Patterico's Pontifications

7/31/2005

Dodd on the “Privacy Clause of the Constitution”

Filed under: Judiciary,Morons — Patterico @ 1:25 pm

I can only imagine what it must be like for John Roberts to have his nomination to the Supreme Court in the hands of clowns like Sen. Christopher Dodd, who said today:

The open-ended question for us clearly is what are his views about some of the basic values, the equal protection clause, the privacy clause of the Constitution.

Yup, you read that right. The “privacy clause of the Constitution.”

Sigh.

It seems that every post I do lately is getting filed under “Morons.”

(Via Confirm Them.)

UPDATE: Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the link.

Oh, That Liberal Media (Part 83,284)

Filed under: Judiciary,Media Bias,Morons — Patterico @ 11:31 am

The other day, Howard Dean condemned President Bush’s “right-wing Supreme Court” for the Kelo decision:

[Dean] also said the president was partly responsible for a recent Supreme Court decision involving eminent domain.

The president and his right-wing Supreme Court think it is ‘okay’ to have the government take your house if they feel like putting a hotel where your house is,” Dean said, not mentioning that until he nominated John Roberts to the Supreme Court this week, Bush had not appointed anyone to the high court.

The Townhall.com news item I quote here made it clear why Dean’s statement was so ridiculous:

Dean’s reference to the “right-wing” court was also erroneous. The four justices who dissented in the Kelo vs. New London case included the three most conservative members of the court – Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Associate Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was the fourth dissenter.

The court’s liberal coalition of Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer combined with Justice Anthony Kennedy to form the majority opinion, allowing the city of New London, Conn., to use eminent domain to seize private properties for commercial development.

“We think that eminent domain does not belong in the private sector. It is for public use only,” Dean said.

(Via John Cole.)

So, at a time when the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice is one of the hottest stories in the news, the head of the Democrat party makes an impassioned speech that (though he doesn’t realize it) is an argument for more conservative Justices in the mold of Scalia and Thomas.

Does that sound like news to you?

In the days since Dean made this statement, it has been reported in exactly one Big Media outlet: the “Political Grapevine” segment of Fox News’s “Special Report with Brit Hume.” Nothing in the New York Times. Nothing in the Washington Post. Nothing in the Los Angeles Times or the Chicago Tribune. Nothing on CBS, NBC, ABC, or CNN.

Nothing.

Meanwhile, Dean’s words have reverberated throughout the Internet. Blogs like John Cole’s Balloon Juice, Protein Wisdom, Q&O, Say Anything, RightWingNews, Lifelike Pundits, and many others have noted Dean’s gaffe. A poster at Kos was stunned, saying: “There’s simply no way that Dean’s comments can be spun to make them even remotely defensible.”

Will Big Media ask Howard Dean about this? The next time Howard Dean is on a Sunday talk show, will the host ask him if he is more likely to support a conservative like John Roberts because he would likely be a vote for property rights?

Time will tell . . . but I doubt it.

UPDATE: Thanks to Instapundit for linking this post. I’d encourage new readers to do two things (after bookmarking my main page, of course):

1) Go visit one of the fine blogs listed in this post, all of which had this story days ago; and

2) Write your local newspaper and ask them why they haven’t run this story.

P.S. I’m not including Kos in suggestion #1 . . . unless you’re a masochist.

7/30/2005

Fringe Leftist: MSNBC Makes Up Thunderstorm to Support Bush

Filed under: Humor,Morons — Patterico @ 6:27 pm

I have a Bloglines folder labeled “Morons,” which contains exactly two blogs. I almost never link either, but this time I can’t resist.

I am going to quote the silly post and comments in full, in case they are later altered:

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Opening Carpool Lanes to Hybrids: Not a Good Idea

Filed under: Public Policy — Patterico @ 12:12 pm

The L.A. Times reports:

Motorists who drive solo in fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles will gain access to carpool lanes in California under a massive transportation bill approved by Congress on Friday that includes billions of dollars for projects statewide.

This change is not likely to have the impact that its proponents expect.

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Big Media: Anonymity Good . . . Transparency Bad

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 10:08 am

Hugh Hewitt has begun implementing a new policy towards print reporters who want to interview him about John Roberts. He tells them: sure, you can interview me — but you have to do it live, on my radio show. That way, everyone will hear the complete interview — and they will know what you put in, what you left out, and how you spun my comments.

Guess what? Nobody has taken him up on it yet.

I wonder why. The latest reporter to decline his offer said she didn’t want the story “out there” before it ran in her paper. I have a different theory: she doesn’t want to lose her control over the way Hugh’s comments are portrayed to the public. I have discussed this issue in detail previously, in this post.

P.S. Hugh could establish for us which theory is right by agreeing not to run the interview live, but insisting on taping and broadcasting the whole thing.

Bugging the Readers’ Representative — But for a Good Cause: Truth

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Judiciary — Patterico @ 9:47 am

On July 27, 2005, after publishing this post about a misleading David Savage story on John Roberts, I sent this e-mail to the L.A. Times Readers’ Representative:

Hi,

David Savage’s story on John Roberts this morning (7-27) titled “Some Roberts Documents Released” says:

The White House opened to the public Tuesday thousands of pages from the files of a young assistant attorney general but declared off-limits all the files from the years when John G. Roberts Jr., now a Supreme Court nominee, was a top government lawyer urging the repeal of the Roe vs. Wade abortion ruling.

No one on Capitol Hill had asked for the Reagan-era files.

I am having difficulty reconciling this statement with one published in the New York Times on Monday:

The Bush administration plans to release documents from Judge John G. Roberts’s tenure in the White House counsel’s office in the mid-1980′s and his earlier job working for the attorney general, but will not make public papers covering the four years he spent as principal deputy solicitor general starting in 1989, two senior administration officials said Monday.

The decision fulfilled a request for disclosure of the documents made on Monday by Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which will hold the confirmation hearings for Judge Roberts, President Bush’s choice to fill the Supreme Court seat being vacated by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, said the senator’s spokesman, Bill Reynolds.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/26/politics/politicsspecial1/26confirm.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1122472481-15FDBSnhtKmG+38DtF2AwQ

These seem in conflict, unless I’m missing something.

Patrick Frey

It’s July 30, and I’ve heard nothing. I have forwarded the earlier e-mail to the Readers’ Representative again (and to editor Dean Baquet) with this note:

Hi,

Could you please respond to me regarding my e-mail of July 27 (which I am forwarding another copy of below)? I want to know whether Arlen Specter’s office requested the documents already released by the Bush Administration re John Roberts, as reported by the N.Y. Times on Monday. These are documents that the L.A. Times said Wednesday had not been requested by anyone on Capitol Hill.

I have seen no correction and have received no response. I’m sure the issue could be resolved by a simple query to Sen. Specter’s office.

Thanks.

Patrick Frey
Patterico’s Pontifications

http://patterico.com

In the meantime, if I am overlooking something or otherwise barking up the wrong tree, please let me know in the comments. The quotes look inconsistent to me, but maybe I’m missing something.

UPDATE: Via commenter Ed at Oh, That Liberal Media comes this link to Scott McClellan’s comments at a recent press conference:

Q: If they’ll answer the question. Yesterday, you suggested that — you determined — you made the release of these documents possible after discussions with Senator Specter. Did Senator Specter explicitly request these documents, or were they offered in conversation?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, and I never — no, in fact, I never said such a thing. I know that there are some reports in the paper that someone in his office may have said that, and that appears to have been a mischaracterization. But we did talk to him before releasing that information, and he appreciated the — he expressed his appreciation for the fact that we were going to expedite the release of these documents.

I am interested to see what Sen. Specter’s office says. If his office agrees, then perhaps the NYT owes the correction, rather than the LAT.

Clint Taylor: Prometheus, Deterred

Filed under: General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 8:52 am

Clinton Watson Taylor has an article about the poor guy who got killed by police in the London Tube.

7/29/2005

Kinsley Calls Finke “Idiot” — and Finke Wrong About “Outside the Tent”

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 5:37 pm

I recently criticized a Nikki Finke piece on Michael Kinsley, which criticized him for being too far to the left, and for not being far enough to the left. Turns out Kinsley himself is upset (no surprise there), in part for the same reasons I found her piece unfair:

Finke is hard to please. John Carroll stands accused of alienating “conservative subscribers” by hiring a “legendary lefty” (ie, me) to run the LA Times opinion pages, and also of “overlooking” Los Angeles’s “progressive movement” by hiring an “old school liberal” who makes no “serious argument” (also me).

Kinsley’s letter pulls no punches. It opens: “I knew that Nikki Finke is an idiot, of course, but I had no idea that she was such a fuddy-duddy.” (Via L.A. Observed.)

I also questioned the accuracy of Finke’s claim that the paper is ending the “Outside the Tent” feature. Turns out I was right to do so. Sunday Opinion Current Editor Bob Sipchen responded to my inquiry today to confirm that the feature is alive and well.

Still More Misleading Claptrap from the L.A. Times on the Roberts Memos

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Judiciary — Patterico @ 7:36 am

There is more shoddy analysis from David Savage in this morning’s L.A. Times, on the issue of the disclosure of John Roberts’s memos from when he was a Deputy Solicitor General.

Savage cites a case that he says supports the idea that attorney-client privilege may not apply to Roberts’s memos. The case’s holding depends critically on the fact that the attorney-client privilege for government lawyers must give way in criminal investigations. The court repeatedly emphasizes the criminal context, but Savage never mentions it. Rather, he makes it sound like the case applies to requests by congressional investigators as well, with an incredibly misleading discussion of the work product doctrine.

The distressing (and complex) details are in the extended entry.

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7/28/2005

Dafydd: 77 Shenanigans

Filed under: Court Decisions,Politics — Dafydd @ 11:29 pm

Hello, folks, it’s me again.

Welcome back, Dafydd.

Did you miss me?

Um… who were you, again?

Ahem. Those of you following the endless kerfuffle over Proposition 77, the on-off-on again ballot measure to take redistricting out of the hands of the pols and plop it into the mits of a gaggle of “Special Masters” (I’m abruptly reminded of the Felix the Cat villain the Master Cylinder, and his sidekick Rock Bottom) will be interested in this newest twist.

Daniel Weintraub posted the following on his excellent Bee-blog California Insider:

Prop. 77 chicken scratch

This amazing document, posted on the Secretary of State’s web site, has become the subject of a legal dissing match between Attorney General Bill Lockyer and supporters of Proposition 77.

Lockyer’s lawyers and spokesman have claimed that the document, which is almost illegible through a series of edits and proofreading remarks scrawled all over it [having written and edited many documents, I had absolutely no difficulty reading it -- DaH], is a copy of the initiative circulated by proponents of Prop. 77 to gather signatures for their measure. He’s now citing the mess as another reason why he refuses to write a new title and summary for the version of the initiative that was circulated to voters.

Ted Costa, the chief sponsor of the measure, says the document is not what he circulated. He says he is not sure where the document came from but he insists his group circulated a clean, typewritten copy of its initiative, albeit a slightly different version than the one submitted to Lockyer for review. [Once again calling myself as a witness, I actually read and signed the original petition when it was circulated at my local Ralphs supermarket... and I can guarantee it was a clean, typewritten copy with no holographic edits... because if it had any, I would never have signed it. -- DaH]

Anyway, it’s worth taking a peek at the document to see what they are fighting over.

UPDATE: An alert reader (aren’t they all?) points out that all of the initiative meaures have at least a few chicken scratches on them. Indeed, these appear to be marks from the legislative counsel’s office. Some are printing instructions, like spacing for paragraphs, while others are small changes in code sections and other legal matters. Beyond that, the Prop. 77 version also includes handwritten changes that reflect the now famous differences in the versions submitted to the AG and circulated to the voters. It’s still a mystery though, as to who wrote those changes in. Costa says it wasn’t him.

What nobody seems to have figured out yet is that the document with the so-called “chicken scratches,”which comes from the California Secretary of State’s website, is in fact exactly the same as the document posted on the website of Attorney General Bill Lockyer… that is, the printed portion of it is identical to the AG’s version.

But the holographic edits — what Weintraub calls the “chicken scratches” — actually would, when implemented, make this document instead identical to the version available on the website of Ted Costa’s group, Fair Districts Now, which both sides stipulate is the version that was circulated as a petition. (Well, nearly identical; some trivial corrections on the Secretary of State’s version do not appear on either of the other two versions.)

That is, the Secretary of State’s document is actually a set of instructions for turning the Attorney General’s version into the version actually circulated by Fair Disctricts Now.

Let’s pause to ponder that a moment. The hand-edited version contains a few corrections that are not implemented on either “official” version, as I said: for example, in several places, written-out numbers like “twenty-four” are crossed out, and the equivalent numeric version (“24″) is handwritten; also, in several places where a code section is referred to as, e.g., “subdivision (c) (1),” it is hand-corrected to “paragraph (1) of subdivision (c).” But other than these trivialities, all of the differences appear to be covered by the holographic corrections on this document.

On the first page of the Secretary of State’s document is a brief handwritten note, which appears to me — I am not a trained handwriting expert — to be in the same handwriting as the later corrections (for example, the lowercase o in “Prop 77″ has an identifiable angle in the two-o’clock position also found in the edits). The note says “Prop 77″ at the top of the first page, with “#1072 Jeff to SOS 7-1,” followed by a set of initials; I can only identify the first letter of the initials… it’s a J (for Jeff, I assume — big help). The second letter could be a D or an O.

The three possibilities are: (1) somebody at Fair Districts Now read the AG’s version, realized it differed from the circulated version, and made corrections for the Secretary of State to implement; (2) somebody at the Secretary of State’s office had both documents, noticed the discrepencies, and made the corrections, routing the hand-edited document to his boss; or (3) somebody in Bill Lockyer’s office spotted the differences and wrote corrections, so that the Secretary of State’s office would be able to correct the text.

But in any event, the critical point is that, according to the date handwritten on the edited document, these corrections were in the Secretary of State’s office a full week before the Attorney General filed suit, on July 8th, to remove Prop 77 from the ballot because the version he had did not match the version that was circulated for signatures.

The Secretary of State had all the necessary corrections in hand to turn the AG’s version into the circulated version a week before the AG filed his lawsuit and nearly three weeks before Judge Gail Ohanesian agreed, on July 21st, to remove the measure from the ballot. Did Lockyer mention at trial that they already had the corrections before he even filed suit? Clearly, somebody took the trouble to go through the two versions line by line and write the corrections that would be necessary to make the AG’s version identical to the circulated version… so why did that somebody not simply make those corrections himself, thus averting the AG’s lawsuit and keeping Prop. 77 on the ballot for voters to decide?

But perhaps I just answered my own question.

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