Bench Memos

Re: Buying a Judgeship?

It turns out that fatcat Democratic donor John J. McConnell Jr.—nominated by President Obama to a district judgeship in Rhode Island—received a mediocre ABA rating of substantial majority “qualified”/minority “not qualified.”  For someone with so much litigation experience (he’s been a trial lawyer for 25 years), such a poor rating ought to set off alarm bells.  At the very least, that rating makes even more clear that Senators Reed and Whitehouse recommended him because of his campaign contributions, not, as they claimed (in the Providence Journal’s paraphrase), because of his supposed “qualities of legal ability, intellect, temperament and integrity.”

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Politics & Policy

The Other Case against Reparations

Reparations are an ethical disaster. Proceeding from a doctrine of collective guilt, they are the penalty for slavery and Jim Crow, sins of which few living Americans stand accused. An offense against common sense as well as morality, reparations would take from Bubba and give to Barack, never mind if the former ... Read More
Politics & Policy

May I See Your ID?

Identity is big these days, and probably all days: racial identity, ethnic identity, political identity, etc. Tribalism. It seems to be baked into the human cake. Only the consciously, persistently religious, or spiritual, transcend it, I suppose. (“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor ... Read More
Culture

White Cats and Black Swans

Making a film of Cats is a bold endeavor — it is a musical with no real plot, based on T. S. Eliot’s idea of child-appropriate poems, and old Tom was a strange cat indeed. Casting Idris Elba as the criminal cat Macavity seems almost inevitable — he has always made a great gangster — but I think there was ... Read More

‘Silenced’

Someone tweeted this cartoon today, which apparently is intended to depict me. A few thoughts: I love the caricature. It’s really good. I may steal the second panel and use it for advertising. I hear this line of criticism fairly often from people who are not very bright or well-informed; in truth, I ... Read More