Tuesday, March 08, 2005

George Will on Justice Kennedy

George Will on Justice Kennedy's opinion on the death penalty for minors:

While discussing America's "evolving standards of decency," Kennedy announces: "It is proper that we acknowledge the overwhelming weight of international opinion against the juvenile death penalty." Why is that proper when construing the U.S. Constitution? He is remarkably unclear about that. He says two international conventions forbid executions of persons who committed their crimes as juveniles. That, he thinks, somehow illuminates the meaning of the Eighth Amendment.

Kennedy evidently considers it unimportant that the United States attached to one of the conventions language reserving the right "to impose capital punishment . . . for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age." The United States never ratified the other convention Kennedy cites. Kennedy the roving moralist sniffily disapproves of that nonratification as evidence that America is committing the cardinal sin of being out of step with "the world community."
Regardless of your feelings on the decision reached, Justice Kennedy's use of "international opinion" in reaching it was inappropriate. Using French law as precedent is no different than using Saudi Arabian law. And as for "international opinion" back in the 30's the world was sliding towards fascism, in the 60's it was communism. Do we really want that as the basis for Supreme Court decisions?

Read the whole thing here: Wrong on All Counts (washingtonpost.com)

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Michael Ledeen has always taken the long view of things, tracing the events of 9/11 back to the mullah's takeover of Iran back in the 70's. Now, writing in National Review Online, he identifies a second sweeping trend that dates back to the same time, an "Age of the Second Democratic Revolution", that began with the death of Franco, swept through Portugal and Eastern Europe to the Soviet Union and now, after smoldering for 12 years under the indifference or hostility of the first President Bush and President Clinton, has burst out in Georgia, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Palestinian Authority and Lebanon. He urges us to seize the opportunity in Revolution:
Our most lethal weapon against the tyrants is freedom, and it is now spreading on the wings of democratic revolution. It would be tragic if we backed off now, when revolution is gathering momentum for a glorious victory. We must be unyielding in our demand that the peoples of the Middle East design their own polities, and elect their own leaders. The first step, as it has been in both Afghanistan and Iraq, is a national referendum to choose the form of government. In Iran, the people should be asked if they want an Islamic republic. In Syria, if they want a Baathist state. In Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Libya, if they want more of the same. We should not be deterred by the cynics who warn that freedom will make things worse, because the ignorant masses will opt for the fantasmagorical caliphate of the increasingly irrelevant Osama bin Laden. Mubarak and Qadaffi and Assad and Khamenei are arresting democrats, not Islamists, and the women of Saudi Arabia are not likely to demand to remain shrouded for the rest of their lives.

Faster, please. The self-proclaimed experts have been wrong for generations. This is a revolutionary moment. Go for it.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Iowahawk on The Supreme Court

Iowahawk takes the recent trend by the Supreme Court to its logical conclusion:

In a far-reaching decision that will likely create complicated consequences for the American livestock and wedding-planning industries, the Supreme Court this morning ruled 5-4 that all US marriage dowries "must include three non-diseased oxen."

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy cited "the weight of the expansive penumbra surrounding the historically emerging and prevailing opinions of tribal shamans from Lesotho to Myanamar" in issuing the historic ruling in American Cattleman Association vs. Modern Bride, Helverson, et al.

In a scathing and sometimes caustic dissent, Judge Antonin Scalia wrote that "Holy. Freakin'. Shit."
The best thing President Bush could do to alert people to the threat of both radical Islam and and out-of-control judiciary that, having exhausted the possibilities in the penumbra of the US Constitution, is now cherry-picking foreign laws, is to recess-appoint a wahabbi inman to the Court to fill the next vacancy.

Not that I'm conflating the two threats, but having a Supreme Court Justice who decides cases based on European law is little different in theory from having one who decides cases based on Sharia. Not only would such an appointment point out the perils of such jurisprudence, it would shed some light on the "religion of peace".

"My theory of the Cold War is that we win and they lose."

Steve Conover at The Skeptical Optimist, writing about Democratic efforts to avoid giving the Bush administration any credit for the anti-Syrian protests in Lebanon, likens it to similar efforts to not give President Reagan credit for the fall of the Soviet Union, and comes up with a great Reagan Quote:

"My theory of the Cold War is that we win and they lose. What do you think about that?"

Ronald Reagan in 1977, to his future national security advisor Richard Allen

Mr. Conover's piece is here:The Skeptical Optimist: Face it, Ed: It's a Duck (hattip: Instapundit). The quote is drawn form a longer piece in the Wall Street Journal by Peter Robinson on the occassion of President Reagan's death this past Summer, which can be found here: 'Morning Again in America'.

Six months ago, the Left was warning that Bush was a wild-eyed optimist with some kind of messianic vision that elections in Iraq would lead to the spread of democracy in the Middle East. Now that's it's actually beginning to happen, he had nothing to do with it. With luck like that, the President should give up his day job and move to Vegas.