Friday, September 30, 2005 

Debate Thoughts

I caught hell from a classmate this morning for not having my reaction to the Moss/McAdams debate on here yet. Sorry. I dropped the ball. Between being at school until 9 last night, coming home, and doing my Evidence reading, I wasted 4 whole hours last night sleeping. Next time, I will just stay up all night and post crap on my blog.

Anyway, I thought it was a great debate. It was less about Roberts than I expected it to be, but that was a good thing. Basically, the debate was about the two major Con law theories. Both of the debaters were excellent. I don't think either side could've been represented better. Not surprisingly, I agreed with Prof. McAdams.

The most interesting part of the debate (in my opinion) was the examination of the Commerce Clause by Prof. Moss. I think it's fair to say that he has a very expansive view of the Commerce Clause. He cited Lopez and the Gun-Free School Zones Act as well as Morrison and the Violence Against Women Act as examples of the Court getting it wrong, striking down valid legislation. He argued that guns in schools and violence against women obviously have an effect on commerce. After all, unsafe schools reduce the ability of students to become educated, get skills, and obtain jobs. Also, incidents of violence as well as violent areas and situations keep women from engaging in economic activities. Right?

Sure, if you think that the Commerce Clause can regulate anything. That's what this position amounts to. I can use that framework to link any human activity to commerce. Everything you do can change your economic effect on interstate commerce. Everything you do related to your ability to work productively and spend money in the free market can somewhere down the line have an effect on someone else's bottom line.

The Commerce Clause is in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. It is one small part of a list of enumerated powers given to the federal government by the people. If the Commerce Clause gets to regulate anything even tenuously connected to economic impact, why list the other powers? Many of them would be superfluous. How about the "To establish Post Offices and post Roads" clause? The postal system obviously has an economic impact. Why include that if the Commerce Clause could cover that anyway?

Because the Commerce Clause does not cover that. The Commerce Clause does not give Congress a blank check to regulate anything that money might be involved with. If it did, Congress could do whatever it wanted, only restricted by the limits of their imaginations. The federal government is one of limited, enumerated powers. It does not have the police power. The expansive view of the Commerce Clause is just an attempt at a federal police power.

But hey, I'll play along. What activity could I regulate under this liberalized Commerce Clause... I bet (approximately) 42 million abortions since 1973 has had an effect on interstate commerce. I'm sure all of those once potential consumers and producers would have had an effect on national economics. I'd be willing to bet the effect would be greater than that of a federal gun ban near schools. Maybe if Roe and Casey are overturned, a Republican controlled Congress would do just that. See what happens when you play fast and loose with the Constitution?

Thursday, September 29, 2005 

Hey, Senator Schumer

Sit and spin.


Misc. Supreme Court Post

The previously mentioned debate is tomorrow at the law school. Ok, it's today technically since it's 1:30 AM. No rest for the wicked.

The Moss/McAdams debate on the soon-to-be Roberts Court happens at noon. Honestly, I'm not sure what to expect. It's a little tough to debate a currently non-existent court. No one really knows what Roberts will be like as Chief. We can all theorize and that's fun, but it's all speculation. I guess previous decisions can be discussed, the committee hearings can be examined, and Roberts' writings can be critiqued. But whatever the professors decide to focus on, I'm sure it will be interesting.

I'm getting to school early tomorrow to finish my afternoon reading so I can attend this. I could cross my fingers and hope the debate ends with enough time to squeeze in the reading before class, but that's going to be a race with the devil. There is another Supreme Court discussion called "Forecasting October Term 2005" on 10/6. Profs Czarnezki, Rofes, Oldfather, and Hylton will discuss some of the big cases the Court will hear. That should be interesting. And there's free food. Free food puts asses in the seats.

When I have time, I'll run through the cases that the Court already granted cert to. I would've done it Tuesday when they were announced but I was busy dealing with "the ugliness." I know there is at least one campaign finance case in there. C'mon, Court. Drive an oak stake into the heart of that abominable restriction on free speech. I also read somewhere that the Solicitor General has asked the Court to examine partial birth abortion laws next Spring. Stenberg v Carhart was 5-4, and O'Connor was the fifth vote. Her replacement will be on the Court by then. If Kennedy doesn't get jittery and Roberts and Justice X are who Bush thinks they are, I think the partial birth abortion bans could be upheld. Then NOW, Ralph Neas, and Nan Aron have a mental breakdown.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 

This is Just Beautiful

About a week ago, I made a post concerning blogs in general. I said that the blogs on my blogroll are ones that I check daily. Well I do read other blogs. Occasionally, I will scan the links of my favorite blogs and check a few out once a week or so. I do that on John McAdams' blog a lot. I read Charlie Sykes' blog once a week (I don't really like him that much), I check out the MU Federalists' blog, and I see what my fellow MU students are up to. What did I find while making my weekly rounds? Check out the 1832 blog, this post in particular.

This is a post by Espana, the "anonymous" new member of the 1832 team. It criticizes another MU student blogger for being racist in his posts. There are no links to the offending posts and only two partial quotes of the offending language. I don't know the other student blogger and am far too lazy and uninterested to look through all of his posts to find the ones in question. So I can't really speak to whether he is a racist or this is an accurate portrayal of his views. Now, I have no problem with one person criticizing the views of another. But I think it is downright gutless and cowardly to call someone a racist and then hide behind a fake name.

But wait, there's more. Someone at 1832 screwed up. I'm sure they will catch the mistake and edit the post but let me memorialize it here. From what I can tell, this post was an e-mail originally. And through a shoddy copy/paste job, the entire contents of the e-mail were posted, including this...
From: Bray, BrentSent: Tue 9/27/2005 11:06 AMTo: Michel, AmandaSubject:
Racism Permeating from Marquette College Republicans' Ranks


This is a wonderful example of why I have no desire to get involved in politics on the Marquette campus. It's back and forth mudslinging. It's name calling. It's childish. It's a lot like Washington DC. Grow up, kids. Play nice. Or if you're not going to play nice, at least have the guts to sign your name to your accusations.

EDIT: Damn, I'm good.

EDIT 2: They even added links. Unfortunately, I am too lazy to click on them and read the material (and I just don't care much about this anymore). But this proves one thing. I get results, and I don't even have to get off of my chair in Raynor.

EDIT Tres: The link in EDIT stopped working. It looks like the URL was changed yet again. That must be a coincidence. Don't worry, it's fixed now. Check out the comments and see Ryan Alexander get all Adlai Stevenson on Joseph Kastner. I'd discuss this more, but the whole thing is giving me acid reflux. Also, it's just lame, and I'd rather be reading my homework than this garbage.

Gee, I wonder where he got that line about calling someone who hides behind a fake name a coward...

FINAL EDIT: Prof. McAdams has taken up the torch on this, so I'm pretty much done. He knows more about the parties involved and has much more patience than I do. I can't stand spending another minute on this train wreck. This whole thing is pathetic.

UN-FINAL EDIT: Ok, I'm just annoyed now. The URL for the post was changed again. I'll leave the old one in EDIT and put the new one here. See, this one is The old one was Something tells me that this is more than 1832 tweaking their word usage. I guess they don't want me linking the contents of their original post to their modified post. I'll just keep changing the link.

1832 should come clean about the original post. Explain what you originally posted on your blog, explain why it was wrong to level an attack at someone from behind a fake name, explain why there were no links originally, explain why you changed it. Or you can keep changing the URL. Either way, I'm annoyed enough by this to keep it up.

LATE NIGHT EDIT: Now the post is entirely gone from the 1832 site. I guess they threw in the towel. Don't worry, 1832. I'll keep my post up. Maybe I won't update for a while either, so it stays right on top. I wouldn't want anyone to miss this.

DAY 2 EDIT: I think this whole fiasco is over. The post is back up here with another new URL. There is an apology about the whole situation here. I still question the URL changes, since a few of them happened when no editing of the post itself occurred. I also still question why Brent Bray was posting this accusation under a fake name. But I'll just leave it at that.

Re-reading my post, I can't keep from laughing at the absurdity of this whole thing. I don't care at all about campus politics. I'm not involved in groups. I don't go to meetings. I don't care much about what the various factions post on their blogs. But if something similar to this happens again, I'm going to call you on it. I'm in law school; I sleep three hours a night. I'm up. I'm going to catch every unsigned attack, every URL change, and every deleted post. Behave and you'll never have to deal with me on your case again.


Nominee on Friday?

That's the rumor.

Let's get this over already so I can stop reading endless amounts of crap about appeals court judges. It's fun to speculate but after a while, you just want a name. I think that the president's mention of diversity is not a head fake. It's a statement that the nominee will be a woman or racial minority. It would be nice if the best person for the job got the nomination, regardless of reproductive organs or melanin. But this is politics, and politics are rarely fair.

Here's my list...

Who I would nominate: Michael McConnell
Who would be the most entertaining in the Judiciary Committee: Alex Kozinski
Who everyone thinks it will be but won't: Alberto Gonzales
Who should've been on the Court fifteen years ago: Edith Jones, Richard Posner
Who I think it will be: Karen Williams

And I bet I'm going to be wrong on the last one. It's just too hard to call.

Monday, September 26, 2005 

Judge Sykes

My favorite dark horse candidate for the Supreme Court has been talked about quite a bit today. Confirm Them has a post about her and her name has popped up a lot in the comments about Gonzales too. Here's my favorite comment:
Sykes only graduated from Marquette (1984), although she does have the advantage of appealing to the two Democrats from Wisconsin on the Judiciary committee.
ONLY graduated from Marquette?! Ouch, that hurts. Someone else mentioned that Marquette is not exactly a prominent law school. It's true. We are no Harvard or Yale. But maybe that's a good thing. I think the Supreme Court could use more of variety as far as educational background. Maybe it's just my personal bias, but I think we non-Ivy Leaguers are a little less arrogant about our roles in judiciary. I think it has to do with getting by on our abilities and not on our big name school (Okay, this is mostly all personal bias and jealousy).

I would love to see Judge Sykes on the Court. Not only because it would boost the name of MULS, but because she's a great judge. I've been very impressed with her opinions. I'd be very surprised if she was nominated now because of her relative lack of experience as a federal judge and her age. I think it's more likely that she would be nominated in a few years. She'd be a great replacement for Ginsburg or Stevens, and she would shift that vote firmly to the right. The interesting part of her nomination would be the reaction of our two senators. Both Kohl and Feingold gave Sykes glowing support when she was nominated for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The cynics among us (me included) think it was just to get her off of the WI Supreme Court and let Doyle appoint a much more liberal judge to replace her. And that's exactly what happened. Would the senators change their tune if President Bush wanted to give Judge Sykes a promotion?


LGF Protest Slide Show

Protests are incredibly entertaining to me, and it's not just because I am a huge supporter of the 1st Amendment. I love people watching, and everyone knows that protests are people watching goldmines. Here are a few of my favorites...

There is no way this guy is a vegan. You cannot get that fat on soy and tofu.

It's good to see that the racial supremacists of MEChA were in attendance. Their slogan is "Por la Raza todo. Fuera de la Raza nada." That's "For our race, everything. For those outside our race, nothing."

"Stop the war on the Iraqi people."
Too bad they weren't saying this to Saddam.

This guy wants everyone in the flood regions to drown and never have their homes rebuilt.

It's not a protest without Lyndon LaRouche.

Here are some nurses not volunteering their time at free clinics.

I don't even know where to start...

This guy should ask the AIDS patients in Cuban jails or the prisoners in the Soviet gulags how they liked the results of their "workers' revolution."

Thanks for the show.

EDIT: Oh God. LGF has pictures of some of Cindy Sheehan's protester friends from today. They decided to take their clothes off as part of their protest. Take a look if you're brave. I almost puked up my chicken salad pita.


Cato on Big Government

David Boaz of the Cato Institute has a great article about the failures of big government. Boaz also points out the irony that people keep calling for more and bigger government after the current scheme fails. Something doesn't work? Let's throw a bunch of money at it. Big agencies and bloated bureaucracies failed to get the job done? Better increase their budgets and give them more power. Yeah. That works.


Judge Batchelder Speech

Judge Alice Batchelder of the 6th Circuit gave a speech concerning the role of the judiciary at the Ashbrook Center.

She is one of the names being batted around for the Supreme Court, so this might be worth listening to. I'm sure the White House paid close attention to it. It's a little under an hour but worth your time. Like you've got anything better to do anyway.

Sunday, September 25, 2005 

Congratulations, War Protesters

Good job on your massive waste of time and resources this weekend. It was especially nice of you to use your buses and cars to burn tons of fossil fuels on the way to DC. A big shout out to the environmentalists in the group. You really stuck it to The Man this time.

Seriously, folks. I want every group involved in the DC protest to do the following when they get home or back to the commune or wherever. Add up all of the money you spent on this protest. Add up all of the time that was spent preparing or at the protest. Look at those figures and then think for a minute. Ask yourself if this was an efficient allocation of resources.

You know, you could've taken all that money and time and invested it into something that might actually matter, like winning an election or two. Maybe, just maybe, it's more worthwhile to support a candidate for office with sufficient funds and infrastructure than it is marching around The Mall for a weekend. I seriously doubt that there is a person in this country whose mind was changed by the protest. If that is true, then what was it all for? Your personal gratification? That's pretty selfish if you ask me.

You gotta win one when it counts. You need to find a candidate that has concrete, appealing ideas (not just "I'm not Bush"). You need to support said candidate with your time and money. Realize that your time is best spent being a rational and reasonable advocate for your position/candidate, not a sign waving, slogan chanting, neo-hippie. You know how I know I'm right about this tactical decision? Because the anti-war protest movement didn't get their candidate elected last time. McGovern got his clock cleaned.

Bush has his two terms. No amount of kicking and screaming will change that. So focus on the future, plan ahead, and stop fighting your chosen boogeyman who's not running for office again.

Why would I give you all of this advice on how to win when I don't support you? Cause you won't listen to it anyway.

Saturday, September 24, 2005 

Feeling Low

You want to know what makes me really depressed? Talking about the Constitution with a group of friends/random people. A common belief is that freedom of speech only covers speech that you approve of. I'd go into this deeper but it would just make me more upset. Basically, everyone needs to sit down and read the Constitution before I start studying necromancy and raise James Madison from the dead to kick some ass.


Written Questions

In case you just can't get enough of Judge (soon to be Chief) Roberts, here are the links to his responses to the written questions from the committee members. Some of the questions are good, but most of them seem like a rehashing.

Link, Link, and Link


Septembeer Fest

Myself and a group of 7 others headed down to the Oak Creek Community Center for the 10th annual Septembeer Fest last night. It's a South Sider's version of a wine tasting, except no one spits into buckets. Basically, a whole bunch of breweries and importers set up booths. You walk up with your trusty Septembeer Fest Pint Glass and ask them to give you a sample of whatever beer you're interested in. They pour you about 4 drinks worth, you drink it, you move on. In theory, this is a great way to try new beers, expand your horizons, and learn what you'll like before you spend money on it. In theory. At about 45 minutes into this thing, my tastebuds checked out for the night. I managed to try quite a few that I could taste and make a solid judgment on as far as quality.

Unfortunately, I woke up with probably the worst case of sewer mouth that I've had in months. Combining porters, bocks, white ales, pilsners, and my dinner from Oakland Gyros resulted in the funkiest morning after breath I've ever had. It smells like there is a tannery in my mouth. I think I'm going to spend the rest of the day trying to get this taste out of my mouth. And I think it's safe to say that I'll be staying in tonight. I've done enough damage for one weekend.

Friday, September 23, 2005 

Tramp Stamp

It was suggested that I make a post concerning the tramp stamp, so here it is. I'm also going to discuss a few more female issues. By the end of this post, the reason for my perpetual bachelorhood will be crystal clear.

A tramp stamp is a tattoo on the small of a girl's back. It's usually a sun, something tribal, or a bunch of stupid jumping dolphins. The tramp stamp is normally visible when the stampee is out for a night on the town. She is usually wearing a top that doesn't come close to covering her midriff area, and it will ride up (like her thong) further if she does anything more than twitch. The tramp stamp is an important part of the college-aged bar mating ritual. It is a signal to the meathead, date rapist, PBR drinkers that the stampee is lookin' for lovin'. I'm not saying that every girl with a tattoo on her back is a tramp. But it's more likely than not that a tramp has a tattoo on her back. If you want to see a tramp stampee in her natural habitat, head down to Water St on a Friday night. There will be packs of them searching for free drinks, music to dance sluttily to, and a guy with a hemp necklace to take home for the evening.

A few more observations...

-I've seen many girls on the Marquette campus wearing shorts with words written on the ass. If you have something written on your butt, I'm probably going to read it. That means I will probably be staring at your butt for at least 30 seconds. You have no right to act offended. You have made your ass an attractive nuisance.

-The words on the shorts are usually something like "Princess" or "Angel" or something similarly innocent. The fact that you have words on your ass probably means you are neither a "Princess" nor an "Angel." You are probably someone in dire need of attention. I plan on fighting fire with fire though. I'm getting a pair of pants with the word "Gentleman" across the crotch.

-If you are a waitress at Haggerty's and you are hot and you run your hand across my back and shoulders every time you walk past me and you call me "beautiful" and you think this will get you more tips, you're right. It will. I was two beers away from signing over my savings account and stocks to you. Keep up the good work.


Clash of the Titans

I saw a flyer in the lounge that said that Prof McAdams is going to debate Prof Moss (of the law school) about the Roberts Court and its future. I will reorganize my schedule so I can attend this. I would be able to tell you the date but I just got home so things are a bit blurry. It's at noon in room 307 in the law school though. I remember that much. I'll edit this post with the details. EDIT: It's on the 29th.

I am hereby offering my services to Prof McAdams as far as this debate. Research, tactics, whatever. (I'm joking. McAdams certainly doesn't need my help in this) I have a pretty good idea how Prof Moss will approach this, so I know where to get him on it. It will be a lot of "oh our labor/privacy/blah blah rights will be gone." You know, those "rights" that are nowhere in the Constitution but a handful of judges injected them? Yeah, those. Just defer to the text. That's what I always do. Ask where exactly that "right" is. Then it's all "Uh, well, uh, penumbras and uh, well it should be there!" I wouldn't expect that kind of befuddlement from Prof Moss though. He's a pretty sharp guy, he knows his stuff, and he's a lawyer. Lawyers like debating and arguing. I expect this debate to be pretty damn good.

The crux of this is that nothing much will change with just Roberts added to the Court. Nothing much will change with a conservative replacement for O'Connor. The change will come if Stevens or Ginsburg retires. Then there is an actual shift. Until then, it's just "the sky is falling" Ralph Neas BS. I really don't like Ralph Neas. Can you tell?

Well I have class in a few hours. Time to get ready for bed. Septembeer Fest is tomorrow night (I think) so I should have a story or two about that. Beer tastings are the new wine tastings. If I don't end up going, I'll just describe something interesting in my room. You'll read that. Right? Right?

Thursday, September 22, 2005 


I would normally have 3 classes tomorrow, and my day would start at 10:30 AM and end at 8:15 PM. I'm actually there earlier than that and usually hang around a little later. It can easily be a 12 hour day. My two earliest classes are cancelled tomorrow, so I have to show up for class at 7 PM. I plan on going down to Marquette earlier, just to get some work done. I figure that I can read for Health Law, do my Evidence assignment for Friday, and make an attempt at finishing my NEPA stuff for Environmental Law. I have another class cancelled this week too. It's great. Not that I don't love my professors or anything, but this gives me a chance to really get ahead (catch up) on my readings and review my notes. This has been by far the least stressful week of the semester.

I'm not sure when it's on, but I plan on watching the Roberts committee vote. I'm interested to see who ends up in the Leahy camp and who ends up in the Reid camp. I think that the Reid camp (even at this early point) is full of partisan hacks who will oppose ANY nomination that Bush makes that is right of center. I've said it before but it's true, Bush could resurrect Blackstone and nominate him. Ted Kennedy would still vote against him. Where does Kennedy get off passing judgment on anyone? He's a drunk and should be in jail.

Speaking of timing, I'm wondering if the next nomination will be soon. I hope it is soon, so I can stop posting about it. I can't help it; people who are into the Court love this stuff. I think that the earliest the name will come is the day after Roberts is sworn in. There are tons of names being thrown around. McConnell and Luttig seem to be the choices of the base. McConnell is more of the legal scholar choice than Luttig though. Karen Williams' name has been popping up more and more. Her opinion on a recent Pledge of Allegiance case has gotten a lot of attention. Clement and Jones still have their supporters. Garza seems like the lead Hispanic candidate. I think that Brown and Owen would both be filibustered. The Gang of 14 deal would collapse like a house of cards if either one of them were named. I'll go on the record right now with my desired pick. Michael McConnell. I'll probably be happy with whomever it is, but I'd take him before the rest.

If you want some entertaining reading, check this out on Prof. McAdams' blog. Marquette administration stonewalling?! I'm shocked! What is it about universities that breeds this kind of crap? I have no problem with them inviting some pro-PLO, anti-Israel professor/author/poet/activist/blowhard, but at least have a balanced panel. A four person panel with four panelists of the same opinion is insane. That's not a discussion; that's a circle jerk. Remember when universities were places of intellectual debate and discussion? Yeah, me neither.



Something interesting from Volokh...

Ginsburg's statement about her list and how she wants a woman is not the important part of this. Here is the real meat of what she said:
There are "some women who might be appointed who would not advance human rights or women's rights," Ginsburg told those gathered at the New York City Bar Association.
This is how Ginsburg and many other judges see their role. They think that they should be "advancing rights." A lot of Democratic senators said the same thing during the Roberts hearings. I think that is absurd.

She is not a legislator. She should not be making policy in this way. She sure as hell shouldn't be actively looking for new or expanded rights in the Constitution. It says what it says; it means what it means. Ginsburg's judicial philosophy is embraced by liberals almost without exception. It's a way to get a particular result without all of that messy democracy and public debate. That's fine and all, but remember this, my loose originalist friends. The door swings both ways. Someday, you will not have control of the Court and conservatives with the same judicial philosophy will begin "finding" rights too. They probably won't be the rights that you agree either. Maybe they will find that a fetus is a human being and therefore entitled to 14th Amendment protection.

That is the danger of this judicial philosophy. It gives the individual judge too much power to interject their personal policy preferences into the Constitution. When that happens, the Constitution becomes meaningless. Our country then becomes a judicial oligarchy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 

The Vote So Far

I feel like I should expand on my previous post. So far, Kennedy, Kerry, and Reid have all said that they will vote no on Roberts. This is a stupid move, both on its face and politically. I think I've already made the case for why it's just stupid as is. Roberts is hyper-qualified for the job. There probably isn't anyone else who would be better (though maybe a few who would be as good). Saying that Roberts isn't right for the job is just being detached from reality. It is just crybaby crap from people still bummed out over 2004. Bush won the election. He gets to name people to the Court. Tough.

The political aspect of this is even more interesting. Sure, they are making their foaming-at-the-mouth base happy by voting no. Good for them. But who cares? You think Ted Kennedy has to worry about a challenger in the primary? They also avoid attacks from the interest groups, like the recent attack from that muppet Ralph Neas on Leahy who is voting yes. Again, who cares? No one but Ralph Neas cares what Ralph Neas thinks. Leahy is the smartest one of the bunch so far. He's voting yes. He's on record as a "fair guy" and willing to give Roberts the benefit of the doubt. Then here comes the next nominee... Now Leahy's got cred to use. He can say "Whoa, I voted for Roberts cause he's worthy of the job, but Nominee X is too extreme, too much of an ideologue, too out of the mainstream." He doesn't look like a kneejerk partisan like Kennedy, Kerry, and Reid. Leahy ends up being the guy in the position to lead the obstruction. That still makes him a slug, but he's at least being smart about his sluggery.


An E-mail

Dear Friend,

Monday, I shared with you my Brown University speech setting out what needs to be said and done at this critical moment for our country. Today, in that same spirit of clarity and conviction, I want to tell you how I will vote on the nomination of John Roberts to serve as Chief Justice of the United States.

I will vote against this vitally important nomination.

Win or lose on this vote, it is essential that we act on our deepest convictions. And I refuse to vote for a Supreme Court nominee who came before the Senate intent on demonstrating his ability to deftly deflect legitimate questions about his views, opinions and philosophy.

John Roberts owed the American people far more than that.

If he is confirmed - and he may well be - the Roberts Court will shape the course of constitutional law for decades to come. It will decide dozens of cases that will define the depth and breadth of freedom in America - our commitment to civil rights, our dedication to civil liberties, our devotion to privacy and a woman's right to choose.

With that much at stake, Judge Roberts needed to show us where his heart is.

Instead he recited case law and said little about what he really thought. He needed to engage the Senate Judiciary Committee and the American people in a genuine conversation. He failed that test. And, while I recognize that other members of the Senate will legitimately make a different choice, I will vote "NO" on the Roberts nomination.

Click here to read excerpts from the statement announcing my position on the Roberts nomination. I urge you to read them - and, whatever the outcome of the Roberts vote, I encourage you to join me in insisting on a far more complete and extensive process on the critical nomination President Bush must now make to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Please contact your Senators now. Tell them where you stand on the Roberts nomination and tell them that you insist on full, fair, and forthcoming hearings on the person George W. Bush puts forward for the pivotal seat now occupied by Justice O'Connor.


John Kerry
Senator and Bag Full of Douche

EDIT: Make that two e-mails
Dear ,

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is the most important judge on the most important court in our country, responsible for protecting and upholding the rights and freedoms outlined in our Constitution. I have carefully reviewed Judge John Roberts' testimony and listened to him give unsubstantial, boilerplate answers and avoid answering even the most basic questions about his own views today.

Based on everything I have seen and read from Judge Roberts' work in the Reagan Administration, his past opinions, and his most recent testimony, I wanted you to be the first to know that I must oppose his nomination to be our country's Chief Justice.

I do so because we do know the views and positions he took prior to the recent hearings. Judge Roberts opposed efforts to remedy discrimination on the basis of sex and race. He opposed measures to protect voting rights. He denigrated the right to privacy and a woman's right to choose. He wanted to allow Congress to strip away courts' jurisdiction over controversial subjects.

Although he has presented himself as a supporter of judicial restraint, I do not see enough evidence that Judge Roberts would show restraint when his own political commitments are at stake. In light of his past positions, I believe he had an affirmative obligation to make the case to those who might confirm him that he repudiates the positions that he had previously advocated in his professional career. He made a choice and refused to meet that obligation. I cannot support someone who I am not convinced will preserve the liberties and freedoms that are enshrined in our Constitution and our laws.

Please join me in fighting for the principles and values that each of us cherish. Contact your Senators and tell them to vote no on Judge Roberts' nomination.

John (Edwards)
Non-senator and Not Worth Listening To


Get on the McConnell Train

I'm on, Hugh Hewitt's on, and Orin Kerr from Volokh is on too.

I made a post not long ago about McConnell and why he would be a great but unlikely pick. Kerr's post is a hell of a lot better than mine and well worth reading. Take into account this from Powerline, and maybe McConnell is back on top of the short list. If the White House is worried that their top female candidates can't stand up to a filibuster or the "blood bath" of the committee, then McConnell or Luttig might be the only alternatives. Both of them are afflicted with white male disease, but that's a small political price to pay. I think Bush supporters will be more happy with someone like Luttig as opposed to Owen (who will be filibustered) anyway.

With Sen Reid saying that he will vote against Roberts, it has become clear that the Democratic leadership has lost its damn mind when it comes to judges. Roberts is the best Justice that Reid can hope for from a conservative president who is determined to nominate conservative judges. Opposing him just makes Reid look cracked. Hell, even the LA Times and the Washington Post, two papers not known for being conservative, endorsed Roberts. Here's how the Times editorial began...
"It will be a damning indictment of petty partisanship in Washington if an overwhelming majority of the Senate does not vote to confirm John G. Roberts Jr. to be the next chief justice of the United States."
Reid is stuck on stupid.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 

What Am I?

I know it is cliche, but I hate political labels. It's mostly because I don't think there is one that accurately describes what I believe. I've been reflexively labeled a "conservative" by many people simply because I voted for Bush twice (that's one vote in two different elections). I really don't fit that definition. My Saturday nights are closer to George W Bush circa 1975 than George W Bush circa 2005. I can count the number of church services that I've been to on one hand. There aren't a lot of social issues that I care much about. I'm conservative (read as "cheap") with my money, but that's about it.

I get labeled a Republican too, also because I voted for Bush twice. Well, I'm not. I've never joined a political party and probably won't ever. I prefer my individuality. I also think the Republicans are wrong often. I've never tallied up all the major issues of the day, but I think they get a lot of stuff wrong. Their saving grace (at least in regards to my vote) is that the Democrats are wrong on just about all of the issues. I followed the 2004 election very closely, and I can't think of one instance where I thought Kerry had a better position on an issue than Bush (Kerry took both positions a lot though, so it was confusing at times).

I think it's pretty obvious that I've never been called a liberal or a Democrat. I believe that you should keep the money you earn, that you know how to best spend your money, that the government should be as small as possible, that the Constitution means what it actually says, that socialism is morally wrong, and that personal responsibility is important. I also believe that oral sex is sex. So I don't get stuck with those labels ever.

Philosophically, I'd say I'm a libertarian. Do whatever the hell you want, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else or interfere with their rights. And leave me alone while you're at it. I can run my life just fine without you, some agency, and/or some bureaucrat sticking your noses into my business. It doesn't "take a village," especially when I never asked for the village's input. I've been asked why I don't vote for the Libertarian party. Well, I think some of them are kind of nuts. Their foreign policy (basically political but not economic isolation as based on George Washington's farewell address) is pretty unworkable right now. We are too much of a world player to just pull back and expect everything to be peachy keen. And honestly, you have to vote strategically when you live in a swing state. I could've voted for Badnarik if I thought Bush would win the election (I didn't think he would).

Even when Bush disappoints me (like on spending, immigration, making government bigger), I still know my vote was right. Why? My "why" spent the last week in a Senate committee room, answering questions from a bunch of idiot politicians. Judges and, more importantly, Supreme Court Justices appointed by Republicans are so much better than the ones appointed by Democrats. There have been some screw ups (Souter) but I will take Rehnquist and Scalia over Ginsburg and Breyer any day. And if you don't understand the power that those 9 people have, you need to read a few cases. They make the final call on legislation and Constitutional rights. They have incredible power and they are there for life. Four years as president, 6 years as senator, and 2 years in Congress are nothing compared to that. Until we as a nation stop giving all of our big decisions to the Supreme Court, I will cast my vote with this issue at the head of my list.

So what am I? Tired and going to bed.


Root, Root, Root for the Liberals

From Volokh (cause I steal all their good stuff)...

Justice Stevens at the ballpark.

I'm not shocked that he's a Cubs fan. An expansive view of Congressional power under the Commerce Clause, a broad definition of standing, a limited scope to state's rights, what's one more lost cause to add to the list?

PS: Retire next year please.

Monday, September 19, 2005 

You're My Boy, Bill

From Volokh

College freshman Dana Rehnquist was on her way to dinner with her brother and grandfather one night a few years back when the grandfather, a big movie buff, announced that he had just seen a "really raunchy" film.
He loved it so much, he said, that even when his disgusted friends wanted to get up in the middle and leave, he ordered them to stay put.
The chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, it turns out, was professing his admiration for the frat-house film Old School.

Did the Chief appreciate Luke Wilson's character who was a real estate attorney? I certainly did. The Chief was a pretty funny guy. During the Burger Court, he brought into conference an issue of The National Lampoon that contained a picture of the Justices engaged in uh, provocative acts. Burger didn't find it funny.


Novak: Roberts Wins Big

Bob Novak's column about the Roberts confirmation hearings makes some good points.
"If this were a fight, the referee would have stopped it," Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told me in assessing the Schumer vs. Roberts confrontation.
I don't always agree with Graham, but this is a great line and he did a great job during the hearings.
Beyond their legal duel, the outcome should set a new standard for Supreme Court confirmations. It is unlikely any future nominee can be drawn into an inquest of their policy positions.
That is the major point of the article (other than gloating over Schumer's defeat). I don't think the Ginsburg precedent will need to be cited anymore. The Roberts precedent was made this past week and made much more convincingly. However, both precedents could be cited, strongly showing the modern trend of what is demanded of a nominee during the hearings. I have no idea what will happen with the vote, but I'm sure it will be nowhere near the 90s like Ginsburg and Scalia got. Kinda weird when you think about it like that.

Of course, there is still a problem with past opinions and writings. I think it is hard to duck explaining those. And that is why the nominee's past is so important. That is also why I would be shocked (pleasantly) if someone like Michael McConnell would be named. I still have no idea who it's going to be or when the announcement will come. I could see Bush naming someone right after Roberts is confirmed. He's having meetings with the Senate Democrats to "consult" with them again. I find this whole song and dance routine annoying. The White House did its interview process very recently for the Roberts nomination. They have their list; they know who they want. Name the replacement right after the vote, push for a speedy confirmation, and let O'Connor retire. I don't think she feels like hanging around there anymore.


Bill Clinton

He can't shut up. You know, former presidents used to give the current president some respect. They realized that they had served their time; their era was over. They remembered what it was like to be in that job, having to make the hard decisions, having the weight of the world on their shoulders. So they tended to give the sitting president a wide berth. After all, they didn't have the information that the current president has at his disposal. They also knew that having the old guy second guessing your moves would be a little damn annoying.

President Bush doesn't get that respect from Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter. One of these men was impeached and disbarred for lying under oath, the other was run out of office for lacking the leadership this country needed at an important moment in history. Their opinions don't mean a thing to me.

I wonder what the reaction of the Democratic party and the media would have been if George Bush Sr had been criticizing Clinton during his presidency? Here are some of the things he could've said...

"I wouldn't have lied under oath in a civil deposition or to a criminal grand jury."
"I would've been curious as to why Attorney General Reno failed to investigate (as per the recommendation of the special prosecutor) the odd pattern of political donations from Don Tyson and Tyson Foods (Big Chicken)."
"I wouldn't have blown up an aspirin factory in the Sudan."
"I wouldn't have wrapped myself in the environmentalist cloth while letting Sec of Interior Bruce Babbitt hook the Fanjul family (Big Sugar) up with a sweetheart deal in the Everglades."
"I wouldn't have used Superfund to shakedown citizens, small businesses, and churches in Quincy, IL to pay $3 million to 'clean up' a city dump that had been closed for 15 years."
"I wouldn't have passed a law in 1996 that retroactively turned more than a million gun owners into felons."
"I wouldn't have used the IRS to audit my political enemies (more than 20 conservative organizations and about a dozen high profile Clinton critics)."
"I wouldn't have allowed tanks and CS gas to be used on American citizens before burning them alive. Or I would've fired my Attorney General because she allowed it to happen."
"I wouldn't have raped Juanita Broaddrick."
"I wouldn't have used federal law enforcement agents to send a small boy back to Communist Cuba."

And those are off the top of my head. Somehow, I think that the Democrats would've been foaming at the mouth angry about statements like this. I doubt the media would be eagerly giving Bush Sr an outlet for these statements either.

Oh and while I'm bashing Clinton, I'd like to highlight one of the great legal ironies of the Clinton presidency. It's overlooked far too often. In September 1994, he signed into law his crime bill which contained Amendments 413 and 415. These amendments allowed defendants in a sexual harassment lawsuit to be asked under oath about their other sexual escapades. He got caught by his own law, and the Supreme Court voted 9-0 that he had to answer. You do it to yourself, Bill, and that's why it really hurts.

Sunday, September 18, 2005 

There Were Turkey Toms and Beach Clubs Everywhere

An e-mail

Campus safety advisory

Four Marquette students were transported to area hospitals tonight after a car traveling east on Wells Street lost control and crashed into Jimmy John's Restaurant. The driver of the car, who is not affiliated with the university, was also injured.

The injuries to the hospitalized Marquette students are not life threatening. Several of the 25 to 30 other individuals in the restaurant also received minor injuries but did not require hospitalization. Under federal law, Marquette is not allowed to disclose personal information about the students who were injured.

Marquette Public Safety officers were on the scene immediately and the Milwaukee Fire Department responded within minutes. Representatives from University Ministry were at both Jimmy John's and the hospitals to provide counseling and support.

Dammit, I eat lunch there. Now I have to go to Water St for Jimmy John's. Thanks a lot, sleestaks.



I do nothing on Saturdays. Nothing of any worth. I woke up at 9 AM, watched a little TV, took a nap, watched a movie, took a nap, watched a few hours of Roberts hearing reruns on C-SPAN, had an early dinner, went over my notes from Tax, watched the Hitchens-Galloway debate (which was excellent), and read a chapter in The Brethren. None of this included going outside. None of this included shoes or even socks. This is what my Saturdays are.

I just don't have the energy for much after the school week. Three of my four days were 12+ hour days down at good old Marquette. That is class, reading, and maybe a little time for eating and going online. It's just exhausting. I'm hating coming home at 9 PM and still having reading to do for the next morning. There is a law school saying... the first year they scare you to death, the second year they work you to death, and the third year they bore you to death. I'll take the boring stuff ASAP.

Saturday, September 17, 2005 

Beer Review: LaCrosse Light

It's Friday night, I'm exhausted from this week, I'm not going out. But I'll have a few beers while I relax and watch a movie. My sister left a couple in my fridge, so I've decided to drink them before she comes back for them. Tonight's selection is LaCrosse Light. It's brewed by City Brewery in LaCrosse, WI. I've never heard of it before but am willing to give it a shot. It certainly looks like a light beer. There is a very light golden hue to the beer. If not for the curvature of my pint glass, I could watch my movie through it. The aroma is more of a stink. It's not very strong, but my nose picks up something that it doesn't like when I deeply inhale. This could be rough.

And it's anything but rough. This is a very light beer. I'm talking Miller Lite light. There is almost no flavor when it hits the tongue. It's like water. I notice on the bottle that it is "brewed with pure artesian water." I'm going to object to the word "brewed" in that phrase. I think they just dyed some water. Is that really a selling point anyway? I don't know many beer drinkers who are bending over backwards to find out what kind of water was used. I took a few more drinks so I could describe the aftertaste. Unfortunately, I've built up a tolerance to the aftertaste already. I vaguely remember it being sort of bitter. After about 5 or 6 sips, it's going down like water. Pure artesian water at that. LaCrosse Light is not very good. If for some unexplainable reason I want to drink a light beer, I'll drink something else. Leine's Amber Light is a good choice. It's also good for cooking brats. If you are offered a LaCrosse Light (its beautiful bottle has a picture of a river on it), pass. It's utterly forgettable.

Friday, September 16, 2005 

Hours of Sleep in the Past Few Days

Monday night - 5 hours
Tuesday night - 4 hours
Wednesday night - 3 hours

I'm taking a nap when I get home from class tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, September 15, 2005 

Blogs in General

Excuse this exercise in mental masturbation. It's just something that's been on my mind lately. Feel free to skip it.

I sort of have a personal policy about reading blogs. There are a handful that I check daily, multiple times. These are my favorites. I read these with regularity because they are informative and entertaining. They provide quality content, interesting insight, and usually a bit of humor. I think this is what makes a quality blog. I read the rest of the blogs that are linked on my blog once a day, usually in the evening. I think they all offer something worthwhile.

What I can't stand from a blog is arrogance. That's probably the best word I can come up with to define it. There are widespread delusions of grandeur in much of the blogosphere. When people try to elevate their importance by having an air (or stink) of pretentiousness to their posts, I just stop reading. Look, your blog is basically a digital version of sitting around with a few people, talking about whatever strikes your fancy. If you are pompous about your opinions online, you are probably pompous about your opinions offline.

I try to keep ED as loose as I can. The digital conversation model is one that I most definitely subscribe to. I'll even end sentences in prepositions. I don't know if sarcasm or my brand of humor translates well when A. you don't know me personally and B. you are only reading text. But I hope it does. There's always going to be jokes and parody on this blog. If I ever refer to the "ED staff" in any of my posts, that is the crack legal team that I hired to assist me. It includes my dog, who is currently laying on my copy of Black's Law Dictionary, and me.

I think that I have a very paper tiger approach to what I do. I give my opinion, give my evidence as back up, drop the F bomb a few times, and then just let it hang out there. I leave the comments section open so anyone can react. I respond to every comment, even the spam. I'll discuss what I've written, but I don't have the delusion that everything I write or believe is unquestionably correct.

I like to give opinions, not lectures. The worst thing a blogger can do is get overly didactic. You, unless you are a law professor (here's a little intra-professional kissing up), are not blessed with special insight that makes your posts the Word of God. So when you act like your POS blog that a car full of people read with any regularity is important and professional, you just look like a fool.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.


McConnell to the Rescue?

Hugh Hewitt thinks that it's time to call the good professor to serve on the Court.

I linked McConnell's op-ed about Roe v Wade recently and said that it and his other abortion writings would be his doom. It would be a struggle to get him on the Court. I can only imagine the hearings. McConnell, like Roberts, does have the advantage of being smarter than every senator on the committee. He also has the advantage of being widely respected as a legal scholar and judge.

Hewitt might be onto something here with the Pledge/1st Amendment issue. But I think there would be a lot of jeering at Bush for nominating someone in reaction to a court ruling. It would be portrayed as trying to put a predetermined vote on the Court. Eh, I still think it's going to be a female nominee.


Bob and Weave

I found it on a message board.

Look at him go! Kennedy can't get him! Leahy's too slow on the draw! Biden's trigger finger is firmly jammed up his... yeah.

EDIT: For some reason, the picture keeps disappearing. It's John Roberts' head photoshopped onto Agent Smith from The Matrix while he's dodging bullets. I'm very upset that my free blog is not operating at peak performance. You get what you pay for.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005 

Here We Go Again

CA District Court Judge rules Pledge unconstitutional.

Michael Newdow needs a hobby that isn't litigation. As funny as I found it that the Supreme Court dismissed the old case on standing, I knew that it meant that we'd be going through this again. This case is going to creep its way up the court hierarchy and eventually end up at the Supreme Court (unless the 9th Circuit surprising me with some good judgment). As the article says, there is a 4th Circuit decision that conflicts with this. It is notably written by Judge Karen Williams, who is on Bob Novak's list for potential nominees to the Court. The Court will hear this, especially because of the conflict in the lower courts.

I agree with the 4th Circuit on this issue. Frankly, I think this is a BS issue. If this is the biggest Constitutional and legal issue on your mind, you need to be brought up to speed on a few things.


PJ O'Rourke is My Patron Saint

Anyone who hasn't read Parliament of Whores needs to. I've found that a lot of political books don't accurately sum up my views. Even ones that come close miss on a few things. But PoW is the text version of my political philosophy.

O'Rourke has an article up on the Weekly Standard website talking about their 10 year anniversary. It's short but worth a read.
God has made us free men, sovereigns of our own affairs, and sole experts on minding our own business. We are endowed with an individual capacity to improve our understanding, better our circumstances, and laugh at Howard Dean.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005 

Joe Biden

is a horse's ass. I couldn't believe how he acted at the Roberts hearings today. Someone needs to send him a memo that he is not as smart as he thinks he is. Include a note of reminder that the guy sitting alone at that table has forgotten more about Constitutional law than Biden knows. The man-who-would-be-president just proved why he doesn't deserve to be president.

I caught bits and pieces of the hearings in between classes today. I'm probably going to make a greatest hits post at the end of the week. SCOTUS and Prof. Althouse both have great summaries of what has happened thus far. Right now, I'm slowly getting through my TIVO'ed C-SPAN2 footage.


I am the Rich Little of the blogosphere.


Your Money at Work

Prof. McAdams has a post about an MU sociology professor that went off on a rant about those evil conservatives.

My favorite part:
He also said that he pitied young conservatives, saying "“they have nowhere to progress when they get older."”
How about to a higher tax bracket? HEY-O!

Oh, humor. But seriously, how can anyone be shocked by this? Well, I think that many parents of Marquette students, the ones who are footing the bill for the rather steep tuition, might be shocked by this. I'm not. I escaped UWM with an undergraduate degree and a lesson about college in general. If you are in a sociology, political science, philosophy, psychology, English Lit, or history course, you are very likely to get a solid dose of liberal philosophy along with your material. There are many professors who have no problem turning class into their personal soapbox. Sometimes it will just be a smart remark about Bush or Republicans, and sometimes it will be a full tilt, balls to the wall political rant.

What are you to do? Sit there and take it? Argue with the man or woman who has ultimate control over your grade? Complain to the dean? Throw a chair? All seem reasonable. You know what I used to do? I would sit there and play the 5 Years Game. If you haven't heard of it, this is what you do. You imagine where the offending party will be in 5 years, and then imagine where you will be in 5 years. Now compare.

As I sat in one of my 400 level History courses senior year at UWM, listening to my professor go on and on about all of those great Democrats running in the primary, I imagined myself 5 years in the future. I would have a law degree, I would be working in a prestigious, intellectually satisfying, well paying field. My ax grinding professor would probably still be at UWM, spouting another political rant to another room of half awake students who are only there to fill a requirement. Who's better off? Who will be happier at the end of the day?

In other words, don't sweat it. This is probably the only moment of power this professor has in his life. The only time people will listen to him is when they are a captive audience. I pity the guy. Not everyone can have a wildly successful blog where a dozen people choose to come and read your views.

Monday, September 12, 2005 

Have Some Ham

Wow, Joe Biden sure is hamming it up for the cameras. "Look at me, I want to be president!!!"

Someone tell him he doesn't need to yell. His mic is on. Roberts is staring at him in the same way that I stare at my dog when he barks at his own tail. With strange bemusement and wonder.

EDIT: Both MSNBC and FNC cut away to commentary after Biden. Does only CNN respect Senator Kyl?

EDIT V2.0: CNN has the weirdest split screen thing in the world. It is 6 TV panels in their "Situation Room" that are divided like so: 4 are devoted to the speaking senator, 1 is devoted to Roberts, and 1 is devoted to an exterior shot of the Supreme Court building. I understand the first two, why the third? Is CNN expecting the building to do something? Haunted by the ghost of the late Chief, the Court itself rises from its foundation, walks across the street, and tells Joe Biden to shut up? Oh how I hate TV news.

EDIT V2.1: Ha, CNN just cut off Kohl. I've resorted to watching CourtTV.

EDIT YET AGAIN: I really respect John Roberts. Anyone who can feign attention while listening to this crap deserves to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

FEINGOLD EDIT: He's beating that dead horse concerning the release of the documents from the Solicitor General's office. I guess he missed that bipartisan letter signed by former Solicitors General saying how wrong it would be to release those documents. He also said something to the effect of wanting proof that Roberts would "...stand up to the other branches of the government when they infringe on the rights of the people." I hope so. I hope he stands up to McCain-Feingold's infringement of my First Amendment rights.

I GIVE UP EDIT: Read SCOTUS for the rest of the highlights. I'm hungry and can't watch this anymore. The Senate is probably the most medicore group of individuals in politics. They all think they should be president but can never win the election to become president.

I'M A LIAR EDIT: Ok, I'm back cause Coburn is crying.

YOU KNOW THE DRILL: Can someone explain the whole introduction thing to me? Can 3 people really introduce someone? Isn't the introduction sort of done after the first guy speaks? Should I really be shocked that members of Congress would waste time?

END EDIT: Good opening remarks from Roberts. I expect to hear the baseball analogy used a lot in the press. What a boring, horrible mess. I want to hear from Roberts, not from a bunch of Sleestak senators. Kennedy keeps bringing up the hurricane. I guess he would, considering he is something of an expert on people drowning. Check out Prof. Althouse's rundown. Her Kohl comment is especially good.


Novak Says I Am Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

Robert Novak's column about the next Supreme Court nominee.

He says that Clement is out of the running after her interview with President Bush.
New names are Appellate Judge Karen Williams (4th Circuit, Orangeburg, S.C.), one of the most conservative federal judges, and Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan. Priscilla Owen is viewed as the strongest choice and, at age 50, able to guarantee a conservative court for 20 years.

Owen would be interesting. She was one of the blocked judges, only getting confirmed through the Gang of 14 compromise. Will she be filibustered? Hard to say. I think it is more likely than if one of the other nominees were picked. I understand that Bush is going to want to pick "his people" (judges that he put onto other courts). That is just a matter dealing with certainty and comfort. But Owen seems like too much trouble. There is too much danger that she will be blocked. Every bit of dirt on her has already been found by Ralph Neas and Co.

Novak may be right. He has actual sources; I don't. I am just making an appraisal of the political situation of the nominee, not the likelihood of a specific nomination. If Clement has fallen out of favor, I guess I better start looking for another pick. I honestly know nothing about Corrigan and Williams. Time to start reading opinions...


No One Told Me

Leahy thinks that this is the confirmation hearing of Justice Hurricane Katrina. Did I miss something?

Sunday, September 11, 2005 

The 9/11 Post

I figured that I would just write about my day on September 11, 2001. I'm not really sure what else to post, so this feels like a good idea.

I was awake in my room when the first plane hit. I slept on my couch the night before, but was too comfortable to actually stand up at that point. My clock radio alarm had gone off around 7:30 and I let it play. Steve Czaban, the DC area sports guy who is on with Bob and Brian, first alerted me to the events in NYC. He said to Bob and Brian to turn on their TV because the World Trade Center was on fire. I reached for my remote and turned on the Today Show. There in living color was a burning tower. When the second plane hit, I was floored. I knew that this was no accident. I watched as much coverage as I could but had to leave for school.

Most of the people in my first class had no idea what happened, so the few of us who did filled them in. As soon as that class let out, I went to the union because there a a bunch of TVs there. I walked in and saw the whole place jammed with people. There were so many people crowding around to watch the coverage that someone made the decision to turn the TVs off. No one could walk through the union at all, so I guess it had to be done. There was an announcement that TVs would be set up elsewhere in larger rooms and places not so in the way. By that time, at least one of the towers had fallen. Totally shocked, I just sort of shuffled off to my next class.

This class was a crappy Poli Sci course that I hated with a passion. The professor did do something smart though. She turned the TV on and put it on the projector screen. We just watched the coverage for most of the class. Then she decided that we should talk about it. Looking back, that's just really stupid. No one had any real idea what was happening, other than the situation on the ground there and at the Pentagon. I don't remember any of the student comments but one. This militant feminist, latte sipping, no-make-up-for-me girl that sat two rows ahead of me fired off the "blame America first" litany. According to her, this attack was just like the Gulf War, so we had this coming. She also insulted some senator (I think it was Hatch) who was on the phone with the news. He said something to the extent of "we're going to get these bastards." She was offended by his rhetoric and rage. I guess it wasn't okay to be pissed off, according to her. I was pissed. The senator was pissed. I think a lot of people were pissed. She wasn't. But it wasn't worth arguing with her. Nothing I said would've gotten through to her anyway.

I watched more of the coverage after class. By then, they had figured out that another plane had been hijacked but crashed in Pennsylvania. I spent most of my time thinking about how the world had just been turned upside down. In my mind, the US had just become Israel. This was going to be the beginning of constant acts of terrorism in our cities. Buses would explode. Shopping centers would be bombed. Chicago would be the new Tel Aviv. I don't remember anything about my last class. I just wanted to go home.

I was one of those people who did nothing but watched the news for about 3 weeks. I wanted to know everything that I could. I think that time was also the beginning of my addiction to the internet as a news source. I got sick of waiting for people to tell me things. It was easier to just look it up myself. Up to that point, I had been fairly interested in world events (more than the average person my age), but I started to read more and more.

I wish I had something profound to end this on, but I don't. I do remember something that my dad told me though. He said that "this is your event." He said that every generation has one event that shapes their mindset, their priorities, their view of the world. His generation had the Kennedy assassination. My grandparents had Pearl Harbor. My generation has 9/11. I guess the lesson is that everything can change in one day.

Saturday, September 10, 2005 

On the Docket

Ed Whelan has a schedule of the Roberts hearings.

This order...
Specter (R)
Leahy (D)
Hatch (R)
Kennedy (D)
Grassley (R)
Biden (D)
Kyl (R)
Kohl (D)
DeWine (R)
Feinstein (D)
Sessions (R)
Feingold (D)
Graham (R)
Schumer (D)
Cornyn (R)
Durbin (D)
Brownback (R)
Coburn (R)

...interests me greatly. Kennedy will of course be comedy gold. I'm not sure if he's better while on the sauce or sober. Either way, it's a spectacle. Hatch will be good. He's a lawyer and will have great questions (probably softballs) but still interesting. They will probably be opportunities for Roberts to show off, but who cares? I'm into it. I'm sure Biden will be running for president for the duration of his time. Kohl and Feingold will make me ashamed of my residency. I have a Feingold post ready, in the on-deck circle, and I'm sure he will do something that warrants me posting it.

From what I've read, Feinstein sees herself as the defender of the sovereign uterus, being the only woman on the committee. I bet there will be more than a few abortion questions before her time, though. Schumer's time will be a sight to behold. I have a feeling that day's coverage will be on the TIVO for months. I get the feeling that Brownback may pull a Biden and be running for president during this too. He's got a nice closing spot and could go for the spotlight if he wants to.

I'm off on the first day, so I get to see all of the crap. Lugar, Warner, and Bayh are about as interesting as interpretive dance. But I also get to see Roberts' opening statement, which I think will be great. The questioning starts Tuesday, which creates a problem. I said I would TIVO it (and I will) but that's no real help. I might have to wrangle control of the TV in the student lounge at school during my really long breaks between classes. I refuse to be out of the loop on this.

Speaking of the docket, I promised a bunch of beer reviews about the Oktoberfest and Lakefront variety packs that I bought. Yeah. Well, I had some people over tonight and the prospective beers were gone within two hours. So if you were interested in those reviews, you're going to have to wait a week or so. I can't help it that I throw a hell of a party.



Prof. Althouse shows why I am happy that I don't go to the UW law school.

The Marquette campus looks sane compared to this. And that's saying something.

I don't know who this speaker is, but he's a moron. He should read the Equal Rights Amendment and then try to grasp what it would mean to Constitutional law if it were to be implemented.

That Roberts sure hates women. Maybe someone should tell his wife that. Too bad he's going to become Chief. He'll be decked out in the robes on the first Monday in October, at the helm of the highest court in the land. I have a feeling this UW student will be skipping class, sitting at a coffee shop, talking about something "progressive," hoping that his jam band gains enough of a following.


I Love Kanye West

Really. I do.

I love anyone who can make millions of dollars off of a segment of the population and then totally ignore them. Well, ignore them until disaster strikes. Then he forgets that he spent all of his money on jewelry, rims, and Bentleys and none of it on the people who he claims to care about oh so much. He didn't give a shit about poverty or class-based issues until last week. Now he tries to point the finger at everyone else for not acting. Now he acts like the judge and jury, damning anyone who is not up to the West standard of purity (a standard that has been formed over the course of less than a week).

And his music sucks too.

EDIT: Oh wait, I forgot. He claimed in the past that AIDS was a disease created to kill off scores of Africans. His proof? Well, we're all waiting for that with baited breath.

Friday, September 09, 2005 

I'll Get Around to It

I've been saying that a lot lately. If I had a "to do" pile, it would be Tower of Pisa-ing like crazy right now. It's time to do some house cleaning. I'm going to plow through two minor issues and highlight some coming attractions.

In the Tuesday issue of the Marquette Tribune, some poli sci professor (whose name I'm not going to find because digging the paper out of the trash is too much work) said that the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist was a "Neanderthal" before Sandra Day O'Connor was appointed to the Court. Those are some pretty strong words. I can't help but wonder if they weren't motivated by Rehnquist's dissent in Roe v Wade. You know what I think? People who view Supreme Court Justices only by their votes concerning abortion are narrow minded. Perhaps they could even be described as Neanderthals themselves. The abortion issue, while politically charged and important, is a tiny part of what the Court rules on. I wish people would quit using this as the one and only criterion for a Justice.

The Journal Sentinel had an editorial today opposing the concealed carry legislation. It's apparent that the editorial staff is full of gun-ophobes (that's not a word) who think that guns are intrinsically bad. They aren't. A gun in the hands of a good, decent person can save your life. And that legislation would demand that person be well trained also. But then again, I doubt the editorial staff included people who have to walk to their cars alone at night or own stores in bad neighborhoods. The Second Amendment is just as important as the First, my journalist friends. The Sixteenth is trash though.

Monday, the confirmation hearings for Judge Roberts start. I don't have classes on Mondays, so I will be firmly planted in front of the TV. I'm sure that I'll find something from each day of the hearings that is just mind blowingly stupid and post about it. I have no doubt that he will be confirmed. I'm interested to see who votes against him though. Will it be the 2008 presidential hopefuls? Or will they vote for him to show that they are moderate, reasonable people (and oppose the hell out of the next nominee)?

I bought a Lakefront Brewery variety pack containing 8 of their beers. I also picked up an Oktoberfest sampler pack (also 8 beers) since it is the season. And the reason for the season is pleasin'. The beer reviews will be flowing like wine. I stand by my belief that being a beer connoisseur is just as classy as being a wine connoisseur. Enjoy the good Oktoberfests while you can.

Bed time. I want to catch a few hours before Evidence.

Thursday, September 08, 2005 

Here, Have an Opinion Piece

The warmer than usual weather is sapping my strength, so posting has come to a grinding halt. I'm going to do my best to muster the will to post something of note. I was going to do something about the ad tying Judge Roberts to the hurricane. I've always suspected that Roberts was a strict destructionist. He will abolish a woman's right to choose to not be blown away by 150 MPH winds. Seriously, these groups have descended to a level of self-parody. The punchline writes itself.

Speaking of judges and the Supreme Court, here's something that potential nominee Michael McConnell wrote a few years ago. He is one of the foremost legal scholars in the country. If you want to know about church-state legal issues, this is the man you go to. But that op-ed means big trouble for McConnell. It doesn't matter that he's widely respected, even among liberal law professors and commentators. People like Ralph Neas would be running around like a headless chicken, screaming about Roe. Too bad, he'd be a great Justice.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005 

The WI Law School One-Two Punch

Our senators are morons.

I was making a joke about this earlier today before Federal Tax. Everyone sitting near me thought that the hysterics of Senator Schumer were more than a little over the top. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the WI wonder twins, Kohl and Feingold, have bought into the raised bar talking point. I guess the Schumer higher standard line is being passed around the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee. I'd love to see them debate this theory with Prof. Althouse and Dean Rofes (he's also an associate dean, not just a professor).

I can't wait for the hearings to start Monday. I can't wait to see Kohl and Feingold ask stupid questions, totally miss the point, and engage in the usual partisan hackery. Then I will stand up and proudly proclaim, "This is the best that our state can come up with!" Then I will collapse into a ball, crying.


The Swap

There have been rumblings about the Roberts swap from conservatives. They've been saying it's a bad idea because Roberts for O'Connor is more important than Roberts for Rehnquist. At first glance, it seems like a good argument. But I think it is flawed.

Replacing Rehnquist with Roberts is not just replacing a conservative with a conservative. Replacing Rehnquist with Roberts is replacing an 80 year old conservative with a 50 year old conservative. That seat will be a conservative vote for the next 30 years. You can't overlook the importance of that additional time. Remember, these Justices die or retire at weird times. It's uncontrollable. Any time a younger conservative judge is put on the Court, it's a net gain in regards to time.

I think that the plan was to have Roberts be the new Chief anyway. My feeling is that Roberts would be put on the Court, Rehnquist would serve for one more term, retire, then Roberts would be elevated. The time line has been sped up now, but we would be in the same situation a year from now. ANY nomination will be fought by the Senate Democrats on the Judiciary committee. Bush could resurrect and nominate Blackstone, and Schumer would still rail on him about his "deeply held beliefs" or whatever.

The other reason I'm not worried about this is because I think President Bush will nominate another good candidate. Look at Roberts as a measurement of the kind of person that Bush will pick. Bush defied the PC quota garbage and didn't nominate a woman for O'Connor's seat. He nominated the best person for the job. The next nominee will be the next best person for the job. Bill Kristol has been jittery about Bush nominating Gonzales. I just don't see it happening. I think the threat of him having to recuse himself in cases involving the administration makes him a huge liability. Gonzales seems happy with his current, high profile job. Bush knows the stakes with his Court nominations, and he wants this to be a lasting legacy. He won't screw this up.

I think that the candidate will be fairly young and from the appellate bench. I think the White House has a cut off point for age. It won't be anyone older than 60. My gut feeling is that it will be Edith Clement. She is not my "go to Tradesports and throw down 10 large on her" pick yet, but she's my favorite right now. Aside from being a believer in federalism (a nod to the late Chief), member of the Federalist Society, and strict constructionist, she also looks a hell of a lot like my mom. How can that be a bad thing? She is a Bush appointee to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and was also confirmed unanimously by the Senate in 2001.

I guess my main point is don't worry. The only reason you have to worry is if you think that President Bush will flinch and make a bad appointment. If you've been paying attention for the last 5 years, you should know that Bush don't flinch.


Celebrity Political Donations

I stumbled onto this site while scouting potential Supreme Court nominees on Wikipedia. Almost all of them are to Democrats (shocking, I know) but there are a few surprises. Bob Barker has only contributed to Republicans. David Blaine gave money to Rudy. Ernest Borgnine is on board the GOP train as well. Dean Cain gave money to both George W Bush and Bill Bradley in 1999. Was he trying to get them to face off in the general election, or did he just hate John McCain and Al Gore? The real question I have after reading this site is how the hell did Chevy Chase get all that money to blow? He must've just sat on those paychecks, cause he sure isn't working now.

Monday, September 05, 2005 

Constitution Day

That's September 15th, for you non-legal folks.

The law school is putting together a program that I really want to attend. Speakers include two of my former/current professors, other law school professors, a local attorney, and fellow blogger Professor John McAdams.

This whole thing starts at 12:15, and I have a class at 2. I'm hoping that I can attend and that it will be over by the time class starts. Not only do I want to see the whole program, but I want to score some free food at the end. Law school programs and organization meetings are built on the policy of free food.


Are Sen. Schumer's Eyes Brown?

Cause he's full of crap. Corzine too.

I just saw these two saying that the nomination "raises the stakes" now that Roberts is nominated for Chief. That's just a load of garbage. What, does the Chief get an extra vote? Am I unaware of this rule? As far as I know, the Chief gets the oh so powerful role of being administrator of the Supreme Court building. Oooh, watch out. We can't have Roberts making decisions about what kinds of chairs the Justices have or the color of the hall carpeting. I'll be damned if I sit here and let Roberts decide to plant zinnias instead of geraniums in the courtyards. What about precedent?!

I'm being sarcastic. Sure, the Chief gets to assign opinions if he is in the majority and he gets to be the head of the Judicial Conference. Everything else is moot, in my opinion. He gets the crap work of being the administrator. He gets the Court named after him, which is neat and all but not of any material worth as far as law goes.

This is just politics on the part of Schumer. He's pushing this doom and gloom angle and it's just a joke. If someone has no idea what the Court does and what the Chief does, it may get their attention. But anyone who is familiar with the Court sees Schumer for what he is, a media whore and a fool. I'm sure he will behave as such during the hearings too. Don't fail me, Chuck, I have high hopes for you.


I Hate Being Right All the Time

Bush nominates Roberts for Chief.

The Senate has delayed the hearings by a few days in light of the hurricane, but I think that the pressure is on. The Court needs a Chief, if only for symbolic purposes. I think Roberts is in by the first Monday in October. The real question is will he wear the normal black robe or will he keep Rehnquist's flashy gold striped number. I think he should turn the gold robe into a new tradition. I think it's sharp.

We get into a weird area with O'Connor. She is technically still on the Court but wants out. There is no strong reason for her to stay on the Court when the next term begins. The only small reason I can think of is opinion assignment. If her vote (as opposed to an empty chair) directs the authoring of the opinion in a favorable direction (favorable to me), then it would be good for her to be there. However, if she hears a case and is then replaced, her vote does not count. Her vote doesn't count unless she is sitting at the time the case is decided. That is unlikely because it takes at least two months for non-controversial cases, and three plus for the closely divided cases where her vote really has impact. That time frame is courtesy of SCOTUS.

President Bush needs to get O'Connor replaced quickly. I've read the name Edith Clement more and more often since Roberts was named for Chief. I certainly could see that. There might be some political hacks that say this only just a PR stunt because her offices are in New Orleans. That's crap because people thought she was going to be the pick the day of Roberts' original nomination. She certainly is worthy of the nomination and I think that there still is pressure to get another woman on the Court.

EDIT: I will be checking Tradesports a few times during the day to see if they've got their odds up on the new nomination. So far, they only have the Roberts confirmation and number of votes odds up. I'm interested to see if they put the same names of potential nominees as last time (minus Roberts of course) or if there will be additions/deletions.

Sunday, September 04, 2005 

The Chief is Dead

Chief Justice William Rehnquist is dead. Major loss for the country and major monkey wrench in the Supreme Court. What the hell is going to happen with the hearings now? Who will be the next nominee? Why did they announce this when I'm about to go to bed?

EDIT: Ok, I was on the phone when I posted the above, cause I am a multi-tasking machine. Since I doubt I will get to sleep now, I felt like sharing some ideas. If I was Bush, I would swap Roberts into the position of Chief. As far as I understand, it's possible. The confirmation hearings to have Roberts replace O'Connor have not begun yet. O'Connor has stated that she will serve until her replacement is confirmed. Have Roberts become Chief, keep O'Connor on until a new nominee can be named for her seat.

If there is some archaic rule that prevents this, then I think that Roberts will be confirmed as Associate Justice, then elevated to Chief (as long as he has a comfortable majority vote). Then there will be a vacancy. Then President Bush will find another nominee and push for a quick confirmation. I think there will be pressure on the Senate to make the confirmation speedy, in order to avoid the dreaded 4-4 vote. The Court in the past has managed itself to avoid it (read The Brethren). They will schedule cases that they think will be the close votes later, hoping that the new Justice will be confirmed by then.

I have no real idea who the next nominee will be. Chris Matthews just said that he "and others" think it will be Alberto Gonzales. I think that's crap. I always fall back to the Wikipedia list. Using Roberts as a measuring stick, a few names jump out at me: Michael Luttig, Michael McConnell, Edith Clement, and Harvie Wilkinson. Those names seem like "Bush picks" to me. I think age is also a factor to Bush. Roberts is 50. Provided that he is in good health, he'll be on the Court for the duration of my career. Bush is going to want to repeat that. It won't be someone too old. Basically, things will be very interesting for the next few months.

Also, I love all the old photos when Rehnquist had those bitchin' long sideburns. Groovy.

EDIT: On FNC, Alan Dershowitz just called Rehnquist a "Republican thug" and also accused him of keeping minorities from voting, etc. Mark Levin and Judge Andrew Napolitano just verbally slapped him down. General public, welcome to the wonderful world of legal debate. I hope you're wearing a cup.

YET ANOTHER EDIT: I've been reading various blogs and other websites, trying to get a feel for which way the wind is blowing on this vacancy. I've read a few people buying into my idea of re-nominating Roberts now as Chief. A comment on Volokh said that Bush should nominate an interesting candidate now that will take the heat off the Roberts hearings, possibly the first female Chief. Everyone is pretty much just guessing right now. What is more likely? Chief Justice Roberts? Chief Justice Luttig? Chief Justice Clement? Chief Justice ___________?

Friday, September 02, 2005 

My Big F'ing Hurricane Post

I just watched Geraldo freak out on live TV, so I figured that I might as well say something about this.

A lot of people are blaming the feds for this and while I have no love lost for the federal government, I think that the blame is directed incorrectly. Who was the most able to react to this, who was the most able to take measures before the storm hit? The local government. Why didn't the mayor order the city cleared, actually do something to clear it, and use these buses, now under water, to evacuate the people who couldn't get out on their own? Here is what a reader at The Corner noted:
I count 205 busses. When I was a kid, I remember that school busses could carry 66 people. If that is still the case, 13,530 people could be carried to safety in ONE trip using only the busses shown in that picture.

One trip.

EDIT: Check this out:
Louisiana disaster plan, pg 13, para 5 , dated 01/00

'The primary means of hurricane evacuation will be personal vehicles. School and municipal buses, government-owned vehicles and vehicles provided by volunteer agencies may be used to provide transportation for individuals who lack transportation and require assistance in evacuating'...

To me, it seems like the mayor is doing his best to deflect any blame from himself that may come eventually. Why were there no evacuation or aid plans ready in this city, considering that it is hundreds of years old and (as far as I know) has been on the coast since then? Milwaukee has disaster plans. Milwaukee: the city built on top of bluffs, nowhere near a fault line or hurricane producing body of water. We have a public-private plan in place where companies are at the ready to provide food, water, and supplies to the city in case of disaster. Is New Orleans absolved of this same duty to protect their citizens? I don't think so.

EDIT: This article about a hurricane drill in New Orleans just popped up on the Corner (they are doing a great job with this stuff):
But one of the drill participants, Col. Michael L. Brown, then-deputy director of the Louisiana emergency preparedness department, told the Baton Rouge Advocate newspaper that, in a worst-case scenario, there would be only so much government agencies could do.

"Residents need to know they'll be on their own for several days in a situation like this," Brown, who is not related to the FEMA director, told the paper.

So the city has dropped the ball, let's go up the chain to the state level. There has been a lot of talk about the National Guard. Some folks have been saying that they are all gone because Bush sent them to Iraq. Nope. Enough of them are still in state to handle the initial response until they get back up. What about timing? Well, the governor has to call up the Guard. By law, they can take as many as 72 hours to report so that they can get their affairs in order. They just don't appear at the flip of a switch. Governor Blanco dropped the ball. Take a look at this story from the 28th. Let me highlight the following:
Gov. Kathleen Blanco, standing beside the mayor at a news conference, said President Bush called and personally appealed for a mandatory evacuation for the low-lying city, which is prone to flooding.

Remember that sentence. Remember it when the Blame Bush crowd really amps up.

Ok, so now we're left with the feds, the farthest removed level of government. They can't just will things into New Orleans. It isn't just snapping your fingers and the aid appears. How do you get it there? Trucks? Here's what a trucker sent to The Corner:
1) Large trucks (80,000 lbs. gross weight) almost always have to use the Interstates. For trucks attempting to come in from outside the area, most of those roads (approaching the disaster area) are either closed or have bridges out. The so-called secondary roads may be somewhat passable, but their bridges (over rivers and streams) are not built to sustain such loads. Simply stated, you can't get there from here.

2) Trucks domiciled in those areas (because that's where the companies traditionally serve customers) are still underwater, thus the equipment is not accessible;

3) Nobody in their right mind is going to take loads of gasoline and fuel oil into a city controlled by unfriendly folks carrying automatic weapons. A tank truck loaded with 8,000 gallons of gasoline can produce a very impressive fire;

4) Those local trucking companies can't contact their drivers. There's no power, thus (even) cellular is unavailable, and many of the drivers homes (in places like Kenner, Slidel, Metarie, etc) have been destroyed and families dispersed. I have one member with about 120 drivers and mechanics in that immediate area. To date, management has been able to contact 12. Those in the National Guard have been mobilized and are not available to drive.

5) Pumps -- needed to load the vehicles -- don't work because there's no power;

Another Corner reader pointed this out:
The Guard and military, for example, rely on local
authorities to provide some idea of where victims are, and, as we have
heard, Nagin's office didn't bother telling FEMA that Nagin had directed
people to the NO Convention Center.

The behemoth that is the federal government needs direction, or else it lumbers aimlessly. If the local government cannot provide that necessary information, how is anything going to get done?

EDIT: John Podhoretz has a similar view that I do. He also makes a good point about the changing of media coverage and how it confuses public perceptions.

Then we have the people who decide to use this situation. Jesse Jackson, Paul Krugman, the Congressional Black Caucus, pretty much everyone at HuffPo, Kanye West and many more have decided to use this as class/race baiting. I know I said I would be more restrained with my language on ED, but this is my message to them: shut the fuck up and do something to help. I don't care about your political ax grinding. Cut a check. I know Jackson has enough money that he can afford it.

I've been watching this coverage for most of the night. I feel horrible for the people who are stuck in New Orleans. I can't imagine the kind of fear and frustration that they are feeling right now. This is the biggest disaster that this country has ever seen. The incompetent city officials, the hesitant state officials, the plodding speed of the feds, and the armed and violent looters have not helped the logistical nightmare.

This is what Mark Levin said and I think it's on point:
This is a massive tragedy. An entire city is under water. 100,000 people either didn't or couldn't leave. For the first 100 hours, access was almost impossible. The entire infrastructure was obliterated. The nation is rallying. Every available governmental resource has been or is being mobilized. Individuals, charity groups and corporations are all rallying. Nothing is being spared. The president is doing that which any president, of either party, would or could do. It disappoints me that conservatives in particular, who supposedly understand the limitations of government, are reacting so callously to the unprecedented response in the name of compassion for the suffering.

The only thing that can overcome the failings of mayors, governors, and administrators is charity. Here's my pitch. I don't have nearly the kind of money that Orin Kerr at Volokh has to give (I wish I could give that much), but even I can come up with something. If I can do it, anyone can. Go to Amazon and throw down some cash. You can go without Starbucks for a week or two, you can not go out drinking this weekend, you can wait to buy that new pair of shoes. Whatever it is, you can wait. These people can't.

About me

  • I'm Steve
  • From Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
  • "There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." P.J. O'Rourke
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