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Former AG Ed Meese to Speak at GMU Law School:

Next Wednesday, April 18, former Attorney General Edwin Meese III will speak at the GMU Law School at 5:00 p.m. on the subject of "Reclaiming the Constitution -- Originalism Today." The speech is sponsored by The Federalist Society and the GMU Law SchoolL

In a 1985 speech to the American Bar Association, Attorney General Meese sparked a dramatic public debate on the question of constitutional interpretation. In reviewing Supreme Court decisions in the areas of federalism, criminal procedure, and religious freedom before the American Bar Association, the Attorney General urged that the Court be guided by a "jurisprudence of original intention."

Twenty-two years after his original address, former Attorney General Meese will again take up the issue, reflecting on the current status of constitutional interpretation and questioning how the judiciary can return to the principle of federalism.

M. Simon (mail) (www):
Do you mean the Ed Meese of the Meese Commission?

I don't thaink that worked out as planned.
4.13.2007 4:23pm
gab:
No, he means this Meese:

"Meese knew that the 1985 HAWK transaction, in which the National Security Council staff and the Central Intelligence Agency were directly involved without a presidential covert-action Finding authorizing their involvement, raised serious legal questions. The President was potentially exposed to charges of illegal conduct if he was knowledgeable of the shipment and had not reported it to Congress, under the requirements of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and in the absence of a Finding...When Meese got answers in his inquiry that did not support his defense of the President, he apparently ignored them, as he did with Secretary of State George P. Shultz's revelation on November 22 that the President had told him that he had known of the HAWK shipment in advance."

Oh wait, it's the same Meese.
4.13.2007 4:36pm
Richard Gould-Saltman (mail):
... that would also be Ed "You don't have many suspects who are innocent of a crime. That's contradictory. If a person is innocent of a crime, then he is not a suspect" Meese?
4.13.2007 4:44pm
fishbane (mail):
That would also be the freedom loving, Constitution supporting Ed Meese:

Meese Commission officials contacted convenience store chains and succeeded in demanding that widespread men's magazines such as Playboy and Penthouse be removed from shelves, a ban which spread nationally until being quashed with a First Amendment admonishment against prior restraint by the D.C. Federal Court in Meese v. Playboy
4.13.2007 5:15pm
Steve:
You'd think the conservative legal movement would be trying as hard as possible to stuff Ed Meese in a deep, dark hole somewhere. What an embarassment.
4.13.2007 5:22pm
Mark Field (mail):
Will he be acknowledging that he was wrong when he urged a "jurisprudence of original intention"?
4.13.2007 5:32pm
Houston Lawyer:
Meese is still knocking around large ideas long after leaving the public eye. So you don't like the fact that he doesn't like pornography. I'm sure that that hurts his feelings.
4.13.2007 5:56pm
CJColucci:
What "large ideas" has Ed Meese ever had? What "good" ideas? What ideas, period?
4.13.2007 7:08pm
gab:
But his speech is sponsored by the Federalist Society! It must be good stuff then...
4.13.2007 7:36pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
DOJ kept track of Fed Society membership in consider US Atty's:

LINK
4.13.2007 8:06pm
fishbane (mail):
Meese is still knocking around large ideas long after leaving the public eye. So you don't like the fact that he doesn't like pornography. I'm sure that that hurts his feelings.

No, in fact I could care less about Ed's feelings. I'm interested in policy, and the Constitution. Both of which seem to run aground when he attempts to make his preferences law. Seems like he's not so good as an advocate, right?
4.14.2007 1:40am
fishbane (mail):
Sorry for that bad metaphor. I'd fix it, but I think the argument stands, and my bad english should remain as a lesson to others.
4.14.2007 1:43am
David M. Nieporent (www):
DOJ kept track of Fed Society membership in consider US Atty's:
To use a famous rhetorical argument, "So? What's yer point?"

Leaving aside that there's hardly anything wrong with that -- the Federalist Society is not a secret cabal -- the only odd thing, as your own link notes, is how few of the people are Federalist Society members.
4.14.2007 6:34am
Tim Dowling (mail):
If you look back at the state of constitutional law in the late 1970s, particularly in the academy, it is remarkable how little attention scholars paid to the constitutional text, much less the original understanding. General Meese was widely ridiculed for that ABA speech and other similar speeches, and original meaning was denounced by Prof. Tribe and many others as an unattainable holy grail. Today, it would be an exaggeration to say that it's the only game in town, but text and original meaning play a far, far greater role in the public dialogue and constitutional analysis. Whether you agree or disagree with the trend, General Meese and Justice Scalia changed the dialogue. It is ahistorical to suggest that he had no large ideas.
4.14.2007 10:24am
loki13 (mail):
Tim,

There's a difference (methinks) between Scalia's originalism and Meese's originalism.

Scalia (for the most part) believes in originalism, even when it leads him to a position that he would not personally support. That originalism coincides with his beliefs, for the most part, are no accident, but he will embrace positions that are contrary to his personal beliefs if he believes that is the correct originalist position (with exceptions like Raich amply contraindicated by his rulings in criminal procedure cases and Hamdi).

Meese uses originalism to force his opinions on others, except when it leads to decisions he wouldn't like, and then he conveniently forgets about it. In other words, he doesn't believe in originalism. For Meese, originalism is just a word for enforcing his own coservative orthodoxy.
4.14.2007 4:57pm
Randy R. (mail):
Is this also the Meese that slapped a whopping $5000 fine on a large Wall Street investment banking firm for illegal trading and then proudly proclaimed that he sent a message to US companies that such behavior will not be tolerated?

I mean, even in the 80s, $5000 wasn't a lot of money.

(NB. I don't recall the actual amoung of the fine, but I remember laughing at the puny 'penalty' in light of the millions of dollars the firm was accused of raking in illegally.)
4.14.2007 5:49pm
Jerry F:
Loki13, what is the evidence that Meese only believes in originalism when it leads to outcomes that he likes? Certainly a strong argument can be made that pornography is not speech from an originalist perspective. Likewise with flag burning, even though this is not Scalia's position.
4.14.2007 7:44pm
fishbane (mail):
Certainly a strong argument can be made that pornography is not speech from an originalist perspective. Likewise with flag burning, even though this is not Scalia's position.

I would encourage you to make both of them. This is a great forum for this sort of thing.
4.15.2007 2:36am
CJColucci:
fishbane:
Nice. I've always thought that when a brief contained the phrase "a strong argument could be made," I could (and the judge would) safely ignore it.
4.15.2007 1:31pm
Jerry F:
Well, with respect to flag burning, the argument would be that the First Amendment was meant to protect oral and written communications, but not actions that have an expressive meaning. If one supports the Court's jurisprudence on expressive conduct but wants to have an exception for burning the flag, that would be hard to justify, in my view. But it seems reasonable to generally understand "speech" as only including written or oral communication.

As for pornography, there is no clear line between constitutionally protected pornography and obscenity. It seems that if Meese wants to argue that pornography is not protected by the First Amendment, he can just offer a broader view of what falls under obscenity and argue that pornography, unlike constitutionally protected speech, is not intended to convey a thought or idea but merely to serve as an aide to masturbation.

Note that I previously used language "a strong argument can be made" because I am aware that you may win the argument on the merits, but I am just arguing that a reasonable, non-hypocritical person can make these arguments. Do you agree that it is different for you to say "Meese is wrong" than to say "Meese is a hypocrite" and that it should be easier for me to disprove you on the later than on the former?
4.15.2007 5:30pm