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July 15, 2005
Dafydd: Who's Your Daddy?

As the Captain reported below, a power-mad three-judge panel of the D.C. circuit has made a dreadful ruling.

What the hell you been smoking, ab Hugh? The Hamdan ruling was incredibly good! We need those military tribunals to --

Not THAT ruling, you nitwit! I'm talking about the ruling that upheld Judge Kollar-Kotelly's ruling that the FEC had to start regulating blogs and other internet "communication" under the McCain-Feingold "Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act," treating them not like the sainted "exempt media" (the MSM), but rather as if blogs were the equivalent of political ads... forbidding us from blogging about candidates within sixty days of an election, for example, without having our posts being assigned a dollar value and counted as "contributions" to a campaign. This would presumably mean that if I posted about the 2006 race and urged Santorum to be reelected, and if my insights were deemed to be so brilliant as to be worth more than $2000, then I could be arrested or at least fined for making illegal campaign contributions.

That is the ruling I'm discussing now.

Oh, you mean the Shays-Meehan ruling.... Never mind!

All this was covered by the Captain; but I think it important to make it brutally clear who is looking out for us, and contrariwise, who is looking to screw us.

Let's start with the latter; and let's begin with today's ruling and work backwards.

The D.C. Circus decision was not unanimous; it was 2-1. According to AP, the two judges voting in the majority to uphold Kollar-Kotelly (and force the FEC to regulate blogs) were Judge David Tatel and Judge Harry Edwards.

Here is a resource you should bookmark: Judges of the United States Courts. You can look up any federal judge, including some retired judges, and find out his background, who appointed him to the bench, and when he was confirmed.

David Tatel graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1966. From 1969 to 1970, he was executive director of the Chicago Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. From 1972 to 1974, he was merely a director of the same group. Finally, he was Director of the Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare under Jimmy Carter, from 1977-1979. In between these, he was in private practice in Chicago until his appointment to the bench.

Tatel was nomianted to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals (he was never a judge before that) by William Jefferson Clinton in 1994 and confirmed by the Democratic-controlled senate that same year.

Judge Harry Edwards graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1965. After some private practice, also in Chicago -- I wonder if he knew David Tatel? -- he was a law professor at U of M Law School for five years, then at Harvard for two, then back at UM for three more. During this time, he also served as a "labor arbitrator;" and as chairman of the board for the National Railroad Passenger Corporation -- which us lowly mortals would probably better recognize as Amtrak. "A for-profit company that has never been profitable, Amtrak is almost wholly owned by the US Department of Transportation and receives large subsidies from the federal government," according to Hoovers business researchers.

Edwards was nominated to the D.C. Court of Appeals -- also after never having been a judge before, unless you count his stint as an arbitrator -- by James Earl Carter in 1979 and was confirmed by the Democratic-controlled senate in 1980.

I think it fair to say that both Judge Tatel and Judge Edwards are Democrats and leftists who have spent their careers on the Carter side of the fence.

But what about the dissenter, Karen Henderson? The lone voice to vote against this regulation? She held that the congressmen who filed the original lawsuit to force regulation did not have "legal standing" to do so.

Karen LeCraft Henderson graduated from University of North Carolina School of Law in 1969. She was South Carolina's assistant state attorney general from 1973 to 1978, after which she was elevated to senior assistant state attorney general, director of the Special Litigation Section, from 1978 to 1982. That year, she rose to deputy state attorney general, director of the Criminal Division, from 1982-1983.

In other words, she was basically a prosecutor statewide for a decade. After private practice in South Carolina, she was first elevated to the U. S. District Court for the District of South Carolina by Ronald Wilson Reagan in 1986, and confirmed by the Republican-controlled senate that same year. In 1990, George Herbert Walker Bush nominated her to the D.C. Circuit Court, to which she was confirmed (to be fair, here) by the Democratic-controlled senate a month and a half later. Henderson was a protge of Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC), according to liberal columnist Al Hunt writing for the Wall Street Journal.

I think it fair to conclude that Judge Henderson is a Republican and probably fairly conservative.

But wait... what about the original judge who decided the lawsuit by finding that blogs and other internet communications needed to be regulated by the FEC?

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly was appointed to the D.C. District Court by Bill Clinton in 1997, and (to be fair) confirmed by the Republican-controlled senate that same year. Again, Clinton was not particularly known for nominating Republicans to the bench, so I will conclude that Judge Kollar-Kotelly is a liberal Democrat.

How about the original lawsuit itself? It was filed by the two House sponsors of the BCRA: Rep. Martin Meehan (D-MA) and Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT). As we can see, one is a Democrat, the other a Republican.

But what are their actual political leanings? After all, not every Democrat is liberal and not every Republican is conservative. A good way to judge is by looking at the ratings given a politician by Project Vote Smart of Americans For Democratic Action, a very, very, very liberal group.

Rep. Martin Meehan has a 100% rating from the ADA, meaning he voted with the ADA on every vote that they considered... the same as Teddy Kennedy and Barney Frank.

But what about the Republican, Christopher Shays? Connecticut has five representatives, two Dems and three Repubs. Of the three Republican members of the CT delegation, Chris Shays is by far the most liberal, with a solid 70% rating from the ADA; the other two Republicans, Rob Simmons and Nancy Johnson, have 55% and 45% respectively.

In fact, it eventuates that Chris Shays is the single most liberal Republican in either body of the United States Congress.

No other Republican in the House of Representatives even comes close; none rises above 55%. The only Republican in either body who comes close to Shay's liberal rating on the ADA list is a senator: Olympia Snowe of Maine; but even she has only a 65% rating. The supposedly liberal Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) has but a measley 55%.

I think it quite fair to conclude that the most liberal Republican member of Congress, with a 70% approval rating from the Americans for Democratic Action, is a liberal.

So we have a lawsuit to regulate the internet brought by a Democratic representative who is as liberal as it's possible to be, and by a Republican representative who is the most liberal Republican in either body of the Congress, decided by a liberal Democratic judge, and now affirmed by two liberal Democratic appellate-court judges (with a conservative Republican dissenting).

So now we know who is trying to screw us. But what about who is trying to save us?

The other important D.C. Circuit decision announced today, allowing military tribunals for terrorists at Gitmo to proceed, was unanimous: Judge Arthur Raymond Randolph was appointed by George Herbert Walker Bush in 1990; Judge Stephen Fain Williams was appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1986; and Judge John G. Roberts, jr was appointed by W in 2003.

I hope that answers the question of "who's your daddy."

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Posted by Dafydd at July 15, 2005 5:40 PM

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