Thursday, June 29, 2006

Is Hamdan Stevens Parting Shot?

Over at Southern Appeal, Feddie wonders whether Justice Stevens' opinion in Hamdan, which was definitely a defat for the Bush Administration, is Justice Stevens' parting shot before announcing a long overdue retirement. As I said in my comment to Feddie's post at SA, I had the same thought today. For a liberal justice this would certainly represent going out on a high note. If Stevens decides to hang around, he could well wind up being an embarassment before too long. I know he looks hale and hearty -- and I wish the justice many more years of good health. But at age 85, things have a way of happening, and a man in fine health can go into a rpaid decline with even the most simple of traumas or illnesses. I have to say I agree with Feddie -- look for JPS to announce his retirement sooner rather than later.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Even a Broken Clock is Right Twice a Day

And even a politician driven purely by expediency and self-interest can be right every now and again. But if John McCain thinks that he can run as the heir of Reagan, he is more delusional than I expected.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Mother Jesus?!?

ECUSA's new PB is without doubt a thoroughgoing revisionist. Take a look at this sermon and then tell me I'm wrong.

Fr. Neuhaus on the Schori Election

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus offers his opinion on the effects of the election of Ms. Schori in this essay posted on the First Things website. Suffice it to say that I think that Fr. Neuhaus's assessment of the consequences of the Episcopal Church's latest temper tantrum for ecumenical relations is precisely right. ECUSA has forfeited any claim that it had to being a part of the church catholic, and will now reap the whirlwind. For me, I am sorely tempted to say good riddance, at long last.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Judge Spares Lewis the Cat

I trust that all are relieved that Lewis the Cat has been spared. Now I can sleep.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Federal Judge Rules That Spokane Bishop Can't Sell Parishes

A federal district judge in Washington state has issued a potentially devastating decision concerning the ownership of parich church property in the Diocese of Spokane. From the linked news report it is not clear whether the reasoning of this decision could be employed to assist parish churches outside the boundaries of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane. Needless to say, however, the analysis employed could have a significant impact on other denominations, as well, including the schsim bound Episcopal Church. In the wake of the ECUSA's General Convention, it is likely that property disputes will erupt all over the place. Once I have had a chance to review the opinion, I'll offer some further thoughts.

Cardinal Kasper addresses Church of England Bishops' Meeting

Cardinal Kasper delivered this address to a meeting of the Church of England's bishops on June 5th. The Episcopal Church's House of Bishop s would have been well served to read this address, and to consider the consequences that Cardinal Kasper explained to the English bishops would follow from the elevation of women to the episcopate. While that particular horse is out of the barn on this side of the pond, there can be little doubt that Ms. Schori's election will have less than positive consequences for relations between the Vartican and the Anglican Communion.

Fallout Starts in the Episcopal Church

The fallout over the Episcopal Church's election of the ultra-liberal Ms. Schori has evidently begun. The Diocese of Ft. Worth issued the following today: "The Bishop and Standing Committee of the Diocese of Fort Worth appeal in good faith to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the primates of the Anglican Communion, and the Panel of Reference for immediate alternative primatial oversight and pastoral care, following the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori as presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church." "This action is taken as a cooperative member of the Anglican Communion Network in light of the Windsor Report and its recommendation." And thus the long imminent crack-up of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion begins.

The New York Times Has a Grasp on the Obvious

In a story on the Episcopal Church's election of Ms. Schori, the ever insightful New York Times offers this tidbit: "Church experts predicted that her election might further strain relations with the Vatican, which cooled to the church after the election of Bishop Robinson three years ago." Gee, you think so?

Schism on Its Way

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali predicts, correctly, I believe, that the Episcopal Church's election of Ms. Schori as its Presiding Bishop will inevitably lead to a split in the Anglican Communion. This election will not sit well with the vast majority of the Communion, which does not allow women to serve as bishops. It is hard to see how the traditionalists amongst the Primates (the leaders of the Anglican Communion's various Provinces) can even recognize Ms. Schori as a bishop, let alone as a fellow primate. Not to mention that her stance on the elction and consecration of V. Gene Robinson, the openly gay and non-celibate so-called Bishop of New Hampshire, is squarely at odds with the majority of the Communion. Let the bloodletting begin!

More on Schori

Seems that Fr. Christopher Cantrell at Apostolicity shares my view that Ms. Schori's election was ECUSA's way of making an obscene gesture in the general direction of the Anglican Communion.

Episcopal Church Gives the Anglican Communion the Bird

Bishop Jack Iker's statement in reaction to the Episcopal Church's election of Ms. Schori to be its Presiding Bishop pretty well sums things up. For those interested, I will have far more to say about this on a new blog, dedicated solely to church matters and my work on canon and ecclesiastical law matters, that I will be launching later today. I'll post a link to the new blog later.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Why the Enron Verdict Is Dangerous

Jeff Skilling's lawyer, the estimable Daniel Petrocelli, offered on CNBC a spirited argument as to why the verdict in the Enron case is a dangerous example of the criminalization of business behavior after the fact and with the benefit of hindsight. For what its worth, I think Petrocelli is right (HT: WSJ's Law Blog): "I think it was a bad day for the country. A great injustice was done on that day. And it has nothing to do with whether you believe Jeff Skilling is guilty or innocent. But to use the criminal justice system as a means of regulating business conduct is wrong in a case like this where business transactions, business judgments were being questioned. Nobody stole money in this case, nobody swindled anybody, there was no Ponzi scheme, there was no fraud in the sense that the law generally recognizes. What the government was doing was after the fact, simply because Enron went into bankruptcy, challenging transactions that were fully approved by senior management, fully approved by the board of directors, fully approved by lawyers and accountants and scores of other people and after the fact challenging the wisdom of some of those decisions. Well you can do so in SEC proceedings, you can do so in civil cases, you ought not to use the criminal justice system to do so. And I think it sends a very dangerous message to business and to people at large to know that their government can misuse and abuse the laws and the systems of justice of the country for political purposes. And I think that�s what we saw in this case. This was a public lynching to satisfy a heated appetite for retribution because of practices that went on during the late 90s that after the fact now people aren�t happy about. It�s one thing to challenge those things in civil cases; it�s wrong to do so in criminal cases and I feel like ultimately the laws need to be revisited to prevent this from happening again."

Roethlisberger's Risk

The WSJ's Law Blog has weighed in on the possible contract implications arising out of Ben Roethlisberger's boneheaded decision to rid a motorcycle. Apparently Ben's contract does not prohibit him from riding a bike. The Law Blog correctly points out that the standard NFL player contract prohibits "risky behavior," which might give the Steelers an out if Roethlisberger should prove unable to play. The Law Blog has overlooked, however, a possibly easier avenue for the Steelers -- NFL contracts are not typically guaranteed, as they are in other sports, and I expect Roethlisberger's deal is no different. In the NFL, player deals -- even so-called "long term" contracts, are really just a series of one year contracts. The Steelers could just release Roethlisberger and would likely only be on the hook for the current year. I offer no commentary on what the salary cap implications might or might not be.

Kennedy? Guilty.

So, Patrick Kennedy has copped a plea on his DUI charge. He should have pleaded guilty to being a jerk.

Candor is Refreshing

Its a nice change when someone in Washington is willing to speak candidly. Zinsmmeister will serve this President well.

Federal Judge Strikes Down SF Gun Ban

For once, a federal court in California has done something sensible. But I'd be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that the 9th Circuit reverses. One of the more interesting facets of the ordinance is the confiscation provision, which compels owners of handguns to turn them in. Wonder if its occurred to anyone that there's a 5th Amendment problem there, especially since, as the trial court judge seems to have found, state law in California recognizes a citizen's right to own a weapon.

Be Careful What You Wish For

As most anyone who follows the news knows by now, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has notifed Karl Rove that Rove will not face charges arising out of the Valerie Plame matter. The attorney representing Plame and her quasi-celebrity of a husband, Joe Wilson, issued the following press release, according to wire service reports: "Statement by Christopher Wolf, Proskauer Rose LLP, Counsel for Ambassador Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame Wilson Tuesday June 13, 11:02 am ET WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 13, 2006--The following is a statement by Christopher Wolf, Proskauer Rose LLP, Counsel for Ambassador Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame Wilson We have become aware of the communication between Mr. Fitzgerald and Mr. Luskin concerning Karl Rove's status in the criminal investigation. We have no first-hand knowledge of the reason for the communication or what further developments in the criminal investigation it may signal. While it appears that Mr. Rove will not be called to answer in criminal court for his participation in the wrongful disclosure of Valerie Wilson's classified employment status at the CIA in retaliation against Joe Wilson for questioning the rationale for war in Iraq, that obviously does not end the matter. The day still may come when Mr. Rove and others are called to account in a court of law for their attacks on the Wilsons." If I were advising Plame & Wilson, I'd tell them to be careful what they wish for. Should this matter ever find its way into litigation, Joe Wilson's lies and distortions will all be fair game and, I expect, Ms. Plame and her husband will end up being the ones who are sorry.