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VP Candidates on Roe v. Wade and Federalism:


Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. The VP Candidates on Roe & Federalism:
  2. VP Candidates on Roe v. Wade and Federalism:
Rod Blaine (mail):
Violence against born women - Federal legislation! Violence against unborn women... meh.
10.2.2008 12:12am
gwinje:
Any of the profs care to weigh in on grades? I'd go B- for Biden and ask Palin if there was something going on in her life that might make her want to take a semester off.
10.2.2008 12:13am
Dan M.:
Pop quiz time!

Though it is odd that she didn't at least mention the recent case over punitive damages that she's publicly criticized.
10.2.2008 12:16am
hawkins:
Ouch, I actually felt bad for her
10.2.2008 12:18am
egn (mail):

Violence against born women - Federal legislation! Violence against unborn women... meh


Is that supposed to be a jab? Being pro-choice, I think that's about right, even if it's a bit more glib than I'd like.
10.2.2008 12:18am
roy (mail):
That was bad. Couric has been criticized lately, but frankly I'm proud of her for keeping a straight face and not rolling her eyes.

And after Biden's defense of the Violence Against Women Act, I wonder how he feels about Raich.
10.2.2008 12:24am
GMUSL '07 Alum (mail):
Of course, Biden, as he keeps reminding us, is a Constitutional Law Professor!!!!!!! Palin obviously isn't, nor does she hold herself out to be one.

Biden's argument re: Morrison, though it answered the question, doesn't even address the majority opinion -- you can't aggregate non-economic activity to under the "substantial effect" prong.
10.2.2008 12:30am
MarkField (mail):

Though it is odd that she didn't at least mention the recent case over punitive damages that she's publicly criticized.


Or the Exxon Valdez case, which would seem to be right up her alley so to speak (oil and Alaska).
10.2.2008 12:31am
MarkField (mail):
Oops. Unless Exxon Valdez is the one you meant. If so, sorry.
10.2.2008 12:32am
Jerry F:
Could there be a better example of a comparison between (1) an impressive sounding answer that is absolutely full of nonsense (and dangerous nonsense at that) and (2) a pathetic-sounding answer that is absolutely correct?

Commentators had so far been arguing that Palin couldn't name a Supreme Court case other than Roe. It is at least comforting to see that this was not at all what the Q&A was about; rather, she didn't want to say which case she disagrees with (and given what happened to Bork, I can't say I blame her).
10.2.2008 12:34am
Smokey:
All the Nancy Pelosi worshipers seem to be terrified of Sarah Palin.

Maybe they should stop and think about why 90+% of Alaskans approve of Gov. Palin -- including over 70% of Democrats.

Maybe the partisan commenters here are taking their marching orders/talking points from inside the beltway?
10.2.2008 12:36am
finman:
Couric should've asked Palin if she knows how many justices are on the Supreme Court or whether she even knows which branch of government the President is a part of.
10.2.2008 12:38am
js5 (mail):
Jerry, you're assuming she had one in mind at the time.

Are you saying, with such little knowledge that we have of her, that its better for her to continue to not say anything??? Jaysus, like Sullivan has been saying, this isn't Russia. Although, our country seems to be slouching towards Moscow.
10.2.2008 12:38am
Jerry F:
And to recap, Palin demonstrates a sense that the U.S. Constitution involves, among other things, a balance of power that recognizes states' rights; Biden does not seem to understand that the Constitution means anything beyond his own policy preferences. It's a mystery to me how any lawyer anywhere can believe that he gave a more sophisticated answer (though I would expect any member of the general public to find Biden's answer far more convincing).
10.2.2008 12:41am
Snaphappy:
So Jerry, you think that it's "absolutely correct" that the constitution has a right to privacy?
10.2.2008 12:46am
Jerry F:
"Are you saying, with such little knowledge that we have of her, that its better for her to continue to not say anything???"

Honestly, js5, I don't know. There was an interesting post on Powerline earlier this week on how we live under a new form of government structure, not a democracy but a "mediated democracy" in which a small group of people (who are not "elite" by any traditional measure like intelligence or wealth) control the media, shape public opinion, and succeed in getting their candidates elected even when their policies in no way represent the views of the average American. In short, if she makes an intelligent conservative argument against Griswold, Lawrence, and other activists cases, she is doomed like Robert Bork; if she says nothing, she looks like an idiot. I don't see any solution for conservatives, frankly. Perhaps if Murdoch had bought the NYT instead of the WSJ there would be some hope for us.
10.2.2008 12:46am
TomK:
Palin isn't a lawyer, and she should just confess that she doesn't have a list of case names committed to memory but would be happy to give her opinion on a particular issue (rather than just a case name).

I don't doubt that she has opinions on issues and, frankly that is what we should be asking a political candidate so we can judge whether she shares the positions we voters hold. For example, Couric could have asked her whether she thinks the constitution should guarantee the right of a woman to have an abortion. While Palin probably couldn't give a details exposition on the constitution, she could say that she believes that she does not believe the constitution protects the right to abortion, but rather that is a matter that should be left to the states (that is essentially what she said).

Whenever Palin is asked to recite facts that she doesn't know (e.g., ethics legislation McCain has passed, what is the Bush Doctrine, names of Supreme Court cases), she tends to try to come up with something and ends up rambling and looking stupid. I can't see it being worse for her to just admit she doesn't know the quiz answers. I think Bush didn't look THAT bad when he didn't know the answers to questions about world leaders when he was a candidate, certainly not worse than if he had given a rambling answer trying to fake knowledge.
10.2.2008 12:50am
Psalm91 (mail):
"Smokey:

Maybe they should stop and think about why 90+% of Alaskans approve of Gov. Palin -- including over 70% of Democrats."

Those are numbers which pre-date the McCain campaign's takeover of the government of the sovereign state of Alaska. That raises an interesting federalism question, along with those relating to the unauthorized practice of law by the McCain lawyers.

I suppose there is no reason that someone who is unaware of any other USSC decisions save Roe, and has never read any decisions at all, or anything else about constitutional law, can be knowledgeable about the subject. You guys have pretty high standards.
10.2.2008 12:50am
Jerry F:
Fair enough, snaphappy. I overstated my point; no, I do not believe that there is a right to privacy.
10.2.2008 12:52am
Smokey:
[Deleted by OK. Smokey, can you jack someone else's thread?]
10.2.2008 12:53am
Mike& (mail):
I know more about both issues than both candidates. And I'm willing to wager, 99.% of people - including those educated in the issue. And that makes me qualified to be Vice President.... how?

Also worth nothing: Obama is brilliant. He was also in bed with Fannie and Freddie. We are facing another Great Depression because of Fannie and Freddie.

So....... Obama's brains are good for this country.... how?

I think one of the hacks at the Right Coast got it right: Dumb and well-intentioned is often preferable to smart and evil.
10.2.2008 12:56am
Smokey:
Psalm91:
"Those are numbers which pre-date the McCain... [blah, blah, etc."]
So, where are your poll results? Or do they only consist of your crossing your fingers?
10.2.2008 12:57am
Mike& (mail):
Violence against born women - Federal legislation! Violence against unborn women... meh

Quite apt, if you believe that life begins at conception. If not, then it's a red herring.
10.2.2008 12:58am
Cornellian (mail):
Palin isn't a lawyer, and she should just confess that she doesn't have a list of case names committed to memory but would be happy to give her opinion on a particular issue (rather than just a case name).

Any high school civics student should be aware of cases like Lochner, Dred Scott and Brown v Board of Ed.

And what about Kelo? Heller? Does she never read the news? Oh, right.
10.2.2008 1:00am
Nunzio:
Perhaps Palin could've said she disagreed with Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania v. Casey, as well. Maybe tossed in Stenberg v. Carhart.

As for Uncle Joe, I think the Supreme Court in Morrison should've taken the 14th Amendment Sec. 5 argument more seriously. There's strong evidence that, historically, part of the 14th Amendment was to allow Congress to criminalize violence against blacks if the states refused to protect them through inaction. Perhaps if VAWA had a federal criminal component, instead of just the civil remedy, the Court would've taken the issue on more directly.

It's interesting, though, that Biden focuses only on the commerce clause holding of the case. That holding seems much more solid than the Sec. 5 holding.

Personally, I would love if one of them had said Cheek v. United States.
10.2.2008 1:01am
Mike& (mail):
Though it is odd that she didn't at least mention the recent case over punitive damages that she's publicly criticized.

Not everyone walks around with case cites in their pockets. I know few cases by name. I know a lot of doctrine, though; So when I need the case, 10 seconds on Westlaw or even Google will get me the case name.

Still, if you asked me to name a case I really don't like, I'd more than likely say, "The one allowing pretextual stops." I'd need a second to say Whren (and if under pressure, might forget the name altogether).

I'm not saying that's the case with Palin. I am saying that there is at least one alternative theory for why she might know about a case with a result she didn't like - even if she can't come up with the case style.
10.2.2008 1:02am
MarkField (mail):

Palin isn't a lawyer, and she should just confess that she doesn't have a list of case names committed to memory but would be happy to give her opinion on a particular issue (rather than just a case name).


I agree with this. Even lawyers don't always remember the case name. But she should at least be able to give a Friends-type response: "Katie I can't remember the name off the top of my head, but I disagree with the one where...".
10.2.2008 1:03am
Eric Muller (www):
Dred Scott.

Plessy v. Ferguson.

Korematsu.

Kelo.
10.2.2008 1:03am
Jerry F:
Yeah, Cornellian, it would be a very smart political move to say that Brown v. Board (or Heller) is one of the key cases that she disagrees with...
10.2.2008 1:03am
Bama 1L:
George W. Bush's go-to bad decision was Dred Scott. As I recall that played really well. There was even a supposition that it resounded with the pro-life community as a sort of code for Roe. Did Palin get the reference back then?

And how did Palin forget Exxon Shipping v. Bakke, which she denounced at the time? Maybe she now opposes punitive damages and thinks the case was, indeed, rightly decided.
10.2.2008 1:04am
cd:
Jerry F: John Roberts said at his confirmation hearing that he agrees with Griswold's conclusion that the constitution protects a right to privacy (at least within marriage) that "extends to contraception and the availability of that." Does that make Roberts an activist justice?
10.2.2008 1:07am
quixoticneophyte:
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned that Palin held a press conference in DC on the Exxon Mobil/Valdez oil spill case. She also spoke out strongly against the decision when it came out (it denied punitives to the Alaskans, and they weren't very happy).

So here's a question, was she simply trying to come up with a case from the history books, or was she intentionally playing coy?
10.2.2008 1:07am
SMatthewStolte (mail):
It seems like Palin has a hell of a time bullshitting the American people, but everyone seems to think she has to. I wish she would just answer, "no, I can't give you specifics right now, because I haven't reviewed the decisions, but I can tell you that I believe in Federalism, which, unlike abortion, is written into the constitution."

Do you think it's fair to take this interview as evidence that Palin wants to read the commerce clause relatively narrowly, whether or not she's very good at saying this?

I'm not clear why Biden thinks Roe has come as close as possible to a national consensus, though. On its face, it sounds like rubbish, but maybe it's true. I wonder if there are any societies as heterogeneous as ours that deal with the issue of abortion through a legislative process. Can we actually test Biden's claim? (I don't know, btw. I'm asking).
10.2.2008 1:08am
Wang Chung (mail):
Palin's answer on Roe v. Wade is revealing in two ways:

1) She appears completely unaware that a "right to privacy" was involved in the decision.

2) She seems to believe that states have jurisdiction in interpreting federal constitutional rights.

Considering that opposition to abortion is her best (only?) known policy position, this is rather striking.
10.2.2008 1:09am
Bama 1L:
I think a realistic high-school civics list is:
Marbury
McCullough
Dred Scott (bad)
Plessy (bad)
Brown

A good current-events "bad" list is:
Bakke (inexplicably forgotten by Palin)
Kelo
Kennedy (denounced by both McCain and Obama when decided)
10.2.2008 1:09am
js5 (mail):
Jerry. Right on. I recommend watching a movie called "Network". you can find clips of it on youtube. it hits on exactly what you've mentioned. But it was made in the late 70's suprisingly.

Psalm91: it would have just been honest of her to say, "I don't know". We shouldn't expect her to know. Except she's hyped up her own experience to the point that she herself feels like she's got opinions on things we all know she doesn't.

On that tip, does reciting something you've been told make you 'understand' or 'demonstrate' that you know it? I doubt it. I wish I could say yes, but not in this case. Her answers so far have been snippets of power words, strung together, sometimes coherently, sometimes not. The mere mention of "state's rights" for some people instantly qualifies her. Just as the mere mention of, "overturn Roe" (despite the right to privacy she believes in), will instantly satisfy others. The effect is massive approval without further inquiry. And even when some commentators say, "hey wait a damn second,...I need to know more", they are trounced upon for getting out of line. This tactic has been monopolized by the Left for such a long period of time, and yet here we have Republicans doing it so much better.

I personally don't believe Palin has put any amount of thought into the concept and issue of state's rights. Nor do I believe she has pursued any study into the issue of 'right of privacy'. I don't think she's read Adam Smith, Hayek, Friedman, Rand, Sowell, or any other serious conservative or libertarian thinker in our era.

I strongly feel this is tantamount to having a Hannity Radio Show listern step up to the national stage. Yes, you know the sound bytes. Yes, you know the buzz words. Yes, you kinda know why liberals can be wrong in most cases. But do you REALLY understand what you're saying, the positions you take and the foundations thereof???? My guess is that, probably no, she does not. And while this alone is incredibly bothersome, it is slightly moreso when she tries to 'act as if'. I don't expect a dissertation worthy of a PhD in Economics from UChicago, but I do expect that she not act like a robot.
10.2.2008 1:09am
Simon P:
Which is worse: An underappreciation of the fact that the Constitution contemplates that states will have the weight of the authority to regulate things like domestic violence, or an underappreciation of the fact that the Constitution adopts a framework of rights and protections that are supposed to transcend individual state regimes?

In terms of federalism, I think both are a little off. Biden's sloppy Commerce-Clause argument could plausibly justify a great expansion of the power of the central government. That kind of expansion was likely not anticipated (or really desired) by our Founders, but several decades of precedent have established that the Commerce Clause does have an extremely broad reach, and it seems that much of the academy at least recognizes that this reflects a better view of "federalism" for our modern economy. That is to say, our economy is now truly national; our expansive Commerce Clause tracks that. The power is more expansive now than it was when it was drafted, but that's at least plausibly a good thing.

Palin's view on states' rights and constitutional rights—setting aside whether the Constitution actually contains a privacy right which reaches the right to have an abortion—in some ways is more consistent with the original view. That is, I think we can make the case that the Founders intended states and state courts, first, to follow the Constitution, but that they didn't necessarily have to do so in a uniform way, or even in a way that necessarily followed a single view on the Constitution articulated by the Supreme Court. There may even be something to be said for that view in our contemporary legal culture; states like New York and California have to live with the same Constitutional structure which governs Texas and Georgia, with the result that perhaps no state is fully satisfied with the Supreme Court's constitutional jurisprudence.

But Palin's view is obviously out of place in the state of constitutional law we have now. For better or for worse, we have a Constitution that grants Congress expansive Commerce-Clause authority to legislate and that protects a healthy bundle of rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, for all citizens, everywhere. Biden's attempted use of the Commerce Clause to authorize VAWA pushed at the limits of the caselaw, but Palin's (and she shares her view with McCain) couldn't even attempt to place her "states' rights" argument within any strand of existing cases, even if she had a sound understanding of the law.

Her view also, I think, ought to strike us as a greater threat to our notions of justice, fairness, or the values embodied in the notion of "federalism," whatever those might be. While Biden does not seem to have much respect for federalist values, Palin's approach to individual rights is dangerous in a legal culture that is predominantly not federalist. I think "national" rights are an important check on our overpowered, "national" system of government; it worries me that Palin doesn't appreciate that.

Oh, and also, as a snark—it might be worth pointing out that Palin doesn't much respect women's rights to be free from domestic violence on a state level, either, considering she has rejected funding for rape kits (because they contained "emergency contraception"). The discussion of federalism aside, I find Biden's approach at least more humane.
10.2.2008 1:10am
John Thacker (mail):
Of course, as pointed out, both
Justice Roberts and
Justice Alito claimed in their confirmation hearings that the Constitution protects a "right to privacy."

ROBERTS: Senator, I do. The right to privacy is protected under the Constitution in various ways.


ALITO: Senator, I do agree that the Constitution protects a right to privacy.


It's obvious to me that the Fourth Amendment protections, among others, protect a right to privacy. I don't particularly see that it necessarily applies to abortion, but "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures," is clearly a right aimed, among other things, at protecting privacy.

Going from that to automatically assuming that someone's conceded that abortion is protected is like asking someone if they agree with the Declaration of Independence that "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" are inalienable rights, and if they say yes arguing that they've conceded that there's a "right to life" and must support making abortion illegal.
10.2.2008 1:10am
Mike& (mail):
There's strong evidence that, historically, part of the 14th Amendment was to allow Congress to criminalize violence against blacks if the states refused to protect them through inaction.

There's a whole line of affirmative duties cases out there. Start with DeShaney (or, if you're like me, just remember, "Poor Joshua!") Long story short: If the Court had held that inaction was actionable, the floodgates of litigation would have been opened due to 42 U.S.C. 1983. (Because, Congress can only act under Sec. 5 if there is an actual right at issue. Thus, if the Court had held that Congress had the Section 5 power, it would have to have also held that there was an affirmative right to state protection.)

So there was quite a bit going on beyond the obvious federalism issue.
10.2.2008 1:12am
John Thacker (mail):
Oh, and also, as a snark—it might be worth pointing out that Palin doesn't much respect women's rights to be free from domestic violence on a state level, either, considering she has rejected funding for rape kits (because they contained "emergency contraception").


Is this a new ridiculous take on the repeatedly debunked rape kit claim (that's Slate's XX Factor, no fan of Palin, debunking it there), or something else?
10.2.2008 1:13am
Bama 1L:
I wonder if there are any societies as heterogeneous as ours that deal with the issue of abortion through a legislative process. Can we actually test Biden's claim?

European countries that legalized abortion through the legislative process follow something close to the trimester scheme articulated in Roe and recounted by Biden. They have abortion-on-demand early but strict limitations later on. Recall that the trimester scheme in Roe was never really implemented in the 70s and 80s, because the Court kept striking down late-term restrictions that Roe seemed to allow.

Could you explain what "heterogeneous" means here and why it's important?
10.2.2008 1:14am
Eric Muller (www):
But John, Katie C. asked Palin whether she believes there's a fundamental right to privacy.

And to put a finer point on it, after Palin astonishingly said "yes," Katie C. went back and pointed out that this fundamental right was the cornerstone of Roe. And still Palin plowed ahead with her affirmative answer.
10.2.2008 1:14am
theobromophile (www):
Anyone else notice that Biden got Roe wrong? He claims that states are allowed "some impact" during the second trimester to regulate women's health, but forgets that Roe's companion case, Doe, ensures that "health" means anything which would convince a doctor that an abortion is in a women's best interests. Functionally, states have almost no control over the second trimester, either. Finally, Biden seems to imply that the government must prevent third-trimester abortions ("weight is on the foetus being carried"), as opposed to the reality, in which state governments are perfectly free to allow abortion right up until birth.
10.2.2008 1:15am
Mike& (mail):
But John, Katie C. asked Palin whether she believes there's a fundamental right to privacy.

And to put a finer point on it, after Palin astonishingly said "yes," Katie C. went back and pointed out that this fundamental right was the cornerstone of Roe. And still Palin plowed ahead with her affirmative answer.


Just because you believe there is a right to privacy does not mean you believe that the right to abortion follows from it.

Even John Roberts, in his confirmation hearings, said he believed in the right to martial privacy. That doesn't make him pro-choice/pro-abortion.

I believe in the fundamental right to self-defense. This doesn't mean I think that, after defending yourself, you get to stomp the guy in the head when he's down on the ground.
10.2.2008 1:18am
js5 (mail):
John, it hasn't been repeatedly debunked. it has been debunked once. and within the last week. but that does not mitigate anything that we've been talking about her, and it does not absolve Palin from the obvious lack of understanding of anything outside of energy issues.
10.2.2008 1:20am
Nunzio:
Thanks, Mike&. DeShaney was from 1989.

I was thinking more about the 1880s when the Civil Rights cases were decided, wrongly by many scholars' views.

It's one thing to say the state has an affirmative duty to protect someone and quite another to say that when a state continually ignores crimes committed against individuals based on their status as a member of a particular group that Congress can step in and make murder, rape, etc. a federal crime even when committed by a non-state actor and also provide a civil remedy against that non-state actor.
10.2.2008 1:24am
Wang Chung (mail):
To those who have pointed out here and elsewhere that Roberts, Alito, and others have stated they believe the constitution contains a "right to privacy":

The issue with Palin's answer is not that conceding a right to privacy is technically inconsistent with favoring the criminalization of abortion. The issue is that she was not familiar with the major conceptual underpinning of the decision in Roe v. Wade, about which liberals and conservatives have been arguing for decades.

If she was, she could have simply answered, as some on this thread have, "Katie, while I believe that there are various protections for privacy in the constitution, I believe the Court overreached in Roe v. Wade." Instead, she simply ignored the issue and launched into a spiel on states rights. It looked as if she had never heard the words "Roe" and "privacy" in the same sentence before. Isn't that strange for the new star of the pro-life movement?
10.2.2008 1:25am
nicestrategy (mail):
Regardless of text, Roe deals with a conflict of natural rights, and while I appreciate why many will object to Biden's answer, it is grounded in principle and a sense that the law serves the people and not the other way around. The presumption that Constitutional interpretation must be bound only by legal analysis with no regard to political outcomes or broader principles of justice is not something lawyers, much less the American public, agree on, so holding him to your own standard is fine if you are judging his politics and whether you want to vote for him, but sounds a little desperate as if you are speaking from authority as Constitutional experts who know exactly what it means, how it was originally intended, and what modes of interpretation are legitimate. I respect that VC folks will in general object to Biden's orientation to the subject but the self-righteous outrage over how one interprets the best way to interpret ends up looking like a euphemism for politics. My grade for Biden, without having done any personal research on Morrsion: somewhere between A- and B.

Palin's answer basically speaks for itself. Once again, I expect a candidate for VP to know approximately as much as a typical high school student with an interest in politics. Grade: D, charity points for recognizing that repealing Roe wouldn't outlaw abortions nationwide, which is a common misconception (of high school students before they are taught). The 2nd part of her answer is beyond pathetic.
10.2.2008 1:25am
Angus:
The main GOP talking point on these interviews seems to be that Palin was awful, but that's OK because Biden was wrong too. Except that Biden wasn't wrong, he just has a reasonable interpretation that diverges from the pro-life crowd's interpretation.

Of course, there is the occasional criticism of Biden's answer that's just flat out wrong, like Ramesh Ponnuru at the Corner, who wrote: He seems to be under the impression that there's a "liberty clause" in the Fourteenth Amendment.

Well, Ramesh, that's probably because there is such a clause in the 14th Amendment:
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
10.2.2008 1:26am
Simon P:
John Thacker: Fair enough. I should have known to look up some support for that claim before I relied on something-I-heard-from-somewhere.

Rest of my comment stands, though.
10.2.2008 1:32am
js5 (mail):
Angus + Nicestrategy, may I extrapolate upon your points? There's something to be said when reasonable, prudent minds disagree on narrow issues and important intrepretations. Palin is not in that arena, and at best, it's quesitonable if she was ever a spectator until the beginning of September.

Also, I don't believe Ramesh made such an error. I just can't. Really???

At this point, I'm wondering how much control Palin believes the government should have over an individuals body?
10.2.2008 1:32am
deepthought:
Smokey sez:

So, where are your poll results? Or do they only consist of your crossing your fingers?

The most recent poll shows her overall approval rating at 68 percent. From the Anchorage Daily News (one of many newspapers read by Sarah Palin):


Since John McCain tapped the first-term governor to be his vice-presidential running mate, Palin's sky-high home-state approval ratings have come down to Earth.

Above 80 percent approval for parts of her term -- she was at 82 percent in a key local poll twice this year -- Palin's popularity has swooned as new information about the local abuse-of-power investigation known as Troopergate has trickled out, and as national and local media pick over her track record as a governor and small-town mayor.

. . . . Inside those numbers was a dramatic drop in support from Democrats and independents, although support from Republicans remained strong at 93 percent. Among Democrats, her approval rating dropped from 60 percent to 36 percent, a 24-point drop. Among independents, it fell from 82 percent to 64 percent, an 18-point drop.



It will be a different Alaska when she returns on Nov. 5th.
10.2.2008 1:35am
nicestrategy (mail):

Anyone else notice that Biden got Roe wrong? (etc.)


As a translation of Roe's details for a general audience, it stands up. The State can, but does not have to, claim an interest on behalf of the fetus in the 3rd trimester. As another pointed out, that trimester scheme was not really implemented.
--
Roberts and Alito stating that they believe in a right to privacy doesn't mean that they really believe that the Constitution protects much in the way of privacy. As far as I'm concerned, they were simply avoiding being Borked, that is, giving an honest answer about Griswold's rationale and finding out that the country won't stand for a SC justice that thinks States could bar contraception and the federal government shouldn't be able to say that such a law is totally insane. Biden, as I recall, set that trap, and thank goodness he did, as Bork has proved himself to be an bitter ideologue with a high IQ unfit to serve the nation.
10.2.2008 1:35am
Kelly (mail):
Any real fundie should have been able to rail against Planned Parenthood v. Casey or Lawrence v. Texas.

It's amusing watching usually smart conservatives (Ponnuru et al) try to fill in the blanks on her privacy answer to make it remotely consistent with their constitutional philosophy. Apparently while mangling the actual Constitution in order to assert that Biden said something nonsensical as well.
10.2.2008 1:40am
Mike& (mail):
I was thinking more about the 1880s when the Civil Rights cases were decided, wrongly by many scholars' views.

You know, that would make for a great game of, Gotcha!

Senator Biden: Do you think the Civil Rights Cases were wrongly decided; and if so, why?

You could spin his answer either way. "How could you not want to protect blacks from private discrimination!?" Or, "How could you support federal intrusion into local affairs!?"

Spinning is all most seem to want to do, anyway.
10.2.2008 1:40am
Michael J.Z. Mannheimer (mail):
Biden's answer on Roe was pretty bad, but no worse than some Supreme Court decisions themselves — I'm thinking Dickerson v. U.S. (Miranda should not be overruled because it has become part of our "national culture"). But Palin's answer was just god-awful, off-the-charts bad. She can't name a single Supreme Court decision she disagrees with? Is it too much to ask that someone running for Vice-President know something about the Supreme Court cases that have shaped this Nation's constitutional doctrine?

How about Miranda? Furman? Lawrence v. Texas? Mapp? Each of these fits into her "states' rights" mantra. JUST NAME ONE!

And the comparison to Bork is just plain silly. She's not being vetted for a position in which she'll actually be able to do anything about the decisions she dislikes. No one is going to vote against a vice-presidential candidate because of her views on Supreme Court cases. Hell, Nixon's disapproval of Miranda is a big part of what got him elected.
10.2.2008 1:42am
Jerry F:
cd: "John Roberts said at his confirmation hearing that he agrees with Griswold's conclusion that the constitution protects a right to privacy (at least within marriage) that 'extends to contraception and the availability of that.' Does that make Roberts an activist justice?"

Yes, I do believe that Roberts and Alito are, to some extent, "moderate" left-wing activist judges. They do not go nearly as far as the far-Left contingent of the Court in their activism, but they do interpret the Constitution to the Left of what it says or what the framers meant to say. I would think that Bork would agree with me on this point. The difference between the most left-wing and the most right-wing Justice on the Court is the degree to which they bend the Constitution to the Left (from not at all or almost not at all, in the case of Thomas, to holding that any policy preferences are systematically ingrained in the Constitution, in the case of Justices on the other side).
10.2.2008 1:45am
js5 (mail):
Mike, if you haven't considered it yet, Palin could very well be president before the end of the year. She should definitely be held to higher scrutiny becaus of the glaring health problems McCain has had in his long life, particularly the recent ones.

What if McCain had to go in for surgery, and they had Palin take The Oath, ........ She better damn well be vetted like she's going to have some power.
10.2.2008 1:46am
kiniyakki (mail):
Bong hits 4 jesus anyone? Pretty soon everybody is going to get fed up with Alaska.
10.2.2008 1:49am
Micha Elyi (mail):
I enjoyed the remarks of the commenters who enumerated cases they believe Gov. Palin should have mentioned. By that standard Sen. "Plugs" Biden blew it because he didn't mention those cases either and Plugs makes a big deal about his ginormous IQ and one-time law professorship. (The latter must be terribly embarassing to others in the law professoring club.)
10.2.2008 1:50am
theobromophile (www):
And the comparison to Bork is just plain silly. She's not being vetted for a position in which she'll actually be able to do anything about the decisions she dislikes.

Which begs the question: why does it matter what she thinks of Supreme Court cases? If you are trying to ferret out her belief in the proper role of the federal government, the ideal ruling on abortion, or how, if something were to happen to McCain, she would select judges and justices for the federal courts, why not ask those questions directly, rather than going through the poor proxy of talking about cases that neither one of them had any role in deciding and will likely have no role in modifying?

Isn't it a question that is also remarkably slanted towards both lawyers and Art. I/Art. III persons - hard legal issues? Yes, the President will have to face those, but, unlike his or her counterparts in the other branches, does not need as deep a knowledge of the workings of the law - Presidents do not make it nor interpret it.

Did Couric ever ask Biden about his most notable executive experience? That would actually be relevant to the position that he and Palin are running for; however, she's the only one who could give a decent answer.
10.2.2008 1:51am
Random Commenter:
"Dred Scott.

Plessy v. Ferguson.

Korematsu.

Kelo."


This is just stupid, assuming it's not a simple troll. Here's a list of things anybody who's taken high-school science should be able to describe.

Boyle's Law

General Relativity

Classification of Forces in mechanics

Ohm's Law

The Michelson-Morley Experiment


How'd you do, Eric?

Expecting non-lawyers, even politicians who have to deal with issues colored by these landmark cases, to be able to recite legal cases is ridiculous. I agree with the earlier posters who opined that Palin shouldn't try to fake this stuff. I'm pretty sure the public won't blame her if she can't quote the holding in Korematsu. Good god.
10.2.2008 1:55am
Kelly (mail):
kiniyakki-

She should get a pass on Bong Hits for Jesus - she likely agreed with that outcome. There is however, another major Alaskan case that was decided while she was governor, which she is on record opposing quite vehemently (Exxon). Not being able to bring up that one is just pathetic.
10.2.2008 1:57am
kiniyakki (mail):
theobromphile,

Joining the discussion late, here is my two cents.

When I see these Palin interviews, I'm dissappointed for two reasons - her lack of knowledge and her inability to discuss an issue. If she did bad on one, and reverted to the other, it would be fine. But she can't talk about either. If she couldn't name a case, but could discuss an issue, I would be okay - but all she does is throw out a few talking points that she was fed.

And, Palin has been asked about executive experience and she talked about the National Guard and trade missions with Russia (which hardly exist and she doesn't participate in anyways). I haven't heard her say anything substantive about her executive experience.
10.2.2008 2:00am
kiniyakki (mail):

She should get a pass on Bong Hits for Jesus - she likely agreed with that outcome.

Did you mean to say "she should pass on bong hits for jesus?" Probably wouldn't matter one way or the other anyways.
10.2.2008 2:03am
Duffy Pratt (mail):
Random:

Or we could just ask whether the name Pavlov rings a bell.
10.2.2008 2:04am
js5 (mail):
Random Commmenter; if she was selected for the Chief Engineer position for Northrop Grumman, then I'd at least expect her to know those.
10.2.2008 2:06am
Dan M.:
Yes, js5, Palin could be president before the end of this December!
10.2.2008 2:11am
theobromophile (www):
kiniyakki,

Maybe I missed those interviews, but she was only asked about her foreign policy experience (which is when she mentioned Russia), not her executive experience generally. So I respectfully disagree with your conclusion.
10.2.2008 2:11am
Oren:

I'm pretty sure the public won't blame her if she can't quote the holding in Korematsu. Good god.

I wouldn't blame her, but I also wouldn't want her as President.
10.2.2008 2:14am
js5 (mail):

Yes, js5, Palin could be president before the end of this December!



That's about the scariest scenario I can think of at this time. I don't even want to think of the consequences...
10.2.2008 2:19am
Asher (mail):
I'm just surprised that no one's mentioned Boumediene. She specifically mocked Obama's support of Boumediene at a campaign event. But I guess she couldn't name the case. Couldn't she have at least said, "the case where the Court gave the detainees habeas rights?"
10.2.2008 2:23am
Bored Lawyer:

Well, Ramesh, that's probably because there is such a clause in the 14th Amendment:


Don't look now, Angus, but what you quoted is the Due Process clause. Bars the states from depriving you of your liberty without due process -- meaning that a State cannot send you to jail without a trial.

That clause does not even remotely guarantee some quantum of "liberty" in the sense of some activity which is free from State regulation -- and certainly not abortion.
10.2.2008 2:28am
LCDave (mail):
Palin could NOT be president before Bush's term ends in January. As some one who is pro-choice, I would rather have someone who doesn't know cases but reverts to states rights than someone who is positive that the Fed should have infinite power. I don't understand why pro-choice people feel that Roe was correct. Just because your side got its way doesn't make it good Constitutional law.
10.2.2008 2:32am
Michael J.Z. Mannheimer (mail):
Micha Elyi,

Did you actually watch the clip? Biden was asked to discuss a Supreme Court decision he disagreed with and he immediately mentioned the VAWA case. Palin was asked the same question and she babbled.
10.2.2008 2:36am
kiniyakki (mail):
I guess part of what I mean is that the only executive experience she has claimed has been some examples of foreign policy that are really rather lame.

The non foreign policy executive experience that she has talked about that comes to mind is giving more money to Alaskans b/c we got a lot of oil revenue last year (is it really leadership when you benefit from a good economic market?), her claim that she nixed the bridge to nowhere (demonstrated false - she didn't have much to do with that), and trying to fire the trooper gone astray (still don't know the truth about this - but best case is that she tried to get a bad trooper fired - admirable but not really a major resume boosting move). I can't think of any other executive experience she has discussed in her campaign - but I'm sure I am missing something.
10.2.2008 2:37am
Philosopher:
It's funny to see otherwise intelligent people in this thread defend what is indefensible. If only Palin was as creative and intellectually curious as all of you.

I don't think most of you really believe her answer evinced any level of knowledge of Roe v. Wade or any other Supreme Court precedent. True, she's not a lawyer, but we expect our Presidents to have some command of the basics of our history and government, as well as recent events.

That answer by Palin is shockingly bad. If it is indicative of her knowledge and ability more generally, she has no business being in the White House.

If you're partisan enough to defend this load of crap, at least offer an intellectually honest argument -- for instance, that Palin was just having a bad day or was nervous, and that she's ordinarily not so obviously unqualified to be President.
10.2.2008 2:42am
LCDave (mail):
Philosopher,
Taking your offer to put Palin as the Presidential nominee, she has, as already discussed above, addressed various decisions in the past. When put on the spot, after a few weeks of whatever the coaches have been doing to cram stuff into her brain, she failed (yes failed) to come up with the correct witty answer. That being said, she reverts to correct principles instead on Government takes all and solves all. I would rather have someone in the White House who needs to look up the right answer than someone who is sure of the wrong one.
10.2.2008 2:50am
dr:

There was an interesting post on Powerline earlier this week on how we live under a new form of government structure, not a democracy but a "mediated democracy" in which a small group of people (who are not "elite" by any traditional measure like intelligence or wealth) control the media, shape public opinion, and succeed in getting their candidates elected even when their policies in no way represent the views of the average American.


That is an interesting theory, and it would certainly explain George Bush's double success, but to be honest it sounds a little lefty for Powerline. I assume this person was pounced on?
10.2.2008 2:50am
theobromophile (www):
As for the oil money to Alaskans: you're looking at it the wrong way. The oil itself is a natural resource that belongs to the people of Alaska, not oil industries. Your rhetorical question presumes that it was merely a benefit of a good economic market, rather than a reclamation of what is rightfully due to the people of Alaska. Read more here.

Sources for your assertion that the Bridge to Nowhere nixing was demonstrably false?

How about working with Canada to get a natural gas pipeline through there down to the Lower 48? How about working with private industries to help start the largest private infrastructure project in the United States?

How 'bout ethics reforms? How gutsy do you have to be to resign from a position as head of the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission when your colleagues are engaged in ethics violations?

How 'bout that line-item veto? $268 million isn't chump change.

With all due respect, if you had not heard of any of that, you're either reading nothing but the DailyKos or not paying much attention.
10.2.2008 2:56am
theobromophile (www):
Clarification: my above comment was in response to this one:
I guess part of what I mean is that the only executive experience she has claimed has been some examples of foreign policy that are really rather lame.

Obviously, that is NOT the only executive and/or leadership experience that she has claimed.
10.2.2008 2:59am
Texas Lawyer:
Theobromophile asked:

"Did Couric ever ask Biden about his most notable executive experience? That would actually be relevant to the position that he and Palin are running for . . . ."

Last time I checked, she was running for Vice President. I believe VP Cheney has made clear that this is a Legislative Branch position--not an Executive Branch one. So, I think Sen. Biden has her beat on that.
10.2.2008 3:02am
LCDave (mail):
Texas Lawyer,
So, if Palin and McCain swapped on the ticket it would be perfect?
10.2.2008 3:05am
Texas Lawyer:
LCDave:

I'm willing to take that swap.

Are you authorized to deal?
10.2.2008 3:08am
LCDave (mail):
Texas Lawyer,
Can we wait until tomorrow night?
10.2.2008 3:09am
torrentprime (mail):
Ffrom the heterosexually-challenged wing of America: I also was amazed that she didn't come up with Lawrence v Texas. Any good in-the-trenches culture warrior for Jesus knows about that one, as it's been used (more than once, I believe) to extend gay rights. The Concerned Women for America will be so, well, concerned it didn't get a shout-out.
10.2.2008 3:10am
Texas Lawyer:
LCDave: Well played.

Torrentprime: I remember when Lawrence came out. People said that it was the end of the world. Now, a few years later, people act like this is the way it always was. The conservatives say that "I don't care what they do in the bedroom, I just don't want the state sanctioning it." Of course, pre-Lawrence, what they did in the bedroom was a felony.
10.2.2008 3:15am
Jim at FSU (mail):
I get the same sensation from listening to the two of them that I get from comparing Mccain to Obama. One guy knows what he is doing, but his heart is in the wrong place. The other guy has good intentions but no idea how the constitution works.

Biden clearly
-has great familiarity with constitutional law issues
-can make persuasive policy arguments
-can even bullshit his way around the constitutional issues
-but has everything completely backwards in terms of what the constitution means. This guy has the classic congressional disease of not understanding what is meant by Madison's phrase "The powers delegated by the proposed
Constitution to the federal government are few and defined."
-is in real trouble if the debate takes him away from this clever legal plumbing and gets him to talk about what he is trying to accomplish with it.

Palin clearly
-has never been introduced to most of these legal issues
-knows the "right" answer but can't articulate it in a constitutional framework because that isn't something she has been trained to do
-is in real trouble if the debate turns into a supreme court role play session
10.2.2008 3:16am
Jim at FSU (mail):
Also, how about Kennedy v Louisiana? Executing child rapists isn't really much of a fit with the whole "culture of life" deal, but executing people is a traditional American value that has been under concerted attack from the left since the 70s.
10.2.2008 3:19am
LCDave (mail):
Texas Lawyer,
I don't care what they do in the bedroom, but I don't think the Constitution does either. I respectfully submit that it is not a federal issue.
10.2.2008 3:20am
Texas Lawyer:
LCDave:

I think it is interesting that many conservatives thought that it was a federal issue about 5 years ago. Now, you have a hard time finding anyone who will say that a state can incarcerate a sodomite.

Maybe this is the slippery slope (albeit in my favor [by my, I mean the position I agree with, not the position I might take advantage of--not that there's anything wrong with that]). I just think it is interesting.
10.2.2008 3:27am
Jim at FSU (mail):
No, conservatives never thought it was a federal issue.

Conservatives thought anti-sodomy laws were stupid, but they were pretty much unified in opposition to finding things in the constitution that don't exist there. Liberals never seem to get that this isn't a policy debate. It's a debate about the structure of government.

Look at Thomas' dissent in Lawrence.
10.2.2008 3:33am
LCDave (mail):
Texas Lawyer,
Are you referring to the heterosexual only amendment? If so, you are absolutely correct. Although I have always been unconcerned about that because of the near impossibility of passage. The demise of the Tenth Amendment is much more of a real concern for me. This is why even though I cringed with Palin's answer in the video, I found her instincts (that she obviously defaulted to) more in line with mine. The fact that I am pro-choice pales compared to my position on federalism.
BTW it is interesting and often confusing how both parties are firmly on the side of the fence that suits them at the moment.
10.2.2008 3:36am
Texas Lawyer:
Jim @ FSU:

I remember Thomas' dissent. He said that, if he were a TX legislator, he would vote against this "uncommonly silly" law.

But, I don't hear many people saying now that--while the law may be uncommonly silly--if you have gay sex you can be put behind bars for the rest of your natural life.

Instead, I hear conservatives saying that people can do what they want in private, but the state should not recognize their relationships through marriage. So, the conservatives have given up the "it can be made illegal" ground and retreated to the "we don't have to bless it" higher ground.
10.2.2008 3:39am
Jim at FSU (mail):
What heterosexual only amendment are you guys talking about?
10.2.2008 3:40am
LCDave (mail):
Jim at FSU,
Anti-sodomy laws were a great way to add charges to sex offenders. The use against willing participants is where things went wrong.
10.2.2008 3:40am
LCDave (mail):
Jim at FSU,
I believe it was/is called something like the "defense of marriage amendment" to add an amendment stating that marriage will only be recognized in the United States between one man and one woman.
10.2.2008 3:44am
Texas Lawyer:
LCDave:

I must admit that I am not up to speed on the "heterosexual only amendment."

I may not be familiar with that title. Can you give me some context &I will respond.

But, be warned that I am on my third tumbler of scotch. After two more, neither I nor my co-[I would say conspirators, but that title has been taken] can be held responsible for what I say. I believe Prof. Kerr will agree with the rule that "if scotch/post = 4, then the poster cannot be held responsible."
10.2.2008 3:48am
Jim at FSU (mail):
Oh that stupid thing.

But still, that is entirely consistent with conservatives not thinking the constitution said anything about sodomy. Obviously, the best way to change that would be to amend the constitution which is what they were attempting.

As slim a chance as the silly marriage amendment had, there is even less chance of an amendment passing that added homosexual sodomy to the constitution as a fundamental right.
10.2.2008 3:53am
LCDave (mail):
Texas Lawyer,
Ah, a fine porter (or more) for me this evening. See just above your post. I know conservatives pushed again this spring after the California SC decision.
10.2.2008 3:53am
theobromophile (www):
I think y'all mean the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which was signed by Bill Clinton in 1996. It provides that states need not give full faith and credit to homosexual unions which occur outside of their borders, and defines "marriage" as between one man and one woman, for the purposes of federal benefits.

There are certainly federalism and constitutional issues in there; of course, some of those are the logical result of the federalism issues that come from federal benefits such as Social Security, Medicare, and the post-16th Amendment federal taxation scheme.
10.2.2008 3:57am
PC:
Random Commenter: I can give down home, folksy explanations of 4 out of 5 of those and I don't have an Ivy League education. I can haz VP nomination nao?

This is getting very disturbing. IANAL, but I can name a half dozen cases decided by the SCOTUS that I disagree with. Not even as a history lesson, I can name Kelo.

Couric's question wasn't any sort of "gotcha," it was a baseline. Everyone knows Roe v. Wade, name another and state your position.

Politics have devolved into reality TV and people are happy about it. Feh.
10.2.2008 3:58am
LCDave (mail):
Jim at FSU,
I couldn't agree more. Between the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, they just aren't Federal issues.
10.2.2008 3:59am
LCDave (mail):
theobromophile,
DOMA wasn't sufficient to some so they came up with the Federal Marriage Amendment
10.2.2008 4:04am
Texas Lawyer:
PC:

Re: "I can haz VP nomination nao"

I give 100 points to any post that is based on LOLCATS. I know that some here have diminished the respect that LOLCAT postings should receive, but I believe that a good LOLCAT posting [and, please note that I said GOOD] is worth its weight in gold.

Of course, I have 3 cats, and one of them is on my lap trying to help type right now.

If challenged on this post, I believe that I can provide at least 3 VC posts supporting my argument. Of course, I my need until mid-day tomorrow to do so. But, I assume that my challengers will not take my failure to post before mid-day as a sign of weakness.
10.2.2008 4:07am
Grover Gardner (mail):

How about working with Canada to get a natural gas pipeline through there down to the Lower 48? How about working with private industries to help start the largest private infrastructure project in the United States?

How 'bout ethics reforms?...

How 'bout that line-item veto?


How 'bout them Cubs?
10.2.2008 4:22am
Texas Lawyer:
LCDave &Theobromophile:

I admit that, after my 4th single malt, I may not be following every argument. But, by my reading, you may agree with me that whether two men make whoopee (to borrow a term from the Newlywed Game of my youth) is not an issue for government.

And. you also agree that the full faith &credit clause means that each state must give full faith &credit to the acts of every other state, so that if one state marries two men to each other, then every other state is bound to recognize that.

My understanding of the full-faith-and-credit clause requires each state to adopt the acts of each state. See, e.g., Finstuen v. Crutcher, 496 F.3d 1139, 1154 (10th Cir. 2007). So, if a state says that two people are married, then every other state must accept that determination.
10.2.2008 4:23am
LCDave (mail):
Texas Lawyer,
Not necessarily. Colorado has a Constitutional Amendment stating that marriage in Colorado shall only be recognized between one man and one woman.California SC says their constitution allows homosexual marriage. Does California have to follow Colorado, or the other way around? I personally would have each decide their own and if you want status-quo, stay in the state that agrees with you. Federalism doesn't mean that every state can dictate what is allowed in every other state. I realize that the trend of many decades is not on my side, that doesn't mean I have to like it.
10.2.2008 5:00am
Cornellian (mail):

And. you also agree that the full faith &credit clause means that each state must give full faith &credit to the acts of every other state, so that if one state marries two men to each other, then every other state is bound to recognize that.


Full faith and credit has never worked that way. If it did, there would have been no Loving v. Virginia, because the couple prosecuted for an interracial marriage in that case were validly married out of state. FF&C didn't require Virginia to recognize that marriage. I don't think FF&C is even mentioned in the decision.
10.2.2008 5:17am
Roger Schlafly (www):
Yes, Biden got Roe completely wrong, and expresses a radical view of the Commerce Clause. If wife-beating is interstate commerce, then what would be an example of something that is not?
10.2.2008 5:26am
eyesay:
Mike&: "We are facing another Great Depression because of Fannie and Freddie." On the contrary, Fannie and Freddie were conservatively managed compared to the rest of the industry. The financial crisis can be blamed on the repeal of Glass-Steagall, deregulation of banking, dishonest banking practices (knowingly granting loans to unqualified borrowers and knowingly re-selling those loans knowing that their quality is not stated) and the slicing-and-dicing of mortgages, leading to a further lack of accountability.
10.2.2008 5:28am
Angus:
Bored Lawyer,

The "liberty clause" and "due process" clause are two phrases for the same thing. You can call it what you like, others can call it what they like. Much like the "elastic clause" is also known as the "necessary-and-proper clause" or "basket clause." The phrase "liberty clause" has been used in Supreme Court confirmation hearings by both Democrats and Republicans, and Supreme Court Justices knew exactly what the Senators were asking about. Dictionaries, including legal dictionaries, often include the term.

Here's a 2005 blog post about the use of the term "liberty clause": Liberty Clause
10.2.2008 5:32am
LCDave (mail):
eyesay,
If institutions are are being pressured by the community reinvestment act and they are protected from loss by the government, yet get to pocket profit, why wouldn't they do all the things you say? All they had had to do was lobby the right people.
10.2.2008 5:39am
eyesay:
Jerry F: "... [Griswold] ... Roberts and Alito are, to some extent, 'moderate' left-wing activist judges.... they do interpret the Constitution to the Left of what it says or what the framers meant to say."

Jerry F, what is the basis for your conclusion that the framers intended that state governments have the right to deny married couples access to contraception -- even condoms -- presumably, even plastic sandwich bags used in lieu of condoms?
10.2.2008 5:53am
davod (mail):
As with all these interviews we are only seeing what the network wants us to see. What we were allowed to see of the Gibosn interview was a travesty. Why should I believe thw Couric interviews were any different.
10.2.2008 7:02am
Angus:

What we were allowed to see of the Gibosn interview was a travesty.
Indeed. That should never have been edited down. The whole transcript makes Palin look much worse than what was shown on TV.
10.2.2008 8:20am
JosephSlater (mail):
Re Palin and this thread, I'm reminded of what some conservatives used to say about "the soft bigotry of low expectations."

I think the most honest responses are along the lines of, "sure she sounds like she doesn't know much, and maybe she doesn't, but she agrees with my politics so I support her over smarter folks who disagree with me."

I'm not even sure that's always the wrong approach, in principle. But doesn't she at some point have to show that she knows something about some things important to the federal government? How low is the bar, exactly?

Having said all that, I'm sure the spin -- including the spin in the evil MSM -- after tonight is that she "exceeded expectations" and "held her own." After all, has any major candidate ever gone into a debate like this with lower expectations?
10.2.2008 8:36am
Lady on the Left:

Expecting non-lawyers, even politicians who have to deal with issues colored by these landmark cases, to be able to recite legal cases is ridiculous.


Expecting the average non-lawyer to be able to recite legal cases may be ridiculous. I don't expect my dry cleaner or my waitress to be able to discuss legal doctrine with me (although if they wanted to, as a lawyer, I'd be happy to oblige).

However, I do expect the woman, lawyer or not, who wants to have the second most powerful position in the government of the most powerful nation in the world to have a basic grasp on the key legal cases that have helped to shape the great history of America that she speaks of. I certainly expect her to have been briefed on and have a grasp of the most recent cases involving current events that she herself will have to deal with (i.e., Hamdan, Boumediene). If she forgets the specific case names, fine. But she should be able to talk about the cases, the legal principles involved, and the repercussions. I would expect a woman who feels so passionately about abortion to know the other cases involved, such as the one that most accurately states the current state of the law (Casey) or a case involving partial-birth abortion (Stenberg), since many conservatives feel so strongly about that issue.

Expecting the average American to discuss constitutional law intelligently in public would not be fair. Asking a vice presidential nominee to do so is more than fair, it's an essential question, and she failed miserably. It's indefensible.
10.2.2008 8:43am
Angus:

How low is the bar, exactly?
Her supporters are too busy digging to answer right now.
10.2.2008 8:49am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I see the interview as--ideally, and it wasn't--a way of finding out what the candidates think about certain issues.
It is a shorthand to use the names of SCOTUS cases. "kelo" is shorthand for, can the government take your property and give it to a developer who's bribed the city council. In fact, calling it by its SCOTUS shorthand actually hides the real issue.
Now, if the candidates had been asked the question the way I framed it, how would they have answered? I'm pretty sure about Palin. Not so much about Biden. Um. No. I'm pretty sure about Biden as well.
So this was a test about who knew SCOTUS shorthand, not what they thought about certain issues.
Considering Biden thinks FDR was president in 1929 and could have spoken to Americans on tv--and hasn't been called on it by the MSM--the idea of low expectations is probably exactly right.
10.2.2008 9:11am
Jake Bryant:
I come here for intelligent and honest commentary from a conservative legal perspective as opposing viewpoints are valuable to examine. Its too bad that election season brings out fools and liars in the comments section.

Palin's answer was not "correct." It was nonsense that was clearly based on crammed talking points. Anyone who tries to claim she has any understanding of a Constitutional legal philosophy or of the important historical or current legal controversies is - giving the most generous possible interpretation - lying to themselves. And yet, she has in the past expressed strong opinions regarding Supreme Court cases - Roe and Exxon in particular. That's pandering to social conservatives and is another indication that she is dangerously unqualified.

Also a few of the comments I saw before shaking my head in disgust-
1- Biden was not a Constitutional Law Professor and never claimed to be. You're thinking Obama. Biden did pass the Bar.
2- Obama's campaign connection to Fannie/Freddie is minimal. In contrast, McCain's campaign is run by a Fannie Mac consultant whose firm was paid a no-work contract up until the collapse.
3- No amount of editing would save the Gibson interview, and complete transcripts are available.
10.2.2008 9:21am
ruralcounsel (mail):
The disagreements I see here match up pretty well with the basic conflict between supporters of the "elitist-view" of government leaders and the "normal ordinary" approach.

Should someone have to have Harvard or Yale degrees to be POTUS, and be a lawyer, or can we stand to have Joe Six-pack take a wack at it? I can't say the last 50 years or so have convinced me that electing elitists has done us a lot of good. For a non-specialist, I don't think Palin's answer was that bad. She seemed to have some good instincts about Federalism. I'll take that any time over being able to name drop SCOTUS cases.

And as someone who gets a little nervous in interview situations, I can fully understand drawing a blank on an open ended unspecific question like that. It would have been more interesting and more informative if the question had asked about specific cases, and even provided a little context about the issues, and then asked for her opinion. I don't expect my VPOTUS to be a walking Constitutional Law encyclopedia ... that's what they make books for. But those of us here who wasted their life memorizing such details will no doubt be offended, mistakingly thinking that their ability to have memorized this stuff is a sign of their own brilliance, and thus is some measure of hers. I'll hazard a guess that over 99.99% of Americans wouldn't have answered it qualitatively much different/better, and I am POSITIVE that a good many of those folks would make just fine VPOTUS or even POTUS. Book-smart is highly over-rated compared to life-smart, especially by the book-smart.

If she were interviewing for a law professor job, the question made sense. Otherwise, it was just more psuedo-intellectual "gotcha" journalism. She could have spent 5 minutes reading this thread, and been able to be much more detailed in her answers ... so if 5 minutes of reading VC will bring her up to speed, I don't see any big deal about her answer. Obviously, that's the skill she'd need to bring; the ability to come up to speed quickly given a modicum of background.

So it comes down to whether you want to be governed by your "betters", or by your neighbors. Since people who think they are your betters are psychologically unfit for the position, by definition, in my opinion, I'll choose neighbors almost every time.
10.2.2008 9:38am
pubdefender:
what about miranda? after all, she delivered that snappy line about how barack obama wants us to "read terrorists their rights."

she is pathetic.
10.2.2008 9:39am
ruralcounsel (mail):
Jake Bryant:

Obama's connection to Fannie Mae/ Freddie Mac is a lot more substantial than just Franklin Raines. This WaPo article is embarassing in it's superficial look at the facts, and quick jump to exhoneration.

Jim Johnson helped select Biden as the VP candidate.
Obama, despite his short stint in the Senate, was the second largest recipient of Fannie Mae contributions, only falling behind the Chair of the committee with oversight.

You don't get to throw a smoke screen that easily.
10.2.2008 9:48am
Angus:

I can't say the last 50 years or so have convinced me that electing elitists has done us a lot of good.
Let's see. Global superpower. Highest standard of living in the world. Largest economy. Greatest protection of personal freedoms on the planet.

Damn those elitists for putting us in that position over the last 50 years!!!
10.2.2008 9:49am
Another Cornellian:
Jake Bryant,

Biden has taught a seminar on Constitutional Law since 1991 and is quite proud of it. Obama may have been the more serious academic but Biden has been in the classroom more often and more recently.
Widener Biden Bio
10.2.2008 9:56am
ruralcounsel (mail):
Angus, if you think who we elected for POTUS had anything to do with that, I think you need to relearn about causality.

The economic tides may float our boat or sink it, but it takes a lot of hubris to think it has anything to do with who we had at the tiller.
10.2.2008 10:01am
Arkady:
I thought her analysis of Humphrey's Executor was trenchant, even if she did think is was a capital punishment case.
10.2.2008 10:04am
SG:
Based on my (limited) understanding of her (limited) record of governance in Alaska (fiscally conservative, socially libertarian, ethics minded, popular on both sides of the aisle), I find her the most inherently appealing of the four candidates.

That said I must concede that her showing to date has been, to put it mildly, underwhelming. She's not a career politician so I don't find her not knowing the shorthand to be inherently disqualifying, but I'm more troubled by the fact that she's not able (or willing) to control the interview and turn it to her favor. In order to be an effective executive, she needs to be able to control the situation. Instead, she just flails around hoping to stumble upon an answer.

I've been willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, but at this point I think it's 50/50 that she really is not up for the job. Nor can I fault anyone who's written her off entirely.
10.2.2008 10:04am
Patent Lawyer:
I was going to post something...and then rural lawyer posted pretty much everything I was going to say. Plus, for those commenters who are grading Palin and Biden on the same scale--you can't. Biden's an admitted lawyer who's taught law at University of Delware Law School. Palin's legal experience consists of having underlings choose a few cases to litigate and picking a few Alaska Supreme Court justices. Of course he's going to have a better command of the law than she does--and since Biden's answer was deeply stupid, all of the Volokh conspirators and many commenters on this thread have a better command of the law than he does.

Here's an experiment. We take each major Congressman and cabinet official with a non-legal background, and push them in front of a very high pressure interview and ask them about Supreme Court cases they disagree with, and in a context (governing) where they think the cases have to still be good law. Most won't be able to come up with any beyond Roe (on the right) or Bush v. Gore (on the left), and most of the those who come up with the one won't be able to explain their opposition coherently.
10.2.2008 10:05am
ruralcounsel (mail):
Angus, in fact, I'm sure someone with more time and inclination could put together a pretty compelling argument that we'd have been WAY better off without some of the yahoos we elected.

I'm also of the opinion (yeah, I know, its all opinion) that our relative superpower status and economic propserity has a lot more to do with our being isolated geographically from the past couple of European-based world wars and Japan's Co-prosperity Sphere, the luck of good natural resources, and some pretty clever entreprenuers (Carnegie, Frick, Ford, Rockefeller, Gates ... ) than it did elected officials.

We do best when government stays out of the way ... whether it be by design or incompetence.
10.2.2008 10:06am
Visitor Again:
Wang Chung wrote:

Palin's answer on Roe v. Wade is revealing in two ways:

1) She appears completely unaware that a "right to privacy" was involved in the decision.

2) She seems to believe that states have jurisdiction in interpreting federal constitutional rights.

Considering that opposition to abortion is her best (only?) known policy position, this is rather striking.


Why is 2.) rather striking? States DO have jurisdiction in interpreting federal constitutional rights. The state courts and stafe officials interpret them every single day. What the states do not have is exclusive or final jurisdiction in interpreting federal constitutional rights.
10.2.2008 10:10am
JosephSlater (mail):
I can't say the last 50 years or so have convinced me that electing elitists has done us a lot of good.

On the other hand, the record of the Bush administration is strong support for the argument that thoughtfulness, knowledge, and intellectual curiousity are more important qualifications for being a competent president than being a real (or faux) "Joe six pack."

And I say that as a Joe who likes his six packs.
10.2.2008 10:11am
SG:
Damn those elitists for putting us in that position over the last 50 years!!!

Let's see...
Kennedy - elitist
Johnson - not elitist
Nixon - not elitist
Ford - not elitist
Carter - not elitist
Reagan - not elitist
Bush(41) - elitist
Clinton - not elitist
Bush(43) - elitist (but doesn't want anyone to know)

I don't accept your thesis that we've been governed, and governed effectively, by elitists over the last 50 years.
10.2.2008 10:13am
Visitor Again:
Bored Lawyer wrote:

Well, Ramesh, that's probably because there is such a clause in the 14th Amendment:

Don't look now, Angus, but what you quoted is the Due Process clause. Bars the states from depriving you of your liberty without due process -- meaning that a State cannot send you to jail without a trial.

That clause does not even remotely guarantee some quantum of "liberty" in the sense of some activity which is free from State regulation -- and certainly not abortion.


Well, the United States Supreme Court has taken a different view in decisions rendered decades before Roe vs. Wade was handed down. You may not like the doctrine that became known as substantive due process, but the case law expounding it has never been overruled.
10.2.2008 10:19am
ruralcounsel (mail):
SG
Clinton - Yale Law School
Nixon - Duke Univeristy School of Law
Ford - University of Michigan/Yale Law Schools
Carter - Georgia Tech/US Naval Academy

So one wonders about your criteria for deciding elitism. Just because a politician tries to portray a folksy exterior, doesn't mean they haven't had their card punched by the "elite" gatekeepers.
10.2.2008 10:24am
PC:
and push them in front of a very high pressure interview

Seriously? Katie Couric gives high pressure interviews?
10.2.2008 10:26am
Visitor Again:
Jim at FSU wrote:

Also, how about Kennedy v Louisiana? Executing child rapists isn't really much of a fit with the whole "culture of life" deal, but executing people is a traditional American value that has been under concerted attack from the left since the 70s.

Sheesh, I never realized executing people is a traditional American value. I assume it's right there alongside liberty, free enterprise and apple pie? I don't think the Left sufficiently understands that executing people is a traditional American value, and perhaps you ought to spend more time trying to convince them of that.
10.2.2008 10:27am
Patent Lawyer:
PC-

Seriously? Katie Couric gives high pressure interviews?

Leaving aside how much pressure the interviewer puts on the interviewee, the interview was important enough to be considered high pressure no matter who was asking the questions.
10.2.2008 10:31am
Visitor Again:
ruralcounsel wrote:

We do best when government stays out of the way ... whether it be by design or incompetence.

Anyone for privatizing Social Security? We could turn its management over to Wall Street's finest financial minds.
10.2.2008 10:34am
PC:
Leaving aside how much pressure the interviewer puts on the interviewee, the interview was important enough to be considered high pressure no matter who was asking the questions.

Perhaps we should have Elmo interview our VP nominees. It would be a shame if a person applying for second in command of the most powerful country in the world had to deal with...pressure.
10.2.2008 10:37am
ruralcounsel (mail):
I have no problem with privitizing Social Security.
Now, more than ever.
10.2.2008 10:39am
Angus:
It's not a new criticism and something of a cheap shot, but if Palin gets a pass on all "high pressure" situations during the campaign, what happens if she becomes President by some chance and faces a "high pressure" situation? Does she get a special "Get out of trouble" card due to unreadiness? Will she just say "Let me get back to ya" and hide until it's over?
10.2.2008 10:39am
JosephSlater (mail):
and push them in front of a very high pressure interview

Seriously? Katie Couric gives high pressure interviews?


While comments above debate how very "high pressure" Katie "Killer" Couric is, I rather liked the word "push" in the original quote. Because who would think that a VP candidate should have to give interviews to the press, unless they were "pushed," apparently unwillingly?
10.2.2008 10:41am
ruralcounsel (mail):
PC:
And we all know that glib and facile under pressure is such an important skill at making good decisions.
10.2.2008 10:44am
SG:
So one wonders about your criteria for deciding elitism.

Economic/class basis. None of those nob-elitists were raised in an upper class background, whereas Kennedy and both Bushes were.
10.2.2008 10:45am
PC:
And we all know that glib and facile under pressure is such an important skill at making good decisions.

I wasn't talking about Palin's stump speech, I was talking about her interview.
10.2.2008 10:49am
SeaDrive:
I think a lot of this commentary goes beyond the facts which are mostly that Palin does not have instantaneous recall during an interview. A non-lawyer is not likely to quote the legal theory behind a Supreme Court decision. As an aside, suppose she had answered Couric "Well, I didn't agree with Dred Scott at all." Would everyone be giving her high marks."

As for Biden, he is an old pro politician, and it's silly to expect he won't act like one. Asked for a decision he didn't agree with, he quoted one where he personally got kicked in the teeth.
10.2.2008 10:55am
Angus:
Glib and facile? No. But I would like a potential leader to be coherent and intellectually engaged, which I do think are important skills for making good decisions. So far, Palin hasn't shown either trait.
10.2.2008 10:57am
JosephSlater (mail):
SeaDrive:

Respectfully, I think the evidence more plausibly supports the theory that she just doesn't know a lot of important stuff than that she lacks "instantaneous recall."
10.2.2008 10:58am
JosephSlater (mail):
So one wonders about your criteria for deciding elitism.

Economic/class basis. None of those nob-elitists were raised in an upper class background, whereas Kennedy and both Bushes were.


So, on that basis, Obama is not an elitist and McCain likely is, right?
10.2.2008 10:59am
Arkady:
@ruralcounsel:


So it comes down to whether you want to be governed by your "betters", or by your neighbors. Since people who think they are your betters are psychologically unfit for the position, by definition, in my opinion, I'll choose neighbors almost every time.


Well, the "almost every time" saves it (almost), if your neighbors are the Snopeses.
10.2.2008 11:02am
Waldensian (mail):

If wife-beating is interstate commerce, then what would be an example of something that is not?

Growing too much wheat on your farm?

No, I guess that's interstate commerce too.
10.2.2008 11:05am
Norman Bates (mail):
Palin's response embarassed me, as someone who is aware of Kelo, Raich, Griswold, Sullivan, Duke Power (not Supreme Court but still major), et al. But why should she be familiar with these. She's been busy running Alaska's government. As her ratings in Alaska demonstrate, she was a quick study for governor. I'm convinced she'll be just as quick a study for President. And when she is President I expect her popularity ratings will be a lot higher than those of any since Reagan.
10.2.2008 11:05am
Aultimer:

ruralcounsel (mail):

Carter - Georgia Tech/US Naval Academy

So one wonders about your criteria for deciding elitism. Just because a politician tries to portray a folksy exterior, doesn't mean they haven't had their card punched by the "elite" gatekeepers.


What exactly is YOUR critera, if a Dixie engineering school and a free government education is enough to be a punched-card elite?

Hint: the word "elite" suggests that a lot less than 50% of the population (preferably less than 5%) should meet the critera.
10.2.2008 11:07am
Kirk:
The power is more expansive now than it was when it was drafted, but that's at least plausibly a good thing.

Complete nonsense--there isn't the slightest plausibility that the nation is better off because Congress can pretend that Everything Is Commerce™
10.2.2008 11:12am
Angus:
You are missing the code words. Elite = smart people. No one likes smart people, let alone smart people as leaders. It's an appeal to the reflexive anti-intellectualism of the populist wing of the republican party.
10.2.2008 11:13am
Floridan:
Whether or not you agree with Palin's political stance, can any cite any example of a presidential or vice presidential candidate who appeared so unprepared and inarticulate in a public interview or forum?

Come on . . . her answers were more appropriate for an episode of Leno's Jaywalking than for the CBS Evening News.
10.2.2008 11:16am
Philistine (mail):
I thought her answer to which cases other than Roe she disagrees with was flabergasting. On reflection--it may just have been that she didn't know the case names (which is not too surprising)--but I think she certainly could have answered giving the point of the case, particularly for Boumediene, which less than 4 months ago McCain called one of the worst decisions ever, and Kennedy, which both McCain and Obama denounced (also less than 4 months ago).

Maybe she thought she'd look more clueless if she didn't know the case names (in hindsight, I don't think so), maybe she froze and just forgot. Either way, not a shining momemt.
10.2.2008 11:41am
MarkField (mail):

If wife-beating is interstate commerce, then what would be an example of something that is not?


I once heard Bush I's SG tell the SC, when asked this question, that teenage babysitters were not.
10.2.2008 12:02pm
hawkins:

I'm pretty sure the public won't blame her if she can't quote the holding in Korematsu. Good god.


Korematsu is one of the few cases ALL national politicians should be familiar with, especially given the extent to which its been discussed in the last few years.
10.2.2008 12:03pm
Jill (mail):
Too bad Biden doesn't seem to understand that the Supreme Court is not about finding a consensus of what the American people feel. It's about interpreting the Constitution. The Supreme Court doesn't poll the people and then try to find a ruling most acceptable to the electorate. A legislator must act as his/her constituents wish or face failure at election time. The Court is supposed to be counter-majoritarian and interpret the law, not the mood of the people.

For those of you who say Palin was taking a pro-choice position by admitting to a right to privacy in the Constitution, you have a faulty premise. One can believe there is a right to privacy without believing that right encompasses the right to terminate a pregnancy (or kill another human being if that's your view). I have a right to be free from unreasonable search. That is privacy. I have certain rights in raising my children free from government intervention. I don't have a right to hit my children. At that point, my rights and my children's rights intersect. There is a right to privacy - it's just not absolute and must sometimes cede when someone else's rights are being are in play.
10.2.2008 12:17pm
A.W. (mail):
Orin

You are getting tips from Andrew Sullivan?

Really?

Sheesh, dude, I started ignoring him years ago. When he peddled rumors that McCain lied about the cross in the dirt story and that Trig was actually Bristol Palin's secret daughter, it only confirmed it.

As for the substance, let me tell you, that the amount of ignorance about the SC among even politicians is staggering. Ask Joe Biden about Roe, for instance. Oh, but that's just Joe being Joe, right?
10.2.2008 12:18pm
SG:
So, on [an economic] basis, Obama is not an elitist and McCain likely is, right?

Yes.
10.2.2008 12:18pm
D.R. (mail):
I am a lifelong conservative, but you commentators defending her on this board cannot be serious about your excuses -- "she is not a lawyer" "he is a law professor" "she is not familiar with names" -- but its clear that Palin is an uneducated moron.

She is running, in effect, to be President of the United States in 4-8 years. She clearly has a very minimal grasp of only ONE Supreme Court case. Based upon her scattered comments, I suspect she has no real understanding of federalism as a concept and the historical origins of originalism (her answer would likely be nothin more than "good for states"). Moreover, instead of admitting any of this all she does is pretend she has some idea of what is going on.

She may be fine as a mayor and she seems fine on an individual level. But if you want to be president, you need to have an understanding of at least ONE Supreme Court case. This is embarassing to me as a conservative and as an American.
10.2.2008 12:26pm
Michael J.Z. Mannheimer (mail):

"Biden's an admitted lawyer who's taught law at University of Delware Law School."


Someone should tell the University of Delaware that they have opened a law school. I'm not sure they know.
10.2.2008 12:28pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
D.R.
Names are good. Love names. Have several myself and insisted my kids have some.

But what if the actual issue as it hits the people is the question? As in, what if there's a Kelo issue on the table at the city council and you show up and suggest everybody involved have an annual forensic audit for the next ten years, and see how that flies. That's the real issue and it's exactly why people want to say "Kelo. High-sounding mush and split decision and public good and let's change the subject."
I can see why so many would want to stay with the names. You can always hope to be on the right side of a Kelo expropriation and it's easier if nobody knows what it is until too late.

The same applies to other cases.

It's unfortunate that none of the candidates will actually be asked to discuss the real-world results of SCOTUS cases, or laws.
Did anybody ask any candidate ever about the certain result of Community Reinvestment?
10.2.2008 12:36pm
Melancton Smith:
I think Biden started off good but he lost me on his vision of an all-powerful commerce clause.

I think Palin started off good but she end poorly. She either isn't very aware of many particular SCOTUS decisions or doesn't think well when put on the spot. I like her, as an outsider and reformer, but I see how either of those two explanations could give people pause.

Here is what I'd like to hear:
"I disagree with Boumediene and Heller...they both should have been 9-0 instead of 5-4".

But I guess I have a vision of an all-powerful liberty clause.
10.2.2008 12:36pm
Anderson (mail):
How are you picked for appeal to the GOP base, with a record as a social conservative ...

... and you flub whether there's an "inherent right to privacy" guaranteed by the Constitution and underpinning Roe v. Wade?

Show some intellectual integrity, my conservative friends. You want to vote against Obama, go ahead and do it. Maybe it's important enough to you that "President Palin" is a risk you're willing to run.

But don't act like she didn't give terrible answers to Couric. You just make yourselves look dumb like Palin.
10.2.2008 12:37pm
hawkins:

Too bad Biden doesn't seem to understand that the Supreme Court is not about finding a consensus of what the American people feel. It's about interpreting the Constitution. The Supreme Court doesn't poll the people and then try to find a ruling most acceptable to the electorate.


I guess you should first let the Court know this.
10.2.2008 12:46pm
Anderson (mail):
The Supreme Court doesn't poll the people and then try to find a ruling most acceptable to the electorate.

Beginning with Justice Kennedy.

But Jill doesn't seem to've heard of Mr. Dooley:

No matter whether the Constitution follows the flag or not, the Supreme Court follows the election returns.
10.2.2008 12:50pm
DangerMouse:
The "right to privacy" doesn't mean you're allowed to murder someone when the door is closed. You'd think lawyers would know that, but then again, nothing stops the Cult of Obama.
10.2.2008 12:58pm
Anderson (mail):
The "right to privacy" doesn't mean you're allowed to murder someone when the door is closed.

Right. According to the Cult of Palin, the legality of such killing is best left to the states.
10.2.2008 1:04pm
JosephSlater (mail):
What Anderson and D.R. said.

Plus, this was not a "test" in which she was required to come up with a specific name (and possibly correct blue book citation) of a case.

Obviously, it would have been a fine answer to say, "the case which held that executing someone for raping a child was unconstitutional." Heck, as others have pointed out, she's criticized the Gitmo cases. That would have worked. As it was, you have a moment that induces cringes in anyone whose criteria for VP is anything beyond "my guess is she agrees with my politics."
10.2.2008 1:13pm
DCP:

So, according to Biden Roe's trimester framework is still valid law.

That's good to know. I just woke up from a coma that I've been in since 1991 and I wanted to know if there have been any moderations of Roe and abortion law since then. I'm glad Biden cleared that up for me.

I'm also glad to hear that there is now a consensus on abortion.
10.2.2008 1:14pm
Anderson (mail):
I'm also glad to hear that there is now a consensus on abortion.

I see you've also discovered the "internet."

N.b. however that the Iraq war we're in now is not the same one from 1991.
10.2.2008 1:18pm
Anonymouse Troll:

A.W.

Sheesh, dude, I started ignoring [Sullivan] years ago. When he peddled rumors that McCain lied about the cross in the dirt story and that Trig was actually Bristol Palin's secret daughter, it only confirmed it.



You're not very good at ignoring, are you? Would it be too elitist/edJamKayded of me to suggest you mean "discount"?
10.2.2008 1:21pm
DangerMouse:
Right. According to the Cult of Palin, the legality of such killing is best left to the states.

All murder is a federal offense now? Heh. The Cult of Obama strikes again! Nothing must stop the Infanticide Candidate! Federalize all murder laws if necessary!

You guys are such jokes.
10.2.2008 1:32pm
Bad (mail) (www):
My favorite part of all this is how the 4exact same questions are "gotcha" questions when they are asked of Palin, but not when they are asked of, say, Biden. Just the fact that someone answers a bland, simple question with an utterly incoherent regurgitation of talking point fragments does not make it a "gotcha" question.
10.2.2008 1:33pm
Bad (mail) (www):
"I'm also glad to hear that there is now a consensus on abortion."

What he actually said was that the current framework is about as good as we can ever expect as far as getting a nationwide policy consensus on abortion.
10.2.2008 1:35pm
Anderson (mail):
Mouse, you're starting to sound like Palin.

If you think that abortion is murder, then you don't think it's okay for one state to legalize murder and another state to prohibit it.

The 14th Amendment, mentioned upthread if you've not seen it recently, forbids that anyone be deprived of "life, liberty, or property" without due process of law.

Hence, if killing a fetus really is murder, i.e., premeditated unlawful killing, then yes, I do daresay that failing to prohibit same is a federal issue. That at least would be somewhat consistent. I don't think the state can rule other categories of people (gays, blacks, Republicans) to be fair game.

Argue the issue if you wish, but kindly cut the stupid "cult" crap. It makes you look not so smart.
10.2.2008 1:39pm
DangerMouse:
Anderson, it's not my problem if Obama supporters are nuts.

"premeditated unlawful killing, then yes, I do daresay that failing to prohibit same is a federal issue."

States have numerous grades of punishment for intentional or unintentional killings. All of that's to be federalized now?

Well, I'm fine with a federal law against abortion, if that's what you're suggesting. I'm willing to federalize the law if it bans abortion. Glad you suggested it, Anderson. Good idea.
10.2.2008 1:45pm
hawkins:

I'm willing to federalize the law if it bans abortion.


So you're letting policy preferences determine the constitutionality of an issue, huh?
10.2.2008 1:59pm
DangerMouse:
Constitutionality of which issue? Murder laws? Last I checked, those are constitutional.
10.2.2008 2:14pm
Doc (mail):
Rural counsel is absolutely right. I'm an Alaskan (non-Republican), and I would without hesitation state that Palin is an intelligent thoughtful person who has done a very good job in executive positions-- I think she would do just fine as VP, and potentially as POTUS. Interviews are simply not Palin's strong point-- she should just be up on the stump telling people what she believes.

I find it fascinating to read a bunch of lawyers argue that everyone in a position of power needs to have a detailed knowledge of recent court decisions--- guys, most people don't, and it is highly debatable if most people feel that is a basic prerequisite for office . We are looking for leadership by someone who has the right basic decency and understanding of the federal system, rather than by someone who has spent his life in government or who holds basic beliefs which are so far out of the mainstream that we cringe whenever he speaks. In fact, many of us would like to prohibit lawyers from holding office (Only partially joking, I know that would be unconstitutional).


As to the lawyerly issues-- the President can hire all the lawyers he needs.

And, no, I am not generally an anti-intellectual, as one commentator said all the Palin supporters are. I have three degrees of my own, but I do not think that really is relevant to running for office. Being highly educated does not mean a person is fit to lead. Many of us who oppose Obama do so because of his far-left/Socialist ideas, not for any other reason.
10.2.2008 2:18pm
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
Jake Bryant sez:
Biden was not a Constitutional Law Professor and never claimed to be. You're thinking Obama. Biden did pass the Bar.

Joe Biden in response to audience questions following a speech delivered before the Council on Foreign Relations on October 22, 2001:
Question from the audience: My question is this, do you foresee the need or the expectation of a Congressional declaration of war, which the Constitution calls for, and if so, against whom?

Biden: The answer is yes, and we did it. I happen to be a professor of Constitutional law. I'm the guy that drafted the Use of Force proposal that we passed. It was in conflict between the President and the House. I was the guy who finally drafted what we did pass. Under the Constitution, there is simply no distinction ... Louis Fisher(?) and others can tell you, there is no distinction between a formal declaration of war, and an authorization of use of force. There is none for Constitutional purposes. None whatsoever. And we defined in that Use of Force Act that we passed, what ... against whom we were moving, and what authority was granted to the President.
10.2.2008 2:26pm
hawkins:

Constitutionality of which issue? Murder laws? Last I checked, those are constitutional.


The constitutionality of a federal law prohibiting abortion
10.2.2008 2:27pm
Anderson (mail):
Many of us who oppose Obama do so because of his far-left/Socialist ideas

Name three.
10.2.2008 2:33pm
DangerMouse:
The constitutionality of a federal law prohibiting abortion

Obama wants to federalize abortion law with the Freedom of Choice act. So Obama apparently thinks it's ok to federalize abortion law. I'm fine with federalizing it also, as long as it's banned.

Maybe you're referring to the so-called "right" (found in a penumbra of an emanation) of people to murder babies? If so, then we're working to fix that also.
10.2.2008 2:36pm
hawkins:

Obama wants to federalize abortion law with the Freedom of Choice act. So Obama apparently thinks it's ok to federalize abortion law. I'm fine with federalizing it also, as long as it's banned.


Maybe I mistook you someone else, I seem to recall you consistently invoking federalism in challenging the constitutionality of liberal policies
10.2.2008 2:38pm
Mark Rockwell (mail):

DOC
Many of us who oppose Obama do so because of his far-left/Socialist ideas, not for any other reason.


So it is okay to find a candidate unfit for office because he has ideas. But it is not okay to find a candidate unfit for office because she does not have ideas?
10.2.2008 2:58pm
SG:

Many of us who oppose Obama do so because of his far-left/Socialist ideas

Name three.



Fairness (and not revenues) as a goal for tax policy
"Well, Charlie, what I've said is I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness," said Obama.

Universal health care

"The time has come for universal, affordable health care in America," Obama said

Judicial nominees
Obama said "We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that's the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges."


I'll even throw in a fourth one.

Universal Voluntary Public Service
"I won't just ask for your vote as a candidate; I will ask for your service and your active citizenship when I am president of the United States. This will not be a call issued in one speech or program; this will be a cause of my presidency."

Do you want more? I can go all day.
10.2.2008 3:27pm
DangerMouse:
Maybe I mistook you someone else, I seem to recall you consistently invoking federalism in challenging the constitutionality of liberal policies

You have mistook me for someone else. Federalism is great, but there are other things to consider as well. I'm fine with banning abortion federally, even if it overturns state law protecting it. Federalism takes a back-seat when it comes to murdering babies.
10.2.2008 3:27pm
PC:
Federalism takes a back-seat when it comes to murdering babies.

So you believe women who have an abortion should be prosecuted for murder?
10.2.2008 3:32pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Re this "Obama supporters are a cult" idea that some VC commenters love to spout, you do realize that you're referring to a group ("Obama supporters") who, according to recent polls, constitute half the country or more, right?

Also,Palin's approval ratings have sunk significantly since her interviews have been publicized. Is that all because of cult-ish behavior? Or are you going to whine about supposed "gotcha" questions which, as pointed out above, wouldn't be considered "gotcha" questions if/when asked to any other candidate?
10.2.2008 3:33pm
SeaDrive:
I'm going to have to stop reading these comments. I'm afraid that I'm going to have nightmares about abortion being federally regulated because it's interstate commerce.
10.2.2008 3:57pm
Angus:
For the vast majority of people, federalism is nothing more than a political tool. Their stand is not on principle, but expedience. "Federalism" translates into "I can't implement my policy preference at the national level." When the person feels they can win at the national level, they miraculously reject federalism.

This analysis applies equally to Republicans and Democrats.
10.2.2008 3:57pm
Asher (mail):
So it comes down to whether you want to be governed by your "betters", or by your neighbors. Since people who think they are your betters are psychologically unfit for the position, by definition, in my opinion, I'll choose neighbors almost every time.

Seems to be a logical leap here, ruralcounsel. Not all "betters" think they're your "betters." So as long as you can find a better who isn't a haughty better, why wouldn't you want a better over a neighbor? Furthermore, don't you think that running the country is such a difficult job that you'd rather have a more capable person do it than one of your neighbors, whether or not he's a condescending jerk?
10.2.2008 4:09pm
ruralcounsel (mail):
Aultimer:

What exactly is YOUR critera, if a Dixie engineering school and a free government education is enough to be a punched-card elite?

Hint: the word "elite" suggests that a lot less than 50% of the population (preferably less than 5%) should meet the critera.


My, aren't we especially super-elite! You have such awesome high standards. /sarcasm off

Since I don't go around vetting my candidates based upon their "elite" index, I only need a defensive definition. And like Justice Potter, I know it when I see it. But when politicians want to take personal decision making (guns, money, land, sex, diet, purchasing decisions, risk, etc.) out of my hands and put it in to theirs, that's a good indicator. People that can't respect that the reason we disagree is that we have different values, not that I'm just "too dumb to know what is in my best interests". Just call me a bitter, gun-clinging hick. Think that gets my vote?

Angus:

You are missing the code words. Elite = smart people.


No, I don't think so. Elite = obnoxious, full of themselves, know-it-alls who really don't, high probability of having degrees from Ivy League or other "prestigious" schools, and think they know better than every one else, whether it be know better than you how to spend your own money, or know better than you that a 4% profit on a gallon of gas is obscene but a 15% tax is not, or know better than you what your children should learn in school. The self-selected "best and brightest". America's parallel to European aristocracy. A large majority of people runnning for high offices.

I think you can get the idea. (And you don't even have to be elite.)
10.2.2008 4:18pm
eyesay:
SG asserts that these four ideas are far-left/Socialist:
1. Fairness (and not revenues) as a goal for tax policy.
2. Universal health care
3. Judicial nominees having empathy for teenage mothers, poor people, African-Americans, gays, and the disabled.
4. Universal Voluntary Public Service.

I respond that none of these ideas are particularly far-left or socialist.

1. Tax policy: The story SG linked quoted one economist who incorrectly reasoned that, because tax revenues go up right after capital gains tax cuts, such tax cuts increase revenue in the long run. This is nonsense, of course, as pointed out by another economist quoted in the article. In the short run, capital gains tax cuts encourage sales of appreciated assets, but once the initial rush of sales is over, revenues are reduced. Obama was not saying that fairness trumps realizing more revenue; there is no conflict between (A) the greater fairness of closing the gap between taxes on labor income and taxes on capital gains and (B) maintaining tax revenues, because raising capital gains tax increases tax revenues. In any event, whether you accept this reasoning or not, it is a mainstream position, not a far left/socialist one.

2. Universal health care: This too is a mainstream position backed by millions of Americans who consider themselves moderates and don't even know the tune to the Internationale.

3. Judicial nominees having empathy for teenage mothers, poor people, African-Americans, gays, and the disabled: I have news for you: It's only a minority of extremists who think that judges should work in some mechanical vacuum. The first three words of the beloved constitution are "We the people." Real human beings, deserving of empathy. I would not go to a dentist who didn't have empathy for his patients. Why would anyone want a judge who didn't have empathy for the people facing each other in civil and criminal cases? For instance, rape is a crime in the first place because we have empathy for each other, and because we have empathy for the victim, and for the accused, we want judges who can strike a proper balance between their respective rights. I believe an empathyless judge would have a harder time striking that balance.

4. Universal Voluntary Public Service: This idea gets support and opposition from all over the political spectrum. It's definitely not supported uniquely and uniformly by the far left.

In short, SG has failed to provide a single issue area where Barack Obama's position puts him squarely in the far left/socialist camp.
10.2.2008 4:22pm
ruralcounsel (mail):
Arkady:

Well, the "almost every time" saves it (almost), if your neighbors are the Snopeses


Attorneys always hedge thier bets.
Sometimes I'd pick friends over neighbors.
10.2.2008 4:24pm
ruralcounsel (mail):
eyesay:

I'd be curious to know your demographics, because it sounds like you've been raised in the a society steeped in political correctness.

1. The number one reason to have taxes is to raise revenue. Not to redistribute wealth. Once we have a tax, yes, it should be "fair", which of course is a term that is totally ambiguous and without much value. Because everyone has a different idea of what's fair.

2. Universal healthcare? You're joking, right? The only people that I know who want this are the ones who think they'll be the net beneficiaries of it. Which is a far cry from everybody. Classic socialism. BTW, since when is popularity an absolution for something being socialist?

3.Judicial nominees/empathy: I'd prefer they have NO empathy when they make their verdicts. I don't mind a bit of it in the sentencing phase... but remember that law is for all of us, not just the lower socioeconomic classes. And being poor isn't an excuse for being a criminal.

4. Universal Voluntary Public Service: An oxymoron if I ever heard one. It can be universal, or it can be voluntary, but it sure can't be both. This isn't a left/right thing, ... this is a freedom/fascism thing. Just try it with my kids, but you better bring a SWAT team.
10.2.2008 4:39pm
Aultimer:

ruralcounsel (mail):
My, aren't we especially super-elite! You have such awesome high standards. /sarcasm off

Since I don't go around vetting my candidates based upon their "elite" index, I only need a defensive definition. And like Justice Potter, I know it when I see it. But when politicians want to take personal decision making (guns, money, land, sex, diet, purchasing decisions, risk, etc.) out of my hands and put it in to theirs, that's a good indicator.

You call Jimmy Carter's education (GT/USNA) one that qualifies as elitist. It isn't, so I call you on it, and you have no response other than to call me names.

Then you try to color every statist (whether right or left) position into an "elite" position.

You're not being merely inconsistent, you're being nonsensical.

FWIW, I was raised in a midwest suburb by actual middle-class people (dad was a war veteran, and mom was a schoolteacher). I went to a large state university plus law school thanks to the VA and debt, and I vote Republican more often than not. If I'm elite, that term is meaningless.
10.2.2008 4:43pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Gosh, I remember when conservatives at least claimed to be meritocratic. I'll go waaaaaaaaay out on a limb and admit that I would prefer to be have a president who is smarter and more knowledgeable than I am than to get a random neighorhood person as my president (and I like and respect my neighbors, generally speaking).
10.2.2008 4:47pm
Anderson (mail):
Once we have a tax, yes, it should be "fair", which of course is a term that is totally ambiguous and without much value.

Fairness is then "a" goal. And ambiguous terms are "without much value"? You've just devalued most of what makes life worth living. "Pursuit of happiness"?

The only people that I know who want this

Ruralcounsel, pardon us if we look a bit outside your circle of acquaintances.

I'd prefer they have NO empathy when they make their verdicts.

I'm sure you would ... but I doubt that many people would disagree with Obama here. And n.b. that it's not at all clear he's talking about criminal law in particular.

As for "universal voluntary public service," I don't see any more oxymoron than "universal voting," or "universal driving" -- no one's required to do either. I don't know what I would think of *mandatory* public service (a la the draft), but that's not the issue here.

-- It's remarkable how hard it is to get cogent reasons why Obama is not just a Democrat, and thus undesirable, but is also "far left" or "socialist." Usually, as here, we just find out that someone doesn't know what those terms actually mean. Sort of what Orwell said happened to the word "fascist."
10.2.2008 4:55pm
PLR:
I'd be curious to know your demographics, because it sounds like you've been raised in the a society steeped in political correctness.
I haven't been. Ranting is fun!
1. The number one reason to have taxes is to raise revenue. Not to redistribute wealth. Once we have a tax, yes, it should be "fair", which of course is a term that is totally ambiguous and without much value. Because everyone has a different idea of what's fair.
Amen. By the way, mathematically speaking when you go to collect taxes, you'll find that the rich are the ones with all the money. The Kings figured this out centuries ago.
2. Universal healthcare? You're joking, right? The only people that I know who want this are the ones who think they'll be the net beneficiaries of it. Which is a far cry from everybody. Classic socialism. BTW, since when is popularity an absolution for something being socialist?
I fully expect to be a net beneficiary, especially with proper cost controls on the only group that is universally covered, which is a bunch of lightly employed over-utilizers.
3.Judicial nominees/empathy: I'd prefer they have NO empathy when they make their verdicts. I don't mind a bit of it in the sentencing phase... but remember that law is for all of us, not just the lower socioeconomic classes. And being poor isn't an excuse for being a criminal.
I agree that empathy is primarily relevant on sentencing and not in the liability/culpability phase, but I suspect the commenter was referring to the appellate phase and empathy with all those who are similarly situated to the parties to the case.
4. Universal Voluntary Public Service: An oxymoron if I ever heard one. It can be universal, or it can be voluntary, but it sure can't be both. This isn't a left/right thing, ... this is a freedom/fascism thing. Just try it with my kids, but you better bring a SWAT team.
Most likely this is an ethical position, and not one that actually finds its way into the multivolume U.S. Code that is perched on that sagging shelf behind you. Congresspeople aren't really into this "Universal" stuff if it literally applies to their own families also.
10.2.2008 4:56pm
ruralcounsel (mail):
Aultimer:

The Naval Academy is a very good school, as is West Point, or the Air Force Academy. The fact that the government foots the tuition bill in exchange for service afterwards has NO bearing on its quality. Georgia Tech is a world reknown engineering school. You talk like a poli-sci or history major. Maybe English Lit? And just because it's in the South, you play the "cracker card". Classy.

Yeah, I call you on it. You're an elite of the worst kind; a wannabe elite. Tell you what, next time you get the urge to have someone tell you how to live your life, hire a Dominatrix or get married. That way you keep it to yourself. Don't vote for someone who has delusions of granduer over all of us.
10.2.2008 4:58pm
ruralcounsel (mail):

Ruralcounsel, pardon us if we look a bit outside your circle of acquaintances.


Sure, if we can look beyond yours.
10.2.2008 5:00pm
SG:
eyesay:

1) You're making a point that Obama didn't. In the debate, Obama did not reject the assertion that raising the cap gains tax would reduce revenue, his response was that he would "look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness".

You can reject the presumption, but Obama's response did not. I stand by my assertion that for Obama "fairness" outweighs revenue as a goal for tax policy.

2) Universal health care (which can mean different things to different people) is broadly popular until the details get fleshed out, Remember the universal health care initiative of the Clinton administration that failed to gain popular support and ultimately floundered?

But even in the abstract, as this article says:


There also are political and ideological aspects to views on universal health. Democrats favor it by more than 3-1, and liberals by 6-1, while Republicans and conservatives divide evenly.


So, we have a policy that has been favored by Democrats and pushed by Democrats and, as regularly pointed out, is the general policy in other, more leftist/socialist liberal democracies, yet hasn't been implemented in the US. I stand by my assertion that universal health care is leftist relative to the American political spectrum.

3) Obama voted against confirmation of John Roberts, despite acknowledgint "There is absolutely no doubt in my mind Judge Roberts is qualified to sit on the highest court in the land. Moreover, he seems to have the comportment and the temperament that makes for a good judge."

In other words, having the skills and the temperament is not enough, if you're not willing to tilt the scales of justice based on race and class. The Constitution also talks about equal protection of the law, but if your judicial criteria is to have the "empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old", you're not not giving equal protection under the law.

The notion that someone's demographic group or sexually orientation should affect how their conflict is adjudicated is a profoundly left-wing view.

4) I'm unable to find any polling data to address this one way or the other, but given that I've provided evidence to back up my claims whereas you've just made bald assertions, I'll leave it to you to provide some evidence for your assertion that Universal Mandatory (what an oxymoron) Service is a centrist or rightist policy. I look forward to the data.
10.2.2008 5:03pm
eyesay:
ruralcounsel:

1. Tax fairness: I agree with you that the number one reason we have taxes is to raise revenue. I believe that Barack Obama shares that view. Under current law, a single taxpayer in 2008 with an income above $32,550 will be in the 25% tax bracket. But someone making ten times as much will pay only 15% on capital gains. Many people who are not far left/socialists would agree that these two tax rates should be brought closer together, out of fairness to working people.

2. Universal health care: CBS reports that 64% (nearly two-thirds) say the federal government should guarantee that all Americans have health insurance. Universal health care is now the mainstream position.

3. Judicial nominees/empathy: If I understand you correctly, in a rape case, if the defendant attempts to suggest that the alleged victim is known to be a woman of easy virtue, we don't want a judge with empathy for the alleged victim who will draw a line and say that certain aspects of her private life are to be excluded from discussion at the trial?

4. Universal Voluntary Public Service: I agree with you that "universal" and "voluntary" seem to contradict each other. But after a brief examination of BARACK OBAMA AND JOE BIDEN'S PLAN FOR UNIVERSAL VOLUNTARY CITIZEN SERVICE (pdf) I do not believe the plan calls for compulsory service; it calls for expanding opportunities to serve in programs such as AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps, among others. In any case, I don't think the Obama-Biden voluntary public service plan is particularly far left/socialist, and I also don't think that compulsory public service (which Obama doesn't support) is far left/socialist, as many far left/socialists would strongly oppose it.

I'm still waiting for a single Barack Obama idea that is particularly far left/Socialist.
10.2.2008 5:13pm
ruralcounsel (mail):
Aultimer:

Then you try to color every statist (whether right or left) position into an "elite" position.

You're not being merely inconsistent, you're being nonsensical.


Where is the inconsistancy, let alone the nonsensicalness?

Carter's education: You "called [me] on it"? What the heck does that mean? That your standards of "elite" don't encompass certain university degrees? Sigh. Pardon me while I think of some choice phrases that I'm not free to type here.

I think of it more as based on libertarian principles. I don't like people telling me what to do, especially the government. Like they've done anything to make me think they can run my life any better than they run their own. And the people that aspire to positions of power, particularly if they think part of their qualifications are their "eliteness" ... they can kiss my alpha sierra sierra.

We'd do better picking random names off a list of retired Marine Gunnery Sargents, Army WO's, or Navy CPO's. Not that you'd ever be able to talk them into taking the job.
10.2.2008 5:16pm
Doc (mail):
Eyesay: "SG asserts that these four ideas are far-left/Socialist:
1. Fairness (and not revenues) as a goal for tax policy.
2. Universal health care
3. Judicial nominees having empathy for teenage mothers, poor people, African-Americans, gays, and the disabled.
4. Universal Voluntary Public Service.

I respond that none of these ideas are particularly far-left or socialist. "

Are you kidding? Or are you simply so surrounded by leftists that you can't think any more?

"Fairness" in taxation as Obama and his ilk use the term is certainly socialist-- he means wealth redistribution, rather than simply using the money to run the government. Find me a socialist theoretician who would not support this concept.

"universal health care" provided or supported by the government is certainly socialist--- I can't understand any definition you could be using which says it isn't. Haven't you ever read any of the basic works of socialist thought?

"universal voluntary public service" as Obama uses the term is certainly either socialist or fascist--- He does not mean "voluntary", as any of us would define the word. He wants this "voluntary" service to be mandatory to be allowed to graduate from school. What is "voluntary" about that? What he means by "voluntary" is "unpaid", not "free of coercion".

Take a look at his voting record in the short time he has been in the Senate. Whether the info is from a conservative or liberal source, he has consistently been rated as one of the two or three most liberal senators. That sounds pretty left wing to me. I've read his books and listened to most of his speeches, and it is clear that his basic attitude toward the legitimate functions of government is socialist. This guy is very scary if you believe in limited government.
10.2.2008 5:19pm
ruralcounsel (mail):
eyesay:

3. Judicial nominees/empathy: If I understand you correctly, in a rape case, if the defendant attempts to suggest that the alleged victim is known to be a woman of easy virtue, we don't want a judge with empathy for the alleged victim who will draw a line and say that certain aspects of her private life are to be excluded from discussion at the trial?


Aw, now that's a cute hypothetical. I think the facts should be presented. Period. Yes, we've made special evidentiary exceptions for situations like this. I think that's a mistake. As far as I know, the penalties are the same when the victim is of "easy virtue" as not. The important issue is whether it was rape, and not just the fallout from a breakdown in negotiation about price.

On the flip side, you think we should have different evidentiary standards for criminal conduct based upon some judge's subjective empathy? Or did you plan on supplying him a list of approved empathy groups? Because let us be honest ... the empathy for the disadvantaged usually shows up in terms of the criminal defendent, not the victim. Let's put that one out there for an honest public opinion poll, shall we?
10.2.2008 5:29pm
Anderson (mail):
"Fairness" in taxation as Obama and his ilk use the term is certainly socialist-- he means wealth redistribution, rather than simply using the money to run the government.

Where on earth does Obama say such a thing?

Notice how easy it is to say how terrible Obama is, once one relieves oneself of the burden of providing any evidence for one's claims. A golden example of this exercise is self-satisfaction is here ("The Unspoken Message of Obama"); my response, here.
10.2.2008 5:31pm
KWC (mail):
The argument that Palin is not a lawyer so we shouldn't care whether she understands basic tenets of constitutional law strikes me as wrong for two reasons:

(1) She may have the job of appointing judges to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Courts of Appeal, and countless distric courts. She should understand some basics.

(2) And this is important. If she doesn't understand Roe v. Wade, she can't credibly say that it is wrongly decided. She can personally disagree with abortion, but without understanding the underpinnings of Roe v. Wade (other than states don't get to decide, the Supreme Court does), she hasn't a leg to stand on.

Of course, there are many valid criticism of Roe v. Wade. My point is that hers are not valid. I think that all of us could agree that if the constitution actually had an explicit provision forbidding states from interfering with a woman's right to have an abortion, states couldn't contradict that. Based on what Palin is suggesting, it would still be "state issue," which is plainly false.
10.2.2008 5:36pm
Michael J.Z. Mannheimer (mail):
The latest polls show: Obama 338, McCain 185.

Goddamn the white-wine-and-brie crowd in Colorado, all those socialists in Florida, all the arugula eaters in Michigan, those Ivy League Ph.D.s in New Mexico, the hybrid car drivers in Pennsylvania, the pro-infanticide faction in Ohio, the anti-gun radicals in Virginia, the moral relativists in Wisconsin! Damn them all to hell!

Man the barricades! Indiana and Missouri may be the next to go all elitist on us!
10.2.2008 5:45pm
ruralcounsel (mail):
I suppose hacking away at these one at a time makes the posts more readable ...

eyesay:

Under current law, a single taxpayer in 2008 with an income above $32,550 will be in the 25% tax bracket. But someone making ten times as much will pay only 15% on capital gains. Many people who are not far left/socialists would agree that these two tax rates should be brought closer together, out of fairness to working people.


"Many people." Um hmm. And then there of those of us who understand inflation and indexing, and know that capital gains are usually the earnings from invested wages that have already been taxed (at least) once, and because of lack of inflation indexing are generally fictitious paper gains.

You sure they're not left/socialists? I'm not sure you understand what that means.

As of 2007, The top 0.1% income earners pay 17.4% of the income tax and only earn 9.1% of the income. The top 5%, pay 57.1% of the taxes, on 33.4% of the income. The bottom 50% pay only 3.3% of the total income tax on 13.4% of the income.

I look at that and think it's quite progressive enough. I'm "working people". Working people generally want to keep what they earned.
10.2.2008 5:48pm
eyesay:
Doc:
Tax fairness: The fact that socialists favor tax fairness does not mean that tax fairness is an idea only of socialists. Many moderates agree with Obama that it's not fair that a single taxpayer in 2008 with an income above $32,550 is in the 25% tax bracket, but someone making ten times as much pays only 15% on capital gains. And not only that it's not fair, but that it is appropriate public policy to move these two rates close together, if not equalize them.

Public service: If you can find mandatory or compulsory service in BARACK OBAMA AND JOE BIDEN'S PLAN FOR UNIVERSAL VOLUNTARY CITIZEN SERVICE, please let us know. If you can find something that Barack Obama said to support your claim "He wants this 'voluntary' service to be mandatory to be allowed to graduate from school," please send a link. Otherwise, please stop lying about it.

You claim that Barack Obama "has consistently been rated as one of the two or three most liberal senators." Please supply a source to support that claim that examines the record analytically and doesn't just make stuff up. According to UC San Diego Professor of Political Science Keith Poole, who has developed a mathematical algorithm for ranking all legislators in one liberal-to-conservative spectrum, in 2007, Barack Obama was in a two-way tie for the 10th-11th most liberal senator. For the 109th Congress (2005-2006), Obama was the 21st most liberal senator, pretty much in the middle of the 46 Democrats. So again, please provide an analytic source to support your claim that Obama has consistently ranked among the two or three most liberal senators.
10.2.2008 5:52pm
ruralcounsel (mail):
KWC:

My point is that hers are not valid. I think that all of us could agree that if the constitution actually had an explicit provision forbidding states from interfering with a woman's right to have an abortion, states couldn't contradict that. Based on what Palin is suggesting, it would still be "state issue," which is plainly false.


Wonderful. Why bother with the trial, verdict first! Visions of Lewis Carroll. "Hers are not valid." Okay, so based on your impeccable logic, she's wrong because ... she's wrong. If we had an explicit federal provision forbidding having children without a federal license, that settles the issue? Just because there is an explicit provision ... ? That makes the Constitution a suicide pact, ratcheting us down with each bad amendment. Besides, there is no explicit provision, which makes all the difference. It's silent ... and therefore not at all clear it isn't within the realm of the states to decide. And not a bunch of federal judges with Ouiji boards devining concepts from between the lines of real words.

I think it's more worrisome lawyer law-prof. Biden didn't do so well with the reasoning either. What's his excuse? He didn't even know RoevWade isn't the last word anymore.
10.2.2008 6:07pm
ruralcounsel (mail):
eyesay:

He is the only Senate member of the Congressional Black Caucus. CQ Weekly, a nonpartisan publication, characterized him as a "loyal Democrat" based on analysis of all Senate votes in 2005--2007, and the National Journal ranked him as the "most liberal" senator based on an assessment of selected votes during 2007. In 2005 he was ranked sixteenth, and in 2006 he was ranked tenth. In 2008, he was ranked by Congress.org as the eleventh most powerful Senator.

I'd say that come close enough for government work.

Wikipedia ... its not so hard. They'll even cite you the sources. Now just open your eyes, take your fingers out of your ears, and stop saying "lalalalalal".
10.2.2008 6:13pm
ruralcounsel (mail):
eyesay:

UC San Diego Professor of Political Science Keith Poole, who has developed a mathematical algorithm for ranking all legislators in one liberal-to-conservative spectrum


Wow. An algorithm! That convinces me! Why, I bet he even uses numbers and that higher math stuff. On one of those computer thingys.

Give us a break.
10.2.2008 6:20pm
Michael J.Z. Mannheimer (mail):

"He is the only Senate member of the Congressional Black Caucus."


Anyone else want to take a shot at this one? Okay, I'll go. Maybe he's the only Senate member of the Congressional Black Caucus BECAUSE HE IS THE ONLY U.S. SENATOR WHO IS BLACK!
10.2.2008 6:24pm
PC:
Wow. An algorithm! That convinces me! Why, I bet he even uses numbers and that higher math stuff. On one of those computer thingys.

And now it all becomes clear.
10.2.2008 6:26pm
Anderson (mail):
The fact that socialists favor tax fairness does not mean that tax fairness is an idea only of socialists.

Right. Socialists have also been known to favor sunshine, flowers, chocolate, and puppies.
10.2.2008 6:35pm
ruralcounsel (mail):
I'm getting a little snarky because so many pro-Obama posts are trying to run under a smoke screen rather than come out and honestly debate what they want."Oh that's not socialist." "Oh that's not statist." "Oh that's not collectivist."

But that has been Obama's style.

Look, I'm sure there are plenty of reasons to whine about Palin. But there are just as many for Obama and McCain and Biden. The tone of the anti-Palin stuff is just so "looking down their noses" pretentious social-class caste criticism. Look folks, none of us are as smart as we think we are. And the working class isn't as dumb as you seem to think either. And has been said so many times ... book-smart isn't necessarily the right attribute for POTUS. Probably not even necessary. I'm not sure anyone knows what the right attributes should be. I suspect they change, depending upon the situation. A lot of smart people get left standing with the deer-in-the-headlights looks as they try to over-analyze the incomplete data.

eyesay, SG, KWC, Anderson, Aultimer, Arkady ... How many of you guys are law students? The hubris of youth and inexperience. And socialists, who seem to retain both hubris and inexperience, regardless of age.

Time to call it a day.
10.2.2008 6:42pm
ruralcounsel (mail):
Michael J.Z. Mannheimer :


Anyone else want to take a shot at this one? Okay, I'll go. Maybe he's the only Senate member of the Congressional Black Caucus BECAUSE HE IS THE ONLY U.S. SENATOR WHO IS BLACK!



Complain to Wikipedia ... it's plagerized directly from them. Your smug self-aggrandizing editorial comment is duly noted.
10.2.2008 6:51pm
eyesay:
ruralcounsel:

Remind me not to hire you as my attorney, because I'm afraid your arguments will get laughed out of court.

To support the proposition that Barack Obama is consistently one of the two or three most liberal senators, you say (without supplying links, issue dates, etc.) that the National Journal said that Obama was ranked 1st most liberal in 2007 ("based on an assessment of selected votes"); In 2005 he was ranked 16th most liberal; in 2006 he was ranked 10th most liberal; in 2008, he was ranked by Congress.org as the 11th most powerful (not liberal Senator.

So even if I were to accept National Journal as a credible source, I fail to see how rankings of 2005: 16th, 2006: 10th, and 2007: 1st supports the claim that Barack Obama is consistently one of the two or three most liberal senators.

You can ridicule Keith Poole's work all you want, but if you click the link and look at the rankings, they are reasonable, and his methodology is explained transparently on its website. The beauty of his methodology is that it lets the numbers speak for themselves. There is no need to decide what votes to count and how to weigh them. He has no axe to grind, and he has been using the same methods since 2001, long before Obama was on the national radar. Keith Poole's 2007 Senate Rank Ordering.
10.2.2008 6:51pm
ruralcounsel (mail):
PC:

Wow. An algorithm! That convinces me! Why, I bet he even uses numbers and that higher math stuff. On one of those computer thingys.

And now it all becomes clear.


Somehow, I highly doubt it.
10.2.2008 6:53pm
eyesay:
ruralcounsel: "And socialists, who seem to retain both hubris and inexperience, regardless of age."

Gosh, arguing with you is like shooting fish in a barrel.

George W. Bush is 62 years old, and not noted for socialist tendencies, is easily the most hubristic president in at least 30 years, if not much longer, as well as the most inexperienced in a very long time.

George W. Bush lied to and misled Congress, the media, and the American people about weapons of mass destruction and Iraq's by-then-dismantled nuclear program, the non-existent connection between Iraq and the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the presence of Al Qaeda in Iraq, all so that he could drag America into a war that would cost $100 billion, tops, where we would be greeted with rose petals.

And you accuse advocates of tax fairness of hubris.

Shooting fish in a barrel.
10.2.2008 7:02pm
ruralcounsel (mail):
eyesay:

You really have no eye/ear for nuance do you?

I wasn't the one who made the claim you asked for sources on. I just supplied a verifiable source for information that supported it. And I said it was "close enough", not that it was perfect.

First you say the other guy made it up, and there was no basis. Someone (me) gives you some reasonable sources of possible support, and you quibble about accepting the source. Meanwhile, we're supposed to accept your source as credible, unquestioned. I didn't ridicule Poole's work ... I'm not familiar with it and so couldn't pass judgment either way. I was ridiculing you for putting in the bit about an algorithm, as if it somehow made the results more legit.

That we are even having this discussion about Obama's socialist credentials is absurd. Of course he's socialist. Everything he supports, his work history, all scream it. You're just trolling.
10.2.2008 7:04pm
ruralcounsel (mail):
eyesay:

"Bush ... blah... blah... Bush... blah ... Bush... "

And thus we encounter the diversional tangent, totally off topic and off point, ....

Troll.
10.2.2008 7:06pm
ruralcounsel (mail):
eyesay:

If this is shooting fish in a barrel, remind me to wear Kevlar with a trauma plate and stand behind you when you do, because you are spraying shots everywhere but the target. A little fire discipline, please. No wonder leftists don't like the Second Amendment.

We've gone from Palin's creds, to why some folks don't like Palin, to what's not to like with Obama, and now you want to drag Bush in to this? Getting a little ADHD, aren't you ... oh look, a duck!

Anything to distract from the question at hand, eh?
10.2.2008 7:16pm
eyesay:
My, how this conversation has degenerated. Now we're at the point where algorithms are worthy of ridicule without even looking at them, and everything Barack Obama supports, his work history, all scream "Socialism." Let's see, Obama supports the bailout, everything Obama supports screams Socialism, so 75 senators including John McCain are screaming socialists too.

By your own admission in 2006 Obama was only the 10th most liberal senator; if Barack Obama is socialist, there must have been at least 10 socialists in the U.S. Senate in 1006.

Shooting fish in a barrel.

I have yet to see even one idea of Barack Obama's that is shared by the far-left and socialists, and not also shared by many members of the near-left, moderates, and conservatives.

1. Fairness as a goal for tax policy: widely supported among non-far-leftists.
2. Universal health care: widely supported among non-far-leftists, including 64% of the American people.
3. Judicial nominees having empathy for teenage mothers, poor people, African-Americans, gays, and the disabled: widely supported among non-far-leftists.
4. Universal (in availability of opportunity, non-compulsory) Voluntary Public Service: widely supported among non-far-leftists.

Barack Obama: <strike>Muslim</strike> uh, <strike>hates America</strike> uh, <strike>Socialist</strike> uh, masticator. There you go.
10.2.2008 7:30pm
KWC (mail):
Oh, ruralcounsel. You speak with the elegant ignorance of a lawyer from a third-tier law school.

If you bother to listen to what she says you will hear that she believes that constitutional privacy rights are an issue for states to decide. They are not. State legislatures are not the final interpreters of the federal Constitution.

Finally, to repeat what I said: People here are saying that it doesn't matter if she understands Con Law. But if she doesn't understand the basis of Roe v. Wade then her critique of the case as misapplying the Constitution are unfounded. In fact, her opinion seems to be that states should decide all big issues. But this is not how our system works.

The problem is that she is lying. She disagrees with the result of Roe v. Wade, not the legal principle underlying it. She doesn't think it's an issue of federalism. She was fed that line. She thinks that abortion should never be legal, but her grounds for criticizing Roe can't be her own opinion, so she couches it in federalist talking points -- talking points that she doesn't seem much to understand.
10.2.2008 7:42pm
Angus:

As far as I know, the penalties are the same when the victim is of "easy virtue" as not. The important issue is whether it was rape, and not just the fallout from a breakdown in negotiation about price.
Why are you all talking to ruralcounsel? I started ignoring the dude when he ripped off this one. Yeah, dude, all women are whores. Now we see where you are coming from.
10.2.2008 8:17pm
ruralcounsel (mail):
Angus:
You need to get out in the real world a little bit more. It happens. And I've got a shocker for you: soon to be ex-wives and girlfriends sometimes claim dometic abuse in order to get leverage. Courts frown on it, but it happens, because the presumption (excuse me, empathy) is to err in favor of the person making the claim. Talk to any divorce attorney or family court judge. Pretending these things don't happen diminishes the instances when it does.

KWC:
Ah, isn't that quaint. Our non-elitist elitist is worried about what tier law school I went to.

"constitutional privacy rights"

You want to point me to where those are enumerated, big fella? Maybe they give higher tier law schools a different version of the Constitution and Bill of Rights than the rest of us.

Not there? So it's all made up. Not saying it shouldn't be in there, just that pretending it is ain't the same thing.

eyesay:
Declare victory all you want. Its a non sequitor to what you've said. I don't believe you've bothered to read what anyone who wrote disagreeing with you had to say. Fairness is in the eye of the beholder. A meaningless term as you use it. Algorithms, per se, are meaningless. Why toss in that inanity? You must be math-challenged. Just because people support a giveaway of services doesn't make in non-leftist. Preemptive empathy distorts the justice system. It's called favoritism. The "voluntary service" is not widely supported by non-leftists, as far as I can tell. Go back and read some of the threads we've had here on it in the past month. You don't like the term "socialist"? What you espouse isn't my problem.
10.2.2008 9:25pm
Michael J.Z. Mannheimer (mail):

"You speak with the elegant ignorance of a lawyer from a third-tier law school."


KWC,

I resent that remark. I teach at a fourth-tier law school and most of my students can spell "plagiarize."
10.2.2008 10:11pm
Smokey:
eyesay:
Barack Obama: ...[strike]hates America[/strike]...
I couldn't say if 0bama hates America, because I can't see into his Affirmative Action, merit-challenged soul.

But he sure as hell doesn't love America.

He's just like you, isn't he?
10.3.2008 1:19pm