June 27, 2008

There Goes The Sun
12:00 AM

What abysmal timing for the sun-starved moles deep in the Bureau of Land Management--no doubt acting in cahoots with the intransigent bureaucrats of the EPA--to flex their muscle when it comes to solar power: Faced with a surge in the number of proposed solar power plants, the federal government has placed a moratorium on new solar projects on public land until it studies their environmental impact, which is expected to take about two years.

"typical Pol"? You Say That Like It's A Bad Thing
12:00 AM

There seems to be a lot of hand-wringing this morning about whether the sum total of Obama's recent pronouncements and maneuvering--on the FISA bill, on the Supreme Court's child rape decision, the DC gun-ban decision, his campaign-finance opt-out, his joint forums stiff-arm--is turning him into a typical Washington pol and undercutting his appeal. But while there may be something substantively disconcerting about these developments--all things equal, you probably want a president who isn't as comfortable behaving so expediently (he's certainly more comfortable than I'd pegged him to be)--I do

June 26, 2008

Can the President Ignore Congress?
12:00 AM

In the final days of the Supreme Court’s term, it is not surprising that other lawsuits are not receiving much attention. However, this past Monday, there was a hearing before District Judge John Bates in a case that could have more far-reaching consequences than any on the Supreme Court’s current docket:  U.S. House of Representatives v. Harriett Miers. The dispute arises out of claims that the Administration brought partisan politics into decisions about enforcing the criminal laws.

Gunned Down
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--In knocking down the District of Columbia's 32-year ban on handgun possession, the conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court have shown again their willingness to abandon precedent in order to do whatever is necessary to further the agenda of the contemporary political right.The court's five most conservative members have demonstrated that for all of Justice Antonin Scalia's talk about "originalism" as a coherent constitutional doctrine, the judicial right regularly succumbs to the temptation to legislate from the bench.

Let A Thousand Mitt Romneys Bloom
12:00 AM

Today's opinion in the DC gun-ban case is getting all the headlines today, but Phillip Carter makes a compelling case that its practical impact will be limited--there just aren't that many gun laws out there nearly as restrictive as DC's draconian version, and Justice Scalia's opinion (pdf) goes out of its way to emphasize its compatibility with more tempered efforts at gun control (assault weapons bans, waiting periods, etc.).  It's also worth paying attention to the Supreme Court's decision (pdf) in Davis v.

In Support Of Obama's Death Penalty Stand
12:00 AM

Many liberals may be inclined to view Barack Obama's criticism of the Supreme Court decision banning execution of child rapists as the worst kind of poll driven pandering--akin to Bill Clinton's decision to fly home to Arkansas during the 1992 election to permit the execution of the mentally handicapped Ricky Ray Rector. I disagree.

Inside Mccain's Ipod
12:00 AM

Now that we've peeked at Obama's iPod, how about McCain's? Here's an imagined playlist for those long and tedious Baghdad airport landing spirals: "I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo" -- Glenn Miller Orchestra "Over There" -- George M.

Team Mccain's Imperfect Selflessness
12:00 AM

I just have to poke a little at the constantly-inflating balloon that is the "selflessness" theme in McCain's campaign.

Yoo's On First
12:00 AM

The House Judiciary Committee hearing with David Addington and John Yoo is proving to be exceptionally bitter and acrimonious even by House Judiciary Committee standards. If you're around C-SPAN, I recommend turning it on--this is entertaining stuff. Addington continually displays unveiled contempt for the members of the committee (I was about to say "thinly veiled," but even that would be too charitable). Yoo is slightly more polite, but no more helpful.

Mccain-feingold Takes A Hit
12:00 AM

Today's big SCOTUS news is, of course, the 5-4 ruling that strikes down the DC gun ban, and which has Obama in a somewhat awkward position. But today the court also zapped the so-called "millionaire's amendment" from the 2001 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, designed to protect members of Congress from wealthy self-financing rivals.