MartiniPundit

Random thoughts and insights – always shaken, never stirred

Archive for the ‘Judiciary’ Category

Casey Anthony

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I am deeply disturbed by the vigilante attitude towards the Casey Anthony verdict.

It’s unclear to me what really happened – I did not follow the case as it unfolded. What is clear to me is that the prosecution failed to prove its case, and that is what matters.

We live in a country where rule of law prevails – one is not convicted in the court of public opinion no matter how ‘obvious’ a person’s guilt appears to be. Talking heads on various networks who have no access to the facts are nothing short of idiots. Pay no attention to them.

We live in a country where EVIDENCE is what is needed to convict, and evidence is what was lacking here. Did Casey murder her daughter? Maybe. Is she an icky person? You bet. But the prosecution failed to prove a capital crime against her. They even failed to prove that Caylee Anthony was murdered. The jury had no choice but to acquit, and I (who have been on a jury) would have done the same. It doesn’t matter that Caylee was found duck-taped and gnawed – horrific though that is – it matters only what you can prove. The prosecution failed to prove motive, method, or even opportunity. That’s what is needed to prosecute a murder, and they failed on the basics. This is a prosecutorial team that needs to be fired as they clearly are incompetent.

What I find really scary is those who are now making noises about killing Casey because she “got away with murder.”

I find the lynch mob mentality terrifying. The rule of law is under siege.

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Written by martinipundit

July 7, 2011 at 12:12 am

Posted in General, Judiciary, MSM

Interpreting Scalia’s Gesture

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There has been much talk about the gesture Justice Scalia made in response to a reporter’s question here in Boston last weekend, but I haven’t seen a picture of it until now. There have been various descriptions, but the photo in this article makes it clear that the Justice is being disingenuous when he says the gesture means “I couldn’t care less.” Maybe it does mean that in Sicily where Scalia’s ancestors apparently are from. However, in neighboring Naples, where my ancestors are from, flicking the back of the fingers of the right hand off the bottom of the chin means something very different indeed. And it is obscene.

Which is not to say that some reporters don’t deserve it, but such a gesture in public, in church, is beneath the dignity of a Supreme Court Justice.

Written by martinipundit

March 30, 2006 at 9:22 am

Posted in General, Judiciary, Politics

Tagged with ,

Unsourced Lies from the Left

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So who is Doug Thompson?

Beats me, but he runs a site that is hugely slanted to the left, and apparently is quite comfortable with unsourced slander.

Behold this screed from his site called “Capitol Hill Blue” (in case you had doubt where he stood).

GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the act could further alienate conservatives still mad at the President from his botched attempt to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. “

“I don’t give a goddamn,” Bush retorted. “I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.”

“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.”

“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”

Mr. Thompson ‘claims’ to have corroboration:

I’ve talked to three people present for the meeting that day and they all confirm that the President of the United States called the Constitution “a goddamned piece of paper.”

Laying aside what the President may or may not have said about the Constitution, not to mention the political illiteracy of assuming conservatives have a problem with the Patriot Act, there’s a word repeated twice in this ‘news’ that undermines the credibility of the whole thing: “goddamn.”

Anyone out there ever heard a believing Christian use that term? There are lots of expletives I’ve been known to use from time to time, but that’s not one of them.

I’ve never heard a pious evangelical (which Bush is), Catholic (that would be me), or even mainline Protestant use the term. It’s a whole lot worse than the F-word to a believing Christian. So given that I don’t believe the President used that term, neither do I believe that he said such things about the Constitution. As to the three people who Mr. Thompson claims to have spoken to? I don’t think unsourced hearsay of three people who most likely weren’t at the alleged meeting count. (I also can’t confirm the Gonzales quote, but is that a surprise?)

Next time Mr. Thompson wants to make stuff up about the President, he should be careful to use a believable expletive.

Written by martinipundit

December 22, 2005 at 4:56 pm

Miers Withdraws

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Fox is reporting that Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination to the SCOTUS and President Bush has “reluctantly” accepted. Among the reasons stated was the expectation that the senate would press too hard to examine privileged executive branch documents. I was prepared to trust the President and wait for the hearings, but that’s moot now. The pressure from the Right was too much.

It seems clear that the President must now appoint someone like Janice Rodgers Brown – even if that means a fight with the Democrats in the senate – as the only way to bring the base back to his side. Too many things are at stake now – tax reform, Social Security reform, and most of all the war. This is not a time to have senators sticking their fingers into the political wind and abandoning the President not because of opposition but lack of support. Conservatives must rally behind the President and close ranks once they get a nominee they like.

(And Bush should turn around and appoint Miers to a District court in the near future.)

Written by martinipundit

October 26, 2005 at 8:06 am

On Roberts’ Elevation to Chief Justice

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Blogging has been light recently as I’ve attended to other matters, but this tidbit did catch my eye from the American Spectator:

By elevating the Roberts nomination to the chief justice’s job, the president has made the Roberts fight one the libs must win, and they won’t. Roberts will be confirmed (probably not in time for the first day of the court’s session next month), but soon after that. And when the president nominates another conservative to replace O’Connor, the libs will be fighting for their political lives.

There will be little or no room for them to maneuver around their core constituencies. The NARALs, the PFAWs, and the rest will be shrieking for a filibuster because they realize that with Roberts, Thomas, and a third young conservative (Thomas is only 57), President Bush will be able to stock the Roberts Court with enough conservatives to clearly deprive the libs of their last hold on American government. Their hysteria will be palpable, their rhetoric confused and destructive. There will be a filibuster, unless the president does what they want and nominates a liberal. Which he won’t do.

No Democrat — not even Slippary Hillary — will be able to hide. Anyone who wants the allegiance of the hard-core left, and any Democrat who expects to gain the presidency must have it, won’t be able to take a tempered position. Every one of them will be flushed from cover and revealed as the doctrinaire hyperliberals they really are. There are already demands that the next nominee be chosen on the basis of gender or race, or both. The president must ignore the demands and the threats they imply, and choose a conservative with a clear record of judicial restraint and constitutional fealty. To do less will violate the trust placed in him in the 2004 election by the Americans who turned out to vote against judicially imposed liberalism. Tens of millions will be spent, by Soros and the rest, to defeat the second conservative nominee. There will be so many television ads non-Americans should be forgiven for thinking the ’08 presidential race will have already begun. And it literally will have.

This fight should be liberalism’s last stand. Conservatives will need to fight for any provably conservative nominee with that focused constantly in their minds.

Could it be that there really is a Santa Claus and his name is George W. Bush?

Written by martinipundit

September 6, 2005 at 2:00 pm

Posted in Judiciary, Politics

Bush’s First SCOTUS Nominee: John G. Roberts

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It was not Edith Clement, nor was it a minority or other ‘symbolic’ pick. It was a middle-aged white guy. Those who place great faith in identity politics and symbolic gestures are no doubt quite disappointed. But then, they probably didn’t vote for Bush in the first place.

On the surface, Judge Roberts looks quite impressive: magna cum laude Harvard, summa cum laude Harvard Law, Managing Editor of the Harvard Law Review, clerked with then Justice Rehnquist, served in the Reagan and first Bush administrations, argued 39 cases before the Supreme Court, nominated twice to the Federal bench (blocked by the Democrats), nominated to the DC Circuit Court in 2003 and confirmed unanimously by the Senate. (Some Democrats, including, apparently, Schumer, voted against him in committee.) If there is a quibble, it’s that he’s only been a judge for two years.

His bio can be found here, which goes up to his nomination in 2003. Bill Kristol puts his finger on the ‘symbolism:’

I had expected Bush to choose a woman. Indeed, I pointed in last week’s editorial to several competent and qualified conservative women. But in preemptively yielding to gender quotas, so to speak, I made a mistake–and earned a well-deserved and well-argued rebuke from Charmaine Yoest at National Review Online, who said I (and others) had “conceded too easily” to the pernicious claims of identity politics. She was right. And the president, weighing a truly important decision for the country’s future, agreed with her. By simply going for the best person, by not worrying about walking out to the podium last night accompanied by a white male, Bush did something important and courageous. He showed that he knows that on really significant matters, one has to ignore political correctness and political pandering, and even political convenience. For this lesson, as well as for an intellectually impressive and politically sound choice, Bush deserves a lot of credit. I unreservedly give it to him.

So what of the Senate? Immediately after the President’s announcement, Senators Leahy and Schumer came out and fired the first shots. Leahy twaddled on with a civics lesson on the Senate’s responsibilities, frankly looking like he had just eaten a piece of sour fruit. Nor could Schumer muster much: he called Judge Roberts’ credentials obvious but then said he voted against him because he refused to name three SCOTUS cases with which he disagreed. NARAL could at least summon the will to call the guy “divisive.” It may very well be that Bush has nominated the most boring guy in the country and as a result just sucked the wind out of the sails of the opposition. They do say he’s one helluva poker player.

Barbara Boxer did mention the soon to be infamous “french fry” case on Fox this morning, but she was quickly forced to retreat when Kirin Chetry reminded her that the case had been decided unanimously. Boxer, caught off guard, averred that she would need to look further into it. What she needed can be found on page two of the case, so let’s take a look. A PDF of the opinion can be found here.

The case involved a patently silly DC law forbidding anyone to eat in the DC subway stations. During a “zero-tolerance” week, adults were given citations, but since DC law didn’t provide (at the time) for children to be cited, they were arrested instead, some fourteen of them that week. The case in question, Hedgepeth vs. WMATA (2004), was brought by the mother of a 12 year old girl arrested for eating a single french fry. After much public outcry, the law was changed, and her mother filed suit claiming that the girl’s 4th amendment rights had been violated against unreasonable arrest and equal protection of the laws (adults were not arrested). The District Court decided against her, and she appealed to the Circuit where Judge Roberts wrote the opinion for the case, which was decided unanimously by the three judge panel, and upheld the lower court’s ruling that the girl’s rights under the Constitution were not violated. Everyone involved thought the arrest to be ridiculous. Here is Roberts’ opening:

No one is very happy about the events that led to this litigation. A twelve-year-old girl was arrested, searched, and handcuffed. Her shoelaces were removed, and she was transported in the windowless rear compartment of a police vehicle to a juvenile processing center, where she was booked, fingerprinted, and detained until released to her mother some three hours later — all for eating a single french fry in a Metrorail station. The child was frightened, embarrassed, and crying throughout the ordeal. The district court described the policies that led to her arrest as ”foolish,” and indeed the policies were changed after those responsible endured the sort of publicity reserved for adults who make young girls cry. The question before us, however, is not whether these policies were a bad idea, but whether they violated the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. Like the district court, we conclude that they did not, and accordingly we affirm.

So, Senator Boxer, a unanimous decision which happened to be the same decision that the District Court found. No smoking fry here, I’m afraid, although it should make a good headline somewhere: Nominee Upheld Arrest of Twelve Year Old Girl for Eating French Fries. Frankly, I rather liked the dry wit implicit in the statement, “the policies were changed after those responsible endured the sort of publicity reserved for adults who make young girls cry.” This was actually one of the issues – the mother was asking to make sure this never happened again, and Roberts’ noted that not only was the law changed, but that it was hard to believe the girl would be eating fries in any more subway stations. On the other issues, it was fairly clear the Court did not agree with the policy, but refused to legislate from the bench as the policies were within the boundaries of the Constitution. This is the key point – President Bush promised to appoint judges who would interpret the law, not legislate from the bench. This case gives us a perfect illustration of Roberts’ views on the subject:

The correction of straying youth is an undisputed state interest and one different from enforcing the law against adults. Because parents and guardians play an essential role in that rehabilitative process, it is reasonable for the District to seek to ensure their participation, and the method chosen — detention until the parent is notified and retrieves the child — certainly does that, in a way issuing a citation might not. The district court had and we too may have thoughts on the wisdom of this policy choice — it is far from clear that the gains in certainty of notification are worth the youthful trauma and tears — but it is not our place to second-guess such legislative judgments. See City of New Orleans v. Duke, 427 U.S. 297, 303 (1976) (per curiam) (rational basis review does not authorize the judiciary to sit as a ”superlegislature”). [emphasis mine]

The man wrote it into an opinion that is sure to come under scrutiny. I’m not sure I would have read it if Boxer hadn’t called my attention to it, and I was pleased to see it there. Not quite the reaction she was hoping for, I suspect.

No doubt we’ll learn more about Judge Roberts in the coming weeks, and the confirmation hearings ought to be interesting. It’s hard to see how the Democrats could mount a filibuster here, but you never know. One thing is certain: Bush has the numbers and barring some unlikely revelation of sordid personal conduct, we’re looking at the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

Written by martinipundit

July 20, 2005 at 9:14 am

Posted in Judiciary, Politics

So Let Me Get This Straight …

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Last week I posted my expectation that the Left would smear President Bush’s nominee to the SCOTUS, and some took exception to that. Well, this week we read Moveon.org (the one’s who are really MiredIn) is holding parties to oppose the nominee – who has yet to be nominated.

So, do I have this straight? The most visible organization on the Left is opposing Bush’s nominee before he or she has been nominated? So would it be fair to say that they will oppose whoever the President nominates? And what does this say about the Left?

Just curious …

Written by martinipundit

July 11, 2005 at 12:58 pm

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