What This Is Really About For the Other Team
May 14, 2009, 9:07 am
Filed under: Ian | Tags: ,

I’m surprised to see right-wing blogger Kathryn Jean Lopez admitting what everyone in Washington already knows, that the main reason we can expect the GOP to oppose President Obama’s nominee is because they see a SCOTUS battle as an opportunity to raise funds for beleagered Republican politicians.  This is why we can expect a scorched earth campaign from conservatives no matter who President Obama nominates—if they act in good faith, they’ll raise less money than if they conduct a smear campaign.


The Dance Continues
May 13, 2009, 9:13 am
Filed under: Ian | Tags: ,

I see that President Obama is scheduled to meet with Mitch McConnell and Jeff Sessions today to discuss the Supreme Court.  No doubt the only thing that will come out of this meeting is that McConnell and Sessions will float the names of one or two “acceptable nominees,” who are actually conservative judges apppointed by Bill Clinton as part of a ill-considered compromise with Orrin Hatch.  A few weeks from now, when President Obama remembers that he won the election, the President will ignore the “acceptable nominees,” and the entire GOP caucus will “with heavy hearts” conclude that have to filibuster the President’s nominee because he failed to “consult” with them.

What Goes Around Comes Around
May 13, 2009, 9:00 am
Filed under: Ian | Tags: , , ,

ScotusAs if they were trying to gin up support for John Roberts just months before his confirmation hearings, the Supreme Court decided a 5-4 case called Kelo v. New London at the very end of the term that saw Justice O’Connor’s retirement.  Doctrinally, Kelo was a snoozer—it did nothing more than uphold a decades-old doctrine establishing that the Constitution does not place practical limits on how the government can use its emminent domain power, provided that the government is willing to pay for all the property it seizes.  Politically, however, it was a train wreck.  Suddenly reminded of the fact that the government has the power to force any American to sell their home, the nation became captured by libertarian revenge fantasies against the justices who stayed their hand in Kelo, and it became very easy for George Bush to sell his new justice in part by using Kelo as a boggieman.

So, since John Roberts came to power against this background, color me a bit surprised that he is about to join a decision (most likely a majority decision) holding that school principals can strip search 13 year-old girls who are suspected of carrying Advil.  If I were looking to do something completely appalling at the very moment that the nation turns its attention to my branch of government; to do so in a way that makes me look like an out-0f-touch monster; and to do so in a way that makes President Obama’s vision of the Constitution look much more compelling by contrast, I would probably hold that it is ok to force 13 year-old girls to strip naked at a school official’s command.  Right-wing justices already make my skin crawl.  Soon, the whole nation will share that opinion.

Tell The Truth
May 12, 2009, 10:42 pm
Filed under: Ian | Tags:

If you spent months hiding the fact that the war criminal who keeps publishing in your paper actually has a regular gig, you lack standing to claim that you are “surprised by the sudden delayed anger directed” at your decision to hire the war criminal.

May 12, 2009, 1:18 pm
Filed under: Ian

One of the sad ironies of being a lawyer blogger who also works full time on legal policy issues is that you have much less time to blog when the courts are big in everyone’s mind.  I’ve spent the last week or two locked in my office with everything that a few possible Supreme Court nominees have written, striving to make sure that the right folks are ready if that person is the nominee.

The good news, however, is that the initial rush of vetting is done (at least for me), so I’m coming up for air and will coming back to blogging soon.

In the meantime, folks in Colorado and Los Angeles can Hear the Obnoxious Sound of My Voice tonight at 7:40pm ET (5:40 MT, 4:40 PT) on the Mario Solis Marich show, where I will be discussing the future of the Supreme Court and how right-wingers are plotting to smear the President’s nominee, no matter who that person may be.

What I Learned Today
May 7, 2009, 12:34 pm
Filed under: Ian

In Arizona, you can’t be an attorney if you’ve been convicted of attempted murder.  In Texas, you can.

Sometimes, It’s Just Racism
May 6, 2009, 5:51 pm
Filed under: Ian | Tags: ,

Brian Beutler tracks the smear campaign which claims that Judge Sonia Sotomayor, a possible candidate for the Supreme Court, is “dumb and obnoxious.”  I totally get each link in his chain; the smear traveled from former Second Circuit clerks (who may have clerked for a right-wing judge hostle to Sotomayor), to Jeff Rosen, to the National Review, to mainstream publications like The Atlantic and the Washington Post.

Except that I don’t get Beutler’s last link, the claim that this video from David Letterman is a consequence of this smear campaign:

Vodpod videos no longer available.
Admittedly, this is just a brief clip from Letterman’s monologue.  Maybe he led up to this clip with some misguided comments about how Judge Sotomayor is a hothead, but it sure looks to me that the only thing he has to say is 1) Sotomayor is a judge, 2) Sotomayor is Latina, and 3)  therefore she must be some kind of hot-blooded, Spanish-speaking Judge Judy.

Maybe Letterman has been reading the attacks on Sotomayor, and he thought he was making just a joke at her expense—not at the expense of Latinas in general.  Based on the above clip, however, I can’t describe it as anything other than racist.