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January 22, 2006

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» U. Chicago Prof. Geoffrey Stone: 'Senate Should Not Confirm Samuel Alito' from Discourse.net
Geoffrey Stone, The University of Chicago Law School Faculty Blog: Why the Senate Should Not Confirm Samuel Alito:Judge Alito is a smart, experienced, and knowledgeable jurist. I have no doubt of his legal ability. I do not share either his judicial ph... [Read More]

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In an interesting turn of events, Geoffrey Stone of the University of Chicago Law School has come out against the confirmation of Samuel Alito. His argument is based solely on Alito's views on executive power: Whatever else Judge Alito may... [Read More]

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There is a strong statement of the case by Geoffrey Stone (Law, Chicago) here, which emphasizes, as we have, the danger Judge Alito poses during a time when legal and constitutional restraints on authoritarian rule are being challenged. [Read More]

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Kimball Corson

Law Fairy,

As Deborah clarified the matter just now, I don't think she was being sarcastic at all!
I would have hoped you were right.

Kimball Corson

Indeed, putatively attributing these views to Alito, Deborah thinks he is a wise man. And that is the intent of her post and viewpoint, fairly read, even with the rat hole out of "Or so some say." Besides, the phaseology rings of Deborah and certainly not Alito. Further, I do not think Alito would ever go so far substantively. But I think Deborah clearly would.

Kimball Corson

Deborah,

"Jeebus Kimball. Are you telling me that you couldn't tell from my earlier comment that I was referring to ALITO's apparent willingness to defer to our government's Wars du Jour at the expense of the Constitution? That's just ... pathetic. Or intentionally deceitful. I'll let you decide."

I respond,

No, truely I couldn't tell that Deborah. In substantial part it was because we would then agree and be on the same side of an issue and that is almost unimaginable. You should now understand how I was faked out, . . . if I was.

Kimball Corson

Deborah's comments do bring to mind how much US Arab relationships are driven by fundamentalist Christians on one side, and fundamentalist Muslims on the other. Saner heads in the middle have been run over. This religous thing is becoming tiresome.

Kimball Corson

Anybody have an eraser? I don't know where this third dublicative post came from. Not me, I believe.

Gary

So much for compasionate conservatism.

I doubt if the good professor had any idea the venom his article would provoke.

Deborah: I am surprised you do not remind us that Pat Robetson is the religious leader who wanted to "assignate Hugo Chavez", "blow up the state department with a nuclear device", and claims that "feminism encourages women to kill children, practice witchcraft" et. al.

Perhaps we should wrap Pat up in a new head dress and send him off to Iran where he could hang out with the other religious leaders of similar ilk.

Roach

"Roach’s answer is to exterminate all Arab fundamentalists and Deborah feels our efforts fully justify spilling the guts and brains of innocent Arab women and children.
And I ask if you two have lost your minds?
Were that our public policy, we might well expect the US to launch the equivalent of a complete invasion of the Middle East, with full occupation and full ethnic cleansing to follow."

Kimball your sensitivity to peopple that proclaim they want a dictator called the Caliph in charge of the whole world is touching.

My solution is not, however, to stay embroiled in the Middle East forever, but merely to (a) destroy terrorist training camps where we find them (b) pass the baton to the Iraqis in Iraq and (c) limit immigration from Muslims and embrace a policy designed over time to lead to their voluntary reimmigration to their homelands.

Liberty is not compatible in the long run with the presence of people whose religion is as uncompromising, complete, and illiberal as Islam. Christianity on the other hand led to the birth of liberty and liberal ideas. Think about that the next time you conflate the two. I suppose in Kimball and Deborah's ignorance 18th Century America and Modern Saudi Arabia are indistinguishable, but that kind of comparison speaks for itself.

But hey, it was illegal to be an open homosexual in both societies so I guess everything else doesn't matter. Puuhhleeezzeee. Get some perspective.

AJTALL

Roach,

I agree with your solutions of (a) and (b) and the first part of (c) - at least in the short term - but I cannot agree with the rest of (c) or the full paragragh after that.

What part of Islam (the 5 pillars of Islam) is it that is incompatible with liberty and liberal ideas? 1. praying? 2. declaring oneself that there is one god and Muhammed is his messenger? 3. fasting during the month of ramadan? 4. charity or almsgiving? and 5. a pilgrimage to Mecca once in your life? What is illiberal about that? Or are you confusing the ideas of Islam with the ideas of a fanatical cult (Wahabbi) that UBL and his ilk spread? Are you doing exactly what he is doing - taking Islam completely out of context by pointing to selective phrases out of context? Suicide is explicitly forbidden in the Koran and Jews and Christians are to be left alone, people of the book, and have a place in heaven. I also believe there is support for the idea in the Koran that Israel belongs to the jews. There is quite a bit on charity as well in the Koran.

But I ask you Roach, have you ever read the Koran? Have you ever been to a Mosque (the doors are open)? Do you have any Muslim friends?

I also am not sure that you really are a good Christian. I would prefer to keep them here where good Christians can work on their hearts and minds, get to know them and spread Christianity to them. I prefer that than simply kicking them out. And I don't believe that is what America is all about. Our European ancestors were immigrants and many people thought having these Europeans was not compatible with American values. Immigrants assimilate and change over time. These Arab immigrants are here for a reason: because of our freedoms and opportunity (economic and religous) that most do not have in their native countries.

Roach

I think your view of Islam is totally stilted. No I've not read the whole Koran, though I've read parts, as well as commentaries, histories etc. I'm reading a very good book on it now in fact, and I've read the persuasive but horrifying Said Qutb's milestones.

Islam is total. It is not just a religion but a formula for social and political life. This includes mandatory, unchangeable legislation that supposedly comes from God. Those laws are the Sharia and they're mandatory. Those laws are oppressive under any measure, permitting, for example, a religiously discriminatory tax against Jews and Christians, the killing of apostate Muslims, and the formalized religious permission for slavery. So I don't know where you got your Disneyfied view of Islam, but you should read and talk to real Muslims sometime to see how far you are off.

On your misleading analogy, no one ever thought that Europeans in general were not compatible with America. The country was European from the get-go, specifically English. There was some concern Catholics would not assimilate, but over time they have completely, and the Church's reforms have made it easier for them to do so. (Arguably the last century's wave of impoverished Southern and Eastern Europeans did change the country for the worse, forming the leftist and lienated urban foundation of FDR's socialist reforms, but that's a different debate).

In contrast, the massive third world and non-Christian immigration after the '65 reform act is unprecedented. You call it un-American to recognize this tension between our cultures, but it would not be America if you replaced a country's peoples, values, religion, and laws and pretended it was the same thing. It is not just a set of procedures, but a real country and way of life that we're talking about, for both peoples. That's what too many Muslims want to do: come here with an aim to change the society's very organizaing princples. They're, in that respect, disloyal and subervise, even if they're not at any given moment actively committing violence. And, more important, a certain percentage of them are extremists and it's very hard to identify who they are in advance. For God's sake, the 9/11 guys looked like MBAs off to an Accenture conference. Even those that are not actively terrorists embrace an illiberal religion that aims to reorder all of our affairs according to Sharia. Such people have no place in America. 3/11, the British Train bombings, Pim Fortuyn, the French Riots--we, and Europeans more than us, can expect more of the same if we and they don't get this immigration situation under control.

Jihad and Sharia are central to Islam. They are distinct from the personal obligations of any individual Muslim. They are non-optional. In Islam, we're not considered free until we're under the control of Sharia, God's perfect legislation. Every manmade legislation is an imperfection and an insult to God's will, to which we're called to follow. "then we gave you a Sharia in religion, follow it, and do not follow the lust of those who do not know..." Koran 45:17.

And it's true some Arabs are here for opportunity, are not that extreme, are friendly and affable and nonviolent. But that still does not change the fact that our freedoms and the resraints on them that we have now are a direct consequence of the presence of Arab and Muslim communities. We are searched at airports, eavesdropped on by the FBI, forced to pay for long foreign wars, etc., and all in the name of the counterfeit "freedom" to have aliens from the third world living alongside of us. It's not worth it.

It's not wrong or against freedom to keep foreigners out of our country, any more than it infringes on your natural liberty if I have walls around my home and don't invite you in.

And don't presume to judge whether I'm a good Christian unless you're some kind of saint yourself. I'm certainly a sinner, but there is nothing un-Christian about my political position. First, I live in a community and am permitted under Christianity to preserve its safety and historical form. Second, Christianity is not liberalism. Only recently has it been watered down into this useless, mushy nonsense. Finally, there is no reason a Christian society needs to risk its identity to accomdoate what is, under Christian theology, a primitive monistic heresy.

ADR

I think some of the most important evidence that judge Alito SHOULD be confirmed came from some of his law clerks, many of whom are now prominent liberals in the legal community. They worked closely with him for one year, and yet were surprised that he was being characterized as a "conservative."

The fact that we throw these labels out there so casually is cause for concern to us every day working lawyers who worry about things like patents, pendent jurisdiction, the APA, etc. They mean less to us than they do to those in the ivory tower and the special interest groups (on both sides).

In fact, the judicial nomination and confirmation process has been hijacked by those who are only interested in a few issues of today, forgetting that these justices will be hearing cases for decades long after today's controversies have been decided.

Personally, I am more troubled by what unites the Justices (a lack of practical experience in the private practice of law and the overemphasis on a few legal specialties) than I am by what one justice may do on what the "issue de jour" is.

Harriett Miers would have brought a much needed perspective, I think, to the Court's decision making process. Yet, she was condemned as "mediocre" because she chose to go a local law school and excelled in representing commercial (gasp) clients as opposed to writing text books.

In short, I regetfully submit for this group's consideration that much of the "debate" about Alito, etc. has been extraordinarily one dimesional.

AJTALL

Roach,

Once again, you take verses out of context - by not including other verses or, more importantly, not acknowledging the disagreements and differences that many muslims have as to those meanings, which is no different than the disagreements Christians have on a whole range of issues.

I could play the same game with the Bible. I could point to passages where Moses commands the Israelites to slaughter the women and children. I could mention how, under Mosaic law, idolatry or worship of other gods is a capital offense. Sodomy is a capital offense, adultery is a capital offense. I could play that same game.

I agree that Christianity has gone through a reformation and is more tolerant on the whole. No doubt. Whether Christianity is responsible for freedom and civility, I'm not so sure or was it other secular factors?

My point is that Islam - like other religions - has many faces. And I know many muslims. Most are no different from the rest of us in areas that matter the most. Not one Muslim I know of believes in or even heard of jihad before 9/11. They don't want Sharia law here...their parents have experienced it in action...and it is as bad as communism. Most think the 5 pillars is it. Some have mentioned the real problem is with converts...people who don't "look" like muslims. How do you screen for them?

Regardless, I am not sure - as you seem to be - that there is something distinct about Islam that is responsible for the terror, rather than other social, historical, economic factors. It's more complicated than you would have it. I do agree that there needs to be more screening and more restrictions of muslims, but sending American muslims back, that I cannot agree.

Roach

You are just repeating a comforting myth about Islam. It's true not all Muslims understand or acknowledge all aspects of their religion, especially the ones that come to the U.S. But Islam does not permit multiple competing individualized expressions of faith; it is a complete program. It is differnet than the abstract principles of Christianity.

To quote Tocqueville, "Mohammed had not only religious doctrines descend from Heaven and placed in the Koran, but political maxims, civil and criminal laws, and scientific theories. The Gospels, in contrast, speak only of the general relations of men to God and among themselves. Outside of that they teach nothing and oblige nothing to be believed."

Moderate Islam is a fiction. It has few voices within the Islamic world itself because it does not find support in Islam's foundational text, a text that is supposed to be literally true and literally dictated by God.

Christianity is relational. We believe revelation is both from God but from a Christian community. Catholics believe in a continuing role of human reason to defract the abstract commands of the faith to different circumstances. No such possibility of devlopment is possible in Islam. It's holy text is final, complete, and authoritative.

Moderate Islam is not Islam so much as a shadow of true Islam. Real hard-core Muslims says as much, such as Said Qutb who writes, "It is necessary that we clarify the point that legislation is not limited only to legal matters, as some people assign this narrow meaning to the Shari'ah. The fact is that attitudes, the way of living, the values, criteria, habits and traditions, are all legislated and affect people. If a particular group of people forges all these chains and imprisons others in them, this will not be a free society. I n such a society some people have the position of authority, while others are subservient to them; hence this society will be backward, and in Islamic terminology is called a 'jahili' society.

"Only Islamic society is unique in this respect, in that the authority belongs to God alone; and man, cutting off his chains of servitude to other human beings, enters into the service of God and thus attains that real and complete freedom which is the focus of human civilization. In this society, the dignity and honor of man are respected according to what God has prescribed. He becomes the representative of God on earth, and his position becomes even higher than that of the angels."

So good luck convincing this guy and those steeped in his tradition that our modern world, with all of its materalism and moral laxity, somehow allows real Islam to come into being.

The Law Fairy

Roach, you're glossing over much of Christianity's history when you claim that it's responsible for the birth of liberty and liberalism.

What you're likely referring to is the Enlightenment -- a largely French movement demonized by the church and hailed by atheists (the enlightenment led to, in addition to liberty, decidedly un-Christian theories like evolution).

You *might* be able to fairly claim that Christian leaders like Luther brought Christianity to the people and thus to some extent de-mystified it. But Luther, though an intelligent and thoughtful individual, did not spark a Christian enlightenment; at best, he paved the way for the so-called legion of heretical sects that followed (my particular sect is the proud result of Henry VIII's need for multiple wives).

The "liberty" and "liberalism" of which you speak is more fairly attributable to folks like Hume, Kant and even modern-day atheists like Bertrand Russell (of whom, by the way, I am decidedly *not* a fan).

I would argue, too, that the Catholic church only pays lip service to reason as a guiding concept for faith. Superstition and tradition play a much larger role in the modern Catholic church.

I don't say any of these things to denigrate Christianity -- indeed, I don't believe anyone who knows me would accuse me of being a zealous rationalist. Quite the opposite, in fact. But just because faith is good does not mean that it is rational or classically liberal.

As for radical fundamentalist Islam -- even someone with a basic grasp of Christian history must know that the followers of Yahweh are notorious for misinterpretation. They didn't even recognize Jesus as the promised deliverer (if you recall all that "lamb" and "lion" confusion).

Roach

Law Fairy your account of history is widely believed but seems to fold under scrutiny.

First, Magna Carta, the common law, the English Bill of Rights, etc. all predate the French Enlightenment, in some cases by many centuries.

Second, the contintental enlightenment led as much to genocidal wars--the Vendee, Napoleon, the Terror, etc.--as it did to liberty.

Three, the medieval world had its own ways of limiting the power of the state, not least because of the doctrine of the two swords, the profliferation of guilds, and other institutions to coutner-balance political authorities. In practice, a kind of liberty and certainly a grand civilization resulted from the medieval consensus.

The scientific method of modern science began under the Catholic Descartes and continued apace--Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, etc. before, during, and after the so-called continental Enlightenment.

So I think your whirwind account of history needs a little work. It should maybe give you some pause that modern ideas of the rule of law, human rights, self-government, and liberty originated in the Christian West and not the Pagan East, Pagan Africa, Orthodox Russia, or the Islamic Middle East.

Deborah Spaeth

Roach

"The scientific method of modern science began under the Catholic Descartes and continued apace--Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, etc. before, during, and after the so-called continental Enlightenment."

Sorry, Roach.

Christians did not "invent" the scientific method. This bogus myth was floated in Professor's Alschuler's thread re creationist apologetics.

Among other animals, birds and monkeys possess the ability to observe the world, formulate reasonable approaches to solving problems, test those approaches, and abandon the failed approaches. The fundamentals of the scientific method have been with us far far longer this the alleged "messiah" of the Christians.

Funny thing -- while they are incontrovertibly capable of solving real-world problems, animals don't seem to spend a whole lot of time worshipping invisible deities. I admire them for that. Also, some of them taste pretty darn good.

So tell us Roach. Do you suppose the priests who "annointed" Alito's chair with "holy" oil prior to his Senate hearings made a difference?

Deborah Spaeth

ADR

"[Miers] was condemned as "mediocre" because she chose to go a local law school and excelled in representing commercial (gasp) clients as opposed to writing text books."

Uh, no, that wasn't why Miers got canned. Miers got canned because the fundies didn't trust her to take a dump on women's rights, PLUS she performed miserably in her "screentests".

But that was a long time ago so it's understandable that people forget these things and substitute pleasing myths for historical facts.

Here's a question: are there no other conservative federal judges out there besides Alito who are qualified to sit on the Supreme Court? If so, why pick the guy who bragged about his membership in the Proud White Males of Princeton Glee Club and his anti-Roe stance?

Why not find a competent woman to replace Sandra Day O'Conner?

It doesn't seem right to have 1 woman on the Supreme Court with 8 men in 2005.

What's up with that? Are conservative pandering to organizations and groups that are historically known for their misogynist views (you know, like most conservative religious organizations).

The only good thing about Alito's nomination is that if he is put on the Court and if he and Roberts team up to start playing games with the reproductive rights of women, the blowback is going to severe and rightwing nutjobs are never going to forget it.

The Law Fairy

Roach, playing the "the-enlightenment-also-led-to-this" game cuts both ways. Need the discussion devolve into reminders of the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades? That's like saying "Pat Robertson speaks out against Ariel Sharon, therefore Christians hate Isreal." It's unproductive.

The church has always been pretty anti-science, Roach. I would argue that's not a bad thing, since science gets way too much credit. But it's hard to say that the church helped produce the scientific method when men like Galileo were persecuted for teaching things that strayed from the Church Party Line.

The Magna Carta had some very pretty words. But it's a far, FAR cry from the liberty ideals we espouse today. Unless you have no problems with a society that marginalizes women and racial minorities.

In addition, my claim wasn't that the enlightenment was the origin of the scientific method. I argued that the ideals of liberty and liberalism to which you referred would be much more fairly attributable to continentl philosophers like Hume and Kant. Unless you can name some Christian philosophers to whom we can trace the origins of our liberties? Augustine? Calvin? Yeah... not so much.

Incidentally, I actually find myself agreeing with Deborah here -- it's appalling that in 2006 we could have a Supreme Court composed of nine justices, only *one* of whom is a woman and only *one* of whom is black. It's not just depressing, it's offensive.

Kimball Corson

Roach wrote

“Liberty is not compatible in the long run with the presence of people whose religion is as uncompromising, complete, and illiberal as Islam. Christianity on the other hand led to the birth of liberty and liberal ideas. Think about that the next time you conflate the two. I suppose in Kimball and Deborah's ignorance 18th Century America and Modern Saudi Arabia are indistinguishable, but that kind of comparison speaks for itself.”

And then he also wrote:

“Jihad and Sharia are central to Islam. They are distinct from the personal obligations of any individual Muslim. They are non-optional. In Islam, we're not considered free until we're under the control of Sharia, God's perfect legislation. Every manmade legislation is an imperfection and an insult to God's will, to which we're called to follow. "then we gave you a Sharia in religion, follow it, and do not follow the lust of those who do not know..." Koran 45:17.”


I respond:

Actually, I lived in Saudi Arabia for a couple of years way back. The Wahhabis are a tad intolerant, Islam does call for a true Islamist theocracy and the marriage of the two is about as illiberal and unprogressive as you can get. Too, it is troublingly accurate to say that true Islam does not allow multiple competing individualized expressions of faith, as Roach states. While Christianity has at times and in the right hands fostered liberty and progressivism, it also sponsored the Inquisition, the Crusades, the Reformation, much scientific foolishness and other lunacies. The Enlightenment too, as Law Fairy suggests, was decidedly unchristian in origin and sympathy, and, further, liberty and progressivism have also done well without religious sponsorship, as she explains. But as Roach also sees it, good things come to an end, and, I add, usually messily too. Christianity, of the baser sort, has often gotten in the way of science and other areas of progress, just like it is fettering our government, liberalism and progress just now. The theocracy of sorts or God based leadership of our present Administration is no day at the beach for these reasons.

If I had to choose my brand of oppression, I would take Christianity, but I would prefer humanistic governance without government paying homage to any deity. If that system held sway, and subject to it remaining unfettered, everyone could then choose the brand of nut they wish to be within that framework. Actually fundamentalists of all varieties are disturbing. Progressive and quiet Christians and Muslims both can be delightful on the other hand. I think the spirit of fundamentalism of any sort is just out looking for trouble. The Koran, the Bible (and probably the US Constitution) all badly need amendment so fundamentalists of every persuasion could not find a part to fasten a tooth on.

Roach also wrote:

“My solution is not, however, to stay embroiled in the Middle East forever, but merely to (a) destroy terrorist training camps where we find them (b) pass the baton to the Iraqis in Iraq and (c) limit immigration from Muslims and embrace a policy designed over time to lead to their voluntary reimmigration to their homelands.”

I respond:

The basic approach sounds good, but has some problems. The more camps and terrorist entrenchments we find and destroy, the more insurgency and terrorism we seem to encounter. Passing the baton to the Iraqis sooner than later may be better especially if leaving Iraq moderates terrorism and the Shiites and Sunnis are going to tear each others lungs out anyway over who should have been the caliph way back when and for more recent peccadilloes as well. Those who read the Koran literally probably should be excluded from our social order, but then what do we do with Christians who read the bible literally and insist it is God’s inerrant word? Both are pains in the patoot. “Good Christians” are scary as are proselytizers of any ilk. Too, shipping people around and leaning on them, is hard as the Germans learned during WWII, and Muslims of all stripes tend to stick together in the face of any threat by infidels. That is troubling because it can pull moderates Muslims sharply rightward in their actions. Politicized religion of every ilk is anathema.

I think good sense and education are our only ways out.

Kimball Corson

As much as I hate to say it, I basically agree with Deborah's last two posts. I also think Law Fairy's last post was excellent too, except for her and Deborah's felt need to gender and/or color code the Supreme Court. We need excellent people of whatever color or sex on the Court, whereever we can find them. A truly excellent little green, sexless Martian would do.

Kimball Corson

Deborah mentions the hoary prospect of abortion being restricted or precluded by a Supreme Court block including Alito and Roberts. I add that as a Chicago economist has shown, the real significance of Roe v Wade was (and continues to be) a massive drop in crime rates beginning 15 years later. Most would-be criminals got aborted!

Kimball Corson

Refering to the the political opposition against Alito, White House spokesman Steve Schmidt said, "Democrats' relentless politicization of a process that has traditionally been above partisan politics is disappointing."

What???

ADR

I don't really know what else to say given all of this bizarre commentary other than to point out that I said Miers was condemned as being mediocre - not that such was the sole reason for the ultimate withdrawal of her nomination.

Anyone who doesn't remember all of the grief Miers took (much, but not all of it, from the right) about not being smart enough, etc. is engaging in historical revisionism of the most extreme sort.

Other than that, no one seems to really have any interest in discussing the merits of Professor Stone's original post. I'm sure if he's reading these, he's less than pleased.

Maybe the U of C moderators could keep things a little bit more on track here if this blog is to be about an educated discussion of legal issues rather than an uncivil mudslinging.

Kimball Corson

I want to address a comment back up a ways by AJTALL:

“Do you really think the ‘liberal’ justices do a better job restraining government power and protecting individual (civil and economic) liberties than conservative justices or future justices, like Alito? The Institute for Justice analyzed this very issue and found that justices Breyer and Ginsburg were the worst justices at protecting civil and economic liberties. The two of them voted more often to allow intrusive government meddling in ordinary citizens' lives than the other justices.”

I respond:

I believe AJTALL’s implied suggestion here is correct. The problem of politicization and its consequences exists with all nominees, of whatever political persuasion, especially when they are nominated by a president to meet a political agenda, as most typically are. That is the problem, not whether they are liberal or conservative.

The process is politicized from the outset. Federal district and appellate judges, from whom future justices are often nominated, are appointed by the political process and must hold at least nominal political allegiances to be so selected. Cool eyed neutralists and those who truly love the law more independently get screened out at the beginning, yet these are the people we should want. The whole judiciary is politicized, with its myriad individual, political allegiances of debits and credits hard at work.

We need nominees who are legally very competent, have integrity and who bring an open, neutral mind, without political or identifiable judicial predispositions, and good common sense to each case before them. Judge Learned Hand comes to mind here, but of course he never made it to the Supreme Court. Yet virtually each nominee we get has one or another bias in an extreme form that reflects the political or judicial predispositions that are particularly sought then by the president making the nomination. The idea of open-minded neutrality suffers a stillborn birth in almost every case. And that is really too bad.

The problem might well be, who should have the right of nomination? As I have been thinking about it, the president is probably the wrong person for the job. But who?

Kimball Corson

I should add or suggest that a judge or justice is not neutral or open minded when, based on all of his or her previous opinions, you can determine or prety well surmise how a case presenting new factual and legal issues will be decided.

By this test, Alito is anything but neutral and open minded. And that is the problem.

Roach

There was nothing wrong with the Crusades other than the fact that they weren't successful in restoring the Holy Land to Christian control.

The Inquisition in all of its years of operation killed a few thousand people, probably less than ten thousand accroding to the Netanyahu history. The Terror in the vendee--i.e., vanguard, enlightenment violence--murdered about 500,000 in a year.

"Incidentally, I actually find myself agreeing with Deborah here -- it's appalling that in 2006 we could have a Supreme Court composed of nine justices, only *one* of whom is a woman and only *one* of whom is black. It's not just depressing, it's offensive."

The fact that anyone would make this kind of conclusory self-pitying statement and think that it is an argument is kind of funny to me. Maybe if we kill the white people (like the song says) you'll feel better. Is it depressing that in China most of the political leaders are Chinese. Or that in all white states like Nebraska--nearly all white by virtue of not having had chattel slavery--most of the politicians and everyone else are white. Is it always bad when things are out of kilter with demographics? Is it bad there are so many Catholics and Jews on the Court and in the legal profession?

Out in real America, most of us are more concerned with skill, honesty, and integrity than in the demographic make up of the court.

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