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April 20, 2004

Blog Updates

As you may notice, my portion of the Crescat blogroll changes on quite a regular basis, and I usually don't bother to announce the additions (like Amber Taylor's blog). All the same, you should note both that How Appealing's url has changed, and that the wonderful Waddling Thunder now has an RSS feed. Sadly, still no feed for the Waddling Kitchen.

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He didn't say that

In response to Will below, Mr. Sullivan didn't say "the people of the big agricultural states" or "voters in such states". He said "over-representation of big agricultural states in the Senate".

Saying "to who is this letter addressed" is off by only an "m" (whom); calculating "2 - 4 = 2" is off only by a sign (-2); and saying states are overrepresented in the Senate is off by a unit (citizens). Close but no cigar.

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Speaking of technicalities, I would just like to note--

Amanda is "technically" right to point out (below) that no state is "over-represented" in the Senate by the definition she quotes, since the states all receive equal representation. However, Mr. Sullivan could have spoken strictly by saying "the people of the big agricultural states" or "voters in such states" are over-represented, which they are.

So, Amanda's right to pick nits, but I just want to make clear that the nit in question is a very small nit.

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Technically . . .

Carey at Glorfindel of Gondolin has a nice long post about the Guantanamo case being argued today. And he rightly (to my eye) blasts the notion that security depends on the executive branch's decisions being non-judiciable. Yet oddly, he glazes over the administration's argument that Guantanamo "is not part of the sovereign United States," (see page 16 of the administration brief) as a "technicalit(y)". Perhaps this dismissiveness is unintentional, but it seems to me misleading.

That technicality is a debatable point, it seems to me, and the question of how exactly to characterize Guantanamo and what rules to apply there is very interesting and I don't have a definite answer. But the mere fact of its being a technicality doesn't lessen it. As I and others have written, the rule of law-- the law itself-- depends on technicalities.

Carey's argument is well made, but seems partially mis-directed. The American people should indeed think about "rul(ing) against Bush" (as he says) if they agree that there is something severely wrong with Bush's actions with respect to the detainees, but the Supreme Court should "rule against the Administration" (as Carey also says) if and only if it thinks that the Bush Administration is wrong about those technicalities.

The law is often technical, and it is especially important that the the Court treat it technically when it's sticking its head into divisive political questions where its very legitimacy to intervene is doubted. The Court must be seen to do lawyers' work-- not politicians'.

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Compare and Contrast

John Stuart Mill (Utilitarianism):

The only proof capable of being given that an object is visible is that people actually see it. The only proof that a sound is audible is that people hear it; and so of the other sources of our experience. In like manner, I apprehend, the sole evidence it is possible to produce that anything is desirable is that people do actually desire it.

Douglas Adams (The Salmon of Doubt):
He just gave the Melinda woman a cold look and said, "This is a respectable private investigation business. I . . ."
"Respectable, she said, "or respected?"
"What do you mean?" Dirk usually produced much sharper retorts than this, but, as the woman said, she had caught him at a bad time.
"Big difference," the Melinda woman continued. "Like the difference between something that's supposedly inflatable and something that's actually inflated.
Between something that's supposedly unbreakable and something that will actually surive a good fling at the wall."

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Newdow Elsewhere

Rather than coming down to Hyde Park to hear Newdow speak, go to Northwestern to see him speak there at 7pm on Wednesday. Or catch him at UIC on Thursday at 6:30pm.

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I'm loathe to mention this for fear that too many people will come, but:

This Wednesday, April 21st, at 12:15pm in Room II (lunch served) of the Chicago Law School, the Federalist Society is delighted to present Mr. Michael Newdow, plaintiff in the pledge of allegiance case before the U.S. Supreme Court (Elk Grove School District v. Newdow, No. 02-1624), and Mr. Jay Sekulow from the American Center for Law & Justice. The topic is "One Nation Under God: The Pledge Case".

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(Not a) UC Prof in the NYT

Jonathan M. Hansen has a an op-ed in today's NYT on Making the Law in Cuba. He argues that the US does have sovereignty over Guantanamo Bay, which would require detainees' constitutional rights to be acknowledged. The byline identifies him as the author of The Lost Promise of Patriotism, but here, he's known as but do note, he's not the same as John Mark Hansen, Dean of Social Sciences. (Sigh... and I even signed up for Hansen's class thinking he was the author of that book, I was interested but not quite to the point of reading it, why not take a class from him instead? It was still a good class choice. Thanks to Prof. Levy for the correction.)

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