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The law and the jungle

But they don't have a secret handshake

In their efforts to find something -- anything! -- to use against him, those opposing John Roberts' nomination to the Supreme Court have zeroed in on the fact that he belongs to the Federalist Society. No, he doesn't! Yes, he does! Stay tuned. And just what is this evil cabal of constitutional scoundrels? Well, its members want the "principles of limited government" to have a fair hearing and "believe and trust that individual citizens can make the best choices for themselves and society." Those monsters!

A true stealth candidate

There is so much claptrap out there about the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court that it's hard to find the worthwhile stuff by people honestly trying to decipher what his addition to the court would mean. Here's a great site -- apparently a relatively new one -- that offers even-handed analyses with what seem to me to be real insights. People who think they know what kind of justice Roberts would be should especially heed these words in one of the posts by  Tim Wu:

Judge Dork busts loose

One of the best lines you're likely to read about Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, from one of the people who grew up with him in northwest Indiana: "He wasn't a dork or anything." It's from a Chicago Tribune story that tries to fathom the adult Roberts by cutting and pasting snippets of remembrance from people who knew the juvenile Roberts.

Almost live judicial blogging

President Bush has just named John Roberts to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court. The consensus seems to be that 1) he is a Rehnquist (i.e.

Maybe we should send him to Gitmo

In one of O'Henry's wonderful short stories, "The Cop and the Anthem," a bum homeless man is trying to get himself thrown in jail for the three months of winter, because who wants to spend winter on the streets? He keeps failing and trying ever more elaborate law-breaking schemes until, finally, he is overcome with a sense of his own worthlessness while standing in front of a church and vows to make something of his life.

Blowing constitutional smoke

Why is that people who usually get all teary-eyed about the Constitution as a living, breathing document suddenly discover the beauty of original intent when if comes to the Second Amendment? They can always find emanations from penumbras that let the Constitution allow or forbid whatever it is that they want allowed or forbidden, but let them stumble across "a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state . .

Hey, don't forget Matlock, either

A lot of people have made a lot of silly statments about a possible replacement for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. This suggestion by columnist Richard Cohen to pick Judge Judy might just be the silliest one so far. Yes, Cohen is trying to be clever, but he also says he's mostly serious.

That watchdog won't hunt

Much of the journalistic community is in high "told you so" mode at the news that the Cleveland Plain Dealer has decided to sit on two investigative series because they are based on anonymous sources. Claiming to feel the "chilling effects" of the Judith Miller case, the Cleveland editor says the sources would be in trouble (likely of a legal nature) if they were outed. If the paper publishes, it will undoubtedly face the choice of identifying the sources or letting its reporters go to jail.

Round up the unusual suspects

A state judge in Kentucky has ruled the use of lethal injection constitutional in that state but made a pretty fine distinction on what is "cruel and unusual" punishment. It is not cruel and unusual, he said, if the injection is administered through a vein in the arm or leg, but it IS if the injection goes through a catheter stuck in the prisoner's jugular vein.