Monday, October 31, 2005

It is "put up" or "shut up" time for liberals!

Today my father forwarded me an e-mail with a letter written by Professor Walter Murphy of Princeton University. Prof. Murphy has written an open letter on the nomination of Sam Alito to the Supreme Court. It seems that Prof. Murphy taught Judge Alito when he was an undergraduate at Princeton. First off, let me say that I would hate to be judged for a job by one of my undergraduate professors. Anyways, the letter reads as follows (please note the bolded parts in particular):

“As I recall, during 1970-72, I had Sam in two courses in at least one of which he was in a precept (seminar of about 10) I conducted and, in 1971-72, supervised his senior thesis on the Italian Constitutional Court. We have stayed in intermittent touch since.

”Sam was probably the most judicious student I ever had. He had (and still has) a keen intelligence and a fine sense of justice. When he voiced a judgment, he typically began by fairly stating the arguments on either side then offering his own conclusion, with a clear explanationof his reasoning. One might disagree with him but always respect his reasoning and intellectual integrity.

”Sam had a close friend who was equally as bright when we worked together at Princeton. I predicted that his friend would become a famous prosecutor and Sam would become a famous judge. I was happy to see that at least half of that prediction came true.

”I should be clear that my pleasure at his nomination is not ideologically based. Over the years, our views on some important matters of constitutional interpretation have differed. He is much more an Anti-federalist where state and national authority clash, more libertarian on issues such as gun control, and much tighter on some matters as the rights of the criminally accused than I. We, however, agree on other important issues, such as finding no constitutional barrier to bans on late term abortions and requiring spousal and parental notification of impending abortions.

”Our fundamental difference concerns reliance on what is euphemistically (and foolishly) called ‘original understanding.’ We don't know and, more crucially, can't know how white American males "understood" the Constitution in 1787-88 beyond what the text itself says in its Preamble. Moreover, it would be difficult to justify those understandings, even if we knew what they were, of such a restricted group as now controlling a country that abhors slavery, accepts religious and ethnic diversity as well as racial and sexual equality, and has become a sprawling industrial empire, part of an electronically linked world. As Charles Curtis put it almost 60 years ago, what the founding generation said, they said; the rest they left to us.

”Back more specifically to Sam: He has been a fine judge, a person of deep integrity as well as intelligence. Assuming he is confirmed, as I hope -- despite our serious differences -- he will be, he will bring those characteristics to the Supreme Court. I do not think that Bush will nominate a more qualified or fairer minded person. Indeed, I confess surprise that a man so dreadfully intellectually and morally challenged as George W. Bush would want a person as intellectuallygifted, independent, and morally principled as Sam Alito on the bench.


Great, so Sam Alito feels that a 12 year old girl that has been raped by her father must ask his permission for an abortion. Look, I'm not pro-abortion. I think there is nothing that is a more clear sign of "lack of character" then having gotten yourself into the situation where that is an option. But there are specific statistical outliers that need to be addressed. Until Congress steps up and defends a woman's right to choose and protects rape victims, mothers with pregnancy complications, and others that I can't think of off the top of my head, then I want NO part of Sam Alito or his fascist cabal.

Perhaps we need to stop looking at it as pro-choice and pro-life and look at it at pro-mothers-life! I love pro-lifers who have absolutely no problem potentially (and I mean only potentially) ruining a mothers life to protect a child. Many of these new families end up in poverty. They often result in single parent families, and while that can be a success, the odds are not in their favor. Many new mothers are forced to drop out of school, develop psychological issues if trauma occurred in the conception (i.e. rape/date-rape), or are cast out by family and friends, to name a few. They are left poor and alone and need help. Some end up resenting their children.

These are the same conservatives that are against social programs designed to help not only the mothers, but the children. Perhaps if they felt so strongly about the children conservatives would not abandon them after birth to no health care, poor schools and little to no future prospects. I love how Bush jumped out of the frying pan. Let’s hope the left is tough enough to ensure that he lands in the fire. Somehow, I doubt it!

The second point that I would like to make regards “original understanding”. This phrase should absolutely not slip by anyone without notice. Original understanding refers to the a particular view of some constitutional legal scholars who claim that the constitution is an all encompassing document that was written infallibly. These people view the constitution similarly to the way Muslims view the Qu’ran; as a document that cannot be questioned or second guessed. And while Muslims have a rationale for this (i.e. the Qu’ran is the word of God), strict interpretationalists’ cannot possibly expect us to believe that a slave owning Virginian named James Madison from the Tidewater was omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent. I don’t think so. Not even David Ortiz is infallible (as great as “Papi” is).

There are already two strict interpretationalists on the Supreme Court; Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. When a legal scholar brings up original understanding, let us be clear what we are talking about. That is, every liberal and progressive person’s worst nightmare. It is time to saddle up the ponies and ride to the OK Corral; I think it’s time for the metaphorical “shoot-out” over judges who hold a stone aged legal philosophy. I thought the purpose of each generation was to make progress both technologically and intellectually.

Abby is full of crap!

This appeared in a weekend edition of Dear Abby. I generally think that Abigail Van Buren provides crap advice, but this column was particularly bad!

“DEAR ABBY: When I was a student, I was encouraged to further my education. I hold two bachelor of arts degrees plus extensive training in emergency services. To my dismay, however, having an education has been a problem, not a plus, for me in my employment.

“People tell me I am "overeducated" for the job I so dearly love. It didn't bother me until I took a new job that required both my college degree and my technical training. One co-worker complained that my education "intimidated her" so much she "felt she couldn't do her job." Our supervisor said it was my fault that she was lashing out at me.

“Since then I have moved away from that city. I have asked several friends about the "intimidating education factor" and was told it's also the reason I'm still single. I know that having an education is important, and I don't understand why it's having a crippling effect on my life. (I'm not pompous about my education. People have asked and I've told them.) What I don't tell them is I have a "genius" IQ, but it apparently shows when I talk. How do I cope with this? Is it me, or the society we live in? -- OVEREDUCATED IN THE SOUTH”

“DEAR OVEREDUCATED: Although I have never met you face-to-face, I can tell you with some certainty that it isn't the society we live in. So, that leaves "you." The problem isn't that you are "overeducated." It may be something to do with your personality -- the way you present yourself and the way others perceive you. I have met "brilliant" people whom I would describe as intellectual super-athletes. Some of them are socially adept and make those around them feel comfortable, regardless of their level of education. However, some of them are not. You may fall into the latter category.

“I would recommend that you now invest in a different kind of "education" -- the "University of You." In other words, find a psychologist who can help you figure out why, with so much to offer, you are not able to fit in. It will be money well spent.”

Dear Abby,
I am writing in response to you advice to OVEREDUCATED IN THE SOUTH. I have to say that your advice was not necessarily “spot on.” Abby, you made assumptions about the writer that are not supported by the evidence you provided to your readers. Too often intelligent people are made to feel bad for their knowledge and skills.

It comes from a society that increasingly lowers expectations on everything. We teach kids that competing with each other is bad. Excelling is not rewarded any more than mediocrity. This is a prevalent problem in our society and you should not have brushed it aside. Intelligence is not seen as a strength by a majority of our society and is certainly valued less that athletic ability or celebrity in our society.

It is possible that she may have social problems. If anything it sounds like she is the victim of low expectations. Having two Bachelors degrees isn’t “overeducated,” that is just good ol’ educated. Perhaps the problem is that the writer has been surrounded by people less intelligent and that has made her feel that drive, intelligence and determination are not “normal” traits. It sounds like they have been programmed to believe that they are weird for wanting to excel. Nothing could be more venomous for a person with intelligence and purpose.

My advice to this reader is it is time to surround yourself with people smarter than you. Nothing will fuel your drive more then that. Find people who push you. Find people who appeal to your intellectual side. Once you are surrounded by these types of people you will no longer feel like a “duck out of water,” but among peers. You will not intimidate others because your “peers” will be secure enough in their intelligence to see you as an EQUAL. Chin up!