Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fr. Andrew Greeley, sociologist and priest-novelist, dies at 85 | National Catholic Reporter

Fr. Andrew Greeley, sociologist and priest-novelist, dies at 85 | National Catholic Reporter:

by John L. Allen

The progressive Catholic values of the 1960s informed Greeley's approach, both to secular politics and to the church. Over the years, he supported ordaining married men and women as priests, attacked what he saw as the inflated power of the Vatican, and railed against what he termed the "original sin" of clerical culture: envy. He was no less a lefty in secular terms; his last nonfiction book was titled A Stupid, Unjust and Criminal War: Iraq 2001-2007.

Yet Greeley was very much his own man, unafraid to skewer nostrums of the left just as much as those of the right. He was critical of liberation theology ("It was a terrible mistake to get in bed with Marxism"), some strains of feminism ("If you define reality as a class conflict between men and women, you'll never get out of it unless men surrender"), and Catholic pacifists such as Jesuit Fr. Daniel Berrigan ("We're still friends, but I completely disagreed with his tactics during the war"). He repeatedly asserted that anti-Catholicism remained one of the few fashionable prejudices left in America.

Though Greeley denounced clerical sex abuse as early as the mid-1980s, he was also fiercely critical of what he saw as exaggerated criticism of the church from some organized victims' groups. He asserted in 2002 that these activists "probably would not be satisfied if the Vatican had mandated castration for every priest in the nation."

Prominent among Greeley's passions was his love affair with his own hometown. He was a classic example of what Chicagoans call a "lifer," meaning someone who might travel far and wide, but who never felt at home anywhere other than the Windy City. Greeley was an avid fan of the Bulls, Bears and Cubs, and his trademark literary creation, Blackie Ryan, typically sported a Chicago Bulls windbreaker.

At the end of the day, Greeley saw his wide-ranging literary endeavors as a service to the church, whether Catholic officialdom was always prepared to see it that way or not.

'via Blog this'

Andrew Greeley, Outspoken Priest and Writer, Dies at 85 -

Andrew Greeley, Outspoken Priest and Writer, Dies at 85 -
by Peter Steinfels
“I suppose I have an Irish weakness for words gone wild,” Father Greeley once told The Times. “Besides, if you’re celibate, you have to do something.”
No Use for Elites
His ten best selling novels made him rich, though he gave his first million to charity and continued to give to various causes, including a donation, decades ago, to the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, then a fledgling advocacy group.
Father Greeley had been an early and vehement advocate for victims of abusive priests at least since 1989, when he began writing articles in Chicago newspapers demanding that the church take action against pedophile priests. The public criticism angered the archdiocese and many fellow priests, but his outrage and proposals for reform were eventually recognized by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago, among others, as prescient.
Father Greeley was not shy about his politics, a New Deal liberalism grounded in an acute sense of family and neighborhood. (One of his recent books was titled with typical directness, “A Stupid, Unjust and Criminal War: Iraq 2001-2007.”) Nor did he hide his devotion to his hometown Chicago Bears, Bulls and Cubs.

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Peoples Electric - Engaged Legal Education at Rutgers-Newark Law School in the '60's and '70's

Peoples Electric - Engaged Legal Education at Rutgers-Newark in the '60's and '70's

by George W. Conk 

Fordham Law School

Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. 40, No. 503, 2012

(download from SSRN - registration is free and it is spam-free}
Rutgers-Newark Law School was the most innovative, exciting, and effective law school in America in the 1960's and 1970's. Civil rights and liberties, 'poverty law', women's rights, employment discrimination, open housing, and public education were the foci of legal education at Rutgers - the State University of New Jersey. In those two decades Rutgers-Newark - which we affectionately called People's Electric - developed a model of engaged legal education that was and is unique.

No other law school of its era - and perhaps since - to my knowledge - has been so thoroughly characterized by a broad progressive social agenda. Affirmative action, racial justice, women’s rights, public education, open housing, and civil liberties were the focus of the frequently landmark litigation which originated or was substantially aided by students and faculty from Rutgers Newark.

The unique activism of Rutgers-Newark - a small public law school in an afflicted city - had a huge impact in the development of the law. The activist faculty and the clinics engaged law students deeply in innovative and intense litigation regarding the most important and controversial issues of the day. Students at People’s Electric learned first-hand the law-making function of the courts. They often helped make that law.

No other law school in the country can begin to match its record in the 1970's. This was accomplished without endowment, without a base of high ranking or wealthy alumni, without a tradition of such activism at the school, a public law school whose tuition was nominal. Students learned from extraordinarily talented lawyers who they assisted. Their successes showed students how to succeed by really trying. We left Rutgers confident that we knew how to and could change the law, confident that we could make a difference.

Graduates continued the mission in many ways. One outstanding example is the cadre who joined the Office of the Public Defender - a statewide agency - which led or participated in the defense of over two hundred capital trials from 1982-2007 when the death penalty was repealed and replaced with life without parole. There were no executions.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Yes we can - straight call on D.C. Circuit nominations by the Times

Credit where credit is due.  James Fallows lauds the Times for "avoiding false equivalence" in  its presentation of the news that President Obama is finally going to confront Republican obstructionism on the(now three) vacancies on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  It is the staging area for Supreme Court justices in waiting. - GWC

PD's may refuse cases due to excess workload - Florida Supreme Court

In Public Defender v. State of Florida the state's Supreme Court granted certification of the following question, submitted by the 11th District Public Defender (Miami-Dade):

Whether section 27.5303(1)(d), Florida Statutes (2007), which prohibits a trial court from granting a motion for withdrawal by a public defender "based solely on “conflicts arising from underfunding, excessive caseload or the prospective inability to adequately represent a client,” is unconstitutional as a violation of an indigent client’s right to effective assistance of counsel and access to the courts, and a violation of the separation of powers mandated by Article II, section 3 of the Florida Constitution as legislative interference with the  judiciary’s inherent authority to provide counsel and the Supreme Court’s exclusive control over the ethical rules governing lawyer conflicts of interest? [emph. added]
The Third District also certified a question regarding the constitutionality of section 27.5303(1)(d), which provides that “[i]n no case shall the court approve a withdrawal by the public defender . . . based solely on the inadequacy of funding or excess workload.” See Bowens, 39 So. 3d at 481.

The Court has now spoken and the answer is YES the statute is constitutional on its face, but perhaps not as applied.  Withdrawal may be permitted - in appropriate cases which will have to meet Strickland v. Washington standards of ineffective assistance of counsel under the 6th Amendment's guarantee of a fair trial in a genuine adversary proceeding:

Thus, we find the statute to be facially constitutional and answer the certified question in the negative. However, the statute should not be applied to preclude a public defender from filing a motion to withdraw based on excessive caseload or underfunding that would result in ineffective representation of indigent defendants nor to preclude a trial court from granting a motion to withdraw under those circumstances."

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Black and White and Red All Over - By Scott Atran | Foreign Policy

Black and White and Red All Over - By Scott Atran | Foreign Policy: ""Americans refuse to be terrorized," declared President Barack Obama in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. "Ultimately, that's what we'll remember from this week." Believe that, and I've got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn." 'via Blog this'

Friday, May 24, 2013

Human rights in China : The Lancet

Click to toggle image size
Shanghai's shopping street
Nanjing East Rd.
Human rights in China : The Lancet:
On May 14, the Information Office of the State Council—China's cabinet—published Progress in China's Human Rights in 2012. The cabinet's white paper assesses human rights achievements through the lens of development: “Development is the key to solving all existing problems and facilitating progress of human rights in China.” The report reviews economic and social achievements as progress in human rights. It also lists improvements in living standards, stresses the achievements of lifting millions of Chinese out of poverty, raising annual incomes, improving education, housing, health insurance coverage, and access to health, and decreasing mortality of children younger than 5 years ahead of the Millennium Development Goals deadline. Acknowledging the scale of the threat to people's right to live in a clean and sustainable environment, the report devotes an entire section to ecological quality. Although the abolition of the death penalty is not discussed, there is a substantial reduction in the number of situations in which a defendant could face such a penalty.Physical and mental health are mentioned in the white paper, providing an opportunity for health professionals in China to improve human rights in many important ways. First, by making health and high-quality care a human right. Second, by seeking protection of their own rights, which too often have been violated by dissatisfied patients and their families. Third, by defending the rights of their patients, including sex workers, who allegedly face coercive testing for HIV according to another report, Swept Away: Abuses against Sex Workers in China, published by Human Rights Watch on May 14.Progress on human rights depends on openness, which makes China's white paper welcome and marks an important stage in the evolution of rights for its people. China has made colossal progress to improve economic and health standards. Further advances, like those announced by the cabinet for human rights, are encouraged—particularly for groups for whom progress in development alone might not be important enough.

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An end to the"global war on terror" - President Obama

President Barack Obama delivers a speech at the National Defense UniversityAn end to the "global war on terror", declared President Obama at the National Defense University. - GWC
Fact Sheet
Full Text of the May 23, 2013 speech

Beyond Afghanistan, we must define our effort not as a boundless 'global war on terror' - but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America
With the collapse of the Berlin Wall, a new dawn of democracy took hold abroad, and a decade of peace and prosperity arrived here at home. And for a moment, it seemed the 21st century would be a tranquil time. And then, on September 11, 2001, we were shaken out of complacency. Thousands were taken from us, as clouds of fire and metal and ash descended upon a sun-filled morning. This was a different kind of war. No armies came to our shores, and our military was not the principal target. Instead, a group of terrorists came to kill as many civilians as they could.
And so our nation went to war. We have now been at war for well over a decade. I won’t review the full history. What is clear is that we quickly drove al Qaeda out of Afghanistan, but then shifted our focus and began a new war in Iraq. And this carried significant consequences for our fight against al Qaeda, our standing in the world, and -- to this day -- our interests in a vital region.

Meanwhile, we strengthened our defenses -- hardening targets, tightening transportation security, giving law enforcement new tools to prevent terror. Most of these changes were sound. Some caused inconvenience. But some, like expanded surveillance, raised difficult questions about the balance that we strike between our interests in security and our values of privacy. And in some cases, I believe we compromised our basic values -- by using torture to interrogate our enemies, and detaining individuals in a way that ran counter to the rule of law.

So after I took office, we stepped up the war against al Qaeda but we also sought to change its course. We relentlessly targeted al Qaeda’s leadership. We ended the war in Iraq, and brought nearly 150,000 troops home. We pursued a new strategy in Afghanistan, and increased our training of Afghan forces. We unequivocally banned torture, affirmed our commitment to civilian courts, worked to align our policies with the rule of law, and expanded our consultations with Congress.

Today, Osama bin Laden is dead, and so are most of his top lieutenants. There have been no large-scale attacks on the United States, and our homeland is more secure. Fewer of our troops are in harm’s way, and over the next 19 months they will continue to come home. Our alliances are strong, and so is our standing in the world. In sum, we are safer because of our efforts.

More evidence that Washington is addicted to spending: Skagit River bridge - I-5, Washington State

Deficit fighters fought Obama's American Jobs Act and won.  Tragically for the passengers in the cars on I-5 when the bridge fell.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

English in 21 accents - Amy Walker

English in 21 accents. 
Excellent diction demonstration by Amy Walker - an American actress. 

Beyond Chinglish - English in many accents

A talented young Chinese guy speaks English with multiple accents.  They are, in order, Japanese,Korean, Indian, British, French, Italy, American, Russian).
他的网上的名字是东北哥,真名是张旭 ,大连人,在大连的一家外企工作,好像并没有在国外留学的经历
His screen name is DongBei Guy (Northeast Chinaman), his real name is Zhang Xu.  From Dalian, he has never bee outside China but works ion international products and has pickled uyp the accents of persons with whom we deals on the job.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Not Just the NFL: Compensation, Litigation, and Public Health in Concussion Cases by John Culhane :: SSRN

Not Just the NFL: Compensation, Litigation, and Public Health in Concussion Cases by John Culhane :: SSRN:
This article examines the recent attention given to traumatic head injury in the National Football League from a public health perspective. It notes that injuries are prevalent in many sports (not just football), and argues that the goal should be to design interventions that reduce the incidence and severity of such injuries. The article explores and evaluates some of the measures that have been taken throughout football (from the NFL down through youth leagues) to make the sport safer, and notes how these steps also affect other sports and injuries to other parts of the body. Since football and other dangerous sports are unlikely to be eliminated, harm reduction should be the goal. Taken together, these measures are likely to be successful by that measure.
The article concludes with some observations about the use and limitations of tort claims and compensation funds to redress the harms caused by participation in dangerous sports such as football.

'via Blog this'

Christians Must Confront Scientific Illiteracy -

Fr. Georges LeMaitre

And it all started with a big bang.  Who knew that a Catholic priest was behind that now accepted theory?  Not me. - GWC
Christians Must Confront Scientific Illiteracy -
by Charles Reid
"But of them all, my own favorite is the unjustly obscure Georges Lemaitre (1894-1966), the "father of the big bang." A Belgian priest, Fr. Lemaitre did his graduate work in theoretical physics at Cambridge University and Harvard. In 1927, while still a junior lecturer at the Catholic University of Louvain, he proposed an expansionary theory of the universe at odds with the then-prevailing belief that the universe had always existed in a steady state. Four years later, in 1931, he asserted that the entire universe began with what he called a "cosmic egg" or "primeval atom" -- a theory that Sir Fred Hoyle derisively dismissed as "the big bang." Later that same year, Fr. Lemaitre argued that not only was the universe expanding, its expansion was accelerating in speed. While it has taken decades, Lemaitre's theories have been confirmed in every major particular."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Learning English Pronunciation

Steve Martin would like to buy a dimburger..

DOJ IG: Report on Justice Lawyer's Leak of Confidential Information re `Fast and Furious'

Every Department of the federal government has an internal audit office called the Inspector General. (OIG)  The Department of Justice IG has issued a report that sharply criticises Dennis Burke, former United States Attorney for the District of Arizona, and referred the matter to the DOJ's Office of Professional Responsibility for leaking a memorandum to Fox News and the New York Times.  The memo related to James Dodson - an ATF agent and witness in the investigation of the ATF gun-buying scheme known as `Fast and Furious'.
Burke - who resigned early in the investigation - was already under investigation for another leak.  Yet, according to the OIG he not only leaked material without permission, he misled investigators who asked him about it.
The DOJ maintains its own `private' disciplinary office (OPR) which in practices preempts action by the state licensing authorities who are the source of the law license of every lawyer in the country.  [The OPR process has been criticised in the Yale Law Journal online by Professor Green for excessive secrecy.] The OIG's report here asks OPR to investigate Burke's conduct and to determine if the former prosecutor violated the rules of professional conduct of "any state bar of which he is a member".

Did he? RPC 3.3 - Candor to the tribunal comes to mind - but the OIG is not a tribunal.  The former "appearance of impropriety standard" served as a catch-all, but it is gone.  How about RPC 3.8 special responsibilities of a prosecutor?

from the OIG report's conclusions:
In sum, we found that Burke violated Department policy when he provided the Dodson memorandum to Fox News reporter Levine without Department approval, and that his explanations for why he did not believe his actions were improper were not credible. We believe this misconduct to be particularly egregious because of Burke’s apparent effort to undermine the credibility of Dodson’s significant public disclosures about the failures in Operation Fast and Furious. We further believe that the seriousness of Burke’s actions are aggravated by the fact that they were taken within days after he told Deputy Attorney General Cole that he took responsibility for his office’s earlier unauthorized disclosure of a document to The New York Times, and after Cole put him on notice that such disclosures should not occur. Burke also knew at the time of his disclosure of the Dodson memorandum that he was under investigation by OPR for his conduct in connection with the earlier disclosure to The New York Times.
As a high-level Department official, Burke knew his obligations to abide by Department policies and his duty to follow the instructions of the Deputy Attorney General, who was Burke’s immediate supervisor.We found Burke’s conduct in disclosing the Dodson memorandum to be inappropriate for a Department employee and wholly unbefitting a U.S. Attorney. We are referring to OPR our finding that Burke violated Department policy in disclosing the Dodson memorandum to a member of the media for a determination of whether Burke’s conduct violated the Rules of Professional Conduct for the state bars in which Burke is a member.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Obama gets personal at Morehouse | xpostfactoid

update: Sprung responds to Ta-Nehisi Coates  criticism of Obama.

Andrew Sprung is, in my opinion, our best analyst of President Obama's rhetoric. James Fallows runs a close second, but Sprung is more focused. Here he looks at Obama's commencement address at Morehouse College - a Black, men's school. He is addressing an audience of graduate Black men as a Black man. The long quote after the link is the President. The link will give you Sprung's annotated text.

Sprung observes:

Reading this was for me one of those moments, which occur from time to time, when I am stupefied afresh that a man who can speak, and think, and feel like that, is president of the United States.On the personal side, this was both a boast and an anti-boast. The president of the United States effectively claimed a mantle as our empath-in-chief.
Obama also very pointedly addressed the Morehouse Men as men. He was able to do this in large part simply by being factual - he was addressing a class of men only

Obama gets personal at Morehouse | xpostfactoid:

"As Morehouse Men, many of you know what it’s like to be an outsider; know what it’s like to be marginalized; know what it’s like to feel the sting of discrimination. And that’s an experience that a lot of Americans share. Hispanic Americans know that feeling when somebody asks them where they come from or tell them to go back. Gay and lesbian Americans feel it when a stranger passes judgment on their parenting skills or the love that they share. Muslim Americans feel it when they’re stared at with suspicion because of their faith. Any woman who knows the injustice of earning less pay for doing the same work — she knows what it’s like to be on the outside looking in.

So your experiences give you special insight that today’s leaders need. If you tap into that experience, it should endow you with empathy — the understanding of what it’s like to walk in somebody else’s shoes, to see through their eyes, to know what it’s like when you’re not born on 3rd base, thinking you hit a triple. It should give you the ability to connect. It should give you a sense of compassion and what it means to overcome barriers.

And I will tell you, Class of 2013, whatever success I have achieved, whatever positions of leadership I have held have depended less on Ivy League degrees or SAT scores or GPAs, and have instead been due to that sense of connection and empathy — the special obligation I felt, as a black man like you, to help those who need it most, people who didn’t have the opportunities that I had — because there but for the grace of God, go I — I might have been in their shoes. I might have been in prison. I might have been unemployed. I might not have been able to support a family. And that motivates me. (Applause.)

So it’s up to you to widen your circle of concern — to care about justice for everybody, white, black and brown. Everybody. Not just in your own community, but also across this country and around the world. To make sure everyone has a voice, and everybody gets a seat at the table; that everybody, no matter what you look like or where you come from, what your last name is — it doesn’t matter, everybody gets a chance to walk through those doors of opportunity if they are willing to work hard enough."

'via Blog this'

Justice Albin: Protect Our Courts from Politics

Barry Albin, Associate Justice
Supreme Court of New Jersey
Gavel Grab » New Jersey Judge: Protect Our Courts from Politics:
At the New Jersey State Bar Association's annual meeting in (of course) Atlantic City,  Associate Justice Barry Albin delivered a strong speech about the importance of protecting impartial courts from political influence. He called on the public to protect judges from the government’s other two branches.

Justice Albin, a target of Governor Chris Christie, appeared to address some controversies involving Christie, although he did not actually name the governor.
“When one judge is punished for issuing an unpopular decision, other judges take notice and may be less inclined to invite controversy, perhaps at the expense of the fundamental rights of some disfavored group,” Justice Albin said, according to a (Newark) Star-Ledger article. “A judge should not be concerned about whether doing justice is a bad career move.”
In 2010, Christie, a Republican, refused to reappoint Democratic appointee Justice John Wallace Jr. (see Gavel Grab). It was the first time a New Jersey governor did not reappoint a justice who had sought it since the state constitution was rewritten 63 years earlier, and it provoked a mass resignation of his judicial advisory council and widespread charges that the newly-elected governor was jeopardizing judicial independence.

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Obama's Enemies List? The IRS Scandal

Since we are about to be treated to a marathon Fox News extravaganza about liberal oppression of patriots via the IRS - the government's least popular agency, here is the Inspector General's Report.

 Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review
by Eric Lach

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Disclosure of all favorable evidence by federal prosecutors urged in new study by Bruce Green

former New Orleans  D.A. Connick's
office has been successfully challenged
over a dozen times for suppression of
evidence  AP photo
Prompted by the disclosure that U.S. Justice Department lawyers hid favorable evidence from the defense in the  prosecution of the late Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) last year sponsored  the Fairness in Disclosure of Evidence Act of 2012.  The measure had bi-partisan support including from the late Sen. Daniel Inouye.  But the bill died in committee and has not been introduced again this term.   Its premise is simple.  It goes beyond the constitutional mandate of Brady v. Maryland to disclose materially exculpatory evidence, a highly subjective and therefore problematic judgment, to declare a "Duty To Disclose Favorable Information":
"In a criminal prosecution brought by the United States, the attorney for the Government shall provide to the defendant any covered information--‘(1) that is within the possession, custody, or control of the prosecution team; or
‘(2) the existence of which is known, or by the exercise of due diligence would become known, to the attorney for the Government."
Violation would enable a range of discretionary remedies including court costs, adjournments, disclosure, new trial, and imposition of attorneys fees and costs by the United States if it is  found to be in violation of the duty.  In a new study in the Mercer Law Review Fordham law professor Bruce Green urges adoption of the "favorable evidence" standard. 

The proposed favorable evidence standard calls for only a modest expansion of prosecutors’disclosure obligations.  That is far less demanding than the “open file” discovery required by law in some states and employed in some other states  as a matter of common practice.  And it is far short of the North Carolina statute which provides
Upon motion of the defendant, the court must order: The State to make available to the defendant the complete files of all law enforcement agencies, investigatory agencies, and prosecutors’ offices involved in the investigation of the crimes committed or the prosecution
of the defendant.
Viewing evidence through the eyes of the defense - as to what is exculpatory - is obviously problematic since prosecutors, like others, see things their own way, not the adversary's way.  Even the office of the New Orleans District Attorney  admitted before the Supreme Court that thirteen convictions had been overturned for `Brady violations' during the reign of former Prosecutor Harry Connick.  Despite such evidence the U.S. Department of Justice resists the change.  

At hearings last year on the Murkowski bill Deputy Attorney General James Cole said that the DOJ allows disclosure in excess of the constitutional minimum "as a matter of discretion".  To us that is precisely the problem.  What governs the exercise of discretion? In this regard the Murkowski bill was quite cautious.  The bill does not go so far as to declare a right to all relevant evidence (a standard narrower than a civil party's right to anything reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence). But  specifying all "favorable evidence" would advance the defendant’s interest in making a well-informed decision whether to plead guilty and, if the defendant went to trial, it would enhance  the chances of an effective defense. Perhaps, Green suggests, we are witnessing the old "sporting competition" attitude rather than the view that the prosecutor's duty is to justice, not to chalk up wins.

The need for a revised `ex ante' standard  is particularly acute because the avenues of relief even after disclosure are so unpromising.  In Kyles v. Whitley (1995) the Supreme Court directed that non-disclosed evidence be considered in its entirety.  If its suppression has a “ ‘reasonable probability’ ” of changing the result, it is "material".  That is an invitation to findings of "harmless error". Nor does the 1984 Strickland v. Washington standard for ineffective assistance of counsel cover much territory.  Lawyers who have been denied favorable evidence are bound to be ineffective.  Strickland requires an error by the defense lawyer and a  lack of "confidence" in the result to merit relief.

Thus judges reviewing a conviction - in the rare case when favorable evidence is later discovered - will give substantial weight to examining the overall fairness of the judgment of guilt.  Appellate  judgment is inevitably colored by the fact-finding and the deference given fact-finders.  Further, public safety and concerns about cost and in favor of finality of judgment also weigh against successful appeals based on nondisclosure  of evidence.

The focus therefore should be on preemptive `ex ante' measures to assure fairness.  Should we ask of prosecutors the constitutional minimum, or should we embrace the proposed statutory regime which makes favorable information disclosure presumptive - subject to reasonable exceptions such as witness security and public safety presumptive?  What is needed, as Green suggests is empirical data.  That is available.  One can compare the federal courts with the record in states and locales where disclosure of favorable evidence or of all evidence in state files is required.  We thus already have, Green argues, a kind of successful natural experiment.  This is the sort of study which Congress could ask the GAO to undertake.  If Senator Murkowski re-introduced the measure the Senate Judiciary Committee could ask the GAO to commission such a study.

Bruce A. Green Federal Criminal Discovery - a Legislative Approach

Monday, May 13, 2013

‘The Federalist Society,’ by Michael Avery and Danielle McLaughlin -

By the time Ronald Reagan left office almost half of federal trial judges had been nominated by him.  In a remarkable switch (e.g. Eisenhower's policy was half Dems, half GOP), the new judges were young and conservative.  The Federalist Society went from fringe to transmission belt.  
Although the conservative talking points always attacked "judicial activism", they had a broad agenda: use the principle of judicial review to strike legislation that was inconsistent with their conservative view of the Constitution, which they called "originalism".  But this ideology was in fact activist - courts could strike any legislation that did not fit their constitutional philosophy.  We saw that most strikingly when the Affordable Care Act survived by a single vote in the Supreme Court. 

In an embrace of "tough luck libertarianism"  all five conservative justices found the Congress had no power under the commerce clause to mandate health insurance.  All five would have voided the entire 2,000 page statute but Chief Justice Roberts saved the court from that maelstrom by finding the taxing power sufficient to uphold the most important domestic legislation in fifty years.  So much for the conservative assault on "judicial activism".   - GWC
‘The Federalist Society,’ by Michael Avery and Danielle McLaughlin -
review by Jeffrey Rosen
“There is much that citizens from all points on the ideological spectrum can learn from the story of the Federalist Society,” Avery and McLaughlin conclude. And indeed there is. Although they don’t spell out the lessons for liberals, at least two emerge from the data they present. First, the various strands of legal liberalism — civil libertarians, Great Society liberals, neoprogressive technocrats, economic populists and advocates of equal rights on the basis of race, gender and sexual orientation — would do well to set aside their ideological differences and converge around a common approach to constitutional interpretation that citizens can understand. And second, if liberals want to take the courts back from conservatives, they have to recognize that ideas — and judicial appointments — matter."

'via Blog this'