Archive

  • Good Enough, But Not For Us

    Via Sam Rosenfeld , this bit from Mark Tushnet on the Roberts nomination is very much worth reading: At this point, there’s no reason for a Democrat to vote to confirm Judge Roberts. My argument has two steps: the first is that Democrats should disagree with what they know about Judge Roberts’ constitutional philosophy ... and in this connection it’s irrelevant that that vision is not “out of the mainstream.” The second step of the argument is that all senators should have a reason for voting to confirm a nomination, and neither the fact that the president picked this person nor the fact that this person is an extremely talented lawyer is a sufficient reason to overcome disagreement with the nominee’s vision of the Constitution. Excited italics are, of course, mine. But this is an important point. A fair gathering of liberal legal scholars have emerged to assure us that John Roberts is the sort of maniacal nutball that should send us diving for the Senate's self-destruct button. But...
  • How Do They Sleep At Night?

    You've probably heard this quote already, but Barbara Bush went on NPR tonight and really let one rip: "What I’m hearing which is sort of scary is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality...And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them." Haha! The girls at the club must've loved that one! Barbara Bush is, as she's always been, a crack-up. But that should be assumed. This, after all, is brought to you by much of the same genetic material that went searching for promised WMD's under furniture to entertain journalists at a comedy dinner. I don't much remember Clinton using Waco as fodder for a laugh-in, but maybe I just missed it. The overwhelmed and under-armed have long had gallows humor, and now, it seems, the overcomfortable and underaffected have executioner's grins. But I'm being too uncharitable. I'm glad Momma Dubbya unhinged her jaw and...
  • Remembering Rehnquist

    By Ezra Saltman says : I certainly disagreed with many of [Rehnquist's] opinions, but he maintained an astonishing degree of intellectual integrity in his long tenure on the court. I read somewhere, and I wish I could find it on google, that he voted to strike down fewer laws than any other justice presently on the court. I don't know if that refers to a certain period of time or his whole career, so take it impressionistically, but it reveals a truly conservative approach to jurisprudence and a minimalist view of his role as as judge. The opinions of his that I've read, unlike those of some of his colleagues, are always respectful, clear and professional, and never overwrought. Scott's also got a touching, worthy remembrance . I've been getting some indignant e-mails about my terming him a "dedicated public servant" -- he wanted to affirm Plessy ! He spent years chipping away at women/minority rights! -- and the e-mails, by and large, are correct in their facts, but wrong in their...
  • Threading the Policy Needle

    Posted by Nicholas Beaudrot of Electoral Math At the start of the weekend, Ezra asked what the future should look like, and how it would be paid for. Since we live in a bizarro world where proposing a tax increase to pay for things like body armor, rebuilding New Orleans, and medicine is considered unthinkable, I figured I'd start laying out some proposals to restore fiscal responsibility while still leaving enough wiggle room to pay for new projects.
  • Explaining Michael Brown

    Neil the Ethical Werewolf The idea that someone like Michael Brown could possibly get a job as director of FEMA belongs in parody. We're talking about a guy who had spent a decade running horse shows before being fired for supervision failures in 2001, when Bush crony Joe Allbaugh was hired as FEMA director. Brown had never managed a natural disaster, but his experience as Allbaugh's old college roommate got him the deputy director's job. After Allbaugh left to consult for companies seeking contracts in Iraq, Brown took over the agency. When Katrina hit, Brown spent his time denying the facts about what was going on in New Orleans, in a transparent attempt to fool people into thinking the situation was under control. Now Brown's FEMA is expending lots of effort in blocking incoming aid . Even Michelle Malkin wants Brown fired. The difference between this and the stellar performance of James Lee Witt's FEMA during the Clinton administration is like night and day. When the manager of...
  • Who’s the Man?

    As Neil noted below , Ezra asked us: I'm interested in the idea that, if Bush asked for sacrifice, a one time tax increase, a something -- if he said he and his VP and his cabinet would lead it by foregoing salaries for the year -- his numbers would skyrocket. Why, then, doesn't he do that? Why is this admin so allergic to sacrifice, to tax increases, to all of it? I don't think it's ideology -- they're more craven, and have proved themselves to willing to contradict conviction for that. So what is it? Just an ethical failure? Like Neil, I’m not sure that Bush’s poll numbers would skyrocket if he asked for or offered a sacrifice, not at this point, because it would just be seen as a political maneuver rather than a genuinely altruistic proposal. My husband said earlier today, “The problem is that this administration is incompetent at absolutely everything except politics, at which they are extraordinarily good,” and not only is he right, but I think most people are starting to agree—...
  • Bush Acts Quickly ... When He Wants To

    By Pepper I was taken aback at how quickly Bush rolled out his decision following Rehnquist's death, compared to how quickly he's rolled out everything else lately. I tell ya, when it's something the Court of George II cares about, they move fast. I've had a lot of coffee and I'm in a conspiracy kind of mood. So the Bush Administration wants Roberts confirmed as chief justice of the United States before October 3. In his press conference, he kept emphasizing the need to move quickly. Of course he wants Congress to move fast. If Congress is all tied up with confirming Roberts, whose nomination has even higher stakes now that he is primed to be chief justice, they won't be investigating the botched response to Hurricane Katrina. All of Congress should say "Hold your horses - we've got other business to clean up here!" I'm concerned that too many members of Congress will be thrilled to wash their hands of the unpleasantness of Katrina. Congress should hold off on everything that doesn't...
  • Chief Justice Roberts

    Bush has tapped Roberts as Rehnquist's successor, making his hearings a combined affair. Senators, now, have to evaluate his acceptability as a) a Justice on the Supreme Court and b) the new head and leader of the Court, probably for then next 4 decades. This is a very, very savvy move by Bush. If the Senate had confirmed Roberts but not made him chief, Stevens, a liberal, would've become acting chief by virtue of seniority, and when the session opened, unless a Chief could be hustled onto the Court, liberals would have held as many seats as conservatives and they'd be setting the agenda. Roberts, too, is young , he'll have the power to reshape and direct the Court for four or five decades -- that's some fucking appointment for a guy who's only been a judge for two years! Democrats, smartly, are pounding home the fact that Roberts is Rehnquist's replacement, and O'Connor should thus have her seat filled by a candidate exemplifying her imagined virtues: moderation, pragmatism,...
  • The Nature of the Mission

    Neil the Ethical Werewolf In an email to his weekend blogging team, Ezra asked the following: I'm interested in the idea that, if Bush asked for sacrifice, a one time tax increase, a something -- if he said he and his VP and his cabinet would lead it by foregoing salaries for the year -- his numbers would skyrocket. Why, then, doesn't he do that? Why is this admin so allergic to sacrifice, to tax increases, to all of it? I don't think it's ideology -- they're more craven, and have proved themselves to willing to contradict conviction for that. So what is it? Just an ethical failure? There's a bunch of things to say here. The first is that once you've given over your soul to fiscal nihilism, you're not going to see any need for tax revenue of any kind to deal with the problem. More deficit spending will work just fine. In fact, if you're clever enough, you might be able to use Katrina as political cover for extra tax cuts, just like you used 9/11 to cover the tax cuts earlier in your...
  • Edith Brown Clement

    Interesting comment on today's Meet the Press : MR. RUSSERT: There's a list left over... MR. WILLIAMS: Yeah. MR. RUSSERT: ...from when John Roberts was selected... MR. WILLIAMS: Right. MR. RUSSERT: ...only a few months ago. One of those names was Edith Clement of New Orleans. MR. WILLIAMS: Right. MR. RUSSERT: How fitting in the wake of Hurricane Katrina that one of the top contenders may be a woman from New Orleans. Filling Rehnquist's spot with a woman from New Orleans would be some powerful, powerful politics. It'd give the city something to be proud of, give Bush a sort of second chance to craft his public image on the hurricane, and prove a very tough nomination to oppose. We'll see...

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