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tell me please: what's signal and what's noise?

Posted on 2005.04.10 at 15:43
How I feel about it all: curiouscurious
Soundtrack: The Flash Girls - Signal to Noise
I have to start finish cleaning, but first I have Questions:

Give me your opinions, O flist:

Why shouldn't I like Chief Justice Roberts?

Why shouldn't I like Harriet Miers?

"Because Dubya likes them" is not an adequate answer. Sure, that's my knee-jerk response, but um. I'm smarter than that, actually.

"Because we know nothing about them" is probably not what I want to hear, either. Because if I knew nothing about Jimmy Carter, he'd still be the cool person he is today. I'm all about info, but um.

I don't like them or not like them. I'm just asking a question, y'all.


(Deleted comment)
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-10-04 20:19 (UTC) ()

oh, you can't scare me, I'm stickin' to the union

Her law firm made no bones about the fact that they are anti-union. They actively work against unions, no matter how low-level the employees are.

That's one. You DON'T dis unions and have my approval, for the most part. *is proud Union member*
(Deleted comment)
petulans at 2005-10-04 23:52 (UTC) ()

Re: oh, you can't scare me, I'm stickin' to the union

Roberts actually prosecuted Microsoft in the big anti-trust case, if I recall correctly.
robinhoo at 2005-10-04 20:22 (UTC) ()
John Roberts: (quotes from here)
-- "Roberts was floated as a nominee who could win widespread support in the Senate. This is based on the fact that he hasn't been on the bench long enough for his judicial opinions to provide much ammunition for opposition groups. But his record as a lawyer for the Reagan and first Bush administrations and in private practice is down-the-line conservative on key contested fronts, including abortion, separation of church and state, and environmental protection. As noted on Law.com Many who know Roberts say he, unlike Souter, is a reliable conservative who can be counted on to undermine if not immediately overturn liberal landmarks like abortion rights and affirmative action. Indicators of his true stripes cited by friends include: clerking for Rehnquist, membership in the Federalist Society, laboring in the Ronald Reagan White House counsel's office and at the Justice Department into the Bush years, working with Kenneth Starr among others, and even his lunchtime conversations at Hogan & Hartson. "He is as conservative as you can get," one friend puts it. In short, Roberts may combine the stealth appeal of Souter with the unwavering ideology of Scalia and Thomas."
-- "As Special Assistant to Attorney General Smith in the Justice Department, and as counsel in the Reagan White House, Roberts compiled a staunch record of hostility to civil rights. For a unanimous panel, denied the weak civil rights claims of a 12-year-old girl who was arrested and handcuffed in a Washington, D.C., Metro station for eating a French fry. Roberts noted that "no one is very happy about the events that led to this litigation" and that the Metro authority had changed the policy that led to her arrest. (Hedgepeth v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, 2004)." (see the article for more details on this)
-- "He has taken a strongly pro-government position in the Guantanamo Bay case Hamdan last week, ruling that prisoners there have no enforceable human rights."
-- "As Deputy Solicitor General [under Ronald Reagan] he was a co-author of the government’s brief in Rust v. Sullivan, the 1991 case in which the Supreme Court upheld newly altered Title X regulations that prohibited domestic family planning programs receiving federal aid from giving any abortion-related counseling or other services. The provision barred clinics not just from 'counseling clients about abortion' but even 'referring them to facilities that provide abortions.' Roberts’ brief argued that the regulation gagging the government-financed programs was necessary to fulfill Congress’ intent not to fund abortions through these programs, despite the fact that members of Congress, including sponsors of the amendment dealing with abortion, disavowed this position and that the Department of Health and Human Services’ had not previously interpreted the provision in such a rigid and restrictive manner. Moreover, Roberts argued, even though the case did not directly deal with Roe v. Wade, that '[w]e continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled… The Court’s conclusion in Roe that there is a fundamental right to an abortion… finds no support in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution.'"
-- "In a June 2004 decision on the D.C. Circuit Court, Roberts went even further than his colleagues in supporting the Bush administration in a case that pitted the government against veterans of the first Gulf War. American soldiers captured and tortured by the Iraqi government during the first Gulf War sued the Iraqi government in U.S. court and won nearly $1 billion in damages at the district court level. But once Saddam was toppled in 2003, the Bush administration wanted to protect the new Iraqi government from liability and intervened to block the award. Roberts, alone among the circuit judges who ruled with the government, said the federal courts did not even have jurisdiction to consider the victims' claim. An appeal is before the Supreme Court."

I'll stop there with him; you can read the rest of the article for yourself.
robinhoo at 2005-10-04 20:34 (UTC) ()
Harriet Miers:

My biggest problem with her is the fact that her nomination is another example of Bush's thoughtless and harmful indulgence in cronyism (cf. Michael Brown).

My second biggest problem, despite your caveat above, is that we know so little about her. Here's her biography, and while she's done some good things, I just don't see what qualifies this woman to sit on the highest court in the nation. Although I'm attempting to reserve my final judgment until I learn more about her, it seems to me that this selection is Bush politicking in the extreme. He knew he needed to nominate either a Latino or a woman in order to keep the voting populace marginally content, but he couldn't take a chance on nominating one of these two "minority" groups without full confidence that he's got them on a short leash. What better leash than nominating the woman who's been your own lawyer for 5 years?

Admittedly, my deep-seated reservations about Harriet Miers are as yet ill-informed, so I will be learning what I can as the confirmation proceedings go along. But I'm sorry, after John Roberts' nomination and all of Bush's other political decisions over the course of his two terms, I approach all his nominees with a strong hermeneutic of suspicion.
robinhoo at 2005-10-05 04:18 (UTC) ()
And of course, what political conversation is complete without the perspective of the incomparable Jon Stewart? (If you have to pick from choices, the clip is "Ascent of a Woman.") *insert hyperbolic Jon Stewart-worship here*
loveneverfails at 2005-10-04 20:57 (UTC) ()
I like Roberts, and don't know enough to like or dislike Miers. Roberts is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant, and he's young. I like him alot. Miers I don't know about. I am in favor of her generally based on the fact that she has never been a judge. I like the idea of variety of experience instead of the tendancy to have only academia serving on the Court. I don't know enough about her as a person to have an opinion other than that.
robinhoo at 2005-10-04 21:10 (UTC) ()

playing Devil's advocate, no offense intended

I like the idea of variety of experience instead of the tendancy to have only academia serving on the Court. -- I would like this idea too, very much, if there was any diversity on the Court. But the fact that Miers is female, if it turns out that she shares the conservative views of so many of the other justices, doesn't constitute much diversity as far as I'm concerned.

Moreover, I would argue that Miers herself embodies "academia" moreso than any of the sitting justices, Roberts included. My understanding of the term "academia" (being included under the rubric most of the time myself) is that it usually refers to people whose careers have kept them within the sheltered, non-experiential walls of the academy, and it's usually juxtaposed with people who have actually been working in their field outside the capacity of a professorate -- in this case, that means a sitting judge. Only Miers LACKS judicial experience, and so it could be easily argued that she is the one who has been insulated by inexperience and the luxury of academic theory.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-10-05 20:32 (UTC) ()
Totally OT, but I love your icon. :)
Not here anymore.
dorrie6 at 2005-10-04 21:09 (UTC) ()
From here.

So why did Bush pick her? Why ignore his campaign promise, and the movement's wishes? One reason is Bush's weakened political situation; the endorsement of Miers by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) eases Miers' path to the court. But National Review's David Frum, who worked with Miers in Bush's first term, offered a more personal explanation: "In a White House that hero-worshiped the president, Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal: She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met."

That gives me great pause right there.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-10-04 21:51 (UTC) ()
I agree that those are scary quotes. But I wonder how she feels about the Constitution. As far as I'm concerned, someone who wants to be a Supreme Court Justice, or ANY judge, should be first concerned about that, and I haven't heard anything either way about her. She thinks Dubya's smart, and she's his friend. Yellow flags, yes. What I want are red flags. With Roberts, I haven't seen any. This lady may have some.
phoenixw at 2005-10-04 22:10 (UTC) ()
In 1993, when she was president of the Texas State Bar in 1993, she urged the national American Bar Association to revisit their abortion stance - asking that the abortion issue be put to the group's full membership. At that time the ABA had endorsed the basic outlines of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling. The ABA denied the proposal.

In 1989 she opposed the repeal of the Texas sodomy law, while simultaneously agreeing that gay men and women should have the same civil rights as everyone else.

I confess that my big issue with her is that she's symptomatic again of Bush's tendency toward crony-ism - previously known as the "good old boys' network". Personally I'm grateful that in this case his natural inclination to reward those closest to him means that other candidates who, are potentially more damaging to progressive issues, have been thwarted. There's irony here, folks.
phoenixw at 2005-10-04 22:11 (UTC) ()
As an aside, last night on the radio I heard a democratic leader commenting "It could have been worse." I laughed and called it "praising with faint damnation."
peacey at 2005-10-05 12:26 (UTC) ()
When I read your question, the fact that you asked only for reasons not to like Roberts and Miers stunned me. I know you not to be a closed-minded person, so I could not fathom why you would not ask why you should either like or dislike Roberts or Miers. Perhaps (hopefully) you've already researched why you should like them and are looking for opposing viewpoints. Because if you're simply looking for one side of the arguement, then you're basing your opinion on only half of the equation. What your question smacks of is a desire not to like them and I know damn well that you are smarter than that. So, enlighten me. Why phrase the question in exactly that way?
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-10-05 20:36 (UTC) ()
Why? I guess I didn't think of phrasing it another way, and also I've heard a lot of pro-Roberts stuff and I couldn't find really any reason not to like him. So I wanted to get a feel from those who didn't.

And I just lumped Miers in with the question. But you dohave a point, my love. Bad phrasing, yes.

So far I have very little problem with Roberts--I haven't heard anything blatantly negative about him. I have no desire not to like either of them, or like them. In fact I hope they're both completely fine, which I doubt because usually nobody is completely fine.
peacey at 2005-10-05 22:20 (UTC) ()
...because usually nobody is completely fine

Except me. I am totally and completely fine. :)

Luvluvluv ya.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-10-06 01:20 (UTC) ()
Latter-day Jezebel
nmalfoy at 2005-10-05 18:50 (UTC) ()
Can't give you a reason on Roberts other than he just kind of oogs me but Miers? Dude. Someone please explain the concept of black eyeliner and the correlation between too much black eyeliner and looking like a panda.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-10-05 20:37 (UTC) ()
Well. Ewan can wear black eyeliner and I'll vote for him for just about anything. :)
Latter-day Jezebel
nmalfoy at 2005-10-06 04:10 (UTC) ()
Ewan knows how to wear black eyeliner. Miers is going for this Keith Richards look and it only looks good on Keith Richards.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-10-06 09:35 (UTC) ()
Woah. I wonder if she's done a lot of smack, too
topaz7 at 2005-10-06 02:55 (UTC) ()
Why don't we let Harriet speak for herself? ;)

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