August 29, 2009

Never plead insanity in the Bible Belt

Federal prosecutors in Mississippi told U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate last month that a psychologist had found Christopher mentally incompetent, but the judge ruled otherwise.
Wisconsin man was only fulfilling New Testament prophecy

August 28, 2009

Sanctity of traditional marriage update

Garrido, 58, and his wife were arrested Wednesday in the 1991 abduction of Jaycee Lee Dugard and are suspected of holding her captive in the backyard of their Antioch home ever since. Garrido is believed to have fathered two daughters with Dugard, who is now 29. The girls are 11 and 15.
These people could still get married even after they kidnapped, raped, and held an 11-year-old girl hostage for 18 years. But in Wisconsin we don't let people get married who never kidnapped, raped, and held an 11-year-old girl hostage for 18 years, nor will they ever kidnap, rape, and hold hostage an 11-year-old girl for 18 years.

That is, horrible people may enter the mystical bonds of matrimony, with the government's blessing, but two good people may not get married. And some folks believe the latter shouldn't even be allowed the minimal legal protections and rights of a "domestic partnership."

Including Wisconsin's Republican* attorney general, J.B. Van Hollen, who claims it's a matter of constitutional interpretation, but has yet to explain that much to anyone's satisfaction, other than his own.

And, ironically, Phillip Garrido was apprehended while he was out distributing religious literature. Religion worked for him, I guess.

* True, it goes without saying.

Go home, take your pills, and die

That's how "Obamacare" would have killed Ted Kennedy ages ago, according to leading Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Also, speaking of Republican leaders, "Obamacare" will force some Trotskyite doctor to slice off Rush Limbaugh's prepuce (which has something to do with the "Fairness Doctrine," apparently).

Of course they forget to mention ...

That this is not the situation in Canada.

"I for one don't much care about what right-wing superstitions Americans want to put out there about our Canadian system because ultimately they're the ones who suffer from their own ignorance."

August 26, 2009

A role model for Van Hollen

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen refuses to defend his own State's eminently defensible domestic partnership registry, but here's the tale of a fearless lawyer down south who'll go to bat for an uncommonly silly law with some powerful and compelling reasoning:
A Kentucky judge on Wednesday struck down a 2006 state law that required the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security to stress "dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the commonwealth."

Attorney General Jack Conway defended the law in court, arguing that striking down such laws risked creating a secular society that is wholly separated from religion.
Because until 2005, that Kentucky was a freaking godless Hell.

August 22, 2009

GOP chides Obama for "misrepresentation"

A Republican member of Congress responds to Obama's accusations of phony claims and outright distortions:
"It will destroy the private sector," said Rep. Tom Price.
Make Obama's point much? By the way, didn't Obama and the Democrats just win an election a few months ago? Why do they even bother with the paranoid fantasies of Rep. Tom Price et al?

That courtesy has run its course, it seems to me.

Recommend private counsel to Van Hollen

How about Kingdom Legal Services, Inc.:
However, if people want faith-based legal services, that is what they will receive from Kingdom Legal, including prayer. "If a client wanted to come in and talk about their faith, that's wonderful," Oby said. "And if a client asks us about our faith, that's great, we're going to talk about it and there are no limits and it is client driven."
Holy billable hours, Batman.

"Faith-based legal services" sounds a lot like "Christian Death Metal" (which in turn sounds a lot like faith-based Cookie Monster).

h/t The Sconz, who reveals that Kingdom Legal Services, Inc. is representing some "right wing lunatics" that were allegedly denied funding by the University of Wisconsin.

Van Hollen recusal "strengthens our case"

According to Brian Raum, an Arizona lawyer from the Alliance Defense Fund* spirited in to battle Wisconsin gays:
"I certainly think it helps," he said. "The attorney general's opinion in regard to the [domestic partnership] registry's unconstitutionality may be a positive factor in helping the court to make a decision on this."
Mr. Raum had better familiarize himself with the case law here. There are a number of Wisconsin Supreme Court opinions which address the factors required to show "substantial similarity," and none of them includes for the private views of local politicians.

It won't even be a negative factor.

* "ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith." Except in this case, apparently, in which petitioner Julaine Appling presumes to limit the needs and purposes of gay couples:
The [amendment's] proponents argued that creation, official endorsement, and normalization of such a "look-alike" status would advance the notion that the purpose of forming a couple is more or less limited to the facilitation of the close relationship between, and the felt needs of, its members for as long as it exists, rather than for purposes greater than the relationship itself and the self-directed needs of the individuals comprising it.
The foregoing is pretty much the height of arrogance. As if there aren't already married couples who fail to meet Julaine Appling's extravagantly presumptuous "greater purposes" standards.

What's conspicuously missing from Appling's analysis is where exactly she gets off imposing her personal "family values" on everyone else.

August 21, 2009

Ann Althouse on WI domestic partnerships

Er, what the:
Meanwhile, the state will accept your $115 fee for ... almost nothing ... or nothing at all if it's is too much not nothing and therefore unconstitutional.
Penetrating, especially considering that the constitutionality of the constitutional provision at issue has yet to be fully litigated.

It is said that Ann Althouse teaches ... constitutional law.

Word of God unclear, say Lutherans

True Christians™ fight it out in Minneapolis:
"I believe for me to marry a woman would be wrong — even sinful," said Tim Mumm, a delegate to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America national conference.

"Nowhere in Scripture does it say homosexuality and same-sex marriage is acceptable to God. Instead, it says it is immoral and perverted," observed another delegate.
Wait a minute. They can't both be True Christians™.

YHWH threatens conservatives with giant rotating column of air

"Jesus Christ," wrote John Piper, pastor at Minneapolis’ Bethlehem Baptist Church, "controls the wind, including all tornadoes."

An 11-year-old boy died when a tornado tore through a day camp, officials said Friday as residents across Ontario surveyed the damage a day after the violent storm wreaked destruction.
Thanks, Jesus.

J.B. Van Hollen attacks a statute

For whatever authority his attack is worth:
The legislature has not granted the attorney general the statutory authority to attack the constitutionality of [a Wisconsin statute]. Further, no other constitutional or common law doctrine gives the attorney general such authority. State v. City of Oak Creek, 2000 WI 9, ¶ 1.
That authority being precisely none at all, except Van Hollen is running for reelection, and the gays are always a useful political tool.

Congratulations in advance to the high priced outside help who get the case* thanks to J.B. Van Hollen's principled objections.

* Why is Julaine Appling's attorney Richard M. Esenberg's address listed as Marquette Law School? That's a law office now? But it was nice to bring in those dudes from Scottsdale, AZ to help out. Wisconsin lawyers are all operating at full capacity, I suppose.

Jon Stewart, strict constructionist

Got yer gold plated enema right here.

Funny, I could have sworn 432 was less than half of 1,017. But, there's no need to come prepared. After all, he's only a comedian.

Mighty hermaphrodite

Why won't Wisconsin let Caster Semenya get married?

And in other sanctity of traditional marriage news:
Jasmine Fiore, whom Ryan Jenkins had married in Las Vegas, was strangled and her teeth and nails yanked out, presumably in a hurried attempt to conceal her identity.

Jenkins was among several VH1 contestants, single men with a net worth of at least one million dollars, that expected would-be bride Megan Hauserman "would make the perfect arm candy for any man who can afford her."
Her mutilated corpse was inside a suitcase in a dumpster

How about a campaign to impose some much needed governmentally sanctioned sanctity on all those traditionally married types.

August 20, 2009

Shoot me now

I'm buying Don't Stop Believin' by Journey from iTunes.

Long story.

Mayor's alleged attacker faces some exposure

If this is correct.*

First-degree reckless injury is a Class D felony carrying a 25-year maximum prison sentence. Conviction requires causing great bodily harm plus "circumstances which show utter disregard for human life."

* eta: Ayup (.pdf; 5 pgs.). Sounds like the right charge:
[A witness] saw defendant Anthony Peters strike Mr. Barrett with the club on the back/side of Mr. Barrett’s head. When Mr. Barrett fell to the ground, defendant Anthony Peters continued to strike him in the face and head with the club. [The witness] believed that defendant Anthony Peters struck Mr. Barrett approximately six times while Mr. Barrett was on the ground [with what turned out to be an 18" tire iron].
What a prick. At least Barrett — who, if the criminal complaint's narrative is accurate, is fortunate to be alive — got one shot in.

The nerve of Barney Frank

How dare he "talk down" to that nice lady whose informed opinions must be respected and who called him a Nazi. (She might have been historically accurate and called him an Otto von Bismarckian.)

Question for the day

Does your HMO cover getting punched by the invisible hand?

Calling Mat "Free Exercise" Staver

zOMG, persecution or what:
Des Moines, IA bus driver Angela Shiel, 41, said she was aware her actions could lead to termination when she walked away from her assigned bus on Monday. The bus had an ad for the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers that read: "Don't believe in God? You are not alone."

"I'm not driving that bus with that sign on it. It goes against everything I believe in," said Shiel, a four-year DART driver.
Angela Shiel is an aatheist: She doesn't believe in atheists.

Earlier: Iowa governor was "disturbed, personally" by bus ad

He was also "offended," the poor sod. Hopefully that was the idea.

Papal encyclical may be "naïve or dumb"

Says this guy, bemoaning all that Catholic "peace and justice" crap.

h/t Former Marquette law school "alum blogger of the month" Daniel Suhr, who is concerned that some actual teachings of Jesus Christ might have inadvertently contaminated Herr Ratzinger's otherwise infallible commitment to free market capitalism and union busting.

August 19, 2009

3 : a close union — marriageable adj.

What about the metaphoric use of the word "marriage" to describe everything from corporate mergers to plumbing fixtures? Where are the "defenders of marriage" for that blatant "abuse of marriage"?
Good question.

Although, while you can't put two male pipe adapters together without a nipple, there are butt weld fittings.

August 18, 2009

Yeah right

The family also feels if it had been anybody but Mayor Barrett that stepped in, Anthony Peters would not have been arrested.

"Now it's this big issue," his brother said.
The kid's got problems, that seems evident. Although I'm certain he would have got himself arrested regardless of whose teeth he knocked out with his concealed, extendable baton.*

And he'd better learn right quick that hair trigger violence isn't going to get him any closer to his 14-month-old daughter, but it's bound to take him further away. A long way away.

* Make that tire iron.

Told you so, say conservatives

Sotomayor tries to keep the government from killing a guy.

But, no such luck. Nobody bothered to ask Justice Scalia whether the guy was innocent or not, because Justice Scalia just doesn't care.*

Anyway, if you really need to kill somebody, don't do it in Ohio.

* He won't even listen to Joe Ratzinger, either.

Sanctity of traditional marriage news

Gibson, 53, split from his wife Robyn — mother of his seven children — in April. Just weeks later he went public with his relationship with Oksana before revealing she was pregnant.


Gibson brings the coveted Jesus/NASCAR/Wellbutrin XL tie-in

August 17, 2009


Probable location, one week later, of theoretical liberal protester who showed up at a Bush rally toting an assault rifle and a handgun: Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Probable location, one week later, of actual person referred to in this article: On front page of National Review Online, referenced with word "hero" or "patriot."
Via Sadly, No!

Canadians dissatisfied with health care

They wish it was more like ... Europe.

Also: Fannie and Freddie collapse means fewer dentist visits.

Local wingnut quote of the day

Never mind that [Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett] chose not to intervene physically to defend the woman that was being attacked.
But see:

Mayor intervenes physically to defend woman who was being attacked

So, yeah, never mind that. When you're a local wingnut.

The local wingnut was also surprised that Mayor Barrett hadn't invited his attacker to a cup of coffee and a few choruses of Kumbaya, as that is what's demanded by the liberal activist judges these days.

Fortunately the mayor will recover, which might be more than could be said for the fate of the woman had it not been for his intervening.

Barrett's actions also led to the suspect's arrest yesterday. He'll likely be appearing shortly before a Milwaukee County circuit judge, who will softly sing Kumbaya to the defendant, just like they always do.

In wingnut-world, that is.

August 14, 2009

A Dick Armey of One

Too contaminated even for other lawyers.

And, true to form, Dick Armey blames the press.

"Flight risk," the expanded definition

Which includes Edward Wayne Edwards, who is 76 years old, is five-feet-eight-inches tall and weighs 280 pounds, suffers from diabetes, leukemia, and heart ailments, is on oxygen and moves about confined to a specially constructed wheelchair.*
Wherefore, bail is set at $2 million.

* Rotors by Sikorsky.

The consequences of materialism

And not the philosophical kind:
Lavelle Felton's stepfather, Ken McLean, was told the shooting stemmed from jealousy over his stepson's customized 1976 black, convertible Buick Centurion. McLean said the driver of another customized car pulled up to Felton's car, revved up the engine and took off.

A short time later the driver of the other car returned, firing a gun into the air while a man who had been in that car but now was on foot crept up and shot Felton.
Shot dead.

R.I.P. Les Paul of Waukesha, WI

August 12, 2009

Yes, it truly sucks up there

Although Canada has a population smaller than California, 830,000 Canadians are currently waiting to be admitted to a hospital or to get treatment, according to a report last month in Investor's Business Daily.
Which is 2% of the population, whereas nearly 30% of Americans under 65 were uninsured at some point during the last two years.

Oh yeah, and half the 830,000 are waiting for a death panel.

You just never know, with that Obama!

No one has yet proposed a "death panel" to decide who will get care.
As a matter of fact, it reminds Prof. Esenberg of the time Barack Obama said that "John McCain was willing to fight the war in Iraq for another 100 years of war." That was, much like Sarah Palin's "death panels," also "hyperbolic and demagogic," says Esenberg.

However, unlike Sarah Palin's bizarre meanderings, Obama's characterization of McCain's prospective approval at achieving the centenary of U.S. military presence in Iraq during the "war on terror" — "That'd be fine with me," McCain had said — merits the additional opprobrium of being a "statement [that] was false."

As for Palin's "death panels"? They just haven't been assembled. Yet. In the meantime, the Palin apologetics panels are alive and well.

Further reading: Is Rick Esenberg a serious person?

This week in disorderly conduct

Six naked men. I don't understand. Were the divers on a rescue or an apprehension mission? Perhaps an advisory memorandum is in order.

August 11, 2009

Gableman harassment continues

Live and in person, on September 16 at 10 a.m.

This would be the public hearing that Gableman and his out-of-State counsel have been laboring to avoid, and the above are the three Wisconsin judges selected to preside (although not in the same sense that Gableman "presided over" 9,000 uncontested traffic tickets).

The hearing is a long-awaited development and serves a number of useful purposes, not the least of which is putting Gableman's disgraceful political campaign back in the public spotlight.

Not only did Gableman abuse the electoral process by which appellate court judges are selected in Wisconsin, he placed his own peers and colleagues in the unenviable and awkward position of passing judgment on his undeniably crass political shenanigans.

A comment from Journal-Sentinel reader "tsab4" seems a tad harsh:
What a pathetic man with no morals whatsoever. ... May Gableman's soul burn in the hottest fires of hell.
Gableman faces sanctions, but they're not quite so Dante-esque, and are necessarily limited by law to his earthly, mortal presence.

Court of Appeals Judge Ralph Adam Fine was also on the panel that reviewed the ethics allegations against Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Annette Ziegler. Judge Fine said Justice Ziegler's violations were "not even a blip on the screen" compared to some other cases.
Fine noted that even the best people sometimes make mistakes, adding that a "cup of hemlock" may not be the remedy.
Nor has anyone accused Gableman of corrupting the youth of Athens.

But in Gableman's case, the alleged violations were hardly a mistake. They were the result of deliberate political calculation, and Gableman admitted he afforded careful consideration to the television advertising at issue before ultimately approving its release.

He knew something was not quite right. Yet he forged ahead anyway. Ever since, he's been claiming a variety of privileges in defense of what the Wisconsin Judicial Commission describes bluntly as "lying."

Furthermore, to top it all off, Gableman said he was proud of his political campaign. That alone is a remarkable and telling admission, and very far removed from Justice Ziegler's immediate mea culpas.

Thus should Judge Fine be similarly inclined to compare Gableman's circumstances with those of Justice Ziegler, the result is unlikely to be particularly flattering but rather more than merely blip-worthy.

But was he barking or brandishing?

Brad Krause of West Allis, WI was planting trees, and perhaps the acorns of further litigation.
— Your humble correspondent, 02/18/09
An aforementioned acorn takes root:
Madison Police Department Capt. Victor Wahl, in writing the Spring edition of the department's "Legal Update," said bluntly that [Wisconsin AG J.B. Van Hollen's April] memo made no difference in how Madison would enforce its law.

"First, it is important to realize that the memorandum is advisory only," wrote Wahl, who has a law degree, and "does not in any way restrict the legal authority of officers to take action or of individual prosecutors to pursue charges."
Van Hollen barks out a memorandum
"Cowboys" take sudden heed of civil rights
MKE's Chief Flynn: The fallout continues

Today's Republican talking point

About those death panels:
People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.
An Investor's Business Daily "insight."

Be sure to scream it at Gwen Moore.

August 10, 2009

It's only liberals who mention the birthers

Or so mentions Patrick McIlheran, in the very latest in his series of birther posts. Granted, he should recognize a polemicist when he's shown one. After all, his own photograph decorates his columns.

Citizens may forward McIlheran's blogs to

August 8, 2009

Photo Saturday

click to enlarge
David Johansen, El Mocambo, 1986-ish

Obama is going to kill the Palin baby

If nothing else, Sarah Palin has great political skills, we are assured.

Classy, also. Is it any wonder that "most of the crowd's screams for three-quarters of the evening were incomprehensible"? Because quite a few people actually take direction from the likes of Sarah Palin.

And Sarah Palin takes her own direction from Michele Bachmann.

Once upon a time, wasn't the Republican Party respectable?

It seems to me that part of its ethos used to be based on a general distrust of politicians and their rhetoric. Now it idolizes the most untrustworthy politicians and nut-right demagogues in the country.

This Wisconsin Republican is even too ashamed to admit it.

Absolutely devoid of merit

And you just can't get any more devoid of merit than that.

A birther makes it to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals:
[Previously] we explained that "[d]ismissal of a complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction would only be justified if 'that claim were so attenuated and unsubstantial as to be absolutely devoid of merit' or 'frivolous.'" Having carefully reviewed Mr. Craig's amended complaint, we find that it is "very plain" that his "alleged claim under the Constitution or federal statu[t]es" falls within this "wholly insubstantial and frivolous" category such that federal jurisdiction is not extant.

Mr. Craig has no legally cognizable right to be deemed "the First Legally recognized 'Natural Born American Citizen'" or "the Last" of them.
I would have thought President Tyler the first natural born Citizen (he was the first President born after the Adoption of this Constitution).

Craig v. United States (.pdf; 10 pgs.)

Meanwhile, the birther dentist Orly Taitz got punk'd.

What an astonishing surprise.

August 6, 2009

You know who didn't throw a tantrum?

Norman Rockwell Guy, that's who.

Teach the Controversy!

Church lady lectures Richard Dawkins on biology

Church lady: Speaking of biology textbooks ...
Dawkins: Yes, yes, Haeckel's embryos.
Church lady: No, no, drawings of fetuses in the womb.

Priceless (and clueless).

Next up, Sean Hannity instructs Stephen Hawking in physics.

Word of the day


"I possess skills" — McIlheran

"I'm not gone," assures the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's resident "Pajamas Media" surrogate and all-'round guide to good reading on the web, Patrick McIlheran, who is also not a Nazi.

"Rumors are flying," McIlheran avers, that he's been "dumped," accusing an unnamed "lefty blogger" of "jubilating" at the prospect.

Not exactly.

The Brew City Brawler was reacting to corporate HQ's own news that McIlheran's hard copy column was soon to occupy less editorial hole.

Presumably the jubilating was in hopes that the paper might find something more worthwhile to make up for the missing McIlheran.

More Rick Esenberg, for example, the only human being with a law degree in Milwaukee and environs capable of penning political op-ed pieces, and who Patrick McIlheran wishes he was as smart as.

But we all trust that Mr. McIlheran stays on in his more constructive capacities, like attacking his own paper's ever-dwindling readership.

August 5, 2009

Headline of the day

Shut up, they teabagged

("Shut up, they explained," I believe is one of Chas. Sykes's hoariest clichés.)

On Sotomayor: Koschnick's non-sense

Part Two of Three

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Randy Koschnick has some very harsh words for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

Not only are they harsh, but they're flat wrong. They're also comically uninformed and, ultimately, alarmingly irresponsible coming from a professional judge, one who notably declared himself "more qualified" to sit on the Wisconsin Supreme Court than is its Chief Justice.

Of course Koschnick is simply pandering to a certain right-wing political constituency and he's entitled to his personal views, but at least he might actually read the opinions upon which he pontificates.

More importantly for a judge, he should find out whether they're even good law before celebrating them. Or using his odd misapprehensions of those cases to unprofessionally slag Judge Sotomayor.

On a favorite topic, guns, Koschnick alleges that a recent per curiam opinion of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in which Judge Sotomayor participated "reveals [Sotomayor's] unabashed, open hostility to the Constitutional rights of gun owners."

This is pure, unsupported fantasy, which apparently purports to derive from the Second Amendment case law. Here, Koschnick takes a run at constitutional scholarship:
Despite the unequivocal holding by the United States Supreme Court in [District of Columbia v. Heller] that the Second Amendment actually does guarantee individuals the right to bear arms, in the 2009 case of Maloney v. Cuomo, Judge Sotomayor ruled that state governments do not have to abide by the Second Amendment.
First off, the non sequitur.

Whether the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right — as opposed to a collective one: see Silveira v. Lockyer, 312 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. 2002) — is a separate question from whether it restricts State and local governments.

Thus, Koschnick's reasoning does not follow.

That Heller ruled the 2A protects an individual right has nothing to do with its application to the States, or what the courts call "incorporation." Heller is about gun laws in D.C., a federal enclave, and it did not even engage the question of whether the States have to abide by it — apart from explicitly mentioning that they don't.

It says so right in its famed footnote 23, where Justice Scalia, discussing some earlier Supreme Court decisions, points out two things: 1) that incorporation is a question not addressed in Heller and 2) that "our later decisions ... reaffirmed that the Second Amendment applies only to the Federal Government."

"Only to the Federal Government" = "Not to the States."

But wait, it gets better, much better:
Sotomayor’s position is to the left of even the activist Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which concedes, albeit reluctantly, that Heller prohibits both state and federal interference with the gun rights of law-abiding citizens.
This is an astonishing misreading of both Heller and the referenced Ninth Circuit decision, Nordyke v. King.

Look carefully at what Koschnick is saying: that Nordyke concluded the Second Amendment applies to the States because Heller said so. But that is false. Here is what Nordyke says (correctly) about Heller:
[W]e must decide whether the Second Amendment applies to the states through the Fourteenth [Amendment], a question that Heller explicitly left open.
"Explicitly left open," as in: "Heller did not answer that question." Yet Koschnick confidently informs us that Heller "prohibits State interference" with Second Amendment rights.

It most certainly does not.

The Nordyke court relied on Heller primarily for its recitation and portrayal of historical sources (without — significantly — devoting any effort at direct inspection of the sources and their respective contexts themselves), not Heller's legal holdings.

Indeed, the Ninth Circuit came to its legal conclusion that the Second Amendment applies to the States independently of Heller.*

Not only that, but the holding in Nordyke, which was decided in April by a three-judge panel, has been a legal nullity since the Ninth Circuit granted en banc review of the panel's decision on July 29, nearly a week before Koschnick's celebration of it appeared.

That is, Nordyke isn't the law even within the Ninth Circuit anymore, according to that very court:
The three-judge panel opinion shall not be cited as precedent by or to any court of the Ninth Circuit.
And it may well be overruled, as it's unprecedented for a court other than the Supreme Court to declare a provision of the Bill of Rights incorporated against the States. In that sense, Nordyke might fairly be characterized an "activist" decision.

Which brings us back to Sonia Sotomayor's opinion in Maloney v. Cuomo. In that case, Sotomayor declined to overstep the authority of the Supreme Court on the question of incorporation. And for this Koschnick labels her an "unapologetically liberal activist."

Except Maloney is an example of the very antithesis of "activism." Rather, it's a prime example of what the Constitution calls an "inferior court" deferring to the authority of a higher one. Thus, in deriding Maloney, Koschnick is effectively complaining that Sonia Sotomayor is not enough of an "activist" for his tastes.

Then there is the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which faced the same question in June. Frank Easterbrook, acknowledged as one of the most conservative jurisprudes in the country, also adopted Sotomayor's position (along with two other conservative Republican judges). He even wrote, approvingly, "We agree with Maloney."

Koschnick, predictably, ignores the Seventh Circuit, even though one of the States within its jurisdiction, Wisconsin, is where he works.

Instead, he prefers to cite the case from California, Nordyke, despite its precedential value having been rendered void during the month prior to his declaring its enduring wisdom.

And he misrepresented the United States Supreme Court decision upon which he claims (erroneously) Nordyke relied.

Simply amazing.

Evidently it's appropriate and acceptable for a judge to pull that in an online right-wing echo chamber, but if a lawyer pulled something like it in a judge's courtroom, there'd be hell to pay for lack of candor.

* Nevertheless, Nordyke further concluded that the California gun regulation at issue was not in violation of the Second Amendment.

Perhaps that gang of crazy, wild-eyed, unapologetically liberal activists in San Francisco needed to incorporate the Second Amendment for the sole purpose of upholding another tyrannical State infringement on Randy Koschnick's constitutional rights.

I wouldn't put it past them!

Next: The ex-president and the Chief Justice

Bolton: Return women to NK gulag

Who could have seen that coming!

August 4, 2009

Angry mob wins shouting match

Most of the crowd's screams for three-quarters of the evening were incomprehensible.
What on Earth is the point of all this?

If they're so organizized, why don't they each deliver an insightful question/comment specially formulated by Americans For Prosperity?

I just pray that when one of them strokes out, they have insurance.

Why this here Quesosphere is worthwhile

re: The topic du jour:
Some commendable and effective work by Mr. Jay Bullock.

On Sotomayor: Judge Koschnick's two-sense

Part One of Three

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Randy Koschnick, the conservative Republican who conducted an often unintelligible political campaign against Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson earlier this year, is back, and he seems to be mightily confused.

Appearing as a guest blogger at the highly regarded conservative Republican echo chamber "Boots & Sabers," Koschnick wants to say that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is a "liberal activist" — and he does, ten times — but he's as incoherent as ever.

Beneath the highfalutin rubric "Judge Koschnick Opines on Judge Sotomayor," Koschnick claims that Sotomayor is "nothing short of supremely unqualified and significantly flawed" and alleges that confirming her to the Court would be a collective Senatorial act of "intellectual dishonesty" (the latter was also a charge Koschnick leveled toward Shirley Abrahamson without one iota of support).

Koschnick selects three cases, labels this an "examination of her record," and concludes that, as they all contain "serious defects," Sotomayor's "record" is that of an "unapologetically liberal activist."

Unfortunately Koschnick's sweeping criticisms barely make any sense, especially issuing from a self-described "strict constructionist."

Randy Koschnick might be a good circuit judge and an effective political panderer to the credulous "Boots & Sabers" aficionados, but he's not much of a convincing theorist.

First of all, and speaking of serious defects, it would certainly appear that Judge Koschnick hadn't known that the expressions "felon disenfranchisement" and "felony disenfranchisement" both mean exactly the same thing and are therefore interchangeable.

In some compound legal terms, "felony" precedes another word and acts as a sort of adjective. As in, for example, felony theft or felony battery. These are meant to distinguish from misdemeanor theft or misdemeanor battery — felony and misdemeanor denote the seriousness of the offense, and thereby the potential for sentencing to different periods of incarceration upon conviction.

Then there is felony murder, where an unintended homicide is caused during the commission of some other felony crime.

In all those instances, "felony" describes the offense. Perhaps they are what Judge Koschnick had in mind when he undertook his "examination of Sotomayor's record." (In fact her record consists of thousands of cases. Koschnick "examines" three. But never mind.)

Except that isn't the case with the term "felony disenfranchisement."

Felony disenfranchisement refers to one's losing the voting franchise on account of having been convicted of a felony. Those convicted of felonies are known as felons. Hence the interchangeability of the terms "felony disenfranchisement" and "felon disenfranchisement."

In other words, it isn't the disenfranchisement that's a felony, it's the fact that the disenfranchisement from the privilege of voting kicks in upon conviction of a felony. Many States have such provisions.

(And they are, to say the least, controversial.)

Apparently Judge Koschnick the "strict constructionist" isn't aware of these not-so-subtle semantic distinctions. Koschnick opines of Sotomayor's three-paragraph contribution to a 2006 Second Circuit Court of Appeals en banc decision called Hayden v. Pataki:
In her dissenting opinion, she goes so far as to identify the plaintiff, convicted murderer Joseph Hayden, as a victim of something that she calls "felony disenfranchisement."
Goes what who? She makes an innocuous, descriptive statement.

True, it's something that she calls felony disenfranchisement. She, together with thousands of other judges, lawyers, and scholars. Some of whom, other than Sotomayor, actually use it elsewhere in the Hayden opinions (there are several among its 103 pages).

But Sonia Sotomayor never called Joseph Hayden* or any of the numerous other plaintiffs "victims" of anything, nor did she even remotely suggest that it was the disenfranchisement itself that was a felony, which is clearly what Koschnick thinks she meant.

Or — worse — what he wants the credulous to believe she meant.

That misstep has got to be a little embarrassing for Koschnick, who advertised himself as "more qualified" to sit on the Wisconsin Supreme Court than is its Chief Justice. Moreover, he should have kept at reading Sotomayor's opinion:
It is plain to anyone reading the Voting Rights Act that it applies to all "voting qualification[s]." And it is equally plain that § 5-106 [the New York State statute at issue] disqualifies a group of people from voting. These two propositions should constitute the entirety of our analysis. Section 2 of the Act by its unambiguous terms subjects felony disenfranchisement and all other voting qualifications to its coverage.

The duty of a judge is to follow the law, not to question its plain terms. I do not believe that Congress wishes us to disregard the plain language of any statute or to invent exceptions to the statutes it has created.
Sounds a lot like sentiments that should warm the cockles of any self-restrained, self-described "strict constructionist," do they not?

Indeed, they could well have been authored by Clarence Thomas.

So why did Randy Koschnick choose to completely ignore that passage, which summarizes Sotomayor's view of the case, and instead focus on a term it's not clear he even understood?

Because, obviously, he simply doesn't care for her result.

* No relation, I hope.

Next: Sotomayor is not enough of a liberal activist for Koschnick

August 3, 2009

It was bound to happen

Yes, somebody went and found this blog by googling "homosexual penis super glue." Thanks, Foust.

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ): Priorities

Sarah Palin, who quit her first term as governor of a State with a population roughly that of Winnipeg, Manitoba, is well qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency but Sonia Sotomayor, a federal trial and appellate judge for 17 years, is not suited to a federal court.

Rove "tweets" strong birther denunciation

Re: Obama's Kenyan Birth Certificate: I believe this is likely a forgery.
@KarlRove, apparently not wishing to alienate the crazed.

Sanctity of marriage update

Authorities say Therese Ziemann, 48, punched the married man in the face and glued his penis to his stomach.
Even so, that probably beats getting punched in the penis and then having your face glued to your stomach. If one had one's druthers.

On average, same-sex relationships are believed to reduce the likelihood of penis-gluing incidents by 50%, where roughly half the domestic partnerships are characterized by 100% fewer penises.

And: Wisconsin loses 'Most Progressive Democracy' title to Albania.

Obama was born everywhere at once

This is good: An Ontario birth certificate showing Obama was born in Vancouver (which is not in Ontario) and signed by Dudley Do-Right.*

Best of all, it was filed in a U.S. federal court by an actual lawyer.

* Pictured with his foot on Conrad Black.

This can't be good

Paper let's go copy edtior

August 1, 2009

G.O.P. = Gondwanaland Or Pangaea?

Conservatives baffled by world's most obvious jigsaw puzzle

Nearly eighty percent of Republicans don't believe (47%) or aren't sure whether (29%) the Americas and Africa were once part of the same land mass. Yet for some reason, they consider themselves qualified to interpret other more arcane data, especially when it pertains to climate change or denying evolution.

h/t Playground Politics. In a related development, Glenn Beck "has the number one book in America." Suffering Jesus, preserve us all.

Well, it is a jury of his peers

During today's Dale Neumann deliberations:
2:16 p.m. The jurors asked for a dictionary definition of the word "omission."

"You’d think 1 of 12 would know what an omission is," prosecutor LaMont Jacobson said.
Wausau Daily Herald, which has a series of trial video clips.

Defense testimony excerpted from "Dale Neumann on the stand":
I can't say that I was completely in my right mind in every way.
True, you can't, and not without good reason.
I found myself being convicted. Of disobedience. To the Word. Disobedience to the Word! To the Word of God!
More to the point, convicted of second-degree reckless homicide.
Dale R. Neumann is dead. But Jesus Christ is within me.
No, you're alive and walking around. But an 11-year-old girl is dead.

That dude is scary, and his is some formidable narcissism. These are folks who'd have been better off without religion, no doubt about it.

Can that even be disputed? I don't see how.

Gifts and stiffs

GOP's "Kill Granny" campaign alarms seniors:
The controversy stems from a proposal to pay physicians who counsel elderly or terminally ill patients about what medical interventions they would prefer near the end of life and how to prepare instructions such as living wills.
Shouldn't it alarm estate planners? I thought that was their job.

Shorter Steve Harvey

If the H1N1 influenza virus is evolved from the H5N1 influenza virus, then how come there is still the H5N1 influenza virus?
Bonus shorter Steve Harvey:
If Jesus is not personally speaking with you on a regular basis, then you are an idiot who has no morals. Get away from me.
Who in the hell is Steve Harvey?

Photo Saturday

click to enlarge
St. Andrews, Home of Golf