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25 July 2005

Senator Debbie Stabenow - Michigan 2006

(Another image from the D.C. trip...)

While this blog is obviously focused on Senator Feingold, urging him to run for president, and trying to build support for him in Michigan (which I'm hoping to write a lot more about in the next couple weeks), 2006 is approaching a lot faster than 2008. So I'd like to take a moment to draw everyone's attention to one of Michigan's two biggest races.

Representing us in Washington, we've got Senator Debbie Stabenow, who launched her campaign website not too long ago. As this is the first time she's facing reelection, having won her seat in 2000 over former Senator Spencer Abraham, the conventional wisdom is that this will be her hardest race. After open seats, first-time incumbents are generally the most contested races. But maybe Democrats will get lucky with this one.

Survey USA has her at a 48% approval rating, with 36% disapproval, in June 2005. Not exactly safe, but not too shabby either. And, via Michigan Liberal, it seems she got some good news recently:
Jane Abraham has decided not to run for the U.S. Senate, avoiding a possible showdown with the woman who defeated her husband for the seat five years ago.

Abraham, 43, has talked to party officials and traveled to Michigan to meet with party activists to discuss a possible run in past months. But she told The Associated Press on Wednesday that family considerations made her decide to stay out of the race.
Abraham could have been the toughest opponent to beat. Right now, there are three active candidates on the Republican side: Bart Baron, Rev. Keith Butler, and Rev. Jerry Zandstra (though Politics1 has a fourth candidate listed, Nasser Beydoun). It seems the GOP has had quite a lot of trouble recruiting high-profile candidates for the Senate race, with Rep. Candice Miller looking toward Governor Granholm (though even that is in question) and others, including Sec. of State Terri Lynn Land, probably passing this year. Unless Domino's Pizza CEO David Brandon steps in, Keith Butler is the Republican frontrunner.

So let us look for a moment at Rev. Butler. Although he's never run for a statewide office, his website tells us that he has been active in Republican politics since 1982 or so, and in 1989 was elected to a spot on the Detroit City Council. He is also the founding pastor of the Word of Faith International Christian Center Church, which claims a 21,000 member congregation. The major strength stressed by many pro-Butler Republicans is that he can win a large percentage of the African American vote in Detroit, weakening Stabenow's strength in what is usually a solid Democratic base.

In fundraising, however, Stabenow has a commanding lead heading in. During the first half of 2005, she raised about $2.5 million, and has a total of $3.87 million already, with no expected primary challenger. Butler, on the other hand, has raised $800,673 in the same period, and has only $403,000 on hand-- still impressive compared to other candidates, but far less than Stabenow. He also faces a primary race which could get ugly if Brandon does decide to get into it, which will leave him weaker come November 2006.

Indeed, the timing of the primary may help Stabenow. Set for August of 2006, that leaves only a few short months for whomever the Republicans nominate to move to the center and define themselves to the general electorate-- something that Stabenow will have been doing for the entire year.

As of right now, it looks good for Stabenow, with an EPIC/MRA poll giving her 57% to Butler's 30% (poll mentioned at the end of the article). But this is one that Michigan Democrats and Democrats across the country had better watch.

Next time, a look at Governor Jennifer Granholm, also up for re-election in 2006.

21 July 2005

Justice Roberts?

Picture from the (short) trip to D.C.; here's where I'm hoping to see Senator Feingold living in four years.

I've been slow to mention this... a little busy lately, plus, as a lifelong Trekkie, mourning James Doohan. But, President Bush has nominated Judge John G. Roberts to the Supreme Court. I'm of mixed opinions on his nomination and what kind of a justice he would be, but I thought you'd all be interested in what Senator Feingold has to say:
Evaluating the nomination of Judge John Roberts Jr. is a responsibility I take very seriously and one that I look forward to as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Supreme Court justices can have a uniquely significant impact on our country for years, even decades. While I voted in favor of Judge Roberts to be a Circuit Court judge in 2003, the level of scrutiny that the Senate gives nominees to the highest court in the land must be even greater than that for any other appointed position in our government. I will review his record carefully and look forward to questioning him in the Judiciary Committee's hearings.
Now, when it comes to reviewing his record, Senator Feingold outlined a plan yesterday for making his decision:
"Evaluating this nomination is a responsibility I take very seriously and one that I look forward to as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee," Feingold said. "This is the first vacancy on the Court in the past 11 years, and this nomination is likely to have a significant impact on our country for decades to come."

• Feingold will review the nominee's qualifications, including analyzing the nominee's opinions and reading commentary about and analysis of the nominee's record.

• Feingold plans to meet personally with Judge Roberts prior to the Judiciary Committee hearings.

• During the month of August and beyond, at Listening Sessions throughout Wisconsin, people are invited to share their thoughts on this nomination. (The latest Listening Session schedule is available at and, as always, these sessions are open to anyone from Wisconsin, not just those who reside in the county where they are held.)

• Wisconsinites can also make their views known at under the "Ideas Forum" bar on the left-hand side of the page.

• Feingold welcomes analysis and advice from lawyers and law professors in Wisconsin. Memos on legal issues, suggested lines of questioning, and other materials should be submitted to under the "Ideas Forum" bar on the left-hand side of the page with the words "Legal Memo" in the first line of the message.

As I've said before, this is a good chance for him to raise his profile, and we can help. Watch for quotes over the next few months which should show Senator Feingold to be the reasonable, balanced man that he is, without sacrificing principle. And then share them with friends, family, and potential supporters.

18 July 2005

Feingold in Pennsylvania

I just got home from a short 3 1/2 day vacation in D.C. Saw the Mall, toured the capitol, saw all the memorials, did some of the Smithsonian, and visited Arlington. Busy weekend!

Of course, when planning the trip, I had the tiny, totally unrealistic hope of catching a glimpse of Senator Feingold (among other political favorites in Washington) while I was there, but no such luck would be had... he was in Pennsylvania!

Well, at least on Saturday he was. And Jerry Troiano at New Jersey for Feingold did get to meet him:

Despite the room bordering on sun-like temperatures Ms. Murphy and Senator Feingold allowed everyone who had a question a chance to ask it. I used my question as an opportunity to basically beg the Senator to run for President in 2008. Of course I expected the same response that he has given every other time the subject is raised. That is, there’s plenty of work to do before 2008 and that he is focused on winning back the House and Senate at this point. But the more he is asked, the more support he knows he would have.

Afterwords he spoke with people as he was leaving, and did the whole handshaking thing. I gave him a “New Jersey for Feingold” button, which he seemed rather happy to see.

He's got a bit more information and some photos on his site. Check it out.

Meanwhile, after I unpack, I'm going to try to catch up on all of the news I missed this weekend. This week I hope to have a bit of coverage of Michigan's 2006 races, which are starting to heat up, and maybe some photos from Washington.

14 July 2005

MI GOP Primary 2008

(Not technically Feingold-related, but interesting nonetheless.)

Heh. I guess the Michigan Republican Party was a little embarrassed after McCain's primary win in 2000. As an old Detroit Free Press article told us:

Of course, goading the opposition sometimes carries a price. Engler suffered perhaps the biggest setback of his career in 2000, when he failed to deliver his home state for George W. Bush in the GOP presidential primary.

Engler, described at the time by the Almanac of American Politics as the "colossus" of Michigan politics, had promised that his state would provide a "fire wall" for Bush against the insurgency of U.S. Sen. John McCain. Democrats, many of them motivated by a desire to stick it to Engler, voted in droves for McCain and handed Bush-Engler an embarrassing defeat.
So it's no surprise to see this in the news:
Michigan Republicans want to bar Democrats and independents from the GOP’s 2008 presidential primary — a step that would present a major hurdle for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), should he decide to run for the White House in 2008.
Well, hey, if they want to lessen the chances of Senator John McCain, their strongest general election candidate, from winning the nomination, I've got no problem with it.

11 July 2005

The Path to Success

Eric Hungerford over at added a must-read to his site for all of us in the pro-Feingold internet community.

It serves as something of a handbook for grassroots organizing. After all, blogging might satisfy our desire to talk about a candidate we like, but it won't mean a thing if the voters don't hear about it themselves. And someone like Senator Russ Feingold, who has enormous cross-over appeal with moderate Democrats, independents, and even some Republicans, won't get the supporters he could get if we only talk about him on liberal and progressive blogs.

For the progressives who are his natural base, in Ann Arbor or Detroit and elsewhere, his name has to get mentioned. Most people don't remember who their own senators are, let alone those from Wisconsin, but the moment a stereotypical Volvo-driving liberal with a rear window full of bumper stickers hears about Feingold, and realizes what a great president he could make, you have yourself a potential volunteer when the race gets going.

And then there are the independents and Republicans.

As I've mentioned in the past, I live in the red part of Michigan. One of many red parts. A lot of the folks around here don't trust the government with their money, have a set of values they cling to, and have the Second Amendment, which they cling to even more. But they're also feeling the effects of the Bush Economy. And they don't want to see our young men and women dying in Iraq.

I just named five areas where Senator Feingold can appeal to Republicans if properly introduced. A deficit hawk who works for campaign finance reform. A man who stands up for certain principles and can be respected, if not always agreed with. A pro-Second Amendment member of the Senate, who respects midwestern sporting traditions. Someone who can offer an alternative to tax cuts and deficit spending. And someone who can bring our servicemen and -women home without "cutting and running."

But before you know it, he'll be a "flip-flopping liberal" if you don't get out there and introduce him to the American people!

At Draft Russ, Eric lays out several ways in which door-to-door campaigning and speaking to groups of people about Senator Feingold can be most effective. Here are a couple key bits from his handbook-- though the whole thing is worth a read!

The Message:
Some ways of talking with people are more productive than others. Discussing the particulars of campaign finance reform laws isn't usually very productive, while outlining the fact that Feingold has been working for years to clean up Washington is.

Consistency is another key aspect. People don't always remember specifics about a candidate anyway, they remember what that candidate is all about. So get down to business and let people know who Russ is as a potential candidate.

What does Russ Feingold stand for? He stands for common sense. If you can get that point across strongly, then you've done what you can.

Recruiting Volunteers:
Putting fliers up with your own personal contact information - phone number, e-mail address, or whatever you feel comfortable posting in public - is a great way to track down elusive but enthusiastic supporters.

Also, before you talk to a crowd of people in any venue, whether it's in a meeting hall or on the street, have some ideas of what you can ask people to do for you. This is critical, because you may very well come across someone who wants to get involved -- but if you don't have any way to engage them soon enough, they may lose interest faster than you can say 'Downing Street Minutes'.
Door-to-Door Campaigning:
Don't be ashamed to ask if this person considers themselves a Democrat or Republican. Another great conversation-starter is to instead ask what issues matter to that person. Find points on which you agree and capitalize where relevant on bringing Feingold into the discussion. You don't want to kill the person with references, but you'll want to be tying their concerns to a Feingold presidency as you go along.
This is how we build a successful foundation for a campaign. This is how a common-sense progressive from Wisconsin can win the Michigan primary, and every other primary in every other state, if we work for it. Door-to-door campaigning may seem too much for this soon-- and maybe it is. But if we really want to make this happen, the planning, if not the campaigning, starts today.

10 July 2005

Democracy for Tennessee Convention (Part Two)

Okay, so I promised to have some parts of Senator Feingold's keynote address in Part Two. But that'll have to come in Part Three, it seems, because I didn't want to wait to post about a couple things.

First up, has a post about an interview Senator Feingold did with Chris Lugo at the Tennessee Independent Media Center. It's a pretty good interview. As brief as it is, he they cover his views on Iraq and the USA Patriot Act pretty thoroughly, and touch on health care-- three of the most important issues facing us today. Check it out.

In finding that article through RussForPresident, I also discovered a new member of the growing pro-Russ movement: a Tennesseans for Feingold blog, run by Schwompa. It just started on Thursday, but it already has a fantastic post from the Democracy for Tennessee convention, from Schwompa's perspective.

A couple highlights from his report:
Sitting in the third row, I felt the energy and the passion of both the speaker and the audience. Feingold's speech was interrupted several times by thunderous applause, especially when he launched a diatribe against the Bush Administration's mishandling of the War among other things. Feingold was perceived as personable, charismatic, passionate, and possessed that characteristic midwestern bluntness from which most politicians could learn a lesson. All in all, the crowd ate it up and so did I.
The speech ended with a long and loud standing ovation and the senator then answered questions from the audience. He was asked about the DSM and whether it was grounds for impeachment. His answer was that we should not discuss impeachment when the Congress is controlled by Republicans, rather we should take back Congress in 2006, and then take a look at the issue. One other notable question from the audience asked if we should provide health insurance for smokers and the obese. A tough question. Feingold answered that we should provide them with health insurance but create incentives for states that decrease the number of smokers and people with obesity.
but, most of all,
The program then ended with another standing-O. Feingold stuck around for a while to shake hands, sign programs, and get pictures made with us. When I shook his hand, I asked him, "Can we expect to vote for you in 2008?" and he answered "We'll see."

Yeah, he's running.

Democracy for Tennessee Convention (Part One)

As many of you may have known, Senator Feingold was the keynote speaker at the first annual Democracy for Tennessee convention.

Sadly, I was unable to attend it, and I haven't got the faintest idea what he said. Hopefully sometime in the next few days they will post his speech on the Democracy for Tennessee website, so that we can pick it apart and use it to show that Senator Feingold will make a fantastic president, and that he's preparing for a run and needs our help. That's what we do, afterall.

So anyway, when they post the speech, I'll include important bits in Part Two. But it must have been good; first, here's Mark Naccarato's post on the DfT homepage:

By all accounts, the first Democracy for Tennessee Convention was a smashing success - as was the speech by Senator Feingold at the Belcourt Theatre. Stay tuned for a full Convention report over the next day or so and some great pictures. In the meantime, anyone that attended either event is welcome to use this for an open thread to post their comments or helpful suggestions. But please... play nice! We're all volunteers and we're all on the same side! Thanks to everyone who helped and attended. We couldn't have pulled it off without all of YOU and your passion for our democracy. -Mark
And now, here's the first comment left on that post, by Will Radford:

Great day.

I wish I could've made the all day convention, from everything I've heard, it was an awesome success. 130 people in a year after a Presidential Election is great. There is no telling how much this group will grow over the next few years.

The Feingold event tonight was great. I really admire this guy. Tonight brought back great memories of the old Dean campaign. My only complaint about the whole evening (and it's a small one) is that we didn't all get a chance to line up and shake Mr. Feingold's hand. I understand we ran long and he had somewhere to be. It's cool.

What Feingold said tonight about smiling and enjoy what you are doing really struck a chord with me. When the Dean campaign ended I was as sad about not seeing everyone on a daily basis anymore as much as I was that we didn't get the nomination.

Thanks for the oppurtunity.

Will Radford
(emphasis added)

07 July 2005

London Bombings


I don't know what to say. I just don't know.

But this is what Senator Feingold said:

My deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected by this morning's terrorist attacks in London. I remember being deeply moved by expressions of support and solidarity from British people on September 11, 2001, and I know that my constituents and all Americans want to extend our heartfelt support to them at this difficult time. Today's horrible attacks only strengthen our resolve to continue working with our British allies and with allies around the world to defeat the terrorist networks that traffic in fear and brutality.

05 July 2005


Sorry it took so long for a post about this, but I've been trying to collect all the information I needed.

Thursday, June 30, the Senate passed the Central American Free Trade Agreement, 54-45 (though, interestingly, it wasn't along party lines; lots of cross-overs). It is intended, as the act says, "to establish free trade between the United States, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua through the reduction and elimination of barriers to trade in goods and services and to investment".

Senator Feingold has been very vocal about his opposition to this agreement, and following its passage, he said:
CAFTA promises more of the same devastation brought by the agreements that have come before it – putting our businesses, workers and farmers at a competitive disadvantage, while also undermining the economic development that might benefit workers, farmers and small businesses in Central America.
He said a lot more than that too, but this paragraph sums up his position very well. Senator Feingold shows through his remarks on the Senate floor that free trade comes with many costs, many jobs lost, many communities hurt.

For myself, this is an area that I've had some trouble in. I am a supporter of free trade, and initially disagreed with Feingold on this issue. Free trade has been a central issue for Democrats since Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, because it allows the importation of cheaper goods, and cheaper goods help the consumer. And, after all, government should be about helping people. Most people even forget that one of Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points for peace following World War I was to abolish all barriers on trade in Europe and among the nations that had been at war.

Free trade stops wars. Simple as that.

Well, that's how it's supposed to be, anyway. The idea that when nations become dependent on one another, when they have to rely on their neighbors and the strength of their neighbors' economies, that it will discourage them from going to war. And really, why go to war over mineral resources when you can just buy them peacefully?

Further, if the foreign competition makes a product for half the cost and sells it at half the price, it encourages domestic businesses to refine their methods and save money and become more efficient. It keeps us from stagnating.

That's the theory. And really, the theory works, too. The European Union (especially pre-expansion) proved it. A dozen different countries cooperating, with no barriers whatsoever, became an economic power to rival the United States. But here's where the problem is: the UK and France, in their standard of living, don't differ too much. It's trade among equals. Even with NAFTA and trade with Canada, there was some shifting, but it was minimal. But there's a big difference between Canada and Costa Rica. It's not a level playing field. When it's not a level playing field, domestic businesses, trying to compete and improve efficiency and cut costs, find themselves cutting jobs and moving to countries where they can pay workers two cents an hour.

Here in Michigan, NAFTA has been both good and bad. In the first six years, from 1993 to 1999, NAFTA did help some. As the Mackinac Center found:
  • Although its exports to Mexico had dropped 25 percent in the four years prior to NAFTA, Michigan-made goods exported to Mexico surged 148 percent under NAFTA.
  • The Commerce Department says 83.3 percent of Michigan's industries have seen their sales to Canada rise since NAFTA took effect.
  • And 67 percent of Michigan industries saw exports to Mexico climb.
  • The state's unemployment rate has dropped from 8.2 percent the year before the treaty took effect to less than 4 percent this year.
Sounds great, no? Trade with Mexico surging. Good stuff. Well, maybe not so much.

An Economic Policy Institute report in 2001 found that 544,750 manufacturing jobs had been lost around the country, with 25,912 motor vehicle-related jobs lost in Michigan alone. Michigan had the second-highest total job loss, at 46,817, following California. And since then, with the Bush recession and generally slow economic growth, things have only gotten worse. In May, our unemployment rate rose to 7.1 percent.

At this point, I'm afraid that any help we can get to save a few jobs is needed. Central America is not an equal, and this agreement does nothing to help improve their standards of living or environmental standards. This agreement will further hurt Michigan and other manufacturing states, as well as the country as a whole. So.

Thank you, Senator Feingold, for opposing it.

03 July 2005

Happy July 4th

I'm removing myself from all things political for the holiday, so I thought I would wish you a happy holiday tonight. I plan to spend the day with the most wonderful woman on the face of the planet, celebrating the holiday and the fact that it's the first time in a couple weeks we've gotten together. So I'll have much more important things on my mind. Feel free to leave your plans in the comments-- it's always interesting to know how people spend their holidays.

Also, has the following at the bottom of their About page:

In May of 2005, Matt had to devote less time to the site and handed over the reigns to the current crop of supportive volunteers.. The site has been redesigned and will officially relaunch July 4, 2005 - in honor of Independence Day and Sen. Feingold's independent, principled leadership.
So be sure to check them out and see what's up.

But to remember what this holiday is really all about, I'll leave you with this:

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

(emphasis mine)

01 July 2005

SCOTUS Excitement - O'Connor retires

There's been a lot of speculation over the last several days, with both Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice O'Connor possibly stepping down, but today Sandra Day O'Connor announced that she was going to retire.

First, I'd like to echo just about every politician in Washington, by saying that she has been an outstanding justice. I haven't always agreed with her, but in the time she has served, she has been the swing vote and voice of moderation on the court. Although she's a touch more conservative than I would like, she's a moderate conservative, a centrist.

And so it's important to try to maintain that moderation through her replacement.

From DavidNYC on Daily Kos:
Whatever happens with the Supreme Court nomination battle that is about to ensue, it's going to happen fast. Here are some things you can do right now:

If you have any other action items, please post them in the comments below, with links.

Update [2005-7-1 11:33:32 by DavidNYC]: If you have a blog, please post these action items on your site. If you don't, e-mail them to your like-minded buddies and relatives.

Update [2005-7-1 14:57:41 by DavidNYC]: Some more stuff you can do:

  • Sign MoveOn's "Protect Our Rights" petition.

  • Contact members of the media and tell them you think Bush should nominate a consensus candidate. PLEASE be polite, be brief (200 words or less), and don't do copy-and-paste jobs - put things in your own words.

  • Stop by Hunter's thread and make suggestions for potential nominees.

This is big stuff, and it's important to make sure that Democrats and progressives win this one. We're not gonna get a Thurgood Marshall; that's not realistic. But I'd be perfectly happy if we manage to get another Sandra Day O'Connor.

The resignation also gives Senator Feingold and his supporters an opportunity. Nomination battles will go on for the rest of the summer, if not longer, and the majority of these battles will be taking place in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, very likely televised. Ten Republicans and eight Democrats serve on the committee, and one of those soon-to-be prominent Democrats is Senator Feingold. As has been pointed out before, this is a good way for Senator Feingold to introduce himself to the American people-- and by calling for a moderate judge at that.

His statement:

I have great respect for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor for the pioneering role that she played as the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court. She has made a significant impact on the country in the past two decades, emerging as a thoughtful voice on many issues, and playing a key role in moderating some of the most extreme conservative tendencies of some members of the Court.

This is the first Supreme Court vacancy in more than a decade, and Justice O'Connor's replacement will greatly influence the future of our country. President Bush once claimed to be "a uniter, not a divider." It is now his call whether he wants to launch a huge, divisive political battle with his choice or seek consensus and bring the nation together. I call on the President to work with members of Congress from both parties to select a nominee behind whom the entire country can unite.

And thus begins the debate.