Legal scholars troubled over Democrats' memo

Discussion in 'Politics' started by jimnyc, Mar 20, 2004.

  1. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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    As the dust settles in the Judiciary Committee fuss over Republican snooping into Democrats' memos, several legal scholars said yesterday they were shocked by a memo showing staffers in Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's office plotting to manipulate one of the most significant court cases in recent years.

    "My jaw dropped when I heard that one," said Ronald D. Rotunda, a law professor at George Mason University. "It's very troubling."

    The April 17, 2002, memo describes a call from Elaine Jones of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, who asked that Judge Julia S. Gibbons' nomination be stalled until after the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had decided a landmark court case over the University of Michigan Law School's race-based admissions program.

    "The thinking is that the current 6th Circuit will sustain the affirmative action program, but if a new judge with conservative views is confirmed before the case is decided, that new judge will be able, under 6th Circuit rules, to review the case and vote on it," a staffer wrote to Mr. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat.

    The staffer also advanced Ms. Jones' recommendation of moving forward the nomination of Hawaii lawyer Richard R. Clifton to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals instead of Judge Gibbons.

    The Kennedy aide went on to say she was "a little concerned about the propriety" of stalling a nominee based on the outcome of a particular case, but endorsed the strategy anyway.

    "Nevertheless we recommend that Gibbons be scheduled for a later hearing: the Michigan case is important, and there is little damage that we can foresee in moving Clifton first," she wrote after consulting with a second staffer.

    Judge Gibbons waited more than twice the average time of other nominees before being confirmed July 29, 2002, after the 6th Circuit voted 5-4 to uphold the affirmative action program.

    "Wow," Georgetown University law professor Jonathan Turley said when he read the memo. "It raises very serious questions about propriety. On its face, there is an element of complicity and dishonesty."

    Kennedy spokesman David Smith declined to comment on the memo, saying, "I don't feel the need to comment on a stolen memo that I don't even know the senator saw."

    Mr. Smith said there is no evidence that Mr. Kennedy or any other Democrat held up Judge Gibbons' nomination and "I just don't see what the controversy is."

    But an analysis of hearing dates and confirmation dates conducted by The Washington Times shows that for all of 2001 and 2002, the average wait between hearing and confirmation was 33 days excluding recesses. Judge Gibbons waited 81 days.

    In that two-year period, 101 nominees were confirmed; only four waited longer than Judge Gibbons. Of those, three were deemed "controversial" by Democrats and stalled for months while Judge Gibbons was described as "uncontroversial" and won unanimous approval.

    "This is certainly not what the Framers intended when they gave the Senate the powers of confirmation," Mr. Turley said. "The fact that this type of discussion occurred at all is outrageous."

    The only legal scholars contacted by The Washington Times who did not condemn the Kennedy memo were University of Chicago's Cass R. Sunstein and Harvard University's Lawrence H. Tribe, two law professors who are widely credited with developing the current Democratic strategies to block Republican nominees.

    "I don't want to comment on stolen materials," Mr. Sunstein said. "Even if there is something bad in there, it would be improper of me — and possibly of you — to comment on them."

    Pepperdine University's Douglas Kmiec called the effort "panel-stacking."

    "It assumes that the law is equivalent to politics," he said. "It also assumes that it is perfectly licit to get a favorable outcome by basically rigging the process."

    http://www.washtimes.com/national/20040318-112243-1833r.htm
     
  2. Palestinian Jew
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    Palestinian Jew Member

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    I can't believe that these people were actually shocked by this. Anyone who has done some studying of the Supreme Court knows that people have tried to influence its rulings on both sides.
     
  3. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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    But it's nice when it happens to Democrats in an election year. :D
     
  4. Palestinian Jew
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    Palestinian Jew Member

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    I doubt the average american really cares though.
     
  5. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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    I'm sure you're right. It may linger in the back of the mind for some though that are still undecided.

    One story like this will be forgotten. Unfortunately for Kerry, many stories have been coming out over the past month regarding his record and it hasn't been pretty. These issues are going to be plastered all over the media until election time thanks to Bush's $200 million war chest!
     
  6. acludem
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    acludem VIP Member

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    Nominations have been stalled by both parties for these reasons. I find it interesting that none of you seem to be concerned about the fact that Republicans STOLE an internal memo from the office of a Democratic senator. If it was the other way and a Democrat had stolen a Republican memo, you all would be screaming bloody murder. There is also no proof that Ted Kennedy ever saw this memo or acted on it. He has no authority to hold up nominations, the Republicans set the schedule. Of course, we should notice that this story comes from the ultra-conservative Washington Times, so no wonder it is Republican slanted.

    acludem
     
  7. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Why should I be concerned with it when the Republicans already took actions to discipline the culprit? My question is why Democrats are refusing to deal with the information that exposes them in the memo. If there are corrupt dealings with regards to the judcial process, then Americans have the right to know, dont they?

    Also, why both parties of course are going to stall judicial nominations they oppose, fillibuster of such nominees is unprescedented and quite possibly unconstitutional. The Constitution dictates that one needs 51 votes to be appointed to a judicial seat. Democrats envoking a filibuster and requireing 60 votes when the judge already has 55 votes and should be appointed according to the constitution is wrong.
     
  8. rtwngAvngr
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    They never deal with the issue. They attack the man, the process, the system, capitalism, republicans, whatever's close at hand, whatever can provide fleeting and scant cover for their maliciousness and lies.
     
  9. Moi
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    Moi Active Member

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    I don't think you can prove that anyone stole anything. Last I heard, these files were obtained from a computer which is SHARED by staffers from both parties. Even the supreme court is quite clear that files on a computer owned by someone else are not private. A simple password would have prevented anyone from looking at them.

    Should the computer files be better protected? Of course, have the staffers instructed to either delete sensitive info, use passwords or get two separate systems.

    But the failure of the shared network doesn't negate the need for the content of the memos to be reviewed and, if true, dealt with sternly.
     
  10. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    Damn that was succint, concise and expressive. You've been reading your Strunk and White again, haven't you. Good post!
     

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