Friday, April 06, 2007

Hatch calls a lie a blooper

Wherein Orin does his best Cheney impersonation by agreeing with big fat lies from the big fat lier himself [Limbaugh]:
[Hatch] singled out fired U.S. attorney for Southern California, Carol Lam, stating: "She's a former law professor with no prosecutorial experience and was the former campaign manager in Southern California for [Bill] Clinton."
Wrong, wrong and wrong.
Lam's official biography shows that she was the assistant U.S. attorney in San Diego for 14 years and served as a San Diego Superior Court judge before being appointed U.S. attorney by the Bush administration.
She was never a law professor and was not involved in Bill Clinton's campaigns.
Hatch was repeating the same misinformation Rush Limbaugh spewed about Lam on his national radio program. What wasn't mentioned by Hatch or Limbaugh was that prior to her firing, Lam was investigating at least one Republican congressman in connection with the bribery scandal that led to the conviction of former Republican Rep. Duke Cunningham.

Hatch repeated this bogus claim on "Meet the Press" which Cheney also used to get out his message back in the day. Hatch had to write Tim Russert a letter of apology, noting that he had "confused" Lam for Lam's predecessor, Alan Bersin, who was all those things he used to tar Lam.

Oh but that's not all. Sen. Hatch also decided to call the kettle black on conservative blacks and latinos:
"I'm not calling them racist," Hatch said Thursday in an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune. "I don't believe anybody in the Senate is racist. But it certainly is questionable that they treat this man this way.
"What bothers me is that if you have a minority, like [Supreme Court Justice] Clarence Thomas, like Alberto Gonzales, who is conservative, then the other side, who claim they are so civil-rights oriented, they always treat them as though they're just not capable of doing these jobs," Hatch said.

What bothers me is when people say "don't mean to be rude" or "I am not saying they are racist" when in reality, they are being rude or saying someone is racist. Plus, there are racists in the Senate: heard of Trent Lott? ex-Sen. George Allen? or the most obvious of them all ex-Sen. Strom Thurmond?

If AG Ashcroft has still been around with this purge scandal had happened, and he had handled it the same way Gonzales did, I and many others would be calling for his resignation or impeachment in the same way as Gonzales. I don't think Alberto's race has anything to do with it. What matters is that he never stopped being George W. Bush's attorney and never started being the chief law enforcement officer of the US government.

Hatch's problem is that Kyle Sampson was his guy, and Hatch is having to take the stage as a chief apologist for this Aministration's illegalities and incompetencies. Sen. Hatch is full of lies and he knows it, but he has no option but to bluff his way out of this one at this point.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Clarence Thomas, part II

Wherein the Tribune has a hissy fit that it wasn't clued into what was happening:
At least, according to those who attended the private events this week.
The greater public had no access to Thomas. U. law school Dean Hiram Chodosh said he decided to keep the overnight visit under wraps because he worried that public attention would inhibit an open exchange with students.
The law school invited Thomas a year ago and used money from a private endowment to pay for his trip.
Thomas met with about 40 students leaders on Tuesday and then participated in a dinner reception at the home of U. President Michael Young.
The justice didn't address the group; rather he mingled with people such as Senate
President John Valentine and Brigham Young University Professor Thomas Lee.

Sorry reporters. Thomas didn't constrain what we asked him, or who spoke to him, or whatever. He is just a private person. Sometimes, we forget that these large, powerful figures are humans.

My dinner last night was mostly a hob-nob session. The food took forever to be there but Utah Justice Nehring was at my table and was quite interesting. I really had a better impression of Thomas as a person...although I could see how he could be a sexual harrasser...but not his opinions.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Clarence Thomas, part I

This afternoon was the all law school event for Justice Thomas. On my way to the moot courtroom (our sole auditorium), I was walking with my conservative friend I have talked about before. Suddenly we saw Thomas enter with two US Marshalls and a professor who clerked with Justice Stevens (who was his escort) back in the day.

My conservative friend shook his hand and I watched as Thomas talked to a couple other students.

My overall impression of him is that he is personable and down-to-earth. He loved to laugh and poke fun at himself. He also sees himself as a public servant. He worked for New Haven's Legal Aid and tried to do similar things in Savanna, Georgia (where I take it he is from), he has worked in government almost his whole legal life. He let me ask one of the last questions of the session, and I asked him how he felt about age limits for justices and judges. I was expecting some crack about how he was in favor of them when he got there, but now he is against them. But instead, he first asked back "How old" and talked about how sharp Justices like Stevens (looking at that professor) were at age 86. He talked about what a shame it would be to throw such legal minds to the curb. But then he said if it was 65, he would be happy because then he could get in his RV and go around the country with his family. He feels compelled to stay in his job at the Court until he dies, which must be a daunting prospect when you first get there.

The other thing I noticed was that he doesn't like all the questions the other justices ask, and wants to have the litigants speak, rather than having no clue or not caring about what they have to say. He seems very smart and friendly.

This is the second Justice I have been the in same room with. The other was Justice Ginsberg, who spoke at my undergrad baccalaureate. Her speech was more political and academic. Thomas was more interested in giving us students a heart to heart. He said that he didn't pay off his student loans until his third year on the court. That he had no job when he graduated and no clue what he was doing. And that he got study advice at Yale Law from John Bolton (trim down your outline sucessively until you have it down to an index card).

Tonight the wife and I will be dining with Justice Thomas and some other folks. Suggestions for respectful questions--i.e. nothing about Coke cans thank you very much--are welcome. I want to probe his thinking and mind and question him, but there is no need to be rude to a guest like this who came here to talk about non-ideological issues.

I see his coming as completely different from Cheney's visit to BYU. First, he is not speaking at our graduation. Second, Thomas is not an elected official. Third, there wasn't a poll of Utah lawyers/law students saying only 44% of them agreed with Justice Thomas' opinions. Fourth, he is one of nine justices on the court, who is not the deciding vote (whereas Cheney is the most powerful VP ever, and gets Bush to do almost everything he wants him to do).

Again, although I disagree with Justice Thomas, I don't plan on being disagreeable.

Out, damned spot! out, I say!

--Macbeth (V, i, 38).

The Bush administration is over. Sure they still have until 11:59 AM January 20, 2009 to do damage, but they have been tremendously marginalized. When Clinton lost the Democratic Congress in 1994, he still had two years and a re-election to recover. Bush has no such luxury...nor does Cheney, who is not running for president (because he already was co-president) in 2008.

The new Democratic Congress, particularly Chairman Waxman, is digging up more damaging information on the Administration by the minute, making the death a slow and painful one. My question as become, will anyone who worked for this administration come out unscathed?

Nixon's team faired very poorly, although some had rebirths--Pat Buchanan and David Gergen.

But who on Bush's team will have any legitimacy left in 2009? Not the war cabinet (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice), not his chiefs of staff, not his spokespersons, not his not his Pentagon team (although Doug Feith managed to score a teaching job at Georgetown), not his counsel's office, not his justice department, ...

Some will retire to AEI, like Lynne Cheney, but that doesn't mean they will be listened to. A rare few will be able to escape this mark, this blemish on their career. Soon, they too will be quoting (or paraphrasing) that line from Shakesphere.

photo of the day

© 2007 Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

"Mr. President, you have a monster in your Rose Garden!"

[H/T Atrios]

teaser revealed

Well, all my fun was spoiled by someone who talked to the Salt Lake Tribune and told them who was coming: Associate Justice Clarance Thomas.

I didn't tell you because our Dean specifically said don't talk about this because the U.S. Marshals want to put in metal detectors etc. For security reasons--the man gets lots of death threats--it was all supposed to be on the down low.

Like I said before, I disagree with Justice Thomas on almost every issue. I also had the impression prior to law school that if one wanted to know what Justice Thomas thought on an issue, one should ask Justice Scalia what he thinks. Over time, I have read many a US Supreme Court opinion. And while I still strongly disagree with him, I have grown to respect the Justice more.

His points on some issues, especially race, are interesting and worth mulling about. I am just glad he is still part of the crazy conservative minority (but just barely). It is nice to read his dissenting opinions and chuckle or read his majority opinions on non-ideological issues.

But for me, the bad news of the detainee cases was greatly lessened by the terrific news about the global warming case, Massachusetts v. EPA. The best part was how Stevens expanded the standing doctrine and Chief Justice Roberts was left huffing with his other 3 friends. Plus, I have hope that the 110th Congress will overturn the Military Commissions Act and allow the court to go back to protecting Habeas Corpus.

Oh and on a side note, Yale students burned the flag. I guess it really is starting to be Vietnam over again. Maybe we will see yet another flag burning case, despite the three cases that held a law banning it violates the First Amendment.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

teaser alert

Today, when I got to law school, there were two police officers with bomb sniffing dogs walking around. I know who is coming today and tomorrow, but I am not telling until the person is gone. My wife and I have been invited to a private dinner with this person (and lots of other persons) so I don't want to lose my tickets and get my chance to ask pointed questions.

I will blog about the dinner and all events I attend with this person Thursday or Wednesday night.

Monday, April 02, 2007

post-April fool's round up

  • All that water carrying and bootlicking may finally pay off for a member of Utah's delegation: "After insisting on the unlikely odds of such an event [AG Gonzales stepping down], Hatch said "it's up to the president," but if duty called, "I would serve this country any way I could." Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Judiciary Committee chairman teased Hatch by saying: "The rumor on the Hill this week was that he was actively running for it." Meanwhile, Pete Ashdown notes that Hatch is fundraising for his ultra-safe senate he can give his kitty to the RNC?

    Who would Huntsman appoint to replace Hatch? Can he appoint himself? One of the state legislature clowns? One of the Brothers Cannon? My favorite Utah GOPers these days are Olene Walker, Jon Huntsman Jr. and Rep. Bishop...and I am being pretty generous.

  • Our health care system is broken: "Insurance protects your wealth. It does not protect your health," said Roberta Herzberg, a Utah State University associate professor of political science who specializes in public policy. Yet, Democrats are the only ones seriously proposing any changes to the system. Bush's big effort was to add a donut hole coverage for prescription medications for a program that is so complex and wasteful that even my masters-degree-in-economics-grandmother had to ask for advice.

  • Josh Loftin of the Deseret Morning News is on a different planet: "An independent, bipartisan commission could address perceived abuses of redistricting, but it could also present new problems to fix a process that is not broken." The process isn't broken? Until 2006, over 90% of members of Congress were reelected. In 2002, 3 incumbents lost out of the 468 up that year. One of them had an affair with a 20-something woman that turned up dead, another went to federal prison. I guess it is working just great when you work for the Utah Republican Party Morning News, but if you care about democracy--voters picking their politicians and not the politicians picking their voters--then it is a disaster.

  • Jenny Wilson's big idea is to offer free parking downtown during construction, which would be during the entirety of her would-be term. The sad fact is that whomever is the next mayor of SLC, the big visionary thing has been taken away from them by the LDS church who decided how to redo downtown, and since they own a large piece of downtown, there isn't much for the next mayor to do except fight for historic buildings or tweak the plan.

  • This is why Sen. Buttars' gay-straight alliance clubs bill was horrible public policy:
    When a student in Cara Cerise's ceramics class at Salt Lake City's Highland High School told her he had a solution to the gay marriage issue, she was ready to listen.
    "Just kill everyone who's gay," she remembers the classmate saying.
    Shocked, Cara started to cry. The daughter of a gay man, the teenager knew she needed to find a safe haven at school where she would not be judged.
    It was through the school's gay-straight alliance (GSA), now melded into Highland's social-justice club, that Cara found a home.

    See Buttars, not everyone in the club is gay. They might have gay parents, siblings, cousins, friends, neighbors. Or they might just care about their fellow human beings. Bill's like Buttars' encourages thinking like that one student who suggested genocide for homosexuals. If that was a joke, no one is laughing.

  • Bennett-Matheson is back (the St. George Bill). I think it is misguided, but I understand what they are trying to do--reign in Washington Co.'s growth--but this isn't the way to do it.