Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.
E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)
Back to main blog
Jane's Blogosphere: blogtrack for Natalie Solent.
( 'Nother Solent is this blog's good twin. Same words, searchable archives, RSS feed. Provided by a benefactor, to whom thanks.
I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)
The Old Comrades:
November 2001 December 2001 January 2002 February 2002 March 2002 April 2002 May 2002 June 2002 July 2002 August 2002 September 2002 October 2002 November 2002 December 2002 January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 August 2007 October 2007 February 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 March 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 October 2009 January 2010 March 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 April 2011 June 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013
Monday, November 07, 2005
A legal penumbra. The New York Times has every right to its opinion that Samuel A. Alito is not its choice for the US Supreme Court. However the reasons NYT writers Adam Liptak and Jonathan Glater give for this view come close to saying that Judge Alito is bad because he does not find for the right sort of people often enough:
Judge Alito dissented more than 60 times, often taking issue with decisions that sided with criminal defendants, prisoners and immigrants.
This passage was among those highlighted by Bilious Young Fogey in a fisking of the NYT article called Law-Lite. As usual, one reason that I liked the post was that it said exactly what I had been thinking vaguely.
You will note that I said the reasons Liptak and Glater give "come close" to what I called a legally indefensible view, namely that judges should be swayed for or against a particular plaintiff or defendant because he, she or they belong to some category liked or disliked on political grounds. Some readers may think my vague "come close" is a smear. Anyone's defensible opinions, these readers may say, might "come close" to other indefensible opinions.
But I don't think it is a smear. I think I am unavoidably vague because the thing I am criticising is deliberately vague. I really don't like the way they say, "He frequently voted in favor of the government and corporations" or the mention of immigrants in the paragraph above. What's that all for, if not to trigger certain political neurons in the minds of NYT readers? If the New York Times thinks that Alito has violated his oath of office by letting prejudice against immigrants or a wish to curry favour with the government or corporations affect his decisions, then come out and say it. The NYT just hints it. Incidentally, one can tell that the Times itself thought this was an important factor by the tag line it uses to encourage online readers to go ahead and access the article.
Continuing the theme of legal exactitude, elsewhere in his post the Fogey commented:
"Deciding properly does not mean reversing the decision, and it certainly does not mean imposing the court's own decision. Once again, pretty basic and mainstream stuff, unless you happen to believe that unelected judges should usurp the functions of all other arms of government.
There were aspects that I did like to Liptak and Glater's article. For instance,
Judge Alito was appointed by the first President Bush. Academic studies of dissenting opinions generally predict that judges appointed by Republican presidents will dissent more often in cases in which both of the other judges on three-judge panels were appointed by Democratic presidents.This factoid does contain real information that helps the reader to place Alito ideologically.