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:: Friday, July 01, 2005 ::

Supreme Court vacancy

Well, with O'Conner retiring, the fight is going to be nasty. If I was leading the Democratic party right now -- and speaking from a purely pragmatic standpoint -- I'd start talking loudly about how Gonzalez is an excellent choice for the bench. The first hispanic justice in 70 years, a man who obviously has the President's respect and on whose judgment the President has relied....really play it up.

Because -- pro-torture briefs and all -- he's the best we can hope for. On the Texas bench he was conservative, although with a mild libertarian bent -- but not nearly as crazy as some of the people Bush might appoint. Plus, the Religious Right is suspicious of him -- always a plus.

The problem is going to be the Souter thing -- Gonzalez is also most likely to go his own way after getting placed on the bench. His entire legal career has been one where he's been heavily swayed by his bosses. In Texas, he was elected -- elected by people who never met a criminal they didn't want to fry. As Bush's counsel, he was writing what his boss wanted and needed. His death-penalty appeal briefs really bother me, but there are two mitigating factors -- first, Bush wasn't likely to read it in the first place, and secondly that all Bush (as Governor) could do was offer a 30 day stay. Most of the real executive powers in Texas are invested in the Lt. Governor.

So, I'd gamble -- because we're screwed either way -- and throw behind Gonzalez. Making a big show of support and easy confirmation might overcome the Religious Right's objections. I don't think Bush really wants a nasty confirmation fight --- I honestly think he still believes he's going to get his Social Security stuff passed. Any other President would relish a loud, noisy, turn-out-the-base sort of fight right now. I think Bush is going to believe it detracts from an agenda he fully believes in.

That's my two cents. I won't ever like Gonzalez, but I'm enough of a realist to suspect he's the ONLY chance we've got for a replacement we can live with, and he's the only one whose chances we might be able to affect. Bush likes Gonzalez, after all.....
:: Morat 8:57 AM :: ::

:: Wednesday, June 29, 2005 ::

Canada: Same-sex marriage law passes 158-133

Good for Canada:
The Liberals' controversial same-sex marriage legislation has passed final reading in the House of Commons, sailing through in a 158-133 vote.
When God doesn't rain firey death upon our northern neighbors for their decision to treat gays just like everyone else, maybe some of the idiots here will get a clue.

But probably not. Bigots want SOMEONE to hate -- it makes them feel better about their miserable little lives. (Link via Josh Marshall).
:: Morat 10:40 AM :: ::

:: Tuesday, June 28, 2005 ::

Cooper and Miller

Kevin Drum needs to get a damn clue:
Despite that, I agree 100% with Garance Franke-Ruta and Armando that liberal blog readers ought to change their tune on this issue posthaste. You either support the right of reporters to shield their sources or you don't, and your opinion shouldn't vary based on whether (a) you dislike the reporters in question or (b) you'd like the information they're hiding to become public because you think it would be embarrassing to George Bush.
First, he needs to actually read what those liberal bloggers and blog readers are saying, rather than dredging up some tired-ass strawman that would do Limbaugh proud.

But to make it simple for him: We don't think there should be absolute shields for reporters. All that does is lead to officials using anonymity to commit slander. Doctors can be ordered -- by the courts -- to turn over medical records, despite the much more stringent doctor/patient privilege. (Rush Limbaugh comes to mind).

If Cooper and Miller feel their ethics require them to keep their source confidential, they can do what hundreds of others have done over the years -- go to jail to keep their principles intact.

Not that I think they have a leg to stand on -- no privilege or right is absolute (the old saw about "your right to swing your fist ends at my nose" for instance) -- and in this case Miller and Cooper had extensive due process. Kevin might not like it, but frankly I'm all for Miller and Cooper rotting in jail. If they're going to offer anonymity to the point of defying subpoenas, they should make sure they only extend the offer when the information is worth it -- not when some Bush official wants to commit treason just to burn a political opponent.

I'm sure reporters would like an absolute liability shield so they don't have to make difficult ethical choices -- I'm sure doctors would love to be immune to malpractice suits too. Tough shit. You picked the job, you have to make the hard choices. What pisses me off is that Miller and Cooper are whining over an easy choice -- they'd probably piss themselves if faced with a true ethical problem.
:: Morat 8:53 AM :: ::

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