Friday, April 27, 2012

Justice Kagan Charms 6th Circuit

Justice Elana Kagan spoke to lawyers and judges in Lexington yesterday at the Sixth Circuit's judicial conference. Even conservatives who disagree with her jurisprudence found her comments engaging. Kagan displayed humor, warmth and humility.

Kagan, who is the Circuit Justice for the Sixth Circuit (which encompasses Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee) used her speech as an opportunity to let us get to know her on a more personal level. She goes to the opera with Justice Ginsburg and -- get this -- hunts with Justice Scalia!

 The hunting with Scalia came about as a joke she made with a conservative Senator during her confirmation. The senator was trying to discern her position on the second amendment but knew he could not ask directly. So he asked how she felt about guns and whether she had ever hunted. She had never hunted or held a gun, she told the senator, but offered to go hunting with him if confirmed. The senator looked horrified, so Kagan clarified that she was joking.

 After she was confirmed, she told Scalia the story and asked if he would take her hunting. Scalia thought that was hilarious and said yes. First he took Kagan to shoot clay pigeons to learn about gun safety. Then he took her to hunt quail and pheasant. Kagan and Scalia have hunted together four times, and Scalia has pronounced her ready for "big game." Their next hunting trip will be to Montana for elk, she said.

 Regarding the operation of the Court, Kagan expressed surprise that the justices do not email each other. Instead, they communicate by hand-delivered memos on heavy-stock paper. At first Kagan thought the practice was absurd, but she has come to value it as a means to promote deliberative decision-making.

 She described relations among the justices as quite cordial. They have lunch together frequently and have a rule that cases will not be discussed at lunch. They talk sports, according to Kagan. She roots for the mets and Justice Sotomayor is a Yankees fan.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dems Unfair to the Fairer Sex

This woman has courage, but you won't see any feminists coming to her side.  Kristine Svinicki is a Commissioner on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the only female Commissioner. Here's where she strayed from the National Organization for Women's reservation:  Svinicki is also a Republican and a whistle blower.  Svinicki -- joined with other NRC Commissioners, including Democrats -- has called out the unconscionable conduct of NRC  Chair Gregory Jaczko, who actually is waging a war on women at the NRC.  And now Harry Reid and company are trying to retaliate against Svinick by stonewalling her renomination.

Kimmberly Strassel has must-read, The Democratic War on One Woman, in today's Wall Street Journal:

By the fall of last year, all four of the NRC's Republican and Democratic commissioners had revolted. With unprecedented unity, they sent a letter to the White House relating their "grave concerns" that the "erratic" Mr. Jaczko was running the place like a despot. He'd ordered staff to withhold information from them, intimidated personnel into altering recommendations, and overridden the will of the majority.

If that weren't enough, at a December House hearing the four commissioners went on to describe a man with a vicious management style. Ms. Svinicki told of Mr. Jaczko's "continued outbursts of abusive rage, directed at subordinates." Democratic Commissioner George Apostolakis described Mr. Jaczko's "bullying and intimidating behavior toward NRC's career staff."

But it was William Magwood, Mr. Jaczko's other fellow Democrat, who related the chairman's penchant for going after women. He spoke of women staffers who had been "reduced to tears" by "the chairman's extreme behavior" and of his "raging verbal assaults."  . . . .

Here's how Harry Reid has treated Svninicki for having the temerity to speak up for herself

Mr. Reid has been trashing the only female NRC commissioner, falsely accusing Ms. Svinicki of being soft on safety and having "lied" to Congress in past testimony. The White House, having looked initially to back Mr. Reid, has since sniffed political danger and late this week said it would send up her nomination papers.

If only she'd been a Democrat talking about birth control.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Romney Visits Kentucky

Mitt Romney grows on you. That was apparent from the enthusiasm for his visit to Kentucky. He just wrapped up a fundraiser at the Anchorage home of John and Annette Schnatter. Even though the ticket price was steep -- $1000 a head minimum -- the turnout looked quite high.

More interesting was the buzz in the neighborhood. Children waved to the motorcade and even a few former Obama supporters drove by to see if they could catch a glimpse.

Many conservatives expressed regret that they could not go to this event, but seemed much more enthusiastic about Romney and his prospects than they did a few months ago.

This change in attitude about Romney cannot be attributed just to the implosion and withdrawal of his rivals.

There is something about Romney that makes one warm to him over time. After three years of Obama's petulance, Romney seems mature -- steady and optimistic. After Obama's class warfare, Romney refreshes with his refusal to be shamed for his success, for his consistent defense of hard work and free enterprise.

Maybe it's because Derby is drawing near; that puts Kentuckians in a good mood. Still, I sense a growing enthusiasm that Romney might win.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

McConnell Schools the Con Law Prof

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell expressed the shock many of us felt at President Obama's attempt to intimidate the Supreme Court to uphold Obamacare. The president comported himself more like a thuggish Chicago pol than a former professor of Constitutional Law.

Most bewildering was Obama's rejection of judisicial review, which has been unquestioned since Chief Justice Marshall wrote Marbury v. Madison, two centuries ago.

Obama's warning that the Court ought to defer to Congress because it is an elected branch was particularly rich given that Democrats had to literally bribe their own to secure enough votes for Obamacare. Recall the "Gatorade", the "Cornhusker Kickback", and the "Louisiana Purchase."

This, on top of the fact that few of the members who voted for the bill read the 2,700 pages before voting. Speaker Pelosi boasted they needed to "pass the bill so you can find out what's in it.". The Supreme Court can and should see if this monstrosity violated the Constitution and strike it down if exceeds the enumerated powers of article I.

To hear Obama, one would think that the Court was the product of a junta. To the contrary, these justices, all of them, were appointed by democratically-elected presidents and confirmed by democratically-elected members of the Senate. Thenk God they serve for life, to protect them from the political pressure we saw in the Rose Garden yesterday.

Here is McConnell's statement on the issue.

"Regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision on Obamacare’s unprecedented mandate on the American people, elected leaders have an obligation to protect our system of checks and balances. The President, more than anyone else, has an obligation to uphold the legitimacy of our judicial system. But his remarks on the Court reflect not only an attempt to influence the outcome, but a preview of Democrat attacks to come if they don’t get their way. 
“Only someone who would browbeat the Court during the State of the Union, and whose administration stifled speech during the health care debate, would try to intimidate the Court while it's deliberating one of the most consequential cases of our time.  This president's attempt to intimidate the Supreme Court falls well beyond distasteful politics; it demonstrates a fundamental lack of respect for our system of checks and balances.”