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)

Saturday, July 23, 2005

CALIFORNIA'S ATTORNEY GENERAL: A PATRON OF ANTI-AMERICAN ART? Michelle Malkin and Instapundit have posts about CA Democratic Attorney General Bill Lockyer's approval of an art exhibit trashing the USA and President Bush. Move America Forward has pictures of the pathetic pieces.

Artists certainly have a right to political expression. But audiences have the right to give their opinions about such expressions and government officials who provide implicit governmental endorsement to those expressions. Here, the anti-American art is typical of loonely leftism. It's both terrible and laughable, but hardly newsworthy by itself. Much worse is the Golden State's top attorney allowing its display at California's Department of Justice. Zoinks. What does this say about his sensibility moral clarity? I consider those traits crucial for a state AG.

(Blue Ash, OH)

Friday, July 22, 2005

AG MCKENNA HOPES JUDGE ROBERTS WILL BE CONFIRMED. So it was revealed at today's "media availabilty" in downtown Seattle. I used the end of my casual Friday lunch break to sit in on a media event concerning the nomination and confirmation of Judge John Roberts for the U.S. Supreme Court.

This event, moderated by Washington State's excellent Attorney General Rob McKenna, included a distinguished cast: Ron Ward, President of the Washington State Bar Association, King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng, former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton (via telephone speaker), former Washington State Supreme Court Justice Faith Ireland and former U.S. Attorney Mike McKay. (Present in the audience that included myself and several reporters was a really annoying guy who was constantly digging into his bag of chips and crunching them quite loudly. The man was obilivious to several cold stares. Finally, someone spoke with him and asked him to leave.)

In any case, Senator Gorton and Prosecutor Maleng expressed enthusiasm for the President's selection of Judge Roberts. Mr. McKay also had very positive words for Judge Roberts, though he did not specifically call for his confirmation just yet. He recalled a case in which he worked with both then-Solicitor General Kenneth Starr and his deputy John Roberts. Mr. Ward and Justice Ireland said they were not taking a position on his confirmation at this time--stating they would reserve judgment until the Senate confirmation hearings. A former WSBA President who spoke (and whose name eludes me at the moment) likewise declined to take a position but said he was very encouraged by the selection of Judge Roberts. All the participants commended Judge Roberts for his distinguished credentials and career.

Sen. Gorton noted during the Q&A time that simple disagreement with a nominee on one or a few issues should not amount to an automatic NO vote on confirmation. In this vein, Sen. Gorton referred to the confirmations of Justices Ginsburg and Breyer. When asked by AG McKenna whether he had voted to confirm President Clinton's respective nominees to the Supreme Court, Sen. Gorton answered YES. AG McKenna also pointed to the strong endorsements that Judge Roberts received during his confirmation process to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals from prominent lawyers of BOTH political parties. Prosecutor Maleng noted the overwhelming vote of the Senate for Judge Roberts, just a couple of years ago.

There has been grumbling from both poles of the political spectrum concerning Judge Roberts' nomination. Manuel Miranda's "The Next Justice" column in today's Opinion Journal contains a good or a good discussion of why those complaints rign hollow and why Judge Roberts should be confirmed.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

STEALING SIGNS? SO WHAT. IT'S BASEBALL. Sports stories in both of Seattle's big newspapers discuss yesterday's Mariner loss to the Toronto Blue Jays wherein some sign stealing apparently hurt Mariner pitcher Ryan Franklin. The articles raise the issue of whether it is cheating for a baserunner to decipher the signals being made between a pitcher and a catcher--and then relaying those deciphered signals to one's own batter. To me, its not cheating. It's simply part of the game.

Of course, it is not a good thing to be relaying stolen signs to a batter in an obvious manner. The trick is to relay the intercepted signs in a subtle manner that goes unnoticed by the other team.

But that's not the end of it. John Hicky's Seattle P-I article summarizes steps that can be taken by a team when they suspect their signals are being stolen:

One is to keep men from getting to second base too often. Two is, frankly, for a pitcher to hit the batter or threaten to, and let him know the reason why. The third, and easiest, is to change signs. Repeatedly.

It's not terribly uncommon to find little league or senior little league kids yelling out another team's signals. Obviuosly, those are embarrassing, bush league antics. If a team has a coach who is anything other than a cad, he will tell the kids on his team to knock it off. (Another annoying little leaguer antic is for a baserunner to clap loudly while on base loud to distract the pitcher.)

As with evident sign stealing, any of the foregoing would result in a good beaning by the pitcher were it to take place at higher levels of the game.

In the end, the team whose signs are stolen have to take responsibilty for making their signals too easy to intercept. Pat Borders acknowledges as much in Bob Finnigan's Seattle Times story:

"That sort of thing happens," Borders said of stealing signs. "If I can't figure out a way to prevent it, I'm not doing my job. For one thing, I set up just as late as I can so the other team has as short a time as possible to get location."

Actually, you have more options to evade signal stealing at lower levels. I was catching in a senior little league game once where the other team was stealing signals and bragging about it. Since beanballs are never called for at that low of a level, we had to make due. The pitcher on my team was a GIGANTIC 300+ lb. man-child, but he was primarily a junkballer. So I went out to the mound and told him to throw whatever he wanted whenever he wanted--and that I would catch it. I went back behind home plate and made gibberish signals for the rest of the game and our pitcher threw whatever type of pitch delighted him most. It wasn't easy to catch, but we made it work. The other team simply thought our new signals were too hard to read and just gave up on it.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

CONFIRM JUDGE ROBERTS. The President has announced his nominee, noting his distinguished career and solid character. He called upon the Senate for a swift and civil confirmation process.

I applaud the President for his nomination and enthusiastically support the confirmation of Judge Roberts.

Prof. Orrin Kerr has glowing things to say about Judge Roberts, at Volokh Conspiracy. Likewise, Robert Alt has speaks highly of Judge Roberts at Bench Memos.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)
THE EARLY WORD: JUDGE JOHN ROBERTS. I just got home and turned on Hugh Hewitt's radio show to hear the latest. President Bush has picked the man he wants, knowing that the left would attack his nominee, regardless. The President's official address is soon to follow.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)
PRESIDENT BUSH TO ANNOUNCE SUPREME COURT NOMINEE TONIGHT. The AP has a report. (HT: Drudge.) The President will make a televised address at 6PM Pacific.

Interestingly, the AP report cites Chief Judge Edith "Joy" Clement of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana (in the Fifth Circuit) as the likely nominee. Then, near the end, it lists several other names--one of which is Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon. I had not heard Prof. Glendon's name come up previously, but she is extremely sharp and would make an excellent Supreme Court Justice. She would certainly get my support.

In any event, the countdown to the naming of the nominee is now underway...

UPDATE - 12:28PM. I agree with Jonathan Adler's sentiments (at Bench Memos) concerning President Bush's decision to address the nation to announce his nominee:

The President's decision to announce his first Supreme Court nomination is a very wise move. One of the lesson's of past nomination battles is the importance of defining the nominee before the opposition. This is particularly important with Supreme Court nominations where less of the battle will get waged under the radar. Starting tonight, and on tomorrow morning's news programs, the video will be of the President commending his nominee...

(Downtown Seattle, WA)

Monday, July 18, 2005


1. As everyone now knows, the Chief is staying on for now. Yesssss... Firstly, Chief Justice Rehnquist has served honorably on the Supreme Court. But this development is also beneficial insofar as it concerns the dynamics of the confirmation process. Pepperdine Law Professor Douglas Kmiec put it well last Friday in an NRO article titled "Delay is Good": lessens what was becoming all too apparent — that every factor in the nomination process was going to use multiple vacancies to politically horse-trade to the ultimate disadvantage of the integrity of the Court. With a single vacancy, it is now possible for president and Senate alike to assess the individual merits of an appointment, without succumbing to the powerful pressures of interest groups which would have sought to balance the "ticket," at the cost of merit.

2. The Wall Street Journal editors oppose the nomination of Souters, finding irony in the possible nomination of Judge Jones. Tuesday's editorial at Opinion Journal--"No More Souters"--makes the important point that nominees who take a seat on the Court without a clear and confident jurisprudence have historically followed the whims and trends of left-leaning elitist thinking. It goes without saying that the Journal editors' are calling for sound like the people with "deeply held beliefs" that Sen. Chuck Schumer & Co. constantly decry. The editorial notes that President George H.W. Bush almost nominated Judge Edith Jones of the Fifth Circuit instead of now-Justice David Souter. Heh. I have heard this many times before. It would be most intriguing if Judge Jones were to get the nod by President George W. Bush. In any case, the end of the editorial contains a prescient observation that should be kept in mind throught the entire nomination build-up and confirmation process:

Most Senate Democrats are likely to fight any conservative nominee, no matter how distinguished, because they recall that after defeating two of Nixon's nominees (Haynsworth and Carswell) they got Blackmun, and after stopping Judge Bork and Douglas Ginsburg, they got Justice Kennedy. Mr. Bush probably can't avoid a fight unless he abandons the voters who elected him.

3. There is even more talk about Judge Jones today at Confirm Them. This blog has become a frequent visit and I continue to recommend it.

4. Jordan Cunningham once again makes a persuasive case for Judge Emilio Garza. In the process, he sticks up for Attorney General Gonzales with some excellent points. The post is from Saturay at Democracy Market--which now occupies a spot on my blogroll.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)
REPUBLICAN RE-ALIGNMENT IN THE WORKS? LET'S HOPE SO. In Tuesday's Opinion Journal, Brendan Miniter has an interesting column discussing renewed Republican efforts to reach out to black voters. GOP Chairman Ken Melhman's recent address to an NAACP audience is but one instance. There are a number of important policy initiatives that Republicans have to offer--school choice, for starters. It is crucial that Republicans engage in such efforts.

Miniter's article becomes increasingly interesting as it goes along, continuing with a discussion of Republican efforts in Maryland, and culminating with a brief sketch of Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele. Lt. Gov. Steele is a prospective candidate for Senate from Maryland in 2006. That will be another interesting Senate race to watch.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)