Specter Shows Up Late, Then Says Supremes Don't Work Hard Enough

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 16:49


Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings began today at 10 a.m.  However, Senator Arlen Specter, who sits on the Judiciary committee holding the hearings, didn't show up until 2 pm:

Arlen Specter regularly groused about sparse attendance at Senate Judiciary Committee meetings when he was the chairman.

But he was in no hurry to show up today, now that he's been relegated to the second most junior slot among Democrats. (He outranks only Minnesota's newly minted Senator, Al Franken.)

Specter finally appeared when the committee resumed for a post-lunch session at 2 p.m.

Now, I have showed up late to quite a few events in my life. However, I can never remember showing up late, and then immediately complaining about other people not working hard enough. However, this is exactly what Specter did immediately upon arrival:

"I intend to ask ... about cases that the Supreme Court decided not to decide," said Specter. "The court, I would suggest, has time for more cases. Chief Justice Roberts noted, in his confirmation hearing, that the decision of more cases would be more helpful. In 1886, there were 1,396 cases on the docket, 451 decided. A century later, only 161 signed opinions. In 2007, only 67 signed opinions."

So, Specter shows up four hours late, and then tells the committee that the Supreme Court isn't working hard enough. And this happened just a couple days after Specter attacked his likely Democratic primary opponent, Joe Sestak, for not taking enough of an interest in the political process. Nice.

The next time you show up late for work, try immediately launching into a complaint about how people in the department next to yours don't work hard enough. I doubt that would go over very well with your co-workers, but it is at least worth testing out to see if Specter is onto something here.

Chris Bowers :: Specter Shows Up Late, Then Says Supremes Don't Work Hard Enough

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I favor Sestak and (4.00 / 2)
am fine with criticisms of Specter. He should have showed up on time.

But he is right substatively, although with the make up of this Court, I'm glad they do not decide too many cases.  Life would be worse for many if they did.  :-)


This Only Goes To Show That Real Reason Specter Joined The Democrats (4.00 / 3)
is because their mascot is a jackass.

Just like him.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


Messenger v. Message (0.00 / 0)
William O. Douglas in The Court Years worried that the trends Specter points out - fewer cases heard, fewer written decisions, increasing dependence on clerks - served to limit citizen access to the court, reducing it to a type of "superlegislature" that sat to "weigh the wisdom of legislation" rather than engaging in the contentious constitutional issues of the day.  

I can't imagine Specter would support Douglas's vision for the role of the Supreme Court, but that doesn't make the senator's complaint any less valid.  


Should the Roberts Court Decide More Cases? (4.00 / 1)
You only have to ask that question to know the answer! NO!

They are such horrible judges that the fewer cases they decide the better! I would be happiest if they all took a permanent vacation!

As for whether the judges work hard enough, Specter is absolutely right.

I was a law clerk for an appellate judge for a year and half and he had the best job I ever saw! Over $100,000 (this was 20 years ago) a year for showing up around 9:30 A.M. and leaving by 4:30 P.M every day with an hour off for lunch! (Of course he did some work over the weekend in his mountain retreat, but it still wasn't exactly what most people would call a "demanding life-style.") His division of the Court of Appeals decided about 90 cases a year and he had the help of law-clerks to write the opinions and legal memos.

My judge was actually one of the most conscientious and wrote most of his own opinions (I wrote the rest and he modified them).

One judge on that court got bored with doing the actual work and spent his afternoons reading detective novels in his chambers while his law clerks wrote all the decisions. (The Chief judge of the Court finally had a conversation with him and told him to retire, and he did, but there was no judicial MECHANISM for getting rid of a judge merely for being lazy).

I can only imagine the life of a S.Ct. Justice is an extreme example of this. They take whatever cases they want, and they have all the staff help they could ever need to do the tedious research. Remember that most of these justices are in the 70's or older and not terribly fit, yet they manage to do the "work."

As people start living longer and longer, S.Ct. justices start staying longer and longer on the court -- now they die in office, gripping tightly to the power of office like a limpet grasps his rock!

Note: (You should not confuse the life of an appellate judge with that of the hard working and hard pressed trial judges, whose dockets are almost always overflowing with cases).


I don't think Specter's argument (0.00 / 0)
turns on "hard work" per se....

[ Parent ]
If I didn't know any better ... (0.00 / 0)
I'd have to think Specter was trying to throw the primary ... what else could explain his idiotic behavior .. not to mention Sestak is just the opposite of Specter .. obviously due to Sestak's military career

Please. (0.00 / 0)
I supported Lamont wholeheartedly but this Specter thing is a fucking witch hunt. This stuff is why I don't read OpenLeft anymore. Sestak is no progressive champion. He's no less craven than Arlen. Let Sestak keep Specter honest, I'm all for that. But this post is weak sauce.

Proof? (0.00 / 0)
On what basis do you say Sestak is no less craven than Specter?

As for being a progressive champion - Sestak is not Dennis Kucinich, for sure, but he is much more progressive than Specter on any number of issues.

What have you got on Sestak?

Karl in Drexel Hill, PA


[ Parent ]
I hate groupthink. (0.00 / 0)
Hmm... on July 7th, CQ politics said on 85% of votes that divided democrats and republicans Specter has sided with Democrats since switching parties. That's not bad.

According to Progressive Punch, Sestak's lifetime score on divided votes was 72%, ranking him 156th among democrats.

So. You tell me.

Specter is tacking to the left because Sestak is forcing him to, and that's nice. But Sestak is hardly an improvement. He's taking the left for a ride to fuel his own stupid ambition and you all just eat it up.  


[ Parent ]
Whose playbook is he using? (0.00 / 0)
"He's taking the left for a ride to fuel his own stupid ambition and you all just eat it up."


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Good answer! (0.00 / 0)


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Concern is noted (0.00 / 0)
As a constituent (and sometime critic) of Sestak, I just want to say "piss off, wanker".  Sestak has one of the best attendance records in Congress and, though he hasn't been with us all the time, is a much more reliable Senator than Specter.

[ Parent ]
I hate groupthink. (0.00 / 1)
Hmm... on July 7th, CQ politics said on 85% of votes that divided democrats and republicans Specter has sided with Democrats since switching parties. That's not bad.

According to Progressive Punch, Sestak's lifetime score on divided votes was 72%, ranking him 156th among democrats.

So. You tell me.

Specter is tacking to the left because Sestak is forcing him to, and that's nice. But Sestak is hardly an improvement. He's taking the left for a ride to fuel his own stupid ambition and you all just eat it up.  


[ Parent ]
CQ v PP (0.00 / 0)
Those aren't exactly equivalent ratings, and citing those to try and make your point is a tad disingenuous.

[ Parent ]
Also (0.00 / 0)
Voting down since you posted the same response to someone else who made a different point.  Multiple comments saying the same thing = lazy

[ Parent ]
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