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It might not have been a story, but when Justice Kennedy speaks, the world hears. It’s about the perennial overcrowding of our prisons which has been the subject of lawsuits for years. The State is appealing an order which would force the release or transfer of about 40,000 prisoners.
California’s bid to block a court order that would require the state to release or transfer more than 40,000 inmates from its prisons ran into sharp and skeptical questioning at the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
A majority of the justices said the state had failed to remedy the severe overcrowding problem, despite decades of lawsuits and promises from the governor’s office.
“How much longer do we have to wait — another 20 years?” asked Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was reacting to the state lawyer’s contention that it was “premature” for a three-judge panel to order the state to reduce its prison population by one-fourth in two years.
“At some point, the court [in California] has to say, ‘You have been given enough time…. It’s now time for a remedy,’ ” said Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who grew up in Sacramento. That “seems to me perfectly reasonable,” he said.
A note of local interest. A member of the team of attorneys in Washington right now representing the inmates in the suit is Rebbecca Evenson, daughter of Judy and Michael Evenson, who attended Skyfish and other local schools as a child.
The report appears to be based upon one of those deliberate “leaks.” They could be working on it as early as this spring. 89-year-old Justice John Paul Stevens has hired only one clerk. The writer speculates that the second vacancy will be made by Ruth Bader Ginsburg who has had health problems. It looks like the liberal minority are clearing out while they have Obama’s window of opportunity. The article speculates on some replacement names.
Up to the moment coverage. Senator Graham has already pretty much conceded that she will be confirmed, if she doesn’t have a meltdown.
As of this posting, the latest entry is an account of Al Franken’s first public address as Senator. He takes up the “activist” issue pointing out that Justice Clarence Thomas has voted to strike down more federal statutes than any “liberal” justice.
In a case which never should have even reached the Supreme Court, Souter and the majority ruled in Safford Unified School District #1 v. Redding that school officials do not have absolute discretion to strip search students.
Justice David H. Souter, writing perhaps his final opinion for the court, said that in the search of Savana Redding, now a 19-year-old college student, school officials overreacted to vague accusations that Redding was violating school policy by possessing the ibuprofen, equivalent to two tablets of Advil.
What was missing, Souter wrote, “was any indication of danger to the students from the power of the drugs or their quantity, and any reason to suppose that Savana was carrying pills in her underwear.”
It was reasonable to search the girl’s backpack and outer clothes, but Safford Middle School administrators made a “quantum leap” in taking the next step, the opinion said. “The meaning of such a search, and the degradation its subject may reasonably feel, place a search that intrusive in a category of its own demanding its own specific suspicions,” Souter wrote.
Clarence Thomas was the lone dissenter, his grounds being that school administrators know what they’re doing. Insert inappropriate joke.
She’s the nominee to replace Justice Souter. The White House has its talking points, which do in fact include the word “empathy” which hasn’t played well with conservatives, who have their own talking points accidentally released to the press.
The Republicans seemed ready for this selection. Among their concerns for her character is that she is “domineering.” Empathetic and domineering. Hmmmmm. And Senator Imhofe (R) is concerned that she may not be able to resist the “undue influence” of her race and gender. Is it like demon possession or something? The goblin of Hispanic womanhood threatens to render her a hapless zombie conjuring from the spirit world glamours of quotas, hostile workplaces, and bilingual education.
TPM looks at the big picture and the obstruction:
Technically, Republicans come into the Sotomayor confirmation process in an extremely weak position. Their caucus is only 40 members large. Four of those members are women. One is hispanic. And their ranks are teeming with people who’ve loudly decried the idea of filibustering judicial nominees in the recent past.
Now that same crew is faced with the prospect of playing the opposition (loyal or otherwise) to a 54 year old Hispanic female with honors degrees from Princeton and Yale and heaps of experience on the bench. Not exactly ideal circumstances.
At the same time, though, they’ve proven perfectly willing to stand athwart other, similarly qualified Obama nominees, most of whom serve (or will serve) in the executive branch for only a few years at the most.
And speaking of the paranormal, Norm Coleman promises to keep an open mind on the nomination “when I am re-elected.”
I don’t know anything about her and she hasn’t even said anything yet, but I already like her. I just hope one of the conservative justices retires soon, because we just lost the Sixth Amendment.
Addendum: Mark Krikorean of the conservative National Review takes issue with how Sotamayor pronounces her name. It’s “unnatural in English.” We shouldn’t “give in” to it. I swear the caricatures have nothing on the real people sometimes.
Oh, and she was a socialist, or at least willing to quote a socialist in her 1976 Princeton yearbook!
Norman Thomas was of course the perrenial Socialist Presidential candidate throughout his adult life. I’m liking her even more!
Second addendum: Republicans have dug up even more dirt. They wonder whether her love for a Puerto Rican dish consisting of pig’s tongue and ears with rice and beans will affect her impartiality. Or do you think they’re just trying to find a lame excuse to gross some folks out about her cuisine preferences? Nah.
Addendum: Uh oh. TPM may have perpetuated the Hill’s cuisine cultural ignorance, and I may have done so right here. Apparently the dish is made from pig’s feet and is some sort of soup! What the nominee actually said in that fateful speech was:
For me, a very special part of my being Latina is the mucho platos de arroz, gandoles y pernirmorcilla, — pig intestines, patitas de cerdo con garbanzo — pigs’ feet with beans, and la lengua y orejas de cuchifrito, pigs’ tongue and ears. – rice, beans and pork – that I have eaten at countless family holidays and special events. My Latina identity also includes, because of my particularly adventurous taste buds, morcilla, — pig intestines, patitas de cerdo con garbanzo — pigs’ feet with beans, and la lengua y orejas de cuchifrito, pigs’ tongue and ears.
The photo to the right accurately depicts the soup. The one above is probably the arroz, gondolas y pernir.
I think the Republicans had better regroup.
So far the only reservation I have about her is her decision in favor of a school administrator punishing a student for blog speech made off campus.
Second addendum: Empathy bad.