Today's Blogs

The “Faith Card”

Bloggers, spurred by a debate between Professor Stephen Bainbridgeand Reason’s Cathy Young, discuss the “faith card” and judicial nominees. Anti-war bloggers cheer the last word on WMD, and gun lovers spar with gun-control advocates over a new Florida law.

The “faith card”: Yesterday, Reason’s Cathy Young critiqued the conservative strategy of characterizing Democratic opposition to Bush’s judicial nominees as “anti-religious bigotry comparable to ‘racial bias.’ ” (Update, April 27: Young’s column originally ran in the Boston Globe.) She wrote, “The conservatives’ stance eerily mirrors the left-wing shibboleth that opposition to race-based preferences in hiring or education is racist. … If faith-based ideas deserve equal opportunity in the public arena, they must be equally open to criticism and rejection.” Arguing that Young overlooked “disparate impact,” a key legal standard, UCLA’s Professor Bainbridge, disagreed: “The Democrat litmus test for judges has a disparate impact on devout Catholic and Evangelical nominees for judicial office, which is a perfectly appropriate ground for criticizing that litmus test.”

Responding on Reason’s blog Hit & Run, Young retorts, “If the Democrats were refusing to confirm someone as, say, Secretary of Agriculture based on his or her anti-abortion zealotry, that would be mere prejudice. However, protecting the legal right to abortion is – for better or worse – a key part of the Democrats’ political agenda. Thus, disqualifying judges who not only oppose abortion but passionately advocate its banning is, from their perspective, directly job-related.” Law professor Eugene Volokh sides with Young: “As best I can tell, the [Democratic] Senators care about the nominee’s politics, ideology on contested legal questions, and likely future votes on such questions, not about the nominee’s religion.” New World Man’s Matt Barr doesn’t, saying that for most judges, views on abortion don’t matter: “Lower federal courts (and state courts, for that matter) have an obligation to adhere to Supreme Court precedent. … So, as a matter of fact … a lower federal court nominee’s personal view of the constitutionality of abortion rights is completely irrelevant to their job.” “Socially liberal, fiscally conservative technologist” Richard Bennett of Mossback Culture points out, “Bainbridge doesn’t seem to realize that by invoking disparate impact he proves Young’s point that the right is aping the victim politics of the left.”

Read more about the debate between Young and Bainbridge.

Nope, no WMD: The last installment of the Duelfer report claims that there’s no proof that Syria had helped Saddam Hussein hide WMD.

Liberals feel vindicated. “I’m sure there’s lots of red faces in wingnutville tonight. But they can all atone by enlisting in the Army or Marines. It’s bad form to let others suffer for your own mistakes,” gloats über-Democratic Daily Kos. Ryan Oddey of That’s Another Fine Mess tut-tuts: “To this day, I find it amazing that no one was fired or resigned because of these failures, but then again, the GOP has never been good at accountability, or even giving off the appearance of accountability.” Liberal Happy Furry Puppy Story Time with Norbizness snarks, “Is a monthly story about WMD still not being found now on par with Generalissimo Francisco Franco still being dead? I suppose that the news is that they weren’t moved to Syria, rendering a vast new swath of the reactionary, basement-dwelling foreign policy experts irrelevant. … Epistemologically speaking, it’s like wondering what God does with all those letters that children send him.” Manhattan conservative The Urban Grind isn’t impressed by the news: “What was the President to do when he had intelligence stating that Iraq had WMD? Nothing? After we were attacked, no less? What moonbats won’t comprehend is that this invasion was nothing more than a continuation of the initial Gulf War.”

Read more about the new WMD report.

Guns, tans, and steel: Florida Gov. Jeb Bush today signed the “Castle Doctrine,” a law that relaxes the standards under which one can use deadly force in self-defense. “Common sense is slowly returning to our gun laws, and crime is going down. Maybe the Brits should take note!” rejoicesOpinions? …We Don’t Need No Stinking Opinions. Last week, Harkonnendogat The Unpaid Punditry Corps, a blog dedicated to “multi-partisanship,” compared gun control in Britain and America: “England’s overly civilized way encourages the barbarians, whereas Florida’s overly barbarous way encourages gentlemanly behavior. An armed society is a polite society.”

“I can think of a few people who will not be vacationing in Florida. Might as well vacation in Iraq,” groans self-described “aging peace activist” Tram on Aquarian Conspirators. “I understand and can agree with the spirit of the law, but the general way it will be implemented scares the hell out of me,” writes a government employee living in Washington, D.C., on Mainstream Shadows.

Read more about Florida’s new gun law.

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