Not an uneventful week

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has noticed that this has been a rather eventful week in terms of news. Lots of interesting stuff to comment upon.

The most important happening of the week must be the North Korean nuclear test. One supposes that the election of Barack Obama hasn’t changed too much in terms of US/Korea relations. Is this the “test” that Joe Biden suggested would come in the first six months of the Obama presidency? Could be. Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure that Obama’s reaction has been any different than John McCain’s would have been (or George W. Bush’s for that matter) had he been elected president. It seems like Hillary Clinton and our diplomatic corps are working to get China on board with whatever the long-term plan is going to be. All in all your Maximum Leader seems sort of sanguine on what will go on in the Koreas. It is good to see that South Korea (and US troops there) are on high alert since the North has started being more bellicose than usual. Your Maximum Leader can’t see “our” side starting anything. And if the North decides to “start something” (either at sea or along the DMZ) then the S. Korean/US/UN forces will respond proportionately. It is difficult to imagine a senario that gets out of hand. Although, if things do get out of hand it will be very ugly very quickly with the potential for a million casualties in Seoul alone. This pot will continue to boil slowly for a while yet…

The next biggest story is President Obama’s nomination of Judge Sotomayor to fill Justice Souter’s* seat on the Supreme Court. Your Maximum Leader has been reading the usual suspects (like Volokh) to get more information on Sotomayor. She is about what your Maximum Leader expected of Obama. She will be a strong “activist” and “liberal” justice if confirmed. Some of her past comments concerning the wealth and variety of experiences a hispanic woman would bring to the court (and to the justice system at large) make your Maximum Leader cring. They seem, on their face, to be completely contrary to the notion of “equal justice under law” (the motto that is carved into the very stone of the Supreme Court building). Indeed, her comments remind your Maximum Leader of the moment he knew he was a “judicial conservative.”

Your Maximum Leader hadn’t bothered to think hard about the Supreme Court or its role in our Republic until he got to college. Sure he wanted Reagan to get the judges he wanted because “our side” won the election and that is the way things went. By the fall of 1987 your Maximum Leader was a freshman at college and Robert Bork had just been rejected as a nominee to the Supreme Court. That fall Judge Leon Higginbotham came to speak on campus and your Maximum Leader went to listen to Judge Higginbotham’s speech and lectures. By the end of a question and answer session between students and Judge Higginbotham your Maximum Leader had had an epiphany. The moment that stands out was one where a student was asking Judge Higginbotham about sentencing in drug cases. As part of his answer Judge Higginbotham commented that a white kid from the suburbs of Philadelphia should get a harsher sentence for a coccaine conviction than a black kid from the projects in Philadelphia. His rationale went that the white kid had a different environment where he was better able to know the concequences of his actions, thus should be punished more harshly than the black kid who had a different life experience. Now, your Maximum Leader knows that the judge was speaking hypothetically and very broadly; but the very notion of unequal treatment based on socio-economic grouping (and race one should add) opened your Maximum Leader’s eyes to notions of justice and the role of judges. When your Maximum Leader hears the replayed comments made in the past by Judge Sotomayor, his heckles are raised and he immediately starts opposing her and thinking her a bad choice for the highest bench in the land.

Of course, your Maximum Leader isn’t sure how Republicans can conceivably stop her nomination. Smearing her like Democrats smeared Robert Bork (or Clarence Thomas) doesn’t appear to be an option. It isn’t an option because of the politics of it. None has balls enough to risk being made to look like a bigoted racist - which is how any attack will be countered. Indeed, an interview your Maximum Leader recently saw with Chuck Schumer (Arse - NY) seemed to confirm his suspicions of how the “counterattacks” will come.

Yes… It has not been an uneventful week…

Carry on.

* - A sharp minion and frequent commenter (Hey Maggie!) noted that your Maximum Leader wrote first that Justice Breyer was retiring. Your Maximum Leader knew that it isn’t Breyer but David Souter who is retiring. Your Maximum Leader supposes that it was wishful thinking on his part that he wrote that it was Breyer… Sorry…

Carry on.

2 Comments »
maggie said:

Souter is the justice who is retiring. Breyer is still there. As for Sotomayor’s opinion that one’s life experiences do shape one’s perception even Alito said much the same thing during the hearing portion of the nomination process. Dig back a little and you will find that even Thomas said much the same thing and on and on. I know that my own life experiences have definitely sculpted my perception. These experiences are kind of hard to either escape or ignore. They are a lot of what makes you you. (I bet even St. Augustine had something to say about this.) What is this about liberal judges being activists? Everyone alive is an activist. Seems to be a misuse of the term and should just be dropped. Sotomayer had six cases out of all her thousands of decisions reviewed by SCOTUS. They were fine with three of them. Thats a .500 batting average on appeals. The fact that SCOTUS took on only a mere six in the first place is amazing. As for judicial activism, what about judicial restraint. Roe v Wade next to Bush v Gore. Look, also, at the scoreboard of justices voting down Congressional laws. Thomas, Kennedy and Scalia are above the 50% mark in this regard. And then there are federal regulations. It was rare for Thomas and Scalia to uphold any one of these (under 50% of the time). this all comes from surveys of SCOTUS by Yale law Prof. Gewirtz. Alito and Roberts were not covered by this survey as they are too recent on the court. Can’t wait for the Sotomayor hearings to begin!



Like most people of sound mind, I much prefer the non-bigoted racists.



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