- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 6, 2006

‘Legal contortions’

“A primary sponsor of the Detainee Treatment Act, the 2005 law at the center of the Supreme Court’s Hamdan decision, says Justice John Paul Stevens engaged in ‘legal contortions’ and turned the record of Congress’ deliberations ‘upside down’ in the Court’s 5-3 decision against the Bush administration’s plan to use military commissions to try suspected terrorists,” Byron York writes at National Review Online (NRO) (www.nationalreview.com).

” ‘Justice Stevens took the plain language of the statute and made legal contortions to get to the result the Court wanted to get to,’ South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham tells National Review Online. ‘It was turning statutory interpretation and the interpretation of a record upside down, in my opinion, to get a predetermined result. The majority of the Court wanted to rule on the legal situation in Guantanamo Bay, and no statute was going to get in their way.’

“Graham’s comments to NRO are far stronger than the statement he released the day of the decision,” Mr. York said. “Then, Graham, along with Republican co-sponsor Sen. Jon Kyl, said, ‘We are disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision. However, we believe the problems cited by the Court can and should be fixed.’ ”

Nervous Hillary

“Suddenly, it looks as if Hillary Clinton is running scared over 2008,” the New York Post’s Deborah Orin writes.

“A batch of Hillaryland moves over the past few weeks suggests a nervous-Nellie president wannabe rather than a confident Democratic front-runner. She hired a lefty blogger and cozied up to anti-war activists by pledging to desert pal Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) if he loses a primary over Iraq and runs as an independent,” Miss Orin said.

“To boot, hubby Bill Clinton went out to court activists in the first-test states of Iowa and New Hampshire by vowing that his wife supports their favored positions.

“The most bizarre move was having her pollster, Mark Penn, and longtime Clintonite James Carville write a defensive-sounding Washington Post weekend op-ed piece insisting ‘she can win’ in 2008.

“The minute Hillaryland feels a need to insist that she can win, her partisans have admitted it’s a debatable — and weak — point for the candidate, who’s supposed to have a lock on the nomination.

“Why the sudden defensiveness?

“Democratic operatives say the sea change is due to the June poll in the 2008 first-test state of Iowa, which showed Clinton trailing former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards.”

Still on the ballot

The Texas Republican Party must keep former congressman Tom DeLay on the November ballot, even though he isn’t campaigning for re-election, a judge ruled yesterday.

Republican leaders want to replace Mr. DeLay on the ballot and say state election law allows them to select a new candidate because Mr. DeLay has moved out of Texas. Democrats sued to block them.

Mr. DeLay, the former U.S. House majority leader, won his Republican primary in March but resigned in June and moved to Virginia. He is awaiting trial on money laundering and conspiracy charges connected to the financing of Texas legislative campaigns in 2002.

In court last week, Mr. DeLay testified that he lives and votes in Virginia and that he has a Virginia driver’s license. But lawyers for Texas Democrats pointed out Mr. DeLay still owns a Houston-area home, where his wife, Christine, lives and where Mr. DeLay spends time.

The Democrats argued it couldn’t be shown conclusively whether Mr. DeLay would be an “inhabitant” of Texas — as required by the U.S. Constitution — on Election Day.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks agreed, saying he was not convinced that Mr. DeLay would not return to Texas, despite his current Virginia residency.

Republican Party attorney Jim Bopp said the party will appeal, the Associated Press reports.

Jersey smackdown

Rival Senate candidates turned New Jersey’s budget crisis into a cudgel to use against the other.

The six-day stalemate, state government shutdown and eventual deal was more than a headache for Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine and lawmakers in Trenton, N.J. It was a source for Republican Tom Kean Jr.’s latest radio ad and Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez’s criticism of Mr. Kean’s record, AP reports.

Mr. Kean accused Mr. Menendez of being too indebted to Mr. Corzine, who appointed Mr. Menendez to the Senate in January to serve out the remainder of his term. The Republican says his rival is incapable of questioning Mr. Corzine’s budget plan that will include tax increases.

“As the governor’s hand-picked appointee to the Senate, Menendez has given up on the people of New Jersey because Menendez doesn’t think the budget crisis, which has shut down our government, is his problem,” Mr. Kean says in the radio aid.

Mr. Menendez accused his rival of faltering in offering a solution to the state’s fiscal mess, citing Mr. Kean’s resignation from the state Senate budget committee earlier this year to campaign.

“If voters are dissatisfied with the budget and if the sales tax goes through, they will draw a straight line to the Senate race,” said Peter Woolley, director of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind Poll.

‘Grand Oil Party’

Remember a few years ago, when Democrats were so excited about how MoveOn.org was going to bring high-tech innovation to liberal campaigns? Now the Internet group is engaged in some very old-fashioned politics: Hawking bumper stickers.

“As summer driving season moves into high gear, we’re offering free bumper stickers that spread our message (we’ll even take care of the postage),” MoveOn.org said in an e-mail to supporters yesterday.

The group’s “Grand Oil Party” stickers show a cartoon elephant wielding a gas-pump nozzle.

“These stickers will make sure that when people are feeling the pinch of high gas prices, they’ll know that Republicans are the problem. … Together, we’ll remind folks everywhere that the Republican party is tied to big oil companies — and that’s part of the reason that gas prices are so high and it’s why we’re not doing anything about global warming.”

Huckabee’s book

Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says a new book he’s writing — expected in bookstores next year — may help him gauge support for a possible 2008 Republican presidential bid.

Mr. Huckabee said his new book, yet untitled, will focus on policy issues he’s faced in his 10 years as Arkansas governor. The term-limited governor leaves office in January.

Unlike his previous book — detailing his 100-pound-plus weight loss — Mr. Huckabee said this work won’t be strictly health-related.

“There will be a chapter in there about health, but it’s going to be a more broad perspective of policy and how it affects people,” Mr. Huckabee told AP.

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.


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