Thursday, July 14, 2005

To Those Who would Use their Faith as a Cudgel against their Fellows

Sorry for the moratorium; just got back into town. One quick poem before bed. You make your own sense out of it.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,

Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The important question about any SCOTUS nominee

I want to call your attention to this excellent post by Asheesh Siddique. He demonstrates how Democratic "litmus tests" like abortion, affirmative action, and gay rights distract from the real issue at stake: how the role of the government risks being fundamentally changed from what nearly all American think it should be. He frames much of his argument in terms of progressive political communications strategy, because he is writing for a progressive audience. But the merits of his argument should speak to any citizen, whatever their partisan affiliation. His brief history lesson also gives the lie to those who try to portray conservative schools of judicial theory, such as the "Constitution-in-exile" movement, as originalist. In fact, they are anything but.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

A new Legal Framework for the War on Terror

[Actually, a couple of months old. The below is just pasted from the website, where you can download the pdf of the full report.]

The major debates about balancing democratic freedoms with security - from the Patriot Act to recent Supreme Court decisions on detention powers to what constitutes torture - have provided very little guidance on long-term legal strategies necessary to confront ongoing national security threats. To address this deficiency, the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism and Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and Law School convened a bi-partisan group of experts to consider the challenges ahead and how to design our laws to preserve both our security and our democratic way of life. The final report of the Long-Term Legal Strategy Project for Preserving Security and Democratic Freedoms in the War on Terrorism includes analysis and specific legislative recommendations to deal with the thorniest - and most profound - legal challenges of this new era, including:
  • Is targeted killing ever acceptable? Against whom?
  • When can coercion be used in interrogation - and who decides?
  • After the Supreme Court cases, when is detention allowable? When should it be?
  • Should the government infiltrate religious and political groups?
  • What exactly do we mean by 'profiling'? When should it be allowed?
  • Should government collect bio-metric information to identify citizens?
  • What standards should the government use for using information on citizens from private databases?
The project was directed by Harvard Law Professor Phil Heymann and Juliette Kayyem of Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. The Project's Board of Advisors includes high-level security, military and legal experts.

Sunday roundup

FindLaw on the rules of the nomination game for the Senate and the President.

What O'Connor meant (and didn't mean) for gay rights. She was certainly as crucial on this issue as she was on any other. And what she meant for women's opportunities on the bench; a lot.

Rabbis for religious and reproductive choice -- a perspective I had never considered.

Media Matters calls the Washington Post on its assumptions and confusions and then calls it on the difficulty it sometimes has understanding the text of its own story (on which also see my earlier post).

The ambivalence of Hispanics towards a potential Hispanic nominee.

The American Judicature Society on the irresponsible rhetoric that can come from too self-righteous an opposition to "judicial activism."

Ed Whelan of NRO's Bench Memos puts forth the interesting argument that a Justice Alberto Gonzales, because of his past employment, would have to recuse himself from a great number of important cases. It is interesting, but not necessarily right. Follow the links for the discussion.

The Washington Times has the principle right, I think, even if its application goes awry once it begins foaming at the partisan maw.