Archive for the ‘Supreme Court’ Category

Obama Wants Supreme Court Nominee to Have “Common Touch” Like Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi….

May 24, 2009

Never mind that a “common touch” could have 300 million differing definitions from our 300 million Americans.

President Barack Obama has decided he wants a “common touch” in his appointee for the Supreme Court.

Talk about non-sense news.

What if the president had said he wanted “a fine legal mind.”  Check.  A ” fair minded litigator.”  Check.  In fact, there is everything about a “common touch” and nothing at all.

Your Granny would say about a “common touch,” “Oh  you know what we mean.”

Which means it is meaningless, really.  A figment of someone’s imagination.

Many would say Joe Biden has a “common touch.”  In fact, that’s exactly what the Washington Examiner says about him this Sunday.

How about “he says stupid stuff but he has a common touch.”  Check.

Or “he has been a United States Senator virtually all his entire adult life except for when he became Vice President but he has a common touch.”  Check.

How “common” is that?

We’ve heard people say that Nancy Pelosi has “a common touch.”  We’ve often thought maybe she’s just a little touched in the head, which has a lot more specific meaning than “common touch.”

“Common touch,” like “empathy,” is kind of a non-descriptive descriptor from the President honored for his eloquence.

As Senator Jon Kyle (R-AZ) said on Fox News Sunday, “I don’t want a Supreme Court judge that makes decisions on emotion or preconceived ideas.  If the law is on the side of the little guy, the little guy wins.  If the law is on the side of the big guy, the big guy wins.”

That we can all understand…


CNN on Obama’s “Common Touch”


By Bob Kemper
The Washington Examiner

For Joe Biden, gab is no gift. America’s garrulous vice president has a long record of verbal gaffes and a knack for saying exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time. Indeed, his flapping tongue has cost him dearly.

Biden sank his own bid for the presidency in 1988 with a series of inflated claims about his academic credentials and a partially plagiarized speech. Twenty years later, on the day he joined the 2008 presidential race, he eclipsed the news of his own candidacy and reinforced the notion that he represented the political past by describing a black challenger named Barack Obama as “clean.”

Read the rest:

Arlen Specter: Time for a Congressional Senility Clause?

May 21, 2009

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) is fully embracing his new party this week, working behind the scenes to bring back a union-organizing bill and publicly defending House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in the waterboarding controversy.

It’s been three weeks since Specter’s defection from the GOP, and while he initially raised some eyebrows among his new colleagues by voting against President Obama’s budget, he is now showing he can be a team player on two of the most controversial topics facing this Congress.

By Alexander Bolton and Reid Wilson
The Hill

He is in the midst of intense negotiations with labor unions and key Democrats to revive the Employee Free Choice Act, a major priority for liberal Democrats and organized labor.


And on Wednesday, Specter stood by Pelosi, who has come under heavy fire from the GOP for accusing the CIA of lying to Congress during the Bush administration about tactics used on detainees.

“The CIA has a very bad record when it comes to — I was about to say ‘candid’; that’s too mild — to honesty.”

Read the rest:


From The National Law Journal

 The former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Wednesday that President Barack Obama had asked him to name some possible successors to Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court. And Arlen Specter, D-Pa., said he has complied, though in speaking with reporters he would only hint at the people he suggested.

“I submitted four names — all women, and none who owns a black robe,” Specter said after a speech to the American Law Institute at Washington’s Mayflower Hotel.

He did not elaborate on whom he recommended. There are three female non-judges among those reported to be on Obama’s short list: Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Solicitor General Elena Kagan and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Read the rest:

Karl Rove on Obama’s Supreme Court Pick

May 7, 2009

Few events mobilize as many interest groups and set Washington atwitter as much as a Supreme Court vacancy. In the Bush White House, I served on a five-person committee charged with recommending nominees for Supreme Court vacancies. We had the opportunity to do so twice, though admittedly it took us three nominees.

We collected thick binders of background material on prospective nominees — not just opinions, utterances and legal writings, but everything from college transcripts to tax-return summaries to charity dinner speeches. We had years to prepare, update and review this exhaustive research. It helped get Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed within three months.

Just over 100 days in, Barack Obama’s White House and Justice Department haven’t had the time to properly vet prospects or complete the thorough review this decision requires. So Mr. Obama was wise to suggest that confirmation of David Souter’s replacement would take six months. Five administration nominees have already been found with unpaid taxes, and Mr. Obama knows he has used up any capital that could have purchased forgiveness for such offenses by a Supreme Court nominee.

In my service on the vacancy committee, I was startled by how many prospective nominees didn’t want to be considered, an experience Team Obama is likely to have. Some prospects were content to have their names mentioned but had no interest in being nominated, because the process has a reputation for brutality.

Mr. Obama has several things working in his favor. First, Democrats control the Senate. It helps a great deal to have the Judiciary Committee chairman as an ally.

Republicans also generally do not treat Supreme Court nominees as roughly as do Democrats. Consider their treatment of President Bill Clinton’s picks for the high court. Ruth Bader Ginsberg was confirmed by a 96-3 vote in 1993. The following year, Stephen Breyer was confirmed by a vote of 87-9. There were no fireworks at either hearing and nothing close to what Democrats did to Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas.

Because Mr. Souter turned out to be reliably liberal, an Obama nominee is also unlikely to dramatically change the court’s direction. A liberal replacing a liberal will smooth the path for most potential nominees.

However, Mr. Obama will pay a price for voting against Mr. Roberts and Samuel Alito after calling them “qualified” and lauding their temperament, humility, excellence, passion for the law, and respect for precedent. Both won confirmation with bipartisan support. By voting against well-qualified conservative nominees, Mr. Obama lost the ability to argue that a well-qualified liberal should be given the benefit of the doubt.

As senator, Mr. Obama also voted to allow a filibuster of Mr. Alito (which failed and the nomination came to a vote). So now as president, Mr. Obama can’t insist that his nominee has a right to a full Senate vote.

This matters because Rule IV of the Senate Judiciary Committee requires that a motion to end debate and bring a nominee to a vote pass with “ten votes in the affirmative, one of which must be cast by the minority.” Before last week, that Republican was likely to be Arlen Specter, but he’s now a Democrat. Mr. Obama will have to consider if his pick is likely to win over at least one Judiciary Republican.

But unless Mr. Obama picks someone who has acted in a disqualifying manner, he is likely to win. Only 23 of 158 Supreme Court nominees have been rejected or withdrawn (only 14 when the president’s party controlled the Senate).

In the coming debate, Republicans should explain their view of the judiciary’s proper role and why Mr. Obama’s desire that a nominee have “empathy” and “understanding” (fine qualities) is an amorphous basis on which to pick a justice. Should the “empathy standard” apply to the unborn? How about gun owners? What about religious conservatives who believe the court has removed religious influences from American life?

What Mr. Obama wants in a nominee isn’t really “empathy” and “understanding.” He wants a liberal, activist Supreme Court justice. But as Justice Antonin Scalia has said, “It is simply not compatible with democratic theory that laws mean whatever they ought to mean, and that unelected judges decide what that is.”

Read the rest from the Wall Street Journal:

Obama’s Idea of “Empathy” At Court Runs Counter To Law

May 5, 2009

Justice David Souter’s retirement from the Supreme Court presents President Barack Obama with his first opportunity to appoint someone to the High Court. People who are speculating about whether the next nominee will be a woman, a Hispanic or whatever, are missing the point. 

By Thomas Sowell
Town Hall

That we are discussing the next Supreme Court justice in terms of group “representation” is a sign of how far we have already strayed from the purpose of law and the weighty responsibility of appointing someone to sit for life on the highest court in the land.

That President Obama has made “empathy” with certain groups one of his criteria for choosing a Supreme Court nominee is a dangerous sign of how much further the Supreme Court may be pushed away from the rule of law and toward even more arbitrary judicial edicts to advance the agenda of the left and set it in legal concrete, immune from the democratic process.

Would you want to go into court to appear before a judge with “empathy” for groups A, B and C, if you were a member of groups X, Y or Z? Nothing could be further from the rule of law. That would be bad news, even in a traffic court, much less in a court that has the last word on your rights under the Constitution of the United States.

Read the rest:

Justice David Souter called his Supreme Court time a “sort of annual intellectual lobotomy”

May 2, 2009

Robert Bork once said serving on the Supreme Court would be “an intellectual feast.” On Monday night, by contrast, Justice David Souter said he undergoes a “sort of annual intellectual lobotomy” when the Supreme Court term begins in October, a condition that he said lasts until the end of the term the following summer.

It was an offhand remark by Souter, made in service of a larger point before an audience of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in Washington, D.C.: that Americans need to develop a “habit of mind” that includes reading books — which, he implied, becomes very hard for him to do during the bustle of a Supreme Court term. “I cram what I can into the summertime,” Souter said.

Without making too much of it, Souter’s comment opened an interesting window into his thinking about his job — and why conventional wisdom has it that he is considering leaving the Court soon to repair to his New Hampshire home. If he thinks of his work on the Court, even sarcastically, as a nine-month-long, brain-evacuating experience, it is easier to see why he would want to leave it behind — if nothing else, to catch up on his reading.

See Tony Mauro, Legal Times:

Obama Wants Empathy in Supreme Court: If the People and Media Like You Can You Then “Get Away With Murder”?

May 2, 2009

Empathy in the Supreme Court.  What is that exactly?  If a man found guilty of murder is likable and his case reaches the Supreme Court, do we want the court to ignore all lower courts and the law?  Do we want a ruling on heart and media likability or do we want blind justice and law?

More and more we at Peace and Freedom wonder about who Barack Obama really is. 

We wonder about the president’s many dichotomies.

We wonder about the president’s real role in the case of  U.S. Navy SEAL snipers killing three Somali pirates to rescue Captain Phillips.

It just seemed (and seems more so now) that Obama’s authorization of the use of such force — executions really — was an act of “rights denial” totally out of character for this President of the United States.

It certainly lacked empathy.

Obama: So far, a festival of photo ops, ego, self aggrandizement
And why no flurry of Obama hugging Phillips or taking more of a stand against pirates? Methinks the pirates do get in the way too much.  And by killing three pirates — an act Obama cannot be proud of if he really has empathy at all — the president has shown us real inner weakness.  He maybe doesn’t care so much about the little guy, his situation and his needs.  Obama cares first and foremost about himself.  Pirates and the plight of Somalia are really a distraction — as is darfur and other areas of torment and blight.

The only torment President Obama wants Americans thinking about now is George Bush and his handling of everything — especially those who were “tortured.”

But isn’t death by sniper a torture?  A denial of rights?  A denial of the right to life?

Obama has spoken about negotiating with the “moderate” Taliban, has removed the word “terrorist” from the national lexicon, has reached out to Iran even as that nation’s president denies the Holocaust and marches toward a nuclear weapon.  He’s the president who has called waterboarding terrorists “torture.”  And now, the president of such great heart, love and understanding wants that same kind of empathy in his Supreme Court nominee.

Yet he authorized the execution of three Somali teen-agers who had held hostages before and never harmed or killed one.  And this happened during negotiations.

Certainly, death by sniper lacks empathy, denies rights and is a form of torture?

More Somali pirates have died at the hands of this White House than Americans have died from the flu…..And the media — any media —  refuses to chase after this story…..

I think there are serious ethical and moral issues here and the dichotomies of Barack Obama never cease to amaze us….

It’s almost as if a guy that the public and the media likes can get away with murder….

And that’s why we want a “justice is blind” Supreme Court….

Obama revelling in U.S. power unseen in decades
Obama’s Justice Isn’t Blind: She’s “Empathetic”
Our Jekyll and Hyde President
Obama’s Day 100: Reaction From Around the Globe: “achieving only the minimum”
 Obama’s Too Many Dichotomies; Requires a Telepromter to Keep Himself Straight

Obama First President Ever To Shoot Three Juveniles in Head During “Negotiation”

Obama’s Justice Isn’t Blind: She’s “Empathetic”

May 1, 2009
“The process of selecting someone to replace Justice Souter is among my most serious responsibilities as president, so I will seek somebody with a sharp and independent mind and a record of excellence and integrity,” Obama told reporters.
“I will seek someone who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a casebook; it is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives, whether they can make a living and care for their families, whether they feel safe in their homes and welcome in their own nation,” said Obama.
“I view that quality of empathy…as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes,” he said.

The president walked in on the White House spokesman’s daily brief to reporters and the cable news networks today to make those remarks….

Frankly, I was always taught that Justice was blind and it didn’t matter if you were rich or poor, big or small, black, brown, white or whatever, Justice was based in law and was fair.  Empathy is for the school nurse.  Kindergarten.

Now we know where the “torture” document release comes from.  Empathy.

Columnist Charles Krauthammer on Fox News Channel called the president’s interpretation of judges as “deeply corrupting and wrong.”

“Judges interpret law.  The place for making law and empathy is in the congress,” he said.

Obama’s “empathy” sounds a lot like Pelosi calling immigration officers enforcing the law as “un-American”….

Empathy and applying the law….

Karl Rove said, “These two things are in conflict.”

“This is a singularly loopy idea,” said Ann Coulter.


From The Washington Times

“The next Supreme Court nominee must be asked whether they share the president’s decidedly activist view that judges should consider not just the law and facts, but also empathy for certain classes of people, including African-Americans, the poor, gays, and the disabled,” said Curt Levey, executive director of the Committee for Justice, which fights for conservative judges.

He sent a memo challenging Republican senators: “Do not roll over.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said Republicans will make sure the nominee is “thoroughly reviewed.”

“A Supreme Court nominee needs to be able to fulfill the judicial oath of applying the law without prejudice, and not decide cases based on their feelings or personal politics,” Mr. McConnell said.

Mr. Obama promised to consult with Republicans and Democrats on a nominee.

The president’s pledge to make empathy “an essential ingredient” in an eventual nominee is a stark departure from his predecessor, George W. Bush, who repeatedly said he was searching for someone who would apply the law.

As an example of how empathy matters, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said it would be a judge who would have sided with the minority in the Lilly Ledbetter case.

In that case, a 5-4 majority ruled that the law gave Ms. Ledbetter a limited window to sue for pay discrimination, and she had waited too long. Justice Souter and the court’s other three liberal-leaning justices dissented, arguing the law unfairly constricted plaintiffs.

“When one discriminates against your pay, they don’t normally give you a 120- to 180-day heads-up that you’re being paid markedly less than your male counterparts are for the duration of your activities,” Mr. Gibbs said. “So I think having a justice that understands the ramifications of what each of those means is important and something that the president believes is important.”

The White House has been preparing for a possible resignation since Mr. Obama took office, and has already made several nominations to federal appeals courts, putting him well ahead of the timeline followed by Mr. Bush and President Clinton.

Republicans, however, are reeling. The ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Arlen Specter, announced this week he was switching parties, and the panel’s other Republicans have yet to regroup and choose their leader.

Mr. Specter’s switch also puts Democrats on the verge of having 60 senators, which is the magic number required to overcome a filibuster.

But if the confirmation vote does come to a filibuster, Mr. Obama’s own record will tie his hands in criticizing his opponents.

He voted against both Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., and supported Democrats’ attempt to filibuster Justice Alito.

The court’s current composition includes Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Alito, all seen as conservatives; Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer, seen as liberals along with Justice Souter; and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who is seen as a somewhat-conservative swing vote.

Read the entire article:


It’s All Obama All The Time: He Was On The Phone Today and Congress Worked On College Football

May 1, 2009

Like it or not, our president is like a reality TV show: all over all the screens all the time.

This morning it was a cabinet meeting for the flu, what?  Crisis?  Normality?  I mean, flu?

This afternoon at about 3 PM President Obama came to the White House media center to say — earth shattering — he spoke to Judge Souter on the telephone.

“The Obama White House Press Corps is In Love”
The Supreme Court is across the street from the White House.  Walking to the Supremes may have been news for Obama….

And with all the worries of the world to deal with the U.S. Congress worked on College Football today.
Yesterday, Biden Was The Fool: Today, Aircraft Diverted for Possible Flu Case


Can Biden Be Right? Is The Flu A Real Crisis? Or Are We Caught with an Obama Government-Media Crisis?

Obama’s Biggest Income Redistribution Day: 1 Loss; 1 Jury Still Out


If you thought the Obama-loving media were getting tingles up their legs during the campaign, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
The way they’ve gushed and fawned over the new president since his inauguration brings to mind young teen girls fainting at the sight of the Beatles 45 years ago, albeit without the screaming – at least until now.
Such disgraceful slobbering could be imminent, though, as the unprecedented abdication of journalistic ethics recently on display makes anything seem possible.
Consider that in his first 50 days in office, Obama received more coverage from the three broadcast network evening news programs – ABC, CBS and NBC – than did George W. Bush and Bill Clinton combined, for the comparable periods of their presidencies.
As the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University (CMPA) reported Monday, from Jan. 20 through March 10, these shows devoted almost 28 hours to stories dealing with Obama. This was four times greater than the attention Bush received from these same newscasts in his first 50 days, and almost twice what Clinton got.
Although it almost seems impossible, Obama during this period actually received 22 percent more coverage than the combination of his two predecessors.
So much for claims the media aren’t liberally-biased.
Potentially even more embarrassing for these so-called impartial news programs, their daily average of more than 11 minutes devoted to the new president took up about half of each evening’s broadcast when commercials were factored out.
I guess when you really love something you just can’t get enough of it.
But beyond the mere quantity of the reporting is the sycophantic swooning. According to CMPA, 58 percent of all the evaluations of the president and his policies aired on these programs have been favorable. This compares to 33 percent for Bush and 44 percent for Clinton.
So viewers are not only getting four times as many stories about Obama than they did Bush, but the segments evaluating his policies and performance are also almost twice as favorable for the new White House resident than the previous one.
This volume of glowing coverage clearly is not only impacting Obama’s high popularity numbers, but might also explain why polls show people like the new president despite not being keen on his policies.
A recent AP-GfK poll found 64 percent of respondents approving Obama’s job performance. The same study identified only 49 percent supporting increased spending on health care, education, and the development of alternative energy sources.
But only 43 percent said they favor lower federal outlays, and 79 percent were either very or somewhat worried the resulting explosion in debt will have a negative impact on their children and grandchildren.
What this means is that America isn’t nearly as in love with Obama’s policies as they are him, and the media’s ongoing swoon is the culprit.
This should elicit great concern from people on both sides of the aisle, as it seems quite possible a continuation of the current press coverage could lead folks to go on supporting the president despite being against the direction he’s leading the nation.
If some degree of sanity and impartiality is not added to these newscasts, it not only seems likely that Obama can continue to push through any legislation he wants, irrespective of how the public feels about it, but he could also get re-elected in November 2012 with considerably less than 50 percent of the nation agreeing with what he did in his first four years.
Makes you want to twist and shout doesn’t it?
Noel Sheppard is associate editor of the Media Research Center’s

Major Garrett says because Fox didn’t air last Obama news conference, Garrett didn’t get called on…

From Politico:
Obama revelling in U.S. power uns
een in decades

Obama’s First Supreme Court Nomination

May 1, 2009

The news that Supreme Court Justice David Souter is planning to retire as early as next month is likely to set off a massive campaign-style fight over the man or woman that President Obama nominates to fill the vacant slot on the bench, and could well sidetrack other legislative priorities of the administration.

By Chris Cillizza
The Washington Post

The Souter vacancy lands amid one of the most crowded political environments in modern history with Obama seeking to stimulate the economy out of recession, restructure the American auto industry, draw down American troops in Iraq while ramping up in Afghanistan, reshape how the United States is viewed by the international community and begin preparations for coming congressional debates over health care and the capping of carbon emissions in the fall.

Add a Supreme Court opening to that mix and it”s easy to see why even the Obama administration’s vaunted ability to deal with a number of major challenges all at once will be severely tested.

“The White House team may feel burned out after two years on the campaign trail and then a grueling transition and first 100 days, but it is exactly that type of campaign metabolism that’s required to execute a successful Supreme Court confirmation effort,” said Kevin Madden, a senior aide to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney‘s (R) presidential campaign and now a Republican consultant. “It has all of the elements of a campaign: message coordination, rapid response, research, coalition building and grassroots organizing.”

The two most recent Supreme Court vacancies, both of which occurred during the presidency of George W. Bush, provide a blueprint and a cautionary tale for Obama.

The first nomination — of John Roberts to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor — was a model of efficiency. Bush deputized Steve Schmidt and Ed Gillespie, veterans of the 2004 reelection campaign, to run Roberts’s confirmation, and tasked former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson to serve as Roberts’s “sherpa” — helping to facilitate meetings with senators and ensure those meetings went smoothly.

The resultant public relations campaign cast Roberts as an uber-qualified achiever who had spent his entire life preparing for the post to which he had been nominated. Roberts was confirmed — ultimately as the Court’s chief justice following William Rehnquist‘s death — with a solid 78 votes.

Perhaps lulled into a sense of false security by the ease of Roberts’s confirmation — always a dangerous emotional state in campaigns — the Bush administration faltered badly when it nominated White House counsel Harriet Miers to the bench to fill a second opening. Roughly three weeks after she was nominated, Miers had withdrawn — brought low by doubts among grassroots conservatives and commentators regarding her conservative bona fides.

Which path will Obama’s eventual nominee take?

It’s hard to know but the massive grassroots army built by Obama during the campaign — 13 million email addresses! — and carefully maintained by Organizing for America since then is a huge advantage for the president as he prepares to sell the country on his nominee.

Obama and his political team have –literally at their fingertips — a list of (mostly) willing footsoldiers, the sort of intact organization that can be directly overlaid onto a Supreme Court fight. While it’s unlikely that all 13 million people on the Obama email list will volunteer to help in the nomination fight, even 10 percent participation would give the White House a major leg up over the groups who will undoubtedly oppose the pick.

Obama will also likely benefit from the current morass in which the Republican party finds itself — without an obvious leader to build the sort of campaign machine needed to counter the Obama message efforts. “If you view this news about Souter as the official start of the fight, we technically have to consider ourselves a day behind schedule already,” said Madden.

The Souter retirement sets the table for what could be one of the most anticipated — and important — fall congressional sessions in recent memory. Much hangs in the balance.