Tuesday, August 09, 2005

NYT: "Panel Chairman to Press Roberts on Cases" (Sheryl Gay Stolberg)

In a three-page letter to Judge Roberts, Mr. Specter raises pointed questions about two recent court decisions invalidating legislation Congress passed under its authority to regulate interstate commerce. That power has for decades been used to produce expansive legislation, including environmental protections, civil rights laws and the Americans With Disabilities Act.
The current court has been trimming back the authority, however, and Democrats have vowed to make interstate commerce a big issue in the Roberts hearings. Now Mr. Specter, a Republican who is widely regarded as the panel's sharpest constitutional lawyer, is suggesting that he shares the Democrats' concerns.
"I think Republicans have a duty to pursue this line of questioning and any relevant line of questioning," Mr. Specter said on Monday in a telephone interview from his home in Philadelphia.

The above is from Sheryl Gay Stolberg's "Panel Chairman to Press Roberts on Cases" in this morning's New York Times.

As we noted yesterday, Bill Scher (Liberal Oasis) addressed a 2000 TV commentary by John Roberts. We'll note one of his conclusions again:

Roberts is saying that the ruling in that case was not as bad for conservatives as an explicit vote of support for Miranda would have been, because the opportunity still exists for Miranda to be "unsettled" later on.
He made clear that a "settled law" which conservatives deem insufficiently conservative can always be "unsettled" (undercutting the whole notion of "settled law.")
At the upcoming hearings, he should not be allowed to slide by with any "settled law" responses about Roe or any other past rulings.
If he does, the follow-up question should be, "do you think that past Supreme Court ruling should be 'unsettled?'"

Kendrick e-mails to note the Reuter's obit in this morning's Times, "John Johnson, Publisher of Ebony and Jet, Dies at 87:"

Copies of Jet's historic photograph of the mutilated body of teenager Emmett Till in his casket helped galvanize the civil rights movement. An all-white jury later acquitted two white Mississippians of the 1955 murder of the 14-year-old Chicagoan killed for whistling at a white woman.
Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, who once worked on Johnson's loading dock, said Till's photograph inspired Rosa Parks to spark the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott.

Lyle e-mails to note David Kocieniewski's "Old New Jersey Law May Block Nominee's Plan to Fund His Bid:"

But now that Mr. Forrester is the party's nominee for governor, his campaign spending may not be an advantage at all, and it could violate a state law that forbids anyone with a majority interest in an insurance company that does business in New Jersey to make political contributions to state campaigns.
That ban on campaign contributions was not a problem for Mr. Forrester when he ran unsuccessfully for the United States Senate in 2002, because the only company he owned at the time was BeneCard Services Inc., which manages pharmacy benefits and does not sell insurance. In 2003, however, Mr. Forrester established an insurance company, Heartland Fidelity Inc., and his 51 percent ownership has spurred Democrats to complain that Mr. Forrester should now be prohibited from making contributions to his campaign and other state races.

Demonstrating that he still serves on the Elite Fluff Patrol, Richard W. Stevenson fluffs for the Bully Boy this morning in "Bush Signs an Energy Bill That Had Been a Longtime Priority:"

On a day when oil and gasoline prices hit record highs, President Bush on Monday signed into law a bill that encourages increased domestic oil and gas production and the building of new nuclear power plants while creating incentives for alternative energy sources and requiring modernization of the nation's electrical grid.

Fluffing like crazy, Stevenson offers that "by environmental and consumer groups, who said it gave away too much to energy companies at a time when they were benefiting from high oil prices, which neared $64 a barrel on Monday. " Was that really what environmental groups were complaining most vocally about? The give aways?

No, it wasn't.

From Grist, we'll note Amanda Griscom Little's "A Broken Reid: Passage of energy bill highlights lack of united Democratic opposition:"

"The final language in the bill fell considerably short of the standards [Minority Leader Harry] Reid [D-Nev.] outlined as the Democratic plan for energy independence," said Ana Unruh Cohen, associate director for environmental policy at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. In May, Reid released a statement challenging the White House to produce a forward-looking energy policy. "Democrats remain fully committed to working to pass an energy bill that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil," he stated, and went on to outline the eight priorities that Dems would stand by: a renewable-electricity portfolio standard, a reduction of oil consumption by at least 1.75 million barrels of oil per day by 2015, electricity reliability standards, "strong energy-efficiency standards" for buildings and appliances, a "significant increase in homegrown biofuels," a "comprehensive" climate-change provision, production tax credits for geothermal, solar, wind, and biomass, and complete protection of existing environmental laws and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. "Of this list, the Senate Dems got some bio-fuel provisions, a significantly scaled-down version of their energy-efficiency and production tax-credit requests, the electricity-reliability title, and they managed to fend off many of the encroachments on environmental laws," said Kevin Curtis, vice president of National Environmental Trust. "They lost everything else."

So read Little's article if there's too much fluff in your diet. (And if you're reading the Times, there probably is way too much fluff in your diet.) Little also notes:

According to insiders, Reid made little to no effort to sway the Democratic caucus, presumably because he knew a lot of Democrats believed they would benefit from the bill's passage and he assumed it would be futile to try and convince them otherwise. Muckraker's repeated calls to Reid's office for comment were not returned.

On that point, we'll go to Reid himself, courtesy of Elsa Walsh's "MINORITY RETORT:
How a pro-gun, anti-abortion Nevadan leads the Senate’s Democrats
" (The New Yorker). Read it. You get a sense of someone eternally exhausted. The filibuster? He wanted to find a way out. He and Rove consulted on that. (Rove is on the record source for Walsh's article -- as is Reid -- which means Valerie Plame is reduced to a sub-section of a sentence in this article. And the statement comes fro Reid who offers the outing of Plame as one of the many things hurting Bully Boy's approval numbers.) Looking for Reid to lead on Roberts?

From The New Yorker article:

The environment is one of Reid's causes, and what impressed Reid was that Roberts's argument had been reasoned, not doctrinaire--"He based it on the facts." Reid felt that the case demonstrated Roberts's ability to grasp both sides of a debate.
Reid more than once compared Roberts to Justice David Souter, who was appointed by the first President Bush, in 1990, and today is widely detested by conservatives because he frequently sides with the more liberal Justices. Souter and Reid are friendly. "He’s my favorite man on the Court," Reid said. “I think he's such a wonderful man, and he believes in precedent. That's all he's doing. He’s just following the law."

The slap you hear is to Ginsburg, et al. That's Harry Reid, always there to prop up the other side. If we can note Bill Scher's entry yesterday one more time (and we can), let's note Scher's conclusion:

If any liberal is clinging to hope that Roberts is some kind of Souter, please get over it as soon as possible.

Back to The New Yorker article:

Reid seems, at first, an unlikely choice for party leader in the Senate, especially given the tradition of men like Lyndon Johnson, whose method of leadership was to cajole and threaten his colleagues. Reid doesn't have the sort of domineering personality that L.B.J. had; in fact, despite an occasionally quick temper, he can seem almost shy.

Or perhaps a better term is "timid?"

Scheduled for Democracy Now! today:

Tues, August 9: President Bush signs the Energy Bill which gives away billions to thenuclear, oil and gas industries. We'll talk to Karen Wayland of the NationalResources Defense Fund.A look at how the Energy Bill impacts Indian Country. We commemorate the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki.

And remember, as noted last night, Mike Malloy pointed out last night that The Lone Star Iconclast is doing regular updates on Cindy Sheehan's brave stand.

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