Patterico's Pontifications


Clip That Quote and Save It!

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 11:26 pm

I rarely link to comments, but I thought that this comment was worth highlighting. The IP address comes back to the Fox News Channel.

P.S. TNugent posted the “Bill Maher” comment.

Needed: One More Senator (Update: We Got Him!)

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 7:39 am

If Democrats try to mount a filibuster against Judge Alito, Republicans can win if they hold their coalition together and get at least two votes from the Gang of 14 to trigger the nuclear option.

With the nomination of Judge Alito, we already know that Lindsey Graham will provide one of those votes:

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.”

Courtesy of Hugh Hewitt, here are the names, e-mail addresses, and telephone numbers of the other Republican members of the Gang of 14:

Senator McCain
(202) 224-2235

Senator Warner
(202) 224-2023

Senator DeWine
(202) 224-2315

Senator Chafee
(202) 224-2921

Senator Snowe
(202) 224-5344

Senator Collins
(202) 224-2523

And, in terms of holding the coalition together, here is contact information for two other key Senators (also courtesy of Hugh):

Senator Hagel
(202) 224-4224

Senator Specter
(202) 224-4254

It’s time to put the pressure where it belongs: on the Senators. Let’s get busy!

UPDATE: Question for Professor Bainbridge: if the Democrats were to filibuster Alito, would you support the nuclear option?

Just askin’.

UPDATE x2: Hewitt says DeWine is on board as well. It’s all over except for the shouting.

It’s Alito!

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 6:17 am

It’s official: Bush has picked Samuel Alito to be the next Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Ground Zero of the battle will be his dissent in the lower-court decision in Casey. I have a full analysis of that dissent here. I urge readers to read my post, become familiar with the dissent, and to counter misrepresentations of the dissent wherever you see them.

This will be quite a battle. But with the power of the blogopshere to spread truth, and to hold the media’s feet to the fire, I have confidence that we will prevail.

Mr. President, all is forgiven. We are with you all the way.

To war!

UPDATE: The Real Clear Politics blog has Sen. Schumer’s statement. I like the sound of it:

It is sad that the President felt he had to pick a nominee likely to divide America instead of choosing a nominee in the mold of Sandra Day O’Connor, who would unify us.

This controversial nominee, who would make the Court less diverse and far more conservative, will get very careful scrutiny from the Senate and from the American people.

Sen. Schumer, I’ve got news for you: you will also be getting very careful scrutiny. Any distortions of this fine judge’s record will be met with the truth, courtesy of the blogopshere. Instantly. Be warned.

This Weekend’s Posts

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 12:01 am

Weekday-only readers should consider clicking on these posts from the past weekend:

  • If you read only two posts from the weekend, read these two posts on potential nominee Judge Samuel Alito:

    1) I analyze Alito’s Dissent in Casey.

    2) In a post called Alito Out? I analyze [UPDATE: clearly unfounded] rumors that Sen. Specter has nixed Judge Alito’s nomination, and note an interesting reason why that might be.

Or, if all this clicking is too hard, just scroll down!


President to Announce Nominee on Halloween: Will It Be a Treat? Or a Trick?

Filed under: Humor,Judiciary — Patterico @ 10:39 pm

The Washington Post says Bush will announce the new Supreme Court nominee tomorrow. On Halloween.

Verrrrrrry scary.

Give us someone distinguished and conservative, or we’ll paper your White House. I’m not kidding. I’ve got two tons of Charmin in the pickup, and the engine’s running. Make my day.

UPDATE: He did! It’s Alito.

Clinton W. Taylor on Lyin’ Joe Wilson

Filed under: Politics,Scum,War — Patterico @ 10:16 pm

At the American Spectator’s web site, Clinton W. Taylor asks a good question: who is lying? Patrick Fitzgerald? Or Lyin’ Joe Wilson?

I’ll give you one guess as to what I think.

Alito’s Dissent in Casey

Filed under: Abortion,General,Judiciary — Patterico @ 1:08 pm

There is a lot of buzz [UPDATE: now confirmed!] saying that Judge Samuel Alito may be President Bush’s nominee for the Supreme Court. If Judge Alito is nominated, the primary Democrat talking point is going to be his dissent in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 947 F.2d 682 (3d Cir. 1991). In that case, Judge Alito wrote a cogent dissent which argued for the validity of a law requiring spousal notification before an abortion.

We need to be ready to counter this talking point if Judge Alito is nominated. Luckily, we are armed with the truth.

Democrats will, of course, distort Judge Alito’s dissent. They will say: “Judge Alito thinks that women should have to consult with their husbands before having an abortion. Evidently he views married women as nothing more than their husbands’ property. Also, he is insensitive to the fact that battered women aren’t going to get an abortion if they have to tell their husbands about it first. If Judge Alito is confirmed, the right of married women to obtain abortions will be severely restricted.”

This is nonsense. Judge Alito’s decision was well-reasoned, restrained, and respectful of precedent. He indicated no policy preference and wrote no memorable, fire-breathing lines in the dissent. He simply tried to apply the law as he understood it, with a proper respect for the difference between legislators (who make laws) and judges (who interpret and apply laws).

If we are going to counter the inevitable Democrat distortion, we have to be familiar with what Judge Alito actually said. I can’t find a copy of Alito’s dissent on the Web [UPDATE: you can read it here], so I will give you a summary of it here.


Tony Snow Exposes Bill Maher As Clueless Moron

Filed under: Morons,War — Patterico @ 9:06 am

Like a rubbernecker drawn to a train wreck, I am drawn towards that Bill Maher show. He’s one of those people you love to hate, and his show is most interesting when he has someone articulate on his show who opposes his point of view. So I watched when Christopher Hitchens was on recently. And I watched last night when Tony Snow was on.

Tony absolutely ripped Maher up.

He exposed Maher for the clueless fraud he is. And he did it with a smile. It was an amazing performance. If you have HBO, you have to watch it in reruns this week.


WSJ Needs to Correct Its Correction

Filed under: Media Bias,War — Patterico @ 8:42 am

The Wall Street Journal can’t get the Joe Wilson/Niger story right — even in a correction. Barcepundit has the details.


Alito Out?

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 11:19 pm

If you believe this commenter at Confirm Them, Alito is out because Arlen Specter doesn’t like him. [Please see all updates to this post.]

Good Lord. Does Bush want Specter’s blessing or that of his base? Because they’re not the same thing.

Has he learned nothing from the Miers debacle?

[UPDATE: Yes, he has!]

I’m trying to remain optimistic. This is, after all, a random comment by a random commenter. But it somehow rings true. And this kind of nonsense reminds me why I wrote off Bush after the Miers nomination. If he’s not going to pick somebody strong, then he should be doing a better job of controlling the leaks from his aides, who are leading us to expect someone strong.

UPDATE: I think I may know what this is all about. I have discovered that Judge Alito once dissented from a ruling in favor of Senator Specter, in a lawsuit that Specter cared about so much that he personally argued the case in the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled against Specter, adopting Judge Alito’s arguments.

That’s the kind of thing you don’t easily forget.

In 1991, Arlen Specter and other political and union leaders filed a lawsuit challenging the closure of the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. The shipyard had been targeted by a closure list created pursuant to the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act. Specter was the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. He and the other plaintiffs argued that the process was stacked against the shipyard, but a federal judge threw out the suit, ruling that the federal courts had no authority to review the decision.

A divided panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed. (Specter v. Garrett, 971 F.2d 936 (3d Cir.1992).) Two of the three judges held that base closure decisions under the Act were indeed subject to judicial review. A third judge dissented, arguing that Congress, in passing the Act, had insulated base closure decisions from judicial review.

That judge was Sam Alito. And his dissent was a rejection of the arguments made by Sen. Specter.

The U.S. Supreme Court vacated the decision and instructed the Third Circuit to reevaluate the case in light of a recently issued Supreme Court decision. But the Third Circuit didn’t take the hint, and reaffirmed its earlier decision. Judge Alito again dissented, for the same reasons as before: Congress had expressly provided that there be no judicial review of base closure decisions. (Specter v. Garrett, 995 F.2d 404 (3d Cir. 1993).)

The case was once again appealed to the Supreme Court. (Dick Cheney, as defense secretary, was the lead named defendant.)

The lawsuit was a big deal to Sen. Specter. He personally argued the case in the Supreme Court, telling the Justices that “failure to allow judicial review here would virtually repudiate Marbury v. Madison … and nearly two centuries of constitutional adjudication.”

The Court was not impressed. On the issue of judicial review, the Court unanimously reversed the Court of Appeals, citing principles articulated in Judge Alito’s second dissent. (Dalton v. Specter, 511 U.S. 462 (1994).)

This is speculation, but my guess is that Arlen Specter has had it in for Sam Alito ever since.

UPDATE x2: On the other hand, this Confirm Them commenter points to this Philadephia Inquirer story, which says that Specter has praised Alito:

At a news conference in Philadelphia, [Specter] sharply criticized Bork as “having the most extreme ideology of any nominee ever,” while offering praise for federal appeals court Judge Samuel A. Alito, also a conservative, who has been mentioned as a possible replacement for O’Connor.

So who knows? This seems to debunk the theory . . . but then, of course, what people say in public is not always what they say behind closed doors. And Brutus is a honorable man.

Still, the article relieves me somewhat.

On the relevant thread, the commenters who purport to know something about Specter’s feelings concerning Alito are in sharp disagreement, with many saying Specter likes Alito, and just as many saying that it’s well-known that Specter can’t stand him. At this point, I’m throwing up my hands. But I still think that lawsuit is an interesting bit of backstory.

UPDATE x3: Thanks to Feddie at Confirm Them for the link. (Thanks also to Polipundit, who apparently hasn’t written me off for bagging on him the other day.) I hope that, if the rumors are true, the White House realizes the petty nature of Specter’s opposition. But primarily, I hope the rumors aren’t true, and that Sen. Specter supports Alito despite this past issue.

UPDATE x4: Thanks to Jonathan Adler at Bench Memos for the link.

UPDATE x5: Judge Alito has been nominated, so either Specter is okay with him, or his opposition wasn’t enough. As we move forward, keep this old case in mind. I assume Sen. Specter will treat the nominee fairly — but if he doesn’t, this post may help explain why.

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