As seems increasingly to be the case, important stories keep rushing past without enough notice. Consider this column a mea culpa for not writing about them in timely enough fashion.
Obama-Holder DoJ Embarrassed Again: At this magazine and elsewhere I've written numerous times about the case in Kinston, N.C., in which Eric Holder's Justice Department effectively told the black-majority residents that they weren't smart enough to know their own interests -- specifically, that they could not move to nonpartisan municipal elections because they couldn't elect their "candidate of choice" if the candidate were not identified as a Democrat. The decision was so outrageous -- quite literally, indefensible -- that a challenge to it seemed like a perfect vehicle for the Supreme Court to overturn the entirety of the outdated Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires DoJ "pre-clearance" for any change in election procedures in only certain states and jurisdictions.
Two weeks ago, the Holderites were forced into ignominious, but well-merited, retreat. As whistleblower extraordinaire J. Christian Adams explains, "This is a message for all the states and counties being played with by Eric Holder's Voting Section -- fight back."
Yes, fight, fight, fight against the bullying and lawlessness of the Holder team. The outlaws are in charge of the Justice Department, and their outrages must not stand.
Buffalo Case Might Help FDNY: In another case we've been following, the Justice Department has ignored the logic of the Ricci v. DeStefano case to try to force the Fire Department of New York to adopt racial quotas while admitting some applicants who missed as many as 70 percent of the questions on a fire academy entrance exam. As that case continues, however, a decision in a Buffalo case last week suggests again that the comparable DoJ position in the FDNY case is on thin ice. As well it should be, because it is not just wrongheaded but utterly immoral in its unapologetic racialism.
An "infrastructure" bill that may actually be conservative: Red State's Erick Erickson may not agree, but if even the super-conservative Rep. Jim Jordan is leaning in favor of it, and if all the claims for it on Speaker John Boehner's site (no earmarks; no increase in debt; etc.) are accurate, and with it earning committee approval on a party-line vote (all Republicans for and all Democrats against), those are pretty good indicators that this is exactly the sort of bill conservatives ought to support. I haven't had time to fully study the bill, but -- especially with its promotion of domestic energy and its elimination of 70 duplicative federal programs -- this certainly looks like a major step in the right direction. It is important to fund the federal highway system; for once, conservatives in Congress seem to be doing it the right way.
The Utter Abomination of the Ninth Circuit's Homosexual "Marriage" Decision: There are so many objectionable facets of the case's progress so far that it's hard to know where to start. Even ignoring the subject matter itself, about which some good people disagree, this whole thing smells to high heaven. First, the very idea of overriding not a state legislature but a state referendum -- in other words, to tell the people of a state that even by an open public vote they cannot set the terms of their own state Constitution -- is incredibly problematic. Only on a clear-cut, unambiguous violation of human and civil rights should federal judges dare such a thing. Instead, California's voters did nothing more than reinstate the understanding of marriage that has applied for millennia and that matches that of almost every state in the union; how that public act, via referendum, can violate the U.S. Constitution is beyond the ken of ordinary human logic.
But the conflicts of interest among the judges in this suit are, if anything, even more astonishing than the substance of the decision. Ed Whelan at Bench Memos repeatedly has argued that the trial judge should have recused himself because of conflicts related to the judge's own longtime homosexual relationship. But, as Whelan and others have argued, one of the appellate judges has a major conflict as well. Hans von Spakovsky makes the case again here, which is well worth a read. In short, Judge Stephen Reinhardt's wife was, for all intents and purposes, a party to the case. Reinhardt should have recused himself -- indeed, his conflict is, if anything, even worse than that of trial judge Vaughn Walker.
Other Stuff: If only there were time to develop these thoughts, it's worth noting that A) The Indianapolis Colts would be crazy to let Peyton Manning go. They should trade down their top draft pick for another top-5 pick plus another first rounder, shore up their run-blocking and their defense, and then and only then worry about an eventual heir to Manning. B) Sticking with Manning, it's not fair to say Eli Manning has now somehow shown he is better than Peyton, just because he has won one more Super Bowl. They both are superb. But Eli has had the benefit of an amazingly good defense; Peyton usually has carried his whole team on his back (witness the 2-14 record without him), and rarely has had a defense the slightest bit better than the NFL average. C) Phil Mickelson just played one of the best rounds of golf I have ever seen, firing a 64 Sunday to win at Pebble Beach in far less than ideal scoring conditions. Wow. D) Barack Obama doesn't care one bit about religious freedom. His "compromise" on Friday on forcing religious organizations to participate in insurance that provides free contraception and abortifacients was cynical in the extreme (as many other people have noted) -- and, worse, it was an example of authoritarianism speeding up from a creep to a trot, on its way to a gallop.
Okay, enough for now. Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" at times seems very much on target. It was always burning, since the world's been turning…..