Monday, July 25, 2005

Teddy the Toad

The Wall Street journal has a bit on Senator Ted Kennedy's idiotic attacks on Supreme Court nomineee Judge John Roberts.

The Senator from Massachusetts is outraged about a Commerce Clause case called Rancho Viejo v. Norton, which, in the Kennedy legal interpretation, threatens "Social Security, Medicare, the minimum wage" and the environment. Is that all?
Ah-ha! I knew the Commerce Clause would rear it ugly little head before long! But's what's the deal here? The Commerce Clause is going to wreck Social Security and Medicare? How?

In Rancho Viejo, a real-estate company challenged the Interior Department's application of the Endangered Species Act to halt a project that might disturb an endangered species known as the arroyo Southwestern toad.... At issue was Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce -- in this case, the movement of the toad, which, as Judge Roberts pointed out, is entirely intrastate. The toad is a homebody; it does not travel out of California.
Okay, then. The Judge says the toad isn't interstate commerce. Got that. But how do we get from Pepe the Stay-at-home Toad to tossing Grandma out into the gutter?

It's a long hop from the arroyo toad to Social Security or the minimum wage, and we confess to some difficulty in following Senator Kennedy's line of reasoning. [No kidding? Ed.] Nor do we agree that the interpretation of the Commerce Clause is "settled," as he asserts. If anything, the Supreme Court confused matters in the past term.
He said what??? Settled my keister. It's about as unsettled as teh Palestinian question. What a maroon.
Judge Roberts said that federal regulation of the toad appeared to be "inconsistent" with Lopez, the 1995 case in which the Supreme Court ruled that gun possession near a school did not constitute economic activity. But he was writing in 2003 -- before last term's controversial Raich decision, in which a 6-3 Court seemed to retreat from Lopez in saying that federal law can trump state laws permitting the possession of marijuana for medical use.
Yeah, well that's all well and good, but how do we arrive at Judge Roberts trashing Social Security and Medicare?

Also worth noting is that Judge Roberts's four-paragraph dissent was not a full-fledged opinion on the merits of Rancho Viejo; he was merely disagreeing with the majority's decision to deny a review of the case by the full court. This makes Mr. Kennedy's denunciation of the "sweeping implications" of Judge Roberts's words even more dishonest.
Dishonest? Ted? Nah! It must be that you can't figure out what the "sweeping implications" are about the toad story. I have a feeling Ted might have been refering to "The Toad Factor" so prevalent in national Democratic Party politics these days. But Ted is sticking to his guns:

"I can imagine few things worse for our seniors, for the disabled, for workers and for families than to place someone on the highest court in the land who would put these protections at risk."

Which is a bigger threat to families:


Or Ted?

Need a hint?


Jehane said...

Look, I 'toad' you last week the man was a menace to toad-kind. No less a forum than Think Progress (this is where all forward-thinking jurists get all the latest dirt on the dread Pirate Roberts) advised us of the Toad Case early on...

But did you believe me?

No, you did not. Humph... Now they are sounding the alarum about poor little Ansche Hedgepeth (try saying THAT with a mouthful of saltine crackers - I dare you!) and her French Fry. She was cruelly robbed of 3 hours of her young life by DPR.

But my favorite post, by far today, is this gem:

I think Jack Balkin has this exactly right (here) — Roe v. Wade could easily go the way of Miranda v. Arizona. Although conservatives had long challenged Miranda, the Supreme Court (per Chief Justice Rehnquist) reaffirmed it in 2000 in the Dickerson case. But anyone who pays any attention can tell you that Miranda has been read so narrowly as to impose very little effective restraint on police interrogation techniques. So conservatives get it both ways: Everybody thinks Miranda’s still the law (which, as a formal matter, it is), so conservatives get to blame “liberal judges” for crime, but Miranda doesn’t actually limit police conduct in any material way. The same thing could easily happen to Roe, as the Court accepts an increasing array of burdens on the right to choose abortion as not “undue.”

I tell you the Republic is on its last legs and you are fiddling while Georgetown burns.

Fie on you, sir.

KJ said...

That first picture of Ted is the best he's looked in a long time. Is that a younger picture?

The second picture, alas, is sadly more accurate with his current look.

spd rdr said...

Hey! I was busy last week. I'm just catching up on the toad issue. But anyone who pays any attention can tell you that Commerce Clause has been read so narrowly as to impose very little effective restraint on toad smuggling techniques.

I did notice a certain family resemblance, KJ.

Jehane said...

That picture is lewd and lascivious, I'll have you know. Those toads are probably Catholic.