Thursday Highlights

Well, I’ve got a long drive this morning … so it’ll have to be quick.

  1. Some synchronicity noted: Such as when “you are” and “u” “r” convolve which is not unrelated to this.
  2. All-you-can eat (two thoughts … all-you-can-eat does (and should not) mean eat-all-you-can … it’s not healthy and that in turn is the answer to the posters question). But this in turn is not unrelated to this.
  3. For those unconvinced that the NYTimes isn’t batting for just one side in the elections.
  4. Political authority and real authority are not the same thing.
  5. If you consider where grant money comes from … would this spell the end of the journal? And is that a bad thing?
  6. Democrats firmly behind big corn conglomerates. Money well spent apparently.
  7. The election and the South this is on the same point.
  8. Some suggestions for graduation improvements.
  9. Apparently liberals (a) de-bias issues at the high court uniformly, i.e., when the case is one they want in front of the court and (b) are unaware that cases that come before the court arise not from the court vetting laws that Congress passes, but depend instead on people filing suit who are not members of the same court.
  10. 2 more million of the forgotten-if-not-Jewish victims of WWII genocide.

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  1. Boonton says:

    #9. Fact is the blogger is correct. If the health care bill had passed under a Republican President few would take the case seriously, including many justices on the SC IMO. What we have here with the right is disagreement that is divorced from reality and exists for its own sake. There is no other coherent argument that explains the attacks on the health bill as radical often by the very same people who embraced what was essentially a modified single payer system drug benefit in Medicare ushered in only a few years earlier (yes, yes, the Cato Institute was opposed to that, exception noted).

    #2 I think multiple personalities are a great way to model many elements of human behavior. For example, there’s the classic “I’m getting smashed tonite” vs “I wish I didn’t get smashed last night”. Whose complaining here if its the same person? If you prevent the person from getting smashed, the future self benefits. If you help the person get smashed, the present-self is happy. In many ways it’s as if present self and future self are two different people with two different sets of interests.

    So turn to the all you can eat place as you walk up. Hungry-self says yea dog, do this place I’m starving and I can eat more than $20 worth of food easy! About $9 worth of food eaten Hungry-self disappears (perhaps helped by ample offerings of bread, chips and other cheap fillers by the establishment). Now Bloated-self arrives on the scene and says I feel sick, I gotta call this thing to an end. So you get up and leave after only eating $9 of food you paid $20 to get and the establishment makes $11.

    Just as classical physics tends to disappear on the quantum scale, I would suggest the rational man model also tends to disappear in some types of transactions. One area esp. vulnerable is transactions that require a rational estimate of one’s future state and desires. This, I think, probably explains a great deal of why the financial industry causes such trouble all the time.

  2. Apparently Mark doesn’t understand the Supreme Court selects its own docket. and got bored before reading the third-to-last paragraph (“[S]houldn’t liberal Justices ask themselves the same [debiasing] question? And the answer is: yes, of course.”)

  3. Mark says:

    I see, all laws get challenged? You suggested (if I remember correctly) that a law that was unconstitutional but had bi-partisan support would not be “challenged” by the court. That’s right, it likely wouldn’t make it to the high court at all, and seeing that they don’t actually just “vet” laws passed but can only select from those cases which reach through the appeals process … there’s a very good reason why unconstitutional laws that have general support don’t get to the court that doesn’t involved their selection.

    And yes, I saw that you offered that liberal judges should ask the same question. I just don’t believe you’re honest on that point. Cite me a case, which had Democratic support for overturn but which you plead that the liberal justices please please to debias along political lines. Cite your blog post on that matter please? I think you “ask” liberals to debias … now. But it never occurred to you then. Your claim that you want liberals to do the same is dishonest. I suggest that you don’t and you didn’t.

  4. Mark says:

    Actually being a lawyer means you’ve learned and memorized a whole slew of case law that the non-lawyer never looks at or knows about. Is there a case of which nature you suggest exists? That is a case heard by the high court which was passed by Congress and signed by President with overwhelming (80%+ vote on both sides of the aisle) but was heard by the court?

  5. Boonton says:

    One that occurs to me, I believe, was a case that struck down enhanced penalties for having drugs near schools. The Federal bill passed by a large majority and was signed by the Pres. but struck down by the court as going too far. Of course, states are free to have special laws about drugs near school but the Fed. one was justified on the commerce clause. Don’t recall how liberal.v.conservative justices broke on that one.

  6. First of all, I don’t think PPACA is unconstitutional — either as a matter of “best interpreation” or as a matter of current doctrine (where I think it’s slam-dunk constitutional). The latter point is more important, since it is generally rare and shocking for the Supreme Court to make a major doctrinal leap to invalidate a prominent, non-controversial piece of federal legislation.

    This isn’t to say that the Supreme Court never invalidates popular legislation, but it tends to do so when the lines of precedent are very, very clear. The most obvious case might be United States v. Eichman, striking down the Flag Protection Act of 1989 (passed 91-9 in the Senate and 380-38 in the House). That was a straight-line application of Texas v. Johnson — everyone knew the law was unconstitutional.

    In terms of cases where liberal justices vote against their policy preferences, I can certainly think of a few. Gonzalez v. Raich springs to mind — generally more liberal marijuana (and esp. medical marijuana laws) are a liberal priority, and many liberals were outraged by DEA enforcement actions against personal consumers of medical marijuana where it was legal under state law. Nonetheless, the liberal bloc (plus Kennedy and Scalia) voted to uphold the law. And I think that was the right decision, even though I very much oppose prohibitions on medical marijuana (and am growing more and more dubious about the drug war in general).

  7. Mark says:


    First of all, I don’t think PPACA is unconstitutional

    Well, that point has been addressed at the Conspiracy, … you accuse me of not reading, yet apparently fall for the same problem. It was noted that the Constitutionality of PPACA/Obamacare is divided in academic con-law circles. “Divided” means that there are good consistent academic argument for and against. The point being made that “popular law” and “size of legislation” are not good legal arguments to keep the law. And they aren’t (not the least of which is that “popular” is a complete fiction).

    This isn’t to say that the Supreme Court never invalidates popular legislation

    The “popular” adjective has been soundly rebutted (see the linked post). Stop that.

    A law that the entire liberal bloc voted for and one and a half Conservatives crossed does not to me seem like a case which was split in a analogous fashion. What we’re looking for is a law and Supreme court case. The example ideal would be split very cleanly along ideological bounds when passed (perhaps requiring extraordinary legislative jujitsu to get passed at all), that the putative “popularity” was also strongly ideologically divided but the liberals opposed and the conservatives favored, and that you yourself desired it to be struck down. Did you in that case exhort the liberal side to “debias”. If you did, then your call now might truly be seen as an impartial call for debiasing. Lacking that, I don’t see anyway you can argue that you are not just exhorting the conservatives to “debias” for partisan reasons. Furthermore, it might be interesting to view your (and other) statements on right *and* left which were made in light of that case (and perhaps afterwards no matter the outcome). So … can you come up with such a case?

  8. Boonton says:

    A law that the entire liberal bloc voted for and one and a half Conservatives crossed does not to me seem like a case which was split in a analogous fashion.

    I forgot, which section of the Constitution says Conservatives are allocated a quota of Congressional representatives again? Last I checked, a majority of Congress meant 50%+ of representatives who have been elected (or in rare cases appointed) to office. Not ‘some Republicans plus Democrats’.

  9. Mark says:

    I’m not sure what your point is. Quota’s were not implied or suggested. Are you making things up?

  10. Mark says:

    And again, we were looking for a case which the Conservative judges supported and the liberal “bloc” (on the court) “debiased” and voted against the liberal public (or didn’t) and congressional coalition.