Various thoughts on current events with an emphasis on politics, legal issues, sports, and whatever is on my mind. Emails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org; please put "blog comments" in the subject line.
I caught a few minutes of the replay of Sen. Feingold questioning Judge Roberts, and you know, it was pretty interesting. And, not useless. (1) Feingold had some good evidence that some the writings the Dems were using actually was Roberts' own opinions (personal cover notes, personal testimony to Congress when he was in private practice).
(2) Roberts said a telling thing -- he seemed (though I don't think there was a follow-up on the point) to suggest that the core reason for habeas corpus appeals was to determine innocence (Roberts cited an article by his former boss suggesting the appellate process was amuck, and the actual innocence of the defendant was basically ignored in honor of playing the "let's have another appeal game").
But, there are many reasons for habeas, which determines the authority to hold the prisoner. The prisoner need not necessarily be innocent to be wrongly held. If a person had incompetent representation, are we not to worry about it, if (in the appellate judge's view) the defendant was "innocent?" No. One can't put too much into a passing comment, but it got my attention.
(3) We have another person who didn't like the old more liberal days, but tells us not to worry -- the law changed. In fact, the law changed to a conservative direction, which means they are actually "mainstream" now! This really isn't too appealing -- in various ways, the law should actually should lean the other way again, and a strong believer of the status quo is not an ideal choice. And, you kinda know his leanings when he could not even admit that innocents were saved by the appeals process -- upon questioning, he said the claim was able to be heard.
(4) Decision assignments are done at least to a degree strategically. Legal experts and court watchers have noted the fact. The idea he will suddenly not use the power to assign in this fashion is not really to be taken seriously. I think more should be said actually about Roberts' CJ potential. Seriously, we really don't know what sort of leadership he will bring.
And, no, I'm not with those who think the position is not really relevant. Not to be exaggerated, yes, but do not tell me Rehnquist did not use his role to steer the Court in a certain direction, just as Burger tried to do, and Warren did as well. I simply don't know, and this is different from his role as a justice alone, what sort of CJ he will be. Rehnquist followed the tone of his associate justice in many ways. Warren was governor of California. How do we judge Roberts?
(5) Roberts is on record saying a new federal intermediate appeals court to handle errors below was a moronic idea and the true problem was that there was too many appeals in the first place. This alone would cause one person I know to oppose the guy on principle. Not that she needs much pushing.
But, since Feingold supports the like of Ashcroft, will he just vote for Roberts anyway for the sake of comity? Also seen: Clark/Feingold for 2008 tickets. Well, Russ does sound like my sort of guy, except when he's not, you know.