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Bloggingheads 05-05-2009 09:11 AM

See You, Souter! (Emily Bazelon & Ann Althouse)
 

GCox 05-05-2009 11:52 AM

Re: See You, Souter!
 
This is nauseating. Two biggoted hippocrates discuss who the nomination should be. They didn't even care about any issues. Their main concern was the race, gender, and religious beliefs of whomever is nominated. Who gives a crap about that. Racists and biggots thats who.

jaerae 05-05-2009 12:00 PM

Re: See You, Souter!
 
Yeah! Damn hippocrates... always trying to do no harm....

BornAgainDemocrat 05-05-2009 03:38 PM

Re: See You, Souter!
 
Five (or maybe six) Catholics, two Jews, and one Protestant. Why could that be? How many grew up in the South or Mid-West? Zero? Oh Well.

otto 05-05-2009 05:35 PM

Re: See You, Souter!
 
It's true that the discussion of individual judges was almost contentless other than references to race, religion, and gender.

And we never heard Bazelon's response to Ann's question on Sotomayor.

nikkibong 05-05-2009 06:14 PM

Re: See You, Souter!
 
The quality of this DV is terrible; unclear, hard to make sense of, grainy & incoherent. . .





And then there's the picture and sound quality! ;)

Bloggin' Noggin 05-05-2009 07:10 PM

Credit Where It Is Due
 
I've often derided Ann in the past, and so Justice demands that I call attention to the fact that she makes an excellent point here -- not only is it an intellectually interesting point, it is well made and it is very fair-minded.

Wonderment 05-05-2009 07:36 PM

Kudos to Althouse AND Souter
 
Agreed. I never listen to Althouse on Bheads (once was more than enough), but I was curious about the "empathy" issue. Fortunately, there was a link to her post on that, which was quite good and ended thusly [emphasis added by me]:

Quote:

The Court needs a forthright liberal. And Obama is perfectly entitled to pick such an individual. Of course, this person will as Obama said be dedicated to the rule of law, honor constitutional tradition, and respect the integrity of the judicial process and the appropriate limits of the judicial role. But he or she will do all of this in the liberal mode. I hope to see a fine Justice who will show us how this is done.
I will also take this opportunity to thank Justice Souter for his enormous service to our country. I shudder to think what would have happened to the law if he had been the judge the Republicans thought they were getting when GHW Bush nominated him.

Alito, Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and ..... NOT Justice Souter. We really lucked out.

Markos 05-05-2009 08:10 PM

Re: See You, Souter!
 
It wasn't clear whether Judge Wood had heard the offender's testimony that he would have victimized another child that day if the children had not been in a group. In the case of a sex offender, it would seem that this sort of statement should fall more in the category of shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theatre or threatening to kill the president. It would seem to legitimately fall outside of First Amendment protection.
The notion that sex offenders are a minority that suffers discrimination, though, does always strike me as painfully complex, because who would choose to have those sorts of compulsions? I do find it troubling that some people have such compulsions and therefore find themselves so ostracized, etc. I guess it's just part of the unfairness of life. I just wonder why anyone has to be plagued with such compulsions.
But, if Judge Wood actually heard that offender's testimony before she cast her vote in his favor, I think it points out the inadequacy of our legal system to genuinely solve the problem. It seems like there ought to be some sort of middle way so that a guy like that can't get near to kids but can somehow have a life if he's paid his debt to society. But maybe, if he can never be cured, he might not ever be able to have much of a life no matter how we structure the laws.

cognitive madisonian 05-05-2009 08:13 PM

Re: See You, Souter!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Markos (Post 112638)
It wasn't clear whether Judge Wood had heard the offender's testimony that he would have victimized another child that day if the children had not been in a group. In the case of a sex offender, it would seem that this sort of statement should fall more in the category of shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theatre or threatening to kill the president. It would seem to legitimately fall outside of First Amendment protection.
The notion that sex offenders are a minority that suffers discrimination, though, does always strike me as painfully complex, because who would choose to have those sorts of compulsions? I do find it troubling that some people have such compulsions and therefore find themselves so ostracized, etc. I guess it's just part of the unfairness of life. I just wonder why anyone has to be plagued with such compulsions.
But, if Judge Wood actually heard that offender's testimony before she cast her vote in his favor, I think it points out the inadequacy of our legal system to genuinely solve the problem. It seems like there ought to be some sort of middle way so that a guy like that can't get near to kids but can somehow have a life if he's paid his debt to society.

You could say that for any person who commits a crime: who rationally chooses to harm another person? To engage in criminality is to be illogical, in some way lacking. That doesn't remove culpability. Sex offenders can not be rehabilitated, only stopped from reoffending.

Markos 05-05-2009 08:28 PM

Re: See You, Souter!
 
I suppose that cognitive madisonian's comment is correct: that you could say that of anyone who commits a crime.
But some criminals can be rehabilitated and have good, productive and even happy lives eventually.
And some just can't.
And I suppose I harbor a maybe childish notion that life should be fair. When I witness life's unfairness, I can't help but wrestle with the idea for a while before the inevitable conclusion that it can't be helped pins me to the mat once again.

TwinSwords 05-05-2009 11:54 PM

Re: See You, Souter!
 
Ba domp bomp.

harkin 05-06-2009 02:39 PM

Re: See You, Souter! (Emily Bazelon & Ann Althouse)
 
A nice column on empathy.

Beware Of Empathy -Richard A. Epstein - Forbes

Lyle 05-06-2009 04:52 PM

Re: Kudos to Althouse AND Souter
 
Nothing would have been different with the law. It's laughable that people think the conservative Justices on the bench are crazy. Utterly laughable. Most of the time they vote with the liberals on the court.

popcorn_karate 05-06-2009 05:26 PM

Re: Kudos to Althouse AND Souter
 
well they did install one of the worst presidents in our history in a judicial coup - but that aside.... uh.. no that aside you're still pretty much completely wrong.

cognitive madisonian 05-06-2009 06:33 PM

Re: Kudos to Althouse AND Souter
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by popcorn_karate (Post 112744)
well they did install one of the worst presidents in our history in a judicial coup -

hardly

kezboard 05-06-2009 11:53 PM

Re: See You, Souter! (Emily Bazelon & Ann Althouse)
 
Ann Althouse addressed this point in the diavlog, and I thought it was a good one. Our reason doesn't exist independent of our empathy. I do think that justices should be as impartial as possible, but you just can't turn empathy off. I think what Obama meant in his statement about empathy is that a hypothetical justice should be aware of the effects of their rulings, which seems like a completely sensible thing to take into consideration.

Lyle 05-06-2009 11:58 PM

Re: Kudos to Althouse AND Souter
 
Install? Coup? Congress would have made Bush President if they Court hadn't, cause the Republicans had a majority at the time.

Oh the ignorance.

Markos 05-07-2009 12:57 AM

Re: See You, Souter! (Emily Bazelon & Ann Althouse)
 
Except that, factually, Al Gore not only won the popular vote, he also won more votes than Bush in Florida. It was the horribly designed "butterfly ballot" that mistakenly gave Gore's more-than-enough-votes-to-win-with-no-recount to Pat Buchanan. That was the tragedy of 2000.
As to empathy though, much as I trust and support Obama, I think his empathy remark gave conservatives justifiable cause to race the question of an whether that could result in activist jurors legislating from the bench.
That doesn't mean the conservatives are correct. It just means Obama gave them a chance to make that point and, as conservatives, they probably would have been remiss if none of them had made it.

cognitive madisonian 05-07-2009 09:39 AM

Re: See You, Souter! (Emily Bazelon & Ann Althouse)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Markos (Post 112822)
Except that, factually, Al Gore not only won the popular vote, he also won more votes than Bush in Florida. It was the horribly designed "butterfly ballot" that mistakenly gave Gore's more-than-enough-votes-to-win-with-no-recount to Pat Buchanan. That was the tragedy of 2000.

That ballot was designed by Democrats. You live with your mistakes. You don't get to go back and change the outcome because you screwed up. More people might have gone to the polls intending on voting for Gore, but we don't decide elections by intentions; we decide them by votes.

michaelyuri 05-07-2009 11:07 AM

Re: See You, Souter! (Emily Bazelon & Ann Althouse)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Markos (Post 112822)
Except that, factually, Al Gore not only won the popular vote, he also won more votes than Bush in Florida.

I don't want to rehash the 2000 election, but I do want to dispute the claim about the popular vote. Gore did not win the popular vote. There was no popular vote -- discussions of the popular vote in American presidential elections are meaningless.

The existence of the electoral college pervades the entire election process. On election day many people decide whether or not to bother voting based on whether their vote "will matter" (i.e. whether they live in a swing state). Campaigns and organizations doing voter registration and election day get-out-the-vote drives focus their money and manpower heavily in swing states. Candidates plan their campaign visits and advertising campaigns around the swing states.

Most importantly, the actual substance of the candidates' promises, issue priority, and platform positions is designed to appeal to key swing state contituencies. Appeal to swing state voters is a key factor in the pick of a VP candidate.

Even the primary is affected, both because it deliberately mirrors (although to a lesser extent) the state based selection process of the general election, and because primary voters take national electibility (i.e. appeal to swing state voters) into account when making their primary decisions.

In short, a popular election would look entirely different than what we have now. Voter turnout would be different, the campaigns would be different, and, quite possibly, the candidates themselves would be different.

Pointing to the popular vote in a US presidential election is kind of like pointing to the losing team in a basketball game and saying that they "really" won if you count all of the three-point shots as worth only two-points. You may be able to make a good argument that getting rid of the three-point shot would make basketball a better game, but that's just not the game they were playing.

Without the three-point rule, the players would have taken different shots in the game, they would have focussed on different skills in practice, they would have used different offensive and defensive strategies, and coaches would have looked for different skillsets when recruiting players.

nikkibong 05-07-2009 11:17 AM

Re: See You, Souter! (Emily Bazelon & Ann Althouse)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by cognitive madisonian (Post 112860)
That ballot was designed by Democrats. You live with your mistakes. You don't get to go back and change the outcome because you screwed up. More people might have gone to the polls intending on voting for Gore, but we don't decide elections by intentions; we decide them by votes.

You seem to be missing the more important point here: it's not question of whether the 'Democrats' were deprived of something in Florida - that's hardly my concern. The problem was that Florida voters were disenfranchised when they unknowingly cast votes for Pat Buchanan. Any person concerned with democracy (right, Madisonian?) should be disturbed by this.

cognitive madisonian 05-07-2009 11:26 AM

Re: See You, Souter! (Emily Bazelon & Ann Althouse)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by nikkibong (Post 112871)
You seem to be missing the more important point here: it's not question of whether the 'Democrats' were deprived of something in Florida - that's hardly my concern. The problem was that Florida voters were disenfranchised when they unknowingly cast votes for Pat Buchanan. Any person concerned with democracy (right, Madisonian?) should be disturbed by this.

It was unfortunate but if people vote the wrong way there is nothing you can do about it. Well, except design a better ballot next time.

nikkibong 05-07-2009 11:56 AM

Re: See You, Souter! (Emily Bazelon & Ann Althouse)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by cognitive madisonian (Post 112873)
It was unfortunate but if people vote the wrong way there is nothing you can do about it. Well, except design a better ballot next time.

Your glibness regarding this travesty gives the lie to your claims of being Madisonian. And, for that matter, Cognitive.

cognitive madisonian 05-07-2009 12:01 PM

Re: See You, Souter! (Emily Bazelon & Ann Althouse)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by nikkibong (Post 112876)
Your glibness regarding this travesty gives the lie to your claims of being Madisonian. And, for that matter, Cognitive.

It's not glibness, it's just reality. I don't understand what you expect. Some Democrats designed a bad ballot and it cost them votes. Who knows how many Republicans weren't able to vote that day for whatever reason? There's just nothing more you can do about it. Bush won. And four years later he won again.

I find it far more disturbing that this year one candidate outspent the other 2 to 1, not reporting where half the money came from, and receiving grossly disproportionately favorable media coverage.

cragger 05-07-2009 04:39 PM

Re: winning the popular vote
 
While I agree with you that things might be different with a direct election should we ever get rid of the silly electoral college system, (and my use of the word silly pretty much defines my stand on that), you are doing a lot of projecting in the specific arguments you make.

Your basketball analogy is essentially backward for example. Gore got more votes under the system in place, hence the previous claim that he "won the popular election" which is certainly true in the common parlance, however one might argue for the sake of nitpicking that we don't even vote for presidental candidates at all, we vote for slates of electors. In claiming that the total vote would have been different given a direct nationwide election, you are the one in the position of arguing that the losing basketball team would have won (the "popular vote") had the points allocated for shots been different.

It is all assumptions lacking facts in evidence - some people might not vote if they assume that their favored candidate will lose the state they live in as you suggest, but there is no reason to believe that at least an equal number might not vote because they assume that it won't matter because their favored candidate has the state sewed up based on history or the latest polls.

Empirical evidence does show the concentration of campaign efforts on swing states but doesn't show that it affects the overall vote. With direct election the campaigns might sound different, and candidates might make different promises or stress other priorities as you suggest, but I'm sadly unclear just what difference that makes since so little that comes out of a politician's mouth has a significant content of truth and meaning anyhow. I would like to think we would get not just different campaigns but better government by dumping the electoral college, but that is likely as not just me projecting desires and not something for which I cold make a strong case.

michaelyuri 05-08-2009 09:59 AM

Re: winning the popular vote
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by cragger (Post 112915)
Your basketball analogy is essentially backward for example. Gore got more votes under the system in place, hence the previous claim that he "won the popular election" which is certainly true in the common parlance, however one might argue for the sake of nitpicking that we don't even vote for presidental candidates at all, we vote for slates of electors. In claiming that the total vote would have been different given a direct nationwide election, you are the one in the position of arguing that the losing basketball team would have won (the "popular vote") had the points allocated for shots been different.

I think the analogy works fine. In each case, the contest was intitially run under one set of rules (electoral votes; 3-point rule). After the fact, supporters of the side that (arguably) lost under the original rules claim that their side should have won, because they came out ahead under a different, better scoring method (number of votes cast; number of baskets made).

I'm just arguing that, had the alternate scoring been known in advance, the entire contest would have been different. I'm not claiming that Gore wouldn't have won in a true popular vote election (I think it's perfectly plausible that he could have) -- I'm just saying that a popular vote victory in an electoral vote contest isn't good evidence that he would have. I'm arguing that, especially in relatively close elections, it is unknowable who would have won under a different voting scheme.

Quote:

Originally Posted by cragger (Post 112915)
Empirical evidence does show the concentration of campaign efforts on swing states but doesn't show that it affects the overall vote.

I agree that the effects would cut both ways. Members of both the majority and minority party might be disinclined to vote because they live in a non-contested state. Both parties would push for voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives in states where they are dominant. But there's no reason to think these would necessarily cancel each other out.

The only time anyone cares about the difference between the electoral and popular votes is when the election is relatively close -- but that's exactly the circumstance under which a different set of election rules has the most potential to bring about a different result.

Quote:

Originally Posted by cragger (Post 112915)
With direct election the campaigns might sound different, and candidates might make different promises or stress other priorities as you suggest, but I'm sadly unclear just what difference that makes since so little that comes out of a politician's mouth has a significant content of truth and meaning anyhow.

But it's not about the truth content of politicians' promises -- it's about how these promises affect voters. While I trust very little of what candidates say during a campaign, I have little doubt that speeches can move enough votes to swing a close election. And a different election scheme means different groups of target voters; different target voters mean different speeches and promises.

Two quick disclaimers:

1. I'm not arguing against debating the 2000 election, generally. Things like disenfranchisement, vote fraud, official malfeasance, counting errors, etc. all seem like perfectly legitimate concerns. I'm focussing just claims about whether Gore "won the popular vote".

2. I'm not arguing against a popular vote election. I think there are good arguments for it. I'm just arguing that you can't reasonably apply it retroactively to elections run under a different system.


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