Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dennis Prager on why the Left hates conservatives

I've often considered writing such a piece myself, but every time I begin it, I always notice that I just don't quite put it the right way. I know the Left despises conservatives for a whole host of reasons but Dennis Prager puts it succinctly today at National Review. (And before any liberal readers go off half-cocked on this column please remember that Mr. Prager always speaks in generalities. Of course not every liberal shares this same hatred of conservatives, but the vast majority do.):

Of all the recent revelations to come out of JournoList, an e-mail list consisting of about 400 liberal/left journalists, perhaps the most telling is the depth of their hatred for conservatives. That these journalists would consult with one another in order to protect candidate and then President Obama and in order to hurt Republicans is unfortunate and ugly. What is jolting is the hatred of conservatives on display, as exemplified by the e-mail from a public-radio reporter expressing her wish to personally see Rush Limbaugh die a painful death — and the apparent absence of any objection from her fellow liberal journalists.

Every one of us on the right has seen this hatred. I am not referring to leftist bloggers or to anonymous comments by angry leftists on conservative blogs — such things exist on the right as well — but to mainstream, elite liberal journalists. There is simply nothing analogous among elite conservative journalists. Yes, nearly all conservatives believe that the Left is leading America to ruin. But while there is plenty of conservative anger over this fact, there is little or nothing on the right to match the Left’s hatred of conservative individuals. Would mainstream conservative journalists e-mail one another wishes that they could be present while Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi or Michael Moore died slowly and painfully of a heart attack?

From Karl Marx to today, the Left has always hated people of the Right, not merely differed or been angry with them. The question is, why?

Here are three possible answers.

First, the Left thinks the Right is evil. Granting the exceptions that all generalizations allow for, conservatives believe that those on the left are wrong, while those on the left believe that those on the right are bad. Examples are innumerable. Howard Dean, the former head of the Democratic party, said, “In contradistinction to the Republicans, Democrats don’t believe kids ought to go to bed hungry at night.” Rep. Alan Grayson (D., Fla.), among many similar comments, said, “I want to say a few words about what it means to be a Democrat. It’s very simple: We have a conscience.” ...

Second, when you don’t confront real evil, you hate those who do. You can see this on almost any school playground. The kid who confronts the school bully is often resented more than the bully. Whether out of guilt over their own cowardice or out of fear that the one who confronted the bully will provoke the bully to lash out more, those who refuse to confront the bully often resent the one who does. During the 1980s, the Left expressed far more hatred for Ronald Reagan than for Soviet Communist dictator Leonid Brezhnev. When Reagan labeled the Soviet Union an “evil empire,” the liberal world was enraged . . . at Reagan. ...

Third, the Left’s utopian vision is prevented only by the Right.

From its inception, leftism has been a secular utopian religion. As Ted Kennedy, paraphrasing his brother Robert F. Kennedy, said, “Some men see things as they are and say, Why? I dream things that never were and say, Why not?” That exemplifies left-wing idealism — imagining a utopian future. There will be no poor, no war, no conflict, no inequality. That future is only a few more government programs away from reality. And who stands in the way of such perfection? Conservatives. How could a utopian not hate a conservative?

This hatred will only increase if the Left feels its programs to greatly increase the size of government are in any way threatened in the forthcoming elections. The problem is that this hatred does not decrease when the Left is in power.

Hatred of conservatives is so much a part of the Left that the day the Left stops hating conservatives will mark the beginning of the end of the Left as we know it.

Mr. Prager is more correct than people will give him credit for. The simple fact of the matter is that we conservatives utilize logic, intellect, common sense, and a real-world understanding to motivate our ideology. Whereas the Left will claim we want to see people starve when we stand in opposition to an increase in welfare or jobless benefits, we argue that it would be more beneficial to help employ those people, and ease their tax burdens. Give a tax break to small businesses (America's bread-and-butter when it comes to employment), and that employer can hire more workers, employing more people, and instilling personal responsibility. But the Left doesn't like that idea so they throw up an emotional straw man filled with the idea that people would rather have a hand-out than work an honest day's work for an honest day's wage. On this point there is reinforcement.

In his autobiography "An American Life" Ronald Reagan wrote about the work he did helping unemployed people during the Great Depression. He noted that when he found the people he was helping work, they stood a little taller, felt pride in doing work. But the person who oversaw what he was doing scolded him to stop helping these people. Just give them their unemployment check, and send them on their way. Reagan knew then as we do now that a man takes pride in the work he does, takes pride in being able to provide for his family. A man who is given a hand-out feels no pride. In fact, as my grandfather used to tell me "That which is given has no value." He was right.

The Left thrives on emotion. It is an adolescent emotion that has morphed into an ideology that is a detriment to any free society. They believe in a larger, more intrusive government. They abhor the idea of personal responsibility. When it comes to defense, they're more apt to point the finger at America and blame it for the ills and gripes of others.

The very worst of liberalism is embodied in the current president. Barry has exhibited every pratfall of liberalism to the point where the public is genuinely outraged at much of what he has done, and they abhor him for his general attitude towards this nation. He takes no pride in the fact that America is a "shining city on a hill;" an embodiment of freedom and democracy that the world always looks to. And his cronies in Congress are no better. Radical liberals like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are the cause of the lack of faith in Congress amongst the voting populace. Captain Ed reported on 8 July that congressional approval had hit a first time low of 95 -- the first time Congress's approval dropped to single digits. Who controls Congress? The Left does.

When the Left gets their way, the people aren't pleased. America is a center-right nation, not a hard Left nation. Therein lies the problem for liberals this coming November. The voting public is going to throw these bums out in the hopes that the GOP can do better. I don't know if that'll work, but right now anything is better than handing the Left the car keys after a year and a half of binge drinking. Make no mistake, they're drunk on power, and it's already evident in the rhetoric coming out of them now. The Left has said after they lose in November, before the GOP takes back the reins of power, that their lame-duck session is going to be one jam-packed with everything they couldn't get passed in the last 18 months. Rather than listen to the people, they're content to move forward -- full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes, and damn the nation for retaliating against them.

Elections have consequences, and the people would be better suited to remember that before leaping off the cliff with the rest of the lemmings.

Publius II

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

JournoList Part Two -- Gag FOX News, and bias against the Tea Party movement

Yesterday, Jonathan Strong revealed the JournoList discussion of how the media insulated Barry from the Jeremiah Wright controversy. I know I was snarky when I said that he was pointing out the obvious, but what was interesting about his piece was how quickly the media circled the wagons in an orchestrated effort to protect their candidate of choice. Today, Mr. Strong points out that many big names in the media debated over whether or not the government should take control of FOX News:

The very existence of Fox News, meanwhile, sends Journolisters into paroxysms of rage. When Howell Raines charged that the network had a conservative bias, the members of Journolist discussed whether the federal government should shut the channel down.

“I am genuinely scared” of Fox, wrote Guardian columnist Daniel Davies, because it “shows you that a genuinely shameless and unethical media organisation *cannot* be controlled by any form of peer pressure or self-regulation, and nor can it be successfully cold-shouldered or ostracised.
In order to have even a semblance of control, you need a tough legal framework.” Davies, a Brit, frequently argued the United States needed stricter libel laws.

“I agree,” said Michael Scherer of Time Magazine. Roger “
Ailes understands that his job is to build a tribal identity, not a news organization. You can’t hurt Fox by saying it gets it wrong, if Ailes just uses the criticism to deepen the tribal identity.”

Jonathan Zasloff, a law professor at UCLA, suggested that the federal government simply yank Fox off the air.
“I hate to open this can of worms,” he wrote, “but is there any reason why the FCC couldn’t simply pull their broadcasting permit once it expires?”

And so a debate ensued. Time’s Scherer, who had seemed to express support for increased regulation of Fox, suddenly appeared to have qualms:
“Do you really want the political parties/white house picking which media operations are news operations and which are a less respectable hybrid of news and political advocacy?”

But Zasloff stuck to his position. “
I think that they are doing that anyway; they leak to whom they want to for political purposes,” he wrote. “If this means that some White House reporters don’t get a press pass for the press secretary’s daily briefing and that this means that they actually have to, you know, do some reporting and analysis instead of repeating press releases, then I’ll take that risk.”

Scherer seemed alarmed. “So we would have press briefings in which only media organizations that are deemed by the briefer to be acceptable are invited to attend?”

John Judis, a senior editor at the New Republic, came down on Zasloff’s side, the side of censorship. “Pre-Fox,” he wrote, “I’d say Scherer’s questions made sense as a question of principle.
Now it is only tactical.

Now, is anyone surprised by this discussion, open and candid, amongst journalists? It shouldn't. the alphabet networks and the mainstream news industry have been attacking FOX News since it first took to the cable airwaves. And it has consistently decimated the other cable news networks. At this point in time, MSNBC resembles Air America in its death throes. Their commentators are partisan jokes that no one with a brain takes seriously, and their bias is so evident that it's laughable to think these people still claim to be unbiased news observers, commentators, and reporters.

As for pulling FOX's license, I'm not too sure that would be possible because, as Captain Ed points out in his piece on this topic today FOX may not have an FCC license:

I’m actually unclear on whether Fox News has an FCC license, since it uses satellite transmission rather than actual broadcast through local affiliates. Usually, it’s the affiliates themselves that have to get the licenses, not the network whose content they broadcast, and Fox News doesn’t use traditional TV stations for its content. But that’s a more esoteric point. The point is that Zasloff has no trouble letting government determine whether a news organization should be allowed to publish, apparently based on nothing more than its discomfort with the news itself. Not only does this sound as though Zasloff needs a refresher course on Constitutional law and free speech, it also sounds like an endorsement for fascism, in which governments pick and choose which businesses are allowed to exist based on their level of cooperation with the government.

And speaking of fascism, early on in Mr. Strong's piece he cites Bloomberg's Ryan Donmoyer and his illiteracy when it comes to history when comparing events to the Tea Party movement:

In the summer of 2009, agitated citizens from across the country flocked to town hall meetings to berate lawmakers who had declared support for President Obama’s health care bill. For most people, the protests seemed like an exercise in participatory democracy, rowdy as some of them became.

On Journolist, the question was whether the protestors were garden-variety fascists or actual Nazis.

“You know, at the risk of violating Godwin’s law, is anyone starting to see parallels here between the teabaggers and their tactics and the rise of the Brownshirts?” asked Bloomberg’s Ryan Donmoyer. “Esp. Now that it’s getting violent? Reminds me of the Beer Hall fracases of the 1920s.”

Quick history lesson for Mr. Donmoyer: The Brownshirts were the SA, the precursor to the SS, and were so named because of their uniform. Once the SS was established, it quickly pushed the SA (Brownshirts) out of power. And the point behind their creation was to sweep national socialists into power under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. The Tea Party movement is comprised of everyday, average America citizens that aren't pleased with the direction the federal government is going in, they're not happy with the fact their elected representatives aren't listening to them, and they're appalled at the intense and swift growth of government intervention in their lives.

The Tea Party movement wasn't established to commit a coup by election, as the Nazis had been. The movement was established to send a message to Washington, DC to knock off their crap, and listen to the people, and the movement promised repercussions in the midterms if their voice wasn't heeded. And if you've been watching the polls, they're telling a story of a political bloodbath in November. Do I believe the prognostications that are claiming this will be a sweeping victory for the GOP? I take such predictions with a grain of salt.

Is there a chance that the GOP could take the House back? Yes, a very good one, and even Democrats are admitting it. The House is divided with 257 seats controlled by Democrats and 178 seats controlled by the Republicans. The GOP only needs 39 seats to take the majority. So it is a distinct possibility the GOP could retake the House. The Senate is separated by nine votes, and it could also be taken from the Democrats. When the party in charge is the focus of the voter's ire, the voters will take their frustration out on that party. The Tea Party is hardly a putsch, and it's offensive that a journalist would even make such an equivocation.

Publius II

New Quinnipiac numbers; things trending down for Barry

And the hits just keep on coming, folks. Quinnipiac has released some interesting numbers today that show Barry, if he runs in 2012, could very well lose to any Republican, named or otherwise:

A year after President Barack Obama's political honeymoon ended, his job approval rating has dropped to a negative 44 - 48 percent, his worst net score ever, and American voters say by a narrow 39 - 36 percent margin that they would vote for an unnamed Republican rather than President Obama in 2012, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

This compares to a 48 - 43 percent approval for Obama in a May 26 national poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University and a 57 - 33 percent approval last July, just before the political firestorm created by opposition to his health care plan galvanized political opponents and turned independent voters against him.

In this latest survey of more than 2,000 voters, independent voters disapprove of Obama 52 - 38 percent and say 37 - 27 percent they would vote for a Republican contender in 2012.

American voters also say 48 - 40 percent Obama does not deserve reelection in 2012.

Anti-incumbent sentiment slams both parties as voters disapprove 59 - 31 percent of the job Democrats are doing, and disapprove 59 - 29 percent of Republicans in Congress. But voters say 43 - 38 percent they would vote for a Republican in a generic Congressional race.

American voters say 42 - 32 percent that Obama has been a better president than George W. Bush, similar to the 43 - 30 percent who felt that way in January of 2010.

"It was a year ago, during the summer of 2009 that America's love affair with President Barack Obama began to wane. In July of 2009, the President had a 57 - 33 percent approval rating. Today, his support among Democrats remains strong, but the disillusionment among independent voters, who dropped from 52 - 37 percent approval to 52 - 38 percent disapproval in the last 12 months, is what leads to his weakness overall when voters start thinking about 2012," said Peter A. Brown., assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"In politics a month is a lifetime and we have 28 months until November of 2012. But politicians with re-elect numbers at 40 percent bear watching," Brown added. ...

"The Republican tilt of the electorate little more than 100 days before the 2010 election is evident, but not overwhelming. Republicans hold a 43 - 38 percent lead on the 'generic ballot,' compared to a 42 - 34 percent Democratic lead in July 2009," said Brown. "What a difference a year makes."

Voter approval of the President's handling of some of the nation's problems shows:

-- Disapprove 56 - 39 percent of his handling of the economy;

-- Disapprove 46 - 43 percent of his handling of foreign policy;

-- Disapprove 51 - 41 percent of his handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill;

-- Disapprove 58 - 30 percent of his handling of illegal immigration;

-- Approve 46 - 34 percent of his nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

"The massive disapproval of his handling of illegal immigration stems from voter opposition to his decision to have the government ask the federal courts to throw out the Arizona law. They say 60 - 28 percent the lawsuit is a bad idea," said Brown.

Bear in mind that we still have just over two years before 2012, but the fact remains that Barry has dropped like a rock the longer he has been in office. The "hope" and "change" from 2008 is gone, the honeymoon is over, and he's honked off the number one constituency that put him over the top. I know there are prognosticators that claim it was minorities that put him over the top, but they're wrong. The Independent voter was the key to the whole election, and after the health care debacle back in March, where an overwhelming majority of Americans did not want to see it passed after they learned what it entailed, the Independents walked away from Barry and haven't looked back since.

This is why Quinnipiac is focused on the Independent's disillusionment with him. They bought his crap, hook, line, and sinker. A year after Barry was inaugurated we're sick of hearing from these people about how they were duped. Know why we're sick of hearing this whining and complaining?


This schmuck hasn't even run a bloody lemonade stand, and we listened to so many people during the election speak of their hopes and dreams for this man. Well, guess what? You were played like a harp from Hell. The Pied Piper strutted on in from Chicago, and the rats lined up to follow him. Only they look less like rats and more like lemmings running right off of a cliff.

Of course, thanks to the "One-Party Media" covering Barry's @$$ in 2008 these voters were "misinformed" or not privy to what we knew. I mean, let's face facts folks: Unless you spend a decent amount of time on the Internet each day, or unless you listen to talk radio throughout your day, you aren't going to get the full story on ANY issue from today's media outlets if the journalists don't want you to know about it. The media quashed any and all stories regarding Jeremiah Wright in 2008, and George Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson were rebuked by their fellow journalists for even broaching the subject with Barry. (In their colleague's eyes, it was beyond the pale to even bring it up in a presidential debate.)

Chances are you won't hear too much about this poll today, and you sure as Hell won't see it anywhere in the media. 2010 is on everyone's mind right now, and it should be. The 2012 race won't even begin to heat up until after the midterms as GOP contenders jockey for position and file their paperwork. Our focus now should be in getting rid of as many Democrats in Congress as possible in an attempt to take back the Congress. I'm not going to get into a tit-for-tat argument over which House of Congress is more important to retake. They both have their respective power, and the necessity to wrestle control away from the Democrats is imperative this year. Furthermore, the Republicans need to promise, and carry through on the promise, to rollback as much of the president's radical agenda as they can starting with Obamacare. In fact, the Republicans need to campaign on easing the tax burden on the American worker and on American companies to try and bring us out of this recession. Additionally they need to stand in firm, lock-step opposition to raising the national deficit anymore than it already is until this recession is over.

But regardless of who runs in 2012, we seriously don't see a scenario where Barry is anything more than a Jimmy Carter redux, in and out in four years.

Publius II

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

JournoList scandal: Pointing out the obvious

For those that don't know what JournoList is, it's a Google Groups forum for the media to discuss politics and current events. It was Mickey Kaus that broke the story behind JournoList, and put up on his blog a public discussion on the site. The public got an inside look at the media and their inherent liberal bias. It created a firestorm that came and went within a week or two. Today, Jonathan Strong from the Daily Caller exposes just part of the lengths the media went through to protect their golden child, Barry, in the 2008 primaries and the general election: (HT to Glenn Reynolds)

It was the moment of greatest peril for then-Sen. Barack Obama’s political career. In the heat of the presidential campaign, videos surfaced of Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, angrily denouncing whites, the U.S. government and America itself. Obama had once bragged of his closeness to Wright. Now the black nationalist preacher’s rhetoric was threatening to torpedo Obama’s campaign.

The crisis reached a howling pitch in mid-April, 2008, at an ABC News debate moderated by Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos. Gibson asked Obama why it had taken him so long – nearly a year since Wright’s remarks became public – to dissociate himself from them. Stephanopoulos asked, “Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?”

Watching this all at home were members of Journolist, a listserv comprised of several hundred liberal journalists, as well as like-minded professors and activists. The tough questioning from the ABC anchors left many of them outraged. “George [Stephanopoulos],” fumed Richard Kim of the Nation, is “being a disgusting little rat snake.”

Others went further. According to records obtained by The Daily Caller, at several points during the 2008 presidential campaign a group of liberal journalists took radical steps to protect their favored candidate. Employees of news organizations including Time, Politico, the Huffington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian, Salon and the New Republic participated in outpourings of anger over how Obama had been treated in the media, and in some cases plotted to fix the damage.

In one instance, Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent urged his colleagues to deflect attention from Obama’s relationship with Wright by changing the subject. Pick one of Obama’s conservative critics, Ackerman wrote, “Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.”

Michael Tomasky, a writer for the Guardian, also tried to rally his fellow members of Journolist: “Listen folks–in my opinion, we all have to do what we can to kill ABC and this idiocy in whatever venues we have. This isn’t about defending Obama. This is about how the [mainstream media] kills any chance of discourse that actually serves the people.”

“Richard Kim got this right above: ‘a horrible glimpse of general election press strategy.’ He’s dead on,” Tomasky continued. “We need to throw chairs now, try as hard as we can to get the call next time. Otherwise the questions in October will be exactly like this. This is just a disease.”

(In an interview Monday, Tomasky defended his position, calling the ABC debate an example of shoddy journalism.)

Thomas Schaller, a columnist for the Baltimore Sun as well as a political science professor, upped the ante from there. In a post with the subject header, “why don’t we use the power of this list to do something about the debate?” Schaller proposed coordinating a “smart statement expressing disgust” at the questions Gibson and Stephanopoulos had posed to Obama.

“It would create quite a stir, I bet, and be a warning against future behavior of the sort,” Schaller wrote.

Tomasky approved. “YES. A thousand times yes,” he exclaimed.

The members began collaborating on their open letter. Jonathan Stein of Mother Jones rejected an early draft, saying, “I’d say too short. In my opinion, it doesn’t go far enough in highlighting the inanity of some of [Gibson's] and [Stephanopoulos’s] questions. And it doesn’t point out their factual inaccuracies …Our friends at Media Matters probably have tons of experience with this sort of thing, if we want their input.”

As Professor Reynolds urges, read it all. It's three pages long, and it's eye-opening to those who still think the media is an unbiased observer/reporter of the news of the day. They're not, folks. They haven't been ever since the day that Walter Duranty whitewashed Stalin's atrocities in the Soviet Union. It continued through Walter Kronkite's days as a biased journalist, and up through Dan Rather who was made infamous for his story about President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard, informally dubbed "Rathergate."

(The "th" superscripted in the scandal's title refers to the "th" in the Killian memo denoting the 187th fighter wing that Bush was a member of. The "th" in 187th was superscripted; a task unable to be done on typewriters of the day, and required a different typewriter for that sort of feature that Killian's secretary said he never would have used for such a compartmentalized memo.)

In short, Mr. Strong is revealing nothing more than what we already knew. The media is biased. They can't deny it, and they can't even explain it. In numerous interviews with journalists, Hugh Hewitt has consistently asked those reporters if there is a bias in the media. By an overwhelming majority, they tell him there is, and it's to the liberal side of the issues/ideology.

Are all media outlets included in this? Yes they are, even FOX News. Ywes, even FOX News has its ideological liberals. The difference between them and others is that they still present a balanced approach to news commentary, and when they report the news they do so as journalist of old did -- Report the facts, and let the viewer/listener determine the truth or veracity of the story. MSM outlets, like those listed in Mr. Strong's piece, don't do that. They start from a point of ideological bias, and craft the story (or defense of, in the case of Barry and Jeremiah Wright) around that bias.

Professor Reynolds also brings up another take on the media on his site today. It comes from Maimon Schwarzschild at Right Coast:

The usual disillusioned phrase is “mainstream media” or MSM. The problem, of course, is not mainstream-hood. Angrily talking about the “state-run media” is even more misguided: the media were anything but state-run, or state-sympathetic, when Bush was president; and Republican or conservative officials or judges can expect relentless hostility now as much as ever.

What we have is One-Party Media: newspapers, broadcast networks, newsmagazines which represent the views and preoccupations of the Democratic Party and the political left, and consistently denigrate or ignore the views and preoccupations of the political right or centre-right; and which very often systematically ignore any news or information which might reflect badly on the one party, or reflect well on the policies, proposals, or values of the other. . . . It is extraordinary, and I think unprecedented, that a free press has voluntarily transformed itself into something not very different from the controlled press in an undemocratic country. But that is what has happened.

Say it with me, folks: "Understatement of the Year." We do have nothing more than a One-Party Media, for the most part, and they will do anything they can to protect this incompetent, obtuse, agenda-driven president that was elected by a majority of America that were sucked in by a snake-oil salesman. He offered them "hope" and "change;" empty rhetoric that didn't require any specificity. But now that the people see that the emperor has no clothes (and no clue, for that matter), they're turning on him. Thanks to those who are investigating the JournoList scandal, we see that the all powerful Wizard IS hiding behind the curtain, and that the media -- the Wizard -- is the source of Barry's real power. So long as his willing defenders are ready to paint dissenters as racists (their preferred card in this debate) Barry is safe behind the facade of competence and power. In fact, he's a weak, petulant bully. They know it. We know it. And now we know that they know it otherwise there wouldn't have been a need to dig in and coordinate a defense for him.

Publius II

Kagan out of Judiciary Committee

Yes, Elena Kagan was voted out of the Judiciary Committee this morning by a vote of 13-6. Her passage shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, folks:

Pushing toward an election-year Supreme Court confirmation vote, a polarized Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday approved Elena Kagan to be the fourth female justice.

Just one Republican joined Democrats to approve Kagan's nomination and send it to the full Senate, where she's expected to win confirmation within weeks.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., broke with his party to cast the sole GOP "yes" vote on President Obama's nominee to succeed retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. The vote was 13-6.

I'll give you guys the skinny on dumb@$$ Lindsey Graham, and his idiotic comments about Kagan, but let me give you the general consensus of the GOP on Kagan:

But most GOP senators are against her, arguing that she would put her political views ahead of the law. They point to what they call her liberal agenda and on such issues as abortion and gun rights, and have chastised her for the decision as dean of Harvard Law School to bar military recruiters from the campus career services office because of the policy against openly gay soldiers.

"Ms. Kagan's record shows that she supports an activist judicial philosophy, and that her personal and political views drive her legal views," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

That is exactly the opinion of most of the GOP senators on Kagan. She lacks judicial experience, she doesn't have a great track record as the US Solicitor General, and she has an activist view of what jurists should be doing. In short, she is the president. She is one of his rubber-stamps. She shouldn't make it to the Supreme Court, but she will. Regardless of how the vote goes down, the Democrats don't even need the GOP to approve her. This sixty vote canard is pure BS. Democrats want sixty votes to stave off a GOP filibuster, which isn't even on the horizon. The GOP never intended to launch a filibuster. Why? Because our side plays by the rules. The president is entitled to his appointees. The GOP needed to pull out the long knives in committee, and show the people WHY Kagan shouldn't be on the high court. They didn't. They dropped the ball.

Now, onto Senator Lindsey "Idiot" Graham's clueless comments about Ms. Kagan. Hold onto your lunch, folks: [emphasis mine]

What’s in Elena Kagan’s heart is that of a good person who adopts a philosophy that I disagree with,” Graham said after other Republicans criticized Kagan, the solicitor general, as lacking judicial experience. “There’s plenty of reasons for a conservative to vote no, but there are plenty of reasons for a conservative to vote yes.”

“She is a loyal American, very patriotic,” Graham said after detailing her record on military issues. He said Kagan was “smart” and “funny” and that shows “you are pretty comfortable with who you are.” He added, “she’s liberal.” Graham also said Miguel Estrada’s letter in support of Kagan hit him “hard” and factored into his decision. During her confirmation hearings, Graham and Kagan discussed Estrada’s legal career and she agreed to write a letter recommending him for the high court. Today, Graham read aloud from Kagan’s letter, which called Estrada a “towering intellect.”

He cited Barack Obama’s election in 2008, saying he’s constitutionally bound to support a qualified nominee and “honor elections” even though he would have made a different choice because he and Obama are on opposite political sides. “She’s passed all those tests,” Graham said.

The Republican also cited upcoming elections, even though he’s not up for reelection this fall. “I’m going to vote for her,” Graham said, “and that doesn’t mean I’m pro-choice. I believe the last election had consequences and this president chose someone who is qualified, who has the experience and knowledge to serve on this court, who is in the mainstream of liberal philosophy and understand the difference between being a judge and a politician.”

I hope Lindsey Graham doesn't lie awake at night wondering why so many Republicans -- so many conservatives -- detest him. This is a good example of why people don't like him. Who cares if Elena Kagan is a "good person," or if she's "smart" and "funny?" Are those qualifications for the high court? No, they're not. The qualifications are pretty simple: Rule on constitutional challenges, and leave your personal policy preferences at the door; be in "good Behaviour" while serving. "Good Behaviour," for those unaware of the term, comes directly from Article III of the US Constitution, and judicial activism, i.e., legislating from the bench, hardly qualifies as "good Behaviour." In voting for her, Senator Graham is signalling to his constituents that he doesn't care what they think. Rasmussen's poll on Kagan at the beginning of July tells the story of how people view her:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters shows that the plurality (42%) still opposes Kagan’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. Thirty-six percent (36%) favor her confirmation, while 22% are still undecided.

Whether they want to see it happen or not, most voters continue to see Kagan’s nomination as inevitable. Eight-seven percent (87%) say it’s at least somewhat likely Kagan will be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice. That number includes 59% who say it’s Very Likely, the highest result yet.
Voters’ support for Kagan’s confirmation has changed little over the month of June, falling into a range of 33% to 36%. Meanwhile, the number of voters who are opposed to her confirmation has ranged from 41% to 42% during the same period. Voters were more divided on the question in surveys conducted in May.

While 62% of Democrats favor Kagan’s nomination, nearly the same number of Republicans (65%) oppose it. Voters not affiliated with either major political party are more evenly divided, but the plurality (49%) opposes.

What do these numbers tell me? Democrats were always in favor of her, regardless of what she said in her hearings. Republicans were opposed to her, especially when certain aspects of her past came to light. Those without an opinion didn't have the time or the information about her at their fingertips. That last part tells me the GOP dropped the ball in showing just how dangerous a clueless, activist-minded nominee will be on the high court. Don't buy the bull the media is shoveling. She's not a moderate. She's not an originalist. She won't reinforce the originalist wing of the court.

Her nomination is payback for her support of Barry, and she will be his rubber-stamp. As for Lindsey Graham, when this POS is up for reelection, he needs to go. Voters in South Carolina, please take note. Get rid of Graham in 2014 and save the nation from the continued headaches from this moron.

Publius II

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Andrew McCarthy deconstructs Eric Holder

Andrew McCarthy is a former US attorney that worked in the Justice Department, and worked on the cases to try to the 1993 World Trade Center bombers including the "Blind Sheikh," Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman. He knows what he's talking about when it comes to the prosecution of terrorists that we have captured, and he's taken Eric Holder to the woodshed before over the idiotic notion that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and five of his confederates would receive a fairer trial in civilian court. Today is no exception:

Eric Holder is chief among the many Obama Justice Department lawyers who, during the Bush years, donated their services as private attorneys for the benefit of al-Qaeda terrorists. His motive was to frustrate efforts to treat our wartime enemies as just that: wartime enemies. He preferred the failed law-enforcement model that regards our enemies as garden-variety criminals — the counterterrorism approach he had overseen as deputy attorney general while America was serially attacked during the Clinton years.

Nothing has changed. As the Obama administration’s attorney general, Holder is still gratuitously taking positions that help the likes of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Witness his baffling suggestion this weekend that it would be better to try KSM and five other 9/11 plotters in civilian court because of the purported legal uncertainty about whether guilty pleas are permissible in military death-penalty cases.

To be clear, I am not contending that the attorney general approves of terrorists or that his purpose is to help them. I am saying that Holder is in the thrall of an ideology, the inevitable effect of which is to aid our enemies. This progressive ideology, shared by many legal elites, holds that the use of military legal processes during military conflicts — processes to which the United States has resorted throughout our history — is somehow a greater danger to us than international terrorism itself.

The attorney general would doubtless like to see al-Qaeda chieftains convicted and executed, but only if it is done on his own terms. That means using civilian courts, regardless of whether this rewards the terrorists who have committed the worst atrocities with valuable due-process advantages; betrays the underlying imperative of international humanitarian law to protect civilians from being targeted for attacks; and makes it more difficult to convict and execute war criminals.

The attorney general’s latest claims are grossly misleading. First, he asserts that guilty pleas are permitted in civilian capital cases — as if to imply that only in military courts must we have burdensome trials in which juries must approve the death penalty. Try telling that one to the Moussaoui jury.

At his civilian trial in Virginia, Zacharias Moussaoui did plead guilty to participation in the 9/11 plot. But that plea did not end the case. Under federal law, capital cases are bifurcated: Even if a defendant admits guilt, the issue of punishment must still be tried to the jury. Holder conveniently elides mention not only of this fact but of the history of capital punishment in civilian international-terrorism cases. In the 16 years since the federal death penalty was restored in 1994 — 16 years throughout which the United States has been ravaged by jihadist terror — the Justice Department has approved capital charges for exactly three defendants: Moussaoui and two of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombers. In each case, civilian juries rejected the death penalty. If Holder is saying there’s a better chance these savages will be executed if they are tried in the civilian system (and that is precisely what he’s implying), there is nothing to support that claim.

Second, the claim Holder floats that guilty pleas may not be permissible in capital military-commission cases is meritless. Holder did not explain his theory, but we can speculate that he is referring to a suggestion spun last year in a New York Times report. The paper intimated that federal law might be ambiguous on whether guilty pleas were allowed. Positing that “military law” is the “model for the military commission rules,” the Times report pointed out that, in courts martial for members of our armed forces, guilty pleas are prohibited in capital cases. Prosecutors must prove guilt even if a soldier wants to plead guilty. The Times, which is resolutely anti–death penalty, added that this was to “ensure fairness.”

Nice try. Military commissions are not courts martial, even though it has been a project of the Left — when it is not trying to endow our terrorist enemies with all the rights of American civilians — to vest them with the same legal protections our law gives to American soldiers. Commissions, moreover, do not take place pursuant to the “model” of military law, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Instead, they are governed by a special statute, the Military Commissions Act (MCA).

Unlike the UCMJ, the MCA provides no bar to guilty pleas in capital cases. To the contrary, MCA Section 949i(b) states that when an accused pleads guilty to “any charge or specification” (capital charges are not mentioned, much less exempted), a finding of guilt “may be entered immediately without a full vote” of the commission. At that point, the commission moves on to consider sentencing. A different MCA provision, Section 949m, directs that commission members must be unanimous in imposing death.

So where are Holder and the Times getting the idea that guilty pleas are not permitted? They are obviously relying on a portion of Section 949m that says an accused may not be sentenced to death unless he is “convicted of the [capital] offense by the concurrence of all the [commission] members[.]” But that provision is plainly talking about what happens when an accused pleads not guilty, necessitating a trial. It is not silently undertaking to supersede the aforementioned Sec. 949i(b), which separately governs guilty pleas.

As they say, read it all folks. At least by reading this, it will serve as a primer for what actually occurs in a military commission. And based on reading this piece by Mr. McCarthy, it looks as if the new Arizona immigration law, referred to as SB 1070, isn't the only thing Eric Holder hasn't read.

He apparently hasn't read what the Military Commissions Act says, and that makes him incompetent when dealing with these matters. He needs to admit his mistake and let the commissions take place. Don't put these animals through the US civilian court system. It wasn't designed to deal with such matters, and Holder knows this. But ideology seems to trump intelligence in this administration, especially in the Justice Department.

Publius II

R.I.P. George Steinbrenner

Our sincerest condolences to the Steinbrenner family for their loss. And you can expect the same sort of vitriol directed towards George that we'd expect towards a Republican because he was the most hated man in baseball. Too bad he died this morning because I'm sure all the wishes calling for his death would've made him smile:

George Steinbrenner, a towering and intimidating figure who dominated the New York sports scene for 35 years, winning 11 American League pennants and seven world championships as owner of the Yankees, in and around two suspensions from baseball and multiple feuds and firings, died Tuesday morning in Tampa after suffering a massive heart attack. He was 80.

"The Boss" - as he was so aptly named by Daily News columnist Mike Lupica, his longtime antagonist - died at around 6:30 a.m. He had been suffering from failing health, the result of a series of strokes, for the past few years.

His family released a statement Tuesday morning. "It is with profound sadness that the family of George M. Steinbrenner III announces his passing," the statement said. "He was an incredible and charitable man. First and foremost he was devoted to his entire family - his beloved wife, Joan; his sisters, Susan Norpell and Judy Kamm, his children, Hank, Jennifer, Jessica and Hal; and all his grandchildren. He was a visionary and a giant in the world of sports. He took a great but struggling franchise and turned it into a champion again."

As the old yarn states, "There was no joy in Mudville." Sure, that dealt with a player who struck out at the plate, but it is assured that Yankee fans across the nation are in mourning today. Yes, the fans will miss him, and rivals will take delight that they no longer have to deal with Steinbrenner ever again. Of course, that doesn't mean the Yankees will go downhill. Their management is stellar, and they're rebuilding.

The Yankees will be back.

Eleven pennants and seven World Series victories under his direction is the legacy he leaves for Yankee fans. He will be missed.

Publius II

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Rich Lowry on the administration's obtuse move to sue Arizona

Readers know that my lovely wife and I live in Arizona. We applauded Governor Jan Brewer for having the political courage to sign SB 1070. Well over 70% of the nation supports the new Arizona law; 56% of people polled by Rasmussen disapprove of the Justice Department moving forward with this lawsuit. But as Rich Lowry observes over at National Review this lawsuit has everything to do with politics, and little to do with the law:

The legal case against the Arizona immigration law is unassailable.

The Justice Department and the American Civil Liberties Union argue that the law impermissibly “conflicts with federal law and enforcement priorities,” in the words of the ACLU suit. And who can disagree? Clearly, Arizona’s priority is to enforce the nation’s immigration laws; the federal government’s priority is to ignore them as much as possible. Case closed.

In his immigration speech last week, Pres. Barack Obama warned ominously of a “patchwork” of immigration laws arising as “states and localities go their own ways.” Oddly enough, sanctuary cities acting in open defiance of immigration laws have never notably been the object of his wrath. Who’s to judge the good-hearted people of Berkeley? There’s only one part of the dismaying patchwork that stirs Obama’s cabinet to outrage, and his attorney general to legal action — Arizona’s commitment to enforcement.

The legal fight between the federal government and Arizona will be a case of dueling insincere arguments. The federal government will pretend that it objects to Arizona’s supposedly creating a wholly new scheme of immigration regulation, when its real problem is that the state wants to take existing law too seriously.

Arizona will pretend that it is acting in accord with longstanding federal intent, when in fact its law never would have been necessary if the feds intended to enforce their own statutes. Instead, the federal government has adopted what the Justice Department calls — in a euphemism for the ages — “balanced administration of the immigration laws.”

The case against Arizona rests on “preemption,” the notion that federal law “occupies the field” on immigration and prevents states from passing their own regulations. In the context of the initial gusts of outrage at the Arizona law, this is a somewhat technical transgression. Couldn’t Eric Holder have nailed Arizona for its nascent Nazism?

Arizona has been here before. Pro-immigration groups sued over its workplace enforcement law passed in 2007. All the same arguments were mustered about federal preemption. A U.S. district-court judge (upheld by the appeals court) rejected them because the state law so closely tracked the federal law and didn’t contradict its stated purpose.

The drafters of the new law attempted to meet these same standards by directly drawing on federal statutes for its definition of immigration offenses. The courts have long upheld the right of states to make arrests for violations of federal immigration law, and the Supreme Court in a 1976 decision said federal immigration law didn’t intend “to preclude even harmonious state regulation.” Regardless, the courts will now decide.

The Obama administration hasn’t always been such a stickler for national uniformity. Last year, it reversed Bush-administration policy and stopped prosecuting violations of federal marijuana law by users and suppliers of medical marijuana in states that have legalized it. The upshot is that the direct violation of federal drug laws is acceptable at the state level, whereas the direct enforcement of federal immigration laws at the state level is not.

The animus toward Arizona is nakedly political. Obama, the former hopemonger, has become a moveable feast of cynicism. He promised that he’d move comprehensive immigration reform in his first year in office. This became known as la promesa de Obama in the Latino community, and it suffered the same ignominious fate as his pledges to enact a net spending cut and to comb through the federal budget line by line. La decepción de Obama.

According to Gallup, Obama’s approval rating has held steady this year among whites (41 percent) and blacks (91 percent). But it has dropped from 69 percent to 57 percent among Latinos. On cue, Obama gave an immigration speech touting comprehensive reform even though there’s no legislative path forward, and his attorney general sued Arizona. If the thoroughly political Holder thought it would help, he’d sue John Boehner.

And so the battle is joined, with the federal government making the plea — please, whatever you do, let our immigration laws molder on the books.

This is all about politics. Barry & Company want to push through their version of immigration reform which is hardly a reform. It will be much like the failed comprehensive immigration reform that was tried back in 2006 by Senators McCain and Kennedy. That reform was basically amnesty-lite; it would focus more on regularizing illegal aliens here now, and less on enforcement. Recall, if you will, the amnesty passed by President Reagan back in 1986, and the promise that went along with that mistake. The promise was that there would be tougher enforcement of America's immigration laws. After the amnesty was approved, the Congress seemingly forgot their promise to focus on border enforcement.

The issue of illegal immigration has been a political football played by both sides of the aisle. Republicans enjoy the cheap labor from the illegal aliens, and Democrats hope to cement them as a voting bloc. All the citizens of America have ever demanded is that we enforce the laws on the books. Neither side wants to do that, which has led Arizona to take these steps. We are not usurping the federal government's power to prosecute immigration laws. We are pushing them to do it.

Critics of the law claim that it is based on racial profiling. That is an outright lie. If you read the law, racial profiling is specifically prohibited. The police aren't allowed to go up to anyone, and demand to see their proof of citizenship or legal residency. The law outlines the steps that must be taken to even check on the immigration status of a person within the state's borders. First, there has to be an infraction; that is, the person in question has to have broken the law. The police will ask for identification (which they always do, and according to the law, anyone over the age of eighteen is REQUIRED to carry an ID on them at all times in public), and if the person they've stopped or approached lacks that identification then they're subject to arrest. THEN and only then may an officer check their immigration status. IF they have a legal, valid form of ID then the officer can't check on their status. End of story.

But the lawsuit doesn't address the assumption that this law will lead to racial profiling. No, it's based on the preemption argument; that Arizona is taking a power from the federal government, and undermining their immigration enforcement efforts. (OK, stop laughing. I know the federal government isn't doing that job, at least not as they should be.)Further reading of the law states that if the police do detain someone here illegally, that person is to be turned over to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for processing. The moment we hand them over to ICE, it's then in the hands of the federal government. Is that usurping their power? No, it isn't. The new law seeks to reinforce the federal law. If you read the law you'll note that it sounds familiar; that it sounds very much like the federal law.

One can even say that the law is rather redundant. Local law enforcement have been allowed to deal with illegal immigrants for years, as empowered by the federal law. California has a law that is much tougher than our own, and instructs their law enforcement to work hand-in-hand with federal immigration officials to enforce the federal immigration laws. In fact, that law also exclusively outlaws "sanctuary cities" and California has more than a couple of those that flout the law on the books. No one threw a hissy fit when California passed that law back in the late 1990s. But God forbid Arizona do it.

This is an exercise in the absurd. The federal government basically has no leg to stand on. As Mr. Lowry notes, the Worker Sanctions law passed by Arizona back in 2006 was upheld in federal court because it mirrored the federal law closely, and it abides by the definition of the law. That is exactly how this is going to go. And this won't be over in a month, either. Some prognosticators (amateurs, for lack of a better term) claim that this will be all said and done by November. No, this will drag out for the next year, or so, and possibly longer depending on the appeals that will be filed at the end of this initial challenge. In the end, the Arizona law will be upheld because we're not usurping federal power. We're reinforcing it.

Publius II

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The coming clash: Executive versus Judiciary

HT to Professor Glenn Reynolds

The LA Times has the story today about the impending battles that Barry and the Supreme Court will be running into in the years to come. Granted, the Times is liberal in its news coverage and commentary (and they get it wrong with the justices that are "conservative" as Justice Kennedy isn't a solid conservative), but they do get it right with the coming collision course that is completely unavoidable:

The Supreme Court wrapped up its term last week after landmark decisions protecting the right to have a gun and the right of corporations to spend freely on elections. But the year's most important moment may have come on the January evening when the justices gathered at the Capitol for President Obama's State of the Union address.

They had no warning about what was coming.

Obama and his advisors had weighed how to respond to the court's ruling the week before, which gave corporations the same free-spending rights as ordinary Americans. They saw the ruling as a rash, radical move to tilt the political system toward big business as they coped with the fallout from the Wall Street collapse.

Some advisors counseled caution, but the president opted to criticize the conservative justices in the uncomfortable spotlight of national television as Senate Democrats roared their approval.

[Let me inject right here, right now, that it was improper for the president to do that -- singling out the justices in public -- for the decision they made in Citizen's United. You've got a problem with it? Fine. You bite your tongue and keep your thoughts in the privacy of the White House. You don't go around basically calling out the Supreme Court on decisions they make, decisions they are tasked to carry out. It was unprofessional, petulant, incompetent, amateurish, and unfitting for a sitting president, and his congressional majorities, to do such a thing.]

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is still angered by what he saw as a highly partisan insult to the independent judiciary. The incident put a public spotlight on the deep divide between the Obama White House and the Roberts court, one that could have a profound effect in the years ahead.

The president and congressional Democrats have embarked on an ambitious drive to regulate corporations, banks, health insurers and the energy industry. But the high court, with Roberts increasingly in control, will have the final word on those regulatory laws.

Many legal experts foresee a clash between Obama's progressive agenda and the conservative court."

Presidents with active agendas for change almost always encounter resistance in the courts," said Stanford University law professor Michael W. McConnell, a former federal appellate court judge. "It happened to [ Franklin D.] Roosevelt and it happened to Reagan. It will likely happen to Obama too."

Already, the healthcare overhaul law, Obama's signal achievement, is under attack in the courts. Republican attorneys general from 20 states have sued, insisting the law and its mandate to buy health insurance exceed Congress' power and trample on states' rights.

Two weeks ago, a federal judge in New Orleans ruled Obama had overstepped his authority by ordering a six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

On another front, the administration says it will soon go to court in Phoenix seeking to block Arizona's controversial immigration law, which is due to take effect July 29. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer said Arizona would go to the Supreme Court, if necessary, to preserve the law.

As chief justice, Roberts has steered the court on a conservative course, one that often has tilted toward business. For example, the justices have made it much harder for investors or pension funds to sue companies for stock fraud.

Two years ago, the court declared for the first time that the gun rights of individuals were protected by the Constitution. This year, the justices made clear this was a "fundamental" right that extended to cities and states as well as federal jurisdictions.

Since the arrival in 2006 of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., Roberts has had a five-member majority skeptical of campaign funding restrictions. At first, he moved cautiously. Roberts spoke for the majority in 2007 in saying that a preelection broadcast ad sponsored by a nonprofit corporation was protected as free speech even though it criticized a candidate for office.

Last year, the court had before it another seemingly minor challenge to election laws by a group that wanted permission to sell a DVD that slammed Hillary Rodham Clinton when she was running for president in 2008. This time, however, Roberts decided on a much bolder move.

As they say, read it all, folks. The LA Times has hit the nail on the head. Barry's agenda is going to be challenged left-and-right in the federal courts. Will there be setbacks? Sure. More than likely those in opposition to this power-grabbing agenda will run into liberal judges that side with the administration. But given the hostility towards the federal courts from the White House, these appellate courts and the Supreme Court will be more likely to take up these cases as opposed to passing them over.

That's not to say the courts will suddenly become political. However even they can see that there is something wrong with this president's agenda, and it spells disaster for the nation if it's allowed to continue. Remember, the role of the federal courts was to be the final check-and-balance against an overreaching federal government, protecting the rights and liberties of the citizens of this nation. Those on the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John G. Roberts specifically, understands this concept, and agrees with it.

There will be a fight between the Executive and the Judiciary in the next couple of years, and if the decisions come down on the side of the Constitution, Barry isn't going to be a happy person. But it will further show this nation that Mr. Constitutional Scholar doesn't know his @$$ from a hole in the ground. Just because he views the Constitution his way doesn't make it so, and he'll have to convince the courts to see things his way. He won't succeed because he doesn't know a bloody thing about the founding document, what it entails, what it means, and what it does for the people of this nation. He'll never get it because the originalist/textualist interpretations of the Constitution are anathema to his political ideology. He is hostile towards the document that guarantees our rights and liberties because, in his opinion, it only speaks of negative liberties with regard to government power.

That, Mr. President, was the intention of our Founding Fathers. I guess he missed that week in history class.

Publius II

Justice Kennedy plans on sticking around

It's a story from the New York Daily News (HT to Captain Ed) that probably has Barry steamed. Justice Kennedy has confided to friends and family he doesn't intend to leave the Supreme Court until 2013, the year following, hopefully, Barry's defeat for a second term as president:

President Obama may get liberal Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court, but conservative swing-voter Anthony Kennedy says he's not going anywhere anytime soon.

Justice Kennedy, who turns 74 this month, has told relatives and friends he plans to stay on the high court for at least three more years - through the end of Obama's first term, sources said.

That means Kennedy will be around to provide a fifth vote for the court's conservative bloc through the 2012 presidential election. If Obama loses, Kennedy could retire and expect a Republican President to choose a conservative justice.

Kennedy, appointed by President Ronald Reagan, has been on the court 22 years. He has become a bit of a political nemesis at the White House for his increasing tendency to side with the court's four rock-ribbed conservative justices.

Without naming Kennedy, Obama was unusually critical of his majority opinion in the Citizens United case, handed down last January. That 5-4 decision struck down limits on contributions to political campaigns as an abridgement of free speech.

Obama called the ruling "a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power ... in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans."

He was so angry that he took the unusual step of blasting the decision in his Jan. 27 State of the Union address, with Kennedy and five other justices looking on.

What Barry did during his State of the Union speech was uncalled for, extremely unprofessional, and appeared to be rather petulant. He called out the high court on their decision like he was some sort of disapproving parent, or worse a petulant child not satisfied that he didn't get his way. We'd like to think that Justice Kennedy is holding on just to spite the president, and teach the Narcissist-in-Chief a lesson as to where his authority resides. His power isn't found in the judiciary. It's found in the executive branch which, aside from being able to appoint jurists to the federal bench, those powers end right there.

Of course Justice Kennedy isn't doing this out of spite. He's got a lot more class than Barry does. Our best guess is that Kewnnedy sees the direction Barry is wanting to take the high court, and it has shades of FDR's "court-packing" plan in it without the threat of expanding the size of the court. Justice Sotomayor, while deemed competent by the Senate's standards, is a far-left liberal jurist with tendencies towards judicial activism. Of the 380 opinions joined by her or penned by her, the high court granted a hearing to five of them. Three were overwhelmingly reversed by the Supreme Court. So, in terms of sound judicial philosophy, Justice Sotomayor seems to lack it.

Elena Kagan has been appointed to the high court by Barry to replace retiring justice John Paul Stevens. And while she win confirmation (don't kid yourselves folks; she's a shoo-in regardless of what she has said or what has been found in her past) her views regarding the Constitution were called into question by the GOP on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Past statements made, past articles written, shows that she lacks the intellectual heft that is needed for a sitting justice on the Supreme Court. Now, we warn readers that her win-loss record as solicitor general means virtually nothing. As solicitor general, it was her job to argue the government's side of an issue before the justices. The cases the solicitor general takes on are generally tough cases, and many seen as unwinnable or virtually impossible to prevail, especially if the lawyer in question lacks a firm grasp of constitutional jurisprudence.

That's two liberal justices replacing two liberal justices. It's a wash in a way, and the only drawback to both Sotomayor and Kagan winning their confirmation battles (hardly battles as the Senate has basically rolled over for their belly scratch on both jurists) is that they will be on the high court for decades to come. As of 2012 four justices will be age 75 or older -- Scalia, Kennedy, Ginsburg, and Breyer. Justice Scalia, like Justice Kennedy, has no intention of retiring anytime soon. Justice Ginsburg has continually waved off questions about her possible retirement. Justice Breyer has been mum on the subject, as well.

But given how the midterms might go in November, even if there is a retirement Barry probably won't be able to nominate another jurist in the mold of liberals Sotomayor or Kagan. He would be forced to appoint a moderate jurist which, when Kennedy retires, would be the new swing vote on the high court. Justice Kennedy assumed that mantle when Justice O'Connor retired back in 2006. While some may say that he runs a 50-50 split on swing decisions, if you take a close look at the cases where he has swung towards the conservative wing of the high court, those decisions are important ones that include First and Second Amendment issues.

This news today is important. Well, it's important for us court watchers especially with consideration to this incompetent president, and his desire to rewrite the law from the bench as opposed to the halls of Congress. Both of his choices to replace outgoing justices aren't exactly friendly to the Constitution, and both have made statements in the past akin to the president's belief that the Constitution is constructed of negative liberties; it tells us what the government -- be it federal or state -- can't do rather than what they can do on the behalf of the people. Here's a constitutional lesson for the president:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

I think it's pretty cut-and-dry as to what the government was supposed to do, and where its powers lay, i.e., what the government can do for the people. Barry forgets this even though it is the very first thing cited in the US Constitution.

We hope that Justice Kennedy can hang on through the remainder of this rookie's term in office. If not, his departure would signal a significant shift on the Supreme Court, and spark a war in the Senate over who Barry would choose to replace Kennedy with. And make no mistake folks, his nominee will be as close to his own philosophy as possible.

Publius II