June 30, 2009

Why Mark "King David" Sanford won't resign

Because God won't let him:
Last week I had thought I would resign [but] a long list of close friends have suggested otherwise — that for God to really work in my life I shouldn't be getting off so lightly.
Amazing. This is a guy who took a "spiritual adviser" along on one of his extramarital trysts in Manhattan. All very Godly, don't you know.

America leads world in debauchery

In the Year of our Lord Christ Two Thousand and Nine.

"It is a bit harder to explain the cause and effect between the Giuliani divorces, which appear to occur regularly in good or bad economic times." Not to mention the Newt Gingrich ones.

Who is Ingrid Nelson?

Jeopardy! contestant and assistant to the Wis. Chief Justice.

We caught Ms. Nelson's final night as a contestant at my vacation hideaway in Sheboygan. Our feeling was that she drew a lot of the tougher categories and answers we've seen in some time.

(A little birdie told me several months ago that Ms. Nelson is a follower of this blog, or at least was, during the spring election.)

h/t John Foust.

Reagan appointee in empathy outrage

You do have to have an understanding of how some rule you make* will apply to people in the real world. I think that there should be an awareness of the real-world consequences of the principles of the law you apply.
* a.k.a. "policy."

McIlheran v. Ricci

If you ever want a laugh, check out the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's hapless "right-wing guy" Patrick McIlheran on matters law-related.

It seems Mr. P. McIlheran who in addition to his role as an op-ed calumnist is also a member of the daily newspaper's editorial board believes that the complexity of a legal issue is directly proportional to the number of written pages a court devotes to it.

"Guess the firefighters' case wasn't so simple," Fire Marshall Pat guesses, by way of setting ablaze and then attempting to extinguish his own freshly constructed straw man, Hero-Syndrome-style.

Apparently unable to offer anything else constructive, McIlheran resorts to a Federalist Society lawyer blogging at the Volokh Conspiracy, a highbrow gun nut website, before the said lawyer has even read the decision (he claims he's waiting for it to print):
Jonathan Adler says that while this won't stop Sotomayor's inevitable ascension to the high court, it is telling that the Supremes saw it as anything but a simple issue. Sotomayor & Co. disposed of it in a few brusque words too brusque, implied Justice Anthony Kennedy. Writes Adler:
"The fact that it took the Court nearly 100 pages to resolve this question does cast a shadow over the Second Circuit panel's handling of the case, and may raise questions about (Sotomayor’s) judgment."
What a ridiculous non sequitur.

In actual fact, it took the Court more than a dozen fewer pages (34) to "resolve this question" than the federal district court spent assessing the parties' claims in the first place (48).

(Contrary to the effects of Mr. McIlheran's lack of clarity, Sonia Sotomayor did not "help write" the district court's decision.)

And that's not including the several dozens more pages that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals expended in grappling with the question of whether to grant the case en banc review.

The balance of the Supreme Court's "nearly 100 pages" consists of a syllabus and dissenting and concurring opinions. One of the latter (Justice Scalia's) engages in speculative navel gazing at resolving an issue that wasn't even presented to the Court.

The other (Justice Alito's) bickers with the dissenters' presentation of the facts, which he nevertheless concludes has nothing to do with "resolving this issue" anyway. And obviously it was the five-justice majority which "resolved this issue," not the four dissenters.

As for Sonia Sotomayor's "few brusque words" (if they are indeed hers at all Mr. McIlheran hasn't the foggiest notion whether they were or not), they simply affirmed the federal district judge who, according to McIlheran's own system of measurement, treated the case as 33-1/3% more complicated and subtle than did the Roberts Court.

Among Sotomayor's "few brusque words," incidentally, was a categorical rejection of "empathy" playing a role in the three-judge panel's per curiam disposition, a notion that's been obsessing conservative Republicans at least since last October.

The bottom line is that the Supreme Court did yesterday what the Second Circuit simply does not have the authority to do: invade the province of Congressional legislative policy and muck about with the Supreme Court's own prior case law.

Normally a court exercising the like restraint is cause for self-satisfied celebration among conservative Republicans but when you're little more than a hack partisan/ideologue, then not so much.

Whereupon it's cause only for rank foolishness.

Conversely, if you want to read an op-ed columnist who actually knows what she's talking about, try Linda Greenhouse.

Americans for Puerility

Christopher Magiera of Wausau, a board member of Americans for Prosperity and a local political activist, said he saw a "Stalinization of America" taking place and that "the only thing that separates Stalinist Russia from what we have in Washington right now are the re-education and death camps." [That's two things. — ed.]
This is an unfair criticism. Obama's only had five months.

h/t grumps: 'Joe' the 'Plumber' in Wisconsin.

Wurzelbacher said the Framers of the Constitution were presciently opposed to Marxist-Leninism, Twitter, and the Wankel rotary engine.

The J-S stringer and the C&W singer

Remember this:
Flynn is also a compelling physical presence: tall, iron-haired, fit (he once rode a bicycle 233 miles) and energetic. He has what one observer calls "command bearing."
Well, now there's this:
After nearly 30 years, George Strait is still a handsomely weathered wrangler riding tall in the saddle across the Sugarland of contemporary country music.
It's eerily familiar, isn't it.
He's usually sexually reticent in song, but on "Fireman" he was a back-door man bringing satisfaction to dissatisfied ladies.
Kids these days. Jimmie Rodgers never glorified sodomy.

June 29, 2009

Walker fails to divert salaries to trial lawyers

County Supervisor Mark Borkowski said he remained leery of the 35-hour week as a cost-saving measure. Litigation costs could wipe out any savings to the county, he said.
Arbitrator spanks union busting county executive

Meanwhile, GOP gubernatorial hopeful Scott Walker cavorts tonight with thrice-married Newt Gingrich at a posh Milwaukee fundraiser.

Reading helps

True, it does. Writes law professor Rick Esenberg:
Contrary to the uninformed speculation of this blogger, I am familiar with Sotomayor's record and, as I said in the column (reading helps), it is conventional if "liberal."
Except I didn't say he wasn't.

I said the contrast between the two columns that appeared on the front of a section in yesterday's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel was that one was based on an examination of her record and the other discussed what Esenberg calls Sonia Sotomayor's "political assumptions" (although the political assumptions in evidence are primarily Esenberg's own, derived as they are from a couple of offhand remarks made by the judge in informal settings).

Since Judge Sotomayor hasn't yet been afforded the opportunity to explicate her comments, in the meantime Esenberg's personal speculation remains exactly that: a set of political assumptions.

More to the point, I was sarcastically observing that it was pleasant to discover the Journal-Sentinel soliciting an opinion column for once from some lawyer other than Rick Esenberg.

The icing on that cake was that the other lawyer, Edward Fallone, appropriately focused on Sotomayor's record and accomplishments rather than the aforementioned offhand remarks, which have elicited a cri de guerre — however tenuous and speculative itself — from conservative Republicans in search of any justification to oppose Sotomayor's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In spite of her record and in spite of her accomplishments.

Now this morning Esenberg claims he isn't all that interested in Sotomayor's 16-plus-year record as a federal judge anyway — she is merely "conventional," sniffs the professor — but only in those decisions of hers that reached the Supreme Court on appeal.

I'll leave it for the actual uninformed speculators to divine why that, then, wasn't the subject of Esenberg's Journal-Sentinel column, instead of its being yet another rehearsal of the now-familiar conservative Republican talking points.

Speaking of the relatively miniscule number of cases where the Supreme Court accepted an appeal from one of Sotomayor's decisions, the Court will shortly rule on Ricci v. DeStefano, the celebrated firefighter "discrimination" case out of New Haven, CT.

The case has inspired some of the most ridiculously incoherent and ill-informed commentary from miscellaneous conservative Republicans, who normally demand that judges defer unwaveringly to the "will of the people," as expressed by statutory language and promulgated by the executive branch through administrative law.

That is what Sotomayor and the other judges did, in determining that New Haven scrupulously and in good faith adhered to the requirements of federal law. Suddenly and with suspicious convenience, doing so is practically grounds for impeachment.

Talk about your political assumptions.

In the event that Sotomayor and the Second Circuit are reversed, and barring any earth shattering upheaval of federal affirmative action policy — a.k.a. "judicial activism" — the district judge who originally ruled in Ricci will likely be admonished for not according due weight to a certain set of evidentiary facts presented in the initial lawsuit.

The Court's conservative judges shall accomplish this by enforcing judicial policy, policy fabricated by conservative judges and today reiterated and perhaps even strengthened by conservative judges.

And conservative Republicans will applaud heartily, even as they continue to deride Sonia Sotomayor for informally and impertinently alluding to the very process about to be revealed.

June 28, 2009

More signs of the i-pocalypse

Man announces father's death on Twitter

Local paper discovers another law professor

One who's actually examined Sonia Sotomayor's record.

In contrast to the one committed instead to rehearsing conservative Republican talking points and implying — not only without any evidence but against all evidence — that Judge Sotomayor is unable to separate her personal views from the process of judging, and that Sotomayor will get on an activist breakaway once she's freed from the constraints of the lower district and appellate courts.

Sotomayor's primary transgressions? She's too honest, too candid.

It could be worse, I suppose, and it will surely get worse beginning on July 13, when Sonia Sotomayor faces a gaggle of Republican Senators who don't even know what "fundamental right" means and pretend to be oblivious to the Militia Clause of the Second Amendment.

Prediction: If and when the U.S. Supreme Court decides that the Second Amendment restricts State and local governments, Associate Justice Sotomayor will be among the majority* and conservative Republican avatar Clarence Thomas will dissent.

* Assuming the Court accepts one or more of the currently percolating cases in which Judge Sotomayor did not participate.

Coming soon: Leah Vukmir believes Sonia Sotomayor is pretty "dim" and moreover, is hostile to the constitutional right of illegal aliens to keep and bear submachine guns and surface-to-air missiles.

June 27, 2009

Why America's morals are in decline

"I'm in favor of boning whenever possible."
— Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel columnist Eugene Kane

Thank you, thank you very much, Part III

As I said earlier, the most significant observation made by the [Caperton] majority was to reiterate that State courts are essentially unbound by federal law from devising their own recusal standards.
— Me, 06/10/09
The [Caperton] majority opinion recognized — even urges — States to pass recusal rules that are more rigorous than the due process floor in order to ensure the appearance and reality of impartial judges.
— Thomas Phillips,* 06/11/09
* Former Texas Chief Justice.

June 26, 2009

King Sanford Version Bible quotes FTW

Disgraced South Carolina Governor Mark "The Psalmist" Sanford has spent the last two days furiously cherry-picking through his Bible, looking for any religious justification for his sinful behavior of adultery, lying, and abandoning his family and constituents to jet off to Argentina to be in the arms of his lover. And by golly, he found it!
Warning! Old Master Illustrated Scripture NSFW!!1

Your daily sanctimony

Rick Esenberg, meanwhile, quotes St. Paul to point out the reality that we are all sinners.
Speak for yourselves, I guess.

It's quite remarkable indeed, the quantity of embedded, unproven assumptions which can be detected in one brief sentence: "Saint," "reality," "we," and "sinners" in this case, the latter all by itself containing a whole host (pun intended) of unproven assumptions.

More to the point: Yes, please, give it a rest.

Lawyer quote of the day

"The concert promoters can't sue the estate [of Michael Jackson]. Once he dies, he doesn't have any obligation to perform."
He may be worth more dead, however.

Can Paul McCartney have Here, There and Everywhere back now?

Strip constructionist in the briefs

Justice David Souter (and seven others):
[T]he nurse ... asked Savana to remove her jacket, socks, and shoes, leaving her in stretch pants and a T-shirt (both without pockets), which she was then asked to remove. Finally, Savana was told to pull her bra out and to the side and shake it, and to pull out the elastic on her underpants, thus exposing her breasts and pelvic area to some degree.
That sounds an awful lot like a strip search to me, but apparently not to Justice Clarence Thomas:
[fn 2.] Like the dissent below, "I would reserve the term 'strip search' for a search that required its subject to fully disrobe in view of officials." The distinction between a strip search and the search at issue in this case may be slight, but it is a distinction that the law has drawn. See, e.g., Sandin v. Conner ("The officer subjected Conner to a strip search, complete with inspection of the rectal area").
Sandin is not exactly the best example, as a body cavity search involves something beyond a strip search. Nor might an "inspection of the rectal area" require "its subject to fully disrobe."

It could easily be facilitated even through means of the actions described by Souter et al, which Thomas argues wasn't a strip search.

It seems to me that Justice Thomas, presumably never having been a purchasing agent, misapprehends the expression "complete with." It isn't a confirmation of some definitionally existing requirements, it's a request for something in addition to those requirements.

When I used to buy steel pipe, my purchase orders would often read "pipe, complete with chemical and mechanical test reports," but never "pipe, complete with being round and a hole in the middle."

Furthermore, Thomas would hold that the less-than-strip search was not a violation of 13-year-old Savana's constitutional rights, in large part because 19th-century public school teachers were permitted to take students out back and flog them for speaking out of turn.

Clearly, the wrong guy is retiring from the Supreme Court.

June 25, 2009

Joke explained to Palin

"It's called 'Baby Burke' because it's Eddie Burke ... WE'RE MAKING FUN OF EDDIE BURKE!!!!!!"
"A malicious desecration."

Palin's stock rose yesterday thanks to an imploding hypocrite.

Scoop Newsworthy

I Want You Back

P. McIlheran, provider of irony

"Right-wing" Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel calumnist Patrick McIlheran guides to good reading, hilariously oblivious to the dismal, hack quality of his own "journalism" on the subject of judges:
Real time and energy are required to respond to the specifics of an argument or perspective in a rational and thoughtful manner.
h/t folkbum.

"I love your tan lines." — Satan

If conservatives were really serious about protecting marriage, they'd demand that adultery laws be enforced and they'd make no-fault divorce illegal. But they're not, because those are sins that they and their colleagues commit. So instead, we get a bunch of conservative adulterers and serial monogamists lecturing America about the sanctity of marriage.
Quite so. And on Fathers' Day, with four adolescent sons at home, by another woman. The said woman being his wife, who had foregone her own career to further the man's political ambitions. Thanks, buddy.

Of course, the worst aspect of this latest conservative Republican tour de farce is the fact that SC Gov. Sanford fed his staff the "Appalachian Trail" line. No adult believes this chap had some leisurely intention but to go a-schtuppin' right under the nose of Our Lady of Bonaria.

In any democracy other than America or Iran, Mark Sanford would have resigned yesterday. Is this not what lieutenant governors are for?

Best of all is the cancellation of a morality lecture Gov. Sanford was scheduled to deliver at the Family Research Council's "Values Voter Summit" in September:
But I think the Bible says, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father that’s in heaven.“ Hopefully, by the way in which you act.
Uh huh. Spare us the sermon, thou deceitful hypocrite.

June 24, 2009

When, Lord, oh when?

Are Republicans going to drop this ridiculous "Family Values" crap. Will this latest serially lying GOP hypocrite finally turn the trick?

On Fathers' Day, of all things. And the Christian Bible study, natch.

June 23, 2009

Oh it will be


What's McIlheran running over there?

Tuesday Jun 23, 2009 12:32 PM
Still looking to hear from you, Mr. Jimmy and Mr. R. (414) 223-5486. C'mon. I won't bite you or even try to convince you of anything. I just want to ask some questions.
Creepy. Where does he think he is, Craigslist?

Campaign checklist

Campaign checklist: Ohio-based web company: check. Georgia-based Harley ride sponsor: yup. Washington Insider flying in 4 fundraising: done.

Newt for Walker in Milwaukee, June 29.

How to recuse a judge

Run against her in an election. (Didn't work, though.)

The blackmail risk and the lecturer

Two of my local favorites, Michael Horne and the Brew City Brawler, react to Milwaukee Magazine editor Bruce Murphy's deft defense of the mag's lately contentious profile of police chief Edward Flynn.

It turns out the chief and his starry-eyed admirer-scribe ended up bumping uglies but according to Murphy, that consummation was adequately removed in time from the editorial completion of the profile so that any appearance of bias is purely coincidental.

I never thought there was much news value to the private trysting and arguably, neither did Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel investigative reporter Daniel Bice, who draped the sordid details on the hook of "journalistic ethics," suggesting in his original report that the affair was ongoing during the production of the 5,400-word feature.

But now it appears that that premise has been blown up.

Nevertheless, Bruce Murphy asks readers whether he should expunge the freelance author from his Rolodex while others ponder her future as an academic (at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she "lectures" aspiring young writers in, inter alia, "ethics," which is a lot of a farce on its face, thus precluding much further inquiry).

Why McBride didn't just suck it up and straighten Bice out in advance of his publishing the story is a mystery, given her alleged area of expertise. It's true she would have had to admit the affair, but she must have known it was going to get revealed eventually somehow, since it's been common knowledge in certain circles for weeks.

It also would have presented the perfect opportunity to "lecture" Bice on his own apprehension of journalistic ethics, to the extent that McBride's personal pursuits are entirely her own business and certainly none of Mr. Dan Bice's, let alone that of his fan base.

It's one thing to dissect and criticize somebody's political opinions or tenuous and stilted grasp of facts, but the right to personal privacy is sacrosanct in my book, and in a perfect world would be in everyone's.

If Daniel Bice had had the timeline before last Friday, he'd have had to at the very least reconsider his angle, and possibly even pass on the story altogether, or else shifted its focus instead onto the chief of police as opposed to McBride and Milwaukee Magazine.

You'd think a university "lecturer" in journalism might anticipate the deleterious effects of failing to return the dogged Bice's phone calls.

Because it works something like this: When the national readership of the Huffington Post, the New York Times, and the rest scans the headlines — maybe even a paragraph or two, if you're really lucky — and notices that Milwaukee Magazine was reportedly implicated in a sexytime ethics scandal, ex post facto damage control is never, ever enough to correct or even mitigate the initial impression made.

Now that is Journalism 101. And just maybe, it's why at least one of Mr. Murphy's stable of freelancers has warranted the second look.

June 22, 2009

Inglés, solamenente

Representado (I-D): Hombre blanco, el otro hombre blanco.

Rapper's sentence leads to confusion

The judge commended Brown for taking responsibility for his actions after he pleaded guilty. How does the sentence sound to you?
Me? Not so hot. Better: Following Brown's guilty plea, the judge commended the singer for taking responsibility for his actions.

Source: Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

In re: Michael J. Gableman, the latest

Lying in judicial election campaigns is not constitutionally protected speech and does extreme harm to the judicial elective process and the public's confidence in the integrity of Wisconsin's judicial system.
Lying is what it was, and "extreme violence" is the expression used elsewhere. This is the best and toughest statement yet issuing from the Wisconsin Judicial Commission's ethics case against Gableman, in its latest filing, the response to Gableman's motion to dismiss:
Granting summary judgment under these circumstances would allow an "anything goes" approach to judicial elections and turn judicial election campaigns into contests of misrepresentations and deceit.
Damn straight. It's gratifying to see the WJC is sticking to its guns.

And continuing to fight this action by defending his own deplorable actions just makes Gableman look worse, in my humble opinion.

Overheard on teh Twitter

J-S readers are clamoring for felony adultery prosecutions.

Nut-right round-up (Tehran edition)

It was bad enough when Obama was just making statements on Iran, when he should have been leading the groovy counterrevolution in a nuclear chariot — but when he got some ice cream with his daughters, that's when all hell broke loose.
Roy Edroso (includes Wisconsin angle).

"Bush Derangement Syndrome" is a common cold by comparison.

Reports the Grauniad:
In spite of Obama's restrained comments so far, the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, blamed the US, as well as Britain, for the crisis and called on them to end their interference.
Guess who this undermines inside Iran. Correct: Not Obama.

See, e.g., John S. McCain — "But I am the bombardier!"

I do my part

Yesterday I discovered that one of my piano students is responsible for the gigantic, annoying Adobe Flash advertisements that obscure the index page of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's online edition.

As cruel but not unusual punishment, I sentenced him to two weeks of practicing the D-flat major scale, four octaves, formula pattern, with his metronome set at 208 beats per minute.

Also, for a hate crime penalty enhancer, his next public recital piece will be Feelings by Morris Albert. (Although he [and the public] may seek to have me charged with a hate crime for that assignment.)

June 20, 2009

In which I lose some respect for Sonia S.

Sotomayor quits women's club after criticism from GOP

GOP criticism isn't just the worst reason not to do something, it's also the best reason to keep doing whatever it is you were doing.

When I first came to this country, being unfamiliar with the leading issues in American politics, the remedy was simple: Subscribe to Jerry Falwell's weekly e-nail newsletter, and then adopt precisely the opposite position to whatever it was he was advocating.

Hate the gays? Love the gays. Accept Jesus? Embrace Satan. Etc.

Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor said she resigned from the Belizean Grove* because she didn't want it to become a distraction during her confirmation hearings, which begin July 13.

That may well be an admirable rationale, in that Judge Sotomayor would prefer the time better spent in helping facilitate a substantive examination of her record and qualifications.

But having watched these Senate characters in action on many occasions, I'm here to tell you that nothing will prevent them from bringing up any nonsensical ephemera they can lay their hands on.

Most of them aren't the slightest bit interested in her jurisprudence anyway. They're there to posture for their respective constituents and the fact that Sotomayor has resigned from her club is certainly not going to restrain them from cross examining her about it.

I mean, come on. After all, the Republicans installed Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, a physician, on the Committee on the Judiciary. All he's going to do is try and get her to stipulate that mentioning "foreign law" is an impeachable offense. E.g., Blackstone's Commentaries.

And now, by popular demand, the best TV Funhouse ever:

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

* OTOH, major props to Sullivan's aggregating the news out of Iran.

Have you seen this commercial?

Zyrtec: Love the air

She's talking to her bicycle. Wrong meds lady! (This is actually my favorite commercial, because I enjoy being mean to small children.)

An appropriate choice of words

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Ernst-Ulrich Franzen urges WI Gov. Doyle to sign a bill putting guns (if not sharp swords) in the hands of young children because the sport of hunting "needs new blood."

Why the Twitter is worthwhile

Considering corporate sponsorship for all job-related activities. What do you think: "This pool closing brought to you by Harley." Cha-ching!
James Rowen provides the context.

Meanwhile: Clarence Thomas heads for cottage country.*

* Which is apparently a uniquely Canadian expression. The tweeting ersatz associate justice's destination is near Bangor, ME.

Randy Koschnick would not approve

Jefferson County Judge Randy Koschnick, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court this year, advertised himself as a great ally of law enforcement, as well as a devoted Family Values proponent and former Promise Keeper.

Little might he have known then that $2,250 in campaign expenditures went to reimburse the unspecified labors of a "prominent local journalist" who, as the Huffington Post* informs the nation today, was "caught in bed" with Milwaukee's chief of police.

Such is the tangled web of political ambitions.

* Joining the New York Times.

Anne E. bar the door

City Attorney Grant Langley said this week that the city has the [power*] to determine who attends — and does not attend — its press conferences.
Fine, but I would think the city raises its own burden to provide a compelling reason why it's exercising that power, when it specifically identifies in advance the inquiries it expected Daniel Bice to make. I would question whether embarrassment is a strong enough reason.

Rather, it sounds an awful lot like prior restraint.

What may turn out to be interesting about this story is just about everything else apart from its central act of physical consummation.

* Power, not right. The press are the ones with the rights.

June 19, 2009

What's Clarence Thomas doing?

Waxing his Gulfstream, what else.

Funny new politics blog

Hailing from Madison, WI: The Sconz
In a transparent attempt to increase traffic on the blog I will be tagging every post with "viagra," "Miley Cyrus" and the "Church of Scientology."

Consistent with the thesis that America is in a 24/7/365-1/4 election cycle, they're already drafting candidates for mayor ... in 2011.

Brocach's greatest intonation

Because for some inexplicable reason this blog is inundated with traffic today, I'll seize the opportunity to mention something about Brocach, the Irish pub on Water St. in Milwaukee achieving notoriety this morning.

I don't know anything about it — I've never been there — but there is a superlative traditional Irish combo appearing upstairs this Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m. called áthas (pronounced AH-haas ... I think).

My good friend and occasional partner in musical misdemeanors, the lovely and talented Heather Lewin-Tiarks, is on the fiddle; Jeff Ksiazek strums the flattop guitar; Amy Richter handles the bodhran; and the recently acquired Kathleen Bremer is the flautist.

I can testify that Mr. Ksiazek renders a mean hornpipe as well, as it was prior to Ms. Bremer's joining the ensemble that I last saw them.

They are truly superb and Ms. Richter makes the bodhran — which is that giant Irish tambourine without the jingly things that you play with a stick — sound like Neil Peart. Seriously, she's amazing.

áthas is one of the best traditional Irish outfits around, so do check them out. If not Sundays at Brocach, then somewhere, sometime.

They have my personal stamp of approval, so you can't go wrong.

Unprecepresidented Faux-trage!

Le journalisme américain, il est mort.

'Karl, uh ah eeh ah ... ?' — Sean Vannity
'George W. Bush has great legs.' — Bret "Infomercial" Baier

ABC News is so in the tank:

She asked for it, right?

Limbaugh loves his stereotypes more than Sotomayor does:
Today, my friends,* we turn our attention to the latest revelation from Judge Sonia Sotomayor. It appears that Ms. Sotomayor, the model of diversity and inclusion, has some explaining to do regarding her membership in a club.
No, she doesn't.
I think I'm going to send Sotomayor, and her club, a bunch of vacuum cleaners to help them clean up after their meetings.
Cute. I take grave personal offense at that particular sexualist jab, incidentally. I happen to enjoy vacuuming very much.

And speaking of old boys' clubs, there is this one, which has on more than one occasion been in addition a senile men's club.

Also, why is Limbaugh constantly tugging at his polo shirt?** Is he hallucinating some kind of insect attack, or what? Delerium tremens?

* How many listeners are not so much friends as seekers of yuks?
** How many polyesters did they have to kill to make that thing?

Execrable taste costly for MN woman

Fined $1.9M over copyright claims
Jammie Thomas-Rasset downloaded work by artists [sic] such as No Doubt, Linkin Park, Gloria Estefan, and Sheryl Crow.
Okay, Sheryl Crow has her moments.

A lecturer in journalistic ethics

The Brew City Brawler is roused from hiatus.*

Money: "I don't want to deter good police instinct."

* Being the most newsworthy aspect of this affair.

June 18, 2009

Liberal press purged of liberal

Liberal too liberal, say liberals
Charles Krauthammer even took Froomkin to task in one of his columns, calling Froomkin's analysis "stupid."
Take it as a high compliment, Froomkin:
The code the [Obama] administration is using [with respect to current events inside Iran] is implicit support for this repressive, tyrannical regime.
Now that is the crème de la crème of deliberate stupidity.

Some polling on public financing

Of State judicial election campaigns:

A response to the Impartial Justice Bill
State judicial elections are getting more publicized, more expensive, and more malicious.
Indeed they are, and during the last two Wisconsin election cycles, we had the conservative Republican candidates and their devoted "Family Values" supporters to thank for the latter phenomenon.

Hard to say whether that's an incongruity or an anticipated feature.

The problem clearly isn't how much money that judicial candidates raise, it's the uses (and particularly the abuses) to which it's put.
When judicial candidates are honest (which should be a given), then more money in service of greater honesty would be a good thing.

Meanwhile, dishonesty must remain the exclusive and jealously protected preserve of legislative and gubernatorial hopefuls.

Which is to say, if you really feel the need to lie, cheat, and deceive, then do us all a favor and run for something other than a judge.

That way, people like me can more easily reconcile our idealism with our cynicism. Because you're making it increasingly difficult.

Patrick McIlheran is not a Nazi

Well, that's good to know. Then again, nobody ever said he was.

But Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel calumnist McIlheran's affirmative denial is typical of the curiously aggressive defensiveness that's lately arisen among a couple of local right-wing commentators/brethren.

They are upset because two opinion columns appeared in the New York Times over the weekend purportedly connecting causally the screaming, weeping outrage pimps at Fox News and elsewhere with some recent celebrated acts of apparently political violence.

That the NYT columnists attempt to make the connection (their success on that account is what's debatable) is in fact evidence of the columnists' own incitement of general animus against conservatives.

Or so the argument goes, as framed by Patrick McIlheran and his intellectual idol, Marquette law professor Rick Esenberg.

In particular, McIlheran & Friends don't much appreciate the references to James von Brunn — an 88-year-old unreconstructed British Israelist-style nutcase who staged an attack on the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. with a Father Coughlin-vintage blünderbüss — connecting him with right-wing ideologies.

Because Esenberg and McIlheran would have you know that they don't wish to be associated with those ideologies. Or something.

Here's McIlheran, approvingly quoting Esenberg on their insipid "Weekly Standard" talking point once again:
[James von Brunn] is also a self avowed socialist whose alternative target was apparently the offices of The Weekly Standard.
The implication, of course, is that because the Weekly Standard is reputed to be a conservative magazine, von Brunn's distaste for it must then spring from a well of leftist (read: socialist) hate.

But that's false. For the extreme right, the magazine and its proprietor, William Kristol, stand for Zionism, and its targeting is perfectly in accord with white supremacism and anti-Semitism.

This is obvious to most observers, I would have imagined, but apparently it isn't, at least to these two, who keep repeating that. The evidence is easy enough to locate, although I'm not placing a link to the renowned liberal David Duke's website on this blog.

For von Brunn the neoconservatives, most of whose movement founders were and are Jewish, are of a part with an ancient and giant Jewish conspiracy "to destroy Western civilization and the Aryan Nation that created it." It says so right in his 189-page manifesto.

Mayhap McIlheran and Esenberg should actually read it, before they start ascribing to von Brunn's views a leftist bent.

In fact according to von Brunn, liberalism, Marxism, and international "Jewry" are synonymous, and he equates the three throughout his deranged screed. A self-avowed socialist? Not exactly.

Prof. Esenberg thinks it's simply "ankle biting" to point this out. Of course he would, since it's central to his alleged debunking of Mike Plaisted's own opinion piece, whose author the demonstrably oblivious Patrick McIlheran ironically describes as "dimwitted."

If your argument that James von Brunn isn't a classic right-wing extremist rests on the false claim that von Brunn opposes the goals of the Weekly Standard crowd with respect to their Israel policy because Kristol et al are conservatives, then you have no argument.

These objections bring to mind the self-obsessed self-righteousness emanating from the political right when the Obama administration released a pamphlet (assembled largely during the Bush II administration) warning of potential right-wing extremist violence.

If they're not talking about you, Ms. Malkin, then why worry about it?

But with regard to the murders of George Tiller and Stephen Johns, the security guard at the Holocaust Museum, that DHS report was right [sic] on the money. (Oh, and James von Brunn hates the Anti-Defamation League as well, and we all know how popular and beloved the ADL is among contemporary American conservatives.)

June 17, 2009

From corporate HQ, with love

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel applauds the circuit court's decision in Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, Inc. v. City of Milwaukee, but deigns not to mention that Journal Communications' COB and CEO is also situated on the MMAC's Board of Directors.

Remembering P.J. O'Rourke

Nowadays P.J. O'Rourke is a beloved and oft-cited conservative author and commentator. In another lifetime, he was a frequent contributor to the National Lampoon, during its golden era.

Here's one of P.J.'s politically incorrect little ditties from 1976:

Foreigners Around The World

Not as bad as middle America's favorite comedian Jay Leno joking about John Edwards getting Sarah Palin's teenage daughter pregnant.

But still.

Oh, and here's a few of those fair and unbalanced Jay Leno fans.

The blogfather's HOT READ

Peter Wehner contrasts Reagan's appaorach [sic] with Obama's in confranting [sic] evil [sic].
Charlie Sykes, "entertainer"
Most sensible people would stop reading at that point, I expect.*

But thereupon follows some pseudo-theological blather accusing Obama of identifying not with the victims of oppression but rather with their oppressors. This from the same crowd whose skivvies are in turbulence over Obama's seeking "empathy" in a federal judge.

Expect opposition — no matter how irrational — to Obama's every utterance. Just don't expect any coherence or consistency.

* At least, non-Gaelic speakers, although I have it on reliable authority that Appaorach is a delightful Speyside single malt.

June 16, 2009

Weird Caperton commentary continues

For the U.S. Supreme Court decision to have any meaning, there must be disclosure as to the source of the funds.
Unless I'm gravely mistaken, West Virginia has no such disclosure requirements, and the decision had quite a lot of meaning there.

A better question might be: Who are Elliot Associates and Medallion Enterprises, two out-of-State concerns that provided 70 grand for Michael Gableman's campaign during its final three weeks. And what interest might they have in Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions.

Famous person following me on Twitter

Roy Edroso, Village Voice columnist and proprietor of alicublog, one of the best and funniest right-wing nose-tweakers in the business.

He and they doth protest too much

Before the "lefties" jump all over this guy, consider:
Republican Senator John Ensign began the affair with the staffer several months after he separated from his wife. When Ensign reconciled with his wife, the sources said, he gave the aide a severance package, and the two parted ways.

He doesn't owe anybody a public apology.

Supreme Court quotes of the day

¶47 The majority exhibits an unbridled exercise of power. What I mean by that phrase is that the majority ignores the normal restraints of an appellate court such as following precedent and letting the parties frame and argue the issues. Instead, it unnecessarily reaches out to overrule a prior decision that even the State acknowledges "was never raised" previously and "is not part of this case." Why does the majority do this? Because it can.
— Ann Walsh Bradley
That majority: Roggensack, Prosser, Ziegler, and Gableman.
¶78 The majority doesn't stop with overruling Mikkelson, but rather proceeds to decide that a warrantless entry into a person's home should be evaluated on the basis of whether the law enforcement officers are dealing with an offense that is "a jailable or nonjailable offense."*

¶79 I sincerely doubt that a law enforcement officer will easily be able to determine, perhaps in the middle of the night, and certainly without the knowledge of what offense the prosecuting authority will ultimately decide to charge, whether the offense involved "is a jailable or nonjailable offense."
— N. Patrick Crooks
Those are excerpts from concurring — not dissenting — opinions.

That is, both Justice Bradley and Justice Crooks (together with Chief Justice Abrahamson, who joined both concurring opinions) could have easily reached the same result in favor of the government as the "conservatives" did without overruling State v. Mikkelson, a 2002 decision of a Wisconsin court of appeals, a decision that both parties agreed had no bearing on the question they were in court to resolve: the correct formulation of a circuit judge's instruction to a jury.

If the majority's reaching out to overrule someone is not a blinding examplar of so-called "judicial activism," then I don't know what is.

State v. Ferguson, 2009 WI 50.

* a.k.a. "policymaking." Of note also is the fact that the offense in question in this case, disorderly conduct, while a "jailable" misdemeanor according to State law, is sometimes charged under a municipal ordinance, where the penalty is simply a fine, despite the language of the State statute and the ordinance being identical.

McIlheran Agonistes

Had he actually read the story he links to ...

I did not know that

Lethal injection is only the third leading cause of death on California's death row, following natural causes and suicide.

It takes nearly 25 years to execute a defendant after conviction, and it costs an additional $230 million per year to maintain the death penalty option compared to a regime where the maximum penalty is life in prison without possibility of parole (as it is in Wisconsin).

And while there are approaching 700 inmates on California's death row, there have been only 13 executions since 1976, when the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the reinstatement of capital punishment.*

Good system.

Source: Prof. Gerald F. Uelmen.

* The policies announced in that decision were supposed to mitigate against arbitrariness in imposing the death penalty. However, it still depends on which California county you do your killin' in, as different district attorneys have varying personal attitudes toward seeking it.

Style note: Until the successful confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor as the next United States Supreme Court associate justice, this blog will refer to legal rulemaking by the appellate courts as "policymaking."

June 15, 2009

Sex with someone you love

Don't knock it.

They showed that on the News at Noon. Twice. Lead story.

I guess that answers this question.

The Xoff Files

I'm not sure I entirely agree with my friend Bill Christofferson on the anticipated application of Caperton v. Massey here in Wisconsin, but I do think he can claim a measure of vindication after having been termed "almost universally wrong" by a Marquette law professor:
Let's just say that Ziegler, Gableman, and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce are going to be under intense scrutiny, and it is not at all unlikely that one or both of them will sit out some cases WMC put them there to decide.
I can certainly stipulate to that, especially the intense scrutiny part. The majority's decision in Caperton clearly upped the ante on that account, which is exactly what it was formulated to do.

Xoff: Always wrong, but maybe right

June 14, 2009

New comment policy

Harsh or unabbreviated cuss words welcome.

Son of Hovind (Astrological sign: Gemini).

No escape from law school

I thought I could just turn up for tomorrow's criminal appeals seminar at Marquette University Law School and lollygag around, but no. They want you to undertake 39 pages worth of advance reading.

I am looking forward to hearing from Sara Benesh again, whom I haven't seen in years. Prof. Benesh gave me an A+ on my capstone paper in political science, on the strength of its appendix alone.

Had I known that, I wouldn't have bothered with the rest of it.

Also, it was in one of Prof. Benesh's classes that some discussion inspired one apparently conservative Republican student to insist that homosexuality is simply a lifestyle choice.

I remarked that if that were true, I would have chosen to be gay when I was about 16, as I would have gotten laid more often.*

This provoked a huge laugh, naturally, but also a mild reprimand from Prof. Benesh, who chided me for perpetuating the stereotype that gays are more sexually promiscuous than anyone else.

Of course that was part of the joke but it was cool she pointed it out.

* More often than zero times, that is.

Virginia is for homos

Charming comment left here:
And what about The Supreme Court finding "Dont ask dont tell" constitutional?* That really must bother homo lovers like you. After all, whatever the homos want is full civil rights, right?
Forty-two years ago last Friday the reaction was strikingly similar, except there was a different epithet in the place of "homo."

* The Supreme Court "found" no such thing, nor any thing.

June 13, 2009

Thank you, thank you very much, Part II

Forgot to mention:
Good lord man, it's a motion to dismiss a challenge to federal law filed by the Justice Department, an administrative arm of the Executive Branch, whose constitutional duty it is to enforce the law.
— Me, 06/12/09
Under the traditions of the solicitor general's office, the government does have an obligation to provide a defense in any lawsuit where there is a plausible argument to be made, even if the president does not agree with the law.
— Laurence Tribe,* 06/12/09
(He's more gracious, as well as less wedded to the Constitution's textual commands, preferring its intent to its actual language. Not that there's anything wrong with that; it comes in very handy when you need to come up with some sort of rationale to justify an outcome you've already arrived at in advance, such as, Hillary Clinton's appointment as Secretary of State is not unconstitutional.)

* Professor of Law, Harvard University.

How in the world would I know?

I'm only aware of his ridiculousness.

h/t Google Analytics.

Boehner took it in the shorts

With Bush-Cheney. Fortunately it's pronounced BAY-ner.

Thank you, thank you very much

One of MMAC's more compelling arguments is that the skimpy language presented to voters in November in no way described what turned out to be the substance of the ordinance which, MMAC claims, guarantees numerous paid days off not only to victims of sexual abuse and stalking, but also to the stalkers themselves.
— Me, 01/08/09
Indeed, that's exactly why Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Thomas Cooper invalidated the sick leave ordinance, but rejected nearly every other one of MMAC's "less compelling" arguments.

Judge Cooper's Decision and Order is here (.pdf; 38 pgs.). See especially pages seven through 12, wherein the sexual abuse and stalking provisions figure dispositively.

And hey, I'm on a roll:
The factual circumstances specific to Caperton are so over-the-top outrageous, so blatantly corrupt, they're unlikely to be repeated. And it's even unlikelier that anyone will succeed in applying Caperton to a set of facts any less over-the-top outrageous and corrupt.
— Me, 06/10/09
Caperton, in my view, similarly [to NY Times v. Sullivan] involved an outrageous event in that an elected state court judge failed to recuse himself in a case in which a principal recently had spent $3 million to help newly elect the judge.

Chief Justice Roberts is right that the scope of the constitutional standard in Caperton is difficult to discern up front. But that is because the judge’s conduct was so outrageous in failing to recuse himself that most subsequent cases surely will be less compelling.
Prof. Mike McChrystal (expert in legal ethics), 06/11/09.

(I also picked the Penguins to win the Stanley Cup [and Evgeni Malkin to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, although that was a no-brainer].)

*takes bow, purchases lottery ticket*

Quotes of the day

"How did it happen that you look at people that are Nazis and you say that those are right wing? It doesn't make any sense whatsoever!"
Faux News' Glenn Beck


"I do not make Hitler analogies lightly; nor would I compare Barack Obama with Adolf Hitler, the greatest mass murderer of all time. BUT the dramatic changes that took place in Germany in the 1930s and America today ARE analogous; in fact it’s happening even quicker here."

Well, there was the Limbaugh/Cheney Night of the Long Knives.

June 12, 2009

Thinking he runs the Executive Branch?

What was Obama thinking?Andrew Sullivan

This three-paragraph blog post is actually at the top of a section, on the front page of Google News at the moment. It's "The New Media."
But in the absence of any legislative action from Pelosi or Reid and total silence from Obama, the viciously anti-gay rhetoric in this brief can easily be misread, and could do substantive harm to gay couples and our fight for civil equality.
Right, it just might be misread as something other than viciously anti-gay rhetoric. Isn't it a bit late for that, once it's been clearly labeled viciously anti-gay rhetoric? Talk about your rhetoric.

Good lord man, it's a motion to dismiss a challenge to federal law filed by the Justice Department, an administrative arm of the Executive Branch, whose constitutional duty it is to enforce the law.

And like it or not, the DOMA is law. Don't complain about Obama not implementing his personal preferences through executive policy.

That was one of the chief complaints against Bush. He's gone now.

And of course they're making arguments distasteful to gays. They want the suit dismissed. What do you expect them do? Leave some arguments out because someone might be troubled by them?

They're lawyers. There's nothing in the least bit baffling about it. Best to step away from the internets, Mr. Andrew Sullivan.

Go watch the hockey game.

Never mind the tweeting

Van Hollen has a ruling on a motion to dismiss to appeal.

Attorney General is "Tweeting"

J.B. Van Hollen. Or is it an imposter? Real Scott Walker.

Conservatives ready to praise activist judge

Milwaukee sick leave ordinance: FAIL

This must be the good kind of judicial activism. And when the inevitable laudatory editorial appears in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, let's hope it doesn't fail to remind its readers of this.

Sure we do

Paul Soglin writes:
The public does not know who is paying [for] or who is authorizing the "Willie Horton"-style ads that are the characteristic of WMC and its clones.
Except WMC didn't pull the Willie Horton, Mike Gableman himself authorized* the Willie Horton-style ad. Who paid for it is right here.

But money is not the problem. And if money is speech, and if anonymous speech is protected, then anonymous money is protected.

The real problem is liars.

* Upon deep reflection, he claims. One of these days maybe I'll get around to figuring out how exactly this constitutes a defense.

Speaking of synonymous

There's always "creationist" and "dishonest."

Shorter McIlheran

Nazism isn't a right-wing ideology. People only believe it is because the lefty New York Times told them so. Also because its full name is National Socialism. Therefore, James von Brunn is a liberal.

(McIlheran also appears oblivious to the fact that for right-wing kooks like von Brunn, "neocon" is synonymous with "Zionist.")

Earlier: Health-conscious diet proves Hitler was a Communist.

Does it make you puke?

According to Justice Louis Brandeis, "Does it make you puke?" was roughly the question that Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes applied to determine whether or not to strike down a statute for violating the Constitution.

The point being, judges shouldn't interfere with the democratic, law-making process unless a result issuing therefrom is particularly egregious. Otherwise: "If my fellow citizens want to go to Hell," remarked Holmes, "I will help them. It's my job."

Similarly, in cases involving attempts to ban so-called obscenity, Justice Potter Stewart famously wrote that he couldn't come up with a workable definition of pornography, but, "I know it when I see it."

Japanese animators seem to have come a long way since Speed Racer, as my thoughtful friend Thomas Joseph has discovered.

While the United States Supreme Court has determined that "virtual child pornography" is protected by the First Amendment based on the (arguable) premise that no actual children are harmed by its production, the "game" Thomas discusses appears to meet both Justice Stewart's and especially Justice Holmes's vomit test.

June 11, 2009

Top blogger hoodwinked

By the Washington Times.

Not surprisingly, the Times misstates the ABA Canon 2C, which makes reference not just to discrimination, but "invidious discrimination," a term of art and an important distinction.

And what doesn't count as practicing invidious discrimination, according to the Canon, sounds a lot like the Belizean Grove:
[I]t is in fact and effect an intimate, purely private organization whose membership limitations could not be constitutionally prohibited.
Top blogger, Andrew Sullivan, doing his best Ed Whelan impersonation. Ed Whelan the classic oppressed Caucasian male was ahead of the fauxtrage curve, but all he could manage was splutter.

July 13, when Sonia Sotomayor's Senate hearings are set to begin, can't come soon enough to prevent any further embarrassment for some of these characters. Another NRO top blogger actually criticized Judge Sotomayor for using too many commas after perusing a New York Times transcript of a law journal transcript of a speech.

How come nobody ever mentions that Justice Samuel Alito's after-dinner toasts before his "all-male eating club"* associates were riddled with semicolons, ampersands, and even the occasional tilde.

Or Roger Taney's inordinate fondness for air quotes: "Property."

* I don't wanna know.

More on "class discussion"

Further to this.
[Law students] come to accept the unspoken proposition that genuine, open-ended discussion is not expected or particularly valued.
Heh. That should put a few noses out of joint (I hope).

Riff-raff like me

Plaisted live-blogs the preznit's foray into Packerland.

McIlheran's Christian identity politics

Local calumnist Patrick McIlheran grouses that although Obama is apparently more Jesusy than Bush, you don't hear anyone complaining about it. He's found a blog post that says so. "Any talk of church-and-state principles," concludes McIlheran, "is so much poppycock."

But the brute fact is, church-and-state watchdog outfits don't care who's the president, they concern themselves with policy.

Obama's creation of an "Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Initiatives" is a mistake. Some of the appointees on the council are great, and some are awful. But there shouldn’t be a council at all. We don't see how a presidential advisory group composed of religious leaders (and the vast majority of the council members are) can be squared with the separation of church and state.

And just as troubling, the president has delayed action on overturning the Bush administration's deplorable executive orders allowing publicly funded "faith-based" agencies to discriminate on religious grounds in hiring.
Where is the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's antidote to Patrick McIlheran's ridiculous partisan hackery. Or at least they could provide a legal disclaimer on his efforts: "Parody, not to be taken seriously."*

* See, e.g., Hustler v. Falwell.

June 10, 2009

Proof Obama is a Muslin

Benjamin Netanyahu gets a sense of His soles.

See also: Gaffeknee's designated Hitler raises the crazy bar.

Count your blessings

Also from the Marquette law school blog:

Is anybody out there?

My god, when I was in law school, the last person I wanted to hear from was another law student. You don't pay $25K a year to put up with that unedifying chatter, when there is a nationally recognized scholar at the front of the room for only an hour or two a week.

You want law students making noise, go to the library.

Understatement of the year decade

Justice Michael Gableman has been asked to step aside in a criminal matter because he — and groups supporting him — said he was tough on crime.
— law professor Rick Esenberg
There's just a wee bit more to it than that.

And the hyperbolic coup de grâce:
If that works, there will literally be no one who has ever had a contested race who can sit on a criminal case.
Good grief. As clearly evidenced by his unprecedented ethical imbroglio, nobody has conducted a race like Gableman did.

As a prominent and assiduous Gableman enabler, Rick Esenberg should know that as well as anybody. Literally.

eta: Esenberg claims Paul Soglin (Wisconsin '72) is not a lawyer, although Esenberg is correct in his view that Soglin's reaction to Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co. is baselessly "triumphalist."

The factual circumstances specific to Caperton are so over-the-top outrageous, so blatantly corrupt, they're unlikely to be repeated.* And it's even unlikelier that anyone will succeed in applying Caperton to a set of facts any less over-the-top outrageous and corrupt.

Especially important — and something few, if any, commenters have mentioned thus far — are the questionable gyrations in reasoning that Justice Brent Benjamin had to perform in order to reach the result favorable to his benefactor, A.T. Massey CEO Don Blankenship.

But not for those, his disposition may well have survived unscathed.

Caperton is a one-off, much like Bush v. Gore. The Supreme Court couldn't not let the West Virginia situation pass without comment.

The handwringing on both ends of the spectrum is much ado about nothing and as I said earlier, the most significant observation made by the majority was to reiterate that State courts are essentially unbound by federal law from devising their own recusal standards.

* I occasionally allow my idealism to override my cynicism. But it admittedly requires some effort.

How's the strict construction working for ya

Ex-president George W. Bush, who promised to nominate only "strict constructionist" jurisprudes, manifested himself at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday when a three-judge panel voted unanimously to order a Ten Commandments monument removed from an Oklahoma courthouse.

The eight-foot-high stone monument bears what was described as "a butchered paraphrase" of the King James Bible — and even a typo: "adultry" — and was erected on public property by a local construction worker and part-time minister, also named Bush.

The record shows he did so deliberately and in prospective defiance of the likely outcome, that it would be ordered removed, in which sense he was OT Prophet-like. He also appended to the monument the text of the Mayflower Compact of 1620, which contains an approving reference to "the advancement of the Christian faith."

Which is to say, not exactly the sort of ecumenical sentiment guaranteed to survive Establishment Clause scrutiny.

That text was added after the local board of county commissioners had approved the Ten Commandments and without their knowledge.

He added still more text, a disclaimer that the block was put up by the "citizens of Haskell County" after the lawsuit was filed, in the hopes of further insulating the giant stone idol from litigation. Sadly, the latter act had an effect directly opposite to the one intended.

At one point the plaintiff, Green, averred that he greatly preferred the "later teachings of Jesus" to the "terroristic" warnings contained in the Old Testament, from whence the admonitions against "adultry" and the related coveting of the neighbors' bullocks are derived.

The decision, Green v. Haskell County (.pdf; 52 pgs.), contains a fairly standard-issue Establishment Clause analysis, but what's notable is that all three panelists, Jerome A. Holmes, Harris L. Hartz, and Terrence L. O'Brien, were anointed by George W. Bush.

Strict construction worker, meet strict constructionists.

Yet the Okie religionists remain unbowed, according to the AP:
"Whoever was the judge in this, I feel sorry for him on Judgment Day," said Haskell County Commissioner Mitch Worsham. "We're not going to take it down."
Court: Display is religious — Muskogee (OK) Phoenix.

June 9, 2009

The GOP's hole cloth

We have no judicial precedents for the conviction of someone like this.
House minority whip Eric Cantor
Which is a remarkable claim, because all four of Ahmed Ghailani's co-conspirators had been tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in federal prison. And all in the same New York City courthouse.
Short and slim with a wispy goatee, Ghailani walked into the courtroom without shackles or handcuffs.
I bet even Eric Cantor could minority whip him.

And we must put an end to that

When hunting in the morning, "the woods become alive," said Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D-Weston).
Slightly less alive by the following morning, with any luck.

10-year-olds with guns: No barking, children.

The People's Republic of Alaska

Palin: There was a corrupt tax system up there and we had a couple of lawmakers end up in jail because of the tax system that was adopted so we cleaned it up and said we wanted a fair and equitable share of the resources that we own, and the people will share in those resource revenues that are derived.
h/t The Mudflats.

Karl Marx called those resources Produktionsmittel.

Fauxtrage & Friends

A classic Daily Show exposé:
Fox & Friends' Lingerie Football Romp
How oblivious can you possibly be.

Been asking the same question for months

What makes [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel advertorial calumnist Patrick] McIlheran so privileged, so entitled?

The least they could do is offer some "competition" on their own pages with an opposing (and accurate) view. Or they could simply provide the journalistic babysitting that McIlheran so obviously needs.
Heartland Hollar: Generally a wrong wing-guy.

Local bloggers are over, says local blogger

Anybody ever heard of this character?

I'm not convinced Kane read the NYT item that inspired his own very closely. It's about people who gave up their blogs after realizing they would not find the fame and fortune they expected. It's also about people who wrote mostly about their personal lives, as opposed to providing, for example, some unique perspective on politics.

It hardly comes as a surprise that the novelty wore off of the former, but the latter are thriving, as far as I can tell.

For example, who covers the State courts better, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, or Terrence Berres. There's no contest.

And does the J-S even have a political columnist? No, but it's got one guy who hyperlinks to the NRO and a handful of local nut-right blogs.

Or perhaps Mr. Kane is unaware of this, which isn't exactly wanting for content on any given day (although the quality varies widely).

June 8, 2009

It's okay if you're a Republican

Actor Jon Voight, who hosted the dinner, delivered a particularly harsh rebuke to Obama, saying he was "embarrassed" by the president and that Obama's leadership would cause the "downfall" of the country.

"We are becoming a weak nation," he said, calling Obama a "false prophet" and his administration the "Obama oppression."
I hope Natalie Maines, at least, finds Mr. Voight amusing. The rest of us can just find him clinically insane. Keynote speaker and admirer Newt Gingrich praised Jon Voight for his "great quote." Jon Voight initially rose to prominence with the Family Values crowd in his role as a male prostitute who solicited sex with men in public bathrooms.
Both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, who followed Voight, seemed pleasantly surprised.

"I’m still just reveling that someone from Hollywood made a speech like that. I hope you’re going to be able to find work after this," chortled McConnell. "I really enjoyed that."

Senator John Cornyn of Texas called the speech "refreshing."
Such amazing hypocrites, the lot of 'em.

He can handle it

Louis Butler recommended for two federal judgeships

Will Caperton facilitate Gableman's recusal?

Probably not, as its holding is very narrowly directed at the particular circumstances of the West Virginia case (or so it claims).

On the other hand, the U.S. Supreme Court this morning in Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co. reaffirmed the vitality of that doctrinal boogeyman* of local conservatives, "New Federalism":
States may choose to "adopt recusal standards more rigorous than [federal] due process requires." . . .

"The Due Process Clause demarks only the outer boundaries of judicial disqualifications. Congress and the States, of course, remain free to impose more rigorous standards for judicial disqualification than those we find mandated here today."
Furthermore Justice Scalia, in lonely dissent, grumbles that not only did the Court not clarify recusal standards under the Due Process Clause, it only succeeded in muddying them further:
Divinely inspired text may contain the answers to all earthly questions, but the Due Process Clause most assuredly does not.**
So both sides might find some goodies in Caperton (.pdf; 40 pgs.).

* Often complained of, but no reason given for the complaints.

** What in the world is the point of remarks like this, one wonders, aside from Scalia burnishing his legend among the faithful devotees.

Among the "criticisms" of Sonia Sotomayor I've encountered is, "Oh, she's not a colorful prose stylist like Scalia." Having read a number of Sotomayor's opinions, I'm here to tell you that an exhaustive and accurate recitation of the facts followed by a plainspoken framing of the legal questions and then a careful, thorough application of the relevant law to those facts is far more valuable than any "colorful" tale of ghouls running around stabbing the Lemon Test with pencils.

eta: Sorry; come to think of it, the Lemon Test was the ghoul and the judges were the ones stabbing it to zombie-death with the pencils.


Wise Latino

Versus ignorant white man.

Ricardo Sanchez FTW.

More Ed Whelan

The definitive assessment, from Anonymous Liberal:
[Whelan] pores over their record, finds some trivial fact that, when distorted and taken totally out of context, makes that person look like some sort of extremist.
A conservative technique familiar to all of us here in Wisconsin.

Why Ed Whelan is so concerned about Andrew Sullivan is a mystery. Sullivan knows practically nothing about the law. Whelan's admirers know even less, and he revels in exploiting that fact. Eugene Volokh, on the other hand, knows quite a lot about the law indeed, which is why his critique of Ed Whelan's transparent hackery is priceless.*

* Especially the section below the asterisks.