Saturday, November 05, 2005Kaine, Potts, and Kilgore, and I thought I'd line them up and compare how each of the candidates defines their stances on the major issues, such as abortion, transportation, and the death penalty. There are a lot of great statements on their stances on lots of different topics, but I tried to find the common threads between at least two of the interviews here.
Kilgore: "I've said very clearly that I'm pro-life. I support a culture of life. I'm not trying to hide that from anybody. I've supported the reasonable safeguards parental consent, parental notification, 24-hour wait, making sure that we ban the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion. We've worked around, within the parameters of the Supreme Court rulings. I've said, I don't support criminalizing women.
I think the partial-birth-abortion statute brings penalties to bear for those medical personnel that are performing these procedures that are unlawful. I've not supported criminalizing women. Will not, in my future, support criminalizing women."
Potts: "I voted for three pieces of legislation I'd still vote for. I voted for parental consent. I voted for 24-hour wait. And I voted for the abolition of partial-birth abortion.
When [the Family Foundation] started pushing the envelope -- they were calling contraception a form of abortion and were going to ban the dispensing of the "morning-after" pill and wanted more severe restrictions on abortion clinics -- I said, "that's it, no more. You've pushed the envelope far enough on me."
I feel strongly about Roe versus Wade. I think that Roe versus Wade is good policy. I think it has served America well. If I'd be fortunate enough to be governor, I would unequivocally veto any attempt to overturn Roe versus Wade, if it were bounced back to the states."
Kaine was not questioned on this subject.
The Car Tax
Kilgore: (Eliminating the car tax) is my goal. I would work with the General Assembly to make sure we fulfill the promise.
Kaine: I'm certainly going to look for a way to (give further relief on the tax). We got 70 percent of the way across the stream, and we were standing with water lapping around our thighs. And what we've done is, we jumped up on a rock in the middle of the stream. We haven't gotten to the other side yet. There needs to be an end game, and I would like to try to find one. But we put a responsible plan on the table, and the legislature said no. And most of those guys were people who were around who had made the promise to begin with.
Potts was not questioned on this subject.
Kilgore: I want to use general-fund dollars on transportation in the future. I mean, certainly we all know that the sales tax goes into the fund anyway. So we can call it whatever we want to. I'm calling it general-fund dollars that are going to be used to fund transportation somewhat, in our future. (Note: DAMN I'm so good...I knew this was the semantical game he was playing.) So I'm willing to find the funds any way we can.
Kaine: My signature plan is to lock up the [transportation] trust fund and make sure no money's pulled out. And I'll do that from day one, by vetoing withdrawals of dollars. And I'll also work with the legislature to see if there are interim steps that can be taken, where they can show in good faith that they have no intention of removing the money. But I do know that ultimately a constitutional amendment is the most secure way to guarantee that people's dollars aren't used for other than the advertised purpose. I mean, this is something that I just think is intolerable, that the Code of Virginia says, "We're going to pay this money, and it's going to go to transportation, and it's only going to be used for transportation." And then when the mood strikes us, the legislature feels like it can use the money for other purposes. I think it's a fundamental issue of honesty. And I'm going to be about it from Day One.
Potts: We have to protect the general fund and build upon the successes of that. That's why I have responsibly taken the approach to fund transportation with [$2.5 billion in] new dollars.
We've got to create a new transportation plan. I am absolutely convinced that -- from a terrorism standpoint, from a catastrophe standpoint and from an economic standpoint -- we have to address our transportation system in Virginia. The breadbasket, as we all know in Virginia, is that I-95 corridor: Northern Virginia to Richmond to Hampton Roads.
Kilgore: I don't support spending taxpayer dollars on those illegally in this country...we need a strong governor that's going to go to Congress, work with governors like [Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Bill Richardson of New Mexico] and say, "We need real immigration laws that are enforced." It's having a budget impact on all these states. And I think New Mexico and Arizona have experienced the worst from the budget impact. And it's causing a public-safety concern when the gangs are so much involved with those illegally in this country.
If we are in a situation where it's going to require prompt action, I don't think our state-of-emergency laws are broad enough to cover that. It's a public-safety emergency, it's a budget emergency, and that's what you have a General Assembly for, to deal with that crisis. And I'll be on Capitol Hill talking about illegal immigration and the effects it's having on the states...I think there's a way to work this out. You know, I think we have to work with Homeland Security. You know, within the first week, I'm going to sign that agreement with the Department of Homeland Security to give my state police the authority to enforce immigration laws in Virginia. (NOTE: Small government at work!)
Kaine: I'm not out advocating that we should come up with public funding for day labor centers. That has never been my position. I would not support such funding at the state level. But I'm sympathetic to local officials trying to deal with a local problem. And so, you have the town of Herndon, that frankly, because of a massive federal default on its responsibilities to enforce the immigration laws, they're dealing with a public safety challenge.
They're trying to figure out the best way to deal with it. If they decide that the best way to deal with that public disorder challenge is to have a place where people can go inside, and not be hanging out on the street, I'm not going to grandstand against them or second-guess them for doing that. They know that reality better than I do.
Potts: The Herndon Town Council met hours and hours and hours, goodness knows how many hours, to try to find a solution for a very, very complicated problem. This is a federal problem. I think President Bush does have the right idea about documented workers. And I oppose illegal immigrants. I've consistently opposed illegal immigrants.
But I don't think that a person ought to be interfering in a local decision by the Herndon Town Council. Because the alternative is not to do anything and have these immigrants all over the place, which is impacting local businesses and [causing] some severe problems in that community.
Kilgore: I don't support that case. I thought it was a stretch of the eminent-domain law. I do, though, believe that Virginia law wouldn't allow that to happen, because we're a Dillon Rule state, and localities only have the ability to condemn with the power we give them from the state level. I'm willing to work with the speaker of the House and the Senate to tighten that up.
Kaine: I think the key for the condemnation for private development is: What is demonstrable public use, public necessity, public justification that authorizes the city or county to proceed? And I think that the definition of public use or necessity should be incredibly tight. I'm very willing to go back into the state's eminent domain law now and look to see whether the public justification definition is as tight as it needs to be.
Potts was not questioned on this issue.
The Death Penalty
Kilgore: I've seen the deterrent effects of the death penalty in study after study. Criminals understand the law. Virginia enforces the death penalty. I think it's one of those laws that does prevent future crime -- because criminals get it, and understand it. They understand it better than law-abiding citizens, usually.
Kaine: I've got a faith-based objection to the death penalty. So, there's nothing about it that makes me feel satisfied. I will say this about Virginia, compared to other states. I worked as a federal law clerk in Georgia for a year. And that's an area, in the federal circuit there, where there's a lot of death-penalty cases. Compared to other states, Virginia is a state where I think prosecutors exercise their discretion much more narrowly than in other states.
We have a small death row, relative to other states. And a relative high percentage of people on death row who are executed. And some of that is because the courts are tough on death-penalty cases. But some of it is also that I don't think prosecutors in Virginia overcharge capital cases. So while I've got an objection to the death penalty for faith reasons, I give credit to prosecutors in Virginia. They generally reserve capital punishment for the really heinous cases.
I just don't support the death penalty, from a faith standpoint. And so, there's not a lot of tweaks or changes that I would make, that would make me feel better about it. I do think one thing that there's great common ground on, is that the advent of DNA evidence gives everybody the ability to know with more certainty in more cases whether somebody's guilty or whether the guilty person is still free and needs to be gone after.
Potts: I've always been very pro-death-penalty. I strongly believe in the death penalty. I would be extremely cautious to ever grant clemency, unless there was extremely compelling evidence, DNA evidence or whatever.
Friday, November 04, 2005
President Bush to Campaign With Kilgore on Monday
By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 4, 2005; 10:02 AM
The White House is expected to announce this morning that President Bush will hold a last-minute, election-eve rally for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Jerry W. Kilgore in Richmond, sources in Virginia said.
The Monday night rally, to be held at the Richmond airport, is designed to give Republican Kilgore a final boost in his battle with Democrat Timothy M. Kaine. The pair are locked in an extremely close race. A Washington Post poll last week showed Kaine ahead by 3 percentage points, but a more recent poll shows the race even closer.
The president's poll numbers have been sagging nationally and in Virginia. Last week, Kilgore declined to attend a Bush speech in Norfolk, a move that was widely viewed as a snub.
First up, let’s take a look at where the polls have the candidates ranked at the moment. PRNewswire is reporting that Tim Kaine is up by 8 points in the latest poll:
SALEM, Va., Nov. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tim Kaine has opened an eight-point lead (44%-36%) over Republican nominee Jerry Kilgore according to a poll conducted by The Center for Community Research at Roanoke College. Independent candidate Russ Potts garnered the support of five percent of those surveyed. The Poll also found that the Lieutenant Governor's race is a virtual dead heat with Leslie Byrne (D) holding a statistically insignificant one-point lead over Bill Bolling (R) (33%-32%), while Robert McDonnell (R) enjoyed a five-point lead (39%-34%) over Creigh Deeds (D) in the race for Attorney General.
The Poll includes interviews conducted with 408 likely voters (registered voters who said they were likely to vote) in the Old Dominion between October 23 and October 30. The Poll has a margin of error of + 5 percent.
Meanwhile, Kaine is racking up the endorsements of newspapers across Virginia. Currently endorsing him are the Virginian Pilot, the Roanoke Times, the Suffolk News Herald, the Bristol Herald Courier, and the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.
Typically, my hometown paper, the Daily News Record, has endorsed Kilgore. For anyone who’s ever wondered about the nature of my hometown, I’d like to share a letter to the editor endorsing Mr. Kilgore:
“As a citizen who moved to Winchester from Massachusetts less than a year ago, I know a liberal when I see one. In the race for governor, there are two: Russell Potts and Tim Kaine. Despite telling the people of this district that he’d be a pro-life state senator, Russell Potts is so desperate for attention that he’s sought and received the endorsement of a pro-abortion political action committee. He has repeatedly knifed pro-family folks in back. Tim Kaine is even worse! He calls himself a Catholic; however, Kaine opposed a common sense ban on partial birth abortion, a 24-hour waiting period for women considering this traumatic decision, and even was against parental consent for children who seek abortions. When he ran less than four years ago, he trumpeted his support for abortion on demand. Now that he wants to be governor, he’s trying to trick Virginians into thinking he’s pro-life. But would someone who is really pro-life call efforts to protect innocent human life “moral tyranny,” as Tim Kaine did? And on taxes, crime, and transportation, he’s not any better. I know first hand what its like to be represented by a liberal. If you wouldn’t vote for Ted Kennedy, why would you ever vote for Tim Kaine or Potts? Moderates and conservatives who are looking for steady leadership, low taxes, and respect for family values should vote for Jerry Kilgore, Bill Bolling and Bob McDonnell. They are the only candidates who can be trusted.
Good stuff, good stuff. I’ll have more later on what the candidates stand for.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
ROME - Italian secret services warned the United States months before it invaded Iraq that a dossier about a purported Saddam Hussein effort to buy uranium in Africa was fake, a lawmaker said Thursday after a briefing by the nation's intelligence chief.
"At about the same time as the State of the Union address, they (Italy's SISMI secret services) said that the dossier doesn't correspond to the truth," Sen. Massimo Brutti told journalists after the parliamentary commission was briefed.
Brutti said the warning was given in January 2003, but he did not know whether it was made before or after President Bush's speech.
"In the midst of the overwhelming damage caused by the hurricane and enormous problems faced by FEMA, Mr. Brown found time to exchange e-mails about superfluous topics," including "problems finding a dog-sitter," according to Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Louisiana, who posted the e-mails on his Web site.
In an e-mail he sent the morning of the hurricane to Cindy Taylor, FEMA's deputy director of public affairs, Brown wrote, "Can I quit now? Can I come home?" A few days later, Brown wrote to an acquaintance, "I'm trapped now, please rescue me."
Melancon said that on August 26, just days before Katrina made landfall, Brown e-mailed his press secretary, Sharon Worthy, about his attire, asking: "Tie or not for tonight? Button down blue shirt?"
A few days later, Worthy advised Brown: "Please roll up the sleeves of your shirt all shirts. Even the President rolled his sleeves to just below the elbow. In this [crisis] and on TV you just need to look more hard-working."
On August 29, the day of the storm, Brown exchanged e-mails about his attire with Taylor, Melancon said. She told him, "You look fabulous," and Brown replied, "I got it at Nordstroms. ... Are you proud of me?"
An hour later, Brown added: "If you'll look at my lovely FEMA attire, you'll really vomit. I am a fashion god," according to the congressman.
For instance, two days after Katrina, Marty Bahamonde, one of the only FEMA employees in New Orleans, wrote to Brown that "the situation is past critical."
"Here are some things you might not know. Hotels are kicking people out, thousands gathering in the streets with no food or water. Hundreds still being rescued from homes," Bahamonde said.
"The dying patients at the DMAT (Disaster Medical Assistance Team) tent being medivac. Estimates are many will die within hours. Evacuation in process. Plans developing for [Superdome] evacuation but hotel situation adding to problem. We are out of food and running out of water at the dome, plans in works to address the critical need.
"FEMA staff is OK and holding own. DMAT staff working in deplorable conditions. The sooner we can get the medical patients out, the sooner we can get them out. Phone connectivity impossible."
Brown's entire response was: "Thanks for the update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak?"
Two days later, on September 2, Brown received a message with the subject "Medical help." At the time, thousands of patients were being transported to the New Orleans airport, which had been converted to a makeshift hospital. Because of a lack of ventilators, medical personnel had to ventilate patients by hand for as long as 35 hours, according to Melancon.
The text of the e-mail reads: "Mike, Mickey and other medical equipment people have a 42 ft. trailer full of beds, wheelchairs, oxygen concentrators, etc. They are wanting to take them where they can be used but need direction.
"Mickey specializes in ventilator patients so can be very helpful with acute care patients. If you could have someone contact him and let him know if he can be of service, he would appreciate it. Know you are busy but they really want to help."
Melancon said Brown didn't respond for four days, when he forwarded the original e-mail to FEMA Deputy Chief of Staff Brooks Altshuler and Deputy Director of Response Michael Lowder.
The text of Brown's e-mail to them read: "Can we use these people?" stupid bills:
Online political expression should not be exempt from campaign finance law, the House decided Wednesday as lawmakers warned that the Internet has opened up a new loophole for uncontrolled spending on elections.
The House voted 225-182 for a bill that would have excluded blogs, e-mails and other Internet communications from regulation by the Federal Election Commission. That was 47 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed under a procedure that limited debate time and allowed no amendments.
The vote in effect clears the way for the FEC to move ahead with court-mandated rule-making to govern political speech and campaign spending on the Internet.
How is this not a violation of free speech? I mean, come on, even if you want to use the spectre of campaign finance reform to push this, there is a legitimate distinction between "speech" in which one pays a large broadcaster commercial rates for airtime and speech in which one manages one's own medium (a website). With a television commercial you pay someone to deliver an audience for your message, and so money gives leverage and lack of money leaves one stifled. With a website one puts the message out there for interested parties to read, and bringing people to the site relies on word of mouth (which absolutely is not and should not be controlled).
Oh, and in case you were curious how this vote broke down, surprisingly, it was the Republicans who were in favor of exempting blogs, rather than the Democrats. Uhm, Dems, what the hell?
Yeas Nays NV
Republican 179 38 13
Democratic 46 143 13
Here's the heart of the matter...
Without his legislation, Hensarling said, "I fear that bloggers one day could be fined for improperly linking to a campaign Web site, or merely forwarding a candidate's press release to an e-mail list."
Bloggers from liberal and conservative perspectives made similar predictions at a hearing on the subject in September. "Rather than deal with the red tape of regulation and the risk of legal problems, they will fall silent on all issues of politics," said Michael J. Krempasky, director of the Web site RedState.org.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., writing Wednesday on a blog he recently started, said the bill "is about all the folks out in the blogosphere. It's going to protect what you say. It keeps the hand of the federal government out of Internet speech."
But Meehan said no one wants to regulate bloggers.
Uh huh, I buy that.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005the Post:
The CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al Qaeda captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe, according to U.S. and foreign officials familiar with the arrangement.
The secret facility is part of a covert prison system set up by the CIA nearly four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe, as well as a small center at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, according to current and former intelligence officials and diplomats from three continents.
The hidden global internment network is a central element in the CIA's unconventional war on terrorism. It depends on the cooperation of foreign intelligence services, and on keeping even basic information about the system secret from the public, foreign officials and nearly all members of Congress charged with overseeing the CIA's covert actions.
Like I’ve said before, ANY time in ANY administration, when you see CIA, think White House Administration, as they serve at the pleasure and direction of the administration, and this prison system has all the fingerprints of the Bush Administration’s fetishes: torture, secrecy, and lack of accountability to the processes that make America what it is. Don’t believe me?
The CIA and the White House, citing national security concerns and the value of the program, have dissuaded Congress from demanding that the agency answer questions in open testimony about the conditions under which captives are held. Virtually nothing is known about who is kept in the facilities, what interrogation methods are employed with them, or how decisions are made about whether they should be detained or for how long.
While the Defense Department has produced volumes of public reports and testimony about its detention practices and rules after the abuse scandals at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and at Guantanamo Bay, the CIA has not even acknowledged the existence of its black sites. To do so, say officials familiar with the program, could open the U.S. government to legal challenges, particularly in foreign courts, and increase the risk of political condemnation at home and abroad.
There you have it. Their hallmarks are all over this and they’re guarding it like the vicious secret that it is. At the risk of invoking Godwin’s Law, it makes one wonder just how much visibility the German people had into their own “internment camps”. And god forbid we open ourselves up to criticism from abroad, from people who believe in, you know, due process of law and the inherent concept of innocent until proven guilty. Oh, and what do you suppose this is all about?
Those concerns escalated last month, when Vice President Cheney and CIA Director Porter J. Goss asked Congress to exempt CIA employees from legislation already endorsed by 90 senators that would bar cruel and degrading treatment of any prisoner in U.S. custody.
Hmm, what could they be up to down there?
Tuesday, November 01, 2005MSNBC...
Democrats claimed “victory for the American people” Tuesday after the Senate Intelligence Committee agreed to continue an investigation into prewar intelligence claims made by the Republicans, the Senate minority leader said.
Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., forced the Republican-controlled Senate into an unusual closed session for more than two hours Tuesday, accusing Republicans of ignoring intelligence that President Bush used before invading Iraq.
A phase-by-phase investigation will resume, Reid announced after the secret session. It will be the second stage of a probe that Democrats have been pressing for for a year.
Story continues below ↓ advertisement
An appointed six-member task force — three members from each party — will review the committee’s progress and report back to their respective caucuses by Nov. 14.
Rumsfeld's growing stake in Tamiflu
Defense Secretary, ex-chairman of flu treatment rights holder, sees portfolio value growing.
October 31, 2005: 10:55 AM EST
By Nelson D. Schwartz, Fortune senior writer
NEW YORK (Fortune) - The prospect of a bird flu outbreak may be panicking people around the globe, but it's proving to be very good news for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other politically connected investors in Gilead Sciences, the California biotech company that owns the rights to Tamiflu, the influenza remedy that's now the most-sought after drug in the world.
Rumsfeld served as Gilead (Research)'s chairman from 1997 until he joined the Bush administration in 2001, and he still holds a Gilead stake valued at between $5 million and $25 million, according to federal financial disclosures filed by Rumsfeld.
The forms don't reveal the exact number of shares Rumsfeld owns, but in the past six months fears of a pandemic and the ensuing scramble for Tamiflu have sent Gilead's stock from $35 to $47. That's made the Pentagon chief, already one of the wealthiest members of the Bush cabinet, at least $1 million richer.
Rumsfeld isn't the only political heavyweight benefiting from demand for Tamiflu, which is manufactured and marketed by Swiss pharma giant Roche. (Gilead receives a royalty from Roche equaling about 10% of sales.) Former Secretary of State George Shultz, who is on Gilead's board, has sold more than $7 million worth of Gilead since the beginning of 2005.
Another board member is the wife of former California Gov. Pete Wilson.
"I don't know of any biotech company that's so politically well-connected," says analyst Andrew McDonald of Think Equity Partners in San Francisco.
As for this story, I say he should go for it. Last year I would have preferred to have Edwards run over Kerry, in all honesty, and would vote for the guy again; he stands for the same thing I do: taking a stand to end or at least alleviate poverty, and I like the message that he delivers.
Edwards works on possible bid in 2008
By GLEN JOHNSON, ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) - John Edwards came downstairs and found 5-year-old son Jack on the floor, arranging toy trucks in a column. "What are you doing?" the former North Carolina senator asked. "Making a motorcade," came the exuberant reply.
A year after Democrats John Kerry and Edwards lost the White House election, young Jack still may think about the heady days of last fall. His father, however, has moved on - without a Secret Service escort.
-He is traveling the country, trying to rally college students to the cause of fighting poverty in the U.S.
-He is presiding over a new poverty center at the University of North Carolina.
-He is laying the groundwork for a possible return to the political spotlight as a presidential candidate in 2008.
A little bit of all three was on his mind when he made a stop at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
"I'm in a very forward-looking, positive state of mind," said Edwards, while hundreds of students began to assemble in a nearby common. "I mean, being able to take on a big cause in a really serious way is an extraordinary thing."
A year ago Tuesday, Edwards and Kerry, the Massachusetts senator, were in Boston, awaiting the general election results. There was uncertainty about the outcome, especially in Ohio. At 2 a.m., Kerry sent his running mate to address the waning crowd in Copley Square.
Monday, October 31, 2005
You see, apparently, immigrants are terrorists or whoever it is "attacking our way of life," except the ones who want to work for a living, which is apparently worse, and the ones who want to go to college and prove all the crap about leeching welfare wrong, which we can't allow because then we can't have such fine campaign ads. We know Bill Bolling is not going to stand for that because he once stood next to a police officer and he didn't check the "Reward Illegal Immigrants" box.
in 1991, supporting abortion restrictions, in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision that later went to the Supreme Court and led to the partial reaffirmation of Roe v. Wade;
in 1997, in Bray v. Marriott Hotels, seeming to endorse a limited view of minorities' job rights;
in 1991, in Nathanson v. Medical College, appearing to embrace tougher standard for asserting disability rights;
in 2000, in Chittister v. Department of Community and Economic Development, finding that Congress had gone too far in passing the Family and Medical Leave Act;
in 2004, in Doe v. Groody, embracing broader police search power, including strip searches;
and in 2004, Dia v. Ashcroft and Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, taking a hard line against immigrants' rights.
* In 1999, Alito ruled against the city of Newark, N.J. after it dismissed two Sunni Muslim police officers who refused to shave their beards.
Newark police department regulations required police officers to be clean shaven, but exempted officers who grew beards for medical reasons.
The officers argued that the Koran required them to grow beards.
Alito said, "the department has provided no legitimate explanation as to why the presence of officers who wear beards for medical reasons does not have this effect but the presence of officers who wear beards for religious reasons would ..."
* In 2004, Alito ruled that a Pennsylvania law banning paid advertisements for alcohol in college newspapers was unconstitutional. "If government were free to suppress disfavored speech by preventing potential speakers from being paid, there would not be much left of the First Amendment," Alito wrote for a three-judge panel.
* In 1996, Alito dissented from the majority on his court, when it upheld the conviction of a firearms dealer for selling two submachine guns at a gun show. The firearms dealer argued that the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which empowers Congress to regulate interstate commerce, does not allow it to outlaw the selling of a particular type of gun within the borders of one state.
First I checked out MSNBC (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9874588/), simply because it was their news alert. Here’s what they had to say:
WASHINGTON - President Bush, stung by the rejection of his first choice, nominated conservative judge Samuel Alito to replace moderate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in a bid to reshape the Supreme Court and mollify his political base.
"Judge Alito is one of the most accomplished and respected judges in America," the president said in announcing Alito's selection Monday. "He's got a mastery of the law and a deep commitment to justice."
The choice was likely to spark a political brawl. Unlike the nomination of Harriet Miers, which was derailed Thursday by Bush's conservative allies, Alito faces opposition from Democrats.
"The Senate needs to find out if the man replacing Miers is too radical for the American people," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada.
Democrats warn of partisan brawl
While Alito is expected to win praise from Bush's allies on the right, Democrats have served notice that his nomination would spark a partisan brawl. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Sunday that Alito's nomination would "create a lot of problems."
Unlike Miers, who has never been a judge, Alito, a 55-year-old jurist from New Jersey, has been a strong conservative voice on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since former President George H.W. Bush seated him there in 1990.
So consistently conservative, Alito has been dubbed "Scalito" or "Scalia-lite" by some lawyers because his judicial philosophy invites comparisons to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. But while Scalia is outspoken and is known to badger lawyers, Alito is polite, reserved and even-tempered.
Okay, so a staunch conservative, put in his current position by Bush 43’s daddy; by this account, a “Scalia-lite”. I’m not sure how happy I am about that prospect. But more analysis has been forthcoming, this time from the Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/31/AR2005103100180.html?referrer=email):
Bush, fresh from withering criticism of Harriet Miers for her lack of judicial experience, stressed Alito's many years of litigation experience, first arguing 12 cases before the Supreme Court and then as an appeals court judge. Bush said Alito was the most experienced nominee in 70 years. Fresh from questions about Mier's intellect, Bush highlighted the fact that Alito went to the Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the prestigious law review. Bush called Alito "brilliant."
Alito's resume, including his service in the Reagan administration Justice Department, is very much unlike Miers', who had no appellate experience, and very much like that of Chief Justice John Roberts, who had lots.
Like Chief Justice John Roberts, Alito served during the Reagan administration in the office of Solicitor General, which argues on behalf of the government in the Supreme Court.
Unlike Roberts, he has opined from the bench on both abortion rights, church-state separation and gender discrimination to the pleasure of conservatives and displeasure of liberals.
In addition, his appeals court record is not uniformly conservative on the sorts of issues that arise in Supreme Court confirmation battles.
In 2004, he ruled in favor of a complaint brought under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act by a boy badly bullied by his classmates who was seeking legal relief but had been rebuffed by a U.S. District Court.
He also authored a majority opinion granting federal court review to an African American who could not get state courts to hear his claim of racial bias on the part of a juror in his trial. The case involved a juror who used racial epithets outside the confines of the jury room.
Okay, all well and good, but here’s the meat of the problem:
Rather, liberals are likely to focus on his opinions and dissents, most notably in the 1991 case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
In that case, Alito joined joined a Third Circuit panel in upholding most of a Pennsylvania law imposing numerous restrictions on women seeking abortions. The law, among other things, required physicians to advise women of the potential medical dangers of abortion and tell them of the alternatives available. It also imposed a 24 hour waiting period for abortions and barred minors from obtaining abortions without parental consent.
The panel, in that same ruling, struck down a single provision in the law requiring women to notify their husband's before they obtained an abortion. Alito dissented from that part of the decision.
The case ultimately reached the Supreme Court, which upheld the appeals court decision, disagreed with Alito and also used the case to reaffirm its support for Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion.
So here’s a chance to get that opinion into the Supreme Court. Here are some more things to consider:
- He has a connection to Edwin Meese. Could this mean he’s an anti-porn crusader?
- He argued that admitting evidence casting doubt on an accused sexual harasser’s “claims of legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for the adverse employment decision might not be enough for the plaintiff to withstand summary judgment.” In other words, it seems that victims of sexual harassment have to have some sort of smoking gun evidence that they were harassed; otherwise, the accused’s word should be good as gold. What, do they have to make a video of the incident?
- Bush is desperately trying to hang on to that 36%. What does this mean when the time comes for confirmation?
- It seems that America is being governed by Zombie Reagan, through a psychic link with his not-yet-dead sidekick, Bush 1.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) -- The Republican candidate for Virginia governor is drawing fire for campaign ads that suggest his Democratic opponent is so averse to the death penalty he would have spared Adolf Hitler from execution.
The radio and TV ads feature victims' relatives who tearfully recount the crimes that killed their loved ones and say they don't trust Democrat Tim Kaine to administer the state's death penalty.
Kaine, who says his moral objections to capital punishment are rooted in his Roman Catholic faith, responded with an ad pledging to carry out death sentences "because it's the law."
One of the ads supporting Jerry Kilgore, Virginia's attorney general, cites a Richmond Times-Dispatch column that said Kaine had "suggested he would not favor sending even Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin or Idi Amin to the gallows."
A commercial featuring death penalty proponent Stanley Rosenbluth has him looking into the camera and saying: "Tim Kaine says Adolf Hitler doesn't qualify for the death penalty. This was one of the worst mass murderers in modern times."
Some Jewish leaders said Friday that the commercials trivialize the Holocaust and should be withdrawn.
Kilgore spokesman Tim Murtaugh defended the ads and said that Rosenbluth spoke from his heart.
Kaine, the lieutenant governor, is seeking to succeed Gov. Mark R. Warner, a fellow Democrat who is barred by the state constitution from seeking a second consecutive term this fall.
Clinton, whose 2004 memoir "My Life" was a best seller, drew roaring applause during his speech from the several hundred people gathered in the Texas House chamber to kick off the 10th annual Texas Book Festival, an event started by first lady Laura Bush when her husband was governor.
"You can't say, 'Please don't be mean to me. Please let me win sometimes.' Give me a break here," Clinton said. "If you don't want to fight for the future and you can't figure out how to beat these people then find something else to do."
Clinton attributed Republicans' control of Congress to Democratic candidates' inability or unwillingness to "stand up and be heard" on issues that matter to people. For example, he said, Democrats too often are unwilling to talk about abortion because they're afraid of virulent reactions from anti-abortion groups.
"So how come we can't talk about it?" he asked. "Because we basically let political ads turn every player in this drama into a two-dimensional cartoon instead of a three-dimensional person."