Patterico's Pontifications


A Paean to (Liberal) Precedent at the Los Angeles Times

The L.A. Times tells us that Roe is a landmark ruling — and we must follow precedent, precedent, precedent:

That appalling possibility [a reversal of Roe] should trouble all the justices, but particularly Roberts. For him to overturn Roe would be to contradict his stated devotion to precedent and to turn his back on his mentor, former Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. In Dickerson vs. the United States, which challenged whether suspects must be read their Miranda rights for their statements to be admissible in court, Rehnquist wrote for the majority in 2000 that regardless of whether justices supported the original Miranda decision, it had become “part of our national culture” and therefore deserving of protection. Roe, in the same way, created a now well-established right that would cause severe upheaval if it were overturned.

Sadly, too many conservatives attack judicial activism, then practice it.

Luckily, the L.A. Times is consistent. For example, when the Supreme Court overruled Bowers v. Hardwick in Lawrence v. Texas and struck down a law criminalizing homosexual sodomy, the paper’s editors stood for precedent. They aren’t hypocrites who invoke precedent only when it serves the liberal agenda. They stood foursquare behind the principle of stare decisis.

Oh, wait . . . they didn’t.

I’m shocked!

Ed Whelan: The Only Intemperate Partisan Bully I Know Who Is Unfailingly Calm, Reasoned, and Rational

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:22 pm

Ed Whelan has been busy defending himself against some contentless ad hominem attacks from Dahlia Lithwick and Emily Bazelon, as well as the folks at the New York Times. His response to New York Times ombudsman Clark Hoyt is in four parts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4). His response to Lithwick and Bazelon includes this column, as well as blog posts titled Still Far From Sober and Slowly Regaining Sobriety?

Ed clearly doesn’t need any help defending himself, but I think it’s still worth standing up for a good man who is getting slandered by a pack of “journalists” who can’t seem to muster up a single argument, but have plenty of pejoratives at their disposal.

Clark Hoyt says that Whelan leveled a “slippery innuendo” at Greenhouse, but doesn’t explain why. He says that Ed’s blog posts are “increasingly intemperate and personal attacks on Greenhouse” but doesn’t give a single example. He says Whelan’s complaints “feel . . . like bullying” rather than stemming from a concern for ethics. Bizarrely, he then acknowledges that Ed’s complaints have merit; readers should have been told she reported on a case where her husband filed an amicus brief. But, he reports, editor Bill Keller has decided not to take even the inadequate step of putting a disclosure in her online bio, where readers won’t see it anyway. Why not do that? “[I]t would appear to be a tacit rebuke in the face of a partisan assault.” And, you see, it’s more important to circle the wagons when a “partisan” makes a legitimate point, rather than acting to correct it.

Meanwhile, Bazelon and Lithwick agree that Whelan is a “bully” who is “inclined to trashing professional reputations,” but can’t muster a single example of criticism by him that is actually unfair. They call his pointing out Greenhouse’s conflict a “petulant” claim, even though the ombudsman acknowledged that he thinks it was a legitimate claim. Bazelon and Lithwick claim Whelan has “slimed” them — and, as proof, link to an article of his with absolutely truthful and on-target criticism of them. (They don’t bother to try to refute it. Easier to say he “slimed” them.) Bazelon calls Ed a “hatchet man” in this blog post, linking to more legitimate criticism that she doesn’t even try to refute. Both say that Whelan is part of a litter of “right-wing kitty cats.” (I think they mean that to be an insult; I think it’s just weird.)

Meanwhile, Ed just keeps churning out posts that calmly refute all of these people’s falsehoods.

I suspect that I know why they’re mad at Ed. Ed is simply smarter than the lot of them, and his criticism really hits home, because it’s stated so eloquently and without the shrill screaming tone that they falsely accuse him of (but in reality use themselves). When you’re outclassed by someone who doesn’t pull his punches — and when you really don’t have the ability to respond with logic and reason — it hurts. You want to lash out. And that’s what they’ve done — the folks at the New York Times and the folks at Slate both.

In a way, they really aren’t worth Ed’s time, because all of these people are so clearly Ed’s inferiors — in intellect, in the way they conduct themselves, and in their dishonesty with their readers. But I selfishly enjoy watching him plug away at them, and watching them insult him back. Because the shriller they get, the calmer he gets — and the more foolish they look. The contrast doesn’t make Hoyt, Bazelon, and Lithwick look good to anyone but their most rabid leftist fans, who will lap up anything they say as long as it’s shrill criticism of a conservative.

To the rest of us, it’s clear they’re just embarrassing themselves. If I were their friend, I’d tell them to stop digging a hole.

Since I’m not, I say: thanks for the clownish entertainment. Keep it up!

iowahawk Turns the Tables

Filed under: General,Humor — Patterico @ 7:07 pm

This iowahawk piece is hysterical. Here’s a taste:

Bylines of Brutality

As Casualties Mount, Some Question The Emotional Stability of Media Vets

An Iowahawk Special Investigative Report
With Statistical Guidance from the New York Times

A Denver newspaper columnist is arrested for stalking a story subject. In Cincinnati, a television reporter is arrested on charges of child molestation. A North Carolina newspaper reporter is arrested for harassing a local woman. A drunken Chicago Sun-Times columnist and editorial board member is arrested for wife beating. A Baltimore newspaper editor is arrested for threatening neighbors with a shotgun. In Florida, one TV reporter is arrested for DUI, while another is charged with carrying a gun into a high school. A Philadelphia news anchorwoman goes on a violent drunken rampage, assaulting a police officer. In England, a newspaper columnist is arrested for killing her elderly aunt.

Unrelated incidents, or mounting evidence of that America’s newsrooms have become a breeding ground for murderous, drunk, gun-wielding child molesters? Answers are elusive, but the ever-increasing toll of violent crimes committed by journalists has led some experts to warn that without programs for intensive mental health care, the nation faces a potential bloodbath at the hands of psychopathic media vets.

“These people could snap at any minute,” says James Treacher of the Treacher Institute for Journalist Studies. “We need to get them the help and medication they need before it’s too late.”

If Jim Treacher says so, it must be true!

Read it all. It only gets better.

Stocks Drop, Rise

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:45 pm

Stocks fell 300 points today at the beginning of trading, and ended the day almost 300 points ahead.

I don’t really pay much attention to such things, as I have my mutual fund portfolio and just leave it alone. But maybe some of you care.

Message to Religious Conservatives: Giuliani Would Appoint Solid Supreme Court Justices

Filed under: Abortion,General,Judiciary — Patterico @ 7:00 am

It took Nixon to go to China. It took Bill Clinton, a Democrat, to get control of the federal deficit. (Sorry, conservatives, but it’s true.) And it might take Rudy Giuliani to appoint solid Supreme Court Justices.

With Fred Thompson out of the race, judicial conservatives are looking for a candidate. John McCain? Three words: Gang of 14. Mike Huckabee? He’ll never be President. Mitt Romney? Ehhhh . . . he might be OK — but I think he comes across to voters as too slick and unprincipled. And there may be a reason for that.

But there’s no reason, in my judgment, to question Rudy Giuliani on the issue of judges. This is the argument made in a September 2007 New York Times op-ed piece that I think is worth resurrecting with Thompson’s exit. The op-ed was written at a time when Giuliani was looking much stronger in the polls, but the substance of the op-ed still holds:

I think Mr. Giuliani will be the most effective advocate for the pro-life cause precisely because he is unreligious and a supporter of abortion rights.

The author makes a very persuasive case:

In a televised Republican debate, Mr. Giuliani said it would be “O.K.” if Roe were overturned but “O.K. also” if the Supreme Court viewed it as a binding precedent. Despite this ambivalence, Mr. Giuliani promises to nominate judges who are “strict constructionists.” His campaign Web site explains: “It is the responsibility of the people and their representatives to make laws. It is the role of judges to apply those laws, not to amend our Constitution without the consent of the American people.”

Roe v. Wade, with no textual warrant in the Constitution, struck down the states’ democratically enacted restrictions on abortion. By fighting Roe, pro-lifers aim not to make abortion illegal by judicial fiat, but to return the decision about how to regulate abortion to the states, where we are confident we can win.

Our greatest obstacle is the popular belief that overturning Roe would automatically make abortion illegal everywhere. In fact, our goal may well be undermined by politicians like President Bush, who seem to use “strict constructionist” as nothing more than code for “anti-abortion.”

Only a constitutionalist who supports abortion rights can create an anti-Roe majority by explaining that the end of Roe means letting the people decide, state by state, about abortion.

Mr. Giuliani’s ambivalence about the end of Roe is consistent with his belief that judges should not seek to achieve political ends. This is a judicial philosophy that pro-lifers should applaud, not condemn. It is, after all, the position consistently articulated by the pro-life movement’s favorite Supreme Court justices: John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia.


I am ambivalent about abortion myself. I’m not confident that abortion is “murder” from the very moment of conception. But I think the inflexible law created by the Supreme Court has created a set of rules that allow abortions too late, for flimsy or nonexistent justifications.

But regardless of your personal view, we should all be able to agree that the issue should be decided by We the People and not nine lawyers wearing robes.

I think Rudy believes that. Last time I checked, Rudy’s advisory committee was people with folks I respect and trust on this issue, like Ted Olson and Miguel Estrada. These are not weak-kneed adherents of a living Constitution, and I don’t think Rudy is either.

Mr. Giuliani makes the same arguments that we pro-lifers make. But he can be more persuasive because he will not be perceived as trying to advance his own religious preferences. By taking the side of pro-lifers for democratic, but not devout, motives, a President Giuliani could shake up the nearly 35-year-old debate over Roe v. Wade.

I agree. I think Rudy could make that happen — if only Republicans would allow him to be the nominee.

Threads like this tend to devolve in a free-for all debate about abortion. Please try to stay on topic, addressing the issue of who would be the best candidate for the Supreme Court.

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.0630 secs.