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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Cry Havoc, And Let Slip the Dogs Of War...

This was always one of my favorite lines from Shakespeare, and it is so fitting today. The Left has emerged from it's drunken stupor over the Lewis Libby indictments, sharpened their knives, and are throwing as many of them at Judge Samuel Alito as they can. The problem is, like every poos marksman, they keep missing the target. Sen. Reid was the first to launch into a petulant diatribe when he whined yeasterday that Alito "wasn't on my list." Well, I am sorry Senator, but you are not the president, and it falls to him to choose qualified nominees. And there is spin within the media on that subject, too.

“With no sign of irony, Republicans demanded that Alito get a vote in the Senate — something they denied Miers. ”

Ms. Miers was denied nothing. This is a flat-out lie by the media. Had she entered the hearings then she would have been entitled to her vote, after the formal hearings. She resigned amidst two subjects. The first, and what I feel was most prominent, was the questions from the base regarding her judicial philosophy. The second was over papers the White House stated they would not release for the senators conducting the hearings.

Sen. Schumer had to lower himself to bring Rosa Parks distinguished memory into the Alito fight when he questioned if Alito would "roll back" civil rights. Reid added stupidity to his orignal comments when he stated the following today:

For the third time, he has declined to make history by nominating the first Hispanic to the Court. And he has chosen yet another federal appellate judge to join a court that already has eight justices with that narrow background. President Bush would leave the Supreme Court looking less like America and more like an old boys club.

Notice how Reid would prefer a historic move rather than choosing the right person for the job. I am positive that he was hoping for someone like Al Gonzales, which is a shame that Sen. Reid thinks so little of the Constitution. Sen. Schumer made a note that Judge Alito is "no O'Connor." Well, duh! Thank God the president did not fall back on those two precedents. That being a moderate in that seat, and a woman. O'Connor did get that seat from a man, so I do not want to hear NOW whining that he did not replace a woman with a woman. It is not about gender. It is not about ethnicity. A choice for the Supreme Court is all about being qualified to handle the job. Miers did not have these qualifications. Alito does, and fifteen years experience on the appellate court.

And in typical, disgusting fashion, CBS reared it's ugly head during the press conference this morning. Excerpt courtesy of Drudge.


John Roberts: “So, Scott, you said that -- or the President said, repeatedly, that Harriet Miers was the best person for the job. So does that mean that Alito is sloppy seconds, or what?”

Scott McClellan: “Not at all, John.”

Sloppy seconds, Mr. Roberts? You have to lower yourself to using English slang to describe what you and your network believe Judge Alito is? I would wager that Mr. Roberts only wishes he could be as successful as Judge Alito. And now, I point to the small story on Time.com. This is interesting because the Left is starting to grasp at this story, and is making a futile attempt to rewrite this man's history. The lie in question? That Alito may not be as much like Justice Scalia as we keep stating.


The conservative bent of judge Sam Alito, who President Bush nominated this morning to the U.S. Supreme Court, has prompted facile comparisons to Justice Antonin Scalia, arguably the most stridently conservative member of the court. But clerks and associates say the comparison, often made with the derisive nickname of "Scalito," does a disservice to the man. "I think he really looks at the facts of the case; he'd be very realistic," says former clerk Katherine K. Huang. "He doesn't have his head in the clouds. He's not going to be carried away by some legal doctrine or some arcane grammatical rule." Huang is refering to a little-known Social Security case in 2002 which may be instructive when it comes to comparing Alito to Scalia.

In that case, Alito argued passionately with other members of the 3rd Circuit Appeals Court that a disabled woman, Pauline Thomas, should be granted benefits because she had been laid off from her job as an elevator operator and could not find a new job since the position of "elevator operator" had virtually disappeared from the economy. A lower court had ruled that a narrow and technical reading of the Social Security statute did not entitle Thomas to benefits. Alito called this result "absurd" and overrode the objections of several of his colleagues and convinced the full 3rd Circuit to overturn the lower court decision.

Alito's passion didn't move the Supreme Court, however, which overturned his decision in 2003. In a pointed rejection of Alito's opinion—accusing him of "disregarding" basic grammatical rules for interpreting the law—the Supreme Court fell back on the narrow and technical reading and denied Thomas her Social Security benefits. The author of this stinging rebuke to Alito? Justice Antonin Scalia.

One case. ONE lousy case, and the Left is hoping to shift our glee to anger when they spin this. Had they wanted to do that, maybe they should have kept their criticism quiet, and led with this first. They did not, which reveals their hand, and their hand is full of straws. Judge Alito has a solid track record. He is a conservative judge on a decidedly liberal court, and has always made decisions based on how he views the Constitution. 99% of the time, this man votes in favor of the Constitution. He despises judicial activism.

"Most of the labels people use to talk about judges, and the way judges decide [cases] aren't too descriptive.... Judges should be judges. They shouldn't be legislators, they shouldn't be administrators."

The man expects judges to act appropriately while on the bench. That means no legislating from the bench. No making up laws, rules, or regulations as you go. No righting past wrongs because you feel it's right and just. No, no, no. You rule on the law, and unless there is a precedent in play, the Constitution is the highest arbiter of that law.

What scares the Hell out of the Left the most is they already know they are fighting a losing battle. I expect to see stories in the MSM similar to that of what was run shortly after Roberts was nominated. Granted, his son did not get up and dance, but the family is probably "way too conservative" for the WaPo. I will not be surprised to see a scathing column that his daughter's skirt was not short enough, that his wife's smile looks pasted, and he son looks like a teenage "Beaver Cleaver." The family looks fine. You can see a photo of them here:

http://bench.nationalreview.com/archives/081373.asp (And yes, I notice the place where Clinton's hand is. LOL.)

I am hoping that this nomination will have little character assassination in it, unlike the Roberts nomination. Remember when the MSM made a hullabaloo over his wife's work with a pro-life group, then questioned whether or not he was taking his "marching orders" from his wife on that issue? As if Roberts would. The man's track record was solid, as is Alito's. I do not want to see any sliming, but I know we will. However, his qualifications and his resume can annihilate any criticisms coming from the Left. As yet, there are no complaints coming from our side of the aisle, and there had better not be. Alito is a solid pick. (Yes, we all had our favorites, but there is plenty of time for them to be appointed. As Thomas pointed out on the Wide Awake Cafe this morning, Ginsburg and Stevens are not going to live forever.)

For those that are unsure of Alito, or are unconvinced this man is solid, then take a look at the link below. This was put up by Patrick Ruffini, who is a noted blogger, and an outstanding political strategist for the GOP. This post outlines the man's life and career. If this does not persuade people this man is right for the court, then you have a problem that we cannot help you with.


In conclusion, Mark Levin--noted NRO columnist, talk show host, bestselling author, noted lawyer and Constitutional expert--posted this on Bench Memos this morning.


Sam Alito has spent his entire professional career defending the Constitution. The president and Alito deserve our strong support. It is clear the media this morning are urging Democrats to fight this nomination, not that they need that much encouragement. We are already hearing the usual superficial analyses about how Judge Alito will vote on specific issues, and so forth. We must be prepared to explain and defend our judicial philosophy, and contrast it with the left's lawlessness.

I have known Judge Alito for two decades. We served together in the Meese Justice Department, where he worked in the Solicitor General's Office and was considered the sharpest of Charles Fried's assistants. He is every bit as smart and personable as Chief Justice John Roberts. He is an expert on constitutional law. And he obviously has a longer judicial record, so his judicial philosophy is well-known. Judge Alito is soft-spoken. He is his own man (efforts in the media this morning to paint him as "Scalia-lite" or "Scalito" are intended to fire-up the leftwing base). If he is not qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, then no conservative is qualified.

Here, here, "Dr." Levin. You hit the nail on the head, and removed all ambiguity in the debate in one, fell swoop.

The Bunny ;)

And The Winner Is...Samuel Alito

Yes, fellow court watchers, the president redeemed himself with this choice, and we are about to get a very, very good jurist. I posted up his information and some case notes late last week when word started leaking out that Judge Alito was the guy the president was looking at. And we know that this is a good choice because the Democrats are already lobbing insults in his direction.

But Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) warned that a nomination of Alito, or any other candidates too far to the right, could run into trouble.

"This is not one of the names I've suggested to the president," Reid said yesterday of Alito on CNN's "Late Edition."

"In fact, I've done the opposite," he said. "I think it would create a lot of problems."

Sen. Reid forgets his place, and should be reminded of it by the president. It is the president who gets to nominate, and to demand he follow your list is a clear-cut attemtpt to undermine his authority; an authority that is more than clear in the Constitution. "Advice and consent" doesn't mean you get to call the shots. You vet the nominee. And as for Sen. Reid's problems, he might want to consult with Sen. Graham, a signatory of the Gang of 14 deal.

Mr. Reid had already said he would object to the selection of Judge Luttig or Judge Owen. And on Sunday, he did not rule out the possibility that Democrats would try to block a nominee by a filibuster or refusing to close debate and vote. "We are going to do everything we can" to see that the president names "somebody that's really good," Mr. Reid said.

But Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, fired back Sunday, saying that if the Democrats staged a filibuster against Judge Alito or Judge Luttig because of their conservatism, "the filibuster will not stand."

Mr. Graham's warning was significant because he played a crucial role earlier this year in helping block a Republican effort to change the Senate rules - known as the nuclear option - so that Democrats could not filibuster judicial nominees. His comments on Sunday indicated that this time, he would support that rule change; Democrats have threatened to retaliate with a battle that could snarl Senate business for months.

Memo to Democrats: You want to pull a filibuster? Then roll the dice, and take your chances. You resort to a filibuster, and you'll watch your power disappear faster than Ted Kennedy puts away a twelve martini lunch. Judge Samuel Alito is a superb jurist, and one of the best choices the president could have picked. When my phone rang this morning, and it was Thomas with the news (I wasn't around a TV or radio as yet, and hadn't jumped online) we agreed that we were disappointed that it wasn't Luittig, but we are still ecstatic over Alito.

Alito is experienced, having been placed on the appellate court by Bush (41), and is highly thought of by Constitutional scholars. The man has been dubbed "Scalito" by his law clerks because of his similarities to Justice Scalia. The only difference between the two is that Alito is not nearly as scathing as Scalia is in written opinions. This time the president didn't rely on nepotism for his choice, nor was he diverse. The president chose the right person for the right job. Let NOW, the PFAW, and any other wacky liberal special interest group do their worst. Alito will make it to the court. There is nothing that can stop him.

And I'd like to point out to Sen. Schumer, and any other Democrat idiot out there that referred to us as an "right-wing, extremist special interest group." We aren't extremists. We defend the Constitution better than the Democrats, and we didn't even have to take an oath to do it. They do, and spend their time busying themselves with ways on how to dismantle it. Your extremist special interest groups are well-known. As a matter of fact, it took only a few minutes before this popped up on the People For The American Way's (PFAW) site.

“We had hoped President Bush would nominate someone with a commitment to protecting Americans’ rights and freedoms,” said Neas. “That’s what the American people want, and it’s what they deserve. Unfortunately, with Judge Alito, that’s not what President Bush has given us. He has chosen to divide Americans with a nominee guaranteed to cause a bitter fight.”

Neas said that People For the American Way will mobilize its 750,000 members and activists to wage a massive national effort to defeat Alito’s nomination and will work closely with its coalition partners to educate Americans about the threats posed by this nomination.

“Replacing a mainstream conservative like Justice O’Connor with a far-right activist like Samuel Alito would threaten Americans’ rights and legal protections for decades,” said Neas. “Justice O’Connor had a pivotal role at the center of the Court, often providing a crucial vote to protect privacy, civil rights, and so much more. All that would be at risk if she were replaced with Judge Alito, who has a record of ideological activism against privacy rights, civil rights, workers’ rights, and more.”

Neas said the President’s capitulation to the far right demonstrates the importance of our system of checks and balances and the importance of the Senate’s role in that system. “President Bush wasn’t willing to stand up to the far right, so Americans must count on senators to stand up for the Constitution,” said Neas. “Americans will have to live with the next justice long after President Bush has left office.”

Neas called on senators from both parties to take seriously their obligation to make a careful independent evaluation of the nominee’s record and judicial philosophy, especially given the red flags raised by Judge Alito’s record. “It is senators’ duty not to act as rubber stamps for the President’s nominees, but to examine all the evidence about the nominee’s record and make an independent judgment. We are confident that a careful examination of Samuel Alito’s record and judicial philosophy will ultimately lead to his rejection by the Senate.”

Yes, mainstream to these fools means abortions on demand, and a striking down of any symbol of faith from public view, save the Islamic crescent. (That would change if we were still fighting communism; communists hated religion, too.) And, of course, Neas takes the same road the Democrats did last week, accusing average Americans who are concerned for their nation as being "far right." Funny, when Reagan won two landslides we weren't "far" anything. We were mainstream, and I still consider myself that. When the Judiciary Committee sees this man's record, and sees that his judicial philosophy, I have a feeling all eight Democrats are going to be placed on suicide watch. Kennedy will have to move some of his private stock from home to his office. "Befuddled" Biden is going to need his straight-jacket. Chuck Schumer this morning invoked Rosa Parks, and stated that Judge Alito has the ability to roll back the "civil rights gains made" by a courageous woman. Oh please.

Leading a Revolution Against Laws Protecting Individual and Other Rights
Alito is a leader of the radical right legal movement to prevent the federal government from enforcing civil rights protections and otherwise acting on behalf of the common good. According to one of Alito’s opinions, Congress had no authority to require state employers to comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act through payment of damages when they violate the law, a ruling that was repudiated by the Supreme Court. The late Chief Justice Rehnquist, a fellow ultraconservative, wrote the court’s decision. Alito also dissented from a ruling by the Third Circuit that Congress has the power under the Commerce Clause to restrict the transfer and possession of machine guns at gun shows.

He was correct in the first decision, as the federal government--while it and it's laws may trump the states--does not always affect states and their laws. This is especially true when it comes to state employers. It falls to the state government to hold those employers accountable for their mistakes. And he was correct in the second decision as that is not "interstate" commerce. It is "intrastate" commerce, which is what Raich was argued on behalf of. In Raich, the sale and distribution of medicinal marijuana was all within the confines of the state. the ICC technically had no basis in the case. Likewise with the gun show case (US v. Rybar) the Congress has zero authority to step in, and exercise their authority under the ICC. That citation bears no merit in a case where interstate commerce isn't involved. Citing it is like citing the Ninth Amendment in Roe; it's silly and irrelevant.

Against Basic Protections for Workers
Alito’s record shows an alarming trend toward standing against protections for workers. In a number of dissenting opinions, Alito has taken positions that, if adopted, would have made it more difficult for victims of race and sex discrimination to prove their claims. In one case involving claims of race discrimination, the court majority sharply criticized Alito’s dissent, stating that his “position would immunize an employer from the reach of Title VII” in certain circumstances.

Okay, I really hate this "victim" crap that comes from the liberals. The biggest problem is that in this day and age, if I were black and I was turned down for a job, I could scream racism, get a lawyer, and sue the potential employer. The same thing goes for sexual discrimination. We have become a society that is willing to blame EVERYONE else except ourselves. I'm a woman, and a damn good lawyer. If I leave the firm I'm with now, and try to get a job at another firm, and I'm turned down there it wasn't because I'm a woman. It's because my qualifications didn't meet the standards that they wanted. Racism and sexism are charges lobbed by fifth-column liberals. And their minions that buy this garbage deserve what they get as they're too stupid to advance themselves further in life.

Hostile to Privacy and Reproductive Rights
Alito wants government to be able to interfere in personal decisions on reproductive rights. In one case, Alito attempted to uphold a provision of Pennsylvania’a restrictive anti-abortion law requiring a woman in certain circumstances to notify her husband before obtaining an abortion. Alito’s colleagues on the Third Circuit and Supreme Court disagreed, and overturned the provision.

I guess the PFAW forgot the name of that case. It's Casey--Justice O'Connor's pride and joy. Yes, Judge Alito did dissent from that case because the Third Circuit and Supreme Court screwed up the decision. Abortion is not an end-all, be-all. It's not absolute. States should still have the right to regulate abortion. If a state, like Pennsylvania, makes a law that states a wife must inform her husband prior to having an abortion, then that's the law. When Casey hit the Supreme Court, O'Connor and her liberal cronies immediately fell back on Roe, and ruled in favor of abortion. Justice Scalia gave a particularly withering dissent in the case, and chastised the court for "re-inventing" provisions of Roe without revisiting Roe de novo.

Fails to Consider Racial Discrimination in Capital Punishment
In one case that came before Alito, an African American had been convicted of felony murder and sentenced to death by an all-white jury from which black jurors had been impermissibly struck. Alito cast the deciding vote and wrote the majority opinion in a 2-1 ruling rejecting the defendant’s claims. The full Third Circuit reversed Alito’s ruling, and the majority specifically criticized him for having compared statistical evidence about the prosecution’s exclusion of blacks from juries in capital cases to an explanation of why a disproportionate number of recent U.S. Presidents have been left-handed. According to the majority, “[t]o suggest any comparability to the striking of jurors based on their race is to minimize the history of discrimination against prospective black jurors and black defendants.”

Again, Judge Alito gets it right, and the court screwed things up. Our Constitution--the rock-solid foundation of our laws--was written with a very simple idea in mind. Yes, it enumerated our rights and our liberties, but it was also written with the idea of being color-blind. A jury of one's peers is precisely that; no specific gender or race need be predominate. I want an unbiased jury. I want a jury that goes into the courtroom with no preconceived notions of guilt or innocence. I want a jury that will look at all the evidence presented, listen to the arguments, and make a sane, reasoned, common-sense decision whether a defendant is guilty or innocent. Gender and/or race doesn't figure into the equation.

The Future of the Supreme Court
The current vacancy on the Supreme Court is the second this year, and additional vacancies may occur in the next few years. Many important cases in recent years have been decided by just one or two votes, often with Justice O’Connor casting a decisive vote to uphold critical rights and liberties. Confirming additional far-right judicial activists like Samuel Alito to the Court would threaten hundreds of Supreme Court decisions that protect privacy, civil rights, religious liberty, reproductive choice, clean air and water, worker rights, consumer safety, educational opportunity, and much more.

Someone get the over-acting Oscar out for Ralph Neas and his bunch of twits. O'Connor was a liberal swing vote in her later years. Earlier in her career, she was closer to the right and the middle. Stress, I'm sure, is an explanation for her gradual fall to the "dark side," safe in the bosom of the liberals on the court. But she made mistake after mistake on the court as the swing vote, including the swing vote on Casey and Grutter. Alito won't make such bone-headed decisions. His track record is solidly on the side of the Constitution. And it is evident from the comments I have cited that the president upset the right people in this decision. This man is a home-run, and quite honestly I think Thomas was right in the end-of-the-month post yesterday. He had hoped that the president learned his lesson over Miers. I think that Alito proves that the president listened.

Mistress Pundit

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Passing Thoughts In Life’s Rearview Mirror...

Yes, we’re back. We told all of our readers awhile back that we would be going through some changes, and we weren’t kidding. For those that have noticed, we have a new addition to the Asylum. Her name is Sabrina, and has quickly become a good friend, willing ally, and has shown her staunch conservative roots. Unfortunately, she’s not able to join us in what had been a regular feature here at the beginning of each month. It’s a month-end round-up of the big stories that have been all over the blogosphere, and on our site. Many a people enjoy this because it reminds them of things that have occurred that might have slipped their mind. And so, without further adieu, Marcie and I will begin...

A Lesson In Defeat
This past week, Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination. According to her letter, it was over the kerfuffle involving what documents would be released, and which ones would not. I am sure that the opposition she was facing from the base of the GOP was another factor. We had questions, and quite a few, but none of them were being answered by the White House. So, the pummeling continued. What also continued to pop up was her past political dealings while in Texas. Her stint with the Lottery Commission that had a former director willing to testify before the Judiciary Committee over alleged "dirty pool" behind the scenes. The large sums of money heaped on her and her firm for work not yet done; yet glaringly not referred to as a "retainer." There were the same character witnesses giving the same stories constantly, yet no one else to corroborate her supposed conservative judicial philosophy. The White House maintained her credentials warranted a chance. The problem with such a move is that once on the Supreme Court, if she had fallen back on judicial activism, what would the White House have done then? Getting a justice off the court is no easy task, and only one judge was ever impeached.

The Lesson We Hope He Learned
The president learned a valuable lesson from this fiasco: Do your best not to outrage your base. The base was adamantly against Miers proceeding because enough questions regarding her qualifications existed. Those questions went unanswered, but there is hope from the president. He is now looking to highly-qualified nominees; nominees that we emphasized three weeks ago, and were hoping for prior to Miers being nominated. Her judicial philosophy had to be scrutinized. Her experience with the Constitution had to be disseminated. She had next-to-no experience regarding cases based on the Constitution, and too many question marks floated about her philosophy of the court, and what it’s proper role was. Lip service paid the public is not a way to prove a case. You need it in writing, on the record. I’m a site kind of guy, and if I don’t see it, I’m not buying it. So is the fair majority of America. She was stopped before the hearings because we were told by the president "Trust me," and we answered "Prove it." He couldn’t, and the debate that ensued was good for not only the party, but the nation, as well. The party benefits because the base spoke loud and clear as to what the philosophy of a Supreme Court Justice was to be, and focused on it’s roots. The nation wins because we, the vocal "extremist" base (according to schmucky Chucky Schumer), prevented a potentially dangerous person to advance to the court. And I don’t mean dangerous in the typical sense. I’m just referring to the possible death of more of our rights.

A Grim Milestone: One That Is Skewed, Yet A Necessary Reminder
World War I: 126,000
World War II: 413,000
Korea: 33,686
Vietnam: 58,226
Gulf War I: 147
Global War On Terror–Phase Afghanistan: 249; Phase Iraq: 2000
I cited the above to show a couple of things. Throughout the 20th Century, this nation had no problem rushing to the aid of their allies in defense of freedom. We have always been the one nation to do so. Anne Robert Jacques Turgot stated that "They [the Americans] are the hope of this world. They may become its model." And what a model we have become as we have never backed down when it comes to defending freedom across the globe. And the Global War On Terror is no different. We were attacked on Sept. 11th by animals that cared nothing for the standards of war. They attacked this nation–as cowards rather than martyrs–and dragged us into a war that neither this nation nor this president wished to engage in. But we did. And we have sacrificed with our dearest blood. The point of citing that which has come before this is to emphasize that the amount of deaths in the GWOT compares nothing to what happened in the past. The media hyping those that have died is not an honor to them, but a spit in their face; they use the deaths to give the president a black eye, just as they did in Vietnam. This is a highly personal issue for me. My brother serves in Afghanistan, and is finally home for his first leave since 2001. He is making the sacrifice we have asked of him. The Left will never understand what it takes to defend a nation, nor will their willing minions in the MSM.

But Let Freedom Ring Nonetheless
And it has. It rang loud and clear in January for the Iraqi parliamentary elections. It rang strong and true just a week, or so, ago when the Iraqis approved their new constitution. Voter turnout was over sixty percent, and it was approved–overwhelmingly–by over seventy-five percent of the populace voting. The Iraqis have constructed their first constitution ever, and didn’t do a half bad job on it. They looked out for the rights of all, rather than a minority. Gone are the thugs of the past that moved at the whims of a madman content with terrorizing his own people, and what has emerged is a burgeoning democracy. Yes, it still maintains some aspects of sharia law, but it is not the Islamo-fascist state that the terrorists and insurgents were hoping to create in the wake of Saddam’s departure. And the people are standing up for their new nation. More people are signing up for the security forces and military, those that have signed up are engaging the enemy on the battlefield, and they’re learning quickly. The terrorists are on their heels as they continue to attack the civilian populace. There are two reasons for this. Obviously, they intend to continue terrorizing the populace in a vain attempt to get them to quit cooperating with us and their fellow Iraqis. The second reason is that they know to engage us or the Iraqis in a straight-up fight, they’re going to lose. They always do, hence the craven roadside bombs being used on our forces. No, the president was correct: Freedom is on the march, and the Iraqis have embraced the concept fully.

They Still Cannot Balance A Checkbook
Yes, I am referring to the out-of-control spending perpetuated by the federal government. Sen. Tom Coburn grabbed headlines across the nation when he introduced an amendment to recent spending legislation. He wanted the Alaskan "Bridge to Nowhere" cut off. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and three hurricanes since, the Gulf Coast and South have been hammered. Repairs and rebuilding are needed. Obviously, taxpayer money has to be spent. But we have already paid our fair share in more ways than one. It was time for Congress to end it’s wayward, drunken ways. No more pork. Too much of it was being wasted for things that people have deemed undeserving of attention. Sen. Coburn’s amendment went down in flames with only fourteen other senators siding with his assessment. Sen. Patty Murray threw a tantrum on the floor of the Senate, and promised that no other state budgetary inclusions would be made on her watch. Sen. Ted Stevens threw a fit befitting of Sen. Byrd, and even threatened to resign if the amendment passed. This is what we have to deal with in Congress. These people are happy to take our money and spend it on whatever they deem necessary, and fail to see the long-term repercussions. Those repercussions being the public outraged to learn they may be asked to fork over more of their hard-earned money because the Congress cannot learn how to work within a solid budget. WE have a budget, and WE do not overspend. We do not waste our money on insignificant things. If WE can do that, then why is Congress incapable of it.

One Indictment? One Lousy Indictment? NO FAIR!
Patrick Fitzgerald has finished his investigation into the Plame CIA leak case, and only one indictment has been handed down. "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's Chief of Staff has been charged with five separate crimes, including perjury and obstruction of justice. The Left was popping corks on Friday, especially with Libby's resignation (a guaranteed reaction, and one that had been promised by the White House), but they were discontent over the fact that only one indictment was handed down. Karl Rove has been informed to be ready for an indictment heading his way, but I doubt any will come down for him. He may have offered up testimony--cooperating with Fitzgerald--to avoid an indictment, but that still remains to be seen. What is asinine about this whole fiasco is that by the time her name was "leaked" by Robert Novak, it was already known by many others. Plame made no serious attempt to keep her identity a secret from friends in Washington, DC, and her lying husband blew that cover long before the Novak column on his own website. Many of their friends have stated that "of course we knew Val worked for the CIA. She was an analyst." Her covert status had expired by the time of the Novak piece, and by the time that the White House acknowledged her. What is most interesting in this case is that the person who should have been indicted was Joe Wilson. His testimony before the Senate backed up MI-5's assertions--the same ones made by the White House--and then he started writing op-eds and going on talking head shows saying exactly the opposite. He has maintained that Iraq never attempted to buy yellow cake uranium, yert that wasn't what he said in his testimony. Will Libby be found guilty? Possibly, and only time will tell. The indictment is solid, and he's in deep trouble. We'll just have to see what comes around on this case.

Where She Is Going She Need Not Make A Stand
Rosa Parks, one of the preeminent leaders of the civil rights movement, passed away at the age of 92. She is going to Heaven, and trust me when I say that she is equal among all there. But the stand she took on Dec. 1, 1955 made history, and prompted one of the first boycotts started by blacks then. Ms. Parks was asked to give up her seat on a bus, and move to the back where blacks were supposed to be. Below is Ms. Parks’ own words regarding the exchange between her and the bus driver.

"When he saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up and I said, 'No, I'm not'. And he said, 'Well, if you don't stand up, I'm going to have to call the police and have you arrested.' I said, 'You may do that.' "

Ms. Parks took a stand against the intolerable way that blacks were treated back then. She did not do it at the prompting of civil rights leaders at the time. In fact, those leaders took a page from her, and started the Montgomery Bus Boycott. For 381 days, blacks refused to ride the buses, and many sat unused in yards because of this move. The PC crowd has decided that Ms. Parks was physically tired, and she just did not feel like standing. No, Ms. Parks refused to move because she was sick of giving in all the time. This nation was founded on the belief that "all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." We wrote them in 1776, and we meant it. It was only through simple stupidity that it took us well over a century before freedom was granted. They have been fighting ever since. Rosa Parks took the initial steps, and whereas I am sure she is not pleased with the way blacks have acted since then (the LA Riots, the looting in New Orleans, the riot recently in Toledo, etc.) she is pleased that the civil rights movement brought the necessary changes to right the wrongs of the past. God rest her gentle, kind soul. She is an icon that should be honored and never forgotten.

We’ve been out of this loop for a couple of months. It’s hard to bring up topics to discuss when the month only has one or two predominate stories. Ans as we are bloggers, we pound on those targets daily. No need to reinforce what people are reading on a daily basis. But we’re back to this. WE need this. Everyone needs to be reminded of the important things in life. Especially as we enter this election cycle next year. A lot of people are up for reelection, and many are seeking their first term–content in the belief they’re better than who they’d be replacing. For some, like Sen. Byrd, Sen. Kennedy, Sen. Feinstein, Sen. Clinton, and the "Nelson twins," that’s true, and hopefully they’ll be defeated. But we need to stay informed so that we have the facts to deal with debates that are coming up. Life tends to happen pretty quickly, and disappears even faster in the rearview...

The Bunny ;) And Publius II

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Animals Attack, And Innocence Dies...

I likewise join Thomas in thanking Sabrina for taking the helm of the site while we are on sabbatical. However, today's incidents, on the heels of the departure of my brother back to his job in the GWOT, makes this day much more poignant. I warn everyone now that the link below contains graphic images of today's attack in India.


Dog-Pundit has the images, but the reports are cited below.

Three powerful bombs ripped through New Delhi markets packed with families and shoppers on Saturday ahead of the biggest Hindu and Muslim festivals of the year, killing dozens and wounding scores more.

Charred bodies, blood, glass and smoking debris littered the scenes as rescuers frantically pulled out the dead and injured while thousands of survivors milled around in shock trying to find out what had happened to missing relatives.

The blasts occurred within minutes of each other, killing more than 40 people, officials said. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared it an act of terrorism, while adding it was too early to speculate who was responsible.

"There was a huge sound," said Sunita, who lives near one of the devastated markets, in an area also poplar with foreign backpackers. "I saw many people lying on the ground. I saw a child's arm cut off and somebody else's brain smashed out. It was very bad. Very bad."

Singh and other officials called for calm and police in the financial capital, Mumbai, put the city on high alert. Markets around Delhi began closing down as emergency vehicles battled their way through gridlocked streets.

"He is very distressed," Singh's spokesman told reporters. "India will never be defeated by terrorism."
India has blamed previous attacks on the capital on Pakistan-based militants, including one on parliament in 2001 that killed more than a dozen people and brought India and Pakistan to the brink of nuclear war.

But the country is also racked by scores of rebellions and two cinema blasts blamed on Sikh separatists killed one person and injured dozens in May.

The United States recently warned its citizens of a possible terrorist attack on U.S. interests in Delhi and elsewhere and Indian authorities are hunting a suspected al Qaeda operative here. The city's American Embassy School cancelled all classes for Monday after Saturday's attacks.

"We saw bodies terribly charred, limbs missing. It was a horrible sight, a terrible sight," one British tourist told NDTV television. "Don't let the terrorists win."

The first blast was reported in the Paharganj district, near the main New Delhi railway station and an area popular with foreign backpackers. Shopkeepers there cleared their carts and used them as makeshift stretchers to rush victims to hospital.

Other explosions were at the Sarojini Nagar market in south Delhi and in Govindpuri, a southern suburb.

Delhi state chief minister, Sheila Dikshit, said the attacks were clearly planned to spark terror.
"It is something that has been planned, that is quite obvious," she told reporters. "It was someone whose intentions are not good, that is also obvious.

"It's a very sad day for all of us. The fact that these blasts came and took away so many lives has dampened our spirits and made us feel very sad."

On Tuesday, Hindus celebrate Diwali, or the festival of lights, and later in the week Muslims end the fasting month of Ramadan with Eid al-Fitr.

Delhi's 14 million people are mostly Hindu, like in the rest of India, but there are about 1.7 Muslim residents in the city.

As it has with previous attacks, Pakistan immediately condemned "these terrorist blasts". Indian officials said the powerful explosive RDX was used in all three explosions. Television news channels speculated Singh would rush back from an official trip to the eastern city of Kolkata.

The blasts occurred just on dusk on a fine autumn evening, with Delhi's markets and streets crammed with families, holidaymakers and shoppers, many dressed in their colourful best for the coming festivals.

The wail of scores of sirens were punctuated by almost continuous explosions from fireworks being set off ahead of Diwali.

The blast at Govindpuri occurred near an overcrowded bus and could have been much worse, officials said.

The conductor noticed two men had left their bag behind and shouted at them, while a passenger opened it. The conductor hurled the bag into nearby brush, where it exploded.

Meanwhile, in Indonesia, the animals were still at work.

Three teenage Christian girls were beheaded and a fourth was seriously wounded in a savage attack on Saturday by unidentified assailants in the Indonesian province of Central Sulawesi.

The girls were among a group of students from a private Christian high school who were ambushed while walking through a cocoa plantation in Poso Kota subdistrict on their way to class, police Major Riky Naldo said.

The area is close to the provincial capital of Poso, about 1000 kilometres northeast of Jakarta.

Naldo said the heads of the three dead victims were found several kilometres from their bodies.

In Jakarta, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered the police to begin a hunt for the killers.

"In the holy month of Ramadan, we are again shocked by a sadistic crime in Poso that claimed the lives of three school students," he told reporters at the airport as he prepared to fly to Sumatra island.

"I condemn this barbarous killing, whoever the perpetrators are and whatever their motives."

He ordered the security forces to find the killers and maintain order in the region.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation, but Central Sulawesi has a roughly equal number of Muslims and Christians. The province was the scene of a bloody religious war in 2001-2002 that killed around 1000 people from both communities.

At the time, beheadings, burnings and other atrocities were common.

A government-mediated truce succeeded in ending the conflict in early 2002, but there have since been a series of bomb attacks and assassinations of Christians.

These included a blast at a market in Poso, a predominantly Christian town, that killed 22 people in May.

Christian leaders have repeatedly accused the authorities in Jakarta of not doing enough to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

The Christian-Muslim conflict in Sulawesi was an extension of a wider sectarian war in the nearby Maluku archipelago in which up to 9000 perished between 1999 and 2002.

The Maluku conflict intensified soon after it began with the arrival of volunteers belonging to Laskar Jihad, a newly created militia from Indonesia's main island of Java that was supported by hardline elements of the security forces.

Analysts and diplomats accused senior army commanders of funding and training the militia, which was hurriedly disbanded following the terrorist attacks on the tourist island of Bali in 2002 which claimed 202 lives, including 88 Australians.

This is evidence that the animals are not backing down. It is further evidence that my brother still has work to do. It was not easy watching him get on the plane today to go back to the Third-World hell-hole he finally got leave from. It had been four years since I last saw him; I obviously did not want him to leave.

But the animlas refuse to relent. Until they raise their flag, and admit defeat, we still have work to do. These animals cannot be allowed to win this war. To do so will only incite more violence; there's would never be met by ours. Not anymore. We draw the line. Our allies draw the line. And we end this fight. Not just for the present generation, but for future generations to come. We should not burden them with this war. If we fail to stand up to them now further violence is assured.

The Bunny ;)

Friday, October 28, 2005

Spinning By Supporters

An apology to our regular readers for Marcie and I not being here over the last couple of days. The good news is, we're enjoying the time off. The bad news is that time off will last a bit longer. But don't get down on Sabrina. She's doing a fine job of holding up the site, and her immediate reaction to the news this morning concerning the rumor of Alito being a possible nominee with Luttig, Owen, or Williams brings giddiness to the sub-cockles of my heart. The president is paying attention to his base.

But, I felt a need today to respond to one of the people on the side supporting Miers, and his op-ed for the New York Time this morning. (Because this is available through subscription, I have pasted it up here.) We're all familiar with the man. Some of us like him, some of don't, and to others he's not even on the radar screen. He's on ours as I like listening to him (it beats the crappy local shows in the afternoon) and I really like the guest he has on his show. I am, of course, speaking of Hugh Hewitt.

Why the Right Was Wrong

Published: October 28, 2005
Anaheim, Calif.

OVER the last two elections, the Republican Party regained control of the United States Senate by electing new senators in Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas. These victories were attributable in large measure to the central demand made by Republican candidates, and heard and embraced by voters, that President Bush's nominees deserved an up-or-down decision on the floor of the Senate. Now, with the withdrawal of Harriet Miers under an instant, fierce and sometimes false assault from conservative pundits and activists, it will be difficult for Republican candidates to continue to make this winning argument: that Democrats have deeply damaged the integrity of the advice and consent process.

I must question this. How did we damage the advice and consent process. We're not lawmakers. We're just everyday, average Americans who had a deep dispute with the nomination of Miers. We didn't damage anything. When the Democrats demand that they give the president his short-list, or demand meetings to discuss the nominees, or even demand that the president consult with them should he deviate from their former demands, that leads to the damage of the powers of the president to nominate. It should never fall to anyone, other than the president, to deem who can and can't be a nominee. If they really and truly disagree with a nominee, they have place to voice it. It's called the committee and it's called the Senate. Where does our reciprocity come in? It is evident in our right to free speech, Mr. Hewitt. We can call and wail to our constituents; that is granted. But your assertion that we hurt the process by raising our voices publicly is pure pap.

The right's embrace in the Miers nomination of tactics previously exclusive to the left - exaggeration, invective, anonymous sources, an unbroken stream of new charges, television advertisements paid for by secret sources - will make it immeasurably harder to denounce and deflect such assaults when the Democrats make them the next time around. Given the overemphasis on admittedly ambiguous speeches Miers made more than a decade ago, conservative activists will find it difficult to take on liberals in their parallel efforts to destroy some future Robert Bork.

Exaggeration? We did no such thing when we pointed out she lacked primary qualifications to sit on the court, namely her lack of Constitutional Law experience. Invective? OK, I'll grant that a couple of pundits may have taken some inappropriate swipes at Ms. Miers. But I contend that for the most part (and yes, we lump ourselves with those at NRO, Krauthammer, and ConfirmThem) we remained civil, and stuck to the basic facts that were giving us pause. That being a lack of proof to her alledged judicial philosophy, and her lack of experience in dealing with matters of constitutionality. Anonymous sources? We can't control those that speak on condition of anonymity. I have contacts (not many, but a few) that will only speak on condition of anonymity. They know my rules though: You burn me, and I'll burn you. New Charges? What if these new charges were brought up in committee? Would you have spun it as the Left trying to score points? Things were being brought up about her past affiliations and political dealings. These are factors in a nominee's confirmation process. TV ads by secret sources? BetterJustice.com was the first group I had heard of running such ads, and you know full well who was behind that site. The names are right there on the left side of the screen. And as for her speeches, though old, they let us have a glimpse into her mind. There was no doubt on Roberts. We were one of the sites that helped vet his documents, and his mind was quite clear in those documents. To pardon Miers for her clear ideas that we called into question seems a bit hypocritical.

Not all critics of Ms. Miers from the right used these tactics, and those who did not will be able to continue on with the project of restoring sanity to the process that went haywire with Judge Bork's rejection in 1987. Conservatives are also fortunate that no Republican senator called for Ms. Miers's withdrawal.

But the Democrats' hand has been strengthened. Voting for or against Ms. Miers would have forced Senate Democrats to articulate a coherent standard for future nominees. Now, the Democrats have free rein.

Hardly. By holding the president and the GOP to the standards that they set in the 2004 election, namely nominating candidates in the mold of Scalia and Thomas, then we have reinforced the idea of what is right for a nominee. We don't want stealth candidates, and if there are such nominated, then the president needs to come out and prove them to be of the right judicial philosophy. When the president said "Trust me" we replied with "Prove it." This is an acceptable and typical reaction from a party base promised qualified, originalist jurists, and being let down over the last fifty years eight different times. The party will only tolerate ineffective nominees so long before it bites back.

The next nominee - even one who is a superb scholar and sitting judge who recently underwent Senate confirmation like Michael McConnell of the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, or a long-serving superstar like Michael Luttig of the Fourth Circuit - will face an instant and savage assault. After all, it "worked" with Ms. Miers. A claim of "special circumstances" justifying a filibuster will also be forthcoming. And will other nominees simply pass on the opportunity to walk out in the middle of a crossfire? A White House counsel with distinguished credentials was compared to Caligula's horse and Barney the dog on National Review's Web site. George Will denounced as "crude" those evangelicals who thought Ms. Miers's faith was a good indication of character in a nominee and a hopeful sign on issues involving the unborn. She was labeled a crony before lunch on the day of her nomination by scores of commentators. Attacks on her competence within the White House followed immediately. She never had a chance, really.

Now, why would Luttig, McConnell, or even Alito (the rumored front-runner) face an assault from the base when it was the base throwing these names out before the Miers nomination? I see no assault coming from the Right, but I do see it from the Left. To think otherwise is absurd. But this is a good thing. The new nominee (provided they are one of those on everyone's short-lists) will have the backing of the party, and the base will fight just as hard FOR their confirmation as they did AGAINST Miers, and we'll be more justified in doing it. It's hard to argue on behalf of a candidate that has nothing solid, and supporters are grasping at straws while the opposition pummels them to death. And the reason this woman never had a chance was because those watching this event unfold started digging, and made some discoveries. NO ONE, not even Hewitt, can deny that the initial reaction to the nomination wasn't justified. A long-time friend and confidante? Been with the president since he was governor in Texas? Worked on the Lottery Commission? It's not our fault that the nomination originally smelled of nepotism. I don't excuse the scurrilous, personal attacks. That's just flat wrong. It is the only part of this op-ed I agree with, but again, it was minor at best. We never impugned her credentials here; we questioned her qualifications.

The Miers precedent cements an extraconstitutional new standard for nominees. Had the framers intended only judges for the court, they would have said so. No doubt some Miers critics will protest a willingness to support nominees who have never sat on the bench, but no president is going to send one forward after this debacle. The center of the Miers opposition was National Review's blog, The Corner, and the blog ConfirmThem.com, both with sharp-tongued, witty and relentless writers. They unleashed every argument they could find, and the pack that followed them could not be stopped. Even if a senator had a mind to urge hearings and a vote, he had to feel that it would call down on him the verbal wrath of the anti-Miers zealots.

now, I'm offended by that. I don't consider myself a "zealot," and I know neither Marcie or Sabrina share that sentiment. We had a reasoned, logical argument against this woman, and the White House, the Miers supporters, and even a few in neutral terroritory couldn't answer the questions. The moment "judicial philosophy" or "Constitutional experience" came up, we were drowned in a sea of talking points. There was no engagement in a serious debate. Hewitt's own interview with Stanley Kurtz showed this as every time Kurtz brought up a point, Hewitt dismissed it because of some sort of preconceived notion that this aspect or that aspect was improper. When this is the extent of the debate, then there is no debate. There is one person telling another person that he's "stupid." And he calls our opposition Democrat-like.

It will be the lasting glory or the lasting shame of The Corner and others involved in driving Ms. Miers from the field, depending on what happens, and not just with the next nominee and his or her votes on the court, but all the nominees that follow, and all the Senate campaigns that will be affected, as well as the presidential race in 2008.

I must disagree with this "political fallout" strategy that he's been peddling for three weeks. I think it was a wise move for Miers to step down. Between the relentless opposition from the base, and the apparent unwillingness of the GOP in the Senate to truly address her, she knew that this nomination was doomed. When the call went out for documents, she knew that there was no way she'd make it because the committee and the Senate would look unfavorably at the refusal to release certain documents. Which brings me back to a point that Hugh just made about the next president never wanting to take a chance on someone not a judge. I don't find that to be true. A lawyer would be qualified, if they were one like roberts who has had his time before the high court, and knows the inner workings of it. That's a lawyer we can get behind, especially if her were representing the conservative values and ideology in the cases he undertook.

This triumph of the conservative punditocracy will have lasting consequences, and I hope my fears are misplaced. The first returns will come in the decision on parental notification statutes that will be argued before the Supreme Court in late November. Absent a miracle of Senate efficiency, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will cast one of her last votes on the most important abortion-rights case in a few years. And then the accounting will begin in earnest.

We don't consider ourselves to be a part of any high-fallutin' 'punditocracy.' We're just part of the base with a computer and a keyboard (and a straight-jacket). I doubt the consequences will show up in the next two elections. George Will is right: in a matter of months, Miers will be off everyone's radar screen completely. Just like the voters in Arizona that "forgot" about John Mccain's hand in the McCain/Feingold bill when his last reelection came around, the base will embrace the new nominee (provided the president doesn't shoot himself in the foot again) and Miers will be a footnote in history books.The parental notification case will be an important one to be sure, but the simplest way for the court to rule would be on the fact that this law applies to minors. Under US law, a minor may not enter into a contract/agreement without mommy and daddy's approval. To gain an abortion, one must sign a number of forms. If you're a minor, those contracts are null and void. Simply put, if you're under 18, and you want an abortion, you need your parent's approval, which means they must be notified. This court is adjourned.

Don't get me wrong. I like Hugh. I like his show, and I like his guests. But when it comes to Miers he was dead wrong. And in the next three years, we'll see that there is no backlash from the Miers debacle. Even John Kyl on his show yesterday stated that the only way Miers would be a subject for his reelection bid--2006--was if his opponent brought it up. He doubted that his opponent would. But this op-ed sounded more like sour persimmons than anything else. Hopefully this will be one of the final words on Miers as we gear up for the next nominee; a nominee I hope the president will not screw up on, and that the base can rally around very quickly.

Publius II

Alito Notable Information

The SCOTUS Blog posted this up today about Judge Samuel Alito. This is simply a brief biography and some notable cases he was involved with.

Brief biography
Judge Alito currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Prior to his nomination to the Third Circuit by President George H.W. Bush, he served as U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey (1987-1990), Deputy Assistant Attorney General (1985-1987), and Assistant to the Solicitor General (1981-1985).

Judge Alito was born in 1950 in Trenton NJ. He attended Princeton University and Yale Law School. He clerked for Judge Leonard I. Garth on the Third Circuit.

Useful weblinks
Access a profile of Judge Alito at Law.com

Notable opinions:
A majority opinion in ACLU v. Schundler
, 168 F.3d 92 (3d Cir. 1999), holding that the Establishment Clause was not violated by a city hall holiday display that contained a creche, a menorah, secular symbols of the season, and a banner proclaiming the city's dedication to diversity.

A majority opinion in Fatin v. INS, 12 F.3d 1233 (3d Cir. 1993), holding that an Iranian woman seeking asylum could establish that she had a well founded fear of persecution in Iran if she could show that compliance with that country's "gender specific laws and repressive social norms," such as the requirement that women wear a veil in public, would be deeply abhorrent to her. Judge Alito also held that she could establish eligibility for asylum by showing that she would be persecuted because of gender, belief in feminism, or membership in a feminist group.

A majority opinion in Saxe v. State College Area School District
, 240 F.3d 200 (3d Cir. 2001), striking down as contrary to the First Amendment a public school district anti-harassment policy that extended to nonvulgar, non-school-sponsored speech that posed no realistic threat of substantial disruption of school work.

A majority opinion in Shore Regional High School Board of Education v. P.S.
, 381 F.3d 194 (3d Cir. 2004), holding that a school district did not provide a high school student with a free and appropriate public education, as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, when it failed to protect the student from bullying by fellow students who taunted the student based on his lack of athleticism and his perceived sexual orientation.

A majority opinion in Williams v. Price
, 343 F.3d 223 (3d Cir. 2003), granting a writ of habeas corpus to an African-American state prisoner after state courts had refused to consider the testimony of a witness who stated that a juror had uttered derogatory remarks about African Americans during an encounter in the courthouse after the conclusion of the trial.

A dissenting opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 947 F.2d 682 (3d Cir. 1991), arguing that a Pennsylvania that required women seeking abortions to inform their husbands should have been upheld. As Judge Alito reasoned, "[t]he Pennsylvania legislature could have rationally believed that some married women are initially inclined to obtain an abortion without their husbands' knowledge because of perceived problems--such as economic constraints, future plans, or the husbands' previously expressed opposition--that may be obviated by discussion prior to the abortion." Chief Justice Rehnquist's dissent from the Supreme Court's 5-4 [corrected] decision
striking down the spousal notification provision of the law quoted Judge Alito's dissent and expressed support for Judge Alito's reasoning.

A dissenting opinion in Homar v. Gilbert
, 89 F.3d 1009 (3d Cir. 1996) arguing that that a state university did not violate the procedural due process rights of a campus policeman when it suspended him without pay and without a prior hearing upon learning that he had been arrested and charged with drug offenses. The Supreme Court, which reversed and remanded the case on other grounds, agreed with Judge Alito's reasoning that no hearing was required prior to the suspension because the drug charges showed that the suspension was not baseless.

A dissenting opinion in Sheridan v. Dupont
, 74 F.3d 1439 (3d Cir. 1996) (en banc) arguing that a plaintiff in a sex discrimination case should not inevitably be able to survive summary judgment simply by casting doubt on the employer's proffer of legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for the adverse employment decision.

The reason why I am focusing so much on Judge Alito is that he seems to be the front-runner right now. And based on the above notable cases, we can see that he has a solid judicial philosophy regarding the Constitution, and how it should be interpreted. Another benefit the president may be focusing on would be the fact that two important cases are coming up to the high court this session. One is the parental notification case (which I can't seem to find on it's docket at the moment), and a First Amendment case directly challenging the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses.

As seen above, Alito is solid on both issues.

I would suggest though that we keep our eye on the "dark horses." Thomas added an addendum to my post this morning pointing out that Luttig and Alito are not the only names being bandied about. Priscilla Owen and Karen Williams are also being floated, and assuredly vetted. For those wanting to keep up on this issue, keep your eyes here, or head to the links below.


Mistress Pundit

Court Rumors Abound...

As I said yesterday, I'm not one to jump on rumor and innuendo, however sources in Washington, DC are saying that those in charge of helping the president vet the replacement for Miers aren't working to hard to protect the identity of who is next.

In short, it appears to be either Samuel Alito or Michael Luttig.

If this is true then this is a very smart move. Alito, dubbed "Scalito" by his law clerks, is as solid as they come. He has views very close to that of Justice Scalia. He just doesn't lower the boom when he writes an opinion like Scalia does. He has fifteen years on the Third Circuit Court, and his conservatism is evident in a case-to-case basis rather than the broad, sweeping opinions on constitutionality.

If it isn't true, and he appoints Michael Luttig, it's a home-run that I doubt the Democrats could recover from. This is why Thomas, Marcie, and I--through our research--would love to see him on the high court. There are benefits to a Luttig nomination. First, he is from Texas. Second, he recused himself in a death penalty appeal where he was personally involved. Third, his knowledge of the law is at least as extensive as Chief Justice Roberts. Lastly, he would give the liberals the same sort of fits that Chief Justice Roberts gave them.

A filibuster couldn't be used on either Alito or Luttig. Both men sailed through their initial confirmations without so much as a batted eyelash being given to them. They passed with overwhelming majorities, and their tenure on the bench has been marked by solid originalism, and no complaints from legal experts. (Well, at least not from the experts that have a brain. Sorry Erwin.)

If either of these men are nominated, it will erase the specter of Miers from the map. I'm not saying that all will be forgiven. The base is still smarting from Miers, but either of these men can wipe that fight away. So, to our regular readers, let's wait and see. If he doesn't nominate either person, hold your fire. Give it a day or so. We'll be ripping research on the nominee, and we'll keep people informed, as we did with Miers. Granted, if it's neither, and the president loses his mind and nominates Al Gonzales, there will be no fire held; the bloggers will let him have it with both barrels.

But the rumors point to either Alito or Luttig. Either would be fine.

And on a sour note this morning, Patrick Fitzgerald has handed down one indictment. Lewis "Scooter" Libby has been indicted on charges of lying to investigators. Ah, I can hear the champagne corks popping from the liberals. I'm sure any sound bite from Sen. Kennedy might have to be doctored to edit out the slurred words. The problem is that charge is not the same as lying to the grand jury.

According to the reports that are coming out, Libby made a direct, contradictory statement to investigators. He stated that Valerie Plame's name was "leaked" to him through reporters. Investigators claim they have E-mails contradicting him that point to his source as Vice President Cheney. To the liberals tossing high five's out there, this charge--if found guilty--won't give Libby a day in jail. Libby will cooperate, and he'll be lucky if he gets probation. Fitzgerald has nothing on Karl Rove, and it sounds as though he was grasping at straws to come up with this charge. Again, as with the court watching, we will see what happens. But my personal and professional opinion is that Libby will be the only one indicted, and there will be no jail time for him.

Mistress Pundit

ADDENDUM: As I was putting this up, it came across FOX News, that Libby has resigned his place as Cheney's Chief of Staff.

ADDENDUM II: Confirm Them is also reporting that the Chicago Tribune has confirmed that four of the potentials are: Samuel Alito, Michael Luttig, Karen Williams, and Priscilla Owen. It seems that the president is paying attention to the concerns of his base. all four of these people are on our short list, and any one of them will do the job well. Of course, we have our favorite (Luttig), but if these are the people that the president is looking at, then we know he's learned his lesson about "stealth" candidates.

Publius II

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Back To The Drawing Board

Rumors circulating around Washington, DC are that the president will be choosing a new nominee to replace Harriet Miers within the next 24 to 48 hours. I’m not one to deal in Washington rumors, but it’s a distinct possibility. I’d like to reemphasize this site’s short list; a list the president should take a close look at.

J. Michael Luttig
Priscilla Owen
Janice Rogers Brown
Emilio Garza
Samuel Alito
Edith Jones
Alice Batchelder
Miguel Estrada
Edith Clement
William Pryor

I am aware that the original list included Mike McConnell, and had left Judge Pryor off the list. I spoke with Thomas earlier tonight, and we agree. McConnell is not one we would wish to see on the court. Mr. McConnell believes in substantive due process (SDP), which was one of the underlying factors in Roe. Below is a citation from Pres. Lincoln in 1858 where he explains how the opposite idea embraced by the court today is incorrect. Both Justices Scalia and Thomas agree with Pres. Lincoln, and chastise the court for acting opposite what is a well-understood concept. The bolded section of the quote was actually said by Pres. Lincoln. The remainder were his notes on the subject from his debate against Douglas.

The Constitution itself impliedly admits that a person may be deprived of property by "due process of law," and the Republicans hold that if there be a law of Congress or territorial legislature telling the slaveholder in advance that he shall not bring his slave into the Territory upon pain of forfeiture, and he still will bring him he will be deprived of his property in such slave by "due process of law." And the same would be true in the case of taking a slave into a State against a State constitution or law prohibiting slavery.

This also applies to life and liberty, which are the other two items that can be taken under "due process of law." Mr. McConnell supports the idea the court embraces today. Likewise, his views regarding the First Amendment seem to collide clash with Justice Scalia’s textualist view. McConnell disagreed with Scalia’s view in the case of Employment Division of Oregon v. Smith. In that decision, Scalia rightly applied drug laws to a sect of people who were using peyote. In Smith, Scalia and the court ruled that Oregon could deny benefits to Native Americans who used peyote in violation of state, and federal, drug laws. Scalia wrote that the Free Exercise Clause does not protect activities that are made criminal by generally applicable and religious-neutral law. McConnell’s belief is incorrect on this subject, and on substantive due process.

We urge the president to take a close look at the list above, and ask himself , "Who’s the best one?" Each one of them are highly-qualified legal minds, and have had their time on the bench. They have wrestled with questions regarding the Constitution, and have always decided within the constructionist/textualist/originalist point of view. The Constitution is already set in stone, and there are ways to amend it within it. The judiciary is not a legislature; they do not make laws. Jurists aren’t supposed to overrule the law, and all too often they seem to. Whether it is an outright breach like Kelo, or bit-by-bit incrementalism like Griswold, and later Roe, such activism need not be on the court.

The above people are anything but activists.

For the president, he should look at this as a long-term victory. I know a lot of people, like Hugh Hewitt, think that this is a setback. On the contrary, the GOP can now get back in touch with it’s base. It wasn’t some wacky group of special interest groups. I really do hate to disagree with the los...er, the liberals on this, but they’re wrong. The base reacted to a nominee that was unqualified for the position she was appointed to. This will pull us together, not drive us apart. Ask yourself if you remember the last time either party had an open debate amongst themselves. This is the first of my recollection, and no I don’t consider the nutty debate of the liberals after their stunning six straight defeats at the ballot box. That was pure insanity from a party coming unhinged as they attempted to spin their "message" so people would believe them again. The problem with their message is that no matter how they spin it, the message is the same. It is elitism. It is spend-and-tax happy. It is anti small business. It is anti liberty. We aren’t that way, as the base spoke loudly over the reckless spending. Now, some elected officials are taking the appropriate action to deal with the party’s wayward ways.

It’s a victory for the party in the long term. In the short term, this is still a victory for the president. He can go back and nominate someone more to the base’s liking, and one that will have overwhelming support, as Roberts did when he was nominated. Further, it’s time for this president to start using the bully pulpit against some members of his own party, like the "Seditious Seven" (To use Thomas’ analogy of them) that helped cut the Gang of Fourteen deal. These fourteen higher-than-thou’s need to be taken down quickly and decisively. If the president nominates a solid jurist that neither side can deny, and the Democrats launch a filibuster, the president only needs sixty votes to end cloture, and fifty-one to crush the deal. This is a fight that is coming, and has been long overdue. "Now is the time for all good men to come tho the aid of their party." That adage is truer today than the day it was uttered, and it’s an adage the GOP should take to heart right now.

Mistress Pundit


And the Rebel Allaince wins as this morning, Harriet Miers withdrew herself from the nomination to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. Below are exceprts from news services.

Under withering attack from conservatives, President Bush abandoned his push to put loyalist Harriet Miers on the Supreme Court and promised a quick replacement Thursday. Democrats accused him of bowing to the "radical right wing of the Republican Party."

The White House said Miers had withdrawn because of senators' demands to see internal documents related to her role as counsel to the president. But politics played a larger role: Bush's conservative backers had doubts about her ideological purity, and Democrats had little incentive to help the nominee or the embattled GOP president.

That's the White House spin--the document part--but we know why she stapped down. She was taking the worst beating of her life, and it was because the president made a mistake. He made a huge mistake in nominating a close friend, and someone unqualified.

And the Democrats had better shut up over this. We aren't radical. We looked at this nominee closely, and made our stand. She didn't fit. She wasn't qualified. Thyis is the part I dislike because they went after her, too. Not as hard as we did, but they still went after her. Sen. Schumer told FOX News this weekend that she didn't have the votes on the committee, and she didn't have the votes in the Senate. So, should we also chalk a bit of the opposition to the "radical" left-wing of the Democrats?

Democrats and Republicans braced for a political brawl over Bush's third Supreme Court pick in seven weeks. With Chief Justice John Roberts in place, Bush had two pools of candidates from which to choose: Conservative jurists who received serious consideration last time or somebody outside what Bush calls the "judicial monastery," perhaps a current or former senator who would be welcomed by the GOP- controlled Senate.

Bush promised a new nominee "in a timely manner." Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said he expected a replacement within days and wants to hold hearings by Christmas. Equally likely was that retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor would remain on the court until early next year while her replacement is sought, a prospect that concerns many conservatives.

For the conservatives concerned over Miers, maybe they should remember that had the preisdent made this nomination properly, O'Connor would be gone by Thanksgiving. But he decided that Miers would be stealth enough to pass through the Senate--the GOP in loyal support, and the Democrats left with nothing to grab onto. Too bad that did not happen. As of 8:30 EST last night, it's reported that she handed in her resignation in terms of the nomination. She will maintain her spot as White House Counsel.

Bush may have his pools to choose from, but maybe he should pay attention to some of us "lay advisors" out here. Thomas and Marcie put together a stellar list, along with reasons why they should be backed, why the Democrats couldn't oppose them. The problem as we have seen is that the president has little faith in his party. Well, Mr. President, you are the de facto leader of the Republican Party. If you can't keep the kids under control, then it's time for you to utilize some of that political capital you claim you possess, and start cracking skulls. Luttig, Williams, Garza, Brown, Jones, Alito...One after another, and each one is equally good and qualified. Each one is anything but "extreme" or "extraordinary." There should be no desertion or retreat from the GOP over a nominee like them. If there is, you know those are the ones that get no help from you at all come election time.

The Democrats are giddy this morning as they continue to blame the Miers defeat on the extreme right wing. There wasn't an extreme side to this debate. This debate was between two solid factions. Loyalists, and the Rebel Alliance. And I'd like to address a point that irritated me during this running debate.

There was an awful lot of name-calling in this debate. We are conservatives, not liberals. We don't call each other names. That kiddie-crap arguing that Democrats engage in constantly. The Loyalists were not "shills." They wanted to support the president. Likewise, the Rebel Alliance were not "extreme hate-mongers." We had concerns. This is something that had to be new to Democrats. Unlike them, and their continued meltdown, we can move on from this point, and still respect each other.

Did some of the debate get extreme? Yes, it did. But we recognized it quickly enough, and called for a return to civility. Democrats have no knowledge of civility, so they'll never change. We can. We did. And now that she's gone, we can move on. The president has promised a prompt replacement, and I hope it will be a good one; one that we can all agree on. (Not the Democrats though; they're going to hate whomever he chooses.)

This debate showed the nation that we can be honest with ourselves. Thomas, Marcie, and I are staunch conservatives. We voted for President Bush in 2004, and Thomas and I voted for him in 2000. (Marcie was not yet 18 in 2000.) We respect some of the commentators out there both in favor of and against Miers. Hugh Hewitt led the Loyalists. Charles Krauthammer and George Will led the charge against. In all the exchanges we heard, there was no disrespect between either side. Every one of Hugh Hewitt's interviews were cordial. Agreeing to disagree was commonplace on his shows. I'm sure this morning Hewitt is unhappy. I'll be watching his site to see how he reacts to this.

But the point is that either she did this herself, or she was asked by the White House to do this. Frankly, who cares? She is stepping aside. We have the awesome opportunity to have a good nominee named, and take this fight to the Democrats. Don't back down from this. He can't make nice with these idiots. Take the fight to them, stick a new backbone in the Senate GOP, and finish off the Democrats absolute control of the high court. Mr. President, nominate someone that will make us happy and proud.

Mistress Pundit

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