Not making a difference since 2006. Blog motto: Always be sincere whether you mean it or not.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Not that seeing you on TV would be special, Justice K.

As someone living in a small Massachusetts town and who is afflicted with a minor elected position, I get to see collegiality at work. It ain't pretty. At our annual town meeting, every adult has a vote, yet it is poorly attended. The Woody Allen comment about showing up being eighty percent of success is evident. The members of the town boards are there and everything is adopted rather than rock the boat. If the highway department opposed a salary increase for the cops then collegiality would be shattered and no one wants that so the heck with the taxpayer.

And, of course, we see the curse of collegiality in the church abuse scandals. "Father Tom might be diddling some kid. Let's call him in to warn him and move him to Saint Swithin's. He is really wonderful except for that problem. He was in my seminary class. Quality of mercy, you know."

So it goes.

But, to some, collegiality is a virtue. The Skeptical CPA reports on an article by Nat Hentoff on Anthony Kennedy's defense of his warm relations with his fellow justices.

Y'all remember Tony. He's the guy who read into his oath of office that the constitution isn't enough and that foreign law needs to be cited. Maybe if there is a disputed election he will quote Salic Law to disqualify Hillary.

Well, Tony is worried that if Supreme court sessions are televised, things may not be cosy among the brethren and sistern of the bench.

"We teach that we're judged by what we write and by what we decide... I do not want an insidious dynamic introduced into my court that would affect the relations that I have with my colleagues.

"It would be unhelpful for the collegial relations... I don't want to think that one of my colleagues asked a question because he or she was on TV. And I don't want that temptation to exist... We (justices) think that we should be entitled to at least a presumption of correctness and to some deference in determining how best to preserve the dynamic of the wonderful proceeding that we know as oral argument."

Yeah, I guess Nino saying to Justice Bader Ginsburg, "Ruth, you’re an ignorant slut, by the way, did you get us tickets to Daughter of the Regiment?" on TV might ruin their off bench friendship.

Some points for Big Tony,

1. It is not your court. You seem to forget who pays your salary. Everybody in government does, but this is a bit of a reminder.

2. I take “I don't want to think that one of my colleagues asked a question because he or she was on TV. And I don't want that temptation to exist...” as an admission that there may be some losers on the court that need to grandstand. Not yourself, of course. Anymore of those foreign law citations coming along?

3. "It would be unhelpful for the collegial relations...” Tony, your relationship to the constitution is more important than your relationship with the other functionaries. Next time, join a seminary if it’s collegiality you want, though Benny seems to be cleaning up that act.

4. "We (justices) think that we should be entitled to at least a presumption of correctness and to some deference in determining how best to preserve the dynamic of the wonderful proceeding that we know as oral argument." Maybe your being overly presumptuous there, Tone.

Anyway, Mr. Justice, if you don't think you can hack it, maybe that Judy woman is available.

2 comments:

Independent Accountant said...

TVOH:
Read my 7 February 2008 post about "Why We Don't Learn From History".

tvoh said...

IA,

I read it and it is informative and in regard to Tony and his loayalty to collegiality and the court is correct.

The whole BHL essay is online. I liked his comment on Haig, "Haig was an honorable man according to his lights—but his lights were dim." I think that is the essence of Kennedy.

Down deep, though, I think TK knows he ain't the sharpest tool in the shed and is afraid of being televised and making a fool out of himself. The collegiality thing is nice, but not the driver.

I have read other BHL stuff. He is right about CV Wedgwood. I recommend her to you if you have an interest in the 17th Century.