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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.

Nearly four years after leaving the presidency of the University of Michigan, Lee C. Bollinger is again under fire from critics of its race-conscious admissions policies. What has put him once more in the cross hairs of conservatives is a decision by...

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 24, 2006

Ever since Judge Samuel Alito was nominated to the Supreme Court, the Committee for Justice has been hammering away on the theme that it is the ultra-liberal anti-Alito coalition led by People for the American Way, rather than Judge Alito, that is out of the mainstream. We have emphasized their agenda, their dilemma, and their motivation for attacking Alito.

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...

January 10, 2006

Some reporters have been treating Alito’s adherence to the unitary executive theory as a hint he will support President Bush’s most expansive claims to executive power. But is it? No.

The basic concept of the unitary executive goes like this: When the framers gave power to Congress, they specified Congress could exercise only the powers specifically enumerated (“herein granted). By contrast, when the framers gave the executive branch power, they didn’t use the same magic words. The natural implication, the theory goes, is that the powers given to the President are broader and “fuzzier” than the crisp, strictly limited powers exercised by Congress. When Congress and the President clash, the different nature of their powers means that hard c...

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