Patterico's Pontifications


Saddam Trial Update

Filed under: Humor,War — Patterico @ 10:52 pm

Gil Garcetti has been put in charge of the Saddam prosecution. He has moved for a venue change to Ramadi, claiming that the evidence is so strong that even a jury packed with insurgents and Saddam loyalists would have no choice but to convict.

P.S. It’s a cheap shot, but sometimes you just gotta take the cheap shot.

You Are the Comedian

Filed under: Humor,Scum — Patterico @ 10:40 pm

The Boston Herald reports that Ted Kennedy attempted a water rescue on Sunday.

Your punch line goes in the comments.

She Doesn’t Read Books, But She Sure Can Bowl!

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 9:48 pm

Recent praise for book-avoider Harriet Miers includes this:

“You know, she’s a very gracious and funny person,” said Joshua B. Bolten, the director of the Office of Management and Budget whom Ms. Miers succeeded as deputy White House chief of staff in 2003. “I was racking my brain trying to think of something specific.”

In the next breath, Mr. Bolten recalled relaxing with her at Camp David. “She is a very good bowler,” he said. “For someone her size, she actually gets a lot of action out of the pins.”

And this:

Carl Cameron of Fox News tossed aside the credentials and asked [former Texas Supreme Court justices] to describe something Miers did that “led to a demonstrable outcome of a conservative judicial philosophy.” They could not.

“Well, I –I — I will answer it this way,” [John L.] Hill [Jr.] said, citing an instance in which Miers opposed mandatory pro bono work for lawyers in favor of voluntary pro bono work. Cameron pushed again, fruitlessly, for specifics. Moments later, a White House spokeswoman declared the session over, and when a couple of the judges lingered, a handler cut them off with a call of “Gotta go to lunch, Judge.”

Pssst: Justice Hill! Tell ’em what a great bowler she is!

Message to Reuters: Reversing Roe Would Not “Ban” Abortion

Filed under: Abortion,Judiciary,Media Bias — Patterico @ 9:34 pm

Andrew at Confirm Them catches Reuters equating a vote against Roe v. Wade with a vote to “ban abortion.” (The Washington Post and ABC are also guilty; both reprinted the story with the same misleading headline.)

How many times do we have to go through this? A Supreme Court decision repealing Roe v. Wade would not ban abortion. It would simply return the issue to the states, many of which would provide for legal abortion.

As Ed Whelan notes at Bench Memos: “This should not be regarded as a subtle point.” Because it’s not.

A Disgruntled Google Searcher

Filed under: Humor,Judiciary — Patterico @ 8:53 pm

Still think the discontent out there isn’t real? Try this Google search on for size. (Caution: harsh profanity; not work-safe.)

The fact that I am the top result for this search does not indicate that I agree with the searcher’s sentiments; I don’t. The harsh language results from two things: the fact that I discuss Harriet Miers a lot, and the entirely unrelated fact that I used the profane phrase in a humorous post of mine, titled A Touching Family Story About Our Five-Year Old Daughter (Warning: Profanity).

As you can see from that post, that profane language was originally written by someone else — I was just quoting it. And the post has nothing to do with the President’s Supreme Court nominee.

Still, I venture to say that there’s at least one Google searcher out there who’s more than mildly unhappy with the President’s nomination.

Only Elitists Read Books!

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 8:40 pm

From Harriet Miers’s testimony in that 1989 voting rights case comes this nugget, as explained by

On lines 15 and 19, as a response to questions about whether she has read books on the subject on which she is being questioned, Miers answers:

“I probably can shorten this line of questioning… if you just asked me when’s the last time I read a whole book.”

At least I know what question Senators should pose to her: what are the last five books you read? If one of them is “Fun with Dick and Jane,” you’ll know we’re in trouble.

Don’t like it that she can’t write to save her life? Elitist! Don’t like it that she doesn’t read books? Elitist!


We were promised someone in the mold of Scalia and Thomas. We’re getting someone in the mold of George W. Bush.

Scared yet?

(Link via Confirm Them.)

UPDATE: I forgot that Miers, when recently asked what she reads for relaxation, mentioned John Grisham. That explains why she wasn’t reading books in 1989; Grisham didn’t become popular until the 1990s.

I understand her affinity for Grisham. Like Miers, he is a lawyer and an atrocious writer. (Uh-oh! Did I say that out loud? I’m in for it now . . . Does it help that I love Stephen King? Just because you’re a popular writer doesn’t mean you’re a rotten writer — but it doesn’t mean you’re a good writer, either.)

Sun Tzu for Dummies

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 8:22 pm

Time for a page from Sun Tzu:

For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To set your own forces fighting against one another is the acme of skill.

That’s not what it actually says? I guess I was reading George W. Bush’s version.

Miers Supported Abortion Ban — So What?

Filed under: Abortion,Dog Trainer,Judiciary — Patterico @ 7:37 pm

Here is that Texans United for Life Questionnaire in which Harriet Miers signaled her support for a constitutional amendment banning abortion unless necessary to protect the life of the mother. The document is provided by the Washington Post — an example of a newspaper making original sources available to its readers! Kudos to the Post for providing it, and thanks to Howard Bashman for the pointer.

The L.A. Times concludes, quite incorrectly:

Miers’ answers on the questionnaire from the anti-abortion group, Texans United for Life, would appear to assuage concerns of many on the conservative right that she would be a reliable vote on the Supreme Court if changes to Roe vs. Wade come under consideration.

Nonsense. The L.A. Times still doesn’t understand that opposition to abortion is not the same as opposition to Roe v. Wade. Senator DiFi doesn’t get it either:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)said “the answers clearly reflect that Harriet Miers is opposed to Roe v. Wade” and “this raises very serious concerns about her ability to fairly apply the law without bias in this regard.”

The answers clearly reflect no such thing, Senator DiFi. Justice O’Connor and Justice Kennedy both trumpeted their antiabortion views before joining the Court, and both voted to reaffirm the central holding of Roe. The concerns of this blogger are not assuaged — in the slightest.

Nor, in fairness to Miers, is this a valid reason for any Senator to vote against her nomination — any more than it is a valid reason to vote for her.

Smeagol Lies Again

Filed under: Abortion,Judiciary,Scum — Patterico @ 7:03 pm

Eleanor Smeagol Smeal is doing it again: writing her supporters to tell them that Justice O’Connor was the fifth vote to uphold basic abortion rights:

The right to a safe, legal abortion is on the line with Harriet Miers’ nomination to fill Sandra Day O’Connor’s seat on the Supreme Court. With the O’Connor seat as the fifth vote on not only abortion, but many issues important to women and minorities, the public, especially women, deserves to know much more about Harriet Miers and her views on the issues.

Whoever fills Justice O’Connor’s seat is the crucial fifth vote.

Wrong, Ms. Smeagol. We’ve been through this before. O’Connor was not the fifth vote to uphold the basic abortion right. She was the fifth vote to uphold the precious, precious right to have your doctor kill your partially-born baby by sticking it in the skull with a pair of scissors, and sucking its brains out with a suction catheter.

Not the same thing.

Miers Responds

Filed under: Constitutional Law,Judiciary,Law — Angry Clam @ 8:24 am

[Posted by The Angry Clam]

The hired handlers Harriet Miers has responded to the first set of written questions by the Senate.

National Review has posted a PDF.

I’m in the process of reading them as I neglect my work duties.

— The Angry Clam

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I kind of figured that Miers would simply crib from Roberts’s performance all the way through this process, including in her answers to the questionnaire, but I was apparently wrong. The buzz word for Roberts was “modesty.” I don’t see that word in the answers to this questionnaire. Instead, I see the words “humility” and “humble”:

Humility and self-restraint require the judiciary to adhere to its limited role and recognize that where applicable precedent exists, courts are not free to ignore it. Mere disagreement with a result is insufficient to justify ignoring applicable precedent, but reconsideration under appropriate circumstances is also necessary. [p.37]

Judicial review by the Supreme Court, including determining the meaning of the Constitution and declaring unconstitutional the actions of another branch of government, is a tremendous power exercised by judges who are not accountable to the electorate. Because their power is so great, and because it is largely unchecked, judges must be vigilant in exercising their power in a humble, prudent, and limited way. [pp. 56-57]

I don’t think the use of this word is an accident.

Prediction #1: In the days and weeks to come — and especially in the confirmation hearings — listen carefully for this word. I have a feeling it is going to pop up again and again.

Prediction #2: We won’t hear anything about umpires (especially since umpires have been less popular in recent days). But maybe we’ll hear about referees.

CLAM RESPONSE: I think that Patterico is right on the word choice.

Roberts spoke in the language of the Law;
Miers speaks in the language of God.

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