Eye on the Watcher’s Council

As you may know the members of the Watcher’s Council each nominate one of his or her own posts and one non-Council post for consideration by the whole Council. The complete list of this week’s Council nominations is here.

The Colossus of Rhodey, “Obama’s 8 Years As State Legislator Makes Him Better Qualified”

Hube contrasts the experiences of the two presidential candidates. IMO both are rather light but this time around we’ve got a choice between a smart, charming guy who’s been a community activist and is a one-term U. S. senator and another guy who’s not quite as smart or charming, has solid military experience, and has demonstrated great strength of character who’s been a representative and a senator for a long time. Those are the choices. This is the Internet age. Padding either resume won’t stick until November.

Done With Mirrors, “More on Jokes”

Callimachus, after reading a translation of ancient comedy, notes that humor is rooted in time and space.

Soccer Dad, “This Deal Keep Getting Worse and Worse”

Soccer Dad isn’t happy about the proposed swap of dead Israeli soldiers for a live Palestinian terrorist.

Wolf Howling, “The Supreme Court: Originalism, Activism, and America’s Future”

GW contrasts the Supreme Court’s Heller decision with the Boumediene Kennedy v. Louisiana decision as examples of the application of originalism and activism, respectively. Regardless of my views of the merits of either case, I think they’re both examples of judicial overreach.

The Glittering Eye, “The Rising Price of Oil: How High Is Up?”

In my submission for this week I consider the reasons that oil prices are rising. I still think that fundamentals are the best explanation.

Bookworm Room, “Surreal Logic *UPDATED*”

Bookworm dissects Gen. Wesley Clark’s skepticism about the relevance of John McCain’s military experience to the presidency.

The Razor, “Fireworks and the Nanny State”

I’m not quite as concerned about the nanny statism of fireworks prohibitions as Scott apparently is. Basically, fireworks are explosives and they’re quite capable of damaging my property as well as that of the amateur who doesn’t know how to detonate them properly and, as far as I’m concerned, that’s enough reason that I’m glad their sale is banned where I live.

Hillbilly White Trash, “Patriotism”

I’m inclined to agree with LC’s post on patriotism.

Cheat Seeking Missiles, “Witch Hunt For “Obama’s A Muslim” E-Mailer”

Laer posts on the search for whoever did the mass e-mailing keeping the notion that Barack Obama is a Muslim up in the air.

Joshuapundit, “Iraq Sues Over Oil-For-Food… And There’s an Obama Connection”

FF notes that one of those who benefited directly from the oil-for-food program was Barack Obama’s acquaintance and connection Tony Rezko. I suspect that Rezko will be the gift that keeps on giving but not to Barack Obama but to our present (for the time being) governor.

The Education Wonks, “Principal Confirms Kids Sipped Margaritas”

I can confirm that, unlike the third, fourth, and fifth graders in the school in the story that EdWonk posts on this week, at my grade school we were not served Margaritas. I have no idea what the standards are in Virginia.

Rhymes With Right, “Impeach Anthony Kennedy”

Greg calls for the impeachment of Justice Kennedy on the basis of his decision in refusing the death penalty to a child rapist. I suspect that what the case reveals is that there are five anti-death penalty activists on the Supreme Court and the law doesn’t make a great deal of difference to them. I also think that, rather than impeaching the justice, we should amend the constitution to require a supermajority vote to overturn acts of the state or federal legislatures.

I’ve decided which posts I’ll vote for this week. Which posts would get your votes?

12 comments… add one
  • [McCain] has demonstrated great strength of character….

    Of a particular kind. He has demonstrated great physical and moral courage under duress. Those qualities don’t necessarily mean that his other public character traits are beyond reproach.

  • I guess you agree with Ross Douthat (on the matter of overturning precedents).

  • Outis:

    I claimed nothing different. In my characterization I was attempting to give fair even-handed assessments of each candidate with strengths and weaknesses. As I said above I think both of their resumes are thin but there you are.

    soccer dad:

    I think that all of the justices on the Supreme Court are activists. Some are active with respect to certain issues; others towards others. I think that the SCOTUS hears far too many cases. That has the effect of taking issues out of the political process. Unless your position is that the SCOTUS is part of the political proces which in my view it’s not intended to be.

  • I’m not sure resume matters that much. Take some obvious cases:

    Pol #1 has experience as a military flyer and was governor of a major state.

    Pol #2 has experience as a submarine officer and was governor of a mid-size state.

    Pol #3 has extensive experience as a successful general but has never run for office.

    Pol #4 has no military experience, but was an actor, after-dinner speaker, and governor of a large state.

    Pol #5 has no military experience but was governor of a small state.

    Bush, Carter, Ike, Reagan and Clinton. Does the resume of each act as a guide to their success as a president? I don’t think there’s much support for that belief.

  • I think that resume is important but not dispositive. I think that both Obama and McCain have thin resumes for successful presidential candidates since neither has appreciable elective executive experience. They’re both fortunate they’re not running against the former governor of California or New York.

  • Hi Dave!
    I would note that Obama also benefitted from Rezco and Auchi’s involvement with Oil For food. Where do you think the money that went to Obama’s fundraiser and for the deal to purchase the Obama’s Chicago mansion came from?

    In a side note, Rezco was denied bail because there was an attempt by Auchi – or someone – to wire him $3.5 million, so the ecourt denied bail because he was considered a flight risk.

    Obviously someone wanted him out of reach pretty badly.


  • Here in Chicago this is largely old news. The rest of the country is just coming up to speed. There are other skeletons that have yet to emerge from Sen. Obama’s closet. One of them is that he’s a creature of Emil Jones.

    And then there are the unknown unknowns…

  • I would love to know how you think the Heller case was an activist opinion, or how either Scalia and Thomas are activists. For what its worth, the Giles case decided by Scalia on 26 June contracted the right of government to use evidence against an accused outside of the ability to confront the witness. It is a clear limitation on the power of government, not an expansion, and it was clearly based on the 6th Amenment at the time it was passed. The dissenters who wanted to erode this civil right were . . . . Breyers, Stevens and Kennedy. There justificaiton – not what the 6th Am drafters meant, but “the need for a rule that can be applied without creating great practical difficulties and evidentiary anomalies.” In other words, they want to craft something beyond the original intent.

    I have seen Scalia go into the realm of activism (i.e., breaking with origianl intent and twisting precedent) in one opinion on his entire time on the Court. If you are aware of others, again I would be happy to debate this one.

    The number of cases SCOTUS hears has, if memory seves me, actually declined rather precipitously over a number of years. This term, they decided 70 cases out of 8,000 applications.

    At any rate, the case I used to compare and contrast was Kennedy v. Louisiana, not Boumediene as you have indicated.

  • How many of the seventy cases were cases in which the Court had primary jurisdiction? In my view they should be accepting very, very few appellate cases. I should add that I think that the federal courts accept too many cases and should be deferring to the legislature more.

    Basically, I have less problem with Heller being heard by the Court (because of the specific issues WRT Washington, DC) than I do K. v. L., which I think should never have gone as far as the Supreme Court. On the merits I think that Heller was correctly decided and K. v. L. incorrectly.

    Thanks for the correction of my stupid error. I’ve corrected the post. I think I’ve got Boumediene on the brain.

  • PD Shaw Link

    In Heller, Scalia enforced a right that pre-existed the Constitution, i.e. the right’s existence and nature are not dependent upon the expressions found in the Second Amendment.

    From a strict-constructionist point of view, the problem following Marbury v. Madison is that the Courts only act with legitimacy when they can point to a right that is clearly supported by the Constitution and contains objective standards that preclude judges from merely substituting their judgment for that of the legislature. Heller poses the problem that the right that Scalia is really enforcing is the right of self defense that is not mentioned in the Constitution (though Constitutional scholars agree exists), and the objective standards for that right are not at all clear.

  • Yes, that’s the explanation I’ve heard of how Heller is an activist decision.

  • I think that the argument that the right to bear arms and the right to self defense are seperate and distinct would have amazed many of the founders. Where I live, there are numerous plaques from 1790 to 1800 where numerous Indian battles occurred, from large scale attacks on entire towns to individual attacks on households. The need for a gun in defense was necessary. The only reason to bear arms is to defend yourself – at least that has long been the recognized lawful purpose. The other, as our forebearers also articulated, was to defend against tyranny. Indeed, the precursor to the 2nd Amendment, the 1689 Bill of Rights, came about as a response to tyrannny of the Catholic Kings and explicitly stated that the purpose was for self defense.

    I think the only way to conclude that Heller is an activist opinion is if one starts from the standpoint that the 2nd Amendment is a collective rather than an individual right. In that scenario, the right to keep and bear arms is divorced from a self defense purpose and limited to the right to defend the state when mustered.

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