Patterico's Pontifications


Story of Alleged John Edwards Affair Hits Big Media

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 9:30 pm

Mickey Kaus has been following the whole story of John Edwards and his alleged affair with a campaign worker. (All according to the National Enquirer.) Go to Kausfiles and keep scrolling.

Mickey recently said of the story: “The MSM seems to be strenuously trying to not report it.”

Not any more. Edwards has publicly denied it — and that gives Big Media the opening it needs. The story is on the L.A. Times web site — albeit, right now, only on a blog. And the AP has the story as of four hours ago.

More Jena 6: “He’s Locked up Again”

Filed under: Crime,Race — DRJ @ 9:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Mychal Bell, one of the “Jena 6”, has been jailed again in connection with prior unrelated charges.


The Supreme Court’s Off-Ramp from the Road To Medellin

Filed under: Court Decisions,Crime,Government,Immigration,Judiciary,Law — WLS @ 7:11 pm

[Posted by WLS]

Having taken some time now to read the oral argument from yesterday, I think I see the outline of the route the Court is going to take to get out of this case and to avoid the more signficant constitutional issues.

Key to this case, in my view, is the fact that the parties to the dispute are Texas and Medellin, and the US is only an amicus. 

Rather than focus on the significance of the President’s directive that the ICJ’s decision should be given full effect, and how that might/might not bind the State Courts of Texas to waive their procedureal rules, the Court can instead focus on whether Medellin has any rights which he can personally assert against the State of Texas based on the ICJ’s decision and Texas’ refusal to waive its procedural rules.

The Court has previously held in Sanchez-Llamas, contrary to the judgment of the ICJ, that the Vienna Convention creates no judicially enforceable rights in any individual.  The President’s decision to direct that the ICJ’s contrary view be given full effect by state courts in the 51 specific cases puts the Exec. branch on the other side of that issue.  Its not that the Pres. believes the ICJ is right and the Supreme Court is wrong, as the Solicitor General pointed out, only that the US bound itself by the Optional Protocol to respect and enforce the decisions of the ICJ even where we didn’t like them. 

Several members of the Court were curious yesterday about how it is that Medellin, a person who was not a party to the ICJ suit, can claim any substantive legal right arising out of the ICJ judgment, even setting aside the fact that such a substantive legal right was found not to exist by the Supreme Court previously in the Sanchez-Llamas case.   And this is where I think the Court is going to find its off-ramp from the road to Medellin.

The Court can deny Medellin’s claim for relief on the basis that the ICJ judgment cannot be lawfully interpreted to confer substantive legal rights on an individual not a party to the litigation.  Medellin’s claim that Texas has not provided him the hearing required by the ICJ decision may very well be true, but that is not a claim that Medellin can assert because the Vienna Convention gives him no enforceable rights — according to the Court in Sanchez-Llamas.  At most it gives Mexico a diplomatic claim which it took to the ICJ.

Rather than Medellin bringing an action against Texas for not giving him the hearing, it would be up to the Bush Administration to sue Texas in order to force it under Article VI of the Constitution to comply with the Treaty obligations as a member state of the United States.   The Supreme Court would have original jurisdiction over such a suit under Article III, and it would be for the Supreme Court to decide what Texas’ compliance obligation is with respect to the Vienna Convention and Optional Protocol.  It would be in that suit that the Court could say the Executive Branch has/doesn’t have the authority to force a state to disregard its procedural rules and to conduct a hearing in accord with Treaty obligations.

That’s my prediction.

For today anyway.    

Joey Cosmillo and the Police Sergeant who Saved Sued Him (Updated)

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 5:54 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Another entrant in this year’s Unbelievable Lawsuits …


Calling All Political Strategists …

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 3:21 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

What do you think about this college tuition idea from Senator Hillary Clinton?


The Legal Jihad Of Libel Suits

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Terrorism — Justin Levine @ 11:07 am

[posted by Justin Levine] 

Judith Miller has a great article on the coordinated effort by radical Islamic terror groups in the West to silence people through defamation lawsuits. As Miller notes, California has been very influential for the defense in this war. It would be easier if Washington actually got serious about fighting the war at home with regargds to these groups, but I’ve long given up on that prospect. [h/t: Little Green Footballs]

As I’ve suggested before, free speech is a chimerical notion in today’s litigation-fueled world, unless it also comes equipped with a hearty anti-SLAPP statute.

A “We Close at 5” Update

Filed under: Judiciary,Law — DRJ @ 9:55 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Following up on this earlier post, 20 Texas lawyers have filed a judicial conduct complaint against Texas Judge Sharon Keller in connection with the execution of death row inmate Michael Richard.


ACLU Wins Right of Mentally Ill People to Sleep on the Streets And Remain Untreated

Filed under: General,Morons — Patterico @ 6:07 am

It’s now officially legal for the homeless to sleep on the streets in Los Angeles. You can thank a lawsuit brought by the ACLU.

It’s incredibly frustrating to watch groups like the ACLU fight for the “right” of mostly mentally ill people to sleep on the streets — since it is groups like the ACLU that are largely responsible for their plight to begin with. A tremendous percentage of the homeless population consists of mentally ill people who have no business being on their own. They need to be institutionalized and receive proper treatment for their mental diseases. But thanks in large part to the ACLU and related groups, the homeless were deinstitutionalized and tossed into the streets years ago.

Now they get to sleep there. What a tremendous step forward for them as people.

Congratulations, ACLU. You should be proud.

P.S. Deinstitutionalization is a principal topic of a fantastic book I read recently called Crazy, by Pete Earley. Earley has a mentally ill son, and spent a year examining the issue of the mentally ill and their treatment by the criminal justice system in Miami. I plan a review when I get a chance, but here’s the short version: buy it today.

Letter to the WSJ

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:50 am

Last night I sent the following e-mail to the general address for the features editor at the Wall Street Journal, Robert Pollock.

Mr. Pollock,

Saturday’s op-ed by Radley Balko omitted something that I think WSJ readers should have been told.

Mr Balko’s challenge to Dr. Steven Hayne raises serious issues that I agree should be investigated with care. But Mr. Balko may have set back both his own stated cause in the op-ed — seeing that the citizens of Mississippi have a solid and honest legal system — and the WSJ’s reputation for integrity as well.

Dow Jones’s Code of Conduct for employees states in part: “There are no hidden agendas in any of our journalistic undertakings.”

Here’s the problem.

Mr. Balko has famously championed the innocence of a Mississippi inmate named Cory Maye. Mr. Balko has been credited with getting Mr. Maye off of death row. However, Mr. Maye remains in prison. Mr. Balko has said he hopes that Mr. Maye will eventually be freed.

This is no small issue for Mr. Balko. His online resume cites his work on behalf of Mr. Maye. He is a passionate advocate for Mr. Maye in his personal and professional lives.

One of the main witnesses against Cory Maye was a medical examiner named . . . Dr. Steven Hayne.

Radley Balko has said that he hopes that Dr. Hayne will be discredited, so that the Mississippi courts will revisit Mr. Maye’s case. If they do, and if Mr. Maye is freed, it will significantly enhance Mr. Balko’s reputation and career.

Yet in his WSJ piece discrediting Dr. Hayne, Mr. Balko said absolutely nothing about Cory Maye — or about Mr. Balko’s own personal stake in attacking Dr. Hayne’s credibility.

I think that this issue matters to the story, matters to Mr. Balko, and certainly ought to matter to the WSJ.

I would very much appreciate your thoughts on this.

Patrick Frey

I sent a similar e-mail to Jim Romenesko.

If I receive any feedback from either, or if I find a media ethicist willing to go on the record with their opinion on this, I’ll let you know. Otherwise, I think this closes this chapter.

Meanwhile, at Balko’s blog, there are indications that his pieces are causing a stir in Mississippi.

That is altogether a good thing.

LAT Publisher Hiller to Run (Secret and Internal) Blog

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 12:01 am

L.A. Times publisher David Hiller is starting a blog. He sent an e-mail to the troops about it. Here’s the part I found funny:

From: Hiller, David
Sent: Wed Oct 10 16:06 2007
Subject: Publisher’s Blog


Taking up a suggestion a number of you have made, I have decided to do a blog about things going on at The Times and in our industry. It will be two-way, so you can post comments, give feedback and ask questions, and see what others are saying.

The Blog Homepage:

This is my first blog, so we’ll be experimenting together a bit.

We thought it would be good to start with a few guidelines:

* This is internal, just for us, so please don’t share the blog content outside the company.

It took about 2.3 seconds for that part to be violated. L.A. Observed published a same-day leak, here.

Well, keeping things inside the Spring Street walls is something Hiller likes to do — like when he kept under wraps the finding that Andres Martinez had done nothing wrong.

I’d ask him about that — except that the information about Martinez, like the blog, is apparently supposed to be internal only.

Of course, Mr. Hiller, the Martinez report is public knowledge now — as is the existence of your blog. It all leaked in no time flat.

So how’s about making it all public after all?

‘Cause I have a few questions for you. And I bet my readers do too.

Don’t you, readers?

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