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Politics & Elections
Politics & Elections Update: October 31, 2005
Supreme Court - Bush Nominates a Qualified Conservative
10:19 AM EDT | Posted By Admiral Quixote
>> Go here to visit Admiral Quixote's weblog.

Nominee Samuel Alito may be our next Supreme Court justice. Bush, showing he has learned from the Miers mess, carefully drew attention to a few points in his nomination speech.

Judge Alito has served with distinction on that court [the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals] for 15 years, and now has more prior judicial experience than any Supreme Court nominee in more than 70 years.

He has participated in thousands of appeals and authored hundreds of opinions. This record reveals a thoughtful judge who considers the legal merits carefully and applies the law in a principled fashion.

He has a deep understanding of the proper role of judges in our society. He understands that judges are to interpret the laws, not to impose their preferences or priorities on the people.

Alito himself showed why he was on the short-list of conservatives with his follow-up introduction.

Every time that I have entered the courtroom during the past 15 years, I have been mindful of the solemn responsibility that goes with service as a federal judge. Federal judges have the duty to interpret the Constitution and the laws faithfully and fairly, to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans, and to do these things with care and with restraint, always keeping in mind the limited role that the courts play in our constitutional system.
I am happy with Alito nomination, even though I wish he were younger. At 55, he is pushing the envelope of what I would call an effective nomination given that no one knows who may hold the presidency when Alito dies or retires. However, I like everything else. He has been a voice of reason on the liberal 3rd Court. Alito is a family man, so his children will be impacted by his decisions. And as President Bush so emphatically pointed out, Alito has more judicial experience than any Supreme Court nominee in seven decades.

Many Republicans have already provided press releases supporting Alito. No surprise there, what do you expect them to say? The big surprise with Miers is that Bush's base didn't think she was qualified. I find the response of liberals to be far more enlightening. Many liberals, including Henry Reid, were strong supporters of Miers. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has compiled some quotes. I've copied those of influential Democrats. Continue reading "Bush Nominates a Qualified Conservative"

Politics & Elections Update: October 10, 2005
Germany - Merkel To Be German Chancellor
09:07 AM EDT | Posted By Dan Spencer
>> Go here to visit Dan Spencer's weblog.

Three weeks after Germany's election, conservative leader Angela Merkel is set to become Germany’s first female chancellor.

Under the power-sharing agreement, Schroeder’s Social Democrats would get eight seats in the Cabinet, compared with six for Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the Christian Social Union.

The fat lady still hasn't sung in Germany the BBC reports that the power sharing agreement is only be the start of a lengthy and more detailed negotiation on the small print of future government policy. According to the Associated Press, the power sharing deal, even though approved by party leader, must still be approved by party conferences and in parliament. That process could take several more weeks.

From California Yankee.

Politics & Elections Update: October 05, 2005
United States - Schwarzenegger Signs Viagra Ban For Sex Offenders
12:11 PM EDT | Posted By Digger
>> Go here to visit Digger's weblog.

In a move that I think everyone can agree is common sense -- except for sex offenders with impotency -- Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill banning the state health care system from paying for Viagra for poor sex offenders. I still don't understand why taxpayers should end up paying for anyone's Viagra, but especially in the case of a sex offender. If anything, erectile dysfunction drugs should be outlawed to anyone with sex offender status.

In addition Schwarzenegger also signed bills allowing children to testify in court via closed circuit television, prohibiting parents from having custody of their children if the parent lives with a registered sex offender, blocking the state's Department of Mental Health from placing sexually violent patients near schools after release from treatment and allowing state and local officials to use global positioning systems to monitor parolees.

Washington Post

Federal support for subsidized Viagra was curtailed earlier this year when a New York state audit found nearly 200 sex offenders benefiting from the program.

Schwarzenegger then asked state agencies to stop prescribing the drugs to sex offenders and asked lawmakers to pass a bill that would outlaw the coverage.

Sounds good to me. Now about those illegal aliens getting Viagra and other prescriptions and health care on the taxpayers dime...

Originally posted at Diggers Realm

Politics & Elections Update: August 31, 2005
United States - Fewer See Dems As Religion-Friendly
09:01 AM EDT | Posted By Dan Spencer
>> Go here to visit Dan Spencer's weblog.

The Democrats' efforts to improve their image with religious voters after their 2004 presidential election defeat backfire.

The Associated Press reports a new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press finds that fewer people now see Democrats as friendly to religion now than felt that way a year ago:

That number has dropped from 40 percent in August 2004 who thought the Democrats were friendly to religion to 29 percent now.

“The change is seen across all groups,” said Scott Keeter, director of survey research for the Pew Research Center, which conducted the poll for the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

After President Bush's reelection, the Democratic National Committee initiated numerous efforts to strengthen its standing with religious voters:

The DNC hired someone to coordinate religious outreach, encouraged state parties to work more closely with the religious community, and had Chairman Howard Dean meet with clergy and others in the religious community during his travels around the country.

According to the poll's findings, the Democrats have experienced a sharp erosion in the number of Americans who believe the party is friendly toward religion. Only about three-in-ten (29%) see the Democrats as friendly toward religion, down from 40% last August.

From California Yankee.

Politics & Elections Update: August 29, 2005
Immigration - Trying To Split The Immigration Baby
02:58 PM EDT | Posted By Dan Spencer
>> Go here to visit Dan Spencer's weblog.

The Associated Press reports that President Bush is moving toward allowing illegal aliens who came to the U.S. before February 2004 to qualify for guest-worker visas. Illegal aliens arriving after that date would be deported:

“They're trying to split the baby,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said of the White House plan, “and I don't think they can do that.”

The proposed McCain-Kennedy approach to immigration reform would create 400,000 three-year visas for guest workers and would let undocumented workers stay in the U.S. while they apply for the program. The Cornyn-Kyl proposal would create two-year visas and require that guest workers and illegal aliens leave the U.S. before they can apply for the chance to work legally in the country.

According to the Associated Press, President Bush does not favor requiring illegal aliens to be sent home to apply for the visas.

From California Yankee.

Politics & Elections Update: August 18, 2005
- Trespass Charges Against Illegal Alien Found Unconstitutional
05:00 PM EDT | Posted By Dan Spencer
>> Go here to visit Dan Spencer's weblog.

Last Friday Judge L. Phillips Runyon III dismissed trespassing charges against Ramirez and seven other illegal aliens. The illegal aliens, from Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, were charged with trespass after traffic stops when they produced fake identification and admitted they were in the country illegally.

The Daily News Tribune reported that Judge Runyon agreed with defense lawyers that the police chiefs in New Ipswich and Hudson were improperly trying to enforce federal laws:

“The criminal trespass charges against the defendants are unconstitutional attempts to regulate in the area of enforcement of immigration violations, an area where Congress must be deemed to have regulated with such civil sanctions and criminal penalties as it feels are sufficient,” Jaffrey District Court Judge L. Phillips Runyon III ruled.

[. . .]

“The current charges clearly conflict with the comprehensive menu of federal immigration offenses, sanctions and penalties by attempting to add a new one to them,” Runyon wrote.

He said federal law has a mechanism to let local officers assist in enforcing immigration law.

“This role for local law enforcement exists within the federal plan for enforcing immigration violations, which is further indication that Congress intended to preclude any local efforts which are unauthorized or based on other than federal law,” he said.

From California Yankee.

Politics & Elections Update: August 11, 2005
Immigration - Arizona's Restrictions On Illegal Aliens Survive Legal Challenge
08:30 AM EDT | Posted By Dan Spencer
>> Go here to visit Dan Spencer's weblog.

Arizona's law prohibiting illegal aliens from receiving some public benefits has survived a challenge by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

The Washington Times reports that a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Arizona's Proposition 200:

“The appeal is dismissed for want of jurisdiction. The district court record reveals that there was no case or controversy between plaintiffs and the state of Arizona when pleadings were before the district court,” the panel said.

Proposition 200, won approval from 56 percent of the voters in November's election.Under the law, state and local government employees to verify the immigration status of those seeking public benefits they are prohibited from receiving under federal law and to report to federal immigration authorities any applicant who is in violation of U.S. immigration law. State employees are also subject to criminal charges if they fail to report illegals aliens, and requires people to show proof of citizenship when registering to vote.

From California Yankee.

Politics & Elections Update: July 29, 2005
United States - The Political Silly Season Has Started...Again
09:35 PM EDT | Posted By DCE (Weekend Pundit)
>> Go here to visit DCE (Weekend Pundit)'s weblog.

The presidential primaries are still a long way off, not starting until early 2008. But that hasn't stopped presidential hopefuls from visiting New Hampshire in an effort to lay the groundwork for a future campaign.

It seems the left over campaign signs from the 2004 Presidential elections have barely rotted away when TV, radio, and newspaper ads touting the efforts of a would-be candidate are starting to make their presence known.

Former 2004 running mates Senator John Kerry and ex-Senator John Edwards were slated to visit the state today, though there apparently no plans for them to meet. This is Edwards' third visit this year. There's no doubt in my mind that they're both planning another run for the White House.

Those supporting the idea of Hillary Clinton running for president will be visiting later and will be funding ads supporting her run.

Others presidential hopefuls visiting New Hampshire include Senator Evan Bayh (D-Indiana), Governor Bill Richardson (D-New Mexico), Senator Bill Frist (R-Tennessee), Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska), Senator George Allen (R-Virginia), Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Governor Mitt Romney (R-Massachusetts), Representative Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado), and a host of others. Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is scheduled to visit the state next month.

It is the beginning of the next great political silly season. Let the glad-handing begin....

(Cross-posted to Weekend Pundit)

Politics & Elections Update: July 26, 2005
U.S. Foreign Relations - Trade, not Aid: Critical CAFTA Vote this Week
11:58 AM EDT | Posted By Winds of Change.NET
>> Go here to visit Winds of Change.NET's weblog.

by Robin Burk

From time to time I've been posting articles about Latin America, specifically Hugo Chavez in Venezuela of late. The region is an important one globally, our closest geographic neighbors after Canada and one that I think potentially poses either great opportunities or, as I fear, serious security and other challenges in the coming decades.

The countries of Latin America have had varied histories, but most have experienced a lot of poverty and political repression, some of which the U.S. has turned a blind eye to — or quietly supported. Now these countries are linking into the global economic, trade and political networks that so characterize our times. The question is, WHICH networks will they join, and to what end?

If we are wise and lucky, it will be the Central American and Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement. Unfortunately, many Senators (primarily Democrats) oppose CAFTA and it is in danger of not being approved here. U.S. failure to approve this agreement will do more than sabotage a fledgling trade pact: it may well doom our relationships with Latin America permanently, as Andres Oppenheimer notes. And that will do more than create tensions or foster continued economic and political problems for Central America. (h/t Publius Pundit)

It just might mean that those countries actively align with China, harbor Islamacist and other terror groups and pose a serious security threat to the U.S. and allied nations.

Read the Rest…

Politics & Elections Update: July 24, 2005
United States - Republican candidate calls for Bush impeachment
08:08 PM EDT | Posted By The Lonewacko Blog
>> Go here to visit The Lonewacko Blog's weblog.

Dennis Morrisseau is a retired restaurant owner from West Pawlet, Vermont who's running as a Republican for the seat being vacated by Bernie Sanders. If elected, he promises to bring articles of impeachment against president Bush. Morrisseau doesn't appear to have a web site, and in lieu of a national party he's trying to go the grassroots route a la Howard Dean.

“GOP candidate calls for impeachment” quotes him as saying:

“This leadership isn't very Republican and I don't think it's very popular with Vermont Republicans… Republicans in this state tend to be mind-your-own-business people, keep taxes low and government small… [Former VT Gov. Deane Davis] was the best environmentalist we had in this state… That's Republicanism in Vermont. We like small businesses. We're afraid of outsiders and large businesses. That's what I'm about…. I think I've got a great shot… There's been movement since the election, if you track the polls. That's not just Democrats, that's Republicans, too. Down in southern Vermont, [Bush] is reviled among Republicans.”

If his message gets any further attention, expect the fact that he was one of the founders of VT's liberal, anti-Vietnam War Liberty Union Party as well as the fact that he's a former Democrat to be used against him.

Politics & Elections Update: July 19, 2005
United States - John Roberts is SCOTUS Pick [Updated]
07:53 PM EDT | Posted By Michele Catalano
>> Go here to visit Michele Catalano's weblog.

Red State seems to be laying all the cards on John Roberts.

Bio of Roberts

Update; AP is confirming it is Roberts.

It should be noted that Red State beat the AP to that confirmation by two minutes.

NRO on Roberts

More on Roberts here

Keep an eye on this blog throughout the evening.

A round up/tracking of blog reactions here

An opposition by Alliance for Justice (pdf) [via Daily Kos]

NARAL opposition

More at Confirm Them

Plenty at Volokh, including a list of groups that opposed Roberts in 2003.

- Edith Clement
04:33 PM EDT | Posted By Matt Drachenberg
>> Go here to visit Matt Drachenberg's weblog.

Disclaimer:I grant that this is one person's opinion, and I will present it without commentary.

I just had a conversation with a source, (said source wishes to remain anonymous for professional reasons), intimately familiar with the Fifth Cicuit and got the following reaction to the possibility of the nomination of Judge Clement:

“Not much of a worker”

“Not the sharpest pencil in the box”

“A completely average federal judge”

All in all, my source believes that this is somewhat of a stealth nomination, and that the lack of a track record may be her most appealing qualification.

United States - Supreme Court Pick to Come Tonight
01:37 PM EDT | Posted By Michele Catalano
>> Go here to visit Michele Catalano's weblog.
President Bush will name his selection for the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday night at 9 p.m. EDT, a senior administration official said.


The name at the top of the list appears to be that of Judge Edith Clement (search), a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans. Activists have already prepared a video testimonial from long-time lawyer friends of Clement, who is known by the nickname “Joy.”

FOX News has learned that Clement has already been interviewed by Vice President Dick Cheney, a possible sign that she is the choice for the high court.

Read more..

Politics & Elections Update: July 18, 2005
United States - 2008: The Games Begin In Iowa
06:11 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
>> Go here to visit Alan's weblog.

I'm sorry — didn't we just finish this?

Well, time's up. Here we go: Governors who would hope to be president of the United States are (informally) stumping in Iowa (CNN).

Particularly active: Pataki (NY), Vilsack (Iowa), and Huckabee (Arkansas). Oh, and Romney (MA). Those who read this page have heard me say it before: Keep and eye on Romney — he's gonna get the nod before all is said and done.

Politics & Elections Update: July 14, 2005
- Rehnquist Won’t Resign
10:09 PM EDT | Posted By Dan Spencer
>> Go here to visit Dan Spencer's weblog.

The Associated Press reports Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, says he will continue heading the court as long his health permits:

“I want to put to rest the speculation and unfounded rumors of my imminent retirement,” Rehnquist, 80, and ailing with thyroid cancer, said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press. “I am not about to announce my retirement. I will continue to perform my duties as chief justice as long as my health permits.”

From California Yankee.

United States - Plame Outing May Not Have Been Crime
02:19 PM EDT | Posted By Dan Spencer
>> Go here to visit Dan Spencer's weblog.

USA Today reports that the “outing” of Wilson's wife “may not have been a crime at all.”

According to USA Today, in his book, “The Politics of Truth,” Wilson writes that he and his future wife both returned from overseas assignments in June 1997:

Neither spouse, a reading of the book indicates, was again stationed overseas. They appear to have remained in Washington, D.C., where they married and became parents of twins.

Six years later, in July 2003, the name of the CIA officer — Valerie Plame — was revealed by columnist Robert Novak.

The column's date is important because the law against unmasking the identities of U.S. spies says a “covert agent” must have been on an overseas assignment “within the last five years.” The assignment also must be long-term, not a short trip or temporary post, two experts on the law say. Wilson's book makes numerous references to the couple's life in Washington over the six years up to July 2003.

“Unless she was really stationed abroad sometime after their marriage,” she wasn't a covert agent protected by the law, says Bruce Sanford, an attorney who helped write the 1982 act that protects covert agents' identities.

From California Yankee.

Immigration - Tancredo Not Running for President - Yet
06:38 AM EDT | Posted By Dan Spencer
>> Go here to visit Dan Spencer's weblog.

Despite four trips to early primary and caucus states this year, Colorado's Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo says he is not running for president.

The Washington Times reports that Tancredo will run unless a top-tier Republican candidate takes a strong position on cracking down on illegal immigration and lowering legal immigration:

“My task is to get one of them to take this on,” Mr. Tancredo told about 50 members of the Christian Coalition of Iowa who gathered in a community center in Cedar Falls on Friday night. “If they don't do that, if I cannot find someone to do that, if they just give lip service to it and not the heart, yeah, I will run. I will do that.”

Tancredo believes the reception he received in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Georgia are an indication of how important the issue of immigration has become.

From California Yankee.

Politics & Elections Update: July 13, 2005
United States - Farrell Wants A Rematch
09:13 PM EDT | Posted By Dan Spencer
>> Go here to visit Dan Spencer's weblog.

Associated Press reports that Westport's Democratic First Selectman Diane Farrell took the first formal steps for a rematch with Republican Congressman Christopher Shays:

Farrell, a Democrat who lost to Shays in 2004, filed papers with the Federal Election Commission that will allow her to begin raising money for her campaign.

Shays, meanwhile, will file an FEC report Friday that will show he has already raised about $500,000 for his re-election bid, according to his campaign manager Michael Sohn. Sohn said Shays will finish the second quarter of the year with about $375,000 in cash on hand.

From California Yankee.

Politics & Elections Update: July 12, 2005
United States - Spotlight on Rove
08:44 AM EDT | Posted By Michele Catalano
>> Go here to visit Michele Catalano's weblog.

A roundup of Rove stories:

Rove under fire, WH quiet:

Nearly two years after stating that any administration official found to have been involved in leaking the name of an undercover CIA officer would be fired, and assuring that Karl Rove and other senior aides to President Bush had nothing to do with the disclosure, the White House refused on Monday to answer any questions about new evidence of Rove's role in the matter.

Dems urge Rove to clear air on leak

Democrats yesterday pressed White House aide Karl Rove to “clear the air” about his role in the leak of a covert CIA operative's identity to the news media after disclosures that he was a Time reporter's source on that story.

The heat on Rove rose after the White House yesterday rebuffed reporters' questions about his role, citing the special prosecutor's probe - even though two years ago a Bush spokesman called suggestions Rove was involved “ridiculous” and said anyone who was would be fired.

“The prosecutors overseeing the investigation had expressed a preference to us that one way to help the investigation is not to be commenting on it from this podium,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan said yesterday.

Press Batters McClellan on Rove/Plame Link

Full text of briefing

White House in a bind over Rove e-mail

Blog links:

Captain's Quarters
Just One Minute
Mickey Kaus

Supreme Court - President Bush Consults Senators About Supreme Court
07:10 AM EDT | Posted By Dan Spencer
>> Go here to visit Dan Spencer's weblog.

The Associated Press reports President Bush is meeting with Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee; Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the committee; Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.; and Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada to talk about the Supreme Court vacancy:

While the president has held telephone conversations with the four senators before, Bush's breakfast with the four Tuesday is their first meeting in person about the vacancy.

“The president is not prejudging anything,” White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Monday, adding that Bush and his advisers have reached out to more than 60 senators. “He wants to hear what their views are and hear what they have to say as we move forward on a Supreme Court nominee.”

From California Yankee.