Monday, October 31, 2005

Who is Supreme Court Nominee Judge Sam Alito? - Well, Not A Woman To Start

I don't know why the Bush Administration is doing this, but the President's new pick for the Supreme Court -- Judge Sam Alito -- is not a woman at all. Here's who he is:

Alito, Samuel A. Jr.
Born 1950 in Trenton, NJ

Federal Judicial Service:
U. S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Nominated by George H.W. Bush on February 20, 1990, to a seat vacated by John Joseph Gibbons; Confirmed by the Senate on April 27, 1990, and received commission on April 30, 1990.

Princeton University, A.B., 1972

Yale Law School, J.D., 1975

Professional Career:
Law clerk, Hon. Leonard I. Garth, U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, 1976-1977
Assistant U.S. attorney, District of New Jersey, 1977-1981
Assistant to the U.S. solicitor general, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC, 1981-1985
Deputy assistant U.S. attorney general, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC, 1985-1987
U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, 1987-1990

Race or Ethnicity: White

Gender: Male

Notable legal opinions - from

A majority opinion in ACLU v. Schundler, 168 F.3d 92 (3d Cir. 1999), holding that the Establishment Clause was not violated by a city hall holiday display that contained a creche, a menorah, secular symbols of the season, and a banner proclaiming the city's dedication to diversity.

A majority opinion in Fatin v. INS, 12 F.3d 1233 (3d Cir. 1993), holding that an Iranian woman seeking asylum could establish that she had a well founded fear of persecution in Iran if she could show that compliance with that country's "gender specific laws and repressive social norms," such as the requirement that women wear a veil in public, would be deeply abhorrent to her. Judge Alito also held that she could establish eligibility for asylum by showing that she would be persecuted because of gender, belief in feminism, or membership in a feminist group.

A majority opinion in Saxe v. State College Area School District, 240 F.3d 200 (3d Cir. 2001), striking down as contrary to the First Amendment a public school district anti-harassment policy that extended to nonvulgar, non-school-sponsored speech that posed no realistic threat of substantial disruption of school work.

A majority opinion in Shore Regional High School Board of Education v. P.S., 381 F.3d 194 (3d Cir. 2004), holding that a school district did not provide a high school student with a free and appropriate public education, as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, when it failed to protect the student from bullying by fellow students who taunted the student based on his lack of athleticism and his perceived sexual orientation.

A majority opinion in Williams v. Price, 343 F.3d 223 (3d Cir. 2003), granting a writ of habeas corpus to an African-American state prisoner after state courts had refused to consider the testimony of a witness who stated that a juror had uttered derogatory remarks about African Americans during an encounter in the courthouse after the conclusion of the trial.

A dissenting opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 947 F.2d 682 (3d Cir. 1991), arguing that a Pennsylvania that required women seeking abortions to inform their husbands should have been upheld. As Judge Alito reasoned, "[t]he Pennsylvania legislature could have rationally believed that some married women are initially inclined to obtain an abortion without their husbands' knowledge because of perceived problems--such as economic constraints, future plans, or the husbands' previously expressed opposition--that may be obviated by discussion prior to the abortion." Chief Justice Rehnquist's dissent from the Supreme Court's 5-4 [corrected] decision striking down the spousal notification provision of the law quoted Judge Alito's dissent and expressed support for Judge Alito's reasoning.

A dissenting opinion in Homar v. Gilbert, 89 F.3d 1009 (3d Cir. 1996) arguing that that a state university did not violate the procedural due process rights of a campus policeman when it suspended him without pay and without a prior hearing upon learning that he had been arrested and charged with drug offenses. The Supreme Court, which reversed and remanded the case on other grounds, agreed with Judge Alito's reasoning that no hearing was required prior to the suspension because the drug charges showed that the suspension was not baseless.

A dissenting opinion in Sheridan v. Dupont, 74 F.3d 1439 (3d Cir. 1996) (en banc) arguing that a plaintiff in a sex discrimination case should not inevitably be able to survive summary judgment simply by casting doubt on the employer's proffer of legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for the adverse employment decision.


Samuel Alito Jr.
Posted 7/19/05
By Bret Schulte
Nicknamed "Scalito" for views resembling those of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito Jr. is a favorite son of the political right. Appointed in 1990 by George H.W. Bush to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Alito has earned a reputation for intellectual rigor and polite but frequent dissent in a court that has been historically liberal. His mettle, as well as a personable demeanor and ties to former Republican administrations, has long had observers buzzing about his potential rise to the high court. "Sam Alito is in my mind the strongest candidate on the list," says Pepperdine law Prof. Douglas Kmiec. "I know them all . . . but I think Sam is a standout because he's a judge's judge. He approaches cases with impartiality and open-mindedness."


I think President Bush floated Helen Miers knowing she was not the best candidate just to get the matter of picking a woman out of the way. It's terrible, but my theory seems to fit the facts around this episode. That written, what women candidates are out there?

Justice Diane Sykes - According to the AP Wire, ..."A conservative, the 47 year old was confirmed by the Senate last year for a seat on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, which handles appeals of federal cases in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner made the recommendation in a conversation with Harriet Miers just a few days before Miers herself was nominated to the Supreme Court. Miers, who withdrew her nomination Thursday, was handling the search for nominees as White House counsel at the time.

Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., chairs the House Judiciary Committee, which has no formal role in Supreme Court vacancies but does play an important role on judicial issues in general.

"The chairman had an awkward conversation with Harriet Miers the Friday before she was nominated, in which he suggested Judge Sykes," Sensenbrenner spokesman Jeff Lungren said in a telephone interview. "And he realized a few days later why it was an awkward conversation."

Sensenbrenner thinks that Sykes would be "extremely well qualified," Lungren said.

"She has a wealth of experience, extremely solid intellect," Lungren said. "All of the characteristics you would want in a Supreme Court justice."

Sykes won Senate confirmation by a vote of 70-27 last year, with Wisconsin Democratic Sens. Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold voting for her. Both senators serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

But she drew opposition from Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. Durbin said that she refused to answer questions about her views on the legal foundations of Supreme Court decisions upholding a woman's right to have an abortion and requiring police to advise those under arrest of their rights. Sykes cited the Wisconsin Code of Judicial Conduct's ban on discussing cases that would commit a judge to a certain action.

"This is major league evasion," Durbin said at the time.

Durbin, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the panel's top Democrat, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, voted against her nomination.

But for the Bush administration, Sykes could be an attractive option because she's a woman, is young and has a conservative voting record that could satisfy conservatives who found Miers' record too thin."

Who else?

Jones, Edith Hollan
Born 1949 in Philadelphia, PA

Federal Judicial Service:
U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Nominated by Ronald Reagan on February 27, 1985, to a new seat created by 98 Stat. 333; Confirmed by the Senate on April 3, 1985, and received commission on April 4, 1985.

Cornell University, B.A., 1971

University of Texas School of Law, J.D., 1974

Professional Career:
Private practice, Houston, Texas, 1974-1985

Race or Ethnicity: White

Gender: Female

I'm not conservative, but the point is that The Bush Adminstration could have really focused on finding a woman candidate, and didn't. It does seem like Alito is an intellectual judge, and with a great resume. He's not a conservative in that many of his decisions are actually liberal -- for anyone to paint this guy as conservative is a joke. His track record reads "legal intellectual" so he's not a bad pick -- he's just not a woman.

Friday, October 28, 2005

"ROTUICPIA - Iraq": CIA Intelligence Report Does Not Really Discredit Joe Wilson - But It Contains a Frightening Sentence

I have downloaded and am in the process of reading the much-referred to CIA Intelligence Committee Report that -- according to John Fund of the Wall Street Journal -- reveals former Ambassador Joe Wilson -- husband of "outed" CIA Agent Valerie Plame -- to be a liar regarding her CIA status. It's called "Report On The US Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessment on Iraq" - or what I will call "ROTUICPIA - Iraq." (Pronounced "Roo-Took-Pee-Ah" -- Yes, I coined this term for the record!)

Well, I did go right to the Page 46 he referred to on CNN Personality Paula Zahn's show this night, and for good measure kept reading.

ROTUICPIA - Iraq says that the "former US Ambassador's report" was "good" on a scale of "excellent" "good" "bad" and "poor." And it does state in detail that there was little reason to believe that there was a uranium deal between Iraq and Niger (the source of the statement President Bush made in his 2003 State of The Union address when he said that the administration had reason to believe that Iraq was receiving the material to make nuclear weapons from African -- Niger is in Africa). But it also details that there seemed to be counter-intelligence reports on the deal. Specifically one report that has been pointed to as "forged" -- in other words faked.

ROTUICPIA - Iraq states that Wilson's analysis "didn't provide any new information" and so the CIA representative didn't tell the Vice President's Office about it. This, even though they grade the report as "good" -- and even though it claims that there was no deal between the Iraqi's and Niger's government for weapons-grade uranium.

ROTUICPIA - Iraq continues and details how the Director's Office of the CIA evolved from receiving information that there was no deal between Iraq and Niger to fashioning a belief that there was a deal at least in the works. In this, it reads that there seemed to be an attempt to promote the deal as real, and bury any information that would give pause to any policy leading to invading Iraq on this basis.

I don't know what John Fund was reading, but it's apparent he didn't do his homework. The Bush Administration's in a fine mess, and much of the structure of the puzzle that must be solved is contained in ROTUICPIA - Iraq

Read it carefully.

In closing, I don't think Wilson was interested in revealing his wife's identify or coming close to it, so he may have sought not to mention her but still achieve the objective of explaining the Bush Administration's ignorance of the truth regarding any Iraq / Niger deal.

I think what the WSJ writer forgot was that Wilson would be outing not only his own wife, but a CIA agent. So, he may have lied, but it was to protect an American Agent and to avoid breaking the law. That's far different than the reason for the investigation that has -- so far-- snagged I. L. "Scooter" Libby.

It also may be -- and I think -- that he got wind of the fact that his report was never shared with Vice President Cheney and hit the ceiling.

I certainly would have done so.

I Lewis "Scooter" Libby Resigns - First Piece of The Downing Street Memo Controversy Obtained

According to the article on MTV that can be seen with a click on the title, "Scooter" Libby resigned and is under indictment for perjury, obtruction of justice, and false statements. Also, Karl Rove is still under investigation.

The Special Council, Patrick Fitzgerald, said that any action revealing the identity of a CIA operative at a time when we (the USA) need to have more agents, is not in itself acceptable. I personally believe that Mr. Libby knew that he was "outing" a CIA operative, but was trying to skirt the law -- he was caught.

I write this because no seasoned public official at so high a level would make an obvious breach of the law regarding revealing the identify of an American Agent.

There's also no comparison betweeen this and the President Clinton / Monica Lewinsky Affair. That was a case of marital infidelity -- this is a case of alledged treason against a covert agent of the United States of America.

Moreover, this seems to be the first break in the effort to gather information to prove The Downing Street Memo, the document written by a Brit policy advisor to the PM which claimed rather matter-of-factly that the Bush Adminstration was attempting to fix the available intelligence to their policy rationale for invading Iraq.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rosa Parks Passes Away at 92 - Another Signpost of the Zeitgeist

Today, CNN reported the passing of Rosa Parks. 50 years ago, Ms. Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. To put things in perspective, I was born just seven years later in 1962. My parents owned a three-story brownstone at 7427 Wentworth in Chicago, which they purchased for $27,000. They owned two luxury cars -- and this was all before the passage of the civil rights amendment in 1964, but it certainly led to it. See, they were part of what was an emerging black middle class, and it's important to remember this in the face of too many "poor, black, ghetto" stereotypes presented on TV. I didn't grow up in a ghetto.

Where I'm going with this is that my parents -- Zennie Abraham Sr., and Pat Abraham -- were very much a part of what shaped African American history. They lived the simple American Dream of a car and a house and enough money to have some freedom. They believed in what was possble for them, and so passed that on to me. I sometimes -- well, all of the time -- wished they had not divorced when I was seven, because they were doing so well. But it kept me alive, as I could not stand the emotional strain.

This year, on the Friday after we went to Mike Ditka's, Amanda and I went over to 7427 Wentworth -- I forgot just how big that place was. It was a majestic building -- still is.

My Letter To Mike Ditka

I wrote this letter to Mike Ditka. If you're ever in Chicago, stop by his restaurant! - Zennie

Here's the letter:

Mike Ditka
Mike Ditka’s Restaurant
100 Chestnut Street
Chicago, Ill

October 21, 2005

Dear Coach Ditka:

Last week on the evening of this Friday, I took my half-sister to your Restaurant as a way of really honoring our father, who’s funeral was that Thursday. I’m writing to thank you for having such a great place to be around great people. Amanda, my sister, said that the Salmon was the best she’s ever had. I really enjoyed the pot roast, and will have it again when I return.

On top of the food, what really makes the place is the people. I grew up in Chicago. Your restaurant, as one of the regulars Nadine (I think that’s the right name –long blond hair, glasses, you know her) said that “Mike Ditka’s is Chicago.”

I came in the night of my Dad’s funeral to have a Romeo and Juliet cigar in his honor. Michelle, who was the downstairs bartender and works upstairs on Fridays, was just wonderful and even remembered me when I returned the next evening. The bartender that Thursday night – I think his name was Tre – bought me a shot and we drank in honor of my father and his grandfather.

What’s so funny about my experience was that when I first walked in, I was worried about not knowing anyone and being in mourning. But then all of these USC fans walked in, and since I went to UC Berkeley (even sat on the Cal Alumni Board), I was right at home. Then, on Friday night, I was upstairs and as Nadine shared the story of the passing of her Mom with Amanda and I, you were kind enough to come over and chat after visitng with Paul Hornung and the Notre Dame alumns – Amanda never got over that. You made us both feel very welcome.

In closing, thanks again, and God bless you. I’ll be back!


Zenophon “Zennie” Abraham, Jr.
Chairman and CEO Sports Business Simulations, Inc.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Zenophon A. Abraham Sr. - My Dad's Passing On Today

I never thought this day would come. The day when my father passed on. Today's that day, and he's in a hospital in Arlington Heights, Ill, and I'm here in Oakland. He's been sick for a while and with the same cancer that took my stepdad -- Chester Yerger, Jr's - life: advanced prostate cancer.

I really believed I would have more time with him. I didn't think I would have to cope with death twice in one year: Chester in March and now my Dad. I keep wondering what the reason is, but that's also rather selfish I suppose. But one does have to ask "why" when it happens this way.

I already miss my Dad. In my eyes he will always be a great man because he never had less than the right words for the right situation. He was the person who could snap me back to reality with one sentence, as he did when he reminded me that I was at Cal to "get a master's degree" and not worry about why a woman I was dating -- Lauren -- wasn't treating me correctly. After he said that, I refocused and got my work done....and got my degree.

He even did that this year, and supposedly with dimensia. He didn't seem like he had it when he talked with me. He told me so much I will never forget: "Don't go to a board meeting "poping off" -- just listen" was one of them. Of course, when I didn't exactly take his advice he'd ask me "Did you feel you did what you had to do?" And when the answer was yes, he'd say "Well, there you go."

My father is blessed to have some wondeful people in his life: my half sisters Amanda, Jackie, and Vaneessa, and two women he married at different times, one of them my Mom.

I've got so much to do before I go to Chicago. But right now, I'm just gonna sit here.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Bush's Pick Harriet Miers is no God

I grew up believing that Supreme Court nominees were supposed to be the gods and godesses of their profession. But with John Roberts and to a far greater extent Harriet Miers, President Bush is selecting people who not only others have not looked up to, but in the case of Ms. Miers isn't even a judge. I love that she was the first woman to do a number of things, but look: she's no Thurgood Marshall.

This is his biography:

"...Born in Baltimore, Maryland on July 2, 1908, Thurgood Marshall was the grandson of a slave. His father, William Marshall, instilled in him from youth an appreciation for the United States Constitution and the rule of law. After completing high school in 1925, Thurgood followed his brother, William Aubrey Marshall, at the historically black Lincoln University in Chester, Pennsylvania. His classmates at Lincoln included a distinguished group of future Black leaders such as the poet and author Langston Hughes, the future President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, and musician Cab Calloway. Just before graduation, he married his first wife, Vivian "Buster" Burey. Their twenty-five year marriage ended with her death from cancer in 1955.

In 1930, he applied to the University of Maryland Law School, but was denied admission because he was Black. This was an event that was to haunt him and direct his future professional life. Thurgood sought admission and was accepted at the Howard University Law School that same year and came under the immediate influence of the dynamic new dean, Charles Hamilton Houston, who instilled in all of his students the desire to apply the tenets of the Constitution to all Americans. Paramount in Houston's outlook was the need to overturn the 1898 Supreme Court ruling, Plessy v. Ferguson which established the legal doctrine called, "separate but equal." Marshall's first major court case came in 1933 when he successfully sued the University of Maryland to admit a young African American Amherst University graduate named Donald Gaines Murray. Applauding Marshall's victory, author H.L. Mencken wrote that the decision of denial by the University of Maryland Law School was "brutal and absurd," and they should not object to the "presence among them of a self-respecting and ambitious young Afro-American well prepared for his studies by four years of hard work in a class A college."

Thurgood Marshall followed his Howard University mentor, Charles Hamilton Houston to New York and later became Chief Counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). During this period, Mr. Marshall was asked by the United Nations and the United Kingdom to help draft the constitutions of the emerging African nations of Ghana and what is now Tanzania. It was felt that the person who so successfully fought for the rights of America's oppressed minority would be the perfect person to ensure the rights of the White citizens in these two former European colonies. After amassing an impressive record of Supreme Court challenges to state-sponsored discrimination, including the landmark Brown v. Board decision in 1954, President John F. Kennedy appointed Thurgood Marshall to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In this capacity, he wrote over 150 decisions including support for the rights of immigrants, limiting government intrusion in cases involving illegal search and seizure, double jeopardy, and right to privacy issues. Biographers Michael Davis and Hunter Clark note that, "none of his (Marshall's) 98 majority decisions was ever reversed by the Supreme Court." In 1965 President Lyndon Johnson appointed Judge Marshall to the office of U.S. Solicitor General. Before his subsequent nomination to the United States Supreme Court in 1967, Thurgood Marshall won 14 of the 19 cases he argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of the government. Indeed, Thurgood Marshall represented and won more cases before the United States Supreme Court than any other American.

Until his retirement from the highest court in the land, Justice Marshall established a record for supporting the voiceless American. Having honed his skills since the case against the University of Maryland, he developed a profound sensitivity to injustice by way of the crucible of racial discrimination in this country. As an Associate Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall leaves a legacy that expands that early sensitivity to include all of America's voiceless. Justice Marshall died on January 24, 1993."

She's also no Stephen Breyer, the top legal mind on regulation in America. I knew him for his great book called "Regulation and It's Reform" which I read cover to cover twice, because I was interested in the matter of arguements for airline deregulation. (Which I now think should be reconsidered.)

What has she done? Is she a teacher like Ginsburg? No. She's White House Counsel. I understand she's against choice as well.

I wonder if Bush floated her, knowing she would not pass the muster, and has a plan to pick another male. A white male. For some reason, that's my suspicion. Then he can say "I picked a woman, and it didn't work out." Not good.