Patterico's Pontifications


The Burris Timeline

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:36 pm

Allah reminds us of the timeline:

After Reid sends Blago a letter co-signed by every last Democrat in the Senate warning him not to appoint anyone, the state legislature huddles and decides it’s going to pass a bill making the seat subject to a special election. No bill emerges. Blago then flips Reid the bird by appointing Burris, drawing new warnings plus a rebuke from The One himself, who declares that Congress “cannot accept an appointment made by a governor who is accused of selling this very Senate seat.” Enter Bobby Rush, demagoging the hell out of anyone who so much as looks at Burris cross-eyed. Burris shows up to Congress and is turned away, supposedly because the secretary of state refused to sign his certificate of appointment. Then he meets with Reid, who, it turns out, has gotten a phone call from Obama urging him to make this go away. Suddenly the secretary of state has a change of heart, Reid and Durbin have a change of heart, and Burris is officially the senator-designate, insisting all the while that he’s never played racial politics even as he’s paraphrasing Malcolm X about being seated by any means necessary. Did I miss anything?

Links and more analysis in Allah’s post. Nicely done.

Californians Leaving, Population Still Increasing

Filed under: General,Immigration — Patterico @ 8:53 pm

So, you’re a Californian who is worried that more people are leaving California than coming in, eh?

Fear not. “[I]n fact, the state’s population continues to increase overall because of births and immigration, legal and illegal.”


Conservative Blog Awards

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:31 pm

As if the Weblog Awards weren’t enough, we also have “Conservative Blog Awards.” Until today, I hadn’t been aware of “The 7th Annual Right Wing News Conservative Blog Awards” but here are the results. I was nominated for “Best Original Reporting By A Blog” and managed to come in last. (I came in fourth with 5 votes, right behind the Jawa Report, which came in third with 5 votes. No typo; look for yourself!) I’m cool with that, given the folks coming in ahead of me.

P.S. I guess I’m about to lose that 2008 Weblog Awards thing. According to the current standings the prize will go to one of three liberal blogs. And Hot Air will lose its category to the insufferable Andrew Sullivan.

It’s almost enough to make one write off the contest as stupid.

P.P.S. And sealing the deal: Treacher’s poor performance in the Humor category. Go vote for the guy, huh?


Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 7:25 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Let’s play a game called Bipartisanship. These are the rules:

  • Read one paragraph.
  • Identify which politician is acting in a bipartisan manner.
  • Here we go:

    “Acting at Barack Obama’s behest, President George W. Bush on Monday asked Congress for the final $350 billion in the financial bailout fund, effectively ceding economic reins to the president-elect in an extraordinary display of transition teamwork. Obama also sharply criticized Bush’s handling of the money and promised radical changes.”

    Bonus question: Which of these politicians campaigned to restore bipartisanship in Washington? (Hint: It’s a trick question.)

    Thanks for playing.

    — DRJ

    Senate Accepts Burris

    Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 6:41 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    The AP reports Democratic Senators Harry Reid and Dick Durbin announced today they believe Roland Burris will be seated as Senator from Illinois:

    “Initially they had tried to dissuade Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who faces a state Senate impeachment trial, from making an appointment and suggested that his pick would not be seated. Last week, Burris’ credentials were rejected by Senate Democrats in a circus-like atmosphere that tarnished the opening day festivities of the new Congress.

    But Reid and Durbin said they now anticipate that Burris, a former Illinois attorney general, will be seated this week, barring objections from Republicans.

    They made the announcement after Burris’ lawyers delivered to the Capitol documents certifying his appointment to Obama’s seat, and the secretary of the Senate determined that the paperwork met Senate requirements.

    While a victory for Burris, the move is a major reversal for Senate Democrats.”

    The AP is right to describe this as a circus-like atmosphere, but in the long run the real damage may be to the relationship between the Senate Democratic leaders and the Obama Administration. Obama’s flip-flop on the Burris appointment helped make the Senate leaders look foolish. This wasn’t the good start either group wanted, nor will it establish the trust that fosters a good working relationship in the future.

    — DRJ

    Striking Obese People from a Jury

    Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:41 am

    The WSJ Law Blog says:

    Here’s a good one: What inquiry must a trial court undertake when a prosecutor cites “obesity” as the reason for using a peremptory challenge to strike the only African-American from the jury pool?

    In the case, the prosecutor struck an overweight black juror, saying: “I do not select overweight people on the jury panel for reasons that, based on my reading and past experience, that heavy-set people tend to be very sympathetic toward any defendant.” The judge ruled: “I’m satisfied that is a race neutral explanation, so the strike stands.”

    Here’s what the Second Circuit said, according to the entry:

    [S]uch a conclusory statement does not necessarily indicate — even by inference — that the trial court credited the prosecution’s explanation, especially since (i) the judge’s words suggested that the proffer of a race-neutral explanation was itself enough, and (ii) the explanation given here lends itself to pretext. (Which side is favored by skinny jurors?) Defense counsel later pointed out that several overweight jurors had been seated without objection, but the trial court rejected that further attack on the prosecutor’s motives after visually assessing the jurors’ relative obesity.

    Because the trial court failed to assess the credibility of the prosecution’s explanation, it follows that there was no adjudication of Dolphy’s Batson claim on the merits. . . .

    I haven’t read the case and don’t have the time at the moment. Without reading the case, I can’t criticize it. However, based on that snippet, the holding seems odd; it sounds to me like the judge did accept the explanation as valid. Otherwise why talk about other jurors’ obesity relative to that of the stricken juror?

    When/if I get a chance I’ll read the case and comment, but this sounds strange to me.

    Defendant Delays Trial, Complains About Delay

    Filed under: Crime,General — Patterico @ 7:09 am

    Here is a case that’s headed for reversal:

    After he was charged with hitting his girlfriend in the face, career criminal Michael Brillon sat in jail without bail for nearly three years, going through six public defenders before being tried for assault.

    The delays paid off – for Brillon: A Vermont court threw out his conviction and freed him from prison last spring, saying his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial had been violated.

    The case is headed to the Supreme Court this week.

    The defendant argues that it’s the government’s fault it took him so long to get to trial. But let’s look at what happened to his lawyers:

    Held without bail, his case inched along as lawyer after lawyer asked for postponements and eventually withdrew or was replaced at Brillon’s request.

    The first got an evidentiary hearing postponed because he was moving his law practice. He was fired by Brillon, who claimed the lawyer had failed to communicate with him.

    The second reported a conflict of interest that prevented him from continuing – a day after he’d been appointed.

    The third quit after telling a judge Brillon threatened his life during a break in a hearing.

    Brillon fired the fourth, and the fifth quit, citing changes to his contract with the state public defender’s office.

    The sixth took the case to trial in 2004, when Brillon was convicted and sentenced to 12 to 20 years in prison because he was a habitual offender with three prior felony convictions.

    So in other words, the defendant caused much of this delay. He fired two of these lawyers and threatened a third. Another quit due to an unspecified conflict of interest — sorry, sir, but we need to know what that is. Was it a conflict caused by your threatening another lawyer?

    This is like those cases where a defendant appeals his death verdict to the hilt, and then appeals on cruel and unusual punishment grounds because his appeal took too long. That ridiculous argument has found adherents among the mushy-headed liberals at the Supreme Court, and I don’t know why this one would be any different.

    Still, I think the makeup of the court is sane enough that I have little doubt this will be reversed.

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