The Spectacle Blog

Happy 300th Ben Franklin

By on 1.17.06 | 3:08PM

"I have sometimes wish'd it had been my destiny to have been born two or three centuries hence," wrote Benjamin Franklin at the close of his life, near 1790, "for inventions of improvement are prolific, and beget more of their kind. The present progress is rapid. Many of great importance, now unthought of, will before that period be procured."

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Suicide Is Painless, Subjectively

By on 1.17.06 | 2:52PM

Poulos grants Justice Scalia his sensible definition of the phrase "legitimate medical purpose" but laments the cultural tendency toward legitimizing assisted suicide:

...we are making more of a culture of death with each passing year, and like it or not, a if a death-cultured definition of "legitimate medical purpose" has any meaning, it surely includes the prescription of drugs to produce death -- if that death is the desire of the patient. Every powerful force in the culture is pushing toward and reinforcing the definition of health as "the fulfilment of the desire of the patient."

Thankfully, though, words still have meaning and Scalia had Webster's at his side as he wrote his dissent:

Virtually every relevant source of authoritative meaning confirms that the phrase "legitimate medical purpose" does not include intentionally assisting suicide. "Medicine" refers to "[t]he science and art dealing with the prevention, cure, or alleviation of disease." Webster's Second 1527. ...

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Trent Lott

By on 1.17.06 | 1:30PM

Conservatives were holding their collective breath. Not to fear. Trent Lott is here... or at least running again. As if there were any question.

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A Ridiculous Majority Opinion…

By on 1.17.06 | 1:12PM

...calls for a ridiculous pun in the dissent. Scalia writes (pdf):

Since the Regulation does not run afowl (so to speak) of the Court's newly invented prohibition of "parroting"; and since the Directive represents the agency's own interpretation of that concededly valid regulation; the only question remaining is whether that interpretation is "plainly erroneous or inconsistent with the regulation"; otherwise, it is "controlling."

Get it? Afowl, parroting? Get it?

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Re: Federalism

By on 1.17.06 | 12:38PM

John, You criticize the liberals on the Court of inconsistency, if I read your comments below correctly. I agree that regarding home-grown marijuana as interstate commerce in Raich was quite a stretch. But do you also think that regulating a licit drug's "legitimate medical purpose" is outside the commerce clause?

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Federalism, But Only When We Feel Like It

By on 1.17.06 | 12:03PM

Surely, assisted suicide is a state issue: The federal government doesn't belong in the middle of a state-regulated doctor-patient relationship. Except the Court ruled in Gonzales v. Raich, the medical marijuana case, that the feds do indeed belong right there. I've only read summaries of the opinions so far, but it sounds like Thomas is spot on: Kennedy pretends to make a statutory ruling based on the Controlled Substances Act, but in fact makes a constitutional ruling at odds with Raich. (Thomas correctly dissented in Raich; Kennedy joined the majority.) O'Connor, at least, is a consistent federalist (whether or not the justification makes sense), but she's leaving the Court. Kennedy and the liberals are willing to check federal power when they feel like it, but only so long as they retain the veto and don't actually establish a general principle. The hubris is breathtaking.

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Supreme Swinger

By on 1.17.06 | 10:40AM

In our culture of death, much will be written about the Supreme Court's 6-3 upholding of Oregon's assisted suicide fetish. Among other things, though, it signaled who the successor to Sandra Day O'Connor will be: none other than Anthony Kennedy, who jumped at the chance to make his presence felt as "a more influential swing voter after O'Connor's departure," as the AP put it in its initial report. Yet another reminder that the real shift in the court's balance won't come unless President Bush can make a third binding appointment.

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Roberts Comes Through

By on 1.17.06 | 9:54AM

We've seen him performing well during oral arguments, but in his first major decision, Chief Justice John Roberts joined Justices Scalia and Thomas in dissenting against the Court decision upholding the Oregon assisted suicide law. The opinions aren't posted yet, but it looks like we'll be treated to another great Scalia dissent.

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He Speaks So Well

By on 1.17.06 | 9:00AM

Hopefully Mayor Nagin won't be teaching English to the chirrun on Nawlins' (more from that CNN story linked above):

"You can't have New Orleans no other way."

"I don't care what people are saying Uptown or wherever they are. This city will be chocolate at the end of the day," Nagin said in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech. "This city will be a majority African-American city. It's the way God wants it to be."...

"How do you make chocolate? You take dark chocolate, you mix it with white milk, and it becomes a delicious drink. That is the chocolate I am talking about," he said.

"New Orleans was a chocolate city before Katrina. It is going to be a chocolate city after. How is that divisive? It is white and black working together, coming together and making something special."

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“Chocolate” NOLA Preempts Judge

By on 1.17.06 | 8:58AM

Mark Gauvreau Judge won't be joining Laura Ingraham after all today -- Ray Nagin's call for a "chocolate" New Orleans (that's a city with a black majority, apparently) is taking precedent.

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