December 21, 2010

Arlen Specter accuses John Roberts and Samuel Alito of violating the oath they took at their confirmation hearings.

The former Republican, on the way out of the Senate, thinks this is worth saying:
"The Supreme Court has been eating Congress' lunch by invalidating legislation with judicial activism after nominees commit under oath in confirmation proceedings to respect congressional fact finding and precedents...

"Ignoring a massive congressional record and reversing recent decisions, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito repudiated their confirmation testimony given under oath and provided the key votes to permit corporations and unions to secretly pay for political advertising — thus effectively undermining the basic Democratic principle of the power of one person, one vote...  Chief Justice Roberts promised to just call balls and strikes and then he moved the bases."
Bleh. You just disagree with the call.  I hate this sort of political posturing. It's not the massiveness of the congressional record that makes a statute constitutional. It's fitting within the Constitution.

Specter is acting as if the question at the confirmation hearing was: If we put a really, really huge number of words into the record, do you promise to let us do anything we want? And the answer was: Yes, of course. When I see a lot of pages, I always think, wow, that must be true.

89 comments:

HDHouse said...

That's a pretty silly observation. I'm just not saying who made it.

Lance said...

Talk about a bitter clinger.

Gov98 said...

Isn't there something completely pitiful about this, I mean really, Arlen Specter lecturing anyone about committment, oaths, whatever, is just revolting.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Lem said...

Ignoring a massive congressional record..

His own massive record as a republican was not enough to keep him from switching (in a self-preserving move) parties.. the pot calling the kettle black.

Lem said...

..he was a democrat b4 switching to republican and then back again I think.. I might be wrong.

Rialby said...

Roberts and Alito clearly need to bone up on Scottish Law.

Ankur said...

the phrase "judicial activism" has always been code for "call I disagree with" - regardless of who makes the call.

I am glad the democrats are using that canard now. Maybe, by both parties using it, that stupidity can be laid to rest.

Ankur said...

Just like DADT can now hopefully be retired from the 'wedge issue' list.

Alex Ignatiev said...

I thought that the presumption was that if Congress passed a bill and delivered it to the President, then at least those members who voted for it THOUGHT it was constitutional. Arlen needs to re-read Marbury v. Madison, like I do every year right before I teach it. It's a profound statement of our first principals of judicial decisionmaking.

SteveR said...

Specter's opinion and $1.35 will get you a medium coffee at McDonalds.

HDHouse said...

Ankur said...
the phrase "judicial activism" ..
I am glad the democrats are using that canard now."

Will use it only if the republicans are finished with it and haven't over-used it to the point of being meaningless ...

Besides Mrssr. B and A are far too hoiti toiti to be, let alone accept, being labeled let alone identified.

AllenS said...

That last sentence made me dizzy.

Leland said...

A hypocrit accuses others of violating an oath. Not like we couldn't have seen that coming.

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, Arlen... oh wait, you did. No, no, no... out the door you go. We, the people, really mean it this time.

edutcher said...

He was a very good DA in Philadelphia - he and Frank Rizzo were a great crime-busting team and made Center City a place where you could shop and work safely.

Now that he's a Demo, he feels he has to go along with the script. It's been his downfall most of his life.

Ankur said...

Just like DADT can now hopefully be retired from the 'wedge issue' list.

Just like abortion...

Cedarford said...

"Snarlin' Arlen" was rejected by voters of both Parties. An old man bitterly clinging to power and obsessed with a self-perceived sense of importance.

He was also one of the least liked and respected Senators in each of the "polls" done on Capital Hill over the last 20 years.

He is now an irrelevancy.

Don't let the door hit you on the ass, Arlen. (Though it is thought he will have to be dragged out of his offices on his last day still screaming about the 'Unitary Executive' and other pet Arlen issues.)

People are right to laugh at Minnesota for 'giving' us Al Franken, and Kentucky for the now blessedly departed Jim Bunning. California for Boxer.

But is there anything more pathetic than bitter clinger Specter? Pennsylvanians deserve a hoot of derision for having put this bozo in office so long, too.
Minnesota still leads in the nutty, though, thanks to the Jesse Ventura-Franken double whammy.

EDH said...

In his final speech on the Senate floor, Specter, the former GOP chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, chastised Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito for "eroding the constitutional mandate of separation of powers."

Last time I checked, two justices did not comprise a majority of SCOTUS.

AJ Lynch said...

Good riddance to bad trash.

AJ Lynch said...

As a Pennsy resident, I believe Arlen cared mostly about his govt paycheck and Senatorial megaphone and his two sons on the govt teat for more than a few years. Arlen believes in nothing from a policy standpoint- he is Bill Clinton but without the charm.

Richard said...

Who's Arlen Specter?

The Drill SGT said...

HDHouse said...
That's a pretty silly observation. I'm just not saying who made it.


true

When I see a lot of pages, I always think, wow, that must be true.

The guiding principle of the 111th Congress. Pile pages higher and deeper, don't read the bill, don't let the public read it and force a vote soonest, except for those things which the Constitution mandates... drag them out

Marshal said...

Advertising undermines one person one vote? Do these idiots even try to make sense?

Marshal said...

"Ankur said...
the phrase "judicial activism" has always been code for "call I disagree with" - regardless of who makes the call."

And this is code for "the constitution means whatever I think it should mean."

traditionalguy said...

That is Arlen Specter in full. He has used a air of authority that he does not have to order people around all of his career. In fact his career has been a cunning playing of the stronger positioned group's case against the weaker positioned group's case hoping to run out the clock. Now he moans that his tricks failed and he lost.

Paul Zrimsek said...

the phrase "judicial activism" has always been code for "call I disagree with" - regardless of who makes the call.

Always? There are lots of possible reasons for disagreeing with judicial decisions, and only some of them involve accusing the judge of exceeding his authority to further a policy preference.

PaulV said...

no respect here for the single bullet theory

DADvocate said...

Arlen Specter accusing someone else of violating their oath of office?

Bwahaahahahahahahahahahah!!!

Congress and Specter has shown little, if any, respect for the Constitution.

ken in sc said...

Under the 1st amendment, Mr. Specter has to right to say what he thinks. However, if he said this in court, I think it would grounds for contempt.

Pogo said...

"...Yes, of course. When I see a lot of pages, I always think, wow, that must be true."

Zing! One of the best Althouse retorts evar.

Lawdy.

lgv said...

If we put a really, really huge number of words into the record, do you promise to let us do anything we want? And the answer was: Yes, of course. When I see a lot of pages, I always think, wow, that must be true.

Nice. I'd rate it an eleven on the snark scale.

Paul Brinkley said...

I'd like to accuse Specter of having been a Congressman.

Really, it's a shorter way of saying the same thing.

David said...

Scalia has it right.

Interpret the language of the statute without so-called legislative history.

Pogo said...

Arlen, a specter.

Paul Zrimsek said...

"Are you the Specter whose going was foretold to me?" asked Scrooge.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Arlen Expectorate

AllenS said...

There is no better example of what is wrong with our politicians. From either party.

dbp said...

Arlen is under the mistaken impression that anyone takes him seriously anymore.

Kind of sad really.

Luke Lea said...

So Ann thinks Corporations are political persons? If so they are like socio-pathological persons, without conscience, feeling,memory, empathy, patriotism, or anything beyond a selfish regard for their own bottom lines. They are creatures of the State yet utterly lacking in regard to the state. This ruling is on a par with the Dred Scott decision: by giving rights to artificial person it destroys the rights of real flesh and blood. We may be headed for a new Civil War.

Sigivald said...

permit corporations and unions to secretly pay for political advertising

Specter is so disingenuous here that it actually disgusts me - and that's pretty impressive, since the normal gyrations of politicians are something I'm inured to pretty deeply.

Citizens United wasn't "secretly" paying for "political advertising", it was quite openly showing a hostile documentary.

The idea that the State should be able to ban speech about a politician (the decision was, after all, over a documentary about Hillary Clinton) because of the identity of the speaker should disgust anyone who claims to love free speech or liberty.

The ability to speak about the political class, especially negatively, if as close to the core of the First Amendment as anything is - and the idea that said speech should have to be non-anonymous and can't ever be from a group is anathematic to both the wording of the First Amendment - which mentions no such requirements - and to the spirit of the Founders, many of whom themselves wrote anonymously on political issues.

Ideas, you see, Mr. Specter, do not gather their validity from the identity of the speaker.

Then again, this is Arlen Specter we're talking about.

former law student said...

Roberts and Alito are Specter's Elizabeth Edwards. Will they apologize on their deathbeds?

Flight-ER-Doc said...

And when, exactly, did Specter uphold HIS oath of office? How about the pledge he made to the last group of morons that elected him, as a Republican?

What a piece of ....

Pogo said...

Luke Lea has been spending too much time on teh internets, quaffing the liberal juices.

And now he's gone and memorized a talking point, thinking it meaningful or original, rather than tired and long ago refuted handily.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Say what you will about Specter, he at least was never goose enough to suggest that anyone's First Amendment rights should depend on whether or not Luke Lea thinks they have enough empathy.

Old Dad said...

Agreed to feed my brother's dog over the holiday.

Damned if I'll pick up the Arlen Specter's, though.

caplight said...

Specter is just lining up speaking engagements with interest groups and progressives to help him fund the Arlen Specter Center at some university.

MadisonMan said...

Why Former Republican? I mean, I know it's true, but it's an interesting way to label him, IMO.

(I would have said Political Opportunist).

former law student said...

Hmm... Specter is an older, white Pennsylvania male suddenly out of work after a lifetime. Somebody buy him a firearm to cling to on the way to shul.

AJ Lynch said...

Ten minutes after Specter croaks, no one will be able to recite even a single significant contribution he made to the country. With one exception: his Warren Commission single-bullet theory.

Beldar said...

This was a last gasp from a pathetic, small-minded has-been.

CNN quotes Specter as referring to a "basic Democratic principle of the power of one person, one vote."

Someone needs to 'splain to them that notwithstanding Specter's party-switch, that reference only makes any sense if it's transcribed as a small-d "democratic principle," not as a capital-D (possibly trademarked?) bit of intellectual property belonging to the Democratic Party. CNN's basic copy-editing is almost bad as Specter's temperament.

Unless this is a new Super-Precedent, and henceforth and forever after "one person, one vote" is now a principle that Republicans are forbidden to discuss or embrace.

Original Mike said...

He was always cut out to be king. Too bad he was born in the wrong century.

Beldar said...

(BTW, in Texas we Republicans are pretty content with, and committed to, the basic concept of "one person, one vote" -- in no small part because our state is about to gain four more congressional seats as a result of the 2010 Census.)

Michael said...

Luke Lea: I will pray tonight that the evil corporations in which your retirement accounts reside go belly up.

Beldar said...

@ MadisonMan (12/21/10 4:40 PM): Why say "political opportunist" when "whore" is so much more succinct and powerful?

Skyler said...

This was the type of man that the republican party so admires, and still admires.

Daniel Fielding said...

Old dude is angry that his Senatorial career is over, that he was pushed out, very much against his will, so this is Arlen Specter's version of a the hissy fit.

CrankyProfessor said...

Poster geezer for TERM LIMITS. Older than my PARENTS, and I'm 48.

DADvocate said...

It seems Mr. Specter has earned the disrespect of people from all walks of political thought. Despite the occasional barbs, I don't think I've seen more agreement from commenters here on a single person/issue. Quite an accomplishment by a man who fully deserves it.

Alcuria said...

Ahh, "Not Proven" Specter.

I remember reading Robert Bork's The Tempting of America when he recounted discussing legal matters and concepts with Specter both during the public hearings and outside of the hearings. You can't help but come away with the conclusion that Judge Bork thought Specter was a buffoon.

Methadras said...

The cancer didn't do a good enough job, Arlen. Drop dead you fucking traitor.

c3 said...

searching for a legacy (and maybe a paycheck)

I note he didn't mention Justice Thomas. Maybe this is penance for this

Luke Lea said...

Pogo:

"Pogo said...

Luke Lea has been spending too much time on teh internets, quaffing the liberal juices.

And now he's gone and memorized a talking point, thinking it meaningful or original, rather than tired and long ago refuted handily."

If Pogo can point me, and other readers, to a credible refutation I would be happy to withdraw my remarks.

Til then I prefer to think of Corporations as wild animals: they need to be caged. (Which is not the same thing as saying they need to be destroyed, btw: I think corporations do great things when they are kept within bounds. It's all about rules.)

So Pogo, give us some links. Thanks.

Revenant said...

thus effectively undermining the basic Democratic principle of the power of one person, one vote

I was tempted to ask what the reasoning behind the above statement is, but then I remembered Specter's career is over and I don't have to care what his opinion is anymore.

Revenant said...

So Ann thinks Corporations are political persons?

Corporations cannot speak. They can't write, they can't talk, they can't express an opinion in any way. They have no mouth, no hands and no ears. So what, exactly, was the point of a law forbidding corporations from engaging in political speech? They CAN'T engage in political speech. They are physically incapable of it.

Ah, you say, but their employees can. The people they hire can.

Why, yes. Those people can, indeed, engage in political speech. That's their constitutional right. And they don't forfeit from nine to five on weekdays.

Luke Lea said...

One more thing, Pogo: I don't read liberal blogs. They are all so boring.

Maguro said...

Not sure how anyone can defend the government's position in Citizen's United unless they're OK with government regulation of all corporate political speech from NYT Op-Eds to SNL Sarah Palin skits and political movies like Ollie Stone's "W". If the government has the right to clamp down on all that stuff, the First Amendment is pretty meaningless.

Jess said...

Althouse said: Yes, of course. When I see a lot of pages, I always think, wow, that must be true.

This is how we can tell you're not congressional material. If you were, you'd see a lot of pages and think "nom, nom"

Luke Lea said...

A final word to my conservative friends on the sociopathic nature of joint stock companies, from a Milton Friedman admirer:

The only thing you need to know is that in order to survive in the marketplace corporations not only will but must do anything that is legal to make as much money as possible. Those that don't are either run out of business or taken over by their competitors.

Thus as long as they are free to invest in low-wage countries like China, use offshore tax havens, make and destroy politicians, and even exploit illegal immigrants with impunity, they will do it even to the ruin of the country that gives them the license to do so.

This is true whether or not the men (and women) who run these corporations are sociopaths themselves.

Hagar said...

Some dis-elected pols go away gracefully; many don't.

Peano said...

Arlen Specter, Bob Bennett ... the Old Bulls really don't take it well when their hoggish careers are finally and deservedly ended by the voters. Good riddance to the spiteful, sputtering old bastards.

Hercules would have to divert the Potomac to clean out the stables they've been fouling for decades.

Paul Zrimsek said...

The corporations are in their corporate offices, being all corporationy!

Revenant said...

A final word to my conservative friends on the sociopathic nature of joint stock companies

You don't appear to know what the word "sociopathic" actually means. Maybe you meant to say "amoral"?

vnjagvet said...

Arlen thinks at the bottom of his black little heart that the CItizens United case is what did him in. That's why the outburst against Roberts and Alito.

But the voters of Pennsylvania did him in. They were tired of his willingness to slither from Dem to RINO to Dem as the political winds blew. He got caught in his own web of deceit and deserves the calumny which will be heaped upon him.

Word Ver -- Saphica. But I won't ask if you don't tell.

Simon Kenton said...

""...Yes, of course. When I see a lot of pages, I always think, wow, that must be true." I always think of Jarndyce v Jarndyce: "There was not truth enough in all the world to fill the volume of such a brief."

hombre said...

Specter was a pompous exponent of douchebaggery when he was a D.A. and he's a pompous exponent of douchebaggery now.

why would anybody care what he thinks?

Trooper York said...

Richard said...
Who's Arlen Specter?

He is the head of a nefarious organization that bears his name that is bent on world domination but is laughably inept.

Often foiled by James Bond.

murgatroyd666 said...

The only thing you need to know is that in order to survive in the government, politicians not only will but must do anything to amass as much power as possible. Those that don't are either run out of office or rendered impotent by their competitors.

Thus as long as they are free to enact legislation that restricts basic freedoms, utter gross falsehoods in the halls of Congress, plunder the resources of taxpayers, and even exploit illegal immigrants with impunity, they will do it even to the ruin of the country that gives them the license to do so.

This is true whether or not the men and women who run for office are sociopaths themselves.

donttread2010 said...

@hombre

"Specter was a pompous exponent of douchebaggery when he was a D.A. and he's a pompous exponent of douchebaggery now.

why would anybody care what he thinks?"

Indeed. Arlen Specter, now bloviating for the D's, formerly of the R's.....

dave in boca said...

Nasty old clinger whose hairplugs obviously ate into his brain. Good to see his back going out the door and don't let it back on his butt as he leaves.

Bitter old turncoat [twice] and the ONLY thing good about him is that he was born in Bob Dole's hometown, Russell, KS.

SGT Ted said...

If so they are like socio-pathological persons, without conscience, feeling,memory, empathy, patriotism, or anything beyond a selfish regard for their own bottom lines.

Kinda like leftists. But we let them vote too. so fair's fair.

damikesc said...

Weren't unions exempt from McCain-Feingold anyway?

And why should the NYT, which is a large corporation, get rights that, say, Darden Restaurants doesn't?

And why should GE have rights, due to their ownership of NBC, that other mega corporations do not have?

Comrade X said...

So according to Luke Lea, when people use their First Amendment right to freedom of association, they lose their First Amendment right to freedom of speech. Sorry fascist, no deal.

Big Mike said...

@Luke, is there a point at which you plan to grow up and live in the real world? Just askin'

Comrade X said...

According to Luke Lea, the Democrat Party, a corporation, is a wild animal that needs to be caged and STFU.

Fred4Pres said...

F4P accuses Arlen Specter of being a dick.

Comrade X said...

Arlen Specter, along with Barbara Bronfman of the Seagrams fortune, helped Ira Einhorn, the Unicorn Murderer, escape justice for the murder of Holly Maddux.

And France finally found a Jew they didn't want to ship off to be executed. Einhorn is fortunate he wasn't wanted by Germany.

rocketeer67 said...

People are right to laugh at Minnesota for 'giving' us Al Franken, and Kentucky for the now blessedly departed Jim Bunning. California for Boxer.

God Bless Kentucky for McConnell, and for Bunning, too. Despite all the catcalls for the two, if it weren't for McConnell's skill in keeping the caucus together and Bunning asking "how the hell do we pay for it?" at an inconvenient moment we might be in a far worse place than the very bad one we're in.

Martin said...

I've seen this kind of s**t a zillion times over the years---our legislative big-brains think that if they stick some "findings" in the front of a bill, regardless of whether said findings have any basis in reality, they can then do whatever they feel like.

Really, there are so few good ones, if we purged them all the collateral damage would be tiny...

Real Debate said...

What exactly did Specter do when he switched parties? Twice.

Eric said...

It's a big field, but Snarlin' Arlen might actually be the worst Senator to have held office during my lifetime. Stay classy, buddy. Just stay out of government.

Luke Lea said...

To judge by their reactions, it appears that most of the commenters on this thread, so far from being reasoned conservatives, are partisan fiends.

Is there not a single one of Ann's fans who can see the logic of my warning?
Or that the argument applies only to for-profit joint stock companies, not to corporations in general?

And for you lawyers out there -- this includes you, Ann -- don't you see the mischief in the Supreme Court's unnecessarily extending its ruling to cover for-profit corporations when Citizens United was itself a non-profit?

One commenter suggested I use the world "amoral" instead of "sociopathic" to characterize the nature of (for profit) corporations. O.k. But how does that change the argument in so far as the welfare of our society is concerned.

And keep in mind, I think for-profit joint-stock companies play an essential role in organizing capital investment in a market economy.

I am not a lefty. I believe in capitalism. I believe in markets. Free markets are the only efficient way to allocate capital resources for the maximum satisfaction of human wants.

I might even favor free trade and open borders if we lived in a world in which all countries were equally developed. But unfortunately we don't. Maybe in a hundred years. Meanwhile it is wrong to push the American people back down into the hell-hole of underdevelopment from which we have climbed.