On the subject of these hearings today…


I have a lot of my plate today, but in case y’all want to discuss the hearings going on today, here’s a place to do it.

I provide this with mixed feelings, since I believe any time spent on the explosively divisive issue of confirmation hearings takes away from what we should be talking about, which is the election three weeks from tomorrow.

This morning, my wife had the hearing playing on the radio, and I heard Lindsey Graham speak and then turn the floor over to the very last Democrat we should want to hear from right now, Dianne “Dogma” Feinstein. We turned it off shortly thereafter, thank goodness, because my wife had to do a Zoom call.

Look, folks, the latest poll shows Joe leading by 12 points — nationally, which of course doesn’t matter, although it’s encouraging. Here’s how I reacted:

That’s pretty much how I react to everything right now.

Every word spoken, every action taken from now on by people who want to save this country should be aimed at increasing the victory margin for Joe Biden — in the battleground states first, and then nationally as well. Even if we somehow know that Joe’s going to win — which we don’t — we should work like crazy to double and then triple his victory margin, because we so badly need for Trumpism to be resoundingly, undeniably rejected.

And I don’t see any way that anything said about this court nomination helps in that goal.

But yesterday, Clark Surratt asked me to comment on the Barrett matter, and I obliged, and now I’m going to turn that comment into a post, in case y’all want to talk about this. Which I hope you don’t.

Actually, I didn’t completely oblige Clark, because he said, “I wanted to get your opinion on whether the sub-group (or groups) under the Catholic banner that she belonged to should be grounds for questioning her qualifications for the court.”

Since I haven’t spent time thinking about that, I stepped past it. I’ll come back to it, though, after I share what I did say to Clark, which was the following:

I don’t know much about them, Clark.

As for Judge Barrett, what do I think of her? Not a lot one way or the other. She seems to me to be fairly well qualified, which is what matters. Just as I considered Merrick Garland to be qualified. I’m not a cheerleader for her, nor am I opposed to her being on the court, from what I’ve seen so far.

But then I haven’t studied her that closely. For me, the issue isn’t her. The issue is that I don’t want this supremely politically divisive fight happening right NOW. And I’m pretty furious at the scummy behavior on the parts of McConnell and our own Lindsey Graham that has brought us to this pass.

If McConnell hadn’t done the unforgivable thing he did in the Garland incident — and then reversed himself and then some when HIS priorities were on the line — I wouldn’t be AS upset about it. But this would still be a very unwelcome thing to be happening right now.

I’m very unhappy about this process starting tomorrow, for a lot of reasons. One of them is this: A story in the Post this morning about how Kamala Harris will be in the spotlight, thanks to her role in the Kavanaugh hearings.

Boy, do we not need that right now: Spectacularly divisive hearings in which Joe Biden’s running mate plays a starring role.

Oh, the partisans in the Democratic base might clap and cheer if Sen. Harris is at the forefront of intense grilling of this woman. Yes, partisans will be energized.

And at least as many partisans on the other side will be at least equally energized.

And as I keep saying: Things that divide us benefit Trump. This is why he is always as divisive as possible.

Joe is the antidote to what’s tearing our country apart. But it will be harder to motivate people to vote for that antidote if his running mate is seen as being in the forefront of the thing dividing us.

That’s ONE way this situation is dangerous to the country. There are loads of them out there, most of which I can’t possibly anticipate at this point.

She is going to be confirmed, barring something so far unforeseen. All I can hope for now is that the process will be as calm and quick as possible, and we can put it behind us and be thinking about other things by Election Day.

But with only three weeks left, that is going to be tough…

That’s what I said last night.

But now that I read Clark’s question again, I realize he wasn’t asking what I thought of her affiliations — which is the way I answered, or didn’t answer, him (since I didn’t have any thoughts about them). He was asking whether those affiliations “should be grounds for questioning her qualifications.”

And my answer to that is “No.”

In fact, I hope the hearings don’t go within miles of her religious affiliations. Got that, Sen. “Dogma?” Please, please, please don’t do or say anything that starts Trumps yammering again about how Biden and the Democrats want to “hurt God.” It’s stupid and outrageous, but it stirs up some people, and those people are likely to vote for him.

Anyway, the questions should be about her qualifications, period. Not her religious beliefs or associations. Not her thoughts on the ACA (folks, that’s for Joe to talk about on the stump — we are not adjudicating the ACA in that hearing room today), or Roe, or anything else. The purpose is not to judge her on the judgments she may or not render from the bench.

Judicial philosophy? Sure, OK. Talk originalism or whatever, as long as you stay away from particular cases. But really, the best thing you can do is show that this process is performing its constitutional duty by checking to make sure this lady is prepared to do this job. And, I’m about as sure as I can be, the Senate is going to decide in the end that she is. Keep that in mind, and please don’t do anything stupid and futile to wreck Joe Biden’s chances.

Because that’s what matters.

Thank you.

210 thoughts on “On the subject of these hearings today…

  1. Ken

    “Please, please, please don’t do or say anything that starts Trumps yammering again about how Biden and the Democrats want to ‘hurt God.’” – BW

    It doesn’t matter what they do or say, he’ll still be out there telling his cult that’s what a Biden/Harris win will mean:

    the death of religion, law and order, the economy, national security, the country as we know it.

    Doesn’t matter if the two hid out under rocks until Nov. 3rd, he’d still be saying the same things.
    But this seems to be BW’s political strategy recommendation: avoid any and every kind of controversy.
    Be everything to everybody by being nothing to anybody.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Joe isn’t “nothin.” He needs to run by being Joe, and talking about the kinds of things he usually talks about, and not get sidetracked by issues that will instantly make half the country really, really hate him.

      That’s the BW political strategy…

      1. Ken

        “get sidetracked by issues that will instantly make half the country really, really hate him.”

        People who worry this much are politically pusillanimous.

      1. Pat

        I know he said that, but it’s impossible and it’s fear-mongering. Christian voters shouldn’t fall for it because they should know better. And it’s another turn of phrase that he says that makes him sound ridiculous and shows his limited vocabulary.

  2. bud

    I was glad to see the Democrats united in mentioning over and over again that the ACA is under attack by the courts. This absurd notion that SCOTUS nominees are about their qualifications is ridiculous. It’s about how they’re going to vote. Technically anyone is “qualified” to serve on the Supreme Court. So let’s get someone who will vote correctly.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah… basically they’re making use of the free media to push a helpful political message.

      From what I’ve heard, it seems doubtful the court will rule against the ACA in this case. (And if it is, as long as Joe is elected, Democrats take the Senate and the keep the House, they can go ahead and pass something better than the ACA.)

      But there’s no question that Trump wants it to, so as long as Lindsey is providing all the free media, Dems might as well say so.

      But no, it would undermine the whole concept of an independent judiciary to choose judges on the basis of whether they will “vote correctly”…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        But the ACA would be a great test for Barrett once she’s on the court (and it appears she WILL be on the court).

        One thing on which I definitely agree with her: The political branches, not the judiciary, should choose the policies that govern our nation. What sort of healthcare system we have is up to them, not to the court…

        1. bud

          Of course the political branches should determine what kind of health care system we have. Same for things like campaign finance laws, guns, states handling of elections (Bush v Gore) and a whole host of other issues. So why doesn’t the court decide these issues along those lines? Since justices clearly legislate from the bench, especially conservative justices, it is incumbent on the president to weigh how a judge views issues.

          1. Ken

            Folks who take the view of nominations to the court that BW does should have no problem with a court made up of 9 Clarence Thomases, or 9 Bader Ginsburgs. Hey, they’re all qualified, so what’s to complain about, right?

        2. Barry

          The ACA was passed by Congress. Republicans have tried very hard to get the courts to do what republicans in Congress couldn’t do- get rid of the ACA. Conservative judges have obliged them.

          Both sides love activist judges. Any conservative saying anything different is a liar.

          1. Bryan Caskey

            “Both sides love activist judges. Any conservative saying anything different is a liar.”

            Or perhaps one ball-club doesn’t like balls and strikes being called accurately because they can’t win the game fairly.

            1. Ken

              Yes, just keep on packing the courts, as your Republicans are now, and see how quickly it undermines their legitimacy.

                1. Ken

                  Yet another example of wilful obtuseness.

                  McConnell’s blocking federal court nominations from at least 2013, in spite of a judicial emergency, blocking the Garland nomination in 2016, and then hypocritically reversing himself in 2020 puts the lie to your and your party’s claim to normal order when it comes to filling court seats. For you and yours, “normal order” translates into: heads we win, tails you lose. The disdain for any other position but their/your own is obvious.

                1. Ken

                  1) What gives you the authority to ask?

                  2) What bearing does it have to the comment you’re replying to?

                  3) As a fundamental matter of principle, I do not provide a full name where it is not required. Because I feel that privacy is being eroded far too much in the digital age already.

                    1. Brad Warthen Post author

                      I should have used that with some of the stupid questions I got from reporters during the Smith/Norrell campaign: “Yeah, I could answer that, but first I need to see your papers…”

                      Deine Papiere, bitte… (I probably got that wrong. My German is VERY rusty…)

                2. Barry

                  I’ve seen people on message boards contact someone‘s’ family members over message board disagreements.

                  Never worth it.

            2. Barry

              Once again, the ACA was passed by Congress. Republicans have tried very hard to get the courts to do what republicans in Congress couldn’t do- get rid of the ACA. Conservative judges have obliged them.

              Conservatives love activist judges that do their bidding when they lose the legislative fight.

            3. Barry

              Of course you like her Bryan

              With her, rulings will go against LGBT people, women who want to make their own decisions about their pregnancy, ensuring fair access to the ballot box for everyone and she will select Trump as the winner of the election if the decision makes it to the Supreme Court.

              conservatives will be worshipping her

              1. Bryan Caskey

                I get your reference to abortion on demand with “decisions about their own pregnancy” but I don’t understand what you think will be against LGBT people, fair access to the ballot box, and selecting Trump as the winner of the election.

                What cases are you referring to, what legal issues are in controversy, and how should the law apply to those specific facts? What on earth are you talking about?

                1. Guy

                  “Abortion on demand”??? This is not a delivery pizza or movie you order with Your remote. You sure use the nomenclature of an orthodox republi-biblicist foxnews-icrat for someone who proclaims independence.


                2. Ken

                  “Abortion on demand” is a favorite term used by the anti-abortionists. Like “pro-life” it’s meant to give them an upper hand in the rhetoric war (and make them feel better about themselves).

                3. Barry

                  I always enjoy Bryan’s “where in the world is this coming from” approach.

                  Then I pull up any number of articles and read about the threat to LGBT rights, abortion rights, ballot box issues that Bryan seems totally oblivious to at any given moment.

  3. A Former Supreme Court Justice

    As to the “political pressure” directed to the Court: the marches, the mail, the protests aimed at inducing the Justices to change their opinions.

    How upsetting it is, that so many of our citizens (good people, not lawless ones, on both sides of an issue) think that the Justices should properly take into account their views, as though they were engaged not in ascertaining an objective law but in determining some kind of social consensus. We would profit from giving less attention to the fact of this phenomenon, and more attention to the cause of it. That cause permeates the idea of adjudication that relies not upon text and traditional practice to determine the law, but upon what the Court calls “reasoned judgment,” which turns out to be nothing but moral intuition. All manner of “liberties” inhere in the Constitution and are enforceable by this Court–not just those mentioned in the text or established in the traditions of our society.

    What makes all this relevant to the bothersome application of “political pressure” against the Court are the twin facts that the American people love democracy and the American people are not fools. As long as the Court thought (and the people thought) that the Justices were doing essentially lawyers’ work –reading text and discerning our society’s traditional understanding of that text–the public pretty much left the Court alone. Texts and traditions are facts to study, not convictions to demonstrate about.

    But if in reality the process of constitutional adjudication consists primarily of making value judgments; if the Court can ignore a long and clear tradition clarifying an ambiguous text; if the Court’s pronouncement of law rests primarily on value judgments, then a free and intelligent people’s attitude towards the Court can be expected to be (ought to be) quite different.

    The people know that their value judgments are quite as good as those taught in any law school–maybe better. If, indeed, the “liberties” protected by the Constitution are, as the Court says, undefined and unbounded, then the people should demonstrate, to protest that we do not implement the wrong values. Not only that, but confirmation hearings for new Justices should deteriorate into question and answer sessions in which Senators go through a list of their constituents’ most favored and most disfavored alleged constitutional rights, and seek the nominee’s commitment to support or oppose them. Value judgments, after all, should be voted on, not dictated; and if our Constitution has somehow accidently committed them to the Supreme Court, at least we can have a sort of plebiscite each time a new nominee to that body is put forward.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yep, that’s where we are. And if we don’t back away from it, and return to respecting the courts as apolitical adjudicators, we’re sunk…

      1. Pat

        It would be great if SCOTUS were apolitical. Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife is politically active and he attends functions with her. I think that’s a problem.

      2. Ken

        Please tell us just where in the “advise and consent” clause it says that the Senate should not take into account a nominee’s judicial philosophy in deciding on that nominee’s fitness for the Supreme Court.

        1. Bryan Caskey

          It doesn’t. The Senate can take whatever it wants into account when deciding whether it gives “consent” to a nominee from the President. As illustrated with President Obama’s nomination of Judge Garland, the Senate isn’t even under an obligation to hold a hearing. It’s entirely free to give consent or not according to its own discretion. Checks and balances – that’s how it works.

          1. Mark

            I disagree, Bryan, the refusal to even enter into the Senate consent process would have disgusted the Founders. That was not what they meant by advice and consent.

            McConnell did that only because he knew some Republicans would likely vote for the very qualified Garland. That’s where the system flew of the rails into the un-Constitutional. We should never forget that.

    2. Ken

      “as though they were engaged not in ascertaining an objective law but in determining some kind of social consensus.” — BC

      Well, OF COURSE social consensus plays a role in law. There is, for example, the “social consensus theory of criminal law.” After all, it wasn’t any change in law that altered rulings relating to sodomy or interracial marriage. It was changes in social consensus about those laws. And we are better for it.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Ken, I don’t know why two of your comments were held for moderation.

        The usual explanation is one of two things:

        — Too many links. But neither comment had links.
        — The inclusion of a red-flagged name or phrase. But nothing is ringing any bells when I look at them.

        Sometimes this just happens, for no reason I can find.

        Sorry about that. They’re posted now…

        Oh, by the way: I tried to email you about this, and the email address didn’t work. You might want to correct that on subsequent comments…

  4. Randle

    I could not agree more that we have to hunker down, fight like hell, and take nothing for granted for the next 22 days. But, like it or not, these hearings are now a part of the election, and voters are tuned in and view this as important. Democrats must, then, in a non-bloviating, non-self-destructive way, lay out the significance of this court selection. I watched this morning for a while, and they were laser-focused on the ACA, as they should be, while the Republicans kept going back to phantom attacks on Judge Barrett’s religion, family and I forget what else. Democrats have avoided that stuff like the plague this time around. I just hope the next time one of the GOP senators raises one of these straw-men complaints, the Democrats call them out. The court has 5 Catholic judges already; how is that an issue, anyway?
    Meanwhile, Biden will probably need to come up with a response to the “court-packing” business so he can move on. Maybe he could suggest that we the people should give some thought to how we want our Supreme Court to look, as it is within the purview of the Congress to change it, and they work for us. Maybe not upend an institution and put something in its place without having public discussion and reaching some consensus. We do have mass communication. Really, we are so lazy. Democracy takes effort.

    1. Bryan Caskey

      My law partner seems to think the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee are going to not show up at the vote, thus depriving the committee of a quorum. I don’t think that’s a very good idea, but he seems quite pleased with it.

      1. Mark

        No, it is not. I hate he said / she said arguments, but … The GOP started this by not even giving Merritt Garland a hearing (as the Constitution requires). They didn’t like the optics of voting against a qualified jurist. That choice has come back to roost.

        1. Ken

          It began before that. It goes back at least to 2013, when McConnell told Harry Reed that his party would block ALL nominees to the Court of Appeals to the DC Circuit, NO MATTER HOW QUALIFIED they were in order to preserve “conservative seats” on the court and despite a judicial emergency caused by a backlog of cases and a lack of new appointments. Reed was blamed for initiating the so-called “nuclear option” of dropping the threshold for approving nominees to 51. But he really had no choice, faced as he was by reckless McConnell’s brinkmanship.

          1. Mark Stewart

            I do not understand McConnell’s game; usually politicians want to leave some kind of enduring legacy. McConnell doesn’t seem to care that he is destroying the GOP as a party to win a few, for which history will give home no credit.

            He is as amoral and unethical as Trump.

            1. Pat

              McConnell’s enduring legacy is the number of conservative judges he has put o the benches. That’s all he’s been doing since the pandemic has started.

                1. Ken

                  I’ll call this post a case of wilful obtuseness.
                  The point is, McConnell is concentrating on packing the courts rather than dealing with immediate pressing concerns resulting from the virus.

        2. Barry

          Correct. garland wasn’t given a vote because Senate Republican leadership knew he would likely get Republican support. He simply was too qualified to not get that support.

          If Obama had wanted an obvious, reliable liberal vote on the court, there are many judges he would have selected before he selected Garland. But Obama didn’t do that because he wanted someone that a number of republicans could easily support. But republicans screwed Obama anyway.

          There was a great article on Garland in The Post last week. It describes Garland as even more respected now after the way he handled himself given Republican obstructionism to an extremely qualified judge.

      2. bud

        I don’t know about the judiciary committee but the full senate only needs 51 senators for a quorum. Does a full senate vote even require a judiciary committee vote? Everyone says the Dems have no power. But I really don’t know.

  5. Randle

    I could not agree more that we have to hunker down, focus, fight like hell, and take nothing for granted for the next 22 days. But, these hearings are now part of the election, and voters are tuned in and view this as important. Democrats must, then, in a non-bloviating, non-self-destructive way, lay out the significance of this court selection. I watched this morning for a while, and they were laser-focused on the ACA, as they should be, while the Republicans kept going back to attacks on Judge Barrett’s religion, family and I forget what else, which have not happened this time. They’re the only ones talking about that. I just hope the next time one of the GOP senators raises one of these straw-men complaints, the Democrats call them out. Tell her what a nice family she has. Congratulate her on adopting Haitian orphans and then move on to her thinking on how to interpret the Constitution. The court has 5 Catholic judges already; how is that an issue, anyway?
    Meanwhile, Biden will probably need to come up with a response to the “court-packing” business so he can move on. Maybe he could suggest that we the people should give some thought to how we want our Supreme Court to look, as it is within the purview of the Congress to change it, and they work for us. Maybe not upend an institution and put something in its place without having public discussion and reaching some consensus. We do have mass communication. Really, we are so lazy. Democracy takes effort.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Yes. Use it for your winning talking points: healthcare, COVID, and the fact that most people don’t want the GOP to be doing this.

        Mitch and Lindsey have given them this free media. Might as well use it…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yes, Randle — I’ve been very pleased by what I’ve seen (that is to say, read about and heard on the radio) today.

      The Dems are being VERY disciplined. It’s a rare exhibition, and wonderful to see. They’re sticking to the things where they’re strong, and the GOP is very weak:
      — Healthcare. Joe decided early on that to the extent he would talk about this, it would be about saving the ACA. And wow, the Dems have been lockstep with him on that. That’s great. Because nobody wants to do away with the ACA except people who would vote for Trump even in the case of his hypothetical murder on 5th Avenue…
      — COVID. Or, I should add, the completely unnecessary deaths of 215,000 Americans, so far. Hitting the GOP for doing THIS instead of passing a coronavirus relief bill, and doing it in spite of the obvious hazards it presents (and Lindsey’s refusal to get tested) also works well.
      — The fact that most people in the country do NOT want the GOP to be cramming through this nomination.

      They can’t stop Judge Barrett from being confirmed. But they can use the free media the Republicans have provided to win the election.

      And they’re doing an admirable job of it so far. While the Republicans look like raving idiots decrying attacks on the judge’s religion that, you know, aren’t happening (and, as Joe said, need to continue not to happen)…

      By the way, I worried earlier today about Kamala Harris’ role in this, with everybody looking to her to be all dramatic like with Kavanaugh. Nope. She stuck to the playbook, remotely sticking it to the GOP for having another super-spreader event…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        How stupid can these Republicans be, coming out on the field with a planned defense, and failing to recognize that their whole strategy is about reacting to what the offense isn’t even doing?

        Yeah, I know — it’s never about what’s really happening with them. It’s about what their base, watching FOX, believes is happening, which is whatever Trump tells them is happening.

        But you know, at some point, these people have got to figure out it’s time to exfiltrate themselves from Trumpworld, and try to hang onto the Senate. Right?…

        1. Mark Stewart

          Doesn’t seem so. It’s a GOP dumpster fire. All the “best” people are on the field now, anyone responsible and dedicated to public service having been long since primaried out the door of the GOP. And so have a deciding % of voters, because of this partisan insanity.

          Newt Gingrich was the bell tolling the disaster to come as he combined the John Birch types with the newly converted Dixiecrats into a metastatic disease that first presented as power; but which is now clearly cancerous rot.

        2. bud

          Brad for whatever reason you and the other never Trumpers seem incapable of accepting the truth. This is denial on steroids. Republicans don’t want to extricate themselves from Trump. They ARE Trump. This is not about one man.

          1. Bill

            Let’s stay the course.Can’t get radical like those hyper partisans.After Joe,the way’ll be clear for Trump , Part 2…

    2. Barry

      My wife and I have voted. I meant to deliver my ballot last week to my county office but was unable to. I am doing that today. straight Democratic for the first time ever.

      My 20 year old college student is also voting straight democrat. I will be taking that ballot to the office next week.

  6. Bill

    The 48-year-old judge is known to have ties to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an Arizona-based conservative Christian nonprofit organisation, which says it works on advocating, training, and funding on the issues of “religious freedom, sanctity of life, and marriage and family”.

    The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an organisation monitoring extremism, describes the ADF as a hate group.

    SPLC claims that the ADF supports the recriminalization of sexual acts between consenting LGBTQ adults; has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad; says LGBTQ people are more likely to engage in pedophilia; and claims that a “homosexual agenda” will destroy Christianity and society.

    1. randle

      Judge Barrett says her personal beliefs will not influence her judicial decisions. So no worries. The Federalist
      Society, which supports her and many if not most of the recently appointed judges, is very anti-LGBTQ, from what I read and hear.

        1. Ken

          And it’s pretty clear that your ilk would like to see legal technicians sitting on the bench rather than actual JUDGES. In other words, don’t make judgements, just read the instructions and flip the right switches.

          1. Bryan Caskey

            First of all, “ilk” is such a good word to express contempt to a group. I don’t really ever use it, but I do always get a smile when I see it.

            As a practicing lawyer who appears in front of state court trial judges regularly, I think I’m in a pretty good position to make decisions about the kind of temperament and intellect that makes a good judge. It’s a combination of faithfully applying the statutory law to a case, regardless of what the judge’s personal feeling, along with the ability to make a judgment call when there is discretion. At the state court trial level here in South Carolina (where my experience is) there are many, many situations where a judge has the discretion to do one thing or another, within what the judge is legally constrained to do. Being a good judge involves understanding the law, and understanding how a decision will impact the litigants. Making judgment calls is an important part of being a judge, and it’s real.

            Hope you’re holding up well. As for me and those of my ilk, we’re doing pretty okay.

            1. Ken

              Apparently you’re fishing for an insult that doesn’t exist.
              Either that or you’re confused about the meaning of “ilk.”
              Here, let me provide it for you:
              “family, class or kind”
              From the Scottish for “the same.”

              To me, a good judge is one who applies the law to advance human progress.

              1. Ken

                And to expand on what’s meant by “legal technicians,” that refers to a purely formal (or “thin”) approach to law, as contrasted with a more substantive (or “thick”) understanding of the purpose of law. Is the commitment to law merely a kind of formalism, a cramped focus on the technicalities and formalities of law (i.e. a blind “letter of the law” absolutism)? Or is does it seek to concern itself with justice, the greater good and human rights? To me, the latter is not only far more preferable, it should be the heart and soul of the law.

                1. bud

                  I’m with you Ken. At one time I would have been guilty about that belief but no more. The final straw was the death penalty case in OK (Glossip v Gross) where the conservative court essentially legalized cruel and unusual punishment by clearing the way for a human being to die a horrific death by way of a nasty cocktail of drugs. For good measure Scalia got all snarky with justice Breyer for suggesting ALL death penalty cases were cruel and unusual. Worst court ruling in American history. If a court ruling enables Trump 4 more years in spite of the will of the voters that would become the worst.

                2. Randle

                  I agree, Ken. When Judge Barrett starts explaining her dry, originalist philosophy, I hear Portia instead.

                  The quality of mercy is not strained;
                  It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
                  Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
                  It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
                  ‘T is mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
                  The throned monarch better than his crown:
                  His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
                  The attribute to awe and majesty,
                  Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
                  But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
                  It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings,
                  It is an attribute to God himself;
                  And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
                  When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
                  Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
                  That, in the course of justice, none of us
                  Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
                  And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
                  The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
                  To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
                  Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
                  Must needs give sentence ‘gainst the merchant there.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    I don’t know that play at all. I know the quote, but not the play, beyond the title. Maybe I’ve stayed away from it because it sounds like it’s about business.:)

                    I should probably try to read it, or find a performance of it to stream.

                    Opportunities to see the following are never lacking: Hamlet, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Henry V, Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear and a few others. But others are out there, and the titles very familiar, and quotes ring in our heads, but we seldom see them.

                    I really appreciated The Hollow Crown, which showed the historical plays from Richard II through Richard III. I had never seen most of them, and I thought it was awesome — especially the second series. I had never, for instance, seen the three Henry VI plays before (three plays centering upon one unremarkable king — although other characters moved things along). It was fascinating…

                    1. Brad Warthen Post author

                      I saw the second Hollow Crown series on PBS, but I don’t remember them ever showing the first series. Eventually, I put the discs for the first series on my Amazon list, and someone in my family kindly obliged, so I got to see them.

                      Not quite as good as the second series, but interesting, and I’ve watched it a couple of times now. I liked Tom Hiddleston’s Prince Hal, and the Falstaff even more. But it was really strange to see the weird way they reinterpreted the “band of brothers” speech from Henry V. Say what you will about Kenneth Branagh, his rendition still stands as the best I’ve seen, the greatest pep talk in literature. But in this, Hiddleston’s Henry spoke it softly, bereft of all drama, to three or four other characters. You sort of expected the guys he was talking to to fall asleep. Interesting, but I’ll take Branagh every time…

                3. Bryan Caskey

                  If only there was some part of government that could enact laws for justice, the greater good, and human rights. You fundamentally do not understand the role and function of the judicial system in our society.

                4. Ken

                  As I expected: just one more insult.

                  It’s the reaction I’ve come to expect from dogmatic conservatives: that only THEY are sufficiently knowledgeable to appreciate how law and government operate, or should operate.

                  And it’s also not surprising that an adherent of the farce of originalism and textualism would suffer from myopia when it comes to the role of law in promoting human rights, the greater good, wider inclusion and a striving for a more just world.

                5. Barry

                  I love Justice Breyer.

                  Justice Antonin Scalia said in a 2005 New Yorker profile that he would have voted with the majority in the Brown v. Board of Education decision ending segregation ( LOL, right) , but he didn’t go quite that far in a recent debate.

                  Brown v. Board of Education can be hard to square with originalism, which holds that the Constitution should be interpreted based on the original understanding of the text,

                  When Breyer asked Scalia about Brown v. Board of Education and the 14th Amendment, Scalia sidestepped the question. “As for Brown v. Board of Education, I think I would have”—and then he changed directions.

                6. randle

                  One of the main themes of The Merchant of Venice is how do we interpret law ¬¬– strictly by the letter or leavened with mercy or, I will add, the spirit behind it? Portia’s speech sprang to mind when I watched Judge Barrett testify that she interprets “the Constitution as a law …. I understand it to have the meaning that it had at the time people ratified it. That meaning doesn’t change over time, and it’s not up to me to update it or infuse my policy views into it.” How to determine that meaning? Her approach seems dry and the very opposite of the definition of “judicious” or what it means to be a judge – and I base this on looking up those words in the dictionary she and other originalists include as a primary source for how to formulate a decision. Because a formulaic judicial decision is a contradiction in terms.
                  In the play, Portia is addressing Shylock, a Jew, who has lent her merchant friend, Antonio, a sum of money. The bond they sign allows Shylock to take a pound of Antonio’s flesh if he fails to repay the loan. Antonio does fail, and Shylock goes to court to extract his payment. Portia, dressed as a male lawyer, offers him double the amount Antonio owes; Shylock refuses; he wants his pound of flesh, as the bond clearly states he is legally entitled to it. Portia asks him to reconsider following the letter of the law to its horrific conclusion. Shylock is unmoved and prepares to carve up Antonio. Portia then flips the law on him. Strictly speaking, the bond allows him to take a pound of flesh only; he may not spill one drop of blood. Shylock, boxed in, agrees then to take the money. Portia says that option is no longer on the table. Antonio is spared, and Shylock receives his own draconian punishment. The 2004 adaptation I saw starred Al Pacino as Shylock and leaves most of the play intact.
                  Discussions of how to interpret the law have been with us since we started making them, it seems. A book I studied in college as a French major, “The Spirit of Laws,” by Montesquieu, a French judge, has informed my thinking on the law, as it did our founders. Montesquieu developed the idea of the separation of powers among three branches of government, the central principle guiding the formation of our government. You will find it in this book, just as the framers did. Perhaps if you want to understand the meaning of the Constitution, Montesquieu is a good place to start.
                  What’s this about Kenneth Branaugh? I admire his work as an actor and a director; I didn’t know he was controversial. I have read that he is a bit of a fathead, but as he reminds me of James Cagney, both physically and in his acting style, I don’t care. I hope he is not another person I have to cancel, as I am running low on people to admire. I will definitely check out your suggestions about the Hollow Crown and Tim Huddleston. I am sorry this post is so long.

        2. Barry

          Her personal beliefs will influence her. I wish judges wouldn’t lie to everyone.

          They are humans. Their personal opinions influence the way they see the words.

          Her personal beliefs are anti choice. It should be no surprise that she repeatedly sides against choice, and justices with different beliefs repeatedly side for choice.

          “ The justices deal with the most volatile issues in American life, from abortion to the war on terror. It is folly to pretend that the court could figure out a way to deal with these issues in an objective or nonpolitical way. The justices reach answers to the questions before them based on their judicial philosophies, which are nearly indistinguishable from their political views. This is not new. The divisions in the court have always reflected the political divisions in the country, but never more so than today.”. – Jeffrey Toobin 3;15/10

        3. Barry

          Bryan, She also needs to be more careful and get facts right.

          “She said the issue in the 11-10-2020 ACA case is just severability, not preexisting conditions and lifetime limits. Not true. In the case, the Trump Administration is asking the Supreme Court to strike down the entire statute. “. Jeff Toobin

          This was pointed out ot her by a democratic Senator. She clearly didn’t realize the actual facts of the case. It showed.

          1. Bryan Caskey

            Sounds like the issue is whether the common law doctrine of severability can apply to the entire statute or not, right? However, I’m not familiar with the case. Perhaps you can explain the case to us and the issues involved.

            1. Barry

              not be a smart %%%

              I read from various legal sources and the multiple ones I reviewed all agreed that she was wrong on the case that will be before the court.

              Not a surprise.

  7. Bryan Caskey

    I thought Judge Barrett was impressive today. I only caught bits of the hearing between meetings, but she certainly showed a deep intellect, a great judicial temperament, and good grasp of a judge’s role in our federal system of government.

    She’s going to be a very good Supreme Court Justice, and I look forward to reading her opinions. She’s an excellent writer when expressing her opinion on complex issues. As someone who does that for a living, I am very impressed.

    1. Barry

      She will be as predictable as any justice who is right wing or left wing. She happens to be right wing.
      A court watcher can predict 99% of her opinions before a case is even held. She is like a robot. She isn’t the only one.

      One obvious lie she did offer earlier was how she makes decisions:

      “ On Tuesday, Barrett discussed how when writing “an opinion resolving a case, I read every word from the perspective of the losing party,” asking “how would I view the decision if one of my children was the party I was ruling against.”

      “Even though I would not like the result, would I understand that the decision was fairly reasoned and grounded in the law?,” she said. “That is the standard I set for myself in every case, and it is the standard I will follow as long as I am a judge on any court.”

      Anyone believing that lies to themselves. What a load of hogwash. I don’t like liars.

  8. Ken

    Speaking of the court, the conservative justices declined yesterday to hear one of the emoluments cases.
    They are effectively rendering part of the Constitution a dead letter.

    1. Mark Stewart

      It won’t be long until a Federalist Society membership will be a judicial disqualifier

      Talk about a perversion of justice.

      1. Randle

        Don’t think membership in the Federalist Society is ever going to put anyone in any danger of disqualification for the Supreme Court. For this president, being a member of the Federalist Society is a mandatory qualification for consideration, as he stated during his 2016 campaign. And that is how he has selected his nominees — from a list of candidates the society provided him. Republican presidents have been choosing candidates approved by the Federalist Society since the 90s, although the candidates are more closely aligned with the society now because they are identified and cultivated much earlier in their careers. That’s not In keeping with the independent judiciary the framers had in mind, is it— farming out your decision-making to a partisan faction? That’s the perversion of an entire branch of government.

    2. Bryan Caskey

      So the decision of the appellate court stands? What did the appellate court decide? Did the appellate court get it wrong? How so? I haven’t paid any attention to the Emoluments cases, so perhaps you can explain it all to us.

      1. Ken

        Apparently you’re fishing for an insult that doesn’t exist.
        Either that or you’re confused about the meaning of “ilk.”
        Here, let me provide it for you:
        “family, class or kind”
        From the Scottish for “the same.”

        To me, a good judge is one who applies the law to advance human progress.

        1. Bryan Caskey

          Try reading the judicial opinion of the D.C. Court of appeals. Then read the holding in Raines and Bethune-Hill.

          Then go home and get your shine box.

          1. Ken

            Yet another insult.

            As I’ve seen many times already, there’s little point to any exchange with you. You’re not really interested in the “discussion” you proposed above. You’re only interested in insulting and ridiculing those who disagree with your positions and interpretations. You’re very fond of telling people to go get their “shine box.” You seem to think it’s a really original and funny comeback. But it’s just another way of saying “go f— yourself.”

            1. Guy

              I am with you. I would rather paraphrase Dick Cheney to Pat Leahy over Joe Pesci in “Goodfellas”, but alas, neither are original.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Well, of course it’s not original. We use recognizable quotes to communicate with people, whether from Scorsese or Shakespeare (as Randle did).

                And yeah, the Scorsese quote had an edge to it, but when you know Bryan and how he likes to share movie quotes with friends, it loses a good bit of that edge.

                I’d still rather he hadn’t said it, because of the reaction it produced. But it was within the latitude I allow commenters who use their full, real names on the blog.

                Of course, lately I’ve been allowing everyone more latitude than usual, even the pseudonymous people. It’s just hard right now even to find time to post on the blog or even read all the comments, much less spend time moderating them.

                Of course, I expect people’s emotions to get stirred up under these circumstances, which is why I didn’t want to have these hearings now…

                1. Ken

                  “…because of the reaction it produced.”

                  Hmm, not because expecting to get a hearing from someone you’ve just insulted is an exercise in futility?
                  That’s what you’ve told others anyway.
                  Oh well.

                  All I can say is, when a person tells someone with an advanced degree as well as some legal training that “You fundamentally do not understand the role and function of the judicial system in our society,” that person is demonstrating either bottomless ignorance or boundless arrogance, or maybe both.
                  And as to the substance involved here:
                  Somehow Justice Bader Ginsburg, for one, managed to show how to use the law to advance human dignity. So, obviously, it can be done

                  Just so we’re clear, I have nothing against BC personally. I don’t know him.
                  But I do have something against the character he plays on this blog.

                  Along with his ideas about government and law.

                  1. Bryan Caskey

                    It’s possible I have boundless arrogance or bottomless ignorance.

                    It’s also possible you fundamentally don’t understand that the legislature passes laws and courts decide issues in controversy by saying what the law is.

                    Or, maybe you just don’t like that setup of government, and wish for the judiciary to make laws the legislature never did. And that’s an ideology, but it’s antithetical to a free society where we elect our representatives.

                    Who would want to live under a system where nine lawyers control everything? Not me.

                2. Barry

                  “that person is demonstrating either bottomless ignorance or boundless arrogance, or maybe both.”


                  pretty clear with the large amount of evidence that has been submitted.

                3. Ken

                  Re: BW’s latest post above.
                  I have little patience or, frankly, respect for the views on government of someone who has stated that it doesn’t really matter who is elected next month. Given the choice, that shows such indifference to the integrity government that such a person can be considered as entirely lacking in judgment in these matters.

                  1. Bryan Caskey

                    Clearly, I think the impact of the federal executive is less directly significant on my life than you seem to think it will be on yours. Since it seems that you have not been able to justify your own position on abortion on it’s own merits, I guess you’re left with having to disregard the other point of view.

                    We can move on from the abortion discussion. You’re clearly done.

                4. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Just deleted another one.

                  I would delete more, but I avoid doing it with comments to which someone has already responded.

                  This is tedious, and I hate it…

                5. Barry

                  Regarding “originalist” Samuel Alito, the 2nd most predictable, partisan justice on the court.

                  “Alito’s cases reveal an almost reflexive vote in favor of government, a preference based not on some overriding principle but an overriding party.“. – Jonathan Turley

                  in Doe v. Groody, Alito wrote a dissenting opinion arguing that police officers could strip-search a mother and her 10-year-old daughter, despite the fact that neither was named in the search warrant nor suspected of crimes. The majority opinion was authored by fellow Republican and conservative Judge Michael Chertoff (now serving as secretary of Homeland Security). Chertoff criticized Alito’s views as threatening to “transform the judicial officer into little more than the cliché ‘rubber stamp.’ ”

                  Garner v. Tennessee. In that case, a police officer shot and killed an unarmed 15-year-old boy when he fled with $10 from a home. Alito supported the right of the officer to kill the boy for failing to stop when ordered, a position ultimately rejected by six members of the Supreme Court and decades of later decisions.

                  Alito authored another memo that argued strongly in favor of giving immunity to officials who violate the rights of citizens — a position long rejected by the federal courts

                  Alito, along with Thomas, recently indicated their opinion that the marriage equality case should be reconsidered.

      2. Barry

        I did notice that the USC law school dean emailed out the BAR exam scores and names of those who flunked.

        With friends like that…..

        Smooth move from a member of our “esteemed” legal community.

  9. Bill

    This would make a good remake of Catch 22
    but movies are never this bizaare ie
    A judge must have a conscience but this appointment can not have one..
    You get what you pay for.

  10. bud

    This discussion has me asking me this question – What is the bigger threat to our security Q-anon or the Federalist Society?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Um… QAnon.

      Get back to me when the Federalist Society inspires someone to invade a pizza parlor with a semi-automatic weapon because he thinks Hillary Clinton is leading a child sex ring based there.

      Then we’ll compare again…

      1. Bryan Caskey

        Well, we lawyers who like limited government and form groups to have discussions about how state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be….are pretty scary.

        1. Barry

          “who like limited government”

          when it suits your partisan goals

          and except when it comes to bedrooms and what takes place in them that is

          1. Bryan Caskey

            Does it ever bother you to be an apologist for killing unborn, but healthy babies because a woman is perfectly healthy and just decides that she would rather kill the child than be bothered to raise it?

            I mean, I wouldn’t know. But you really seem to revel in loving abortion. Does that ever nag at you, or do you genuinely enjoy killing?

            1. bud

              How would you enforce this “protection” of the unborn? The devil is in the details. To date I’ve yet to get an answer to that basic question.

              1. Barry

                He wouldn’t. As anyone with a brain knows, abortion has been with us since the beginning and will be with us until the end.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Since I have a brain, I know that various forms of killing have always been with us. Which is why, as people have tried to become civilized through the ages, we have had laws.

                2. Barry

                  Right, abortion is with us, and always will be.

                  Your religious belief is one against a woman’s right to make her own decision in such a medical procedure. That’s fine – for you.

                  It’s not fine for you to make that decision for my daughter. You don’t get that choice under any circumstance.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    It’s not about what I want to do, or you want to do, or any relative of yours or mine wants to do.

                    The ethical (not really religious, since I held this view before I was Catholic, but now my faith reinforces the ethic) consideration is whether the law will allow people to kill.

                    1. Brad Warthen Post author

                      It’s interesting what both left and right do by calling it a religious question.

                      No one does that when it’s another form of killing, even though the Ten Commandments ban it. But they do it with this, and with other issues that we have cultural fights about, but which aren’t particularly religious.

                      I understand why the left does it. They’re trying to delegitimize it by suggesting an establishment violation of the First Amendment. And it’s in keeping with a popular notion on the left that people’s most deeply held convictions — religious ones — should be kept out of the public sphere, like something shameful.

                      Why the right goes along kind of puzzles me — except I know they get very defensive about their religion when they see the left airing its secularism. So they embrace the idea that it’s about religion, which encourages the left to keep at it, and so on…

                3. bud

                  I guess my continuing to ask Brad and Bryan and many, many other so-called “pro lifers” to actually explain how they would reduce abortion is one of those examples of hope over experience. I actually would like to know what they want to do. If I ask the question – what law would you like to to reduce drunk driving? Everyone would offer a proposal. Same with pretty much any crime. Yet the “crime” of abortion yields nothing but scolding. It quite weird really. Now I find this nonsense entertaining. Just tell us how you would reduce abortion. Such a simple question. But zero answer.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Bud, I’ll try to explain briefly why I don’t get into that with you.

                    It’s because we’re approaching the issue from wildly different perspectives.

                    If I remember correctly, you’re a guy who worries about the growth of the human population on the planet. So to you, asking how to “reduce abortion” implies, “How else will we keep all these people from being born?” So that automatically brings up birth control. Correct me I’m mischaracterizing your position.

                    That simply isn’t something that comes up in my calculations. For me it’s “We’ve got this living, growing, developing baby. What are we going to do to help him or her survive and thrive?” This fits in with my views about single-payer health care, properly supported public education, and programs to help families, starting with the mothers, care for the child — or if they simply can’t, to provide well-funded adoption and other programs.

                    In other words, for me it’s, “How do we help this baby?,” not “How do we prevent this baby?”

                    That makes it hard for me to answer your questions about birth control to your satisfaction, especially within the context of this other issue…

                4. Barry


                  You likely won’t get an answer.

                  That’s because they understand that a mother “murdering” a child with premeditation, the punishment is life in prison without parole in most cases.

                  Such an idea is so unacceptable to the great majority of citizens, the very idea of it causes severe backlash.

                  So to be politically sensitive, a tightrope has to be walked in which the person assisting the mother is punished, but the person that willingly chose to pursue the “murder” is not punished.

                  The illogical nature of the idea is ridiculous. That’s why you do not get an answer but hear bold proposals, only in theory, on message boards.

                    1. Brad Warthen Post author

                      Just to be clear, Barry, I would never have even the slightest wish to see a woman with a problem pregnancy go to jail for an instant, much less “life without parole.” And it shocks me that you would think otherwise. On the contrary, I think someone in that sort of situation is in need of help, not the opposite.

                      This isn’t some political calculation. It’s simply about right and wrong. The situation is horrible enough without adding more pain and sorrow.

                      Should there be some sort of penalty for someone who gets paid to perform abortions? Yeah, I guess. You’d probably start with revoking medical licenses.

                      But I don’t think about things like that. I just want us to stand up and say, “This is wrong. We’re not going to sanction killing unborn children. Our laws can’t allow that.”

                      Right now, we say the opposite. Our laws need to uphold a better standard.

                      Given the way things have gone since 1973, that’s a difficult-enough goal. I doubt we’ll ever get there in my lifetime. But that’s what I would like to see…

              2. Brad Warthen Post author

                Oh, here we go… buds going to tell us you can’t be against abortion unless you want to put women in prison. Because, you know, that’s what the pro-choice propaganda tells him we all really want… because, of course, it cannot possibly be about not wanting babies to die. It has to be about wanting to hurt women. That’s paramount to those folks.

                1. Barry

                  For the 1,000,000,000,000th time…

                  banning abortions won’t actually stop people from having them; it just makes desperate women seek more dangerous options. (Apparently it will also make some people- primarily men- feel better about themselves- but won’t actually stop abortions)

                  Nearly one in four women in the United States (23.7%) will have an abortion by age 45

                  women who are denied abortions are more likely to live in poverty.

                  1. Bryan Caskey

                    Why have any laws then, right? I mean, if we can’t reduce the conduct completely, might as well not do anything to reduce it.

                    As for your assertion that women who are denied abortions being more likely to live in poverty – it’s not just likely, but it’s a certainty that all the viable babies killed by an abortion don’t live at all, because they are killed by their mother’s choice.

                    Killing babies to improve the chances of not being poor is a heck of a position.

                2. Barry


                  We aren’t going to agree on the abortion topic under ANY circumstances. Just not happening. We view it from a completely different point of view based on very different experiences.

                  In fact, we (You, me, and Brad) are not going to agree on hardly anything. I’m perfectly fine with that.

                  I think we are done on this topic.

                  1. Bryan Caskey

                    I know we won’t agree. We’re just talking about abortion, and I’m trying to see how you justify your position of killing babies, which you clearly hold very deeply.

                    But we can move on. Watching the Braves game? Bryce Wilson has pitched a whale of a ballgame against Clayton Kershaw.

                    Do you like baseball?

                3. bud

                  That’s a gross mischaracterization of what I continue to ask. I find abortion an unfortunate ending for women who have unwanted pregnancies. I believe the very best way to reduce abortions is to encourage birth control. It is immoral to make it more difficult to obtain birth control. That’s exactly what the Hobby Lobby case did. No one would approve of a company that denies insurance to employees who need a blood transfusion on religious grounds. So my plan for reducing abortion is to provide quality sex education to students and to promote birth control. Apparently the Brad plan is to scold people who adhere to the bud plan and yammer about the sanctity of life. No actual law, sanction, promotion of birth control. It really is a bizarre approach to a serious issue. And it would result in more, many more abortions. Yet somehow we are the ones who should feel guilty for lacking concern for human life. Got it backwards dude.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Bud, I apologize if I’m not correctly recalling the past conversations we’ve had about this. I remember discussions along those lines, and maybe they were with someone else. I certainly didn’t mean to mischaracterize your position, grossly or otherwise. And no, the “Brad plan” is not “to scold people.”

                    My plan is that when pregnancy occurs — and it’s going to keep occurring — we don’t kill the child. Let’s figure out something else, but let’s start by not killing the child…

                4. Bob Amundson

                  I abhor abortion, as do most people, ESPECIALLY WOMEN. I tire of listening to people, mostly WASPS, narrowing their argument to abortion as “killing babies.” It is much more complex than that; I’ll remind readers of human heuristic thinking.

                  A complicated problem leads to complicated solutions; again, I’ll remind readers of VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous. The abortion debate is VUCA, but it is critical the opposing views find common ground. IMHO, the obvious common ground is to understand that the probability of a women choosing to have an abortion mindlessly is VERY UNLIKELY, that abortion is a VERY DIFFICULT decision to make.

                  As a male WASP, I recuse myself from imposing my judgement on this issue; let women decide.

                5. Ken

                  Since BW brings up the matter of ethics, my own application of ethical reasoning and, yes, Christian compassion leads me to embrace not abortion but choice. Because I do not believe anyone can be forced to love that which they do not want. And I refuse to condemn any child to a life without love.

                  1. Bryan Caskey

                    “And I refuse to condemn any child to a life without love.”

                    So it would be better to kill the child?

                    Mother Taking Ken’s Position: Sorry unborn daughter, I didn’t mean to conceive you, but since I don’t want to give you any love or care (and it might make me poor to spend money on your care), I figured it would be better just to kill you now. It’s for your own good. Killing you for your own good is what my Christian compassion leads me to.

                6. Barry

                  Again, abortion is with us, and always will be.

                  Will it be a safe medical procedure (Or safely drug induced) that is hopefully very rare, or will it be carried out in the most dangerous way possible in the United States for the most vulnerable and poor people?

                  People with adequate funds will always have the option.

                  Those are the options despite the endless complaining.

                7. Ken

                  Well, I try to be thoughtful and describe the closely reasoned ethical balance I’ve drawn. BC, by contrast, just throws out primitive rant. Par for the course — this course, anyway.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    … which was a long, LONG time ago.

                    There was the beginning of a reawakening, briefly, in 2008, with Tina Fey’s brilliant bits as Sarah Palin. The skit about the veep debate, with Jason Sudeikis as Biden, was wonderful. By contrast, the ones lately with Jim Carrey are a bit sad…

                8. Barry

                  Bob wrote “ I abhor abortion, as do most people, ESPECIALLY WOMEN. I tire of listening to people, mostly WASPS, narrowing their argument to abortion as “killing babies.”

                  As we both know, no one likes the idea of abortion. Such a situation is awful.

                  As I have said before, my aunt had one 30 years ago to save her health and likely her life. (I’m sure, as she is, that someone out there would say it was just her preference but they’d be wrong). It was a choice she considered to be awful to have to make, one that she’s 100% sure as right today, but one she hated to have to make at the time. It wasn’t what she wanted but it was necessary per her medical team.

                  Thank God she was able to make that choice with her husband, her doctor, with the full knowledge of her faith.

                  Thankfully she didn’t have to be concerned if Bryan or Brad were ok wth it- or some politicians in Columbia or Washington DC were ok with it.

                  As it should – and will continue to be.

          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            Barry, that’s it. If you, or anyone else, says “you’re lying and don’t mean what you say,” the comments will disappear. No one here deserves that.

            1. Barry

              Delete whatever comment you like Brad. It’s 100% your show.

              What comment of mine are you referring to?

              1. Barry

                Must be this one

                Even though I would not like the result, would I understand that the decision was fairly reasoned and grounded in the law?,” she said. “That is the standard I set for myself in every case, and it is the standard I will follow as long as I am a judge on any court.”

                Yes, I believe anyone that believes that is lying to themselves. If you want to delete it, that’s your call.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  No, that was before I got fed up.

                  So far, I’ve just enforced the bar on ad hominem comments aimed at each other, at fellow commenters on the blog. The first one I deleted dealt with failure to take medication.

                  But yeah, accusing newsmakers, without evidence or other foundation, of lying when they say things you don’t like does cause the environment here to deteriorate. There are people who lie, and get caught doing it. Trump holds the record. But we’re able to say that because his thousands of lies have been checked out as demonstrably false.

                  There is no way to prove — or even show that it’s likely — that that serious, professional woman is lying when she tells you that she approaches cases that way. You have no way of proving it, or even persuading anyone who disagrees with you that her assertion is doubtful. What you’re doing is going overboard in dismissing the way she thinks, because you disagree.

                  But I digress.

                  At this point, I’m deleting comments y’all aim at each other…

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Yes, it is. And since civility is so important to me — the Web is just a huge mess, with people screaming at each other, and I truly believe it’s important to have a different sort of forum — eventually I have to say “no,” and apply my judgment as well as I can…

                2. Barry

                  Btw- if you are deleting comments aimed at each other, there are a number from others, including Bryan, still available.


            1. randle

              It means “Syntax Nudniks of Our Time.” David Foster Wallace coined the term in an article, “Tense Present, Democracy, English, and the wars over usage.” SNOOTS are word nerds — people who care intensely about words, grammar and usage. Scalia and Ginsberg were SNOOTs; Gorsuch considers himself a SNOOT. Textualists, as far as the law goes, I guess.

                1. Mark Stewart

                  I like words. I like to see them wielded well (wielded well is not that). Nothing wrong with that concept. Might be old school, but so be it.

                2. randle

                  Most definitely. After reading this, I am an aspiring SNOOT. I spend much too much time yelling at people on television for language violations. But this is the first time I have heard of a dysphemism.

                  In an iconic piece in Harper’s worth the price of subscription, David Foster Wallace described the community of SNOOTS:
                  The relevant Choir here comprises that small percentage of American citizens who actually care about the current status of double modals and ergative verbs. The same sorts of people who watched Story of English on PBS (twice) and read W. Safire’s column with their half-caff every Sunday. The sorts of people who feel that special blend of wincing despair and sneering superiority when they see EXPRESS LANE — 10 ITEMS OR LESS or hear dialogue used as a verb or realize that the founders of the Super 8 motel chain must surely have been ignorant of the meaning of suppurate. There are lots of epithets for people like this — Grammar Nazis, Usage Nerds, Syntax Snobs, the Language Police. The term I was raised with is SNOOT. The word might be slightly self-mocking, but those other terms are outright dysphemisms. A SNOOT can be defined as somebody who knows what dysphemism means and doesn’t mind letting you know it.


              1. Bryan Caskey

                I certainly wouldn’t put myself on the level of Scalia, Ginsburg, or Gorsuch. I’m just a country lawyer.

                1. Mark Stewart

                  While Bryan and I only agree about 50% of the time, maybe, ruminating on societal esoterica and such on the blog I will vouch for his legal abilities and the fact that he is a good guy who cares about all the stuff we’d all want everyone to hold as important.

                  I’m kind of perturbed at the vitriol expressed on this post in particular. We are all worn down by Trump’s malignancy, ineptness and narcissism but let’s not let it get to us. Everyone is better than him.

                2. Pat

                  There was a senator from NC who was a brilliant constitutional expert who used to start his interrogations with, I’m just a country lawyer…”

      2. bud

        But you miss the bigger picture. Q-anon is vile for sure. But their reach is rather limited. The Federalist Society is pushing radical judges who may kill millions by granting a repeal of the ACA. Worse, they might side with Trump lawsuits that could ultimately cost Biden the election. People should be more concerned than they are.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I’m just concerned about going ahead and winning the election. And no, I don’t regard Supreme Court justices as “radical” when they disagree with me. Whether they’re on the left or the right.

        2. Barry

          The conservative justices will side with trump regardless. Every republican and democrat in Washington would admit that- behind closed doors.

          That’s why getting the new Justice on the court quickly is so important to Trump.

  11. Brad Warthen Post author

    OK, folks, I’ve started deleting comments, which I freaking HATE. It’s such a hassle, and should be unnecessary.

    Which is why I let a bunch of civility policy violations go by. Because I hate dealing with it. And I hardly ever have time to even post these days, much less playing bouncer.

    But this is going to be a civil forum, even if it means more work for me.

    Anyway, it’s started. First time I’ve had to do this in awhile, which I suppose is pretty good, in Trump’s America. But now I need to…

    1. Mark

      Here’s my new standard for this godawful abortion “debate” without end. I no longer give any credit to any white males, for their opinion for or against, who does not fall between the ages of 25-40. For women I am a bit more tolerant, but white women over 45 are also completely extraneous to the discussion. Then, I am pretty much going to ignore the opinion of anyone who has, and has had, stable private health insurance.

      So I read all this above and that’s all I have to say on the matter. There is something to be said for tolerance, acceptance and multi-culturalism. They all make us a better society; intolerance and myopia do not.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Mark, I’m confused by the particulars of this identity standard you propose. How does race get into it? Disqualifying white people boots out a huge part of the pro-choice side. I mean, I disagree with them, but even to me that seems a bit unfair…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Which is one way of saying I’m surprised you’re saying this, Mark.

          I can’t imagine applying any such identity-based standard to ANY issue. I can’t think offhand of an issue where I’d say, “Black people don’t get a say on this,” or “I don’t care what women think on this,” or “I want to hear from everybody except Asians.”

          Especially on something as central and universal as what our law should say about who gets to kill whom, and under what circumstances…

        2. Mark Stewart

          Because on both sides it’s more about privilege for the people described. That’s me included.

          It’s just such a retrograde / dog whistle / arbitrary rage thing that I’ve just lost interest with the entire debate. It’s exhausting and utterly pointless.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            So you’re just trying to exempt yourself

            Well, that’s understandable. It’s hard to argue with the “it’s exhausting” part.

            And in these last 47 years, I can’t think of when I’ve ever changed anyone’s mind. So in that sense, I understand what you mean by “pointless”…

            1. Mark Stewart

              Yeah… I do believe that many, many voices are not being heard, and that’s a real issue society has to grapple with – it can’t just be a debate amongst white, gray haired Senators. That’s a skewed perspective; as has been proven time and time again.

      2. Barry

        Mark wrote

        “ I no longer give any credit to any white males, for their opinion for or against, who does not fall between the ages of 25-40. For women I am a bit more tolerant, but white women over 45 are also completely extraneous to the discussion. ”

        Your experience is similar to mine. As I stated in another post, my experience on the abortion issue is that older men seem to have the most hardened and strident views on the subject. I didn’t mention “White men” but I could have easily done so because it fits.

        When the issue has occasionally come up at outside social functions attended by folks at my evangelical church, the older men seem to speak with one, unwavering opinion. The women usually just shake their heads and ignore the comments, my wife among them. Their opinions always vary greatly, with the majority in our rather large group favoring abortion rights in various forms. I like to listen to their various, nuanced views over the men any day of the week. I’ve learned a lot.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            … not that it matters, of course. I don’t rate the validity of people’s view on ethical issues by race, gender, what have you…

            Although I do consider age. I don’t think, for instance, children should be making the calls instead of adults.

            In other words, I don’t agree with this piece I saw in the Post over the weekend, The subhed is “Ed Markey shows how senior members of the party can respond to the changing base,” which is what the writer is saying Dianne Feinstein and other Democrats should do…

            Mark said something about how laws shouldn’t be made by gray-haired Senators.

            Uhhh… yeah, that’s exactly who should be making laws — the men and women who have been elected to make our laws. Who will tend, one hopes, to have lived long enough to have gray hair, although I don’t mind having a few younger people, if they are people of extraordinary insight for their age — I’m thinking of someone like Pete Buttigieg.

            I started having gray hair in my late 20s, although your mileage may vary. Anyway, I definitely don’t want a world run by people younger than that. There are currently a lot of problems in our system of government, but gray hair isn’t one of them…

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Actually — forgive me Mark — but I want to quibble with another thing you said in that brief comment:

              Yeah… I do believe that many, many voices are not being heard, and that’s a real issue society has to grapple with – it can’t just be a debate amongst white, gray haired Senators. That’s a skewed perspective; as has been proven time and time again.

              I’m just sort of ignoring the “white” part. To the extent that that is a problem, just elect more nonwhite people. Of course, I personally would never choose a candidate based on race any more than I would based on party. Less, actually. But anyway, the “solution” is to make sure that when you have a nonwhite candidate who’s better than the white candidate (say, Obama vs. Romney, or Harrison vs. Graham), vote for the nonwhite one.

              That’s not what I wanted to quibble with. This is: “I do believe that many, many voices are not being heard, and that’s a real issue society has to grapple with…”

              That’s what I want to quibble with.

              We are currently hearing from far, far — exponentially — more voices than ever. Everyone on the planet with access of any kind to the internet is now a publisher with the power to publish his or her most random thoughts instantaneously to everyone else on Earth, no matter how well or poorly those thoughts are developed.

              We have a cacophony of voices, very much being heard. To the point that it’s harder than ever to sift through it to find the comments from the people who actually have a clue what they’re commenting on.

              We already had a bad situation. For decades if not longer, those gray-haired guys have been paying WAY too much attention to what their constituents keep yelling at them. And they’ve been voting and acting based on that, rather than based on research and debate with other elected lawmakers. The problem is the OPPOSITE of what so many populists say — that elected officials aren’t sufficiently in touch with the voters. They are TOO in touch with the voters, to the point that they don’t effectively deliberate with the other people who are ELECTED to make laws. In the last couple of decades, the quality of lawmaking has dropped dramatically because of this phenomenon. The Web, and especially social media, have made this problem exponentially worse, as I said above.

              That’s one of the problems. There are many others. But a lack of voices most definitely isn’t one of them, although you can find a host of people who are screaming the opposite, making sure they are heard…

            2. Ken

              No, age should not be a disqualifier.
              But age also does not automatically bring wisdom or good judgment.
              By the same token, youth should not be a disqualifier, either.
              Or “extraordinary insight” set as a minimum requirement.
              Age shouldn’t matter at all.
              It’s only age bias – in either direction – that shows a lack of wisdom and good judgment.

              1. Bob Amundson

                I agree; it annoyed me when my elders misjudged my capabilities in the 60’s and 70’s, and it frustrates me to see my contemporaries making the same mistake now. OK BOOMER!

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Actually, I think you’ll find that fewer than half support either the position of the Democratic or Republican parties. But that’s where all the energy is in these arguments — on the extremes….

              1. Barry

                First part of the headline you referenced states

                “Majority Want To Keep Abortion Legal”
                Which is what I wrote above when I said “ The majority of Americans support keeping abortion legal.”

                That is not the pro life/anti choice position.

                1. Barry

                  Btw- that poll also helps make my point when I wrote about the chatter I’ve heard from men at my church.

                  It’s very rare I hear the old men even attempt any nuance on the issue. The great majority that talk about it have no nuance at all.

                  With women, who are usually rolling their eyes when they hear men mention the subject, are nuanced. They have a deep connection and appreciation for the various situations that are possible with a pregnancy.

                  I’ve learned to shut up and listen to their stories in such situations.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Probably the only thing you can do, if you’re going to be there.

                    But I’m not saying you shouldn’t be at your church (in non-Covid times, I mean). I have enough problems with folks at my own church.

                    Although, that reminds me…

                    Yesterday, during the National Newscast on NPR (the headlines thing they do every half hour), I heard about a new poll that showed a majority of Catholics clearly favoring Biden.

                    I was happy to hear it, and wanted to share it with others — fellow Catholics who are as appalled as I am that ANY Catholic could consider voting for Trump — but I couldn’t. I couldn’t find the story ANYWHERE.

                    Have y’all seen it? The most recent thing I’ve found is this one, from several days ago — but I don’t see why that would have been a headline yesterday. Also, it doesn’t tell how many Catholics, overall, are for Biden. It has numbers for white Catholics and Hispanic, but not overall, unless I read it too fast.

                    Anyway, it’s encouraging…

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Or perhaps I should follow your example and call the second group “anti-life.”

                    Of course, while the “anti-choice” epithet is meant as an insult, it’s never bothered me much.

                    Yeah, it’s supposed to be unAmerican to be against the great god Choice, but decades ago, I realized something: When people hold a political position that just isn’t an easy sell when you look at it straight, they tend to fall back on the “choice” dodge.

                    That goes for abortion, and also for paying people to take their kids out of public schools. When you say what it IS, it sounds bad. So you call it “choice.”

                2. Barry

                  “ Or perhaps I should follow your example and call the second group “anti-life.”

                  Of course, while the “anti-choice” epithet is meant as an insult, it’s never bothered me much.”

                  I am 100% perfectly fine with “anti life” or any other term anyone chooses….

                  as long as the circumstance of abortion is a choice made by the woman and her doctor, not politicians.

              2. Barry

                Ron Brownstein of The Atlantic was on the POTUS channel on Sirius satellite radio today at 1:20pm.

                He broke down, in excruciating detail, the state of the race in the battleground states. He discussed it for some 20+ minutes uninterrupted.

                Thank goodness for channels like POTUS that allow extremely deep dives into the facts without being interrupted by commercials every 6 minutes.

                1. Barry


                  He said Biden is in good shape but said if all the pollsters are undercounting Trump supporters, it could be a different ballgame. We will know soon.

                  He primarily spoke about the shrinking GOP base. I got lost in his statistics but he backed up his statements with a lot of numbers.

                  His Twitter is full of good info.

              3. Barry

                “ Actually, I think you’ll find that fewer than half support either the position of the Democratic or Republican parties. ”

                The GOP position touted by GOP politicians is to overturn Roe Versus Wade and the 2016 platform, that is still in effect, calls for a human life amendment to the constitution that would outlaw all abortions in every state.

                That position clearly runs afoul of the public sentiment of Americans.

                The story you cited stated In its first sentence that “ Three-quarters of Americans say they want to keep in place the landmark Supreme Court ruling, Roe v. Wade,”

                The same poll you cited also included this sentence “ In this survey, 57% identified that way (pro choice) versus 35%, who called themselves “pro-life,”

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  OK, let me try one more time.

                  No, I didn’t mean “pro-life” and “pro-choice” in the way respondents to the poll define the terms. I meant the way I, and our two major parties, define them.

                  My one and only point in sharing the link to the poll was to point out that the “Majority Want To Keep Abortion Legal, But They Also Want Restrictions.” Which is not the position of either party, or my understanding of either the “”pro-life” and “pro-choice” position — whatever those people want to say they are.

                  In other words, the majority of people neither want to ban abortions when the mother’s life isn’t in danger, or as you say, have it be purely a matter of “a choice made by the woman and her doctor.”

                  Neither of us is in the majority here.

                  Which of course, means nothing, especially since the Court has held that it’s not a matter for the political branches.

                  It also means nothing in the larger sense, in terms of who is right or wrong…

                2. Randle

                  Republicans will not be changing abortion laws in the near future. They have controlled all three branches a couple of times since Roe was upheld, and didn’t make any serious moves to outlaw it or amend the Constitution. They know it would cost them elections because abortion rights are popular. Better to use it as a wedge issue to hold on to pro-life voters and divide the country.
                  Even Judge Barrett has dampened expectations in that respect, saying the court might restrict some abortion rights but Roe was settled law and would probably remain in effect.
                  I’m happy to read that the majority of Catholics prefer Biden. They must have examined their consciences, as all young Catholics learn to do in second grade.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Randle, you raise so many issues I’d like to address, but it would be so involved I’d have to start a whole new post.

                    Here’s an outline:

                    — It doesn’t really matter how many parts of the political branches the GOP controls, Roe has forbidden the political branches to do anything.
                    — Oh, they could pass a right-to-life amendment, but frankly, I can’t see ANY amendment passing these days, on any topic. Feminists can’t get the ERA passed, and pro-life folks can’t get theirs passed, either. We’re too divided and political dysfunctional.
                    — The GOP doesn’t really care about protecting the unborn; they just say they do to dupe people into voting for them. That’s why pro-life people were desperate enough to vote for Trump, and many will do so again.
                    — Roe needs to go but probably won’t within our lifetimes. It, and the Griswold decision before it, are profoundly flawed, no matter what you think about abortion. It’s astounding that serious people believe there’s a “right to privacy” in the Constitution, which must be upheld as fervently as actual stated rights, such as those in the First Amendment. So fervently, in fact, that we can overthrow everything else in our legal system — such as not allowing the most interested parties to decide a critical matter such as the taking of human life — in order to uphold it. I don’t know what it will take for sanity to prevail and cause this state of affairs to change, but that development is out of reach at the moment.
                    — So the people who are willing to bend heaven and Earth, and distort presidential elections and anything else you name, to protect Roe are overreacting.
                    — People on the other side are also overreacting, and destroying our political system over a hopeless cause. It’s astounding to me that Catholics will throw out everything else they believe in in order to buy into a deal with a complete blackguard to appoint justices who they believe, contrary to everything an independent judiciary stands for, will definitely rule on a case the way they want.
                    — And if that happens, what do they have? Say by some miracle Roe is completely repealed. Then what? Then, every state legislature in the country will be torn apart by the same bitter battles that divide us when there is a court vacancy. Everything state government does will be swept aside in a tide of bitterness as the fight over abortion goes on and on and on, for at least the rest of our lives, and probably much longer. And however long it goes on, it almost certainly won’t result in a complete ban of abortion. They will have fought an absolutist battle, overthrowing everything, anything, to get justices who bring this about, and they will never have anything with the completeness that Roe gives the other side. Because the court grants absolute rights. Legislative bodies have to negotiate if they are to function.

                    I could go on and on, but all of this plays into the horror I felt when, at the last moment in this overwhelmingly critical election, we suddenly had a court vacancy.

                    What our country needs to do right now is have a normal human being as president again. And all this furious, divisive absolutism is getting in the way of that…

                    1. Brad Warthen Post author

                      Oh, and notice that I didn’t even touch upon the fact that I don’t care whether Amy Coney Barrett becomes a member of the Court or not.

                      I don’t believe in these creatures called “liberal” justices and “conservative” justices. I just believe in “qualified” justices, and near as I can tell she’s one, as Merrick Garland was. You know, people who will see the answer as clearly as the rest of the Court when they arrive at the most common kind of Supreme Court decision — a unanimous one.

                      The rest, the split decisions — well, it’s just insanity to have these huge, divisive battles over how those come out. If we’re going to have an independent judiciary — and we must — we can’t possibly get advance commitments from nominees as to how they will rule on future cases. It’s wrong to try to. So all this reading of tea leaves trying to predict how each nominees will rule on specific cases is futile, and it’s utterly insane to have these unbelievably divisive fights over such things.

                      But I’m repeating myself, I find…

          1. Bob Amundson

            You are over 30 and are part of the problem.

            And Bryan, I’m just kidding. If memes existed in the 60’s and 70’s, “Don’t Trust Anyone Over 30” would have been BIG. Now it’s “Ok Boomer.”

    2. Ken

      I attempt to offer a thoughtful comment about abortion.
      One of the anti-abortionists on this blog responds by throwing out what essentially amounts to screaming BABY KILLER!!!
      I describe that as a primitive rant, which it is. It adds nothing to the debate and is aimed at shutting down discussion.
      And yet I’m the one who has supposedly gone “over the line,” according to Brad Warthen.

      Brad Warthen, your so-called civility rules are a sham.
      No need to remind me that you let those who identify themselves by their full names get away with more.
      That just shows how much of a sham your “rules” are.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        A sham? No, on the contrary, that’s the rule.

        I require people to be civil to each other. I allow people somewhat more leeway (but not a lot) if they fully identify themselves. Why offer that incentive? Because if they do that, they tend to control themselves better, without me getting involved.

        For some time, I’ve been seriously considering doing something that some readers and participants have long requested: Allowing comments only from fully-identified people. There’s a double-standard now (as I’ve very frankly stated repeatedly), but that would eliminate the need. Everybody would be on the same standard.

        I haven’t done it yet, because at a time when it’s been hard to find time even to post, dealing with a new policy has just seemed like something extra to deal with.

        But maybe I’ll go ahead with that in the coming days, but it likely would be less time-consuming than this moderation of individual posts.

        Of course, if everybody would just be civil and considerate with each other, it would save me a lot of trouble either way…

        1. Ken

          Again: there is no “rule” at work here.
          A rule involves an identified standard. And a standard cannot be:
          Whatever Brad Warthen considers “over the line” at any given time.

  12. bud

    A final takeaway from this long string of comments: My position on the abortion issue is stronger than it was before we had this discussion. The stunning, incoherent message from the so-called “pro-life” camp is downright depressing. The only conclusion I can reach, and I don’t so lightly, is that “pro-life” folks are just not interested in actually reducing the number of abortions. Rather they simply don’t want our government institutions to approve of the practice.

    1. Barry

      I use to be “pro life” but actually changed my mind in the last -3-5 years. Now, I’ll admit when I was pro life I really had never seriously considered the issue from another point of view. I think it was my wife and my aunt that ultimately convinced me.

      I have received more pro life propaganda this election year than ever before. I received 3 mailers yesterday from various Political action committees. It’s their only issue, and of course Trump has been president for 4 years and abortion is legal. Bush was president for 8 years and abortion is legal.

      FWIW- I am returning to sender any political mail I get from anyone supporting Trump. I’ve mailed back approximately 30 pieces of mail. Yesterday I received a letter from the trump campaign. I opened it up, wrote in large letters “I already voted for Joe” and placed it in their self addressed stamped envelope and mailed it back.

      The people that vote on this sole issue are so easily manipulated.

  13. Barry

    Found it interesting that on Monday 4 conservative justices of the SCOTUS said they would possibly overturn the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision on a Pennsylvania law.

    Thankfully, 4 other justices voted the other way.

    “ The Supreme Court on Monday rejected on a 4-4 vote a Republican ploy to have the Court intervene in a case from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court — and therefore potentially every election law dispute in the country.

    A vote from a new Justice Barrett, who might eventually agree with her fellow conservatives on this point, could open the floodgates to the US Supreme Court potentially regulating every aspect of the election process.“ – Joshua A. Douglas is a law professor at the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law.

    Darn those activist conservatives (who say they hate activist judges)

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