Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Chit chat and Roberts

Sorry for the delay in posting.

I was on the phone with Elaine as soon as I got in. Then I was looking at a new web site that we'll highlight tomorrow (one I think everyone will enjoy) when the phone rang. It was Kat. She wanted to read me the review she's written of Joan Baez's Bowery Songs.

Long term community members will know that this has to be a record for Kat. She has to live with an album, toss it around, weigh it. Here she is with a review in less than twenty-four hours.

I'm just now listening to Baez's new CD (Bowery Songs came out today) and I think Kat's perfectly captured it. But, as long term members know, there's "finished" and then there's "Kat finished." She hasn't e-mailed it yet. So she may be planning on posting it up here tomorrow morning (which is fine), she's planning on e-mailing it for me to past (also fine) after she's worked it over a few more times, or she's going to pull one of her "It's on the way" moves where she does a major rewrite. Hopefully it will go up tomorrow morning but you can't rush Kat. (And I wouldn't even try to.)

Kara e-mailed about the postponing of Roberts' hearings and wondered what I thought of that?

I don't think that this means the Democrats in the Senate will get their act together. I think Rebecca's comment yesterday summed it up:

tomorrow begins the slow crawl of the senate spineless. what? you thought i'd say march? to march, you need to be upright and, for that, you need a spine.

In the lost roundtable at The Third Estate Sunday Review, either Elaine or Ava had commented on how more time was needed re: the nomination and how, if she thought the Democrats would use it wisely, she was all for it. But having spent time doing everything she could since O'Connor's retirement announcement, she was really tired. To which the other (either Elaine or Ava) replied, that it was like watching someone you loved with a terminal disease. You'd done everything you could and the writing was on the wall so you started to wish, and regret wishing this at the same time, that you could just have your own life back.

It's not like the mainstream press has done much besides tell us "he's really a nice guy, he's Charlie Brown!" For instance, has the Times seriously addressed anything? I mean, fine, they stopped chuckeling over his "jokes." That's awesome. They should be so proud.

They'll address this issue when? From Democracy Now!:

On August 18th, Democracy Now co-host Juan Gonzalez and I spoke with Georgetown University Law Professor, David Luban. He co-wrote an article for the online magazine, Slate , entitled "Improper Advances: Talking Dream Jobs with the Judge Out of Court." We also spoke with Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights. David Luban began by talking about the chronology of events of Roberts' meetings.
DAVID LUBAN: Well, he knew that he was on the three-judge panel as early as last December. The case was argued, the oral argument was on April 7. Six days before that, as Juan mentioned, he had an interview with Attorney General Gonzales. And then while the case was being deliberated on, there's a gap between April 7, when the oral argument took place, and July 15, when the court issued the decision. He had numerous other interviews for the Supreme Court judgeship. Now, that's the period of time in which he is deliberating and presumably discussing with the other judges on the panel what the ruling should be in the case.
One of the important things about it, the three-judge panel, the case raised a number of different issues. They were unanimous on most of the issues. There was just one really crucial issue, though, in which they split two-to-one, with judge Roberts among the two. So, if he had recused himself from the case, then that issue would have been a one-to-one issue, and it wouldn't have been settled, and that's the issue about whether the Geneva Conventions give al Qaeda captives any rights at all. So, now it is decided that, on the basis of this case, that Geneva doesn't give any rights at all, including the rights against cruel and humiliating and degrading treatment, along with the rights to a fair trial that Mr. Hamdan was litigating about. So, this is an important issue that Judge Roberts' vote really swung.
JUAN GONZALEZ: But, David Luban, some legal experts say, number one, the discussions occurred before there was even a vacancy on the court. Sandra Day O'Connor did not announce her retirement until much later on. And the - and are federal judges to not have these kinds of discussions when -- for the possibility of promotions within the federal judiciary while they're holding -- while they're handling cases, especially in the D.C. Circuit, where much of the caseload is about the federal government.
DAVID LUBAN: Yeah. That's a fair question, but I don't think the chronology quite bears that out. Remember that Justice O'Connor's retirement came as a surprise, but what wasn't a surprise was that there was very likely going to be an opening on the court, and that's because the Chief Justice developed thyroid cancer and it was unclear whether he was going to resign or not. Now, as early as February 22nd of 2005, the New York Times mentioned that Roberts was a prominent possible successor to Chief Justice Rehnquist. So, at least from February on-that's a couple of months before the Hamdan case is argued-it's already being reported that there's very likely going to be an opening on the Supreme Court and that Judge Roberts is a candidate for the opening.
Now, one of the other things that's important: You said correctly the case is called Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, but President Bush was himself a defendant in the case along with Rumsfeld. That's because the President personally signed the finding that there was reason to think that Mr. Hamdan was a terrorist. So, here you don't just have a case of a lawsuit against the government. You know, the government could be anything. It could be any of thousands of offices. This is a case against the President, the President personally, among other defendants; and the people who are conducting the interviews with Judge Roberts while this case is going on, are the President's very top aides.

The press hasn't probed, they haven't wanted to. The Times has done their "memo summaries" with the excuses usually in the text of the articles that "this just got dumped." While the memo dumps do warrent coverage, the press isn't supposed to wait to be fed stories, they're supposed to hunt them down. In the case of Roberts, they haven't wanted to.


Like Ken Starr, he's a product of D.C. Therefore, hands off. They're too close to what they cover and the sources of yester year become nominees of today. My opinion.

So a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land is treated as though they're trying to figure out who to crown for a summer festival. When the same press (I'm referring to daily papers here and not just the Times, by the way) wants to editorialize on down the line against one of his votes, hopefully readers will toss back in their faces that they failed to do their jobs when he was just a nominee.

If you missed it:

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: An Hour-Long Special on John Roberts, President Bush's Nominee to Be Supreme Court Chief Justice

That's the Democracy Now! special where they pull from all their reports on Roberts.

By the way, I'm not speaking out of school re: the roundtable. Those statements were made with the intent that they be public. The only reason they aren't is because the roundtable was one of the disappearing entries. Cedric had taken part in the roundtable and due to church and other committments on Sunday, he's not able to stay through the entire process. Which was a good thing because Jess made that point when Jim was suggesting we do another roundtable. (Jess made the point that it wouldn't be fair to Cedric since he had taken partin the original.) And that was before Ava and I were both falling asleep as we tried to recreate our review of Prison Break.

I'm not expecting a miracle. (I'm often wrong and would love to be on this.)

While we're on the subject of Roberts, let's note an e-mail from Luke (wotisitgood4) on that topic. The last part made me laugh (it's about Purdum), the first part is about Roberts (and he's commenting on this entry):

it reminded me of a quote that i wrote down (as best i could) by william krystol on Fox back on july20 when Roberts was first nominated: 'the safe scotus pick for the president would have been a woman, the second safest pick would have been a minority. picking a white man was a bold move - a daring move. it was courageous and impressive' - i wonder if that is an official talking point. i wrote it down at http://wotisitgood4.blogspot.com/2005/07/rove-is-traitor.html (but no need to link to it - just ftr) - i was flabbergasted. i should probably have learnt by now.
as an aside - when i first read the URL of purdums piece - nytimes.com/2005/09/05/politics/05assess.html - i thought it said asses! we can but dream...

Of course we'll link to it. Always glad to note wotisitgood4. And I should be calling him Lukery, by the way. So from now on, if I don't remind me in e-mails until I get it right.

Leigh noted that Cedric's Big Mix (new location) hadn't been added yet to The Third Estate Sunday Reivew. I e-mailed Jim to pass that on and I'll follow up tomorrow on the phone with Ava. We all hate going into templates. Well, Rebecca doesn't mind, I don't think. But the rest of us hate it. The Third Estate Sunday Review had a template that some friends had created which was really visually stunning. Then, while adding links that first night, the whole thing crashed. I was present on that but I didn't care for going into the template to begin with. Everytime I do, I'm risking the thing going weird. If you juse Firefox, it always looks fine. But on Explorer, it will look different. I believe they're the only ones who haven't updated their permalinks. I know Betty has.

That's going to be it for tonight.

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