March 12, 2007

Stirring up doubts about Rudy's judge-picking tendencies.

The LA Times reports the evidence -- served up by his conservative opponents -- that Giuliani, as mayor, appointed some liberal municipal judges. This is offered to counter Giuliani's assertion -- intended to satisfy social conservatives -- that he will appoint "strict constructionists" to the federal bench. For example:
One judge approved by Giuliani, Rosalyn Richter, had been executive director of a gay rights organization, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, before being named to the bench. After her initial appointment by former Mayor David N. Dinkins, Richter changed the questions asked of potential jurors to be more welcoming to gay and lesbian couples. She was later reappointed by Giuliani.
One answer from the Giuliani side is that NYC municipal judges don't do any significant constitutional interpretation. Since they only handle family matters, criminal misdemeanors, and small civil claims, their approach to constitutional law didn't matter.

The problem with that answer is really what is a problem with the "strict constructionist" rhetoric in the first place. I wrote about that last month in a NYT column, where I was somewhat sympathetic to Giuliani's attempt to speak in terms of appointing "strict constructionists," but ended with the crucial concession:
[T]hat doesn't mean we should be naïve. The next president will select real individuals to be judges, and no matter how diligent they are, they will bring something of their humanity to their interpretation of the law, a version of humanity that will express something of the president's cast of mind.
Presidents will all -- one hopes -- pick scrupulous, excellent individuals to be judges, but they won't pick the same individuals. Even within the category of those who can be portrayed as "strict constructionists" -- they all claim to follow the law! -- judges lean in different directions.

In this light, it doesn't matter that Giuliani's municipal judges did no constitutional interpretation. Giuliani is not a social conservative, and we shouldn't expect whatever "strict constructionists" he nominates to channel the values of social conservatism. By the same token, we shouldn't fall for it when socially conservative presidential candidates use the term "strict constructionists" to cloak their agenda. They aren't just looking for judicial excellence, they are trying to infuse the courts with their values.

If a President has the appointment power and names extremely well-credentialed persons like John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer, they will be confirmed, despite the entirely appropriate suspicions that the President is trying to make the Court conservative or liberal. If you don't like it when that happens, my answer will be: Tough, we elected a President.

39 comments:

Simon said...

This story is something we covered a week or so ago; it's a good one, because obviously Rudy's campaign lives or dies on his ability to convince the right that while he disagrees with them on social issues, the judges he appoints will ensure that he can have it one way in New York, and they another in, you know, Alabama or wherever.

There are a couple of perspectives one can look at this from. The first is just to say (as my initial instinct was) "well, does it realy matter? What law are they interpreting?" After all, if Rudy really does mean he likes strict constructionists, rather than using that as a term of art, there are non-formalist reasons to be a strict constructionist, and if you adopt those, it isn't necessarily irrational to believe that state law should be construed more broadly than should Federal Law. That is, with deference to Larry Solum, formalism vs. instrumentalism is a decision that can't be taken on a case-by-case basis, but maybe it can be taken on a federal/state boundary level.

On the other, M'leaned co-blogger Pat points out that ultimately, from a formalist perspective, how one approaches a legal text is how one approaches a legal text: "they're still judges, and they heard all types of cases. Even at the state level, they're not supposed to be setting policy, just interpreting the laws the legislature passed and the constitution of the U.S. and New York. State trial-court level judges are not part of the 'political authority,' but part of the judicial authority." I find that persuasive.

The other little wrinkle in this story, as Pat also noted, is that "the mayor is not entirely free to make appointments; he must appoint only from a list of candidates recommended by a selection committee." If that's true, this story collapses, because obviously if the only candidates Guiliani could choose from were all democrats, it ceases to be shocking that his choices were democrats.

I'm watching this story closely, but ultimately, I don't find it persuasive enough to jump ship.

Simon said...

Related: "If a President has the appointment power and names extremely well-credentialed persons like John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer, they will be confirmed"

Obvious reply: Robert Bork. Well-credentialed alone won't do it.

Ann Althouse said...

Re Bork. That happened a long time ago. The President and the nominees have learned the Bork lesson. That won't happen again.

pablo H said...

What Republican President in the last 40 years *hasn't* claimed to appoint "strict constructionists"?

Weren't Blackmun, Stevens, Souter, and O'Conner all supposed to be "strict constructionists".

And did Bill Clinton ever characterize Breyer/Ginsberg as judges who would make it up as they go along?

There is no reason to believe President Rudy would fight a Democratic Senate, the MSM, and the rest of the liberal elite to put a Scalia or Thomas on the Bench.

In fact, his election would be taken as a mandate that conservative social issues no longer mattered.

Simon said...

"Re Bork. That happened a long time ago."

So did Breyer's and Ginsburg's nominations. ;)

The second point - that Bork was a one-shot deal, and the lessons have been learned - is a lot more persuasive, IMO, but surely, one of the lessons learned is that it isn't enough to be well-credentialed. Suppose the Democrats had controlled the 109th Senate, but all else remained the same: if John Roberts had sat back in his chair and casually told all assembled that he thinks substantive due process is spinach and he adopts Clarence Thomas' view of stare decisis, would his credentials have saved him? Would Alito's?

ChiLois said...

"The Giuliani camp's response is that the mayor is not entirely free to make appointments; he must appoint only from a list of candidates recommended by a selection committee." Ben Smith of the Politico, who did the original story of Rudy's judicial appointments, responds with more details at that site.
Ann, shouldn't you update your post to reflect the limitation?

ChiLois said...

A more complete explanation. From Politco.com:
"Giuliani surrogate Bill Simon was at CPAC today offering a rebuttal of my story on Rudy's judges that, while it has some truth to its general outlines, doesn't really hold up.

Captain's Quarters has a version of his spin:

"Simon called [the article] misleading. The mayor does not have a free hand in judicial appointments in New York City. An independent panel gives the mayor a choice of three candidates for each open seat, and the mayor has to select from those three. Rudy did not choose the candidates; he had to select one of three locked-in choices."

Meanwhile, Giuliani backer Ted Olson told Hugh Hewitt that Rudy's "discretion was quite limited."

What Simon and Olson are referring to is the Mayor's Advisory Committee on the Judiciary, the locus of a tradition of "merit selection" put in place by Ed Koch in 1978, a nice outline of which can be found on pages four and five of this document (.pdf). The system exists at the Mayor's whim, and can be altered at his whim, as it was by Giuliani.

Most broadly, the system isn't in the City Charter. It exists under executive order, which the mayor can revoke or alter at any time. Giuliani altered the prior executive order, shrinking the panel to 19 members.

As for the panel's "independence," it is, by recent tradition, quite independent. By design however, it's totally dependent on the Mayor. He appoints its chairman and 8 other members directly. He appoints the other 10 on the recommendation of law school deans and state appellate judges, a recommendation to which he is not bound."

M. Simon said...

Bork is no strict constructionist.

He calls the IXth Amendment an ink blot.

Talk about legislating from the bench.

I'm rather partial to Thomas. He can read. He can think clearly and write clearly.

His opinions in Raich and Kelo were outstanding.

IMO the best judge on the court.

quickjustice said...

In the context of your point about presidents selecting real people, you've left an important name off your "credentialed" list: Antonin Scalia.

If my memory serves me, Giuliani and Scalia grew up in the same neighborhood in Brooklyn, and attended the same parochial schools. They're both Italian-American, and share similar backgrounds. Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court by Ronald Reagan; Giuliani started his career at Justice during the Reagan administration.

I'm a New Yorker who's a member of the Federalist Society. I therefore know that Rudy Giuliani publicly attributes his successes to the policy ideas generated by the scholars at the Manhattan Institute.

To "read the tea leaves" about Giuliani's judicial selections, understand that Giuliani is most interested in economic freedom, and in libertarian ideas as they apply to markets and incentives. He's a pragmatist: he wants to change the culture of welfare and dependency in the real world to one of autonomy and economic self-reliance.

Giuliani loves innovative ideas, and he'll take risks to advocate for, and implement, them. He's a leader, and a fierce advocate. He also will keep his promises.

To really understand Giuliani's accomplishments as mayor, read Fred Siegel's "The Prince of the City: Giuliani, New York, and the Genius of American Life".

Simon said...

"There is no reason to believe President Rudy would fight a Democratic Senate, the MSM, and the rest of the liberal elite to put a Scalia or Thomas on the Bench."

Sure there is. As it happens, I'm pro-life, but if I weren't, that wouldn't diminish one iota my commitment to overruling Roe-Casey. If Giuliani believes the Constitution is a legal text that says certain things and not others, if he's concerned that it is being distorted if it's read to extract these hot-button issues from the states' domain, if he believes that "[t]he sphere of self
government reserved to the people of the Republic is progressively narrowed" by federal courts constitutionalizing every policy debate, United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. at 601 (1996) (Scalia, J., dissenting), then sure: there is every reason "to believe President Rudy would fight a Democratic Senate, the MSM, and the rest of the liberal elite to put a Scalia or Thomas on the Bench."

I'll go to the mat for my view of the Constitution, and if I believe Giuliani will too, I don't care if he agrees with me about abortion or not.

ch2ca said...

I couldn't understand the love affair the right has with Rudy from the beginning. I'm glad he held NYC together, but he is not Presidental material at this time in history. If we are distracted by the war he will be free to implant his skewed values on the SCOTUS, and by executive order there is no telling what values he will errode. Wake Up conservatives!

yetanotherjohn said...

One key filter you have to view the Rudy judge appointments through is who he had to pick from. My understanding is that a committee beyond his control selected three candidates and he had to pick from among those three. You can understand why such a check would be put on the mayor's power. When looking at a judge he appointed, you not only have to look at the other alternatives, but also the picks before and after. If the committee kept putting a couple of names forward do you go ahead a clear out the log jam or accept reducing your picks to one or two names?

Rudy needs to be scruitinized for his actions, but the scruitiny needs to include the context. Otherwise you aren't engaged in rational debate about his fitness to be president, just indulging in your own bigotry.

Simon said...

M. Simon said...
"Bork is no strict constructionist ... He calls the IXth Amendment an ink blot."

But has Bork ever claimed to be a strict constructionist? Even if he's not gone so far as Scalia in disavowing it, I don't remember Bork describing himself as such, and even if he did, that's illustrative of the difficulty spawned by the term's dual meaning, as a political term of art and as a manner of legal interpretation.

As for the Ninth Amendment, that's a problem of underdeterminacy: what's a judge to do when the original meaning can't be established with sufficient clarity to decide the instant case? That's a complicated problem for originalists (it's also a demonstration of a point that I finally came to realize over the last year or so, which is that originalism is not in itself a complete legal philosophy: it's the right foundation, but it isn't and can't be the entire edifice), and although not all originalists agree that the Ninth Amendment is indeterminate or underdeterminate (cf. Bork with, for example, Kurt Lash and Randy Barnett), even assuming that it is, FWIW, I tend to agree with you that "Bork's answer ... is little short of judicial abdication."

Ben Masel said...

The number of constitutional issues in New York's Municipal Courts soared under Giuliani, as speech activity was charged as misdemeanors. This hasn't let up with Bloomberg, witness the pre-emptive arrests around the 2004 Republican National Convention.

Jim in Texas said...

what ch2ca said...

The emperor is not a conservative no matter how you cut the cloth. His values and politics are so far out of whack with what I equate with Conservatism that I can’t understand this love affair and it’s driving me crazy.

Face it, there are no (popular) conservatives among the mix now and unless someone with the right chops (Fred Thompson?) pops up it doesn’t matter what kind of judges Prez Rudy will appoint since he doesn’t share the core values of even the most liberal of Conservatives (THAT phrase gave me an ice cream headache!)

And don’t forget that he still remains very coy on taxes….THAT’S Republican material!?!?!

Freder Frederson said...

He also will keep his promises.

Like he did to during the Farmersville Garbage Scandal?

Simon said...

quickjustice said...
"If my memory serves me, Giuliani and Scalia grew up in the same neighborhood in Brooklyn, and attended the same parochial schools. They're both Italian-American, and share similar backgrounds."

And like Scalia, Giuliani's also a Catholic. Readers evaluating Quickjustice's comment should consider it in light of G. Kannar, The Constitutional Catechism of Antonin Scalia, 99 Yale L.J. 1297 (1990).

Robert said...

I would imagine that conservative judges might be a hard come by in NYC. But that is just a guess.

BTW, what gives me comfort on Rudy is that he mentioned Alito & Scalia. I figure he will appoint paisans.

InklingBooks said...

We need to learn from experience. The only sure way to get Supreme Court justices who will not write the values of the NY Times into law is to appoint clearly prolife judges. No other test works nearly as well.

Efforts to find "originalists" and economic conservatives who won't "grow" in office and become mere weathervanes like Souter or Kennedy is doomed to failure. If they can't stand fast on a really serious issue like abortion, they won't stand fast on a lesser issue like eminent domain.

And it's quite foolish to trust Guillani to do this. He's clever, he's smooth. His promises to us mean more that the promises he made to his two previous wives. He'll appoint stealth candidates, who'll disappoint all of us, social and economic conservatives alike.

BoneUSA said...

To add to what others have written about the judicial selection process in NYC, it also should be noted that the pool from which the screening panel is not exactly filled with conservatives -- however you want to define that term. Even if Mayor Rudy had wanted to put "strict constructionists" or "social conservatives" or whatever on the bench, there just weren't (and aren't) more than a handful of lawyers in NYC with those views, and that's before you even get to the question of whether such people WANTED a state court judgeship.

The issue of President Rudy's judicial nominations is indeed worthy of discussion and debate, but this is one case where past behavior is not a useful indicator of future conduct. Ben Smith at the Politico, a former NYC politics beat writer, should have known better when he started with this business.

Simon said...

InklingBooks said...
"We need to learn from experience. The only sure way to get Supreme Court justices who will not write the values of the NY Times into law is to appoint clearly prolife judges. No other test works nearly as well."

Total rot. A pro-life instrumentalist is only a little better than a pro-choice instrumentalis; the litmus test is what the Constitution says, not what you want it to say. It says nothing about abortion, and it's no more legitimate for a conservative instrumentalist judge to uphold a blanket federal ban on abortion than it is for a liberal instrumentalist judge to cut a constitutional right to abortion from whole cloth.


"Efforts to find "originalists" and economic conservatives who won't "grow" in office and become mere weathervanes like Souter or Kennedy is doomed to failure. If they can't stand fast on a really serious issue like abortion, they won't stand fast on a lesser issue like eminent domain."

The only way that you're going to get judges who aren't going to "grow" in office is by picking judges with well-defined legal philosophies - not by picking people who agree with you on instantly-important issues. And, of course, that means picking judges with the right (no pun intended) philosophies: Breyer hasn't "grown" in office, and neither has Souter: they both now do what they did when nominated, and for that matter, Kennedy hasn't "grown" in office either: as Greenburg's book recounts, his pre-nomination record scared the hell out of many in the Reagan justice department, and they opposed the Kennedy choice bitterly.

If you choose someone who is outcome-oriented, not only are they on very thin ice in terms of legitimacy (there may be cases where the only thing left to break a tie is naked ideological preference, but they are few and far between) they are highly likely to disappoint you. That was the main problem with Harriet Miers! So she's pro-life - and? So's Paul Begala! Someone who is outcome-oriented may start out preferring outcomes you like, but eventually, their preferences might change. The only security against that (and by happy coincidence, the best way to remain faithful to the Constitution) is to find and nominate formalists, to find judges who are committed to a process not a result. I'd take a Hugo Black over a Tony Kennedy any day of the week.

Richard Dolan said...

The prior commenters are certainly right that in NYC the Mayor's Judicial Selection Committees are less independent from the Mayor's office than meets the eye. But the criticism of Rudy based on his appointments to the state court bench is basically nuts.

The world of judicial politics, elective or appointive, in NYC is sui generis, and a little history here is important. The impetus behind the Judicial Selection Committee, when Koch first put it in place in its current form, was to end the practice of appointing unqualified, partisan hacks to the state bench. Prior to Koch's administration, these appointments were handed out as a reward for faithful party service; ability and qualifications were completely irrelevant. The local Bar associations had long been pushing to reform the system for the usual altruistic reasons, but also because the main work of the state court bench on the civil side is to adjudicate the myriad commercial cases that come up in a busy commecial and financial center. When Koch was mayor, he appointed David Trager, then dean of Brooklyn Law School and a former US Atty (currently a judge) in the EDNY, as the chair of his committee. Trager recruited lots of former AUSAs to serve on the state court bench, and noticably improved its quality. In sharp contrast to prior administrations, partisan politics became completely irrelevant.

Dinkins, Rudy and Bloomberg have all continued the practice of using the committee as a shield against unqualified politicos seeking a sinecure for themselves or a protege; the emphasis has remained on qualifications and competence, not the political views or ideology of the candidates. This being NYC, it's hardly surprising that most candidates seeking these positions (they're not the best paying jobs here, nor are they all that prestigious) tend to be liberal-to-lefty. The most common profile today of a newly appointed judge is a current or former law sec'y to a sitting judge (in the state courts in NY, the law sec'y job is often a career position unlike the federal system), or a senior atty at the NYC Corp Counsel's office (that's basically the NYC law department) -- i.e., a lawyer who has already made the City or State gov't a career and has the experience, background and ability to be a credible candidate for the bench. The same criteria are applied with these judges come up for mayoral reappointment -- there is a conscious effort to screen out those who cannot or will not do the job in a professional manner, but no effort to punish a judge for any particular ruling. (The main exception is that sometimes a judge comes in for a lot of flack, perhaps deserved, for granting bail to a defendant who then goes out and commits another offense.)

It's not really true that the judges appointed by the mayor don't address constitutional issues. The fact is that most of the judges appointed by the Mayor to the Criminal or Civil Court (both lower level trial courts of limited jurisdiction) end up being named after a year or two as acting Justices of the Supreme Court. The NY Supreme Court is the main trial court of general jurisdiction -- any case (criminal or civil) of any significance in the state court system here will be litigated there in the first instance. Thus, any constitutional issue of any significance will be decided in that court first, and many of the judges on the Supreme Court bench are mayoral designees to lower courts sitting on the Supreme Court by designation.

But all of that is utterly beside the point, since another peculiarity of the NY system is that any ruling of significance by the trial court can be immediately appealed to the Appellate Division (our intermediate state appellate court). Thus any ruling of significance on any constitutional or other poplitically charged subject at the trial court level can and invariably is appealed immediately. And under NY law, when the gov't is the appellant, there is an automatic stay pending the determination of the appeal. The Governor, not the Mayor, controls all appointments to those appellate courts.

Critics who complain that Rudy appointed liberals or lefties to the state bench are living in never-never land. Of course he did, and frankly it would have been impossible for any mayor not to. The kinds of ideologically driven concerns, even Simon's concerns about a judge's approach to constitutional text, are completely divorced from the realities here. The point of the Mayor's committees, from Koch to the present, has always been to recruit and appoint qualified and capable attorneys to difficult, demanding and (for many) not very desirable positions. The enormous accomplishment of these mayors, Dems and Reps, has been to remake the state court bench from a hack-dominated embarrassment to a fair, competent and functioning system of justice. That is a huge accomplishment. Rudy doesn't owe any apologies to anyone for his part in bringing it about.

Freder Frederson said...

If you choose someone who is outcome-oriented, not only are they on very thin ice in terms of legitimacy (there may be cases where the only thing left to break a tie is naked ideological preference, but they are few and far between) they are highly likely to disappoint you.

Simon, your love of Scalia (and Thomas?) allows you to fall into the same trap that befalls most people who are so-called originalists or strict constructionists (and admittedly those of us on the left who don't like the recent rightward tilt of the court). Scalia is as outcome oriented as anyone, especially when it comes to the meat and potatoes of Supreme Court jurisprudence, the dull corporate and procedural cases that make up the bulk of the court's calendar (and let's not even get started on Bush v. Gore). Just because he is resolute on social issues that you happen to agree with doesn't mean he has some kind of psychic connection to the founders that allows him to uncover the original meaning of the constitution.

hdhouse said...

Mary said...
He also will keep his promises. That's where the character issue comes into play."

is that like "love honor and obey"?

or "i promise i won't bring my mistress home for an overnight when my kids are home"?

or "i won't bring more debt into the city"...that one?

or "bernard kerik is my most trusted friend"...that one?

i love this. the republicans are fighting to put Rudy first among the average....

ModNewt said...

hdhouse, you forgot "I promise to attend my son's graduation"

I'll be flabbergasted if Rudy wins the nomination. His dishonorable treatment of family would preclude me from voting for him under any circumstances.

Freder Frederson said...

The only way that you're going to get judges who aren't going to "grow" in office is by picking judges with well-defined legal philosophies

What you object to Simon, is not judges with well-defined legal philosophies, but judges with legal philosophies that differ with your rigidly defined concept of the "correct" legal philosophy. And that is apparently based on a few key issues of constitutional interpretation that affect social issues you are overly concerned with.

I would really like to know where you think a Supreme Court nominee should stand on patents, the commerce clause, the rights of corporations, or the role of international law.

hdhouse said...

Freder:

Simon's acceptable judicial nominees are like the bozo from Alabama...or between him and David Duke.

Thier litmus tests are so extreme yet they decry anyone who puts up even the most reasonable standard.

All this from the side of the aisle that nominated Harriet Myers, thinks Alberto G. is a hairdresser, and thinks that a little shooting fun with a defendant is perfectly fine behavior.

(ps...Simon will always be simon so don't waste electrons)

Simon said...

Freder Frederson said...
"What you object to Simon, is not judges with well-defined legal philosophies, but judges with legal philosophies that differ with your rigidly defined concept of the "correct" legal philosophy."

Well, that's true to an extent. Of course, I'd rather have nine Scalias than nine Brennans, but as Marghlar put it a ways back, in some ways it'd be better to have nine Brennans or nine Scalias than it would to have a court completely rudderless, turning on pragmatic judgments by a Kennedy or an O'Connor. Pragmatism is all well and good, but pragmatism is what gets you rulings like -- to pick an example you and I can surely agree on -- Hamdi.


"And that is apparently based on a few key issues of constitutional interpretation that affect social issues you are overly concerned with."

That is a ridiculous distortion - in fact, you cast my view completely backwards. I've said repeatedly that my objection to Roe is legal not moral, and that I would still want to overrule Roe for the toxic view of law it represents, even if the abortion issue were settled once and for all by constitutional amendment.

(Let me be candid enough to express vulnerability on this point: I used to wear as a badge of honor that my formalism sometimes produces results that as a normative matter I don't like. I've perhaps backed away from iconoclastic emphasis on this point of late, in response to exploring our Hostess' work, which has emphasized that the same structural provisions I emphasize for formalist reasons also have compelling normative appeal.)

For that matter, overruling Roe will not accomplish my political goals re abortion, and at least arguably, will make it harder to accomplish them. If the court adopts the jurisprudence on abortion that I would urge on it, the matter becomes almost exclusively a matter for the states, and the simple fact is that given a free hand, there are states which will simply never ban abortion. It would be far easier, from my perspective, to back a Harriet Miers - someone who's pro-life and will construe the Constitution in such manner as to maximize the potential to ban abortion. But that would be just as much of a distortion as would Roe, and so I reject it precisely because my views on Constitutional interpretation do not turn on my preferred outcomes.

Good grief - either I have totally and repeatedly failed to communicate my position, or you just haven't read and understood a word I've written in comments passim ad nauseum. My primary legal commitments are to means, not ends.


"I would really like to know where you think a Supreme Court nominee should stand on patents, the commerce clause, the rights of corporations, or the role of international law.

I haven't studied patent law closely enough to have formed an opinion, although my tentative assertion is that patent law is almost exclusively statutory law, and I believe stare decisis is at its zenith in statutory cases. So far as patent law relates to procedural due process, I tend to take the College Savings Bank view. I fall somewhere between Rehnquist and Scalia on the commerce clause - I wouldn't go as far as Justice Thomas would, even if for no better reason than stare decisis. "[A]lthough I'd overrule Wickard ... I would probably leave NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. in place, and would have joined the court in Heart of Atlanta Motel. I don't know what I'd have done in Raich" ... [Because] Scalia and I take a stronger view of stare decisis than does Justice Thomas, and given the court's expansive commerce clause jurisprudence in the 20th century ..., even if I disagreed [for example] with Heart of Atlanta Motel or ... Katzenbach v. McClung as an original matter, I wouldn't overrule them today."

As to the role of international law, funny you should mention that, I just submitted an essay on that very subject, setting forth my objections to foreign law in considerable detail. The provisional draft is on my SSRN page, or there's a copy of the submitted draft attatched to this post.

Freder Frederson said...

So Simon, when exactly are you going to stop playing a legal scholar on the web and actually go to law school?

Simon said...

Freder - as soon as you pony up $120,000 and living expenses. ;)

But seriously, I've talked about this before. I'm not closing the door on it, but the amount of money involved is prohibitive, especially considering that I wouldn't be especially interested in private practice -- I'd want to teach, and perhaps eventually (here's a terrifying thought for you) find a home on the 7th Circuit. There are other reasons - I think law school would kill me, to be honest - but above all else, it's money, plain and simple. When you've got a mortgage and a family, and when you make what I make (and a fortiori when you've got a kid but a few years away from applying to college himself) - you can't just wake up one morning and say "You know what I think I'll do today, dear? I think I'll put us $100k in debt." Education is the best investment you can make, but if you don't have the money to invest (or a pretty good idea of how you're going to get it back), I just don't see how it's an option.

On the other hand, lookit: I'm in my late 20s. Ann didn't go to law school until her late 20s, and I'd say she's done great. So it's not too late. I'm not closing the door on law school, I'm just perfecting my plan to knock over Fort Knox to pay for it. ;)

hdhouse said...

Simon said... Freder - as soon as you pony up $120,000 and living expenses."

Ahhh Simon....hate to break it to you but you can't get into any law school at charges 40k a year.

DBrooks said...

Here we go again--hdhouse and others going after Giuliani. Anyone with hdhouse's misguided views about everything is probably a perfect reverse barometer for conservatives. If he is for it, I am probably against it. If he is against it, I am probably for it. In addition, my stance is directly proportionate to the amount of effort hdhouse, and others like him, expend trying to convince of the opposite. As I have said here before, Rudy Giuliani worries Democrats like no other potential Republican nominee. He puts states into play in the Northeast that haven't been in play for Republicans for quite a while, and, despite Democratic claims to the contrary, he continues to have strong support in traditional Republican areas like the South.

I would like to recommend richard dolan's comment at 10:38 am for an accurate, sober take on this whole story. As he said, this is much ado about nothing, and is simply another attempt to undermine the ever-growing support for Giuliani. There are legitimate concerns about Rudy, but this issue isn't one of them.

Freder Frederson said...

despite Democratic claims to the contrary, he continues to have strong support in traditional Republican areas like the South.

First off, your notion of "traditional" is rather bizarre. The south has only just (within the last 25 years or so) started forgiving the Republican party for Lincoln. Nevertheless, you are probably right, southern voters are probably fickle (and dare I say dumb) enough to overlook all of Rudy's obvious "liberal" tendencies and vote for him just because he is willing to put a boot up the ass of a few ragheads.

Robert said...

I would like to second DBrooks' recommendation of Mr. Dolan's comment.

Mr. Dolan is an experienced and active litigator in New York and appears to know the scene quite well.

hdhouse said...

DBrooks said...

Here we go again--hdhouse and others going after Giuliani."


Yes, hdhouse is going after Guiliani. But yet again the DBrooks of the world lump all issues into one, never seeing or seeking separation. dolan is quite right in his perspective of the judicial appointments in NYC and that the safety net is up and working.

The shots at Rudy are quite frankly over his morals, his fiscal ineptitude, and his general meanspiritedness....all facts not lost or forgotten by NYer's 9/11 notwithstanding.

Hillary as a novice in 2000 with the baggage and with upstate hating her on sight was beating him before he dropped out. With the near total collapse of the republican party in new york and the general disdain for all things nationally republican, Rudy's chances of carrying the homestate and its electoral block are not bright. by election time the mistress episode will be engraved on city sidewalks and it is doubtful it will play well in Peoria.

dbrooks does so well what is now the art of the republican mischief machine...take one issue - in this case judicial appointments - cite how openminded Rudy was in NYC (remembering of course it has been 8 years since he held ANY office) and although mr. dolan provides a lucid explanation as to why a mayor's hands are pretty much tied so he can't stray in appointments, the rah-rah's cheer him for his fairness AND then to compound the error, give it the "well if he is good here he must be good everywhere".

does Rudy sound like a better choice than the Eye of the Newt types? Of course. Early polling gives the republicans some hope. But the sad part is the Rudy oil painting, on close inspection, needs a good cleaning, is gritty and crackled and on reflection, it just isn't a pretty picture.

DBrooks said...

Gosh. I'm all verklempt. After all these years, I'm officially a member of the Republican Mischief Machine. Alas, I missed the notification. Thanks for the heads-up, hdhouse, although I have to admit I don't think I did any of the things he attributes to me. I hope that doesn't negate my membership.

TMink said...

Hdhouse snipes at Simon: a chihuahua nips at an indulgent mastiff and thinks he is the bigger dog.

Trey

Mary said...

Oh Rudy can make promises, ample evidence of that. Quick on the deletion, though.

hdhouse said...

tmink and dbrooks....right right....yes you boys are certainly clever. such retorts.

do write again and tell me what they are about.