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Archive for May 27th, 2009

Sen. Inhofe Concerned About the Whole Race, Gender Thing

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 27th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

Sen. Inhofe Concerned About the Whole Race, Gender Thing

inhofe

The news that known Latina Sonia Sotomayor may soon join the Supreme Court spurred an apparently alarmed Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) to hold forth in a statement on Tuesday about the need to make sure that Sotomayor will be able to mete out justice from her vaunted post without her pesky extra X chromosome or her non-Oklahoman ethnic roots mucking things up for everyone.

Sen. Inhofe via Talking Points Memo:

“Of primary concern to me is whether or not Judge Sotomayor follows the proper role of judges and refrains from legislating from the bench. Some of her recent comments on this matter have given me cause for great concern. In the months ahead, it will be important for those of us in the U.S. Senate to weigh her qualifications and character as well as her ability to rule fairly without undue influence from her own personal race, gender, or political preferences.”

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U.N. Official Calls for Probe of Sri Lanka War Crimes

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said both sides in Sri Lanka’s civil war “grossly disregarded the fundamental principle of the inviolability of civilians.” She has called for an “independent and credible international investigation,” although she’s up against the notoriously impotent U.N. Human Rights Council and a bristling Sri Lankan government.

BBC:

Sri Lanka’s ambassador to the UN, Dayan Jayatilleka, said it was “outrageous” to suggest that the government should be investigated.

The country’s resolution has been supported by India, whose representative to the council said his country had “serious reservations about the objectives and usefulness” of the session.

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Shannyn Moore: Alaskans Honor Dead As Palin Pulls Diva Card

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 27th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Shannyn Moore: Alaskans Honor Dead As Palin Pulls Diva Card
In January, I spoke with a member of the Alaska Joint Armed Services Committee. He was really excited about the Memorial Day commemoration being planned;…

Policymakers Taking Fresh Look At National Sales Tax
With budget deficits soaring and President Obama pushing a trillion-dollar-plus expansion of health coverage, some Washington policymakers are taking a fresh look at a money-making…

Bella DePaulo: More about Sonia Sotomayor, From Someone Who Knew Her at Yale
Rachel Moran: “The stigma of singledom seems to have disappeared when it comes to qualifying for high office, both for men like David Souter and women like Sonia Sotomayor.”

Rachel Maddow Interviews Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick On Sotomayor Spin (VIDEO)
Rachel Maddow had Slate columnist Dahlia Lithwick on her show tonight to discuss the degree to which conservatives are trying to paint Obama’s Supreme Court…

Olbermann, Mancow Interview: Mancow Discusses Being Waterboarded (VIDEO)
Keith Olbermann interviewed conservative radio host Erich “Mancow” Muller tonigh about his experience being waterboarded. Mancow said he agreed to be interviewed because Olbermann is…


NBC’s Todd falsely claimed Sotomayor said “we legislate from the bench”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 27th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

NBC’s Todd falsely claimed Sotomayor said “we legislate from the bench”

During the May 26 edition of MSNBC Live, NBC News chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd falsely asserted that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor “is on tape saying, I’m not supposed to say this, but guess what, we legislate from the bench.” Todd added, “I think that’s going to compel a lot of Republicans on principle; that they will actually be sort of — they would be lying to their own principles if they somehow supported her.” In fact, in the “tape” Todd was apparently referring to — from a February 25, 2005, Duke University School of Law forum — Sotomayor did not say that “we legislate from the bench.” Rather, responding to a student who asked the panel to contrast the experiences of a district court clerkship and a circuit court clerkship, Sotomayor said that the “court of appeals is where policy is made.” Moreover, as NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams noted earlier in the broadcast, “[E]ven some conservatives and followers of strict constructionism have said that [Sotomayor] was only stating the obvious: that trial judges, district court judges, decide only the cases before them, and that appeals courts, because they are the, you know, above the other courts, do set policy; they do make precedent that governs the other courts.”

Indeed, the Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States (2005) notes that federal appellate courts do, in fact, have a “policy-making” role:

The courts of appeals have also gained prominence because of the substance of their caseload. For their first twenty-five years, these courts dealt primarily with private law appeals. Diversity cases (suits between citizens of different states), bankruptcy, patent, and admiralty cases made up most of their work. However, as federal regulation increased, first during the Progressive Era, then during the New Deal, and finally during the 1960s and 1970s, the role of the courts of appeals changed as appeals from federal administrative agencies became a larger part of their caseload. Other developments that increased these courts’ policy-making importance were the increased scope of federal prosecutions, especially those dealing with civil rights, drugs, racketeering, and political corruption, increased private litigation over various types of discrimination; and litigation concerning aliens’ attempts to gain political asylum. Also adding to their importance were their post-1954 use to oversee school desegregation and reform of state institutions such as prisons and mental hospitals, along with controversies like that over abortion.

Williams also noted during the 9 a.m. ET hour of MSNBC Live that “some conservatives and some Republicans” have defended Sotomayor’s Duke remark as a “fair statement to make.”

Sotomayor’s remarks from the Duke panel discussion (beginning at approximately 40:00):

SOTOMAYOR: The saw is that if you’re going into academia, you’re going to teach, or as Judge Lucero just said, public interest law, all of the legal defense funds out there, they’re looking for people with court of appeals experience, because it is — court of appeals is where policy is made. And I know — and I know this is on tape and I should never say that because we don’t make law, I know. OK, I know. I’m not promoting it, and I’m not advocating it, I’m — you know. OK. Having said that, the court of appeals is where, before the Supreme Court makes the final decision, the law is percolating — its interpretation, its application. And Judge Lucero is right. I often explain to people, when you’re on the district court, you’re looking to do justice in the individual case. So you are looking much more to the facts of the case than you are to the application of the law because the application of the law is non-precedential, so the facts control. On the court of appeals, you are looking to how the law is developing, so that it will then be applied to a broad class of cases. And so you’re always thinking about the ramifications of this ruling on the next step in the development of the law. You can make a choice and say, “I don’t care about the next step,” and sometimes we do. Or sometimes we say, “We’ll worry about that when we get to it” — look at what the Supreme Court just did. But the point is that that’s the differences — the practical differences in the two experiences are the district court is controlled chaos and not so controlled most of the time.

From the 10 a.m. ET hour of MSNBC Live on May 26:

CHRIS MATTHEWS (host): Let me ask you about a couple policy questions. Do you believe that her statement along the lines that the court of appeals, where she now serves, that bench that she’s on right now, is where policy is made? Is that going to be a big issue among the strict constructionists?

WILLIAMS: Absolutely. They’ve already made a deal out of it. They’ve got Internet ads running on it. That was a statement that she made before a group of law clerks as they considered what positions they might want to undertake, and she was talking about the difference between clerking for a trial judge in the federal courts and the courts of appeals. And that’s where that statement come from — came from.

But, you know, Chris, even some conservatives and followers of strict constructionism have said that she was only stating the obvious: that trial judges, district court judges, decide only the cases before them, and that appeals courts, because they are the, you know, above the other courts, do set policy; they do make precedent that governs the other courts. So it’s either a very controversial statement or a fairly routine one, depending on your point of view.

[…]

TODD: A lot of Capitol Hill folks tell me they would be surprised if, you know, more than, say, eight or 10 Republicans end up supporting her. Why? They have said time and again they don’t believe in legislating from the bench. She is on tape saying, I’m not supposed to say this, but guess what, we legislate from the bench.

She believes it’s not something she enjoys to do, but that it’s something that is a reality. And I think that’s going to compel a lot of Republicans on principle; that they will actually be sort of — they would be lying to their own principles if they somehow supported her. So, you know, you’re probably looking at 65 to 70 votes, but again, a win is a win, a confirmation is a confirmation. And that’s a pretty overwhelming confirmation, if that’s what the numbers are.


Defense Lawyer On Newburgh Informant: “A Real Snake”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 27th, 2009 4:39 am by HL

Defense Lawyer On Newburgh Informant: “A Real Snake”
The lawyer for a man convicted of a terror-related crime that was engineered by the same government informant at the center of the Newburgh Four case describes the informant an unscrupulous liar who, in both cases, preyed on the ignorance…

TARP Watchdog Finds Yet Another Bank Subsidy That “Warrants” Investigation
As we’ve explained here before, the government didn’t just give all that TARP money away to those 579 banks for nothing: it got warrants to buy stock in the banks at certain prices over a ten-year time horizon. And as…

Sketchy DOD Report Claims 5% Of Freed Gitmo Detainees ‘Reengaged’ In ‘Terrorist Activity’
We’ve gotten our hands on the Pentagon report on which the New York Times based its front-pager last week asserting that 1 in 7 Guantanamo detainees “returned” to terrorism. You can read the document, which the DOD made available to…


Malpractice Insurance for Newspaper Publishers?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 27th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Malpractice Insurance for Newspaper Publishers?
Does the constant reduction of the number of newsroom employees at the various and sundry newspapers remind anyone of the old medical procedure of bloodletting?  The cure, which called for doctors to remove a quantity of blood from a sick person, would sometimes make the patient’s condition worse and in some cases would kill him/her […]


Milwaukee, Don’t Give the Public’s Water Away to a Private Company

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 27th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

Milwaukee, Don’t Give the Public’s Water Away to a Private Company
Looking for a quick cash turnaround, the city may be about make a decision it could spend the next 99 years paying for.

Milwaukee, Don’t Give the Public’s Water Away to a Private Company
Looking for a quick cash turnaround, the city may be about make a decision it could spend the next 99 years paying for.

The California Supreme Court Upheld Prop. 8, So Now What Do We Do?
Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling was a big disappointment, but there’s no time to mourn: we must turn this anger into momentum.

Sarah Palin’s Outrageous Hypocrisy on Teen Sex
Palin knew her daughter was having sex in her own house. What does it take to get discredited as a right-wing "family values" merchant these days?


Bush, Cheney Not Conservative?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 27th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

Bush, Cheney Not Conservative?
In a Q&A with Washington Post readers to discuss his book Family of Secrets, Russ Baker responded to a question about George W. Bush and Dick Cheney by writing: “I would question whether either man was a real conservative….





Bye Bye, Giuliani: Bernie Kerik Indicted
So sad. Just when Rudy is getting ready to run for governor, his longtime top aide and former police commish, Bernie Kerik gets indicted. This is the self-same Kerik who Rudy got appointed DHS secretary — until his nomination was…

This Week’s Book Club
This week, Russ Baker joins us at Book Club for discussion of his book Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America. The book…


Powell refuses to answer questions about torture-Iraq war link.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 27th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

Powell refuses to answer questions about torture-Iraq war link.
Earlier this month, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, Larry Wilkerson, revealed that the reason why detainee Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi was waterboarded was not to prevent another terrorist attack, but to unearth “a smoking gun linking Iraq and al-Qa’ida.” This false confession was later used by Powell in his infamous February 2003 U.N. speech making […]

Earlier this month, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, Larry Wilkerson, revealed that the reason why detainee Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi was waterboarded was not to prevent another terrorist attack, but to unearth “a smoking gun linking Iraq and al-Qa’ida.” This false confession was later used by Powell in his infamous February 2003 U.N. speech making the case for the Iraq war. On Sunday, blogger Sam Husseini asked Powell about al-Libi. In a tense exchange, Powell refused to talk about the detainee, saying, “I don’t have any details on the al-Libi case:”

Q: Your chief of staff, Wilkerson, has written about this.

POWELL: So what? [inaudible]

Q: So you’d think you’d know about it.

POWELL: The information I presented to the UN was vetted by the CIA. Every word came from the CIA and they stood behind all that information. I don’t know that any of them believe that torture was involved. I don’t know that in fact. A lot of speculation, particularly by people who never attended any of these meetings, but I’m not aware of it.

Watch it:

A recent Senate Intelligence committee report concluded that al-Libi lied about the link “to avoid torture.” “They were killing me,” al-Libi told the FBI about his interrgators. “I had to tell them something.”

Kristol Ball fails: Predicted on Sunday that Granholm would be Supreme Court nominee.
Today, President Obama picked Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his Supreme Court nominee. On Fox News Sunday this past week, right-wing pundit Bill Kristol (ie “Kristol Ball”) confidently predicted that Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) would be the next Supreme Court nominee: KRISTOL: I think he has made up his mind, and I think it’s going to […]

Today, President Obama picked Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his Supreme Court nominee. On Fox News Sunday this past week, right-wing pundit Bill Kristol (ie “Kristol Ball”) confidently predicted that Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) would be the next Supreme Court nominee:

KRISTOL: I think he has made up his mind, and I think it’s going to be Jennifer Granholm, the governor of Michigan, for this reason. Obama gave that interview Friday which we saw the snippet from. In that interview, he uses the term practical seven times — I want someone with a practical sense of how the world works, I want someone with practical experience. Obama knows what he’s doing, and I think he wants to say, I’m putting on someone who went to Harvard Law School, clerked at an appellate level, was attorney general of Michigan, has good quotes from Republicans and Democrats about their conduct of that legal office, but who really understands the effect on real-world decisions.

Watch it:

Bill Kristol has also wrongly predicted that Ted Stevens would “hang on” in Alaska, that McCain would conquer “the path to the presidency,” and that Colin Powell would endorse President Obama at the 2008 DNC.

kristolball3


Judge Sonia Sotomayor Accepts Nomination to Supreme Court

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 27th, 2009 4:32 am by HL

Judge Sonia Sotomayor Accepts Nomination to Supreme Court
SPEAKER: JUDGE SONIA SOTOMAYOR, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE


Washington Sketch: Sonia Sotomayor in the Bullpen
Sonia Sotomayor may or may not be confirmed as the next Supreme Court justice, but she’s definitely in the ballpark.


Sotomayor Embodies Obama’s Criteria for Supreme Court
President Obama chose the most controversial of his potential nominees to the Supreme Court, and he presented Judge Sonia Sotomayor yesterday as the embodiment of the qualities he seeks in a judge: a rigorous intellect, an appreciation of the limited role of the judiciary and “an understanding of…


President Obama Announces Sonia Sotomayor as Supreme Court Nominee
SPEAKER: PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA JUDGE SONIA SOTOMAYOR, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE [*] OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you. (APPLAUSE) Thank you. Thank you. Please, everybody, have a seat. Thank you. Thank you. Well, I’m excited too. (LAUGHTER) Of the many responsibilities granted to a president by o…



Here We Go Again With North Korea

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 27th, 2009 4:29 am by HL

Here We Go Again With North Korea

A Little Mockery From the Axis of Evil
Wesley Pruden, Washington Times

Perriello & Schock: New Kids on the Hill
Tim Fernholz, American Prospect

Why Sotomayor Is Such a Good Pick
Erwin Chemerinsky, The New Republic