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January 3, 2007

Dahlia Lithwick compiles a list of the ten worst civil liberties outrages of the past year, which turns out to consist entirely, with not a single exception, of Bush Administration policies relating to the War on Terror. #10 on the list, for example, is federal prosecutors' decision to seek the death penalty for enthusiastic Al Qaeda plot participant Zacharias Moussaoui. That counts as a more serious menace to civil liberties, in Lithwick's view, than any prosecutions of the innocent on terrorism-unrelated grounds in the past year, or any existent or proposed curbs on mainstream political speech, or any steps afoot to regulate the Internet. How comforting to know that state governments or courts deciding liabil...

November 3, 2006

Point of Law, a website I run sponsored by the Manhattan Institute and American Enterprise Institute, is currently in its fourth day of a roundtable discussion of the upcoming election and its implications for law (especially the environment for litigation). Among the topics that have come up so far: the implications of likely Democratic gains for judicial nominations and liability reform, this year's crop of ballot measures, the politically charmed life of state attorneys general, and: is Iowa going to send Congress its next John Edwards? Much more to come, too -- stay tuned.

January 27, 2006

...and they're critical of the alarmism of the Senate Democrats and N.Y. Times editorials, reports the New York Sun. At RedState, "Leon H." observes that the tactic of "Borking" well-qualified nominees like Alito is damaging to the image of the legal profession as well as the courts, and is likely to provoke distaste from much of the bar, conservative or not. (via Taranto)(cross-posted from Point of Law).

January 25, 2006

ABC News "Nightline" is strongly in contention for that honor with its breathless Brian Ross investigative report on Justice Scalia's Federalist Society appearance. A general hail of dead cats has descended on ABC from commentators including, among others: Tom Goldstein, SCOTUSblog; Mike Cernovich, and again at more lengthOrin Kerr; Sean Sirrine, Objective Justice; Ed Brayton; and Bill Nienhuis.

Don't just blame ABC, though. Blame lawprof Stephen Gillers, who was much relied on by Ross in his report, and who's enjoyed a status in much of the press for years -- a quite inexplicable status, as this episode shows -- as the go-to guy on legal ethics. (cross-posted, and slightly shortened, from Point of Law). P.S. The Fede...

January 13, 2006

Via Taranto, here's TigerHawk posing a pertinent question regarding Sen. Kennedy's demand that the Senate subpoena the private papers of former National Review publisher William Rusher, a founder of Concerned Alumni of Princeton, in search of dirt about Alito's possible ties to the conservative group (details: S.F. Chronicle, Daily Princetonian): Senator Kennedy took the scary position that it was just and appropriate for the Congress to extract by coercion the private, internal records of a political advocacy group just because it was considering the nomination of a person who had once been a member of that organization.To understand how weird this is, consider the following "thought experiment": If the next Democrat...

January 12, 2006

Prof. Bainbridge reflects on the Alito peril, as seen by Democratic senators:

After catching up on the first day of the Alito hearings, one conclusion seems inescapable; namely, that Alito is more machine now than man; twisted and evil. He yearns to take liberals, women, minorities, gays, small children, and puppies to the Dune Sea, and cast them into the pit of Carkoon, the nesting place of the all-powerful Sarlaac, in whose belly they will find a new definition of pain and suffering as they are slowly digested over a thousand years. (Or maybe it's the slavering maw of Cthulhu the Great. I zoned out for awhile during Durbin's opening remarks.)

Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen. Schumer and Leahy's feeble skills are no match for t...

December 21, 2005

Following up on Mark's post: the new report from YAP (whose acronym I gather is unrelated to any Chihuahua-like tendency to bark without surcease at anyone not a member of its own ideological household) is also the subject of posts at Point of Lawby my Manhattan Institute colleague Jim Copland and by Michael Krauss, both of them Elm City law alums. Jim concentrates on Alito's much-discussed FMLA opinion in Chittister (for more, follow links here and here). Michael mentions that a group of Yale law alums has banded together to buy ads in support of the nominee. In all fairness to YLS, it should be pointed out that despite the involvement of some prominent liberal faculty, notably Bruce Ackerman and Owen Fiss, the Project does not in...

December 14, 2005

You'll need to click the link fairly quickly, since National Journal will be rotating it off soon, but centrist columnist Stuart Taylor, Jr. has another hard-hitting column on the unfairness of some sections of the media toward nominee Sam Alito. Taylor's catalogue of reporters' "factual distortions, tendentious wording, and uncritical parroting of misleading attacks by liberal critics" not surprisingly begins with the already notorious Knight-Ridder piece in which, according to reporter Stephen Henderson, "we didn't find a single case in which Judge Alito sided with African-Americans ... [who were] alleging racial bias." (In fact there have been at least seven such cases, Taylor says.) Taylor isn't k...

December 13, 2005

In my post yesterday on Alito and antitrust I neglected to introduce myself, so let me fix that now. I'm a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute who writes books and articles about the U.S. legal system, focusing especially on the high cost of our litigation system and how easy we make it to sue in this country. Among my other online activities, I edit the well-known websites Overlawyered and Point of Law, the latter of which has a subpage on Supreme Court nominations. Sean Rushton and Curt Levey have been particularly generous in inviting me to join the discussion here since I haven't always seen eye to eye with the Committee on the best way of framing the debate over this fall's judicial nominations. (Nor do I always see e...

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