Thursday, July 28, 2005

Scotland Yard Lies

Brazilian Did Not Wear Bulky Jacket
Relatives Say Met Admits That, Contrary to Reports, Electrician Did Not Leap Tube Station Barrier

Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian shot dead in the head, was not wearing a heavy jacket that might have concealed a bomb, and did not jump the ticket barrier when challenged by armed plainclothes police, his cousin said yesterday.

Speaking at a press conference after a meeting with the Metropolitan police, Vivien Figueiredo, 22, said that the first reports of how her 27-year-old cousin had come to be killed in mistake for a suicide bomber on Friday at Stockwell tube station were wrong.

"He used a travel card," she said. "He had no bulky jacket, he was wearing a jeans jacket. But even if he was wearing a bulky jacket that wouldn't be an excuse to kill him."

Flanked by the de Menezes family's solicitor, Gareth Peirce, and by Bianca Jagger, the anti-Iraq war campaigner, she condemned the shoot-to-kill policy which had led to her cousin's death and vowed that what she called the "crime" would not go unpunished.


Mr de Menezes was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder at 10am last Friday after being followed from Tulse Hill. Scotland Yard initially claimed he wore a bulky jacket and jumped the barrier when police identified themselves and ordered him to stop. The same day the Met commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, said the shooting was "directly linked" to the unprecedented anti-terror operation on London's streets.

This is sad. "Shoot to Kill" cannot be the rule of engagement in a civilized society, or we are no longer free.

SCOTUS Nomination is Payback for Florida 2000

Roberts had larger 2000 recount role
The role of U.S. Supreme Court nominee John Roberts in the 2000 election aftermath in Florida was larger than has been reported. Roberts helped prepare the Supreme Court case.

TALLAHASSEE - U.S. Supreme Court nominee John Roberts played a broader behind-the-scenes role for the Republican camp in the aftermath of the 2000 election than previously reported -- as legal consultant, lawsuit editor and prep coach for arguments before the nation's highest court, according to the man who drafted him for the job.

Ted Cruz, a domestic policy advisor for President Bush and who is now Texas' solicitor general, said Roberts was one of the first names he thought of while he and another attorney drafted the Republican legal dream team of litigation ''lions'' and ''800-pound gorillas,'' which ultimately consisted of 400 attorneys in Florida.

Until now, Gov. Jeb Bush and others involved in the election dispute could recall almost nothing of Roberts' role, except for a half-hour meeting the governor had with Roberts. Cruz said Roberts was in Tallahassee helping the Bush camp for ''a week to 10 days,'' and that his help was important, though Cruz said it is difficult to remember specifics five years after the sleep-depriving frenetic pace of the 2000 recount.
Steal me the Presidency, win a prize! I still will give anyone who can produce a picture of John Bolton & John Roberts together in Florida a handsome reward. Except for the poor grooming and bad mustache, they're the same guy. Right Wing Nutjobs 'R Us.

Even Howie Kurtz sez: SCOTUS Nominee is Hard Right

A great post on dailykos.

The Failure of the Media

The Media's failure in the runup to the Iraq Debacle is well documented. DSM, "mushroom clouds," Plame, et al. make this abundantly clear.

History repeats itself, now on the Roberts nomination, as Howard Kurtz observes:

As you plow through the blizzard of memos he wrote as a government lawyer, you get the sense of a man who is more conservative, more combative and more sarcastic than he has been portrayed in these walk-on-water profiles. It's no surprise that this Harvard man clerked and lawyered his way to a Supreme Court nomination.

You will, by the way, hear almost none of this on TV. Understanding the memos requires walking through the background and legal context of each controversy at the time, and television has no inclination to do that unless there's an inflammatory phrase that the pundits can argue about. (TV people keep talking about the battle over the documents while saying very little about what's in them.) It is, in short, a classic newspaper story.

Roberts is quite familiar with bureaucratic dodges and the art of Washington insincerity, the documents suggest.

Kurtz misses something though, the utter failure of the New York Times, AGAIN. The Administration line is repeated practically verbatim in their Roberts coverage. A classic newspaper story this may be, but the New York Times has proven it is no longer a classic newspaper.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Maybe SCOTUS Nominee has a Nanny Problem?

White House To Withhold Nominee's Tax Returns
Document Release Excludes First Bush Administration

The Bush administration will not give Senate investigators access to the federal tax returns of Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr., White House and congressional officials said yesterday, a break with precedent that could exacerbate a growing conflict over document disclosure in the confirmation process.

Although nominees to the high court in recent decades were required to provide their three most recent annual tax forms, the administration will neither collect such documents from Roberts nor share them with the Senate Judiciary Committee, the officials said. Instead, the Internal Revenue Service will produce a one-page summary.

The White House yesterday began releasing the first of 75,000 pages of documents stemming from Roberts's service as a lawyer in President Ronald Reagan's administration two decades ago but refused to release papers from his time as deputy solicitor general under President George H.W. Bush from 1989 to 1993. These papers, Bush aides said, concern internal executive branch deliberations that remain privileged.

Senate Democrats and liberal interest groups immediately assailed the decision to withhold the more recent files, sharpening a dispute over the nominee's record.

Many a rich person has faltered at the Senate confirmation door for failing to pay Social Security taxes. I remember my public schoolteacher parents struggling with the SSA and IRS paperwork for the neighbor who cleaned our house once a week during the school year. They felt it was important that she get credit with the Social Security Administration for her work, so she would get the largest social security benefit possible. Now that's a family value. Caring about your neighbors and the people who work for you.

I have no idea why they're not releasing Roberts tax returns. Maybe they're thinking about their next nominee (Gonzales?) and some issue on his tax return. Just sounds fishy to me.

You heard it here first: It's a nanny.

SCOTUS Nominee Has "Cloaked His Views" for Decades

A good analysis from the Boston Globe. Perhaps the New York Times read this analysis, as their piece, earlier titled

"Roberts an early ally of judicial restraint"
"In early 1980s, Roberts urged judicial restraint"

is now entitled

Files From 80's Lay Out Stances of Bush Nominee

You'd be better off reading the Globe for analysis:

Roberts showed way to shift the debate
Nominee advised using broad terms

WASHINGTON -- As a young aide in the Reagan administration's Justice Department, John G. Roberts Jr., now a Supreme Court nominee, advised his conservative colleagues to cloak their views behind broadly acceptable terms such as ''judicial restraint," according to memos released yesterday.

In 1981, for example, when the Justice Department was prepping Supreme Court nominee Sandra Day O'Connor for the same Senate confirmation questioning that Roberts will soon face, Roberts counseled her to avoid giving direct answers on legal issues facing the court.

''The approach was to avoid giving specific responses to any direct questions on legal issues likely to come before the Court, but demonstrating in the response a firm command of the subject area and awareness of the relevant precedents and arguments," Roberts wrote in one memo describing the mock questioning sessions he held with her.

In a February 1982 memo, Roberts urged Attorney General William French Smith to adopt a similar tactic in a speech before ''new right" conservative groups. The groups had criticized Smith's record for allegedly failing to appoint top officials and federal judges who were ''ideologically committed to the President's policies . . . with particular emphasis on the social agenda."

Although such attacks were sometimes ''completely unfounded," Roberts wrote, Smith should not defend the conservative credentials of Reagan's appointees because ''such an approach would open us up to criticism from the left and even the center."

Instead, Roberts wrote, Smith should focus on how Reagan's judicial nominees shared a philosophy of judicial restraint.

''I do not think we should respond with a 'yes they are [conservative]'; rather we should shift the debate," Roberts wrote. ''Judges do not implement policy in the true conservative view of things, and the hot issues of today will not be those of ten or fifteen years hence, when our judges will be confronted with new social issues. Our appointments process therefore looks beyond a laundry list of personal views to ascertain if the candidate has a proper appreciation of the judicial role."

Gonzales: Right Turn to SCOTUS?

When I saw this article, I thought "Is Gonzales trying to tell the wingnuts he would overturn Roe if they give him a SCOTUS seat?" Or is he just trying to keep the focus off Karl Rove, Traitor?

AG: High Court Not Bound by Roe V. Wade

WASHINGTON - The legal right to abortion is settled for lower courts, but the Supreme Court "is not obliged to follow" the Roe v. Wade precedent, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday as the Senate prepared to consider John Roberts' appointment that would put a new vote on the high court.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Gonzales said a justice does not have to follow a previous ruling "if you believe it's wrong," a comment suggesting Roberts would not be bound by his past statement that the 1973 decision settled the issue.


Documents Show Roberts Influence In Reagan Era

Roberts presented a defense of bills in Congress that would have stripped the Supreme Court of jurisdiction over abortion, busing and school prayer cases; he argued for a narrow interpretation of Title IX, the landmark law that bars sex discrimination in intercollegiate athletic programs; and he even counseled his boss on how to tell the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow that the administration was cutting off federal funding for the Atlanta center that bears his name.

No wonder James Dobson likes him so much.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Will Judiciary Committee Democrats Make SCOTUS Nominee Answer the Question?

Roberts, Choice and Unity

A great post on dailykos.

Among the many questions that we have for any nominee that George Bush might put before us, there is one question, given the balance of the Supreme Court, and this President's stated positions on abortion, that is central:

Do you support the substantive consequence of Roe, upheld in Casey, guaranteeing that abortion be safe and legal in all fifty states?

Justice Ginsburg, in her nomination hearings was unequivocal on this:

[The right to an abortion] is something central to a woman's life, to her dignity. It's a decision that she must make for herself. And when government controls that decision for her, she's being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.

We should expect no less an affirmation from any nominee. Our question is not about Judge Roberts's technical views on Roe, or on Casey. Our question is not asking him to state how he might rule in any future case. In this, we need to be clear. We intend to ask Judge Roberts to state before the nation his support for the pragmatic consequence of Roe.