Friday, August 08, 2003
Misleading? Not possible!
In this letter, Attorney General John Ashcroft (see hysterical post immediately below), quotes the Chief Justice as saying:
"It is well settled that not only the definition of what acts shall be criminal, but the prescription of what sentence or range of sentences shall be imposed on those found guilty of such acts, is a legislative function - in the federal system, it is for Congress. Congress has recently indicated rather strongly, by the Feeney Amendment, that it believes there have been too many downward departures from the Sentencing Guidelines. It has taken steps to reduce that number. Such a decision is for Congress, just as the enactment of the Sentencing Guidelines nearly twenty years ago was."
But, let us not forget that the Chief Justice said in the same speech:
"We can all recognize that Congress has a legitimate interest in obtaining information which will assist in the legislative process. But the efforts to obtain information may not threaten judicial independence or the established principle that a judge's judicial acts cannot serve as a basis for his removal from office."
"The new law also provides for the collection of information about sentencing practices employed by federal judges throughout the country. This, too, is a legitimate sphere of congressional inquiry, in aid of its legislative authority. But one portion of the law provides for the collection of such information on an individualized judge-by-judge basis. This, it seems to me, is more troubling. For side-by-side with the broad authority of Congress to legislate and gather information in this area is the principle that federal judges may not be removed from office for their judicial acts. . . . [P] There can also be no doubt that the subject matter of the questions, and whether they target the judicial decisions of individual federal judges, could amount to an unwarranted and ill-considered effort to intimidate individual judges in the performance of their judicial duties. We must hope that these inquiries are designed to obtain information in aid of the congressional legislative function, and will not trench upon judicial independence."
Misleading? Well, maybe just a little incomplete.
Wednesday, August 06, 2003
California Recall: Strategy
I am excited that I will be able to vote in the recall election (even though it is just plain stupid). Academy founder Mindy will squeak into California residency just in time to qualify for the recall (she tells me she is excited to join the crazy direct-democracy that is California).
The recall strategy is simple. Any self-respecting democrat should vote "No" on the recall. But even if the recall succeeds, the "No votes" can assure a victory. This is because even those who vote "No" on the recall question are still permitted to vote for a replacement candidate in the event the recall succeeds!! All we "Noes" have to do is pick the same replacement candidate - it is a win-win situation.
This is why I do think a democrat should run in the recall. Said democrat should put on an advertising blitz encouraging a "no" vote on the recall AND that all such voters hedge their bets by voting for him/her on the second part of the ballot. It is a very easy and sensible thing to do. I have no doubt that such a strategy would be an almost guaranteed success. Even if the recall is unsuccessful, Davis stays, and Californians would have sent the message that determined, rich "right-wing conspirators" cannot hijack a governorship. This in itself is a good thing. If the recall succeeds, the "no votes" will still be in the 40% range, and such a number, if they all vote for the same replacement candidate, will be more than enough to guarantee a simple plurality to whomever the "Noes" choose, collectively, to vote for. The other candidates will only succeed in fracturing the remaining percentage, none of whom could likely get over 30% of the vote.
So, who is it gonna be? If no strong democrat runs, we are in serious trouble. In that case, I'm throwing my vote over to Larry Flynt. I hope you're listening Larry - lesson of the day: COURT THE NO VOTE!
Great Gift For that someone special!
Great Indie Music!
This is a shout-out (and shameless plug) for my good friend, Stu Scruggs, who has just recorded a fantastic CD, Unknown Fate.
Stu has been a singer-songwriter since I've known him. His talent and witty lyricism are everpresent on Unknown Fate, and I find that this and this particularly showcase both. Pick this one up, support an artist, and enjoy catchy, humorous music.
Now, back to your regularly (or not so-regularly) scheduled programming.