The Locker Room

October 21, 2009

Re: Independent judiciary

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 5:20 PM

Troy,

In the following excerpt from a Carolina Journal Radio interview, Professor Gerber argues that a letter from John Adams helped prompt North Carolina to develop an independent judiciary.

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Yet another hoaxed hate crime?

Posted by Jon Sanders at 4:19 PM

I posit that as a question because it's difficult to tell from the news today how much of the crime just wasn't. Muddying the issue is that there are several guilty pleas already entered. It is enough, however, to wonder.

The essence of the matter today is that the alleged victim of horrific sexual torture in West Virginia has now come forward and said it never really happened. From the Charleston Gazette:

Seven people pleaded guilty for their part in abusing Megan Williams -- but now Williams says that abuse never happened.

She will hold a press conference Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio, to recant her claims of abuse, attorney Byron L. Potts, who represents Williams, told The Charleston Gazette on Tuesday night.

"She has decided she has been living this lie for approximately two years and she has decided to tell the truth," Potts said. "She fabricated the story and she did this in retaliation because she was having a relationship with one of them."

But former Logan County prosecutor Brian Abraham, who was in charge of the case, said no one ever went to jail because of Williams' statements.

Instead, Abraham said Tuesday night, he decided early in the case not to rely on Williams' statements, but on the physical evidence and the statements of the co-defendants.

"It's ironic to me that today she's saying she made all this up. At the time she was criticizing me for offering them plea agreements," Abraham said.

"This isn't to rejuvenate her 15 minutes of fame, but to regurgitate her 15 minutes of fame. Is she proposing to give back all the donations she got?" ...

"Each of [the defendants] made statements incriminating themselves and others. When you sat back and looked at it in its entirety, there was a pretty clear picture of what had taken place," Abraham said.

"As she got hooked up with her family and with additional handlers joined in, she continued to embellish. But we had her original statements that she gave. For the most part, they were consistent with what the co-defendants said happened." ...

See what I mean? One thing that the police decided not to trust Williams on was her allegations of racial slurs. Frankly, that was the aspect of the case — and its coverage — I found most baffling. As I wrote at the time,

But why in the name of all that's holy would you focus on the "hate crime" aspect of it? Talk about woefully misplaced priorities. She was allegedly kidnapped, raped, stabbed, molested, brutalized, tortured, enslaved, strangled, forced to eat animal feces, etc. — but out of all that, what really horrifies the AP was that she was called the n-word?

Similarly, what first caused me to suspect the notorious gang-rape allegations against the Duke lacrosse team was hearing the 911 call that set the whole sham in motion — an emergency call to report racial slurs being shouted from the house. In both cases, intuition said it is flat-out unnatural for someone physically assaulted and violated in unspeakable ways to be most upset about being called a bad word.

Both those incidents should be remembered in future reports, especially amid sensational allegations that can cause one to be so moved by sympathy and shock as to overlook suspect details. If, however, racial or other politics (remember the pro-Obama mugging hoax from Philadelphia?) overshadow the actual human suffering that must necessarily be taking place if the allegations are true, that alone should give thinking individuals pause toward lending them complete credence.

The hate hoax requires people to believe the worst about each other, which is why they are particularly odious. Just ask Duke and Durham about racial harmony torn apart by a widely believed but utterly false story about "violent, white, male, athletic privilege" and the "spirit of the lynch mob."

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Global TransPark misses again

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 3:13 PM

Boeing will not build the 787 Dreamliner in Kinston.

The News & Observer also questions "whether North Carolina was a legitimate contender this time, since state and local officials have kept quiet about any efforts to lure Boeing here, despite vocal lobbying in Washington state."

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Origins of an Independent Judiciary

Posted by Dr. Troy Kickler at 3:05 PM

Approximately two years ago, Law Professor Scott Gerber at Ohio Northern University delivered a lecture for the North Carolina History Project.  It was called "The Origins of an Independent Judiciary in North Carolina, 1663-1787." 

His idea has made it into pulished form in the North Carolina Law Review (September 2009).  Professor Gerber discusses the Bayard v. Singleton (when NC courts possibly became the first courts to practice judicial review and the Carolina Charter of 1663

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You might be a progressive if...

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 12:31 AM

...you are deeply disturbed by the fact that African Americans, who make up only 13 percent of the population, represent 42 percent of those on death row. On the other hand the fact that 35.5 percent of the aborted babies are black doesn't bother you at all.

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Re: Speaking of history

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:54 AM

Jon,

Thanks for your post, which prompted me to correct my spelling of "latter-day" and reminded me that R.B. Bernstein's book references Obama's use of the founders. (Since this book hit shelves in April, Bernstein highlights only Obama's campaign-era references to the founders. Still, the author had plenty of material to use.)

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Gun rights for nonviolent ex-felons

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:44 AM

Daren Bakst says a recent N.C. Supreme Court ruling should prompt legislators to change state laws regarding gun possession by nonviolent ex-felons. Read his report here, and click play below to hear his primary recommendation.

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Re: speaking of history

Posted by Jon Sanders at 11:30 AM

Mitch, you wrote of "the extent to which later-day politicians of various stripes tried to tie their policies to those of the founding generation."

Our current president is a practitioner ad nauseam of this tack, made more nauseating by the utter incompatibility between his politics and the Founders' ideals:

... how [Obama] has made that approach in the past — first by referencing the ideals of the Founders, then after having imitated the soaring rhetoric of past American luminaries, changing the focus to make it sound as if the next step for American liberty is to become a socialized nanny state.

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The "Radical" White House

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 11:06 AM

The Heritage Foundation's Morning Bell gets to the heart of the Obama White House operations here. The WH tactics are straight out of Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals.

We are in no way the first to point this out, but this Obama administration strategy is taken directly from the pages of Chicago community organizer Saul Alinsky’s book Rules for Radicals. It identifies thirteen rules for progressive activists including, “The thirteenth rule: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Explaining just how far progressives must be willing to go to marginalize their “enemies” Alinsky explains a few pages later:

Many liberals during our attack on the then-school superintendent, were pointing out that after all he wasn’t a 100 percent devil, he was a regular churchgoer, he was a good family man, and he was generous in his contributions to charity. Can you imagine in the arena of conflict charging that so-and-so is a racist bastard but then diluting the impact of the attack with qualifying remarks such as, “He is a good churchgoing man, generous to charity and a good husband”? This becomes political idiocy.

And the White House policy prescriptions are straight out of the Progressive playbook, contempt for average Americans and rule by experts.

This is why you have Obama’s Energy Secretary telling auto makers how they must build cars. This is why Obama’s health care plan empowers a panel of health care “experts” to reorganize one-sixth of our economy from the top down. Commonsense questions like, “Won’t our electricity bills go up if we mandate power companies use more expensive alternative energy sources?”, and “Won’t our health insurance premiums go up if everyone is charged the same price and nobody can be refused coverage?” can’t be tolerated. People voicing such criticisms must be isolated and silenced. That’s what the White House campaign the Politico identifies today is all about.

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Government funded abortions--the most convincing evidence

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 10:32 AM

President Obama has stated emphatically that the health care reform proposals being considered by Congress will not allow for government funding of abortion. But I think the most convincing evidence that the president might be being less than candid is not to be found in the detailed language of the legislation but in the fact that the pro-abortion movement has been completely silent on the issue. Does anyone think for a minute that groups like Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) would not be clamoring for changes in these bills if they--Obama supporters all--actually believed the President? Clearly these groups have no doubt that all of these bills in the House and Senate, either directly or indirectly through government subsidized insurance premiums, would allow for the government funding of abortions. It is only when they start opposing these bills that we can truly believe that money coming from the US Treasury will not be finding its way into the pockets of abortionists.

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Easley hearing details

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:25 AM

If you're wondering about the details of the upcoming State Board of Elections hearing involving former Gov. Mike Easley, WRAL's Cullen Browder provides some information.

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An amazing injustice here in Raleigh

Posted by George Leef at 08:02 AM

In this columnProfessor William Anderson, who frequently writes about abuse of the legal system to indict and convict people who haven't done any harm to anyone or even suspected they were acting in violation of any law, discusses a repugnant case that was tried in Raleigh. It involves a lawyer who has been sent to prison for 30 years because he made a series of deposits into his bank of amounts that were below the federal reporting threshold. A money laundering scheme of some strange sort? No. He just had a lot of legally earned cash in a home safe and wanted to put it somewhere more safe. Realizing that if he deposited the whole amount at once that would trigger potential legal trouble, he made a series of smaller deposits. Making a single such deposit is legal, but because he did it repeatedly, the prosecution claimed that he was in violation of the law. The jury bought the argument and the poor fellow will most likely spend the rest of his life in prison unless this is overturned on appeal.

Harvey Silverglate has a new book out entitled Three Felonies a Day in which he laments the extraordinary growth of prosecutorial power. Evidently, prosecutors like to play a game where they try to come up with plausible grounds for putting the most innocent of people on trial -- Mother Theresa, for instance. The law has become so vast and prosecutors have such great power (and often push far beyond their supposed limits anyway) that almost any American can now be convicted of some felony.

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Speaking of history

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:13 AM

Few topics in American history seem hotter these days than the study of the Founding Fathers. Should we revere them for their efforts to erect the framework of our more than two-century-old constitutional republic? Should we revile the “dead white males” for their unwillingness to erase America’s “original sin” of slavery?

R.B. Bernstein of the New York University Law School explores those questions in a brief volume, The Founding Fathers Reconsidered. While Bernstein appears to approach his subject matter from a left-of-center perspective (he has little use for “originalism,” for example), he is fair in discussing multiple viewpoints about the Founders.

One of Bernstein’s more interesting emphases is the extent to which latter-day politicians of various stripes tried to tie their policies to those of the founding generation:

Franklin D. Roosevelt, who embraced a pragmatic, experimental approach to the problems of government, regularly sought to align himself and his administration with the founding fathers. Roosevelt recognized that winning the battle for the warrant of history was an essential precondition to victory in the political battles of his own time. For these reasons, he insisted that he was merely being true to the founding fathers’ commitment to pragmatic experimentation.

Roosevelt’s greatest defeat as president came when he lost a key battle over which side was truer to the Constitution and the founding fathers. In 1937, after his landslide reelection, he decided to move against the one institution that continued to threaten the success of the New Deal — the Supreme Court. Roosevelt proposed to reorganize the Court. … The plan sparked a firestorm of criticism and controversy. Was Roosevelt seeking to undermine the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances that the founding fathers installed at the core of the Constitution? Or were the justices’ assertions of such principles as reasons to strike down New Deal legislation distortions and caricatures of the founding fathers’ original intent? … Ultimately, public opinion and the growing skepticism even of many of Roosevelt’s allies in Congress doomed the Court-packing plan. To many Americans, it appeared that Roosevelt had challenged the founding fathers, and lost.

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Time for a history lesson

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:11 AM

Jacob Weisberg tells us in the latest Newsweek:
What's most distinctive about the American press is not its freedom but its century-old tradition of independence—that it serves the public interest rather than those of parties, persuasions, or pressure groups. Media independence is a 20th-century innovation that has never fully taken root in many other countries that do have a free press. The Australian-British-continental model of politicized media that Murdoch has applied at Fox is un-American. …

As un-American as Thomas Jefferson? Alexander Hamilton? Any of the other “infamous scribblers” who helped found our constitutional republic?

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If college is oversold …

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:10 AM

… as George Leef has argued, then perhaps paying for three years of it makes more sense than four (or more) years.

Republican U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander discusses that three-year option in the latest Newsweek. Here’s what George had to say about the topic in a past Carolina Journal Radio interview.

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Newsweek makes some surprising admissions

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:09 AM

Editor Jon Meacham caught my attention this week with his admission that “We are a center-right nation politically and culturally.” Then Jonathan Alter got into the act with his assessment that “House Democrats in particular are to the left of the country as a whole.”

Wait a minute. If these Newsweek scribes realize that their preferred political candidates are out of step with the basic character of American society, does that mean they’re ready to change their tune?

Fear not. The nether regions have yet to freeze over. Later in the same issue, Newsweek leaves objectivity aside and goes to bat for Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Creigh Deeds, contrasting the “Aw, shucks,” “dyed-in-the-wool Southern Democrat” with “slick Republican” Bob McDonnell.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:57 AM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features David Koon's report on the revival of military history courses on college campuses.

John Hood's Daily Journal distinguishes dreams from fantasies.

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