Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Blogging will resume June 3, 2003. Have a great week!
Update: Make that June 1.

Monday, May 26, 2003

This story casts federal district judge and 5th Circuit nominee Charles Pickering, Sr. in a rather bad light. Badgering the Justice Dept. to reduce the charges against a man who burned a cross on the lawn of an interracial couple is questionable behavior for a judge (separation of powers concerns, ex parte communciations, etc.), but more so when part of the rationale is that local whites will resent too tough a sentence. The sentence would have been 7.5 years; harsh, yes, but federal sentencing in general is harsh, and the sentence does not seem especially disproportionate for threatening the lives of an interracial couple (which is what a cross-burning does).

Equally troubling, though in a different way, is this: "The Judiciary Committee has received letters from Mississippi lawyers endorsing Pickering that the judge has said he solicited directly, a practice that attracted criticism at his hearing. Pickering requested that the letters, including some from present or former litigants in his court, be faxed directly to his chambers." To solicit letters from past, present, and potentially future litigants before your court seems coercive on the one hand, and also will give rise to an appearance of impropriety on the other. Would you want to be represented by the attorney who declined to send a letter on Judge Pickering's behalf, when your opponent was represented by someone who did send such a letter?

Update: Some interesting commentary and more links about the Pickering story over at Silver Rights.

From the Washington Post: "Royal Ahold NV, the Dutch company that owns several large U.S. retail food chains, said today that it had found $29 million in intentional accounting mistakes in its Tops Markets subsidiary."

This is an odd use of the word "mistake," a word that suggests lack of intent (or so I thought!).

Traffic to the website for my last book, Only One Place of Redress: African Americans, Labor Regulations and the Courts from Reconstruction to the New Deal is up quite a bit since I started this blog. I've received two emails this weekend informing me that the link on the book's webpage to Laissez Faire Books, which sells brand new copies of Only One Place of Redress for just under half price ($19.95), is broken. It seems as if LFB has started a new website, and the old links are no longer valid. The new links, meanwhile, aren't working well. So, if you are interested in buying the book, go to, and search for Only One Place of Redress. Also, as of this writing, someone is selling a used copy on Amazon for $19.95. I hope the broken link hasn't inconvenienced anyone.

More Weaseling:

The French foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, met today with Yasir Arafat, ignoring Israel's call to boycott the Palestinian leader, who despite Mr. Abbas's new post as Palestinian prime minister remains the head of the governing Palestinian Authority.

"Israel has to stop military operations, settlement activities, withdraw its forces and release prisoners," said Mr. de Villepin, who also held talks with Mr. Abbas. "It is important for the Palestinians to stop any kind of violence."

Note that de Villepin not only is underming U.S. policy vis a vis Arafat, but always speaks in terms of what Israel MUST do, and the Palestinians SHOULD do.