Archive for October, 2009

“Water judge” way out of line

U.S. District Court Judge Paul Magnuson, of Minnesota, last July issued an order in the long-simmering “water wars” between Georgia, Alabama and Florida.  The judge has now issued another order that reveals him to be an advocate and not the disinterested, objective jurist Georgia is entitled to and which normal jurisprudence requires.

Judge Magnuson’s July 17th order was bad enough.  In it, he went well beyond setting forth the facts, the arguments, his reasoning and his legal conclusions.  The Minnesotan roundly and explicitly chastised the Atlanta metropolitan area for having developed too fast and in a way that failed to meet the judge’s view of the necessity of good planning.  In so doing, the judge decided, the city had outstripped the area’s proper water allocation.  For this, and based on his narrow view of congressional action and legislative interpretation, the judge issued a draconian order that — unless something happens legislatively or politically between the …

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Sex Offender Vagabond

Let’s be clear – I dislike sex offenders, especially those who commit sex offenses against minors, as much as any member of the Georgia General Assembly.  Those who commit such heinous acts as soliciting minors for sexual prostitution, should be prosecuted and punished severely, as Georgia law has for many years provided.  

But let’s be equally clear – passing legislation piling on endless restrictions and burdens on those who already have served prison terms and who remain subject to extensive monitoring, is neither responsible nor effective.  Yet that’s what the Georgia General Assembly has continued to do. 

 The Georgia Supreme Court in late 2007 declared unconstitutional a 2006 state law prohibiting registered sex offenders from residing within 1,000 feet of a school, church, day care center, school bus stop, or anywhere else “where minors congregate.”  Undaunted, Georgia legislators continue to enact — and require local law enforcement officials to enforce — laws making …

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Here a Czar, there a Czar — but so what?

Recently, many Republican and conservative pundits have taken to blasting  President Barack Obama for the many so-called “czars” currently running around Washington on behalf of the administration.  Some, like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, have declared these White House operatives “unconstitutional.”  Others, including Georgia Congressman Jack Kingston, have introduced legislation denying the president the ability to pay any “czars” unless they are first confirmed by the Senate. 

The number of “Obamaczars” is as imprecise as the term itself, but most observers agree the number is somewhere between 30 and 40 (not that different from the number employed by Mr. Bush II).  In a federal government which employs some 2,000,000 people, 30 to 40 employees known as ”czars” is not very many.  But still, they make a tempting target.

The controversy is actually not a new one.  All modern presidents, certainly since FDR (whose key adviser, Harry Hopkins, was known around the nation’s …

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