Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Obama Team Befuddled On Kagan Controversy

In a bid to become the most uncredible spokesman in White House history, Obama Administration Press Secretary Jay "Chili-con" Carney states he sees no reason for United States Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan to recuse herself in the upcoming Supreme Court challenge on the constitutionality of the Obamacare legislation.
“These issues were raised, just a year ago, in an expansive confirmation hearing. And those questions were questions were asked and answered both in the hearing itself and in written questions that were responded to in writing. It’s a mystery to me how this can suddenly be an issue a year later and they want to revisit what they just visited not that long ago.”
Kagan is known to have exchanged e-mails with Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, including one that said:
“I hear they have the votes, Larry!! Simply amazing.”
Carney isn't arguing that Kagan has no opinion on the legislation. He is saying that the topic was thoroughly discussed at her confirmation hearings. Of course the truth lives far from Jay Carney, and all the e-mail exchanges between then Solicitor General Elena Kagan and Tribe, who is a well-known Supreme Court litigator and was then serving in the Justice Department, were blocked from view until a Freedom of Information Act filing pried them loose.

Well Jay, here is what Democrat Senator Arlen Specter had to say at the time of her confirmation hearing:
"It would be my hope that we could find some place between voting no and having some sort of substantive answers, but I don't know that it would be useful to pursue these questions any further."
It was so difficult for Senator Specter to get a straight answer from Ms. Kagan that he thought there would be no use in further questioning her. Nice.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Senate Republicans have said:
“Neil Katyal, Ms. Kagan's principal deputy, stated he would ‘speak with Elena’ about her office participating in a Department working group that would plan the Administration's litigation strategy, exclaiming that he wanted the Administration to ‘crush’ those challenging the [health care law].”
28 U.S. Code Section 455 stipulates that a justice must recuse from “any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” The law also says a justice must recuse anytime he has “expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy” while he “served in governmental employment.”
When pressed about the e-mails, Carney moved to a different topic.
Yeah, move along, Jay. It's no fun arguing when the facts indicate you're either an idiot or a liar, and as unbelievable as some of the things you have to go out and say for this White House are, you're no idiot.


  1. Anyway, it is not a question for the White House to answer. The question is for Justice Kagan. The White House wading in is just more of the same from them.

  2. "Yeah, move along, Jay. It's no fun arguing when the facts indicate you're either an idiot or a liar, and as unbelievable as some of the things you have to go out and say for this White House, you're no idiot."

    There are three, and only three, general categories of explanation for why a person asserts what is false:
    1) he is an idiot; he is too stupid to do otherwise: that is, he is unable to understand the truth of the matter and thus believes and asserts what is false;
    2) he is ignorant: that is, there is something he misunderstands, and on that misunderstanding incorrectly believes that the false thing is truth;
    3) he is a liar: either he knows the truth and yet deliberately asserts what he knows to be false, or he refuses to know the truth and deliberately asserts what he knows that he does not know to be truth.

  3. I'm going with what's behind door #3 - he's a liar. A paid liar, but a liar none the less.

  4. I never go with door #1, for, non-exhaustively:
    1) except in cases of severe mental retardation, who among us really does have the knowledge to state honestly that So-and-So simply cannot understand the matter, or cannot reason correctly;
    2) even in cases of (non-extreme) mental retardation, I believe the problem isn't so much that the person *cannot* understand the matter, but rather that we, and frequently he, do not have the patience to work through it until he does understand.

    Charity toward others (and our own expectation/demand to receive a charitable hearing), and our own claim to be a reasonable being, demands that we reach for door #2 as long as we reasonably can.

    When door #3 is the correct answer, the dishonest person's behavior will make it clear, sooner or later.

  5. Already, it seems I must retract my insistence that I never choose door #1, as see here