Patterico's Pontifications


Justice Ginsburg: I Slept During State of the Union Because I Had Too Much Wine Again, Plus, An Actually More Significant Story

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:30 pm

I don’t really care much about this story. I just love the picture:

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 9.47.22 AM
Above: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

The audience for the most part is awake, because they’re bobbing up and down, and we sit there, stone-faced, sober judges. But we’re not, at least I wasn’t, 100 percent sober,” Ginsburg said during a talk at The George Washington University on Thursday night, according to a report by The Blaze.

“Because before we went to the State of the Union, Justice Kennedy brought in … it was an Opus something or other, very fine California wine, and I vowed this year, just sparkling water, stay away from the wine, but in the end, the dinner was so delicious, it needed wine.”

She had vowed to stay away from the wine, you see, because she did the same thing last year.

Hey, it beats falling asleep during oral argument!

More important, as Ed Whelan notes, is the fact that Ginsburg is commenting, willy-nilly, on multiple cases now pending before the Court:

The 81-year-old justice discussed the public’s increasing acceptance of gays against the backdrop of resistance by Alabama officials to a federal court order that took effect Monday and made it the 37th gay-marriage state. With the high court set to rule on the issue by June, she said it “would not take a large adjustment” for Americans should the justices say that gay marriage is a constitutional right.

“The change in people’s attitudes on that issue has been enormous,” Ginsburg said. “In recent years, people have said, ‘This is the way I am.’ And others looked around, and we discovered it’s our next-door neighbor — we’re very fond of them. Or it’s our child’s best friend, or even our child. I think that as more and more people came out and said that ‘this is who I am,’ the rest of us recognized that they are one of us.”

But I can be fair on gay marriage!

Asked about the president’s legacy, Ginsburg pointed to the law, known as Obamacare, which she voted to uphold in the 2012 case.

“Our country was just about the only Western industrialized country that didn’t have universal health care for all of the people, and he made the first giant step in that direction,” she said. “That’s certainly one of the things he will be remembered for.”

But I can be fair on King v. Burwell!

Longtime readers know that Ginsburg commenting on issues pending before the Court is not a new phenomenon — indeed, this very blog (with a tip from Kevin M.) broke a nation-wide story about Ginsburg doing exactly that back in 2004.

The difference today is that nobody cares.

Ted Cruz: The Most Underrated Candidate?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:26 am


A prominent Republican consultant — who isn’t working for any of the 2016 presidential candidates and who has been right more times than I can count — said something that shocked me when we had lunch recently. He said that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had roughly the same odds of becoming the Republican presidential nominee as former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

Jaw-dropper, right? After all, the conventional wisdom is that Bush, the son and brother of presidents, is the frontrunner to be the Republican standard-bearer, while Cruz, a conservative’s conservative, is a factor, sure, but not someone who could actually win the nomination.

How, I asked this guy, could he say such a thing? He explained it this way.

Think of the Republican primary field as a series of lanes. In this race, there are four of them: Establishment, Tea Party, Social Conservative and Libertarian. . . . The trick for Cruz, according to this consultant, is to hang around long enough to not only be the preeminent figure in the Tea Party lane but also in the Social Conservative lane. . . . If you combine the Tea Party and the Social Conservative lanes, that’s a pretty wide berth for any candidate hoping to be the GOP nominee.

Cruz’s main problem is twofold: 1) he articulates constitutional principles in a manner that actually respects the Founding Fathers’ vision, and 2) he actually believes the stuff he says. This makes him ideal for someone like me, and Scary for Big Media and the electorate. Also, I don’t know for sure whether he passes the critical “would I have a beer with this guy?” test that seems to be so important to voters these days. I’d absolutely love to have a beer with Ted Cruz. But I can’t say whether that is equally true for the average dimwit who stands on Hollywood Boulevard and cheerfully tells Jimmy Kimmel that he loved the speech Dr. Martin Luther King gave that morning. If Cruz runs, they will use the “he’s too crazy” strategy they used against Barry Goldwater — and Big Media will go all in to support that tactic. And many voters — people who couldn’t tell you who Cruz is today — will buy into the fright that Big Media will be peddling.

I have developed enough faith in my ignorance not to offer any opinions about whether Cruz is actually electable, or what his best path is, or any of that nonsense. All I know is that I respect him the most of all the possible candidates in the field, and I would fight like hell to get him elected.

Creating Yet Another Pathway: Loophole In President’s Amnesty Plan Allows Illegal Aliens To Vote

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:43 am

[guest post by Dana]

Nothing from this administration surprises any longer:

President Obama’s temporary deportation amnesty will make it easier for illegal immigrants to improperly register and vote in elections, state elections officials testified to Congress on Thursday, saying that the driver’s licenses and Social Security numbers they will be granted create a major voting loophole.

While stressing that it remains illegal for noncitizens to vote, secretaries of state from Ohio and Kansas said they won’t have the tools to sniff out illegal immigrants who register anyway, ignoring stiff penalties to fill out the registration forms that are easily available at shopping malls, motor vehicle bureaus and in curbside registration drives.

Anyone registering to vote attests that he or she is a citizen, but Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said mass registration drives often aren’t able to give due attention to that part, and so illegal immigrants will still get through.

This on top of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen informing Congress that under President Obama’s amnesty plan, illegal aliens who receive their social security cards will be able to claim back tax refunds – even if they never paid taxes:

“Under the new program, if you get a Social Security number and you work, you’ll be eligible to apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit,” Mr. Koskinen said.

He said that would apply even “if you did not file” taxes, as long as the illegal immigrant could demonstrate having worked off-the-books during those years.

That expands the universe of people eligible for the tax credit by millions. He said only about 700,000 illegal immigrants currently work and pay taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, but as many as 4 million illegal immigrants could get a stay of deportation and work permits under the temporary amnesty, which would mean they would be eligible to claim back-refunds if they worked those years.

Mr. Koskinen also told the House oversight committee that the “White House never asked him or anyone else at the IRS about the potential tax effects of his amnesty policy.”


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