Patterico's Pontifications


Random Blog-Related Issues

Filed under: Blogging Matters,General — Patterico @ 8:57 pm

1) Yesterday, Xrlq told me he was having trouble commenting on the blog. Is anyone else having this problem? If so, please write me at:

patterico — AT — patterico — DOT — com.

2) I would like to make my periodic pitch that people subscribe to this blog via Bloglines. If you already have a Bloglines account, you may subscribe to Patterico by clicking on this button:

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Choose the top feed.

If you don’t have a Bloglines account, you should. No downloads. You read sites only when they’re updated. You get summaries of new posts from dozens of sites, on a single web page. It will change your life.

Specter and Leahy Ask for Follow-Up Answers from Miers

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 8:26 pm

Did Arlen Specter and Pat Leahy send a letter like this to John Roberts?

While the question about her lapsed bar dues is interesting, I am most interested in the request regarding question 17, which asks Miers for detail regarding her positions on constitutional law issues while serving as Counsel to the President. (Among these issues: affirmative action!) I have a feeling she is going to refuse to go into specifics on that one, despite the Senators’ statement that learning about “the specifics of that experience” is “important.”

I am also interested in her response to the follow-up question regarding question 22, concerning possible recusal issues that might arise should she become a justice.

More Poor Writing from Harriet Miers

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 7:58 pm

I’ve said it before, and the evidence just keeps piling up to support my position: Harriet Miers can’t write. (Via Professor Bainbridge.)

As the poster notes, everyone makes mistakes. But honest to God, I think I read over my blog posts more thoroughly than she read over her answers to this questionnaire. And my blog posts are, after all, only blog posts — not my answers to a questionnaire about my qualifications to be a Supreme Court justice. Wouldn’t you want to give a document like that a quick little glance before submitting it?

P.S. In a recent comment, Beldar asked me if I had read this 1995 letter from Miers to Bush. Answer: yes, I have — and I think it sucks. I’ll quote the last sentence as one simple example of why I say this:

Additionally, I feel confident it will never work and those involved in its promulgation will be smeared with legitimate criticism for a blatant attempt to shield, protect and curry favor with interests that have brought shame on this state, badly hurt our economic development efforts directed at creating jobs and continue to this day to cause our state to be held in disrepute for “justice for sale.”

There are plenty more passages in the letter that are just as bad or worse.

L.A. Times Misleads on Three Strikes — For the Umpteenth Time

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 7:36 pm

The L.A. Times runs a story this morning titled Impact of 3-Strikes Law Still Unclear. Thanks to the story, the way the Three Strikes law works is also unclear.

It’s really not that hard to describe the operation of the 25-to-life portion of the Three Strikes law. Someone who has two prior convictions for serious or violent felonies (crimes such as murder, rape, kidnapping, robbery, arson, and residential burglary, to name just a few) is subject to a 25-to-life sentence upon conviction of any third felony.

Even though this is a ridiculously simple thing to explain, the editors often forget to tell readers the part about how the first two convictions have to be strikes. Today is no exception. Nowhere does today’s story explain to readers that the first two strikes have to be serious or violent. Instead, it suggests that any three felony convictions can lead to a 25-to-life sentence:

Under the law, a defendant convicted of a third felony can be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. . . . Critics are most unhappy about a provision that permits any felony — not just a serious or violent crime — to be charged as a third strike.

All technically true, and all highly misleading. It’s so easy to describe the law accurately, yet the paper seems hellbent on trying to persuade readers that someone can be incarcerated for life for committing three nonserious and nonviolent crimes. And this is not the first time the paper has done this, either.

In light of the paper’s long history of distorting the facts on Three Strikes (as I have documented repeatedly on this site), it’s hard to see today’s misleading description of the law as pure accident. As with repeat criminal offenders, after a while, you start to see a pattern.

(Thanks to Mrs. P. and MOG for mentioning the piece.)


Filed under: Judiciary — Angry Clam @ 2:55 pm

[Posted by The Angry Clam]

Does anyone here want to bet me that Harriet Miers, assuming that she’s confirmed, will hire clerks almost exclusively from Harvard, Yale, Stanford and Chicago, or will she hire people from the dreck of law schools?

Does this make her elitist? If so, why? If not, how come I am for being irritated that she went to a second rate tier law school?

— The Angry Clam

Playful Primate (Again)

Filed under: Blogging Matters,General — Patterico @ 6:46 am

I’m well into the Playful Primates category (currently #86) at the Truth Laid Bear ecosystem, which ranks blogs by the number of links received by other blogs. This happened once before, but proved to be a fluke, lasting only a day or so. This stay has lasted several days, and for all I know could last several more. I thought I’d point it out while it’s still true. Thanks to everyone who reads and who links.

Bork Slams Miers Nomination (Again)

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 6:38 am

Robert Bork, who had previously called the Miers nomination a “disaster,” sets forth his reasoning in a scathing critique of Miers in the WSJ. Unsurprisingly, I agree with many of the sentiments he expresses in it. It opens:

With a single stroke–the nomination of Harriet Miers–the president has damaged the prospects for reform of a left-leaning and imperialistic Supreme Court, taken the heart out of a rising generation of constitutional scholars, and widened the fissures within the conservative movement. That’s not a bad day’s work–for liberals.

He notes her poor writing skills:

There is, to say the least, a heavy presumption that Ms. Miers, though undoubtedly possessed of many sterling qualities, is not qualified to be on the Supreme Court. It is not just that she has no known experience with constitutional law and no known opinions on judicial philosophy. It is worse than that. As president of the Texas Bar Association, she wrote columns for the association’s journal. David Brooks of the New York Times examined those columns. He reports, with supporting examples, that the quality of her thought and writing demonstrates absolutely no “ability to write clearly and argue incisively.”

He echoes The Angry Clam’s recent complaint that the nomination sends the message to conservatives to hide your views:

By passing over the many clearly qualified persons, male and female, to pick a stealth candidate, George W. Bush has sent a message to aspiring young originalists that it is better not to say anything remotely controversial, a sort of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” admonition to would-be judges. It is a blow in particular to the Federalist Society, [which] performs the invaluable function of making law students, in the heavily left-leaning schools, aware that there are respectable perspectives on law other than liberal activism. Yet the society has been defamed in McCarthyite fashion by liberals; and it appears to have been important to the White House that neither the new chief justice nor Ms. Miers had much to do with the Federalists.

And he concludes by noting that the nomination has split conservatives:

Finally, this nomination has split the fragile conservative coalition on social issues into those appalled by the administration’s cynicism and those still anxious, for a variety of reasons, to support or at least placate the president. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq aside, George W. Bush has not governed as a conservative (amnesty for illegal immigrants, reckless spending that will ultimately undo his tax cuts, signing a campaign finance bill even while maintaining its unconstitutionality). This George Bush, like his father, is showing himself to be indifferent, if not actively hostile, to conservative values.

Good points all.

The knee-jerk response to any proclamation from Bork is to note how many votes he has cast on the Supreme Court (answer to that trivia question: none) — as if it was Bork’s fault that his opponents lied shamefully about his record and got away with it. But his defeat — at the hands of a Democrat-controlled Senate, I’ll remind you — did send the message that conservative candidates should eschew two things: 1) a wacky beard, and 2) excessive honesty about one’s views. A quality, tight-lipped, clean-shaven nominee like Mike Luttig was in my view unlikely to be Borked in a Senate with 55 Republican votes.

Bork’s voice has authority. Conservatives supporting Miers mock him at their peril.

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