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Archive for the ‘Justice and the Courts’ Category

Poetic justice

Posted by Greg on May 20, 2010

In a perfect world there would be no rape.  Perhaps the next best thing would be for more sexual assaults to end like this one.

One might wish her aim were better, perhaps the target was just too small?

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Time doesn’t change the nature of the crime

Posted by Greg on September 29, 2009

I am sick to death of the glitterati and their silly defenses of child rape.  Yes, Roman Polanski has made a great film or two (and a lot of mediocre crap).  That doesn’t change the fact he’s a child rapist.

Kate Harding calls it well.

The point is not to keep 76-year-old Polanski off the streets or help his victim feel safe. The point is that drugging and raping a child, then leaving the country before you can be sentenced for it, is behavior our society should not — and at least in theory, does not — tolerate, no matter how famous, wealthy or well-connected you are, no matter how old you were when you finally got caught, no matter what your victim says about it now, no matter how mature she looked at 13, no matter how pushy her mother was, and no matter how many really swell movies you’ve made.

*****

The reporting on Polanski’s arrest has been every bit as “bizarrely skewed,” if not more so. Roman Polanski may be a great director, an old man, a husband, a father, a friend to many powerful people, and even the target of some questionable legal shenanigans. He may very well be no threat to society at this point. He may even be a good person on balance, whatever that means. But none of that changes the basic, undisputed fact: Roman Polanski raped a child. And rushing past that point to focus on the reasons why we should forgive him, pity him, respect him, admire him, support him, whatever, is absolutely twisted.

Posted in Culture War, International, Justice and the Courts | Leave a Comment »

Neither are most Americans

Posted by Greg on September 24, 2009

Loving my new senator.

Posted in Civil Rights, Congress, Justice and the Courts, Minnesota | Leave a Comment »

Rooting out the evil

Posted by Greg on August 12, 2009

My friends at Cadillac Tight discuss the corruption in the Bush Justice Department.  Read it.

It is difficult to imagine any practice more deeply corrupt than a presidential administration distorting the criminal justice system in order to use it as a partisan weapon against its political enemies.
Newly released documents, including thousands of pages of White House emails, show that Karl Rove, Harriet Meiers and other high-ranking political figures in the Bush White House were deeply involved in using the federal criminal justice machinery to further their partisan political goals — including successfully orchestrating the firing of a top federal prosecutor who failed to bring criminal prosecutions against Democratic politicians because the evidence did not support bringing criminal charges. And, not surprisingly, Karl Rove also lied to Congress about his role in this corruption.

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I am proud of my junior senator

Posted by Greg on July 30, 2009

Posted in Justice and the Courts, Minnesota | Leave a Comment »

The real problem with Cambridge

Posted by Greg on July 27, 2009

Great piece in Reason.

The conversation we ought to be having in response to the July 16 incident and its heated aftermath isn’t about race, it’s about police arrest powers, and the right to criticize armed agents of the government.

By any account of what happened—Gates’, Crowleys’, or some version in between—Gates should never have been arrested. “Contempt of cop,” as it’s sometimes called, isn’t a crime. Or at least it shouldn’t be. It may be impolite, but mouthing off to police is protected speech, all the more so if your anger and insults are related to a perceived violation of your rights. The “disorderly conduct” charge for which Gates was arrested was intended to prevent riots, not to prevent cops from enduring insults. Crowley is owed an apology for being portrayed as a racist, but he ought to be disciplined for making a wrongful arrest.

He won’t be, of course. And that’s ultimately the scandal that will endure long after the political furor dies down. The power to forcibly detain a citizen is an extraordinary one. It’s taken far too lightly, and is too often abused. And that abuse certainly occurs against black people, but not only against black people. American cops seem to have increasingly little tolerance for people who talk back, even merely to inquire about their rights.

Posted in Civil Rights, Justice and the Courts | Leave a Comment »

War on drugs = massive FAIL

Posted by Greg on June 15, 2009

Great quote:

“We’ve spent a trillion dollars prosecuting the war on drugs,” Norm Stamper, a former police chief of Seattle, told me. “What do we have to show for it? Drugs are more readily available, at lower prices and higher levels of potency. It’s a dismal failure.”

Posted in Civil Rights, Culture War, Justice and the Courts | 1 Comment »

Little boys and their tantrums

Posted by Greg on June 10, 2009

Posted in Congress, Justice and the Courts, Obama Administration | Leave a Comment »

It’s Sotomayor

Posted by Greg on May 26, 2009

Apparently Obama got the memo, my favorite, Sonia Sotomayor, will be nominated for the Supreme Court this morning.  This bio from the NYTimes has been cited so much it’s amost trite by now, but it bears repeating.

Her potential appeal to President Obama as a nominee to the Supreme Court also derives in part from her personal story, a version of the up-from-modest-circumstances tales that have long been used to build political support. Judge Sotomayor, 54, grew up in a Bronx housing project, a child of Puerto Rican parents. She would be the court’s first Hispanic justice.

Her father died when she was 9, leaving her mother to raise her and a brother. In speeches to Latino groups over the years, Judge Sotomayor has recalled how her mother worked six days a week as a nurse to send her and her brother to Catholic school, purchased the only set of encyclopedias in the neighborhood and kept a warm pot of rice and beans on the stove every day for their friends.

She loved Nancy Drew mysteries, she once said, and yearned to be a police detective. But a doctor who diagnosed her childhood diabetes suggested that would be difficult. She traded her adoration of Nancy for an allegiance to Perry — she became a fan of Perry Mason on television, she said, and decided to become a lawyer.

She went to Princeton, which she has described as a life-changing experience. When she arrived on campus from the Bronx, she said it was like “a visitor landing in an alien country.” She never raised her hand in her first year there. “I was too embarrassed and too intimidated to ask questions,” Judge Sotomayor said.

In one speech, she sounded some themes similar to Mr. Obama’s description of his social uncertainties as a biracial youth in a largely white society.

“I have spent my years since Princeton, while at law school and in my various professional jobs, not feeling completely a part of the worlds I inhabit,” she said, adding that that despite her accomplishments, “I am always looking over my shoulder wondering if I measure up.”

After graduating summa cum laude from Princeton, she went to Yale Law School, worked for Robert M. Morgenthau in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and spent time in private practice before being named to the bench.

She will be a worthy addition, and thank heavens they didn’t listen to the idiocy coming from TNR on her record and abilities.

UPDATE:

The wingnuts are going to piss and moan about a clip where she speaks of the appeals court making policy.

All good and fine, but that’s not what she actually said.  Listen  to the whole thing.

She’s talking about the difference between appeals court, where you are looking at precedent and district court which deals with facts of the individual case.  It makes perfect sense and is completely accurate when you look at the whole thing.  Doesn’t mean the wingnuts won’t trumpet soundbites that mislead and lie.

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Not gonna make the cut

Posted by Greg on May 20, 2009

So who CAN Obama nominate that would get GOP approval?

Love the Bachmann dig.

HT: Joe My God

Posted in Humor, Justice and the Courts, Minnesota, The Right | Leave a Comment »

A conservative on the court

Posted by Greg on May 18, 2009

A good review of how modesty and humility measure up on the Roberts’ court.

When Antonin Scalia joined the Court, in 1986, he brought a new gladiatorial spirit to oral arguments, and in subsequent years the Justices have often used their questions as much for campaign speeches as for requests for information. Roberts, though, has taken this practice to an extreme, and now, even more than the effervescent Scalia, it is the Chief Justice, with his slight Midwestern twang, who dominates the Court’s public sessions.

Roberts’s hard-edged performance at oral argument offers more than just a rhetorical contrast to the rendering of himself that he presented at his confirmation hearing. “Judges are like umpires,” Roberts said at the time. “Umpires don’t make the rules. They apply them. The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules. But it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ballgame to see the umpire.” His jurisprudence as Chief Justice, Roberts said, would be characterized by “modesty and humility.” After four years on the Court, however, Roberts’s record is not that of a humble moderate but, rather, that of a doctrinaire conservative. The kind of humility that Roberts favors reflects a view that the Court should almost always defer to the existing power relationships in society. In every major case since he became the nation’s seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff. Even more than Scalia, who has embodied judicial conservatism during a generation of service on the Supreme Court, Roberts has served the interests, and reflected the values, of the contemporary Republican Party.

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Confess Dick

Posted by Greg on May 13, 2009

It’s not often I’m proud of Jesse Ventura, one of my state’s more … colorful governors.  But this is priceless.

Posted in Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Justice and the Courts | Leave a Comment »

Defining torture down

Posted by Greg on May 4, 2009

Sully raises an excellent point:

One way to look at how the Bush administration redefined torture out of existence, so that it could, er, torture human beings, is to compare their criteria for “enhanced interrogation” with those for rape.

Raping someone need not leave any long-term physical scars; it certainly doesn’t permanently impair any bodily organ; it has no uniquely graphic dimensions …. and although it’s cruel, it’s hardly unusual…. So ask yourself: if Abu Zubaydah had been raped 83 times, would we be talking about no legal consequences for his rapist – or the people who monitored and authorized the rape?

Posted in Bush Adminisration, Justice and the Courts | Leave a Comment »

Leaving the reservation

Posted by Greg on April 22, 2009

Shepard Smith showing, again, why he’s among the few ethical people at Faux News.

Posted in Bush Adminisration, Civil Rights, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Justice and the Courts | Leave a Comment »

Court returns limits on police searches

Posted by Greg on April 22, 2009

In a ruling that’s something of a surprise, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court placed new limits on police searches, saying that police do not have carte blanche to search a person’s car without a warrant when arrested.

Details of the case are here, but what’s most surprising is the coalition that came together.  Stevens wrote for a majority that included Stevens, Ginsburg, Souter, Scalia and Thomas.

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