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:: A constitutional law blog by Scalia/Thomas fan David M. Wagner, M.A., J.D., Research Fellow, National Legal Foundation, and Teacher, Veritas Preparatory Academy. Opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not reflect those of the NLF or Veritas. :: bloghome | E-mail me ::

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    :: Thursday, February 27, 2003 ::
    Re this item, Mitchell Freedman writes in:

    Did it ever occur to anyone that Pelosi was zinging Dornan for possible racism in making the remark? To Pelosi, Dornan was a right wing racist (in her mind, often a redundant phrase) who opposed most civil rights law protections while he served in Congress--though he claims to have been a supporter of civil rights and marched in the 1963 march on Washington where King spoke about his "dream."

    For Pelosi and other abortion rights persons--and I know this is hard for anti-abortion rights folks to see--abortion rights are part of civil rights for women. It is about autonomy for their bodies. We have all argued the pros and cons of this position till we're blue in the face, but without that context, it is unfair to paint Pelosi as a racist or having a Trent Lott moment.

    Want to attack her for supporting the murder of fetuses? Want to say she's wrong to think right wingers like Dornan who voted against most civil rights laws during his Congressional tenure is a sign that Dornan is racist? Fine. But Pelosi as Trent Lott? No way.

    I don't really care whether Pelosi "is Trent Lott." That was just some journalist's tag for the incident. Shall we talk about the substance, not the tag? Unless she was just making a ghoulish joke, Pelosi offered Dornan a blatantly racist argument for abortion that she evidently hoped, perhaps expected, that Dornan would buy.

    I don't know what Dornan did to deserve such a low opinion from Pelosi; maybe she too concluded that someone who so often votes against bills labelled "civil rights" must be a racist. On the other hand, Dornan and Pelosi had frequently worked together on issues involving human rights in China, including the case of Harry Wu back in '95.

    But Dornan's not the issue: he's now out of Congress, while Pelosi is Minority Leader, and one may -- and I do -- make an issue of her willingness to deploy an argument straight out of the twilight world of pre-World War II eugenics. Click e.g here and here.

    :: David M. Wagner 2:48 PM [+] ::
    :: Wednesday, February 26, 2003 ::
    Richard Posner reviews a new biography of William O. Douglas. Man, oh man...!

    :: David M. Wagner 5:23 PM [+] ::
    A memo from a colleague:

    On Saturday, February 22, 2003, for the first time since 1988, a Virginia law school won William and Mary's prestigious William B. Spong, Jr. Moot Court Tournament. The winning team was from Regent University School of Law!

    We were blessed to have two outstanding teams represent Regent at the Tournament. E. Lauren McCay and T. Mark Moseley advanced to the finals where they defeated South Texas College of Law by delivering a flawless argument. In round after round of tough competition before distinguished panels of Virginia judges and practitioners, Lauren and Mark demonstrated outstanding case knowledge and skill at the podium. After William and Mary's Dean, Taylor Reveley, announced that Regent had won the Tournament, state and federal judges from around the Commonwealth made it a point to seek Lauren and Mark out and congratulate them on a job well done.

    Jody Fauley, David Ratz and Eugene Harris performed admirably and advanced to the quarterfinals where they were narrowly edged out by a team from Fordham University. Jody, David and Eugene also showed exceptional skill and savvy. These three men worked incredibly hard this year in preparing for the Tournament and have grown tremendously. I am hopeful that their success as Quarterfinalists at the Tournament this year will lead to even greater accomplishments in our Moot Court program next year.

    :: David M. Wagner 4:05 PM [+] ::
    Court rules 8-1 against NOW in RICO case

    Here is the decision.

    :: David M. Wagner 12:25 PM [+] ::
    Estrada filibuster begins to unravel

    Hispanic groups are divided, more Democrats support Estrada outright (hat tip to How Appealing for that link), and in course of time more will vote for cloture, even if they oppose Estrada, just to get a life.

    :: David M. Wagner 8:22 AM [+] ::
    Apparently there weren't four votes to review a 7th Circuit decision upholding Indiana's abortion law, which requires face-to-face counselling, which Pennsylvania's waiting-period law, upheld in Casey, did not.

    :: David M. Wagner 8:15 AM [+] ::
    :: Monday, February 24, 2003 ::
    Right shoulder

    OK, by now most of you probably know that the Justice is out for a few days because of surgery on his right shoulder. It's a rotator cuff injury of a type common among enthusiasts for racquet sports, but no one is saying exactly how the squash-playing Justice got hurt.

    So why not a top-ten-suggestsions list? I'll get us started, which includes nailing the easy ones.

    * Leaning too far to the right
    * Tossing the pizza dough too high
    * If he didn't make such a racquet during oral argument, he wouldn't have a racquet-related injury

    That's all I can think of right now. If I receive some more good ones, I'll publish them.

    In the meantime, we all wish the Justice a speedy recovery, don't we? I mean, you might as well -- it's not holding him back from participating in cases!

    :: David M. Wagner 4:35 PM [+] ::
    :: Tuesday, February 18, 2003 ::
    Abortion and today's liberals?

    Click here and scroll down to header "A Lott in common."

    :: David M. Wagner 6:40 PM [+] ::
    :: Saturday, February 15, 2003 ::
    On listening to the Metropolitan Opera broadcast of DON GIOVANNI while studying Free Exercise cases

    Leporello, the late Don Giovanni's manservant, proposes going to the inn to find himself "a better master." What if he is unsuccessful, and has to apply for unemployment benefits?

    "And why did you leave your last job?"

    "My employer was dragged off to Hell."

    What if he's denied? Did he have a religious reason for leaving his previoius job? Is he like Sherbert, Thomas, and Hobbie? Clearly the state has a mechanism in place for the making of individual determinations (Smith), so strict scrutiny applies. Does denying benefits to Don Giovanni's former servant advance a compelling state interest, and is it narrowly tailored to that interest? Do I need to turn the radio off?

    :: David M. Wagner 6:36 PM [+] ::
    :: Thursday, February 13, 2003 ::
    New bloglink: the Center for Thomas More Studies.

    :: David M. Wagner 4:32 PM [+] ::
    :: Tuesday, February 11, 2003 ::
    Estrada TV spot

    Finally, Republicans realize that when confirmation fights get turned into PR wars, they have to play the PR game.

    :: David M. Wagner 2:46 PM [+] ::

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