Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Judicial Watch

Mikaela says:
The furor over the foregone conclusion that was Justice Roberts' confirmation has all but died down, but lest we think it wasn't important, here are a few things to remember.

Don't care about judicial nominees or much about the judicial branch of our government altogether? Well you should, and here's why.

Sirtotablog has a great post today about a case going before the Supreme Court that will decide the future direction of "free" trade and how/when subsidies can be used -- and for whom. This has HUGE implications not only for corporations within the U.S. but the potential positioning of the U.S. to the rest of the world as an economic bully. Any wonder that Roberts was nominated, what with his ties to Big Corporate America? Guess which way THAT one will be decided? All of a sudden, the Supreme Court is a for-profit organization. Great.

And Alberto Gonzales name keeps coming up in reference to Bush's second Supreme Court nominee. No one expects Bush to try it; in fact, some senators on the Judicial Committee as well as conservative and liberal groups have sent letters specifically requesting that he NOT send them Gonzales as a nominee. But you just know Bush wants to. And what has old Alberto been up to as Attorney General? Well, alienating the FBI for one and promoting a right-wing Christian agenda by calling for a new war against pornography. Thanks to an m-pyre reader for forwarding this amazing article from the Washington Post (buried on A21, by the way) about the one new and exciting direction of the FBI (added emphases courtesy yours truly):

Recruits Sought for Porn Squad
The FBI is joining the Bush administration's War on Porn. And it's looking for a few good agents.

Early last month, the bureau's Washington Field Office began recruiting for a new anti-obscenity squad ... as "one of the top priorities" of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and, by extension, of the FBI Director.


The new squad will divert eight agents ... to gather evidence against "manufacturers and purveyors" of pornography -- not the kind exploiting children, but the kind that depicts, and is marketed to, consenting adults.

"I guess this means we've won the war on terror," said one exasperated FBI agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity because poking fun at headquarters is not regarded as career-enhancing. "We must not need any more resources for espionage."

Among friends and trusted colleagues, an experienced national security analyst said, "it's a running joke for us."

  • "Things I Don't Want On My Resume, Volume Four."
  • "Honestly, most of the guys would have to recuse themselves."

Federal obscenity prosecutions ... do "encounter many legal issues, including First Amendment claims," [an]FBI headquarters memo noted.

Applicants for the porn squad should therefore have a stomach for the kind of material that tends to be most offensive to local juries. Community standards -- along with a prurient purpose and absence of artistic merit -- define criminal obscenity under current Supreme Court doctrine.

Gonzales endorses the rationale ... that adult pornography is a threat to families and children. Christian conservatives, long skeptical of Gonzales, greeted the pornography initiative with what the Family Research Council called "a growing sense of confidence in our new attorney general."

Congress began funding the obscenity initiative in fiscal 2005 and specified that the FBI must devote 10 agents to adult pornography. The bureau decided to create a dedicated squad only in the Washington Field Office. "All other field offices may investigate obscenity cases pursuant to this initiative if resources are available," the directive from headquarters said. "Field offices should not, however, divert resources from higher priority matters, such as public corruption."

Public corruption, officially, is fourth on the FBI's priority list, after protecting the United States from terrorist attack, foreign espionage and cyber-based attacks. Just below those priorities are civil rights, organized crime, white-collar crime and "significant violent crime."

FBI field office spokeswoman expressed disappointment that some of her colleagues find grist for humor in the new campaign. "The adult obscenity squad . . . stems from an attorney general mandate, funded by Congress," she said. "The personnel assigned to this initiative take the responsibility of this assignment very seriously and are dedicated to the success of this program."

Uh-huh. Sure they are.

And lastly, this breaking news:
Delay Indicted in Campaign Finance Probe

A Texas grand jury today indicted Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) on a criminal count of conspiring with two political associates to violate state campaign finance law, and DeLay announced he would temporarily step down as House majority leader.

Yep, the courts matter alright. How else do we petition our government for a redress of grievances. I read somewhere we have the right to do that.