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Los Angeles Times - Sotomayor, Kagan - David G. Savage
December 27, 2010 6:26 PM   Subscribe

Sotomayor, Kagan shift Supreme Court debates to the left. The liberal wing is no longer drowned out by Scalia and his fellow conservatives during oral arguments.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 (35 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Great news, although I'd like to point out that "towards the left" is not "on the left". We are now nearing center-right.
posted by DU at 6:39 PM on December 27, 2010 [26 favorites]


Oh shit, they finally confirmed Kagan?
posted by Eideteker at 6:47 PM on December 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Still wishing politics were more than one-dimensional. Can't we shift the court to the up? Or the north?
posted by Eideteker at 6:50 PM on December 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:51 PM on December 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


As the article points out at the end, it still remains to be seen how Kagan will actually end up voting on any of these cases. But I've been listening to the podcasts of the oral arguments in my spare time and I've been reasonably impressed with the way she participates and the questions she asks. (I encourage anybody with even a layman's interest in legal proceedings to listen to the oral arguments sometimes, or read the transcripts. There is always a certain amount of legalese to wade through, but they're often a lot more readable than you might think, and it's very illuminating to see how the justices feel their way towards a decision through a thorough grilling of the parties before them.)
posted by Gator at 6:52 PM on December 27, 2010 [9 favorites]


Great news, although I'd like to point out that "towards the left" is not "on the left". We are now nearing center-right.

Yes, better does not always mean perfect. It's still better.
posted by kafziel at 6:55 PM on December 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yes, better does not always mean perfect. It's still better.

Please please please do not start this thing up again. Mefi's been quiet on the "perfect is the enemy of the good" front for a little bit now. I agree with you, but tread lightly.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:05 PM on December 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


... Scalia and his fellow conservatives during oral arguments.

Curious turn of phrase, since Thomas famously refuses to participate in oral arguments (he thinks it's just posturing.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:14 PM on December 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


The liberal wing is no longer drowned out by Scalia and his fellow conservatives during oral arguments.

Who gives a crap about oral argument? Clarence Thomas doesn't even speak at all during oral arguments. Know how many votes he has? One. The same as everyone else.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:14 PM on December 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


I believe I am owed a coke.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:14 PM on December 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


Come on by the house. Second half of Monday Night Football is just getting started.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:17 PM on December 27, 2010


Meh. Means nothing to my Ravens. I'll see you in the post-season.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:23 PM on December 27, 2010


ChurchHatesTucker: Curious turn of phrase, since Thomas famously refuses to participate in oral arguments (he thinks it's just posturing.)

Cool Papa Bell: Who gives a crap about oral argument? Clarence Thomas doesn't even speak at all during oral arguments. Know how many votes he has? One. The same as everyone else.

The man has ears, doesn't he? I mean, it isn't as if he's not in the room (contrary to ChurchHatesTucker's suggestion). While I think that, perhaps, hoping one of your colleagues will ask a question that crosses your mind could be... disappointing (?)... it isn't as if Thomas is the only Justice to ever avoid questioning the lawyers presenting each side.
posted by axiom at 8:03 PM on December 27, 2010


I believe I am owed a coke.

Shit. You guys might be on to something. Somebody buy Clarence Thomas a Coke and say his name three times so he'll get back to his posturing.
posted by The Potate at 8:04 PM on December 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


ChurchHatesTucker: "I believe I am owed a coke."

With or without a pubic hair on it?
posted by notsnot at 8:09 PM on December 27, 2010 [21 favorites]


In Seattle you got volunteer park. It's really hip. A drinking water reservoir is there, nice view of Mt. Rainier, Puget Sound and the skyline plus a killer botanical garden. The lady I was with at the time lived within walking distance and after dinner we would always pass thru the park. Because it was a notorious gay pick up spot, it was always good for some mindless distraction. Now the way it works in this park, the lonely half will take their pets for a walk, the more exotic, the better a chance for a convo. During one of our strolls through the park, we see a skinny little guy dressed like Les Nessman from WKRP with tears in his eyes screaming in the most shrill annoying falsetto "Wilbur! Wilbur! Wilbur!" Out the of the bushes suddenly jumps the largest long haired great dane I've ever seen in my life with a fresh shit in its mouth, closely followed by a black pot bellied pig bent on death. The pig comes to a sliding stop while the great dane with a mouthful of shit hides behind Les. Les starts jumping around squealing, clapping his hands, screaming "Wilbur! I Lovvvve You!!!!, Wilbur! I Lovvvve You!!!!"

Now logic tells me, There isn't a god damn difference between that experience and the Supreme court.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 8:19 PM on December 27, 2010 [16 favorites]


Well, there is something kind of refreshing to the idea that lawyers for moderate-to-liberal causes aren't just going to the SCOTUS to be verbally berated anymore. Although let us be honest-- these two new justices are centrists that replaced centrists. The last time there was a more liberal justice replacement was, by my estimation, when Ginsburg was appointed for Byron White (1993). The most important power-shifting appointment of the last thirty years was when Thomas replaced Marshall. My editorial comment: UGH.
posted by norm at 8:36 PM on December 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


In the NYT's 'Sotomayor Guides Court’s Liberal Wing', I like the quote in the last para:
“[Roberts and Kagan are] suave assassins, devastating advocates without compromising their gentility.”
posted by peacay at 8:45 PM on December 27, 2010


Wishful thinking.
posted by lunit at 9:00 PM on December 27, 2010


I read a comment in passing which has stuck with me, though I was reading the article looking for something else: "the role of the supreme court in the US ... can be compared to with that of the House of Lords in England, until the later lost it's political power." That strikes me as about right. The court is a pretty dependable bastion for the wealthy and powerful, though subject to oddball episodes like the Warren court. I can not imagine that changing soon.
posted by shothotbot at 9:40 PM on December 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


i think this is what they call "wishful thinking" :\
posted by liza at 9:48 PM on December 27, 2010


... it isn't as if he's not in the room (contrary to ChurchHatesTucker's suggestion).

What?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:59 PM on December 27, 2010


Anyone know how to get an RSS feed of either of Gator's links above?
posted by SAC at 10:09 PM on December 27, 2010


Who gives a crap about oral argument? Clarence Thomas doesn't even speak at all during oral arguments. Know how many votes he has? One. The same as everyone else.

Can't move right now. Still flattened by how in-agreement I am with CPB's insight.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:07 PM on December 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lay down, it'll pass. ;-)
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:20 PM on December 27, 2010


Metafilter: Suave assassins, devastating advocates without compromising their gentility
posted by armage at 2:44 AM on December 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Mefi's been quiet on the "perfect is the enemy of the good" front for a little bit now.

Somebody skipped the DADT thread...
posted by inigo2 at 5:26 AM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I read a comment in passing which has stuck with me, though I was reading the article looking for something else: "the role of the supreme court in the US ... can be compared to with that of the House of Lords in England, until the later lost it's political power." That strikes me as about right. The court is a pretty dependable bastion for the wealthy and powerful, though subject to oddball episodes like the Warren court. I can not imagine that changing soon.

The HoL hasn't lost all of its political power. It has a couple restrictions, especially around money bills, but it still has a decent amount of political power. It has lost its role as the court of last resort, until last year when they formed a Supreme Court. But if you meant to say that the US Supreme Court can be compared with the House of Lord's judicial role, then you're not really saying much. The highest court in one land is similar in role to the highest court in another land? You don't say.

As far as the court being dependable bastions for the wealthy and powerful - I think it's best to look at it in comparison with the rest of government. The court will at least occasionally go against the interests of the wealthy, and probably more often than the rest of the government.
posted by Lemurrhea at 5:26 AM on December 28, 2010


"Who gives a crap about oral argument?"

Oral arguments are often when the justices mark out their territory, set up their arguments, and try to dig out of the lawyers justification for the positions they WANT to take but need the lawyers to T up for them.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:28 AM on December 28, 2010


Somebody skipped the DADT thread...

Guilty as charged. Did we have another meltdown?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:11 AM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can't we shift the court to the up? Or the north?

This is just another bald attempt to give control of the US Judicial Branch to Canada. It didn't work during the War of 1812, and it won't work now.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:37 AM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The HoL hasn't lost all of its political power. It has a couple restrictions, especially around money bills, but it still has a decent amount of political power.

Let's bear in mind that the House of Lords knows it can eventually be overridden by a simple majority of the Commons, due to the Parliament Act. The US Supreme Court's constitutional rulings can only be overridden by a nigh-impossible constitutional amendment.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:39 AM on December 28, 2010


The US Supreme Court's constitutional rulings can only be overridden by a nigh-impossible constitutional amendment.

In a strict sense, yes. But often the Court strikes down a law because of a particular detail that really only covers a small number of edge cases. So Congress corrects the offending part and passes a new law that covers 99% of what the original did but now passes constitutional muster. Or sometimes that isn't even necessary if the offending part is neatly severable from the rest of the law. Or sometimes Congress can take another stab at it via a different route (e.g. bribing states via the spending power to accomplish something Congress could not do itself).
posted by jedicus at 9:26 AM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anyone know how to get an RSS feed of either of Gator's links above?

There aren't any feeds on the SCOTUS site as far as I can tell (I have emailed the webmaster just in case), but meanwhile, you might want to make use of the facilities at SCOTUSblog, a privately-run blog not affiliated with the court but which provides interesting roundups and commentary on SCOTUSdoings. Their updates are usually quite timely.
posted by Gator at 9:43 AM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


ChurchHatesTucker: What?

Sorry, but my interpretation of refuses to participate was that it suggested Thomas was somehow not participating in oral arguments at all -- i.e., he was somewhere else at the time they were happening. I can see now how you might not have meant it in that way.
posted by axiom at 1:08 PM on December 28, 2010


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