Faith and Law

Amy Coney Barrett explains that letting one's own moral convictions interfere with interpreting laws as written and enacted is not a problem confined to traditionally religious people:
“All people, of course–well, we hope, most people–have deeply held moral convictions, whether or not they come from faith. People who have no faith, people who are not religious, have deeply held moral convictions,” Barrett noted. “And it’s just as important for those people to be sure– I just spent time talking about the job of a judge being to set aside moral convictions, personal moral convictions, and personal preferences, and follow the law. That’s a challenge for those of faith and for those who have no faith.”
“So I think the public should be absolutely concerned about whether a nominee for judicial office will be willing and able to set aside personal preferences, be they moral, be they political, whatever convictions they are,” Barrett explained. “The public should be concerned about whether a nominee can set those aside in favor of following the law.”
“But that’s not a challenge just for religious people. I mean, that’s a challenge for everyone. And so I think it’s a dangerous road to go down to say that only religious people would not be able to separate out moral convictions from their duty,” she said.

Supreme Court Nominee

Now there's a move afoot--I have no idea how serious it is--to skip a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Supreme Court nominee, whomever she might be, and take the matter straight to the floor of the Senate for an up or down vote.

That certainly would be an interesting answer to the Progressive-Democrats' stall tactic of invoking the two-hour rule on Committee hearings (although the rule can be waived on a case by case basis by a privileged motion being voted up).

Hearings aren't required for nominations; they've just been habitually done. The Progressive-Democrats, though, with their performances on the last several Republican nominee hearings, have destroyed the utility of such hearings. On the other hand, skipping the hearing might have negative impacts on some of the more borderline Republicans.

Eric Hines

My take on the Breonna Taylor debacle

With the recent acquittal of two of the two detectives in the raid on the apartment of Breonna Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker, things are going to get violent in Louisville tonight (and apparently already have).  And I think we can all agree that while anger may be appropriate, burning and looting the town is not (and would not ever solve anything).  But I have some things to say about the incident that sparked this, and I'll put them below the fold.

U.S. death rate down

 I've been wondering if the "death from all causes" rate was going to drop in 2021, as a result of a virus whose defining characteristic may be its ability to carry off vulnerable and/or elderly people with unusually short life expectancies.  Are we already seeing the trend begin? The September number took a real dive.

Does this really play the way they think it does?

Kamala Harris's campaign managers are said to be looking forward to her grilling the President's nominee for the Supreme Court, based on her riveting question in 2019 to a candidate (later confirmed) for the U.S. District Court for Nebraska:
“Since 1993, you have been a member of the Knights of Columbus, an all-male society comprised primarily of Catholic men,” Harris began. “In 2016, Carl Anderson, leader of the Knights of Columbus, described abortion as ‘a legal regime that has resulted in more than 40 million deaths.’ Mr. Anderson went on to say that ‘abortion is the killing of the innocent on a massive scale.’ Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?”
Way to score points. He belonged to an all-male group composed solely of Catholics! Also an all-Catholic group composed solely of men.

If I'd been Ms. Harris's campaign adviser, I'd have suggested that she be less specific about the terrible things the Knights of Columbus believe, maybe sticking with "fringe religious fanatical notions you crazy racists all agree on." Reading out phrases like "abortion is the killing of the innocent on a massive scale" can only cause people, however unconsciously, to entertain thoughts about the moral gravity of this controversy.

"Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of a group that opposes the killing of the innocent on a massive scale?"

Cuomo sounds comparatively sane

It's a tall order, but Don Lemon brings out the rational side of [correction] Fredo Cuomo:
“We’re going to have to blow up the entire system,” Lemon said.
“I don’t know about that,” Cuomo reacted, who argued that Americans just have to vote.
“You know what we’re going to have to do?… You’re going to have to get rid of the electoral college,” Lemon continued. “Because the minority in this country get to decide who our judges are and who our president is. Is that fair?”
“You need a constitutional amendment to do that,” Cuomo replied.
“And if Joe Biden wins, Democrats can stack the courts and they can do that amendment and get it passed,” Lemon shot back.
* * *
“Look, this [S. Ct. appointment] is a short-term win,” Cuomo said. [I]f they get this judge, it’s a win because if he wants people to vote for him, if he doesn’t deliver a nominee and it doesn’t get acted on by the Republicans, they’ve got trouble.”
Cuomo continued, “I know that people say, ‘Well in races that are close.’ Who’s voting or thinking about voting for a Republican who doesn’t want them to pick a judge right now?”

Political Philosophy and Honor

The American Mind just re-posted an interesting essay by this title, by one of Leo Strauss's students, Harry V. Jaffa. Below is their introduction to the essay. Click over to read it.

This September, the American Political Science Association gave its annual Leo Strauss Award for best doctoral dissertation in political philosophy to Elena Gambino for her “‘Presence in Our Own Land:’ Second Wave Feminism and the Lesbian Body Politic.” When the award was founded, Strauss’s student and Distinguished Fellow of the Claremont Institute Harry V. Jaffa wrote that “the prize will…discourage, rather than encourage the emulation of Leo Strauss.” Jaffa is quite roundly vindicated by this latest development, and so we reprint here his essay, originally published in Modern Age, Vol. 21, No. 4, Fall 1977 and reprinted as the appendix to How to Think About the American Revolution (Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 1978) and again in Crisis of the Strauss Divided: Essays on Leo Strauss and Straussianism, East and West (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012).–Eds.

And it introduced me to a new word:

meliorism (n)

1. The belief that the human condition can be improved through concerted effort.

2. The belief that there is an inherent tendency toward progress or improvement in the human condition.

Parents Just Don't Understand

And neither do some Senators.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) says it's total BS that the Progressive-Democrat-proposed $1 trillion in Federal Wuhan Virus stimulus monies aimed at State and local governments would benefit public sector unions. Whether public sector unions should or should not benefit is a separate matter.

I'm being generous, though, in suggesting that such an intelligent woman actually misunderstands.

Adding a trillion dollars, or any amount of money, to a budget means—work with me, now—that budget has those added dollars to spend. Earmark the trillion for specific purposes, or bar it from being used for public unions. Do that by sending the money as cash and tracking serial numbers. That still lets the recipient government move a different [trillion] of dollars from a different part of its budget to benefit its public unions. That's the fungibility of money. It can be moved around.

Then the Senator said this in all seriousness:

We need to fund government so that we can continue to grow the economy….

Here are the Constitutionally authorized reasons for funding the government:

to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States

Nothing in there about "growing the economy," not even under that general Welfare part. What is the general Welfare of the United States is explicitly defined by the clauses of the rest of Article I, Section 8.

Indeed, as has been demonstrated over the course of our history and across a broad range of nations, the way to grow the economy is to have a free market, capitalist economy with minimal government involvement.

In fine, the State and local governments don't need the stimulus money; they need to step back, (in many cases) end the lockdowns, and let the private economy function.

Eric Hines

2020 Democrats Vs. 2016 Democrats


End Threats to Pack the USSC?

 I've been thinking about Democratic threats to add seats to the USSC so they can fill them with progressive justices, and I wonder if the best solution is to end that idea with a Constitutional amendment setting a specific number of justices.

That number wouldn't have to be 9. Back in 2018, Glenn Reynolds suggested 59, with the new 50 being chosen by the states' governors and confirmed by the Senate.

But the point would be to stop this "We'll pack the courts!" nonsense.

So what do you think?


We'd all be lucky to have a birthday greeting recorded for us by Mark Steyn.

Blackberry Smoke

 Apparently these guys have been playing for 20 years, but I only recently heard of them.

Amish Trump Parade

Not the Bee (the Babylon Bee's real news sister site) has video of the Amish turning out on horseback and in carriages in a pro-Trump parade. It's short and kinda fun, if you are into horses and Trump, or the Amish.

Get the Supreme Court back up to 9

This is the plainest and most sensible treatment I've seen of the issue whether the President should nominate, and the Senate leadership should immediately try to confirm, a replacement for the Supreme Court seat vacted by Justice Ginsberg's death.