Thursday, March 17, 2005
  random notes
I notice Rush is cleverly misusing Mark Levin's point about filibusters. Levin's point, obvious to anyone who has read the Constitution, is that the document specifically mentions only seven situations where supermajorities are needed in Congress. This means that ALL other situations are to be determined by normal parliamentary majority. Rush is mentioning judicial nominees as being outside of those seven situations, but he clearly wants to leave ordinary legislation *inside* the realm of filibustering. In fact, ordinary legislation is not among the named supermajorities either. Presumably the Repub leadership wants to continue using filibuster in general legislation.

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Congress is taking up Terri's cause, probably too late. I have mixed feelings about this.

Ideally, this should be left to the states; philosophically, if you want to get rid of Roe v Wade, you shouldn't be adding weight to the false notion that saving lives is a matter of Federal concern.

Practically, since Roe v Wade (and many other court decisions) *are* essentially legislation, it makes good sense to carve pieces out of that body of bad law by new legislation.

UPDATE after listening to a bit of the Senate debate. I take back the mixed feelings; this is a purely unadulteratedly horrible idea. Run all such cases through federal court? Might as well run them through a meat-grinder. Granted, the specific state judge in this specific case (Felos) sounds like a monster. He's on record favoring a standard that 'Kraft durch Freude' would have appreciated: anyone who can't eat with a spoon should be put out of their misery. But *most* state judges will be less Nietzschean than *most* federal judges.

UPDATE again (7:30 PM PST): Listening right now to Santorum, Martinez and Brownback. They're making it clear, which they didn't earlier, that this is in fact a 'private bill' meant for one specific case, but that it had to be written in a more general way to satisfy some in the House. Santorum also makes it clear that this specific judge is doing evil and must be stopped. Bravo for clear speaking, and I hope and PRAY that they can make it work.

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If you compare the Constitution with governmental reality, paragraph by paragraph, you'll be struck by one clear pattern. The vast majority of the document is routinely, blatantly, and daily violated by government practice. Only two kinds of provisions are actually followed: (1) Prohibitions of actions that are out of fashion anyway, like the bits about "letters of marque and reprisal". (2) Specific requirements for elective office, like natural-born president and two-year terms for Congress. For added evidence of this distinction, look at the amendments passed since 1920 or so. Except for #21, repealing Prohibition, all the more recent amendments deal with specifics of election procedure and requirements for elective officials. Conclusion: since 1920, we have been making all significant changes via court decisions; nobody bothers to put in all the work involved in amending when any district judge can make any change with a stroke of the pen.

Question remains: Why does this one narrow category of law remain out of the grasp of judges? Why do we still feel the need for amendments to change this area? I just don't know.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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