Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Ginger tags me with this meme: "List ten songs that you are currently digging … it doesn’t matter what genre they are from, whether they have words, or even if they’re no good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying right now. Post these instructions, the artists, and the ten songs in your blog. Then tag five other people to see what they’re listening to." Here are five:

Kathleen Edwards, "Back to Me". I've already declared this the Official Hit Single of my summer. A great guitar sound, a hilarious lyric. I like "Twenty Years in State" from the same album, too.

Beausoleil, "Zydeco Gris Gris". The version that opens "The Big Easy" is different from this one, but both are good. There are aspects of Southern culture that I really like-- the food, the music, the literature. I hate the rest of it, though. I played this on our way to A's HS reunion last night, thinking it might help to psych her up. I think it did, somewhat.

Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer, "Crocodile Man". More terrific guitar, and a snazzy lyric about being a grifter. "Thanksgiving dinner at the Top Hat Lounge"-- how cool is that?

The New Pornographers, "The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism". EGA tipped me to this band, who do it all right.

The Beautiful South, "Rotterdam (Or Anywhere)". This just slays me.

Tagging people with these things feels like assigning homework-- but if you're reading this, I'd like to see your list.

Friday, July 29, 2005

You might think that having this space available as an outlet would be sufficient, but sometimes it's not enough, I guess. I was a Letter to the Editor writer before the internet, and I always will be.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I find myself in federal court downstate pretty regularly; usually I fly down for the day. This means that I go through metal detectors, first to get on the plane, then to get into court, then to get back on the plane to come home. In the morning, to get on the plane, I drowsily take off my shoes and jacket. My jacket pockets hold my change, and my iPod, and whatever other metal I have. The let you keep your shoes on at federal court, but you have to empty your pockets, which is a bother.

Yesterday I was struggling with emptying my pockets properly for some reason. The magnetometer beeped, and the Marshall wanded me, locating the source of the problem in my right jacket pocket. I reached in. "Oh, keys," I said, stupidly. "Yeah, I miss those wooden keys myself," said the Marshall. Now imagine that he sounded just like Art Carney as Ed Norton. I laughed to myself about it for the rest of the day.

Friday, July 22, 2005

I've been thinking about what I'd like to ask Judge Roberts. The footnote in the Rust brief that he was lead counsel on reads:

"We continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled. As more fully explained in our briefs, filed as amicus curiae, in Hodgson v. Minnesota, 110 S. Ct. 2926 (1990); Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, 109 S. Ct. 3040 (1989); Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 476 U.S. 747 (1986); and City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, 462 U.S. 416 (1983), the Court's conclusions in Roe that there is a fundamental right to an abortion and that government has no compelling interest in protecting prenatal human life throughout pregnancy find no support in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution."

I'd ask, first, "Understanding that you were taking an advocacy position here, were you the principal author of this footnote?" A follow up might be, "Was the inclusion of this footnote a matter that you approved?" Actually, real cross could get you somewhere with this, but I'll buy you a cup of coffee and a doughnut if we see any real cross.

What I'd really want to know would be this: "In Rust the Court was asked to decide whether doctors and clinics that receive federal funds may discuss abortion with their patients. (Put another way, the question was whether, given the holding in Roe, the government could inject itself, by way of regulation, into the physician/patient relationship.) Given the undisputed fact that Roe was and remains the law of the land, and accepting that the principle of stare decisis requires deference to established law, how did the argument set forth in the footnote serve to advance the argument you were asserting?" I could ask this one a couple of different ways too.

I don't doubt that this cat is so much smarter than I am that he'd run circles around me in a classroom. Under oath, though, I'd be interested in hearing what he had to say. Because here's the thing-- Rust wasn't about whether Roe should be overturned-- it was a much narrower question, and arguing that the easy way to answer the question would just be to just change the law is pretty disingenious-- even in a footnote. Viet Dinh argues that that's not what the footnote says: "[It doesn't] even squarely say what the extreme liberal interest groups read [it] to say: namely, that the brief Roberts signed argues for overruling Roe v. Wade. Rather, these sentences simply point out as a statement of historical fact that the Department of Justice since 1983 had argued that Roe was wrongly decided." Dinh is being cute here, of course. I'll betcha a second doughnut that Judge Roberts is too smart to try to convince even somambulent sheep that are the Senate Democrats that he was just making a statement of historical fact.

As nominees go, I suppose we could have done worse. Apparently this guy is not an alien from space, or a zombie. He hasn't, as far as I know, advocated torture. He is from Buffalo, which was all John LaFalce had to know. (Words fail me. What the hell do you know about judges, LaFalce?) Roberts clerked with Judge Friendly, who was a modern Cardozo. Unless it turns out that he has an amphetamine lab in his rec room, he's the guy we are going to get.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Dahlia Lithwick says: "By deciding not to choose someone blatantly and unapologetically ideological, and by refusing to name someone who has made a judicial career of what I've previously dubbed aggressive "re-activism"—ignoring existing law under the pretense that it's wrongly decided—Bush has revealed that he's in fact more pragmatist than ideologue. He's not, in short, quite the single-minded moral zealot he's been selling."

Of course that assumes that Roberts is not ideological, which, in turn, implies a degree of trust in Bush that I can't seem to bring myself to muster. Bush hates my America-- why wouldn't he do everything in his power to destroy it?

A, out of town in an outlying county conducting depositions, called last night to report that a person or persons unknown had painstakingly peeled off our bumper sticker. I am extremely put out by this. A good deal of thought goes into our bumper sticker selection. The minivan sported a smorgosbord of lefty selections: "Let's Not Elect Him Again This Time", one from our local NPR outlet, "Howard Dean, For America", the Campaign for Human Rights' equal sign, and, just to bring it all home, "Smith College". Sure, it looked like the pinko circus had come to town, but hey, in these times, with so many important points to be made, we felt it important to announce that we belong to that portion of the population that won't go quietly.

When the Caravan retired, we decided that a subtler look was appropriate for our new short, but we wanted to retain a thumb in the eye insouciance. What we ended up with may have been almost too subtle-- certainly it was vintage. My sister-in-law, concededly a second grader in 1972, thought it was some sort of reference to the current Governor of California's wife. I'd sort of hoped that it would be available at the dealership as a regular Volvo accessory, but it turned out no, we had to go on e-Bay. I have a feeling that's where this one will end up, or that this is what the person who took it had in mind. Hilariously, they are abundant and inexpensive. They made them out of paper, back in the day, and I doubt that ours would have made it through the winter, but still, I am vexed and put out. The "George W. Bush: Worst 'President' Ever" sticker that I picked up last night as a placeholder is a pale substitute, lacking in verve and style.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Hon. John G. Roberts, Jr. (Harvard College, Harvard Law), shown here at his 1976 college yearbook best. Note the sideburns-- I'll bet Judge Rehnquist did at his clerkship interview. Timothy Noah reports that Roberts decided not to apply to Stanford Law School because his interviewer wore sandals. Good hair in the 70's, (nice jacket too), anti-sandals. And yet, I still don't trust the guy. This has "Trap" written all over it. Posted by Picasa

Thirty six years ago today Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Nobody's been back since 1972. Sure, there's been a lot going on back on Earth since then, but isn't it a shame that this astonishing accomplishment now represents a dead end? Wouldn't "Moon Day" be a good idea for a holiday?

Funny thing about the moon-- for all of human history we've looked up at it. We sent men to walk on it-- maybe one of the greatest scientific accomplishments in history. Today, when we happen to see the moon it's almost like a surprise. We are cut off from nature just as we are cut off from our own history, I think. And I think that's a shame. Look up tonight. If you are old enough, remember what it felt like 36 years ago. (Boing Boing provided the Google Moon link. By all means zoom in.)

Monday, July 18, 2005

Maybe a darker top would be slimming. Of course, a dark top would cook me like the barbecued ham I resemble here, so maybe that would not be such a good plan. Also, I think I've decided that I hate these sunglasses. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 16, 2005

I was looking for a summer read, something I could sit in the yard and drink glass of wine with, when I happened upon Kim Stanley Robinson's "The Years of Rice and Salt". I'd liked his Mars trilogy, up to a point. When it was all said and done, I thought it was about a third too long, a funny thing to say about a trilogy. I suppose I guess I mean that if each of the books were trimmed with a cumulative reduction amounting to a third I'd have liked it better. I wasn't really knocked out by "Antarctica". It didn't seem to have the same spark as the Mars books. "The Years of Rice and Salt" is an alternative history, a history where the Black Plague killed off 99% of Europe. How would things be different?

You'd think going into it that no Europeans would be a pretty good start, but it doesn't work out that way. The Arab world vies for control with the Chinese, and as far as I can tell, it seems as though things really aren't so different. Too bad for you if you are African, for example. There are still telephones, and religious fundamentalists. American Indians catch a break, but they are not really very central in the book.

Robinson seems to want to take the long view in his novels, but he doesn't want to let go of his characters. In the Mars books he accomplished this by making the characters develop technologies that extended their lives indefinitely. This was interesting, to a point, because he then had to deal with the question of what relationships between such long lived people would be like. In this one he decided to have his principals reincarnated on a regular basis. This is much less interesting, and worst of all is when he takes us with them into "the bardo", the in between place where souls wait to be reincarnated. The whole thing gets tangled in a pseudo-mysticism that detracts from the alternate history.

There is also a problem here with the way the style of the narrative changes. In the opening chapters Robinson uses cliffhanger endings and teaser paragraphs: "We know what happened next, but you will have to read on to find out." That sort of thing. It is done well, and really propelled me into the book, but he stops after a hundred pages or so, for no real reason that I can tell.

There are some interesting bits, and there are scenes of such stunning violence that I was actaully left a little breathless, but on the whole I'd have to say that it's been a long time since I was this disappointed withmyself for sticking with a book that was such obvious rubbish. I have toyed with the idea of starting Robinson's California trilogy-- I reckon I will continue to toy. Nothing about this book made me anxious to make the time investment

Friday, July 15, 2005

So, Rehnquist isn't done yet. I think you have to respect that. Stepping down now would be along the lines of Marv Levy's remark, "When you start thinking about retirement, you're already retired." The Chief is 80. His wife died a few years back. If he stops now, what he's really saying is "I'm ready for death's embrace." I'd hang on too-- I think most lawyers would. You leave this profession feet first.

It's not like the list of prospective replacements would excite him. Emily Bazelon propounded a list of conservative judges who wouldn't be terrible nominees-- too bad we won't being seeing any of them. Judge Posner we all know-- I wonder how he'd find the time? I've appeared before the Hon. Reena Raggi, who was tough, but fair-- I'd say probably the best qualified for the job of anyone I've ever been before, actually. I've never understood the high regard that John Danforth is held in, but he beats the hell out of the "A List" names I've seen. Actually, any of Ms. Bazelon's names would work for me.

The Bush people smaking their lips over the prospect of appointing a Chief Justice was more than a little unseemly. They will probably get to fill at least one more seat, but they could have shown a little more class about it.

As a rule I love courthouses, but the federal courthouse in Central Islip is an exception: it's just about the most user unfriendly building I have ever been in. This is quite an accomplishment in the context of federal courthouses, which are not much about giving you the warm fuzzies in the first place, but this one is special. The cab pulled up and I shook my head, "G-d that's an ugly building." The cabbie laughed. "Give me a card so I can call for a ride when the judge is through yelling at me."

Incongruously named for Senator Alphonse D'Amato, the building sits in the middle of nowhere, just off the grounds of the old mental hospital. It is a big white box, with a lot of glass and a lot of fake ductwork on the outside, and a big oatmeal box shaped structure stuck on the front like a silo. If Frank Gehry designed barns, this is what they'd look like.

Inside there is the usual security checkpoint, staffed by marshals in blazers who are so bored they can't even muster the interest to be irritable. They take your phone, of course, and make you empty your pockets. For some reason you get to keep your shoes on when you go to federal court.

There are two magistrates with the same last name out in CI-- to further complicate things their initials are "M" and "J"-- the same initials that are used to indicate "Magistrate Judge". Of course they are on different floors, and naturally when you ask the cheery marshals they direct you to the wrong place.

There are dummy monitors in the lobby instead of a building directory, so the mis-information provided by the marshals is all you have to go on. You take the elevator up to what you know will be the wrong floor. The building is long-- about a city block long, with the elevator bank and a huge atrium dividing the two wings. There is another dummy monitor, and no other indication as to where the courtroom you are looking for might be, so you take your 50/50 shot, and guess wrong, every single time.

If there is an attorney's lounge I haven't found it yet. There is no wireless internet, and I'm sorry if complaining about that makes me sound like a big baby-- the effect of taking my phone and preventing me from getting on the net is that when I enter the building it means I have entered a gigantic time suck, where I will be able to accomplish nothing until the judge takes the bench, in his own sweet time, and starts picking on me.

Don't get me wrong-- I kind of like this judge, who seems to know what he's doing, and seems to have a sense of humor, but the Eastern District Courthouse in Central Islip experience, taken as a whole, is profoundly alienating. The interior of the building would not be out of place as a set on the Sci-Fi channel, with catwalks and more exposed ductwork. I wanted to shout, "Soylent Green is people!" but managed to restrain myself. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

While My Ukulele Gently Weeps. No kidding, it's terrific. (Via Backup Brain and Flutterby.)

Monday, July 11, 2005

EGA writes: "This American Life is just one of several bees in my bonnet this summer, a glorious summer in which I spend all my time flitting from one obsession to the next. This summer has been devoted to logic, of course, but also cooking, P.G. Wodehouse, Sherlock Holmes, This American Life, Laura Cantrell (I listen to her new album about three times a day on average), and drawing, among other things. It's pleasurable but also tiring- at all times I am focussed like a laser on some pursuit, and I have trouble quieting my brain enough to let me sleep."

Can you think of a better summer? I'm not sure I can.

Is there anything better than Boilermaker weekend?

Saturday, July 09, 2005

I've been of a mind to make shrimp Rémoulade for some time now, but the recipes are all over the map-- this has the look of a dish that a lot of ladies made in the 50's, with ingredients that include french dressing (you know, the orange kind), and I don't know what all else. This one looks like it would be good, but I'll have to make it when A is off on a cross-country crime spree or something-- if I served it over eggplant it would have pretty much everything she won't eat.

Classic New Orleans Remoulade Sauce:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped green onions (green and white parts)
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
3 tablespoons Creole or other whole-grain mustard
3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
3 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

I think I'd add some minced capers, too.

Friday, July 08, 2005

I like the sound of this: Proscuitto di Parma wrapped Goat Cheese stuffed Figs with Vanilla Bean tossed Arugula, Pesto and Balsamic Extraction. (Via Looka!). Asparagus bread pudding with rémoulade sauce, crumbles of chêvre and microgreens also sounds nice.

You know how you get a song stuck in your head? Right now I got a sandwich stuck in my head. This is what I want for lunch. Roast beef, cole slaw, Russian dressing. Looks like really nice bread, too. I can't think of where I would get this specific sandwich around here, though, and it is breaking my heart. Thanks to Looka! for the notion. Posted by Picasa

To Wide Right at Mohawk Place last night, proof of KRAC Captain Tom Knab's axiom: Every night there's a great band playing somewhere, and you can't go. This show was pretty well attended, actually-- some of it looked like friends and family, but some of it looked like Thursday in the Square afters, and Mohawk regulars. In any event this is a band that deserves a wider audience. Leah Archibald writes sharply observed, clear eyed and clever lyrics, tied to crunchy, hook filled tunes that pop right along. "He looks like the kind of guy/That would have asked if I wanted a ride/Would I keep walking or agree to go/Depends if he drove a Nova or a GTO". A hilarious song about a well-known avant garde artist that we both apparently are acquainted with. "Buffalo Fight Song", which deserves to blare out of the speakers of every sports venue in town: "Bars close at 4 so you can really stay out/You know you got a lot to talk proud about!"

Ms. Archibald took the stage in a carefully preserved Buffalo Braves tee shirt and played a snappy set that included most of the stuff from their new CD. I secured a copy, and recommend it-- there really isn't a weak cut on it. Confidential to EGA: play this band-- or, better yet, bring them to NoHo. Buffalo Place-- what are these guys doing in a bar for afters? Put them on your stage!

I've yet to be steered wrong by a Christgau review. Last night continued that streak. I don't get the sense that they tour much-- in fact, I know they don't-- but if you get the chance, see them. And buy a CD.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Sarah Vowell filling in for Maureen Dowd-- call it wishful thinking, but the name Wally Pipp comes to mind, you know? I'm sure we won't see that kind of longevity, but at least we are getting a superstar in place of a journeyman.

"[Pat]Robertson is one of the people in this dream I've had for 20 years, a nightmare I call "the handshake dream." In it, I am attending some G.O.P. all-star party. (A girl can dream.) And I have to decide whose hand I deign to shake. Bob Dole and John McCain: of course (war heroes). Orrin Hatch: fine (stem cells). But Robertson? He's always been a solid "No way!" as he sulks by the punch bowl with Strom."

Ms. Vowell is more forgiving than I am-- I might deign to poke Orrin Hatch with a stick, but that's as far as I'd go. I did meet Bob Dole once, in the late 70's. "Senator," my bearded, scruffy undergraduate self said, "You've been a hero of mine for some time." "Oh really?" he retorted, "What did I do wrong?" His retinue laughed, and I said, "I think you're the funniest Republican since Bob Hope." I didn't get a laugh. He moved on, but I meant it. Dole is what Republicans should be-- I'd be one if they were like Dole, instead of like Hatch, or Santorum. Republicans should be about freedom, not about who you have sex with, or how you express your political beliefs. Hatch falls squarely into the later camp, and the fact that I agree with him on stem cell research is disturbing to me. I've never agreed with him on anything before, and I wonder if this is his broken clock moment.

You're Canada!

People make fun of you a lot, but they're stupid because you've
got a much better life than they do.  In fact, they're probably just jealous.
 You believe in crazy things like human rights and health care and not
dying in the streets, and you end up securing these rights for yourself and
others.  If it weren't for your weird affection for ice hockey, you'd be
the perfect person.

the Country Quiz at the href="">Blue Pyramid

A may have dual citizenship rights, actually, a handy thing in these times. Given my druthers, I'd move to the Nederlands, but a Plan B is a good thing to have.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

It has been a while since we've talked about corruption in Brooklyn, but this story jogged my memory: Edward S. Reich, a former Brooklyn Bar Association president was sentenced Tuesday to 27 months in prison for accepting $10,500 in bribes while acting as a court-appointed referee in Brooklyn Supreme Court. "In addition to being a bar association president, Reich headed the group's Judiciary Committee for 27 years. He was also a former vice-president of the New York State Bar Association and a member of the grievance committee responsible for disciplining lawyers in Brooklyn and Queens."

My favorite part of the story is at the end: "Reich was not publicly charged until a month after his arrest in December 2003. During that time, according to information filed by both sides in pretrial motions, FBI agents pressed him to cooperate in an investigation of corruption of the state judiciary in Brooklyn.

"Reich, however, steadfastly claimed he had no knowledge of corruption to share with the agents."

Here is how it goes with corruption: the time you get caught is never the first time, and the first time never happens unless the culture of corruption is so pervasive that guys like Mr. Reich-- a man with $1.6 million in the bank-- a guy with everything to lose-- figures that since everyone is doing it, why not get in for a slice? Hilariously, being a referee is the sort of court appointed plum that is usually enough to satisfy smaller fry; you get to be a referee by being connected. It's nice light work that doesn't take any time out of your day, and you get a fee off the top. Judges get in trouble for doling the job out to their political pals.

A bad judge or a bad lawyer is like a rat in a house-- there's always more than the ones you see. The story doesn't say how many bribes he took, or how much they were for. My guess is Quite A Few and Just Enough To Sting respectively, but you never know-- he may have tried to gouge-- that's usually what gets you caught.

I promise you that a guy who was on the Judiciary Committee of the county bar association-- a gatekeeper function-- knows more than he is telling. You know what? Everybody in Brooklyn knows more than they are telling. They are just going to have to keep tearing up the floorboards at 360 Adams Street-- and be ready for when the rats come streaming out.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Bolivar is situated in the Southern Tier, near the Pennsyvania border. I knew that this region was where the oil and gas industry got its start in this country, but I didn't make the connection. At the turn of the last century this area was the center of the petroleum industry, so naturally it had a state of the art transportation infrastructure. It is interesting to contemplate this-- I'm sure most people have wondered what happens when the oil runs out, before they shake their heads and decide that thinking about it is too unpleasant. Well, here's an example of what happened in one place that had an extraction based economy that wrapped up: it turned into a pasture. This building is now a roller rink (or it was, before last week). Bolivar is the kind of town that doesn't have a McDonald's, but it has a pretty little golf course, and there are still people living there, doing whatever people who live in small towns do. It may be that when the rest of the oil is gone it will make economic sense to come back to Bolivar and extract whatever remains-- a hundred and fifty years after its glory days, a final burst of economic activity, before it reverts to woods and fields once and for all. Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 04, 2005

We dropped CLA off at camp, then continued on to Elmira to visit with T and S and their daughters, S and R. On the way back we stopped to investigate an accident scene for A. This is an old trolleycar electrical station located in Bolivar, New York. A truck took out that wall, but that's not the interesting part-- the interesting part is that there was a trolley car line in Bolivar, New York. It is as remote and empty a little town as you are going to find in New York State-- why was there a trolley line?

"In 1880 street transportation came to Olean, a year later than it had arrived at it’s neighboring city south, Bradford, PA. The horsecar line connected the downtown business district with the Erie Railroad Depot and was only 7,750 feet long. It was built to 3’6” gauge and operated until 1891 when a line was started on West State Street using standard gauge to prepare in advance for electric railway and connected Olean with Allegany. Permission to cross the Erie RR tracks was refused and the track ended opposite St. Bonaventure University. In 1893 the track was laid sufficiently to allow the first electric car to run and permission finally received to cross the Erie tracks and the service extended in 1894 to Allegany.

Three years later, in 1897 an inaugural run was made into Portville. In 1901 the railway proposed to extend this line to Bolivar in Allegany County. In 1902 construction started from Portville to Ceres and on to Bolivar. These extensions made it necessary to gain more electric power than the Olean plant could produce and a second electric generating station was built near Ceres. At this time, steam was furnished by a bank of boilers fired by natural gas. The Ceres plant was located adjacent to a 600 acre natural gas field owned by the railway. By 1908 a new station was built at the Ceres site to use the natural gas supply derived from the company’s wells and piped to the site. Power from this plant supplied direct current for the Bolivar & Shinglehouse branches. It is said that in 1904, service between Olean & Ceres was 40 minutes and 80 minutes to Bolivar from Olean."

I love the Internet.

 Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 02, 2005

From Looka!: "I noted that when Roe v. Wade was approved, Spain was still Fascist. I have to wonder if there come a day when Spanish citizens say "You know, when gay marriage was approved, America was still a democracy."

Friday, July 01, 2005

Sandra Day O'Connor and William Rehnquist graduated at the top of their class together, and, of course, they ended up at the same place, but they took very different routes to get there. I can't help but admire O'Connor more, because hers was certainly the harder road, and it is interesting to think about the way her road has been reflected in her jurisprudence. More interesting at the moment, however, is to think about the way she announced her retirement. I'm sure the nine are all pretty chummy-- Ginsburg and Scalia's families have Thaksgiving together, which blows my mind, but whatever. You can't help but wonder what sort of relationship O'Connor and The Chief have had over the years. Does it chafe at all that Rehnquist's rise was so smooth? Does she feel like she got her props? Did she retire now to steal the spotlight, or did she wait to she what her classmate was going to do, defering an announcement until after the end of the term to give him a chance to step down first? She'll get her props now. Reinquist has been the focus of all the speculation, and he's been lauded all over, but now we are going to hear about Sandy Day, and with ample justification. It'd be hard to say that anyone else on the Court has had more influence since she made history by being appointed, and when you consider that it's liberals like me that are the most upset by her leaving-- notwithstanding the fact that "liberal" is just about the last word you could use to describe her-- you have to think that she deserves all the applause. I dispair of the US on a daily basis, and wonder what has become of a country with such potential, founded on such outstanding principals. When you consider that a person like Justice O'Connor is a product of this nation and this nation's principals it is possible to still believe that we may get through this.

I hope so. I look at the various short lists and I just shake my head.

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