Patterico's Pontifications


William Saletan Just Doesn’t Get It

Filed under: Abortion,Judiciary — Patterico @ 9:16 pm

I recently criticized William Saletan for writing a smarmy piece mocking Judge Alito for his dissent in Casey. Aside from the incredibly annoying tone of the piece, one of the piece’s main flaws was Saletan’s conflation of rulings on constitutional law and opinions about policy. This caused Saletan to get the analysis 100% backwards.

He’s still doing it.


Scumbag of the Day: Wally Hettle

Filed under: Scum — Patterico @ 4:38 pm

Read about it here. The comment thread that started it all is preserved here.

Another example of the leftist thought police taking steps to either: 1) silence dissent, or failing that, 2) harm the dissenter’s career.

If this upsets you, you can let Wally know how you feel. His e-mail is — or you can reach him at work at His phone number is (319) 273-2942.

(And no, this is not revealing anything private about him. The personal e-mail is from the linked comment thread. His work information is all public, available here.)

But don’t involve his employers. That’s too much like what he did — and it’s out of line. Show the world that you’re better than he is.

Alito and Vanguard

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 7:25 am

Since Democrats appear to be heavily pursuing the charge that Judge Alito failed to recuse himself from a case involving Vanguard and other companies, it might be worth investigating. I haven’t had a chance to look into it independently, but Baseball Crank has. As a good place to start, I recommend his analysis of the controversy.

Questions: does anyone know if Senators have money invested in Vanguard? If so, have any of them voted on legislation that might affect Vanguard? Might such legislation have a bigger effect on Vanguard than a legal dispute over $170,000?

These seem like relevant questions. Let’s find out the answers. I’ll link any post that provides useful and accurate information that sheds light on the matter.

UPDATE: Why limit it to Vanguard? Let’s look at any financial holdings that Senators might have that could be affected by their votes. Since Russ Feingold seems hot to trot on the issue, his most recent financial disclosure might be a good place to start.

UPDATE x2: Here is an opinion letter from a George Washington Mason law professor saying that Alito had no duty to recuse himself. (Via Howard Bashman.) One significant point: the law in this area has been clarified substantially since 1990, when Judge Alito said he would recuse himself from Vanguard cases. This is important because, as the professor explains:

It is not reasonable to argue that, in 1990, Judicial Nominee Alito was “promising” never to hear a case involving Carpenter, Bennett & Morrissey, or Vanguard, no matter what was the state of the law or the facts in the ensuing years. His 1990 statement, in context, can only mean that based on the law and the facts at the time as he understood them, he would — out of an overabundance of caution — not hear cases involving Smith Barney, Vanguard, or the law firm of Carpenter, Bennett & Morrissey. If the facts or the law would change, then the result would change. For example, if his sister no longer was working at Carpenter, Bennett & Morrissey, then he would no longer disqualify himself from hearing cases from that firm.

Similarly, if the law subsequently became clear that recusal was not necessary — and the professor argues that it did — that would change the context of Alito’s promise as well. If the professor’s analysis is right, then there was no need for him to recuse himself at all. Still, as the professor says, Alito later recused himself anyway in an abundance of caution, because

it was his personal practice to recuse himself when a party raised an issue and “any possible question might arise.”

Thereafter, “[t]he case was sent to a new panel and it came out the same way.”

Big deal.

I predict that this issue will not gain much traction.

UPDATE x3: Here is a letter from Geoffrey Hazard, which says that Judge Alito had no duty to recuse himself, but that he made an “insignificant” mistake in making the 1990 promise to recuse himself from Vanguard cases when it wasn’t necessary. Prof. Hazard says this should lead to no more than “mild criticism” and was handled properly by Judge Alito’s subsequent decision to recuse himself.

UPDATE x4: Still more support for Alito’s position here.

How Jay Leno Can Put the Spotlight on the Supreme Court Nomination and Somehow Make It All Fun at the Same Time

Filed under: Humor,Judiciary — Patterico @ 6:53 am

Two words: Dancing Alitos.

An Easy Quiz

Filed under: Scum — Patterico @ 6:41 am

Baldilocks asks:

If Joseph Wilson and Cindy Sheehan had to fight for a single spot in front of a camera, who would win?

The answer, of course, is Chuck Schumer.

P.S. This Baldilocks commenter got it right.

Den Beste Blogging Again

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 6:32 am

Instapundit notes that Steven Den Beste is blogging at

I’d seen a couplethree comments from him here, so I knew he was still lurking around, but I am happier still to see him doing posts.

Mary Mapes v. The Truth, Part 2

Filed under: Media Bias,Scum — Patterico @ 6:24 am

Mary Mapes:

On Web sites such as Powerline, INDC Journal, Allahpundit, and Spacetownusa, the bravehearts of the blogging world worked anonymously in what appeared to be huge numbers, in unison, to destroy the Bush-Guard story, to uphold one another’s wild and hateful claims, to outshout, outargue, and outblog anyone who dared to disagree.

The truth, as reported by “anonymous” blogger Bill Ardolino:

Even in forced retirement, Mapes continues her legacy of accuracy, as neither Powerline, nor Spacetown, nor INDC Journal worked anonymously during the scandal. I invite everyone to revisit my September archives and peruse the “wild and hateful claims” made by INDC. Good times.

Indeed. I’d suggest that someone sue her, but I doubt she has enough money left to make it worth your while.

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