The Friday Fantastic Four.
1. Featured Law-Oriented Blog.
This week's featured law-oriented blog is Progressive Law Blogs Aggregator. The blog is basically a running aggregator of posts from a number of "progressive" blogs, including Daily Kos, Balkinization, Sentencing Law & Policy, Talkleft, and others.
What I find most useful about this blog is that it lets you quickly scan through a short synopsis of the latest postings from each of the "included" blogs. Instead of having to individually keep up with all of these different blogs, you can check the Progressive Law Blogs Aggregator for updates to all of them at once.
2. Featured Law Commentary.
This week's featured legal commentary is Edward Lazarus' editorial about the Alito hearings. Lazarus argues against the more technical considerations of what Democrats might have done differently or better in questioning Alito, and argues for a more substantive examination of what lessons can be gleaned from last week's hearings. Lazarus argues that one important substantive lesson is that nominees now need to portray themselves as relatively moderate to secure confirmation, even in the currently conservative dominated Congress.
Lazarus notes the following significance of the nominee's need to at least portray himself (or herself) as a moderate:
My point here is not to suggest that Alito is going to be anything other than the very conservative jurist he has always been. On the contrary, I fully expect him to be more conservative than Roberts and perhaps as conservative as Scalia, though probably without the originalist trappings.
But it is still significant that conservatives appear to recognize that the legal rollbacks they seek are sufficiently unpopular with the public at large that no candidate for the Supreme Court can openly endorse them. Indeed, nominees have to explicitly repudiate much of the real right-wing legal agenda, or else risk Senate rejection.
This seeming disjuncture between right-wing jurisprudence and public opinion raises some intriguing possibilities.
One possibility is that Roberts and Alito will stay true to the moderate conservative image that they sought to project at the hearings. If so, the ideological shift at the Court will be fairly modest. It was, after all, already a conservative court by most benchmarks.
A second possibility is that either Roberts or Alito or both will treat their testimony before the Senate as a means for achieving life tenure, rather than as a sincere expression of their views - and that, over time, one or both with emerge as a radical conservative in the Clarence Thomas mold.
Naturally, such an eventuality would have significant consequences for the political balance of the Court. Depending on who replaces 85 year-old John Paul Stevens once he retires, if Roberts and Alito turn out to be radical conservatives, a major retrenchment becomes a very real prospect.
At least some interesting thoughts to ponder.
3. Featured Non-Law-Oriented Blog.
Bloglines. This is a great resource if, like me, you try to keep up with a significant number of blogs and websites. The concept is simple. You go to bloglines, go through a free registration to create an account, and then add the RSS feeds of your favorite sites to your bloglines "feeds" list. Then you can simply log in to bloglines, open up "My Feeds" and see what sites have been updated and what the latest posts on all your favorite sites are. A quick synopsis that lets you scan whether you want to go read the entire post or not.
This really is an incredible time-saver. The only drawbacks I've found so far is that not all of my favorite sites have RSS feeds, and that on occasion I get an error message related to some of the sites. But on the whole Bloglines is really saving me lots of time. And Kierkegaard Lives can be syndicated through Bloglines; just click the little Bloglines button over on the sidebar!
4. Featured Just-For-Fun Site.
Today's "Just for fun" site is Daily SuDoku. If you haven't had the joy of getting hooked on Sudoku yet, here's the basics: You get a puzzle consisting of Nine squares, each of which is also comprised of nine smaller squares. The result is a big box that is nine squares long and nine squares high. In each of the nine big squares, you must have the numbers 1 through 9. In each row, you must have the numbers 1 through 9. In each column, you must have the numbers 1 through 9. It sounds easy, but it can be infuriating. If you haven't tried this yet, go check it out. If you are hooked on Sudoku like I am, this is a great place to get a daily "fix."
Previous Friday Fantastic Four Posts:
January 6, 2006
December 30, 2005