Primer on Judicial Nominations

Thanks to World Magazine’s blog, which linked to these two speeches:

Al Gore: Complete transcript of speech he delivered to a rally sponsored by MoveOn. Says “Doing Away With Judicial Filibuster Undermines Rule of Law.”

Sen Orrin Hatch: Transcript of address to the Senate floor. Says he’s “Diagnosing The Filibuster Issue.”

Extract- but you really should click on the link and give it a read for yourself. Gore covers a lot of ground and no excerpt can do justice to the full scope of his speech:

Our founders understood that the way you protect and defend people of faith is by preventing any one sect from dominating. Most people of faith I know in both parties have been getting a belly-full of this extremist push to cloak their political agenda in religiosity and mix up their version of religion with their version of right-wing politics and force it on everyone else.

They should learn that religious faith is a precious freedom and not a tool to divide and conquer.

I think it is truly important to expose the fundamental flaw in the arguments of these zealots. The unifying theme now being pushed by this coalition is actually an American heresy-a highly developed political philosophy that is fundamentally at odds with the founding principles of the United States of America.

We began as a nation with a clear formulation of the basic relationship between God, our rights as individuals, the government we created to secure those rights, and the prerequisites for any power exercised by our government.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident,” our founders declared. “That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights …”

But while our rights come from God, as our founders added, “governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed.”

So, unlike our inalienable rights, our laws are human creations that derive their moral authority from our consent to their enactment-informed consent given freely within our deliberative processes of self-government.

Any who seek to wield the powers of government without the consent of the people, act unjustly.

Over sixty years ago, in the middle of the Second World War, Justice Jackson wrote: “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion.”

His words are no less true today.

The historic vulnerability of religious zealots to subordinate the importance of the rule of law to their ideological fervor was captured best in words given by the author of “A Man For All Seasons” to Sir Thomas More.

When More’s zealous son-in-law proposed that he would cut down any law in England that served as an obstacle to his hot pursuit of the devil, More replied: “And when the last law was cut down and the devil turned round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast-man’s laws, not God’s-and if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?”

The Senate leaders remind me of More’s son-in-law. They are now proposing to cut down a rule that has stood for more than two centuries as a protection for unlimited debate. It has been used for devilish purposes on occasion in American history, but far more frequently, it has been used to protect the right of a minority to make its case.

Extract- but you should really read the whole thing:

Giving judicial nominations reaching the floor an up or down vote, that is, exercising our role of advice and consent through voting on nominations, helps us resist the temptation of turning our check on the President’s power into a force that can destroy the President’s power and upset the Constitution’s balance.

Historically, we have followed this standard. When Republicans ran the Senate under President Clinton, we gave each of his judicial nominations reaching the floor a final confirmation decision. We took cloture votes, that is, votes to end debate, on just four of the hundreds of nominees reaching us here. All four were confirmed.

In fact, even on the most controversial appeals court nominations by President Clinton, the Republican leadership used cloture votes to prevent filibusters and ensure up or down votes, exactly the opposite of how cloture votes are used today.

Confirm Them tries to stay on top of the issues here.

Here’s one point:

“…about California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown… the DNC says this:

Brown On Seniors: Cannibalizing Their Grandchildren. Brown: “Today’s senior citizens blithely cannibalize their grandchildren because they have a right to get as much ‘free’ stuff as the political system will permit them to extract.” [pfaw.org; Dissenting opinion in Stevenson v. Superior Court, 941 P.2d 1157,1177, 1187 (Cal. 1997)]

If you look up that court case, you will not find anything remotely like those quoted words.* It’s as simple as that. Period. Nevertheless, this blatantly false information is being circulated by the DNC here, and here. It’s also on Minority Leader Reid’s official web site here. It’s just shameful.

In reality, Justice Brown never wrote those words in a judicial opinion.

It’s possible she said it as a private citizen, which is different from a judicial ruling. There’s a link to a PDF file which might have some further information and context about that, but I can’t get it to work. If you do, you can give me the gist of it in the comments section.

Powerline remarks on Frist’s attempt to work out a compromise. Good stuff there.

Patterico has a bizarre statement from Barack Obama, Senator from Illinois. According to the L.A. Times, Obama

denounced Frist’s offer as insincere, saying that if it were a serious compromise, conservative activists would be unhappy.

That’s the L.A. Times, so it may not be true, although usually the LAT’s distortions are calculated to make the right look silly, not the left, and this statement certainly is a silly one, as Patterico says. What a standard! “If it doesn’t make the people I don’t like angry, then it’s not a compromise.”

Grownups understand that compromise is sometimes something that must happen and there is no point in pouting and sulking over it. I think this was a serious compromise, and conservative groups are behaving like adults in accepting it.

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BYTUENE Mershe ant Averil

Last year Pipsqueak and JennyAnyDots began reading through the Oxford Book of English Verse. Our hard copy was my grandmother’s, and I always think there’s something special about using the same books she used.

They chose one of the older poems and tried to rewrite it into modern English.

Their ‘translation’ is further down. This is the original, but don’t give up on it- keep scrolling down for their translation:

Allysoun
BYTUENE Mershe ant Averil
When spray biginneth to spring,
The lutel foul hath hire wyl
On hyre lud to synge:
Ich libbe in love-longinge

For semlokest of alle thynge,
He may me blisse bringe,
Icham in hire bandoun.
An hendy hap ichabbe y-hent,
Ichot from hevene it is me sent,
From alle wymmen my love is lent
Ant lyht on Alisoun.

On heu hire her is fayr ynoh,
Hire browe broune, hire eye blake;
With lossum chere he on me loh;
With middel smal ant wel y-make;
Bote he me wolle to hire take
For to buen hire owen make,
Long to lyven ichulle forsake
Ant feye fallen adoun.
An hendy hap, etc.

Nihtes when I wende and wake,
For-thi myn wonges waxeth won;
Levedi, al for thine sake
Longinge is y-lent me on.
In world his non so wyter mon
That al hire bountè telle con;
Hire swyre is whittore than the swon,
Ant feyrest may in toune.
An hendy hap, etc.

Icham for wowyng al for-wake,
Wery so water in wore;
Lest eny reve me my make
Ichabbe y-yerned yore.
Betere is tholien whyle sore
Then mournen evermore.
Geynest under gore,
Herkne to my roun—
An hendy hap, etc.

There is a small glossary on the page with the poem, which helped them make some sense of it. We also looked at the Luminarium site for a little more help.

I suggested they try to translate just one stanza into more modern usage. They ended up spending most of their day on the project, because they decided to try their hand with the entire poem. I was pleased that they were interested enough in the project that they went far beyond my original suggestion, although I wonder if I ought not to have insisted that the lay aside the poetry and complete other tasks.

There were some slightly archaic words that they didn’t update. I think this was because they didn’t realize how uncommon those words are, being rather familiar with what some would consider archaic word usage.

Here’s what they came up with (typos are probably mine):

Allison
Between March and April
When rain cometh with spring
The little fowl have their will
in their language to sing:

I live in love-longing for the lovliest of all creatures
May she bring me delight
For I am her serf.
of a Gracious chance I have caught
I know it is from Heaven sent.
From all women my love has went
and lighted on Alison.

In hue her hair is fair enough
Her brow is brown, her eyes are black.
In lovesome cheer she with me laughs.
Her middle is small and well-made.
Unless she will take me for to be her own mate
The longing to live I will forsake
And like to die falling down
A gracious chance I have enjoyed (etc)

Nightly when I turn and wake
On that acount my cheeks grow wan
Lady, for your sake,
Longing has come upon me
In this world is none so wise a man
That all her excellence can tell
Her neck is whiter than the swan
An fairest maid in the town
A gracious chance etc.

I am for worrying always awake
Weary as water in a weir lest anyone rob me of my mate
I have long been distressed
Better to endure while still sore than
Mourn evermore
Fairest in woman’s clothes,
Harken to my tale.
A gracious chance I have enjoyed.

As I said, I wonder about whether I did the right thing by allowing them to set aside all their other work to work on this one poem. On the one hand perhaps that was a poor lesson in pacing, in diligence, in self discipline. On the other hand, they closeted themselves together in my room, cheerfully and happily spending hours devoted to medieval poetry. What mother could complain about that?
Hendy hap, etc!
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The Birds Formerly Known as Extinct

Hello.

The Equuschick was going to write a long, thoughtful, and no doubt, very profound post on the “rediscovery” (what kind a word is that, anyway) of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.

It is indeed a fascinating subject, one that raises many of the usual questions about the veracity of science in general, and one day in the near future she hopes to provide more on the subject than the following links-

Ivory Billed Woodpecker Rediscovered in Arkansas
Extinct Woodpecker Rediscovered (DHM: Well it isn’t very extinct then, is it? What a silly headline)
Rare Woodpecker’s Home Remote, Dangerous

But the Equuschick has a head-cold of immense proportions and was having trouble concentrating on above articles, so instead she drank Alka-Seltzer, fell asleep, woke up, and watched “The Man From Snowy River” on the couch while her jaw hung slack and drool ran down her chin.

She suspects also that her brain was fried, but she awaits documentation.

Lest any of you should be concerned, the Equuschick is aware that “The Man From Snowy River” is the Original Movie Without a Plot, with Mediocre Dialogue and Similar Acting, and PC Themes Galore.

But the Equuschick is the Equuschick for a reason, and if time would permit, she would watch “The Man From Snowy Rider” once daily just to watch those Hottie Aussies ride.

*reads Hottie Aussie phrase*

DHM, raising her eyebrows: Do you mean the Aussies are hot, or do you mean the horses are hot?

Equuschick (sniffling, sneezing, and talking through a very stuffy nose): I don’t know. You choose.

The documentation we’ve all been waiting for is in, and the Equuschick’s brain is fried. Very fried.

Goodbye.

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I Never Saw A Moor

I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet know I how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.

I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were given.

Emily Dickenson

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Did you miss the Crocheted Doll Post?

JennyAnyDots blogged earlier about crocheting a doll. But she saved it in the drafts for me to proofread (shh, don’t laugh, I proofread other people’s work much better than my own).

I didn’t get to that until just now, and that means that when we clicked ‘publish’ her post was inserted into the space where it would have been if she’d published it when she wrote it- about five or six posts down. So if you missed it, go ahead and click HERE, and that should take you right to her post.

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