Daily Archives: June 28, 2010
Shorter WV SecState: We don't aim to do us no senator electin', 'cause…well…we just don't aim to, that's all. #
Compare & contrast Strom Thurmond's passing with that of Robert Byrd. Similar backgrounds, different media narratives. #
Look at it this way: We have every bit as much information about what kind of justice Kagan will be as we did about Obama as president. #
Thanks to everyone for all the birthday wishes. You've clogged my phone & email inbox. Appreciate it. #
Seriously. President Obama thinks if we work really, really hard and do a great job, Afghanistan can be a success – just like Iraq!
And if you look at what’s happening in Iraq right now, we have met every deadline. By the way, there was a timetable in place, and we are – we have – by the end of August, will have removed all of our combat from Iraq. We will maintain a military presence there. We will maintain military-to-military cooperation. And we are providing them assistance, but we’re meeting this deadline.
And I think it is worth the extraordinary sacrifices that we are making – and when I say “we” – not just the United States, but all coalition members – to try to see a positive outcome in Afghanistan, as well.
Of course the "timetable" he’s touting was the one put in place by the SOFA agreement negotiated by the Bush administration.
But you have to admit it is kind of ironic to see the guy who, when a Senator, declared the war in Iraq a lost cause and derided the general he’s now putting in command in Afghanistan, using Iraq as an example of a “positive outcome” don’t you think?
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In a rather interesting ruling which, unsurprisingly, split along ideological lines, the Supreme Court today made it clear that all Americans enjoy the full right and benefit of self-defense guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment. Mary Katharine Ham notes part of the majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito:
Alito writes in part, “Self-defense is a basic right, recognized by many legal systems from ancient times to the present day, and in Heller, we held that individual self-defense is “the central component” of the Second Amendment right,” while allowing, as in Heller, for sensible gun ownership restrictions.
Alito went on to write:
We repeat those assurances here. Despite municipal respondents’ doomsday proclamations, incorporation does not imperil every law regulating firearms.
Of course, the crack left by that sentence will be fully exploited by municipalities and states, calling whatever they try to do "sensible gun ownership restrictions". But Alito makes it clear that the Bill of Rights, as incorporated under the Constitution, doesn’t mean that states have the right or authority to radically change the intent of the constitutional guarantees they provide citizens:
"The relationship between the Bill of Rights’ guarantees and the States must be governed by a single, neutral principle. It is far too late to exhume what Justice Brennan, writing for the Court 46 years ago, derided as “the notion that the Fourteenth Amendment applies to the States only a watered-down, subjective version of the individual guarantees of the Bill of Rights.”
Or, screw with this ruling at your own peril.
As mentioned, the court split 5-4. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the dissent:
He disagreed with the majority that it is a fundamental right, and said the court was restricting state and local efforts from designing gun control laws that fit their particular circumstances, and turning over all decisions to federal judges.
"Given the empirical and local value-laden nature of the questions that lie at the heart of the issue, why, in a nation whose constitution foresees democratic decision-making, is it so fundamental a matter as to require taking that power from the people?" Breyer wrote. "What is it here that the people did not know? What is it that a judge knows better?"
Well that’s a simple one, Justice Breyer – because rights aren’t something one votes on. A right is something one either has or doesn’t. What Breyer is suggesting is it should be up to a majority to “vote” to take away the rights guaranteed to all Americans by the Constitution. In my ideological neck of the woods, that dog won’t hunt.
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That’s the question I’ve seen asked any number of times as I’ve read various pieces on Byrd’s death.
Of course is a sane world, the seat would be declared vacant now, since the moment he died was the moment the seat actually became vacant. But that’s not necessarily how it works in the insane world of party politics.
State law dictates that had Byrd lived until July 3rd, the position would have been filled for the remaining two years and six months by a gubernatorial appointee. But because Byrd died just a week shy of the break point, the remainder of his term will be filled by an interim appointee until a snap election in November.
So, by law (a minor inconvenience, I’m sure), there should be a interim appointee to fill the seat until November when an election should take place to fill the seat on a permanent basis.
Or, a declaration of vacancy could be held off until July 3rd (5 days from now) and a replacement named by the governor to fill the remaining 2 years and 6 months of the term (and then have all the benefits of incumbency when running for reelection).
Now, I’m not saying the governor and Democratic party will play those sorts of politics with this. However, I am saying I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. Given the possibility of strong GOP gains in the Senate this November, the national party may ask the state party (i.e. the governor, etc.) to “do what it can” to keep that seat safe.
Oh, and I found this interesting as well:
“Byrd was born Cornelius Calvin Sale Jr. on Nov. 20, 1917, in North Wilkesboro, N.C. His mother died of the flu in 1918 when he was only 1. At the mother’s request, his father dispersed the family children among relatives. He was given to the custody of an aunt and uncle, Vlurma and Titus Byrd, who renamed him Robert Carlyle Byrd and raised him in southern West Virginia.”
I assume Mr Sale is now surrounded by his other kleales, cyclops and grand wizards reminiscing about the good old days when being a Democrat and a member of the KKK wasn’t a “bad” thing.
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