Monday, November 26, 2007

Not Everything Is A Republican Conspiracy

poster: The Secret Diagrams by Gerhard Seyfried (Click for LARGE.)

Karl Rove Isn't Behind Everything

I hate circular firing squads.

They serve no one but the enemy. And as Democrats, much more so than Republicans, who'll let Ann Coulter speak for them without saying anything, inviting her back over and over again, we of all people should perhaps learn not to shoot our own people over trivia.

The problem I have today, is I have a profound respect for the law. And a blog I actually like, even with their rhetorical excesses, ran a post last week, which is unmitigated crap. No one else called them out, so, I'm going to do it.

DownWithTyranny suggested that a recent D.C. Court of Appeals decision recently profiled in the Washington Post, was rigged so as to pay off for Republicans:


Bush's incompetent and overly partisan appointments to the courts have ruined the entire justice system of the United States and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is now an outgrowth of the neo-nazi outfit known as the Federalist Society. They are making it impossible to prosecute the overt criminal activities of bribe-taking congressmen by abusing statutes "intended to protect legislators from intimidation under civil or criminal law."

The Federalist Society court has ruled the Justice Department can't use evidence against the crooked Republicans that was obtained through court-approved wiretaps, searches of home offices and voluntary interviews of congressional staffers. Of the 10 current members of the court, seven are rabid right wing fanatics appointed by Reagan, Bush, Sr and, mostly Bush, Jr, who allowed the Federalist Society to dictate each nominee, none of whom faced any serious opposition from a collaborationist Senate.
Wow, just reading this, one could almost believe the Federalist Society has taken over the D.C. Circuit, and this particular case was rigged.

Turns out not to be the case. (Go back and read The Washington Post article to grasp the actual issue.)

First however, let me just suggest we reserve calling anyone a "neo-nazi outfit" be reserved for people whom, like, are? Say the KKK, or the Aryan Brotherhood. Not a group of distinguished attorneys and judges, no matter how much you or I may hold many of their political views in contempt.

Second, learn to tell your judges apart. I went digging, and where I didn't know the answer, I wrote a letter and asked questions, dug around. This is one of those times I wish I could mention whom I spoke with, because I admire her/him a lot, as a distinguished legal scholar. But it was all off the record.

I'm going to paraphrase what my unnamed distinguished legal source told me on Thanksgiving Day:
It's a joke to think for a moment the D.C. Circuit decision was written for the benefit of Republicans. The author of the opinion was Judge Judith Rogers, nominated by Clinton, probably the most liberal member of the court. Judge Henderson who concurred, but refused to agree with the speech and debate clause part which is causing all the trouble for the DOJ, was nominated by Bush (41), and is moderate-conservative. It is almost certain the breakdown of the court's vote not to review the panel decision also did not break ideologically, given who was on the original panel. The very thought of Judge Rogers writing a decision to benefit Republicans is ridiculous, doubly so when a GOP-nominated judge went the opposite way. As is the thought of any judge on the court writing a decision to benefit corrupt politicians. These are judges.
Again; this is my paraphrase of my source, not a precise quote. And while I would have loved to have given credit, my original letter asking for help promised to keep her/his name off the record.

I agree with this assessment. I just didn't know the breakout of the judges, and while I could have looked them up, I didn't know how they might have, um, drifted... over the years. Which is why I had to go ask someone who knows them.

With all respect, the DownWithTyranny post was an idiot thing to write, and an embarrassment to liberalism.

It was stupid to write, because simple fact checking would have revealed the writer of the majority opinion was a Democrat, and the writer of the swing vote concurring with the majority but against the whole speech and debate clause section which is the problem for the Justice Department, was a Republican.

It embarrasses liberalism because it sticks us with goofy conspiracy nuts who see 9/11 in every government degree, voter fraud in every movement of a ballot box, and Karl Rove behind every reverse of every liberal idea everywhere. Sometimes, we just have our facts wrong, and we need to try very hard to not do that.

Will this ruling make things harder for the DOJ? Yes, most likely. That is why they are strongly considering appealing. But that is how rulings go sometimes.

The facts are, a Judge (nominated Democratic), expanded a privilege which may or may not be upheld at the Supreme Court level, if it gets that far. It was a close vote, and a Judge (nominated Republican) voted against expanding the critical part of expanding the privilege. Both of which are the precise opposite of how they would have voted if they were voting ideologically. The remainder of the Court split on non-partisan grounds as well.

There are enough actual attacks on our liberties, that we serve no one when we insist on inventing conspiracy theories everywhere.

Or as I was taught as a young paramedic student learning how to diagnose patients: "When you hear hoof beats outside your window, think of horses, not zebras."