Politics: March 2005 Archives

This story is amazing. Basically, lobbying groups wanted campaign finance reform, but there was no real public cry for it, so they manufactured it, and even paid American Prospect and NPR to produce reports about campaign financing.

That's not to say there was any lie in what was reported, or in what the lobbyists said, but the way it was all done was certainly dishonest. There was no public cry for it, and the lobbyists made it look like there was. Worse, they directed groups they gave their money to -- like NPR -- to not disclose that they funded the reports.

And you thought you could trust NPR more than NBC. As my family clan's motto goes, "Think On."

I am not noting this because its liberals, although I suppose I should mention that this is similar to the sort of things liberals have been bashing conservatives over recently. But my purpose in posting it is because I hadn't heard about it before, and it's a fairly stunning story. slashdot.org

Federalist No. 4

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Jay continues on his theme that Union offers greater security from foreign force.

We know there will always be bad reasons for war, but there are good reasons for war -- he at length describes some potential problems, all having to do with various trade disputes -- and he asks "whether one good government is not, relative to the object in question, more competent than any other given number."

First and foremost, a Union will "tend to repress and discourage" war rather than inviting it.

He again notes that Union can get the best men from all over. I am skeptical of this argument. Surely there must be sufficiently qualified men in each state or region. I think a greater case can be made that a federal government is more capable of keeping a calm head and averting war for reasons other than the relative quality of the personnel, and mostly having to do with what he mentioned in the previous article: distance diminishes passion.

He also mentions here that "the safety of the whole is the interest of the whole," and that it will keep the whole as the objective in treaties, while also considering the individual parts; and should any of those parts should need defense, the whole will mobilize to provide it, instead of each part looking out for itself.

As well, a unified armed force can be much more effective, being under one plan, one rule. He asks whether the British army would be as successful if it were four armies -- English, Scotch, Welsh, Irish -- instead of one. If America had 13, or even three or four, separate forces, could they adequately guard their shores? Would the others rise to help if one were in need? Maybe so, but it would become -- at best -- a serious logistical problem that a Union would not have to face.

And what if one inclined to favor Britain, and another to France? What then would become of America, each government being played off the other? It would be a "poor, pitiful figure" instead of the great nation it may become under Union.

Come back again for another installment of The Federalist . slashdot.org

Federalist No. 3

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Jay wrote that people of any country seldom go for very long with an incorrect view of their own interests; Americans nearly uniformly believe it is in their interests to remain united, and it is therefore probably so.

Most important in the way a union serves our interests is safety: preserving peace and tranquility, and protection from foreign arms and influence, or from similar domestic causes.

Jay remarks that the number of wars will always be in proportion to the number and weight of the causes -- whether real or pretended -- which provoke and invite them. That is:

num_wars * x = num_causes + weight_causes

The greater the size of the nation, the more able it is to reduce the number of causes for war, because a single national government is more able to recognize and respond adequately to problems arising with other nations.

Jay then notes that a national government will be more likely to attract the most capable people to manage it, because people nominated for such office will be the best the state has to offer.

I wish this were true today, but I think most of us can agree it is not. It was at one time, but as the federal government became more of a way to gain power, money, and influence, and as the media scrutiny drove away many good people, this is, I fear, no longer the case.

He also goes a bit far when he writes that because it will have these people with greater qualifications, their decisions will be "more wise, systematical, and judicious than those of individual States." In some cases, such as those regarding foreign affairs, I'd tend to agree, but he doesn't appear to constrict this observation to such a context.

He notes too that because their decisions will be such, that they will be "consequently more satisfactory with respect to other nations," which, of course, keeps us more safe. I am not sure if he means that the other nations will respect the decisions because of who makes them, or that because of who makes them, they will therefore be better and therefore well-received. Either way, we know that today's Europe would prefer decisions made by California or New York to those made by the federal government.

Jay is right on when he says that in a treaty entered into by a confederacy, each state may execute it differently, and that this is therefore another benefit to Union. No doubt there. The federal government will have jurisdiction here, and be far more likely to consistently and uniformly execute treaty terms, as well as to punish offenders, largely immune to local influences that might make such acts difficult for the local government.

Similarly, passions that may incite a single state to war will be far less likely to incite the entire nation: the relative weight of the cause (see the equation, it's right there!) is diluted by the size of the nation.

When just causes for war do arise, it's a given that the federal government would be more able to handle it, either by a united fighting force, or by settling it amicably, carrying more influence with the parties and less passion within themselves.

Jay closes with an example of Louis XIV demanding humiliation of the state of Genoa for an offense it had committed, something France never would have demanded of Britain, Spain, or any other powerful nation.

Come back again for another installment of The Federalist . slashdot.org

Federalist No. 2

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In the second article, Jay takes over from Hamilton. His main theme is that union is better than any of the various forms of disunion: individual sovereignties, several confederacies, and so on, though he does not get much into the particulars of the argument, but instead builds a base of support for it.

It's one of most important questions ever for the people of America, he says. "Nothing is more certain than the indispensable necessity of government, and it is equally undeniable, that whenever and however it is instituted, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights in order to vest it with requisite powers."

This is not about whether liberty is sacrificed, but how to properly strike the balance. For awhile, they all took it for granted that prosperity, safety, and happiness is best to be found in union; but recently, some have disagreed. Is their belief based on truth?

Jay first addresses this by noting that just as the physical land of the nation seems disparate, but it is interconnected by its waters, so its inhabitants are connected by ancestry, language, and religion. It seems, says Jay, that God has designed this people and this place for each other, to never be split up.

Then Jay reaches back and shows how they got to this event. They had long been, in general purposes, a single people, joining together in rights and protection, in peace and war, in defeating enemies and forming alliances. So they made a federal government.

It was flawed for various reasons, but the idea was sound. A group of good men got together and came up with plans. The people didn't know much about these men, but despite a lot of bad press, the people trusted them because they were wise and experienced; they were from different parts of the country; they were interested in public liberty and prosperity.

The people seemed to be happy with the union, even if the specific form it took needs work. And so that's why more men went back to Philadelphia, and if the previous group of men was to be trusted, so much more these, who are more known to the public as deserving of trust, many having been in the previous group.

They worked tirelessly and without passion except for love of country, and unanimously produced a recommendation: the proposed -- not imposed -- Constitution. It is recommended neither for blind acceptance or dismissal, though, as noted in the previous article, this is something more to be hoped than expected.

And here we are. So why split into individual sovereignties or several confederacies? Why change what's worked well so far, but just needs tweaking? Come back for another thrilling installment of The Federalist ! slashdot.org

The Federalist

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I am here keeping running links to my series on The Federalist. slashdot.org

Crazy Quotes

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UN Convention

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Why is it that in stories about UN officials, we are rarely told the nationality of the officials? There's some convention in use that implicitly tells us that the nationality of the official -- such as Kofi Annan, who is from Ghana -- is not important enough to warrant mention.

I know that part of it is because the UN officials see themselves as above nationality. Annan's chief of staff, Mark Malloch Brown was on Fox News Sunday this week -- nationality unmentioned, but he is from Britain -- and he noted that many of the problems of the UN today are not the fault of the UN, but of the nations which comprise it.

Think about that for a moment. The UN's problems are not with the UN, but with the nations. He says this with a straight face and expects people to buy it. Yeah, if we could just get rid of these pesky nations, we could actually run the UN pretty well. slashdot.org

WFB / Aladdin

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I just saw Aladdin. I'd not seen it in years. I totally forgot that Robin Williams does a caricature of William F. Buckley, Jr. in there. slashdot.org

Federalist No. 1

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I am reading through The Federalist Papers, in order. I'm taking notes, and providing them here.

Feel free to read along and discuss. If you care to participate in discussion, you may wish to read ahead; however, please don't discuss more than what has already happened. Don't move on to No. 3 in the discussion of No. 2.

A quick introduction to The Federalist is warranted, for those who might need it. It was written in 1787 and 1788 as a series of articles in newspapers, by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay -- all under the pen name "Publius" -- as explanation and defense of the proposed Constitution, which was to be ratified by the states. It became the general authority on the meaning of the Constitution, as to how it should be interpreted, though its status in that regard has diminished over the years.


In the first article, Hamilton introduces the articles which will follow. He starts with the broad question to be answered: "whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force." He has a sense of the worldwide importance of this goal, nothing that this is the era for that question to be decided, and that an incorrect answer would be to the "general misfortune of mankind."

He ends the article with a more modest goal, to determine what is best for the states, union or dissolution.

It seems that one could say Hamilton was being unfair -- or at least, unseemly -- in his opening rhetoric. Is he going too far by implying that if they don't adopt the Constitution, the world would regret it? But Hamilton spends the bulk of the article imploring the reader to be on guard against that sort of thing.

Everyone is biased, he says, and while we can hope for people to put the best interests of the nation first, we can't expect it. Some are against the proposed Constitution because they will lose power. Others, because they hope to exploit the dissolution that would result for personal gain. Still others out of jealousy or fear.

But biases exist on both sides, and someone on the side of truth may not have purer motivations than those on the other: which side you're on says nothing about the worthiness of your motivations. [A nice thing to remember for many of those on the left and right today, who constantly deride those they disagree with.]

Speaking as one who had apparently been on Slashdot for far too long, he wrote:

However just these sentiments will be allowed to be, we have already sufficient indications that it will happen in this as in all former cases of great national discussion. A torrent of angry and malignant passions will be let loose. To judge from the conduct of the opposite parties, we shall be led to conclude that they will mutually hope to evince the justness of their opinions, and to increase the number of their converts by the loudness of their declamations and the bitterness of their invectives.

He hopes people won't do this: "In politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution."

But he knows it will happen, and so asks people to "guard against all attempts, from whatever quarter, to influence your decision ... by any impressions other than those which may result from the evidence of truth." Hamilton doesn't pretend to not favor the Constitution: "I will not amuse you with an appearance of deliberation when I have decided." But as "consciousness of good intentions disdains ambiguity," his "arguments will be open to all, and may be judged of by all. They shall at least be offered in a spirit which will not disgrace the cause of truth."

I am particularly attracted to that last line. The idea of offering all the pertinent evidence, arguing your case, and hoping that people will make up their own minds, is a concept that I've attempted to follow this space.

Come back again for another installment of The Federalist . slashdot.org

Dealing with the UN

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WFB on how to deal with the UN. He wrote this a couple of years ago. I like the third option he gives. Basically, don't vote on the Security Council on any political question (which is most of them), which effectively vetoes the measure. Subvert from within.

I wonder if this is part of what Bush has in mind with Bolton. I doubt Bush will go that far, though, especially since he is in the mood to play nice with Europe these days. slashdot.org

Not Your Party

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The Republicans and Democrats in WA have agreed to choose their candidates by nominating convention instead of primary this year.

See, a couple of years ago, the parties sued because they didn't like the fact that WA had a blanket primary, meaning anyone can vote for anyone. The entire point of a primary is for parties to choose their own candidates, so it makes no sense of any kind to say that anyone can vote for any candidate.

A federal court case in California opened the door for a suit in WA, which was successful, and the blanket primary was abolished.

Since there is no party registration in WA, they used the same system that is used for the caucuses: by participating in the primary for one party, you temporarily identify with that party for this purpose, and you don't get to participate in the election of any other party for that cycle. Simple enough, and something WA is used to.

But the outcry was enormous. "They're taking away our choices!," people cried. Well, only if you were voting for people in multiple parties, which defeats the purpose of a primary. In that case, yes, you have less choice, which is good.

So some people came up with a solution to their perceived woes, that they believe is in sufficient agreement with the previous Supreme Court decision on the matter: an adoption of something similar to the "Top Two" in Louisiana. The primary is a blanket one, but instead of the top candidate from each party advancing, you get only the top two candidates overall advancing.

There are many legal arguments for and against -- mostly against -- this plan. But bottom line, it takes away the rights of the parties to decide on their own candidates, and the right to even get ON the general election ballot if they have enough signatures to do so, and significantly reduces the choice for the voters in the general election.

There is nothing remotely good about this plan. But the voters were so mad about losing the blanket primary that they blindly voted for it.

So now the parties are taking back their rightful power to choose their own candidates. They are basically saying, "fine, if that's the way you want it, we won't participate in your stupid primary," and there will only be one Republican and one Democrat on the primary ballot.

Because the people passed I-872, they will have less choice on the primary ballot, and less choice on the general election ballot.

Congratulations, people. I tried to warn you. slashdot.org

More on Social Security

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This morning I am watching Fox News Sunday, and first up is Dan Bartlett. He was spinning, characterizing things in what I think is unfair way.

For example. he echoed what the President said, that private accounts are not a replacement for Social Security benefits. But they are. Essentially, the proportion in which you pay into private accounts is the proportion by which your Social Security benefits are reduced. It is a replacement.

But most of my problems with him were semantic and characterization issues. And then Nancy Pelosi took the stage. And she said things that were just false, or ignorant of the facts, to the point of being patently irresponsible.

She said, for example, that Social Security won't start paying out more money than it takes in until 2030. She said that simply not taking money out of the Trust Fund will solve the solvency problem, and that nothing else needs to be done. This just ignores the data, which says that of the three sets of assumptions, only the most optimistic set will produce that outcome.

You could argue that this is the most reasonable guess, as it has performed well in the past, but it has a lot of question marks in it -- especially, to my mind, in regard to its near-stagnant increase in life expectancy -- and at the very least, it is irresponsible to assume that we will achieve this set of assumptions. We have to, if we want to keep Social Security solvent, assume that the best-case scenario will not happen.

And that's really the simplest and most obvious criticism of the Democrat line: it only works if everything turns out well. It has no backup, no solution, no fix for if things turn out differently.

Pelosi also echoed Harry Reid in her attack on Alan Greenspan, who called Greenspan a "partisan hack" for supporting Bush in much of what he's saying about Social Security.

The problem is, Greenspan was a vocal supporter of Clinton when that President was trying to reform Social Security. He didn't agree with everything Clinton wanted to do -- Clinton wanted to invest the Trust Fund in the stock market, which Greenspan hated -- but he also supported the Clinton plan in significant ways, including in using the budget surplus to pay down the debt.

Pelosi said Greenspan should stick to talking about taxes and interest rates etc.. But what is Social Security but taxes and government debt, which affect interest rates? Greenspan served as Chairman of the National Commission on Social Security Reform from 81-87, when he then became Fed Chairman. This is an issue he cares about. And his statements on the matter have been consistent throughout his terms as Chairman of the Fed. You may disagree with him, but to call him a partisan hack is really beyond the pale, especially since Reid and Pelosi must know that he's not, if I can figure it out.

In this issue where I am critical of the Republican line, it's hard to be sympathetic to the Democrats, when they are led by two people who don't give a damn about the truth or responsibility, but only care about defeating the President, at apparently any cost. slashdot.org

GOP Can't Handle Disagreement

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OK, fair is fair, and I submitted my views on Social Security reform to GOP.com last Tuesday, and while two new posts appeared on the page in addition to the one that was already there, mine did not show up.

I don't have an exact quote of what I sent, but essentially, I said I agreed with the various thrust of the GOP proposals except that private accounts are a bad idea, since they would not be needed if we simply didn't give benefits to people who didn't need benefits, as this would make our SS taxes go down, giving us more money in our pockets to invest on our own.

I can only surmise it didn't get posted because it was not in full agreement. slashdot.org
I couldn't make this up if I tried.

I think we need to be realistic. We cannot expect five political appointees at the FCC to spend their time watching TV and trying to figure out what words are dirty, and trying to do the jobs such as investigating the payola paid by the government to journalists to adopt a government line. They can't be asked to investigate whether some alleged male escort has obtained a White House press pass under false pretenses. They can't do the job of policing the media that the congressman and the Senate actually think ought to be done.

So my view, with all due respect to the congressman, is we ought to give a police job to the police. We ask the local police to enforce community standards for obscenity. We ask the police to enforce standards against fraud. We ought to have local police and local communities and the FBI take on the job of protecting our country from inappropriate content.
-- Reed Hundt, former chairman of the FCC from 1993-97 slashdot.org
On Brad DeLong's site, he wrote a piece that, at the end, claimed as fact that you could not honestly evaluate Bush's policies sees a deficit cut in half.

I responded, entirely accurately:

"No more claims that an honest forecast of what George W. Bush's policies are sees the deficit cut in half by the end of this decade. It doesn't."

So, you've been to the future then?

How does it "raise the level of the debate" when you assert as fact something that is not?
He deleted my response, inserting "[troll]" in its place.

What a [tool].

update 1 p.m. PT

Heh, [tool] deleted my next post too. Someone responded to me -- before the first post was deleted -- and I responded:

sm, I know he used forecast. And he said an honest forecast does not say that budgets will be cut in half. He's being dishonest. He could say "I think such a forecast is not reasonable," but to say no such forecast can exist is dishonest. Clearly.

And to add to this dishonesty, he deleted my post calling him on it.
And then he did it again!

Jeez. He must have extreme confidence problems. I almost feel bad for him. slashdot.org

Social Security "Promises"

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There is still a lot of misconception out there about Social Security. It's complicated, so this is not surprising. But one thing that is very important to understand is the idea of whether a cut in the rate of benefit growth constitutes a reduction in benefits.

What is being proposed is indexing benefit increases to inflation, instead of to wages. Likely, this would mean benefits would increase (in actual dollars) more slowly, and would stay the same in real dollars (as that is the definition of inflation).

Democrats say, well, if nothing changes in the law, I will get $x in the year 20$yy, when I retire. Under this change, I will get less, so it is a cut.

Republicans say, well, but you will actually have the same amount of money in real dollars, and more in actual dollars: to call that a cut is nonsense.

Both sides have a point, but the Democrats are on the losing end here. Nothing in the law says that you will get $x in 20$yy. On the contrary, it stays away from such language, and covers only people who actually do retire under the law as it currently exists. It does not say you will get $x in 20$yy, it says someone retiring in 2005 will get $z.

When you see on your Social Security Statement that you will get $x in 20$yy, it is not a promise. It is not implied or expressed as such. It is an estimate, extrapolated from current law. There is bold language on your estimates page that says:

Your estimated benefits are based on current law. Congress has made changes to the law in the past and can do so at any time. The law governing benefit amounts may change because, by 2042*, the payroll taxes collected will be enough to pay only about 73 percent of scheduled benefits.

So what is most accurate is that under this rate change proposal, the current benefit estimates will be reduced, and that benefits themselves will remain constant.

* For those following along most closely, the document also notes that the 2042 number is based on the SSA's intermediate assumptions, while the Democrats like to tout the most optimistic assumptions, which keep the Trust Fund solvent indefinitely, but also assume unreasonably low population growth, high mortality rate, etc. In any event, it is clear that this, too, is merely an estimate. Indeed, if the intermediate assumptions hold, and we do nothing as the Democrats appear to wish, then we would have likely have actual benefit cuts in 2042 -- forced by lack of funds -- instead of merely having rate cuts sooner. slashdot.org

WA Democrats Cheat Again

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In 2000, Democrat Maria Cantwell was elected Senator in Washington, winning a narrow race over incumbent Republican Slade Gorton. She won by 2,229 votes out of 2.5 million cast.

A few months later, she was accused -- and later found guilty -- of campaign finance violations. Cantwell, who financed her own election, put up her $375K home for collateral in a $600K line of credit, against FEC rules which require the collateral to be equal to the value of the loan. She also took out a $4m loan on $5.6m worth of RealNetworks stock, at the lender's prime rate, saving her tens of thousands, against FEC rules which require the rate not be more favorable than another bank customer for the same type of loan.

And to top it all off, she did not disclose either loan until almost three months after the election, instead of weeks before it, and only after receiving two letters from the FEC about the matter.

In the same election cycle, the Democrats in Washington failed to report nearly $6m in donations, mostly in soft money from the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC. Much of that money went to help Cantwell's campaign. The state's Public Disclosure Commission fined the Democrats $250,000 as penalty, with $100,000 of it suspended, as long as they don't do the same type of thing again in the following five years.

Some things don't change.

In the 2004 campaign, the Democrats shifted $400,000 from its federal accounts -- since Patty Murray was a shoo-in for the Senate -- to its state accounts, where the money was desperately needed by Christine Gregoire's campaign for governor. The transfer was never reported. An additional $800,000 in expenditures were never reported.

Automatically, the Democrats will have to pay a fine of $100,000, just because of the previously suspended sum. But much more will likely follow, since this is a second offense.

And as we all know by now, Gregoire won the election by only 129 votes. Could this reporting have made a difference? How can we assume it wouldn't have? You can bet this will be offered as evidence by the Republicans as they continue to make their case that the governor's race should be thrown out. They already have hundreds of illegal votes identified, and now can say that the Democrats violated campaign finance law. slashdot.org
The Supremes today ruled, 5-4, that it is unconstitutional to execute anyone under the age of 18.

What was this based on? Allow Justice O'Connor to speak for me, because if I said it myself, no one would believe me: "The rule decreed by the Court rests, ultimately, on its independent moral judgment that death is a disproportionately severe punishment for any 17-year-old offender."

That is, it was not based on law or fact. Oh sure, it was based on the 8th Amendment that we must refrain from cruel and unusual punishment, but that law does not say we cannot execute 17-year-olds. And it was based on the fact that many people and several states outlaw such executions, but while the court professes to uphold "the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society," no such consensus in this country exists on this point, and the court in so acting must do so descriptively, not prescriptively.

In fact, only 18 of the 38 states that have the death penalty have laws setting the minimum age at 18. The other 20 are all set at 17 or under, or have no minimum age expressed. It's unavoidably true that the SCOTUS is imposing its own will on the people, without basis in law or fact, but instead, as O'Connor said, merely on their own moral judgment, which is simply not good enough to overturn the laws created by people who too have their own moral judgments.

I hope that the states defy the courts and do it anyway, if they so choose. I am not in favor of the death penalty, but I am in favor of the states choosing it if that is their wish, and I am against the courts executing authority where they have none.

The court makes clear its intention to dispense with the idea of rule of laws, and instead enforce the rule of men, when it appealed to -- I wish I were making this up -- "international opinion." Again, I quote a dissenter, Justice Scalia:

The Court begins by noting that "Article 37 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which every country in the world has ratified save for the United States and Somalia, contains an express prohibition on capital punishment for crimes committed by juveniles under 18."

The Court also discusses the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which the Senate ratified only subject to a reservation that reads:

"The United States reserves the right, subject to its Constitutional restraints, to impose capital punishment on any person (other than a pregnant woman) duly convicted under existing or future laws permitting the imposition of capital punishment, including such punishment for crime committed by persons below eighteen years of age."

Unless the Court has added to its arsenal the power to join and ratify treaties on behalf of the United States, I cannot see how this evidence favors, rather than refutes, its position.

But Scalia slightly misses the mark there. The Court does not hold the ability to join and ratify treaties, it simply decreed by fiat that it has the ability to make any laws it wishes, for whatever reason, without limitation of any kind. Because that's the only way this can been as a just and reasonable decision.

Again, Scalia:

Of course, the real force driving today's decision is not the actions of four state legislatures, but the Court's "own judgment" that murderers younger than 18 can never be as morally culpable as older counterparts. The Court claims that this usurpation of the role of moral arbiter is simply a "retur[n] to the rul[e] established in decisions predating Stanford." That supposed rule -- which is reflected solely in dicta and never once in a holding that purports to supplant the consensus of the American people with the Justices' views -- was repudiated in Stanford for the very good reason that it has no foundation in law or logic.

And this is what our Supreme Court is today: people who care less about law than doing what they think is right. In other words, wannabe legislators.

What's especially interesting about this decision is that it comes on the heels of another case of the court usurping the legislative duty: in Kansas, the Supreme Court ruled that the legislature must increase its funding for schools, based on their state Constitution which says that the government must provide for adequate education, and a legislature-commissioned study which said far more money had to be spent to provide adequate education.

But that legislature said, well, we disagree with the study, as is their right. The Court said, well, we agree with it, so tough luck for you. But the Court doesn't get to make those decisions. That's for the legislature to decide, to weigh the evidence and make the right choice.

It's amazing to me that our High Court would say that Congress can do anything it likes in regard to copyright, and can define for itself what limited means, but that it cannot define for itself what cruel and unusual mean, especially when in the former Congress was actually making a de facto violation of the Constitutional principle, and in the latter, it is a matter of opinion, which varies wildly amongst the American people. Worse, that they consider international opinion more than national opinion, but apparently only because they happen to agree with the international opinion more.

I might as well finish up with Scalia:

In other words, all the Court has done today, to borrow from another context, is to look over the heads of the crowd and pick out its friends.
<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page is a archive of entries in the Politics category from March 2005.

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