Friday, January 13, 2006


For thousands of years women would bear 6, 8, 10, even a dozen children only to have half or more of them die before reaching adulthood. I've often thought of the effort and care parents have put into raising children and the futility one would feel to lose them. My grandmother lost one baby in infancy, a grown daughter to meningitis, and a grown son to World War II--A third of her children. Many pioneer women gave birth to 12 or more children only to see 3 or 4 reach marriageable age.

All this time, medical science has striven to find ways to combat the diseases and inadequate nutrition that took so many children. We have passed laws and appropriate millions upon millions to provide the necessities of life so that no child should have to go hungry. We have seen various affordable, safe and effective means developed to prevent conception.

How odd it seems, then, that probably THE major issue at the last 6 or 7 confirmation hearings has been the right to abort a child already conceived and apparently healthy. Feminists, like Lady Macbeth, seem to view their ability to bear children as a kind of weakness, and demand that the Supreme Court unsex them, even as they had demanded that the language be unsexed to suit their desires. Like her, they seem to goad the men who serve their ambitions, and insist that they do dirty work to achieve the aims of their ambition.
I have given suck, and know
How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me:
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums,
And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn as you
Have done to this.
No such gory and sickening thoughts for modern women, though. They dash the brains and bodies 'ere the babe is born.

This is something true about that play that makes one's blood run cold to think of such an affront to nature.

I think of Ted Kennedy reading his calumnies of Judge Alito, seemingly unwilling or unable to meet his gaze, under the watch of Emily's List, Ralph Neas, Nan Aron and the rest. In time, the Democrats must shake off this curse or succumb as a party, because, like Europeans,there will be fewer and fewer of them brought full term. They will beat themselves to pieces in bitter frustration as another group, worthy or not, supercedes them.

This is why I'm not rich.

I'd never have the gall to ask people to buy pixels on a webpage famous only for selling pixels. Some consider this bloke a genius. He reminds me of the guys who sold the Emperor his New Clothes. This is the Pet Rock of the new year. It reminds me that modern westerners have way too much money.

The other PFAW

It's handing out awards to the standout Sentors at the Alito hearings.

More than once I found myself thinking that these people are quite the latecomers to the the party on stare decisis and judicial activism. Their results-oriented approach to jurisprudence is too often the basis for court rulings, which is why lawyers get the big bucks: they have to be able to hold passionate convictions about inconsistent positions all the time, and be able to turn on a dime.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

It's only superficially Sci-Fi. It's really about Jacksonian values.

A Serenity franchise a la Star Trek?

Faster, please.

“The Lights Are Going Out All Over Europe”

Is a new cold war brewing? It could be a cold winter in Europe if they comply with Kyoto and Russia won't export natural gas to them.


Erwin Chemerinsky is still boiling about Alito's membership in CAP. William Rusher's group that opposed the conversion of Princeton to coeducational and it's shift to the left during the 60s and 70s. He talks about it like it was the KKK. Yeah, right. The Federal Judges who testified today at their own request on behalf of Judge Alito, he dismisses because those who would not like to see him confirmed would fear to offend him lest he become an Associate Justice.

Erwin sounds like he's bordering on hysteria, but then how would that make him any different from other liberals these days. They are the modern version of the Copperheads.

Lord Byron

Check out Byron York's latest about the Anti-Alito coalition:
"It's been a very, very bad day for him," said Nan Aron, head of the Alliance for Justice. By "him," she meant Alito, who had suffered, Aron said, severe blows to his credibility. "The credibility gap that existed before the hearing has become a credibility chasm," said People for the American Way head Ralph Neas, talking to reporters outside the hearing room. "Judge Alito has a profound problem both on substance and credibility grounds," said Wade Henderson of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

Republicans laughed when they heard that one. "It's over," one GOP aide said flatly, referring both to the Democratic opposition and the hearing itself.
He goes into the background of the CAP flap. Read the whole thing.

The Alito Hearings

Mark Steyn on Hugh Hewitt's show:
I think the Senate has passed beyond parody now. I would love somebody to do a reality TV show, like Survivor, where you drop someone in the United States Senate, and they have to see how much questioning they can stand by the Senate Judiciary Committee, before they flee the island.
Ted Kennedy is turning into a snarling Mr. Potter right before our eyes. He congratulated Alito for backing off from his earlier hatred of women and minorities. This is the famous "When did you stop beating your wife?" kind of "question." It's tendentious, stating facts not in evidence. He got away with this when he attacked Robert Bork with his description of "Bork's America" but this time he just looks like a bigot himself. He's a bully boy, but in a match of wits, he's unarmed.

Pat Leahy seems to be drifting off into senescence, droning on and on, making the listener forget what he was talking about. He seemed to be reminiscing about other confirmation hearings back in the good old days, when he could still hunt.

Joe Biden is just annoying. Mark Steyn describes him as "an undisciplined lounge act" who "never knows when to stop." I was reminded of the smarmy characters Bill Murray on SNL or Eric Idle were so good at. I could really imagine Biden sidling up to you and doing the old nudge and wink. The others at least have the courtesy to read their statement/questions. His "uhs", "ums" and constant fumbling trying to find words makes George Bush look absolutely loquacious. As I wrote to Hugh the other night, Joe Biden is the Cowbell and the "famed producer Bruce Dickinson" of the Senate and he never thinks there's enough of his own voice. But he's excruciating to listen to.

The Democratic Party is in serious trouble. If I were advising them, I'd tell them not to participate in any more of these confirmation hearings, unless they've got another Robert Bork to joust with. Roberts and Alito, in Rich Lowry's words, make me proud to be a conservative.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Consider the source

Hugh Hewitt points out this post by John Cole:
An independent judiciary means little if our judges are not independently minded. In criminal, immigration and other cases, Alito is one of the government’s most predictable votes on the federal bench. Though his supporters have attempted to portray this as merely a principle of judicial deference, it is a raw form of judicial bias.
So let me get this straight. He would prefer policy decisions to be made by unelected, life-tenured judges who have no accountability to voters?

And who is this "the Government" he seems to fear? I thought it was we, the people. If we don't make our wishes known and sell our votes for earmarked pork, we get what we deserve. We tried a pure states' rights approach already. It didn't work.

Jonathan Turley has come out strong against Alito, which tells me more about him than about Alito. His column sounds like it was written by a disgruntled litigant, warning us that our Constitutional system will be in grave danger if he gets confirmed. I note however that several of his arguments are based on memos Alito wrote in the 1980s as an employee of the Reagan Justice Department. He also criticizes his dissent in Doe v. Groody in which
For example, in Doe v. Groody, Alito wrote a dissenting opinion arguing that police officers could strip-search a mother and her 10-year-old daughter, despite the fact that neither was named in the search warrant nor suspected of crimes. The majority opinion was authored by fellow Republican and conservative Judge Michael Chertoff (now serving as secretary of Homeland Security). Chertoff criticized Alito's views as threatening to "transform the judicial officer into little more than the cliché 'rubber stamp.'"
What he doesn't say is that this was a civil suit against four officers and Alito would have granted them qualified immunity from liability. The majority held:
The officers argue that they did not violate clearly established federal constitutional rights when they searched a mother and her ten year old daughter in the course of executing a search warrant for narcotics at their home.

The appeal turns on the scope of search authorized by the warrant. To resolve this issue, we must consider under what circumstances the scope of a warrant may be expanded by looking to the accompanying affidavit. We hold it to be clearly established that unless a search warrant specifically incorporates an affidavit, the scope of the warrant may not be broadened by language in that affidavit.

Yeah, not agreeing with that would put the Constitution in peril, all right.

The issue was whether the officers involved were entitled to Qualified Immunity.
Qualified immunity protects law enforcement officers from being tried for actions taken in the course of their duties. If the immunity applies, it entitles the officer to be free of the “burdens of litigation.” Mitchell, 472 U.S. at 526. But the immunity is forfeited if an officer’s conduct violates “clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have nown.”
Got that?

The shocking fact that the wife and daughter of the suspect were strip searched by a female officer inflames Turley, apparently, but that isn't the point of the case. What Alito would have ruled was that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity from civil suit, because they reasonably believed the search was authorized by the warrant. It's not an assault on civil rights or our constitutional system.

Most appellate cases are like that. They come down to narrow issues of fact or interpretation of laws. To make sweeping statements based on several cases is not very helpful in evaluating a judge's 15-year service.

Furthermore, it's futile to try to pin down a justice to a particular policy view, because ruling otherwise isn't an impeachable offense. The Democrats' tactics have guaranteed that no judicial candidate will be truly candid with them. They demonstrated the folly of doing so in the Bork and Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. The problem they have now was created by them. The Republicans, when Breyer and Ginsburg were nominated, make a much more sensible calculation, and voted on their legal qualifications and abilities without trying to block them for being liberals. Perhaps they were hoping the Democrats would follow suit, but asking Biden, Schumer, Leahy, Kennedy and the rest to use common sense is a bridge too far.

It appears, however, that they've already concluded that they don't have the votes to sustain a filibuster, which generally becomes more of a political problem for those backing it than those who represent the majority view.

Update: Senator Durbin characterized Alito's opinion in Groody thus: "You were the only judge on your court who ruled to authorize a strip search of a ten-year-old girl." Follow the link for a good explanation of how shallow that analysis is.

Nothing new under the sun.

Sadly, most of the nominees for favorite common sense ideas aren't really new and they don't all have much common sense. Many of them sound like retreads of the New Deal which gave us Social Security. The most common sense thing to do with that mess would be to end it and pay everyone in my generation a refund of what they've paid in so far. If there's anything left, retire some of the national debt and allow current workers to create 401(k) accounts with what would otherwise go toward payroll taxes.

I'd like to see the federal government downsized and its taxing power limited. I'd like to see lobbying strictly limited to submission of information materials, and no more earmarks, irrelevant amendments, and pork barrel legislating.

Do away with college degrees beyond Bachelors in journalism, education, political science, art, drama, and other areas where postgraduate "study" only serve to prolong working outside of real life, and with phoney departments like "(Your minority here) Studies." College is supposed to teach student how to learn on their own, not prepare them for graduate school, unless further studies are really necessary to master a field.

Outlaw federal and state entitlement programs.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

How do you know your career is on the skids?

Well, lending your name to a PETA campaign against "sheep abuse down under" might be a clue.

Wow. It's real!

I thought that photo of a woman wearing a thong with the Aussie flag painted on her buns was too good to be true. I would have sworn that Save the Sheep would be a porn site.

I think I carved this car

for my kid's Pinewood Derby car, once. It looks luscious.

But I'm too old for it now. Sigh.

Why I'm worried about my kids at college.

The rampant radicalism among university faculties may be getting some response. I think that future generations will look back and wonder how we ever tolerated, let alone encouraged, groups like the ACLU for so long.

Don't expect a filibuster.

This photo pretty well sums up the performance of the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee today. Hugh Hewitt devoted his entire show today to them, particularly some of the remarks (can't call them questions), of Senator Biden, contrasted with remarks he made at Princeton a few years ago. I emailed him, that if I were PFAW, NARAL, etc. I'd be asking the Democrats for my money back. They came off looking prejudiced and jesuitical.