On a slow news day – or a day when it’s not so hot – any one of these stories could take an entire post to cover. However, today is neither and without going further, here is news you can use:
- First up, The BP Mess: Judging Judges’ Impartiality:
Making a diagnosis of “improper influence” requires a scalpel, not a sledgehammer. Not only is it unrealistic to think we can eradicate all judicial biases, instincts, leanings or interests, however termed, but it is also unwise. We want our judges to live in the real world, so that they can bring their life experiences and common sense to the table when deciding cases. Judges must remain “partial” to some influences, therefore, like the case law, and controlling statutes, and perhaps even basic standards of decency and morality, too. As The New York Times recently cited, former Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s view on recusal was that if a justice’s mind was “a complete tabula rasa” in relevant respects, it “would be evidence of lack of qualification, not lack of bias.”
While I hope you’ll follow all the links, but by all means, read this opinion post on recusal from Law.com.
- Staying with matters of public policy for the moment, let’s talk unemployment rates. Online news is filled with stories like this about the uptick in unemployment rates – and all appear to have been written by someone clueless about the issue.
Here’s a clue – anyone reporting on the increase should start by defining “seasonal”.
- Speaking of “seasonal”, it’s the season for stories related to the upcoming 5-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the Times Picayune steps up with Hurricane Katrina recovery assessed five years out:
Nearly five years after Hurricane Katrina — and against the backdrop of a national recession and a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico — the New Orleans region is poised to rebuild communities that are safer, more sustainable and more economically robust than before the storm, an analysis released today by a partnership of local and national think tanks shows.
Reaching that goal, however, will require reversing a number of troubling trends that continue to retard the region’s progress, including reliance on a handful of stagnant industries, a wide gap between the rich and poor, and a high crime rate, according to “The New Orleans Index at Five”, a project of the Washington-based Brookings Institution and the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center.
- There’s nothing “seasonal” about Mississippi’s two vacant U.S. Attorney positions – but Main Justice provides the comfort of knowing both positions are also vacant in neighboring Arkansas is in a similar position.
While I feel the Mississippi vacancies are due, in part, to finding a candidate without a tie to USA v Scruggs, it should be noted that both Mississippi and Arkansas share the distinction of having a high profile potential Republican candidate for President.
- And, then, there’s this lighter note – “lighter” unless you, too, have been frustrated when traveling two-lane highways with slow moving traffic (a fairly regular event in my life). Check out Huff-Po’s China Plans Huge Buses That Can DRIVE OVER Cars and be sure to take a look at the photo.