January 28, 2007

Review of Ben Wittes' New Book on the Judicial Confirmation Process

For whatever it is worth, in today's New York Post I have a review of Ben Wittes very interesting book CONFIRMATION WARS: PRESERVING INDEPENDENT COURTS IN ANGRY TIMES. Wittes really goes to great lengths to be fair to both sides, conservatives and liberals. Obviously, that is a very difficult task for this subject. That said, I think that people on both sides of the debate will gain from reading the book. While I wish that I thought that his proposal to eliminate the confirmation hearings would help elminate some of the bitterness, I think that this solution deals more with one of the symptoms than the causes. In the editing the review came out somewhat more critical than I think that it should have been.

January 03, 2007

Lithwick's civil-liberties blinkers

(cross-posted from Point of Law):

Dahlia Lithwick compiles a list of the ten worst civil liberties outrages of the past year, which turns out to consist entirely, with not a single exception, of Bush Administration policies relating to the War on Terror. #10 on the list, for example, is federal prosecutors' decision to seek the death penalty for enthusiastic Al Qaeda plot participant Zacharias Moussaoui. That counts as a more serious menace to civil liberties, in Lithwick's view, than any prosecutions of the innocent on terrorism-unrelated grounds in the past year, or any existent or proposed curbs on mainstream political speech, or any steps afoot to regulate the Internet. How comforting to know that state governments or courts deciding liability cases or drug warriors or for that matter non-state actors never appear in the top rank of threats to our civil liberties.

Radley Balko has drawn up a list of 2006 outrages that does a better job of conveying the range and diversity of government threats to liberty. RightRainbow is not particularly charitable toward Lithwick, describing her as "appallingly obtuse".