn Beck seeks writer.

This old sod in a frock

Thinks non-believers are not fully human.

I wouldn't be too hard on him, though, as he apparently can't tell the difference between the capacity to "search for transcendence" (as he puts it) and the varying degrees to which people apply differing evidentiary standards during the said search (such as it may be).

It's that capacity that makes us human, whether we decide to let it be fulfilled or not, through whatever reasoning. And, obviously, non-believers don't deny that capacity. Even this Cardinal has it.

Hate kills the soul

Says Pope.

Popes are fond of speaking in metaphysical terms that simply assume the existence of all manner of non-objective entities, like "hate" and "soul" and "kills."* But I think what B-16 is trying to say here is, in order to better preserve the integrity of one's cardiopulmonary system against — for example — unnecessary adrenaline production, read Sadly, No! and Wonkette instead of National Review Online.

* That a "soul" may be "killed" contains a multiplicity of assumptions.

Dept. of those who can't do, teach

Polish priest publishes sex manual

But no chapter on manual sex.

Danny Gokey burned

Dance Little Sister? What kind of lame, ersatz funk is that? The least they could have done is given him Wishing Well or Sign Your Name.*

Warning: Fromage-infested 80s videos.

* Terence Trent D'Arby, who now goes by Sananda Maitreya, just put out a record called "Nigor Mortis."

May 13, 2009

Wisconsin more like Canada now

Almost. You can't smoke outside in Toronto.

Too good for Washington

Glenn Greenwald on Dawn Johnsen:
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) "is very concerned" about Johnsen's nomination, press secretary Clay Westrope said, pointing to her tenure as the legal director of NARAL Pro-Choice America as a point of concern.
Somebody might want to make it a bit clearer for Sen. Ben Nelson that the manifestly operative word there is "legal."

Women on the web

You know what is a joke? The people who 'skyrocket' into positions as spokespersons for the Right. Most of them can barely string together a coherent thought or sentence. The beauty queen and her 'opposite marriage,' Joe the Plumber and the 'Queers,' Palin and her sentences to nowhere ... they become Right Wing rock stars. Why does the Right hate intelligence and the fruits of a good education?
DeBúrca obj
They don't; it's just that all the intellectuals got old and died.

Can I vomit now?

What's he building in there?

Through May 13, 2009, embattled judge Michael Gableman has authored one majority opinion and one concurrence/dissent.

By this time in 2005, Gableman's predecessor Justice Louis Butler had written four majority opinions, seven concurring opinions, three dissenting opinions, and one opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part. Fifteen written opinions, for those keeping score.

The court seems to have lost a decidedly independent thinker.

What's He Building In There?Tom Waits

May 12, 2009

My story is Alaska's story

Palin, who graduated from the University of Idaho, told The Daily News that it would "be nice to put my journalism degree to work on this and get to tell my story, Alaska's story."
Didn't journalists used to write about other people?

Speaking of journalists, John Yoo also is one now also.

La Crosse County Open Carry Picnic

See you there everybody!

(Watch the video.)

Novel lewd and lascivious defense

'Twas between posed shots on a windy day of which I was unaware.

"It's a good thing I'm not president."

I'll put it to you this way: You give me a waterboard, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.
Jesse the Body.

Gableman tries to avoid public hearing

Patrick Marley* reports:
"The text does not say that offense was committed because Louis Butler succeeded in reversing his conviction," wrote Eric McLeod, Gableman's attorney. "While that may be an inference a given person might draw, the actual statement says Mr. Mitchell 'went on' to commit another offense."
Exists there a vernier caliper capable of measuring the width of that particular slice of baloney?

As I predicted, Gableman would seem to be admitting to the "aspirational" portion of the Supreme Court ethics rule at issue.

And "a given person might"? Would you believe practically every person did, including — most notably — Michael Gableman himself.

That was the whole point of the teevee ad.

Don't drop the ball, WJC.

* Marley appears to be the only reporter in the entire State of Wisconsin following this important story.

The intellectuals "grew old and died"

By the fall of 2008, the face of the Republican Party had become Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber.
Richard Posner.

He forgot "and 'K-Lo' edits the National Review."

May 11, 2009

Pentateuchs duel over immigration

Pastor Phil Haslanger preached:
When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you. You shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
— Leviticus 19:33
Behind Enemy Lines preached:
Deport the law breakers and embrace the law abiders.
From Exodus 20: You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Madison Capital Times (no longer printed on fibers of divers sorts).

E-cigs are latest nut-right cause célèbre

E-cigs? Never heard of them. But I wondered what the heck this
thing was, beside David Hockney's butter tarts:

Thanks to Plaisted, now I know.

Belial intervenes in beauty pageant

James Dobson: Why did you give the answer you did with regard to the affirmation of marriage?
Carrie Prejean: . . . I felt as though Satan was trying to tempt me in asking me this question.

Satan has two assists in his last two games:

He can't be a True Christian™

Limbaugh 20th hijacker "best line of the night"

You shouldn't have been watching anyway

As there was more important business taking place in Washington, D.C. during Saturday's White House Correspondents Dinner:
First Period scoring

Second Period scoring
05:17 PGH Staal (Satan, Orpik)
06:16 WAS Ovechkin (Poti)
14:35 WAS Backstrom (Fedorov, Ovechkin) PP

Third Period scoring
00:51 PGH Fedotenko (Malkin, Letang)
06:27 PGH Cooke (Kennedy, Staal)
15:52 WAS Ovechkin (Backstrom, Green)

First Overtime scoring
03:28 PGH Malkin (Kunitz) PP
Game Six goes tonight at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

(Sorry, Admirals.)

Justice Roggensack's extreme agenda

Here's a profile of Wisconsin's first mother-daughter judicial team, Supreme Court Justice Patience Roggensack and newly elected Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Ellen Brostrom.
Roggensack has been labeled a conservative, a tag she rejects.

"Some people point to Chief Justice (Shirley) Abrahamson and say the court is so liberal," Roggensack said. "But we vote 7-0 on most of the cases that come before us."
Somebody better tell Jefferson County Circuit Judge Randy Koschnick.

During this year's Supreme Court election, Koschnick tossed forth some campaign literature that purported to show Chief Justice Abrahamson "voting in favor of criminal defendants" 60% of the time, whereas Justice Roggensack came in at 17%.

(The embattled Michael Gableman scored a 0%, thus far fulfilling his own promise to be law enforcement's "ally" in the "war on crime," a perfectly appropriate role for any self-respecting appellate judge.)

The figures, according to Judge Koschnick, were supposed to demonstrate Shirley Abrahamson's "liberal activism" and her EXTREME AGENDA (those are Koschnick's all-caps), even though 60% is considerably closer to the arithmetic median than is 17%.

Barring any vacancies* in the meantime, Justice Roggensack is the next high court judge up for reelection in 2013. Justice David Prosser (28% pro-criminal) is next, in 2011. (Thanks, Brett.)

* E.g., Gableman's.

Death of irony, Part n

Imagine if a comedian "joked" that Obama was a terrorist who was guilty of treason — Toby Harnden, The Daily Torygraph
Or imagine if the governor of Alaska was running around the country saying it seriously. Poor little Rush Limbaugh. What has he ever done to deserve being the butt of jokes. He must be so devastated.

May 10, 2009

School board votes on age of universe

Six thousand years is also a fair estimate.

Because if it's any older, it follows that there is no god. Is there a better argument against democracy than local school boards?
Geraldine Miller: Does this open up the fact that you would be able to talk about the literal Biblical interpretation of how old the Earth is?

Barbara Cargill: That's a good question.
Mrs. Cargill's amendment passed 11-3.

Texas: Doomed

Cheney prefers Limbaugh to Powell

SCHIEFFER: So you think that [Colin Powell is] not a Republican?

CHENEY: I just noted he endorsed the Democratic candidate for president this time, Barack Obama. I assumed that that is some indication of his loyalty and his interest.
I know of several liberal Democrats who voted for Ronald Reagan. They're still liberal Democrats. Dick Cheney left office with an 18% "positive" rating. Apparently he's out to lose a few more converts.

WI Supreme Court syllogism head scratcher

Because the majority opinion may be read, mistakenly, as requiring a finding of both the veracity, i.e., truthfulness, of Mr. X and the reliability of the information he provided before a search warrant may issue, I respectfully concur. State v. Romero, 2009 WI 32, ¶66 (Roggensack, J., concurring).
And the foregoing conclusion may also be mistakenly read as stating that Justice Roggensack (along with Justices Ziegler and Gableman) agrees with the majority's affirming Mr. Romero's conviction for selling crack because the majority opinion may be read mistakenly.

If Mr. X, then why? — Aristotle

May 9, 2009

Jim Liban Day

Danny Gokey may be Milwaukee's Steven Tyler.

But Jim Liban is its Sonny Boy Williamson:

Hot Tongue and Cold Shoulder

Hutchinson v. Rosen

Darren Hutchinson, a law professor in Washington, D.C., has escorted The New Republic's Jeffrey Rosen to the woodshed.

All of this began when Rosen posted something of an anonymously-sourced hit piece on Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who many consider a leading candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Rosen's article was nearly universally trashed, and he since published an "update." Prof. Hutchinson concludes:
Finally, after two essays, Rosen still has not analyzed one opinion written by Sotomayor. This glaring omission completely undermines his evaluation of her.
But Rosen was obsessed with one particular footnote.

I don't know much about Sonia Sotomayor myself, but I had watched the oral arguments in Arar v. Ashcroft on C-SPAN several months ago, long before Justice David Souter announced his retirement and Sotomayor became a hot commodity.

Some of the criticism contained in Rosen's original article negatively characterized Judge Sotomayor's demeanor with lawyers and her colleagues, and was based on her participation in Arar.

But Judge Sotomayor wasn't in the courtroom, she was on a video link-up, which made it difficult for her to follow whether the other judges and the lawyers were finished asking and answering questions, so she was interrupting here and there.

And it's hardly any criticism of an appellate judge that they were holding some advocate's feet to the fire by asking penetrating questions. That's both of their jobs.

Unless you're Clarence Thomas.

May 8, 2009

Nut-right darling on "empathy"

If you were German, would you be in favor of a law "to relieve the distress of the German people and nation"? That was the law that gave Hitler dictatorial power.
Also sprach nut-right darling Thomas Sowell.

Too many people are unfamiliar with the expression "Godwin's Law." Therefore I propose the more clearly illustrative, "Designated Hitler."

As in, 'Nut-right fielder Sowell entered the game as a pinch runner while his designated Hitler stepped to the plate.'

Thomas Sowell is, not incidentally, a special favorite of Patrick McIlheran, "one of the most brilliant conservative writers of our era."

By the way, has the Journal-Sentinel hired anyone to counter Patrick McIlheran's bullshit yet? Or has McIlheran ever published a retraction?

Of course not. McIlheran's easy defense is: 'I don't really write anything, I just link to this crap at National Review Online.'

Favre will won't will won't will won't will

Sign with the Vikings. If something.
Snapit: What is the first step again? Denial or despair?
Herb Adderley: Snapit, after denial comes anger.
... it's been a fun step for me personally.

I thought it was a bit of a joke

That some people were pushing for a gay Supreme Court nominee. But apparently it's being taken quite seriously by at least one Republican (surprise!) United States Senator.

Pardon my French, but isn't this the appropriate response to the question of whether a nominee is gay: "Who in the Hell cares."

Neither does Jesus

Listen to "Christian rock."
And who could blame Him.

Christian ska, on the other hand ...
Or: Christian death metal (feat. Cookie Monster).*

* Wafer Monster, that is, in keeping with the genre.

Obama seeks after judicial restraint

Hand had evidently broadened his intellectual horizons; his article showed a heightened empathy for the economic and social arguments supporting a more interventionist role for the state.
— Gerald Gunther, Learned Hand, p. 123
When President Barack Obama mentioned he was looking for judges in possession of "empathy," many political conservatives quickly assumed that empathy was code for "activist." And "activist" in turn is a secret word for "judges who make decisions we don't care for."

The article referenced above appeared in 1908 in the Harvard Law Review, written by Learned Hand, who most observers consider America's greatest judge that never made it to the Supreme Court.

Learned Hand spent his 50-year career as a judge on the federal district and circuit courts in New York, earning a reputation as the very model of "judicial restraint," which we are told by those same conservatives is the conceptual opposite of "judicial activism."

Hand's essay criticized the U.S. Supreme Court for its decision in Lochner v. New York. In Lochner the Court, relying on theories of laissez-faire capitalism, used the doctrine of substantive due process to strike down a law regulating maximum working hours for bakers.

The Lochner majority reasoned that the law ran afoul of a constitutional freedom to make contracts that it discovered somewhere within the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.

The Supreme Court downplayed the "relative strategic advantages of the two parties to the contract," as Hand put it, "of whom one is under the pressure of absolute want, while the other is not."

In other words, Learned Hand's empathy lay to the side of the journeyman bakers, whose interests were protected by their elected representatives, those who had imposed the maximum employee working hours as against the rapacious corporate baking concerns.

While the empathetic Judge Hand leveled more particular legal criticisms of Lochner, his own overarching philosophical concern — as it continued to be throughout his long career — was directed toward the phenomenon of a tiny group of unelected, life-tenured judges capriciously invalidating the democratically expressed will of the people, which Learned Hand regarded as almost a form of tyranny.

Sound familiar? Sounds practically like the late Tom DeLay.*

In opposition to that potential, Hand practiced not "judicial activism" but "judicial restraint," which is precisely the attitude conservatives will tell you they value most in a judge. And in Learned Hand's case, it had quite a lot to do with empathy for the human objects of judicial decisions, a concern which Obama apparently shares.

So when conservatives are ultimately presented with President Obama's forthcoming nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, perhaps they should be careful about what it is they're not wishing for.

* He's not dead yet; I mean in the sense of "late Beethoven."

May 7, 2009

Play him out, keyboard cat!

"The Journal-Sentinel's Patrick McIlheran — one of the most brilliant conservative writers of our era." — Badger Blogger
The other one is K-Lo.

The Christian Perspective

"Obama may have problems believing in the Christian faith."
Concerned Woman for America is Concerned

Whew, now that all that's finally over with, we can get on with the first of the next 364-1/4 consecutive National Days of Not Praying.

A message from the County Executive

WHEREAS, the "American Idol" judges have called Danny "an amazing singer" (Randy), "consistently solid" (Kara), "one of the sexiest voices ever" (Paula), and that he had "brilliant vocals" (Simon) ...
Actual Executive Proclamation.

It's sad that this is what it takes to support local musicians.

The 46-minute verdict

Not surprising. I had occasion to pop into Crystal Keith's trial yesterday morning to see and hear a fair chunk of the State's evidence on the charge of torturing* the 2-year-old sister. It was horrific. The jury had likely reached its verdict even by then.

* That's the reporter's language, but it's apt.

ctorture proponentsists

Evolution of the memos:
One source indicated that at least two of the earlier drafts were "equivocal" and "nuanced" — but noted over time they became "more advocative" of the views of then-Vice President Dick Cheney and others in the Bush administration that aggressive interrogation techniques were necessary to prevent new terror attacks.
Bah, librul HuffPo person. This is no evidence of conspiracy.

Rather, it was purely a progressive application of reason and faith to better apprehend the eternal, divine law, following Thomas Aquinas.

The Roberts Confirmation: A Retrospective

To the extent that the statement is making the basic point ...

(TV Funhouse - QuickTime)

Sessions expresses sympathy for empathy

The newly minted ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee says he "probably" won't try to filibuster Obama's as-yet-unnamed Supreme Court nominee:
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III said the president assured him that he was not going to nominate a "bomb-thrower."
But I think we knew that already. The Supreme Court already has a couple of bomb-throwers in Associate Justices Scalia and Thomas.

The former thinks decisions of the Court can cause Americans to be "killed," and the latter says students can't have any First Amendment rights because they were regularly flogged during the 19th century.

Both of them believe journalist Roxana Saberi, currently imprisoned in Tehran for "espionage," is now a felon for purposes of U.S. law.

New York Times.

Obama first president to actually read Bible

The twits on teevee's "Fox & Friends" were in quite a snit this morning, along with the professional Christians at the National Day of Prayer Task Force, and all because Obama takes Jesus of Nazareth at his word:
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Looks pretty straightforward to me. And "their reward" sounds more than a little ominous, doesn't it. Be very afraid, ye hypocrites.

Local wingnut and prominent Christian James T. Harris writes:
This president honors God with his pen, but his heart is far from Him. Evidently Obama doesn't pray.
"Evidently." That's rich. So Harris is an empiricist now?

And they called it Bush Derangement Syndrome. Who knew Christianity was some sort of public piousness competition.

May 6, 2009

Truth no defense in Establishment case

Farnan [C.F.] asserts that his rights under the Establishment Clause have been violated by a practice and policy hostile toward religion and favoring irreligion over religion. . . .

Corbett stated, "I will not leave [fellow teacher] John Peloza alone to propagandize kids with this religious, superstitious nonsense." One could argue that Corbett meant that Peloza should not be presenting his religious ideas to students or that Peloza was presenting faulty science to the students. But there is more to the statement: Corbett states an unequivocal belief that creationism is "superstitious nonsense." The Court cannot discern a legitimate secular purpose in this statement, even when considered in context. The statement therefore constitutes improper disapproval of religion in violation of the Establishment Clause.
But creationism is superstitious nonsense and there is little else except a legitimate secular purpose to saying so. Corbett is guilty of — if anything — being rude and insensitive, but that's about it.

C.F. v. Capistrano Unified School Dist. (.pdf; 37 pgs.).

Cite it quickly, while it's still good law.