Saturday, May 14, 2005

Sunday: Lite Blogging, Deep Thoughts

Just a quick note that I will be gone until late Sunday night visiting my folks so tomorrow will not see a post until late Sunday night or Monday morning.

I have been looking at multiple situations for blogging.

So many topics, so little time.

So I thought I'd leave some lines to the review of Traditional Values in America or a review of the Real ID Act recently passed or a review of the Judicial Nominees.

Interestingly, except on NRO and the brief biographies on the DOJ website, I couldn't find one newspaper or major media outlet that had anything good to say about them. Not one. Most of the articles had language like "Democrats say" without any other facts or refutions of charges. Words like "extremist", "right-wing", "religious" and a few other "scary" words as I noted in my post of "what's in a word" are flung around like so much monkey feces at the zoo.

Of course, Reid's recent attempt at defamation of Henry Saad, a Chaldean Arab that would be the first on an Appellate court, by intimating there is something "scary" in his "FBI file" without information to back it up, is right up there with the rest of the "charges" brought against the seven nominees pending: scare tactics.

What I don't see, anywhere, is more information about the "acceptable" rulings of these judges nor deep analysis of their activities accept by "committees" that are obviously dead set against these nominees. No effective "selling" of the candidates have been made by the Republicans or the president. At least, none that I could readily find on the internet.

From what I could read on Henry Saad, the real complaints are:

1) He has effectively ruled in favor of businesses, at least in half of his cases, in worker's cases regarding worker's compensation, unemployment, harrassment and unfair dismissal. Some of his rulings have been overturned. However, I could not find any statistics about how many times he was overturned compared to number of cases that he has heard. The Alliance for Justice under the Independent Judiciary Organization sites six examples of cases that they find "detrimental". Of course, this is not a non-partisan group by any means so you have to read it with a grain of salt. I lost the link, but the a list of cases for October 2004 heard by the panel that Saad sits on were approximately 70. I can only imagine how many cases this judge has heard.

2) Saad belongs to the Federalists Society along with several of the other nominees. The Federalist Society is based on:

In its Statement of Principles, the Society states that it is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of powers is central to the United States' constitutional form of government, and that the role of the judicial branch is to say what the law is, not what the law should be.

3) Probably the most important issue is a seriously unconstitutional block of a nominee for clearly partisan reasons. "Democratic Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan have said they would not approve new nominations to this appeals court because President Clinton's nominees to the court were never given a confirmation hearing by the Republican-controlled Senate. Levin and Stabenow want Bush to renominate Clinton's nominees to the court." (source)

Anyone that knows anything about how these judges are appointed and the fact that it is the President's sole discretion as to who is nominated knows that this demand for Bush to renominate nominees from the Clinton administration and hold the process hostage in order to attempt to force the President to do so is on the borderline of trying to take away the President's legal and constitutional right to do so. This is why the Republican party is standing firm on this issue and refusing to negotiate. To do so would set a whole new precedent on selecting judicial nominees and effectively cut off this president's and the next president's ability to select judicial nominees as they see fit.

This is obviously why the Republicans see fit to force the issue. While we're destracted with baloney about changing Senate rules being "unconstitutional" (when the constitution clearly states that the senate can make and change procedural rules as it sees fit - Article I), the real question of whether the President keeps his constitutionally affirmed right to independently select judicial nominees (Article III) is in the balance. For far reaching precedents, I'd say that this one is much more important and factual rather than the questionable "unconstitutioinal" changing of the cloture rules (previously noted here as having already been changed seven times since the establishment of the Senate).

I wonder that no Democrats and renegade Republicans have thought about what happens if the Republicans give in to this blackmail and the next Democrat president is elected over a Republican majority congress? Doesn't look good for a future of affirmations.

As for the rest of the nominees, the objections seem to be item #3 above for two of the nominees without any noted issues with their rulings from the senate committee although the Independent Judiciary and a few other groups had something to say about them:

_Richard Griffin for the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Opposed by Levin and Stabenow because Clinton's nominees to that court were never given a confirmation hearing by Republicans.

_David McKeague for the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Opposed by Levin and Stabenow because Clinton's nominees to that court were never given a confirmation hearing by Republicans

The two women, Owens and Brown, appear to both believe that minors should have to obtain parental consent in order to obtain abortions. Myers apparently has not ruled favorably enough for environmentalists.

More indepth review of the nominees will be forthcoming this week.

The Real ID Act

Honestly, if you read the act, its full intent is to:

1) Stop states from issuing driver's licenses to illegals. Obviously, the federal government cannot tell the states who they can issue licenses to so they have set rules under the idea of fighting terrorism, that requires the state to be able to verify the status of immigrants against the federal database.

2)Coordinating efforts of tracking down people whose visa's etc have expired. These licenses and IDs for people visiting on visa's or worker permits, etc must be temporary, obviously hoping to prompt people to return and give updated information their current address.

3)Information must be transferrable and trackable via magnetic strip on the back of the license and must contain a picture ID. What will happen is that, because this is a federal mandated ruling on information and with the HIPPA regulations on ability to coordinate and secure information, anyone that does businesss with the federal government or has other rules that force them to obtain and validate information (ie, banks, credit card companies, mortgage companies, etc) will begin requiring the same information and will force everyone to have a legal and acceptable form of identification to do business. Thus either flushing out would be terrorists or marginalizing them even more within legal boundaries to keep them from being able to transfer money or other assets to foreign entities or questionable goups without passing through a screening/identification process.

Now, for most of us libertarian/conservatives, the very thought of having our identification go through some federal, centralized beauracracy gives us the shivers. Further, that our information and privacy, which is guaranteed under the fourth amendentment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated

The question is if this makes us less secure in our "persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures". It does give the federal government a lot of power to know who we are, where we are, what we own or do.

What I must say, though, is that, since the advent of the social security number and the requirement of companies to report them for "social security" and income tax, we've been on this downward spiral. With every advent of new technology that makes it easier and quicker for beaucratic offices to perform their jobs, our information has become more available and more centralized. This is, of course, the thing that Orwell warned against in his novel "Big Brother" which was written in 1950.

But, with every purchase of property, every credit card, every bank transaction, every car loan, every registration and licensing, etc, we have moved towards this concept. The only way we will leave it or avoid it will be the next dark age, when all technology is made uselss or destroyed by the use of other technology and man, if he survives, will have to start over again.

Leaving off any thoughts of future doom, one must realize that this will not stop so long as we demand things from our government and that demand and growth of population and need to function requires that government offices be able to access and process information within the blink of an eye.

And, for those that wonder how this could go through both houses, through many legal reviews and not be overturned by the Supreme court as not constitutional, you should read the words of the act. In short, it has, at this time, a very narrow focus which is, for all intents and purposes, aimed at reviewing and controlling "non-citizens" of the United States entering and leaving or residing without government knowledge as best as it can see fit to do so.

This will be deemed as constitutional because, when you read the constitution, the words "citizen of the United States" continues to be the reference point, from which all laws abide. It is this argument that many see as pivotal and questionable point in many ACLU and other illegal immgration advocates principles. Non-citizens of the US do not have the same protection under the constitution based on this language.

The point of the ACLU, which may or may not be correct, is that, once you advocate something against non-citizens, it can be turned against citizens very easily. In reality, I can see some merit in this argument with this new act.

Obviously, those that will not attempt to get a driver's license and continue to live on the fringe of society, dealing in cash only, will not be trackable in this system. There are citizens of the US that also practice this in order to maintain their idea of the original "freedom" as they interpreted it.

So, while this act has some merit, it has dangers as well and, from my perspective and based on the completion date of 2008, seems to be "closing the barn door after the horse got out". Couple this with inability (refusal?) to control the borders and we have at least another decade of living in fear of terrorist attacks internally.

I don't consider myself paranoid by any means, but I do believe that we must be extremely careful and watchful as we go forward into the new century and with the new technology, to insure that these new laws, that have been enacted or will be enacted, do not become the states aparatus to control it's citizenry beyond what we are allowing it to do today. With each new advent, we come closer to the day when "Big Brother" knows all and it will be our responsibility to insure that "Big Brother" does not use this ability against us. One must also remember that, with globalization of communications, it may not be just our own government that we must fear using this information, but any government or entity that may seek to control us and can take over this information to use for their own.

In any event, as I watch each click of the the minute hand on the clock, I see that we come closer and closer to that day. Maybe not in my lifetime, or maybe when I am old and gray, yet I am concerned about the place and the freedom that we might leave to our children. It is the reason why I oppose certain legislation and any attempts to stultify the second amendment.

It is not freedom of speech alone, nor voting rights that will protect us in the future.

Freedom requires eternal vigilance.

Never forget.


Donal said...

The joys of political parties acting like children with the "but he started it" line. I'll write some letters to Levin and Stabenow since their the senators from my state- its one thing to oppose nominees who you belive are unfit its another to do so because the Republicans did the same thing to Clinton. Removing the filibuster isnt unconstitutional but it would be stupid. Hopefully Sen. Nelson can get his compromise plan of Repubs not ending the filibuster if Dems dont use it on these nominees. (source)

Cynica said...

I wonder why is that there isn't as much controversy surrounding the district court judges nominations.

Donal said...

Mavenette the federal appeals court can overturn any decisions made by the district court judges, they are more powerful and thus subject to more controversy. Also this whole debate is really just a warm-up for the expected vacancy on the Supreme Court.

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

Filibusters should be changed but not completely removed. I think a limitation on them, like maybe one every three or six months, would enable the minority party to take a stand and TRULY BLOCK some of the candidates they consider the most egregious, but then also not enable them to completely shut down the appointment process (letting all others go to the full Senate for a vote). This would make the filibusters less frivolous, less gratuitous, and less infantile in nature.

I wouldn't want to remove filibusters entirely, because I still don't like the idea of two wolves telling a sheep what's for dinner, even if I happen to be a wolf that day.

Kat said...

I'm torn about the fillibuster and I imagine many more republicans are too or else they would have went for the "nuclear" option already. Slow and deliberate is much better than knee jerk reaction and changing rules.

I say that there should be a time frame for debate and only through consensus of a majority can the debate be continued on past the time set before going for a vote. Then, if others still have problems they can vote for more time or vote "no".

Not a big deal. But, like Bolton, most of these folks I don't really see anything that makes them questionable for the seats they were nominated for except that they are conservative judges who are less likely to find 90% of the time in favor of the plaintiff because of some mixed up idea that corporations to small business are always out to screw the little guy/employee or too powerful for there own good.

Frankly, I've been back and forth on the "need permission for minors" for abortion. I don't like abortion, but I do understand the problem with notifying a parent when it may be a case of abuse, incest, etc but, the odds are this is a lot less limited incidents than normal children's activities and I don't think we should give up the proper protocols for having a parent give consent for a medical procedure because somebody thinks it might cause a problem for other girls.

If it is incest, then we should have gotten that from the girl in the first place, turned it into police and had the culprit thrown into prison.

So, these judges ruling this way doesn't bother me at all.

Thus I see that these folks probably need to be confirmed to balance out the scope of things.

Donal also has it right about the "he did it first" stuff. when I read it, of all the things that the parties have been arguing about, this had to be the thing that made my eyes pop out of my head. This was definitely not a good reason to stop the nominees going through.

ÐÇRøçk§ said...

I have never seen the issue with the Real ID act. My VA licence has had that barcode on the back for years. The only difference is now it can be scanned, rather then having to be entered by hand. Everyoen that has a drivers licence has a driver's licence number. Nothing new here. I guess I just don't get what the big deal is. I have never understoond the concept of giving licences to illegals. If you know where they are to give them a licence, you know where they are to deport them. What gives???

Kat said...

DC...that was the point I was making in some ways. This is coming. We already have a big process for collecting and verifying data. The problem is that this has not all been centralized in one big main frame system. Probably no system that could actually handle it today, but that day is coming. We can't escape it, but we will have to make sure how this information is used continues to be in the guidelines of the constitution: warrants, witnesses, etc.

As far as giving illegals licenses, it's about money. M-O-N-E-Y.

I'll explain next post. but think about it.