Links for 5/27/09

DC councilman wants to ban pizza by the slice. Yes, seriously. Update: Clarification here

Libertarians, beware of Sotomayor

The looming government takeover of American healthcare

Will progressives turn against gay rights?

Predictions for the next iPhone

The Onion, America’s finest source for Obama humor

I’ve always wished my bar was more like the post office

The EP of elevator behavior

Penn and Teller’s act gets gun controlled

MHD gets some local press

Nebraska’s license plate fiasco


1 thought on “Links for 5/27/09”

  1. Your Reason Magazine colleague’s analysis on Sotomayor is grasping at straws.

    In the Ricci decision, the town of New Haven was stuck between a rock and a hard place. If they approved the test results, they might get sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act for using a test which has a “disparate impact” on black firefighters without actually measuring thier competence for promotion. (“Disparate Impact” is a longstanding, and Supreme Court-approved, civil rights claim under the Civil Rights Act.) On the other hand, if they did not approve the test results, then they could get sued for considering race at all and preventing the promotion of white and Hispanic firefighters. They chose option (b) and, surprise, they got sued.

    Now the bizarre part of Sotomayor’s participation in that case is the cursory, per curiam opinion that was written to justify ruling in favor of New Haven. Sotomayor’s record shows she is usually thorough to a fault (extensively citing cases to prove uncontroversial propositions). It’s possible that there was evidence that New Haven’s motivation was not avoiding liability for disparate impact, but old-fashioned racism (in this case, in favor of black people and against whites and Hispanics). With such a cursory opinion, it’s impossible to tell if Sotomayor and the other panelists considered that evidence. But we don’t know what went on behind the scenes….what disagreements or thought process went into making that opinion. To cite it as proof that she was simply imposing her own preference for racial quotas is to imbue a Rorscach test with the meaning one wants to give it.

    As for the 2nd Amendment case, Reason Magazine is again reading too much into it. In Maloney v. Cuomo, Sotomayor followed 123-year old precedent that the Second Amendment does not apply to the states. She acknowledged that the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Heller (applying the 2nd Amendment as an individual right) may change that calculus, but she ruled that, until the Supreme Court provided guidance, she would follow centuries-old precedent. That’s called deference, not imposing policy judgment. Certainly, there’s a decent argument, in light of Heller, for going the other way….and that’s what the Ninth Circuit did. But to take a conflict over which Supreme Court precedent to follow – the old one that is directly on point or the new one that is almost directly on point and may change the old one – and make it into proof of her preference on 2nd Amendment jurisprudence is….again….grasping at straws.

    That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if she were more sympathetic to affirmative action and gun control than Reason or Jacob. She seems to be a lot like Souter, an unflashy, left-of-center justice. But these cases don’t prove her alleged bias.

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