Tuesday stuff

The coverage on Harriet Miers, White House General Counsel-Supreme Court nominee, has been interesting stuff. I like the Slate coverage – amusing stuff. MSNBC ain’t so bad either. Thought it was weird that the announcement of her nomination overshadowed Ch.J. Roberts’ first First Monday, but I guess George W. Bush is doing what he will. Oh well.

I tweaked my 9/3/05 post; I ought to edit myself better.

Major League Baseball playoffs time – Yanks v. Angels; Bosox v. ChiSox; St. Louis v. San Diego; Atlanta v. Houston. Hmm. And, no “House, M.D.” until baseball is over in November. Darn…

FOX sitcoms: Monday’s “Arrested Development” was hilarious. Michael Bluth (played by Jason Bateman) went into denial that he even has a family (so that he may date Charlize Theron’s character). The Bluth family has a new lawyer, since Henry (Fonzie) Winkler (the actor) is unavailable to play the recurring lawyer character. So, of course, if Fonzie’s not in, you go get Scott Baio (the ex-Chachi of “Happy Days”/the ex-Charles of “Charles in Charge”). Scott Baio’s “Bob Loblaw, Esq.” Say it three times fast now. That’s right. Tee-hee. He’s an extremely humorless attorney, too (his personality, that is; he ends up being funny that way): Lindsay Bluth’s all but throwing herself at him (yep, Chachi’s still a cutie at his age), and Bob Loblaw’s just charging her for wasting his time. Darn attorney’s fees.

“Kitchen Confidential” – Monday’s episode: Jack (played by that ex-Alias actor Bradley Cooper, who was so amusingly psychotic on “Wedding Crashers”) has to use his cooking skills to make such decadent food to literally cause his cooking school teacher’s death. John Larroquette (the ex-Dan Fielding, Esq., of “Night Court” fame) plays the tough and cholesterol-filled chef/teacher. His character cannot have anymore bypass surgeries, and feels that if he had to die, he would die eating his best student’s food. (and he nominates Jack to be his favorite student). Only, Jack’s conscience gets the best of him – see, Jack no longer does crazy, stupid things (he’s sober; he won’t go overboard; he won’t kill or do other harm), which disappoints his teacher, who insteads dies after eating a not-very-hygienic hot dog stand hot dog. Oops. But, strangely funny. The show needs work, but has potential. (but, I miss John Cho as the seafood specialist chef; he was funny and he avoided making such a bland looking show).

ABA eJournal reports that Americans are disappointed with judges. Martha Neil writes:

More than half of Americans are angry and disappointed with the nation’s judiciary, a new survey done for the ABA Journal eReport shows.

A majority of the survey respondents agreed with statements that “judicial activism” has reached the crisis stage, and that judges who ignore voters’ values should be impeached. Nearly half agreed with a congressman who said judges are “arrogant, out-of-control and unaccountable.” [….]

The Opinion Research Corp. conducted the survey, calling 1,016 adults throughout the country in early September. Participants included 505 men and 511 women aged 18 or older. Due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina, residents of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi were not polled.

Calls were made to a random sample of American households. Those surveyed were asked questions about their age and education levels, and were asked to give one of six answers—strongly agree, somewhat agree, neither agree nor disagree, somewhat disagree, strongly disagree or don’t know—in response to public statements criticizing the judiciary.

Fifty-six percent of the respondents strongly or somewhat agreed with the opinions expressed in each of two survey statements:

* A U.S. congressman has said, “Judicial activism … seems to have reached a crisis. Judges routinely overrule the will of the people, invent new rights and ignore traditional morality.” (Twenty-nine percent strongly agreed and 27 percent somewhat agreed.)

* A state governor has said that court opinions should be in line with voters’ values, and judges who repeatedly ignore those values should be impeached. (Twenty-eight percent strongly agreed and 28 percent somewhat agreed.)

Forty-six percent strongly or somewhat agreed with the opinion expressed in a third statement:

* A U.S. congressman has called judges arrogant, out-of-control and unaccountable. (Twenty-one percent strongly agreed and 25 percent somewhat agreed.)

Among the respondents, younger adults were less likely than older adults to agree with all three statements. Those with a college education were more likely to disagree with the statements than high school graduates.

Only 30 percent of respondents somewhat or strongly disagreed with the first statement and 32 percent felt the same way about the second statement. The most disagreement was reflected in the responses to the third statement, with which 38 percent took issue.

Two percent to 3 percent responded “don’t know,” and the remainder of the respondents neither agreed nor disagreed with the statements.

The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus 3 percentage points, at the 95 percent confidence level. Opinion Research Corp. says survey results were “weighted by age, sex, geographic region and race to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total population.”

The congressman referenced in the first question is Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, who made the comment at an April 2005 rally in Washington, D.C. The governor in the second question is Matt Blunt, a Missouri Republican, who reportedly made the comment during an interview with a religious publication in May 2005. The congressman in the third question is House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas, who made the comment in March 2005.

Several legal scholars responding to the survey results were startled by the numbers.

Georgetown’s [Mark] Tushnet says he didn’t realize the level of dissatisfaction was so high. “What I had thought was the case was that there was a significantly higher residue of general respect for the courts,” he says. “And these numbers suggest that that’s not true.”

[Charles G.] Geyh of Indiana University says the survey suggests “a trajectory” upward in the number of people unhappy with the American judiciary—apparently simply because these critics disagree with the law that judges have a duty to apply.

The idea that judges should “somehow follow the voters’ views really reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of what judges are supposed to do,” he continues. “They should only be criticized when they ignore the law and start infusing their own values into the law regardless of the law.” [….]

The way I see it, I think it’s terribly disturbing that neither America’s politicians nor its citizenry seem to understand that voters aren’t supposed to affect the judiciary (unless you’re in a district where you have an elected judiciary, but even then you might end up with a corrupted and dimwitted judiciary). And, certain politicians and citizens seem ill-informed to make evaluations on the judiciary (at least the survey suggests that those with more education wouldn’t make the judgment that the judiciary is “arrogant” and “out-of-control”). If the legislators don’t like what the judges do, they at least can make the law to reverse what the judges did. Do we not know how checks-and-balances work?

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