SharksWithLasers -- Seth Cooper

A CUTTING-EDGE BLOG FOR THE WORLD OF THE 21st CENTURY, Currently operated by Seth L. Cooper, a 27 year-old attorney in Seattle (sethlcooper at comcast dot net)

Friday, July 08, 2005

FANTASTIC FLOP? TRY BATMAN. Jonathan V. Last's latest, "Battle of the Stars" (Daily Standard) provides us with the best quote of the day. Last discussing the new movie Fantastic Four:

FANTASTIC FOUR is superficial and stupid, the type of movie which bludgeons your intellect, your id, and your patience.

Ouch. Last goes so far as to proclaim an early-90s B-movie version of FF superior to than the new Hollywood release. After this stinging review, I'll be glad to save my money and avoid the theater. The Thing looked rather ridiculous in the movie previews for this new movie, anyway. Of course, every now and again I consent to see a lousy movie on DVD rental. So I can keep this in mind for that. (I've still not seen Battlefield Earth!)

That all being said, I have almost nothing but good things to say about Batman Begins. It was a relatively dark take on the Caped Crusader, but edgy and interesting. We're talking about a comic book movie, as we all know, but this film works. The story and action came though, avoiding a high cheeseball ranking. Sometimes having high-powered stars in supporting roles can be distracting--but that wasn't the case with Michael Cain and Morgan Freeman. Mild spoiler warning: I didn't quite buy Katie Holmes as the prosecutor. She looked too young to be a prosecutor BEFORE Bruce Wayne took off on a seven-year, self-imposed exile. This latest incarnation of Batman didn't have the quirky sense of humor from the Keaton-Nicholson-Burton film from a dozen years ago. But it was entertaining in its own right, as a new interpretation of the Batman legend. I plan on buying it on DVD.

One good comic book movie a summer is all that I ask. I'm going to pass on FF, but BB delivered the goods.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)

Thursday, July 07, 2005

SUPRME COURT ROUNDUP #2.

1. Judge Garza would be a SUPERB nominee to the Supreme Court. Jordan Cunningham of Democracy Market has a couple good posts (with pertinent links) about Judge Emilio Garza of the Fifth Circuit. I agree with Cunningham that Judge Garza would make a great appointment. It is likely that he will understand and take the war on terrorism seriously from the bench--and that could be very crucial to the successful prosecution of this war in the time ahead. Attorney General Gonzales certainly has such a respect for the President's war powers, but unlike Judge Garza, he would likely have to recuse himself as a Justice in some important prospective cases concerning the war.

2. Chief Justice William Rehnquist could resign at any time. Confirm Them has the latest on this, also linking to a new Robert Novak column that provides some insight. Chief Justice Rehnquist has been a solid jurist and I am grateful for his service. A resigation for the Chief will almost certainly change the dynamics of the situation. I tend to suspect the President will not seek to elevate one of the current Justices of the Court to Chief, but will instead appoint someone new.

3. James Na endorses Judge J. Michael Luttig--another great prospective choice for the Court. Na, of Guns and Butter Blog--and of whom I'm sad to say will be leaving Seattle soon--argues for Judge Luttig. Fine by me. Judge Luttig, of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, is young, has an impressive resume and his dissent in the Hamdi case shows that he takes the war on terror seriously.

4. Judge Alex Kozinski would be a wonderful addition to the Court, but I don't think it will (or should) happen. Cunningham also posts about the possibility of nominating Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' Judge Alex Kozinski (following up on a post by Prof. David Bernsteain at Volokh Conspiracy). I concur with Cunningham. I've met Judge Kozinski and heard him speak. He is indeed very thoughtful and just hillarious. Judge Kozinski also possesses an extraordinarly sharp legal mind. If the President were to nominate Judge Kozinksi, I would strongly support his confirmation. Nonetheless, he just doesn't make it near the top of my list.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)
TIME OUT. Time magazine has posted on its website something called "A Simplified Ideological Palette" describing the political orientation of the current members of the U.S. Supreme Court. The palette certainly is simple. (Simple as in stupid.)

Notice that Time describes the Court as comprised of "staunch conservative" (Chief Justice Rehnquist plus Justice Thomas and Scalia), with "moderate" liberals (Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Souter and Stevens) and one "moderate" conservative(Justice Kennedy) on the other side.

The palette gives a flavor of Time's political leanings in this matter: President Bush and the Republicans demand "staunch" judicial nominees (who probably have "deeply held beliefs") whereas Democrats and everyone else prefers "moderates."

Perhaps I should give Time credit. The palette seems to suggest that "staunch" liberals might, in theory, exist. What a concession!

I will not likely seek out Time's judicial confirmation coverage when I seek a fair and impartial news source on this matter.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

SUPREME COURT ROUNDUP. There's been countless articles, op-eds, and blog posts over the last few days suggesting who the next nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court should be and what we can all expect to have happen in the confirmation hearings. Since there's so much ELSE out there to read, I'll just make a few observations of my own.

1. The confirmation process and hearings to be ugly. (See Hugh Hewitt's Melody Townsell Gambit post.) No surprises here. Fortunately, New Media has a huge interest in this matter, and the composition of the federal judiciary has been a major issue of the last Presidential election and the last two Congressional elections--at least. The President should likely have a strong base of support for his nominee.

2. The confirmation process should should proceed swiftly and should NOT be delayed. This past weekend, Hewitt had a post discussing the possibility that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter will put the hearings on the slow track. This is a terrible idea and serves no purpose whatsoever except as to allow character assassins more time and put off other important legislative business while the confirmation process is ongoing.

3. Judge Janice Rogers Brown would be an EXCELLENT choice to succeed Justice O'Connor. Brendan Miniter gives Judge Brown an endorsement today in his most recent "The Western Front" Opinion Journal column. The folks at Powerline have also been carrying the banner for Judge Brown. I strongly agree with them both. A former counsel to Gov. Pete Wilson of California, a respected Justice on the California Supreme Court, and recently confirmed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Brown is one of my top choices.

4. Judge Michael McConnell would also be an OUTSTANDING nominee. Some folks have asked me who my nominee of choice is. I don't have a definitive opinion, but aside from Judge Brown, I am also a fan of Judge McConnell. He was a highly-respected legal academic who takes federalism seriously and is an authority on the First Amendment religion clauses. He would do serious credit to the Court and the constitution, if nomiated and confirmed. Out of all the nominees, I'm probably most familiar with his work, and I've met him twice in person. He is a very kind man and respect he commanded in the legal academy was so strong that the Senate Democrats were not able to maintain a filibuster for his confirmation to the 10th Circuit. At this point, I simply do not know enough about Judges Luttig, Roberts or Clement to say anything definitive--except as to say I have only heard good things about all three.

5. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales would be a good Justice, but for now he is a better fit at DOJ. As I stated in a recent post, AG Gonzales has what it takes to be on the SCOTUS. Perhaps he will be on the Court if another vacancy or two occurs. But he already occupies an important post and there are other qualified nominees that I would like to see get the first shot at the vacant seat.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)