All entries for Monday 04 July 2005

July 04, 2005

More words of wisdom from Chris Martin

Coldplay’s Chris Martin is a well meaning guy but his opinions, along with those of his fellow celebrities, never cease to be amusing.

From the New York Daily News

Maybe you couldn't blame some people for lapsing into a bit of overstatement during yesterday's marathon Live 8 pile-on.
'This is the greatest rock show in the history of the world,' trumpeted an announcer at the start of the London concert, which kicked off AOLmusic's global feed of this extremely long event.

This is 'the single most important concert ever,' gushed a deejay on XM Satellite Radio, which carried the world's concerts on seven distinct channels.

Not to be outdone, Coldplay's Chris Martin announced from the London stage, '[This is] the greatest thing that's ever been organized in the history of the world.'

The people behind the moon landing and the creation of the Sphinx might beg to differ with that.

Yes, that’s right. Chris Martin considers the Live8 concert, brainchild of Bob Geldof, to be the greatest coordinated achievement mankind has ever seen. Further comment is unnecessary.

Found via The Amateur Economist & Curmudgeon Blog

US Supreme Court nominations

The recent resignation Justice Day O’Connor of the US Supreme Court has caused much debate about a future replacement. The resignation of the first female Justice is an opportunity for George Bush to put in place someone likely to further his party’s ideological cause.

Bush said, "The nation deserves and I will select a Supreme Court justice that Americans can be proud of.

"The nation also deserves a dignified process of confirmation in the United States Senate, characterized by fair treatment, a fair hearing and a fair vote," he said. "I will choose the nominee in a timely manner so that the hearing and the vote can be completed before the new Supreme Court term begins."

For months, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have said they expect a high-stakes battle when it comes time to fill a vacancy. Liberal and conservative groups have already launched major campaigns calling for nominees who lean toward their points of view.

Read the full report from CNN.

Despite debate over possible nominees, the political leanings of Supreme Court members should be secondary to the likelihood of the rule of law being upheld; the adherence to precedent and the honest interpretation of the US constitution. Judicial activism or the furthering of a party’s political/social aims is to the system’s detriment if decisions become more unpredictable

Friedrich Hayek, “The order that the judge is expected to maintain is thus not a particular state of things but the regularity of a process which rests on some of the expectations of the acting persons being protected from interference by others. He will be expected to decide in a manner which in general will correspond to what the people regard as just, but he may sometimes have to decide that what prima facie appears to be just may not be so because it disappoints legitimate expectations.”

If the expectations of actors are to be met in general, decisions need to be predictable and preferably in line with already articulated rule. (However, it’s possible for expectations to be fulfilled and law making to be predictable in the presence of activist judges if a group with near identical views holds a stable majority in a court. Here, the law being enforced isn’t necessarily that initially articulated. See Professor Lawrence Solum’s post here.)

As an aside, Hayek’s latter point implies that even logical deduction of the ‘correct’ result or adherence to precedent may result in decisions which the majority would deem unjust. Such a situation may arise when sequential consideration of past cases, differing slightly in character, results in a decision later down the line which conflicts slightly with constitutional text. In such a case, it may be wise to ditch precedent in favour of preserving the public’s sense of justice. Outrage across the political spectrum over the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the Kelo vs. New England case may be an example of such a logical drift towards undesirable rulings.

Given the power held by the Supreme Court, it would be a shame to see it used as a political tool rather than on designed to benefit everyone.

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