Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

May 20, 2005

Democrats Blocking Liberal Judges?

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:14 pm

In all the controversy about the Democrats’ filibuster of appellate judges, precious little has been said about the judges themselves, except to repeat like a mantra the accusation that they are “extreme right-wing ideologue[s]” (New York Times), “extremely hostile” (NAACP), and “want[s] to take us back to the Civil War days” (Senator Harry Reid, D-NV).

Similar comments have been made about all of the blocked nominees, but the above comments were all specifically about Judge Janice Rogers Brown, currently a member of the California Supreme Court, and nominated by President Bush to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

But Nat Hentoff — an atheist civil-liberties activist from the sixties, who writes for the far-left Villiage Voicemakes the case that Janice Rogers Brown is actually quite liberal, at least when judged on her civil-liberties and civil rights record (Hat tip: Clayton Cramer):

Here are some of Justice Brown’s rulings and dissents as a justice of the California Supreme Court. None of what follows has been cited by her attackers, including the autocratic editorial board of The New York Times.

In People v. McKay (2002), Janice Rogers Brown was the only member of that court to denounce racist standards by which some police engage in stop-and-search operations:

“There is an undeniable correlation between law enforcement stop-and-search practices and the racial characteristics of the driver. . . . The practice is so prevalent, it has a name: ‘Driving While Black.’ ”

She quoted a U.S. Supreme Court opinion by William O. Douglas (Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville, 1972): “If we are committed to a rule of law that applies equally to ‘minorities as well as majorities, to the poor as well as the rich,’ we cannot countenance standards that permit and encourage discriminatory enforcement.”

Justice Brown added that while racial profiling is “more subtle, more diffuse, and less visible” than racial segregation, “it is only a difference in degree. If harm is still being done to people because they are black, or brown, or poor, the oppression is not lessened by the absence of television cameras.” How did the Times miss that one?

In the case In re Visciotti (1996), Justice Brown was in dissent on the death sentence of John Visciotti, who had been convicted of murder, attempted murder, and armed robbery. She said the sentence should be set aside because of the clear incompetence of Visciotti’s lawyer. (This makes her an “extreme right-wing ideologue”?)

In another case, In re Brown (1998), this purported enemy of civil rights and civil liberties went after the prosecutor in a capital case and reversed the death sentence of John George Brown because the prosecutor withheld evidence that could have been exculpatory.

In People v. Woods (1999), Justice Brown sharply disagreed when her colleagues approved a police search of a suspected drug dealer’s home because, as the cops said, his roommate had consented to warrantless searches as a condition of probation. Said Janice Rogers Brown—The New York Times‘ extreme, right-wing poster woman—”By their decision today, a majority of the court set the history of personal liberties back more than 200 years.” (Emphasis added.)

None of the above were mentioned at all in the April 28 New York Times editorial skewering Justice Brown.

In that editorial, the New York Times declared that,

Justice Janice Rogers Brown is unequivocally described as “an extreme right-wing ideologue.” Moreover, the editorial adds, “Justice Brown [a member of the California Supreme Court]—a black woman raised in segregated Alabama—is a consistent enemy of minorities.”

And this is a nominee who passed the Senate Judiciary committee on a party-line vote (all Democrats voting against), and who is currently the subject of a party-line filibuster, to prevent her from getting a vote of the full Senate.

It is the Senate Democrats, not Judge Brown, who are turning back the clock — to the days when another generation of Senate Democrats filibustered the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Well, mostly another generation — Robert “KKK” Byrd was first elected to the Senate in 1958. He participated in the filibuster of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the oting Rights Act of 1965, and he is participating in the filibuster of Janice Rogers Brown now. It is to protect this “hallowed” tradition that Democrats are now fighting to preserve the three-fifths rule for filibusters, though they were the ones who reduced it from two-thirds (67 votes) to three-fifths (60 votes) in 1975.

Woman auctions body on eBay

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:11 am

No, it’s not what you think — neither a corpse, nor prostitution.

WAYNE, N.J. (AP) – A 21-year-old college business major living in this northern New Jersey community has proven a basic lesson of marketing: Sex sells. Courtney Van Dunk posted a bikini-clad picture of herself on eBay about two weeks ago, auctioning off space on her body for advertisers.

The auction ended Thursday with a winning bid from a New Jersey wine retailer offering $11,300 for a month’s worth of advertising. Van Dunk, though, says the offer has been retracted, but she’s confident that she’s made contacts with enough companies to still earn some cash.

When she finds a buyer, Van Dunk plans to place temporary tattoos on her abdomen while she’s at the beach, or on other body parts when she’s at the mall, sporting events, amusement parks and other public places. Her butt and chest are off limits.

Both the above auction — and a subsequent auction for advertising during a different month — describe the places where she will be going during the month on offer. This is obviously critical information for an advertiser, and seems to indicate that this is serious and not just a publicity stunt. Though it seems to be working for that purpose as well. The auctions have the following disclaimer:

Buyer Beware: I reserve the right to actively negotiate the terms surrounding the sale of advertising space on my body. I will not wear any advertisement that I deem inappropriate or vulgar. If you are the ultimate winner of the auction and I refuse to wear your advertisement, I will refund your money with the exclusion or [sic] any fees I incurred through Ebay. Under no circumstances is this auction to be misconstrued as selling my body for sexual purposes.

And, she has a blog!

(Hat tip: Wizbang.)

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