Shorter Andrew Sullivan: It would be criminal NOT to speculate about Elena Kagan’s “alleged lesbianism”

by matttbastard

Sully momentarily veers from his dogged quest to discover the truth about Trig Palin’s parentage to set his sights on an even more momentous issue of international importance: Breathlessly demanding that SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan come clean about her sexual orientation. Or, as Sully’s latest Murdoch Times column bluntly headlines, “Answer the lesbian question, Ms. Legal Eagle.”

FFS:

[Kagan] is unmarried, and apparently has no anecdotes of dates, no ex-boyfriends or girlfriends, no romantic interludes … nothing. In 4,500 words, we do not find out even where she lives or has lived or if she lives alone. (But we do know what her brothers do for a living — teaching). The far right has already identified her as a “lesbian homosexual”; and the gay blogosphere openly discussed her alleged lesbianism weeks ago.

But there is no confirmation of that anywhere and the White House reiterated last week that questions about sexual orientation “have no place” in judging a nominee (but her gender most certainly does). Quite how you defend this argument — from a president whose own criterion for nominees is a real experience of how law can affect ordinary people — is beyond me. It is also beyond most ordinary people out there.

1. Sully, baby, no matter how one feels about you and the vainly mercurial ‘of no party or clique’ passion play that defines your trademark rapid-fire, post-ideological preening, one could never, ever accuse you of being ‘ordinary’.

So don’t even try to project your latest singular obsession onto the vast, blank canvas that symbolizes your (mis)understanding of the great, collectively anonymous (and oh-so-noble!) unwashed you and your Serious™ ilk love to cite with blissfully ignorant impunity — you’re not fooling anyone.

2. This whole quest to uncover the sordid secrets of who (ALLEGED LESBIAN!) Elena Kagan does (or doesn’t) like to get freaky with is ridiculous — and, quite frankly, sexist.

Sully is Google-stalking someone to hunt down evidence of romantic/domestic minutia that might provide clues as to which way Kagan swings, all because her physical appearance and chosen lifestyle contradict sociatal norms.  IOW, the “lesbian question” is, as Jonathan Pitts-Wiley recently dubbed it, the “white version of being called uppity” (ie, ALLEGED LESBIAN ELENA KAGAN TOTALLY FITS THE STEREOTYPICAL IMAGE OF A DYKE). One would expect coverage of what is essentially an elite whisper campaign to be the traffic-boosting provenance of gossip outlets, not an Atlantic-affiliated political blog.

Elena Kagan isn’t some desperate, fame-seeking reality show contestant. She’s (most likely) the future next 9th SCOTUS justice  And, true to her own words, she should submit to a vigourous, extensive and transparent confirmation process* to help fill the serious chasms in her scant public record (not her dating record).

Going off on a demonstrative, tangential outing campaign is both an unnecessary digression from vital efforts to illuminate an all-too-opaque SCOTUS nominee and an all-too-familiar example of the sort of sexist speculation uppity women continually face.

*Which, though sure to be a (highly relative) ratings bonanza for CSPAN as it unfolds live and in real time on teh Twitterz, is totally NOT AT ALL LIKE A REALITY SHOW. Shaddap.

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QOTD: Sonia Sotomayor and the Unbearable Whiteness of Being a Republican

by matttbastard

[Ranking Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama] pre-emptively declared that he would not vote for a judge who uses the “empathy standard” in deciding cases—a reference to the sensitivity toward average people that President Obama said he looked for in nominees, and which has been transformed by the political right into code for favoring blacks or other ethnic minorities over whites. Sessions seemed to predict nothing short of the collapse of American law as we know it if Sotomayor is confirmed: “Down one path is the traditional American legal system, so admired around the world, where judges impartially apply the law to the facts without regard to their own personal views,” Sessions declared. “This is the compassionate system because it is the fair system.”

Undeterred by his gross historical error—had every court in American history applied the law in this manner, schools would still be legally segregated, a woman’s right to earn a living and obtain credit would still be denied, and so on—Sessions went on to attack even Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In an unusual broadside against a sitting justice, he accused Ginsburg of being “one of the most activist judges in history” even though a glancing look at her record shows she has been part of an almost powerless, left-of-center bloc on the court that included three men, two of them appointed by Republican presidents.

Ginsburg’s affliction, then, is apparently the same as Sotomayor’s: She sees the world differently than does Sessions. This is the key to understanding the unhinged argument about “empathy.”

It presumes that the white male experience is the only authentically American experience, and therefore the only one that could possibly be unbiased. Whatever predispositions or inclinations these men bring to the law are the valid ones. After all, they are not hampered by some silly notions they may have picked up along the way had they lived their lives as women or as members of minority groups.

– Marie Cocco, Closet Racism in the Age of Obama

h/t EileenLeft

Related: Cory Doctorow points to an extensive Flickr gallery commemorating Sessions’ longstanding tenure as a dumbasstastic racist fuckateer. On a more serious note, U.S. News runs down ‘Sonia Sotomayor’s 13 Most Notable Decisions’.

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The Last Word on Sonia Sotomayor’s ‘Character Problem’

by matttbastard

NPR:

The subject of the Supreme Court nominee’s judicial temperament has so far been raised by just one senator, Lindsay Graham (R-SC).

“There’s a character problem; there’s a temperament problem,” says Graham.

Referring to the comments in the Almanac, Graham went on:

“I just don’t like bully judges,” Graham says. “There are some judges that have an edge, that do not wear the robe well. I don’t like that. From what I can tell of her temperament and demeanor, she seems to be a very nice person. [Supreme Court Justice Antonin] Scalia is no shrinking violet. He’s tough, but there’s a difference between being tough and a bully.”

Indeed. A big difference (ok, not necessarily big, but…):

Judge Guido Calabresi, former Yale Law School dean and Sotomayor’s mentor, now says that when Sotomayor first joined the Court of Appeals, he began hearing rumors that she was overly aggressive, and he started keeping track, comparing the substance and tone of her questions with those of his male colleagues and his own questions.

“And I must say I found no difference at all. So I concluded that all that was going on was that there were some male lawyers who couldn’t stand being questioned toughly by a woman,” Calabresi says. “It was sexism in its most obvious form.”

‘Nuff said.

h/t Ann Friedman via Twitter.

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The New New Civil Rights Movement

by matttbastard

Is truly inspiring to see so many conservatives take a firm stand against racism. Truly.

Update: Via Antonia, oppressed white male Bill Wolfrum is mad as hell and isn’t going to take it any more:

We must fight. Today, a white male child will be born into an oppressive society where the color of his skin will only be a great advantage, not an incomprehensibly powerful advantage. That child will see that there is now extra competition out there between himself and his dreams. That child will be born into a society that – while understanding his cultural values and belief systems – will no longer automatically fearfully submit to them. That child will be destined for a life of dreams and promises that will only very likely be fulfilled. The guarantee is now gone, and we must get it back.

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

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ZOMG NO WAIS!!!1

by matttbastard

You gotta know when to fold 'em.

In a move that surprised next-to-no one, SCOTUS declined to hear Jet Schizo’s emergency citizenship appeal against President-elect Obama:

The court did not comment on its order Monday rejecting the call by Leo Donofrio of East Brunswick, N.J., to intervene in the presidential election. Donofrio says that since Obama had dual nationality at birth — his mother was American and his Kenyan father at the time was a British subject — he cannot possibly be a “natural born citizen,” one of the requirements the Constitution lists for eligibility to be president.

But don’t get too comfortable just yet, kids:

There are two other cases at the Supreme Court, neither of which has been scheduled for consideration. The most celebrated is filed by Philip J. Berg of Lafayette Hill, Pa. There are others still at lower court levels.

Berg argues that Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii as Obama has said and Hawaii officials confirm. Alternately, Berg argues that Obama may have renounced his citizenship as a boy in Indonesia, where he lived for a time with his mother and stepfather.

Dude, seriously. Give it up. You know that you’re beyond the fringe when even David fucking Horowitz thinks you’ve lost your crackers.

Horowitz link via Allahpundit

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In Which matttbastard Puts the Habeas Decision in a Partisan Context

by matttbastard

Ages of the majority:

Stevens 88
Ginsburg 75
Kennedy 71
Breyer 69
Souter 68

Ages of the minority:

Scalia 72
Thomas 60
Alito 58
Roberts 55

The LA Times:

Whoever is elected in November will probably have the chance to appoint at least one justice in the next presidential term. The court’s two most liberal justices are its oldest: John Paul Stevens turned 88 last month, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 75.

McCain promised that, if elected, he would follow President Bush’s model in choosing Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.

That could establish a large conservative majority on the court for years. With conservatives in full control, the court would probably overturn Roe vs. Wade and the national right to have an abortion. The justices also could give religion a greater role in government and the schools, and block the move toward same-sex marriage.

If elected, Obama would be hard-pressed to create a truly liberal court. But by replacing the aging liberal justices with liberals, he could preserve abortion rights and maintain a strict separation of church and state.

Related: Marcy Wheeler provides a detailed report on today’s Center for Constitutional Rights conference call on the Habeus decision:

  • The 40 to 60 people who have already been determined not to be enemy combatants will now have court assistance in finding a way and a place to be released. One of the key issues for these men is that they often come from countries like Syria where, if they were to return, they would be tortured. A number of them have petitioned to be released to third countries, in some cases where they have family. DOD has refused to consider this up until now. This ruling gives courts the ability to provide for relief to those being held even after they were determined not to be enemy combatants.
  • There are roughly 260 people at Gitmo who have not received a Combat Status Review. Over a hundred have already petitioned for Habeas, and a number of those have been stayed awaiting this ruling. Some of those stays require the petitioners to restart their petition within 10 days of the ruling, so you’re going to see them move into a Habeas process within the next two weeks.
  • Michael Ratner, the head of CCR, stated that he believes in many of these cases, the government will be unable to prove it has reason to detain these people–either because the evidence is tainted or because there is no evidence. So the government may be forced to release many of these men as well.
  • It’s unclear where and how these Habeas petitions will be heard–so it’s an open question whether detainees will be able to come to DC to present their case.
  • Carol Rosenberg, my favorite journalist covering the show trials, asked if the government will rush to charge detainees under the Military Commissions Act. Gutierrez responded that they’re really limited by whom they can charge; she put the number at around 60-80 people who they have enough evidence to charge.

More on Boumediene from skdadl @ pogge, SCOTUSBlog (round up here), Hilzoy, David Barron and Marty Lederman, who notes that there were two questions that the court did not answer, but, as Lederman goes on to explain, did provide hints as to where it was leaning:

1) Would habeas rights extend to alien detainees held in foreign locations other than Guantanamo (such as Bagram)?

and

2) What is the substantive standard for who may be indefinitely detained?

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Right Wing Watch: Phony ‘National Day of Prayer’ Pushes Right-Wing Judges

by matttbastard

Well, isn’t this special:

The “National Day of Prayer Task Force” is a Religious Right group pretending to be the “official” agency responsible for the national non-sectarian day of prayer and reflection. Here Janice Rogers Brown, Bush’s most extreme judicial nominee, and Vonette Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade, pray for a right-wing judiciary.

National Day of Prayer Task Force — “GOD TV,” 5/1/2008

And their dogwhistle to the Republican leadership prayers will be answered if John Sidney McSame inherits the keys to the Oval Office. Maverickly delicious? Yeah, and Dubya was compassionately conservative.

Four. More. Years.

Check out Right Wing Watch for more on the ‘National Day of Prayer Task Force’ and yesterday’s horizontal cry to Jeebus.

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