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Weekend News


Judicial Restraint. Judge Charles Pickering (USCA-5, Ret.) has a long letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal (subscription) on judicial restraint in answer to Justice O'Connor's earlier op-ed on judicial independence.

Maryland Senate Race. The Washington Post has this article on the Maryland Senate race, which involves crime issues to a greater extent than most federal races this year. Issues include the Maryland death penalty (with both candidates apparently oblivious to the real problem), the 100/1 crack/powder ratio, and the Patriot Act. Mr. Cardin committed a rather astonishing gaffe on the latter, claiming it predated his tenure in the House.

Saddam Hussein was convicted and sentenced today, the AP reports. As expected, he received the only available sentence that would not be a travesty of justice. The predictable hand-wringing and wailing will now begin.

More Death Penalty. Doug Berman has collected links to today's death penalty stories here.

Activist Judges. The Boston Globe has an editorial that begins, "CONSERVATIVES have a new cause to rally the faithful at the polls in this week's national election: those scary activist judges." New? Exactly which globe have they been living on? The Globe criticizes a couple of initiatives that deserve to be criticized. The South Dakota "sue the judges" measure is particularly ill-advised. However, activist judges are a genuine problem and hardly a new one.

Home=Castle? Joel Jacobsen at Judging Crimes has this interesting challenge to Justice Stevens' history in Georgia v.Randolph. You have to get past the swipe at Scalia to get to the good part.


Steele is a great campaigner, and I hope he wins, but someone needs to educate him on just how silly his "geographic unfairness" argument is. The right of murderers to some sort of statewide cosmic fairness is subordinate to local control over prosecutorial decisions. If Baltimore County wants to elect people who seek death often, then some idea of fairness to murderers should not stand in the way.

I can respect the view that the death penalty is morally wrong. It's harder, though, to swallow hypersensitivity to "fairness" for people who have decided to murder another human being.

The Republican recruitment of an anti-death penalty candidate in Maryland makes an interesting contrast with the Democrats' recruitment of a pro-life candidate, Bob Casey, for the Senate race in neighboring Pennsylvania.

I think that it's hard to call Casey "pro-life", as he has indicated that he would side with Dems on stopping judges who would hold that the Constitution does not protect a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy. Casey's not as bad as Dems who say I am "personally pro-life", though.

Without getting into too much of a digression, I see the point you are making about Casey's "pro life" position. Certainly, his notoriety (as was his father's) is based on being perceived as "pro life" regardless of how he might vote on judicial nominations. Schumer was criticized by the feminist organizations for recruiting Casey to run because of his views on abortion. It will be interesting to see whether a Senator Steele's personal viewpoint on capital punishment will affect any votes on judicial nominations or other legislation.

This is the result so far on the Wisconsin death penalty referendum:

Referendum - 2 Death Penalty
3264 of 3597 Precincts Reporting - 90.74%
Yes 1,064,753 55.3%

No 860,417 44.7%

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