Wednesday, November 2, 2005

CBS Poll

A newly released CBS Poll shows President Bush's approval rating at an all-time low of 35%. What the reader might not realize is that the poll was "weighted" so that only 23.8% of the respondents to the poll were Republicans. This is about half of the number of Republicans in the general population. When the libs do a poll they make sure they get the results they want.

Meanwhile, the Rasmussen poll shows Bush at 43%.

Thanks to RealClearPolitics for the links.

Hide Your Daughters

John Hinderaker, a lawyer who writes for, takes a look at Judge Alito's decision in the strip-search case (Doe v. Groody) that seems to have so offended liberals. As is usual in matters where liberals are outraged there's much less to it than we'll be hearing in the anti-Alito television ads which will soon assail us. Alito's dissent in this case seems to show eminent good sense, which is bound to get him in trouble with the Left to whom good sense is an alien concept.

Hinderaker writes:

Groody was a lawsuit by two "Jane Doe" plaintiffs against four police officers. The plaintiffs claimed that they were illegally searched by the officers, and asked for money damages. The officers moved for summary judgment, arguing that the search did not violate any clearly established constitutional rights. By a two-to-one vote, the 3rd Circuit panel upheld the trial court's denial of the officers' motion to dismiss the case. Alito was the dissenter.

The case arose out of the execution of a search warrant on a meth house. In the affidavit that the officers submitted to obtain the warrant, they noted that when drug dealers see that they are being raided, they commonly hide drugs on the persons of whoever may also be on the premises, hoping that the search warrant won't allow the officers to search them. So, in this case, the officers requested permission to search anyone they found on the premises, not just the drug dealer who was the target of the raid.

The search warrant was drafted by the police officers and signed by a magistrate. It granted the officers' request for a warrant, but didn't specifically say that they could search occupants of the house other than the drug dealer. The officers testified that this was only because the box on the form where they described the premises to be searched wasn't big enough to contain more information, but that they believed that the information in their supporting affidavit was incorporated by reference.

The majority held that the warrant did not authorize the officers to search anyone but the drug dealer himself. Alito disagreed. In my opinion, Alito got much the better of the argument.... [He] wrote:

"First, the best reading of the warrant is that it authorized the search of any persons found on the premises. Second, even if the warrant did not contain such authorization, a reasonable police officer could certainly have read the warrant as doing so, and therefore the appellants are entitled to qualified immunity."

Alito noted that, under the controlling authorities, search warrants "are to be read 'in a commonsense and realistic fashion,'" a proposition with which I think most Americans, and most Senators, would agree.

Liberals' reference to a "strip search" by officers will evoke images of slavering voyeurs gratuitously disrobing a mother and child, so it is important to understand what really happened. This description comes from the majority opinion:

"The officers decided to search Jane and Mary Doe for contraband, and sent for the meter patrol officer. When she arrived, the female officer removed both Jane and Mary Doe to an upstairs bathroom. They were instructed to empty their pockets and lift their shirts. The female officer patted their pockets. She then told Jane and Mary Doe to drop their pants and turn around. No contraband was found. With the search completed, both Jane and Mary Doe were returned to the ground floor to await the end of the search."

Judge Alito made it clear that he was not pleased by the fact that searches of this nature may be necessary. But, as in so many other instances, the problem doesn't arise from gratuitous malice on the part of police officers, it arises from the tactics of drug dealers:

"I share the majority's visceral dislike of the intrusive search of John Doe's young daughter, but it is a sad fact that drug dealers sometimes use children to carry out their business and to avoid prosecution. I know of no legal principle that bars an officer from searching a child (in a proper manner) if a warrant has been issued and the warrant is not illegal on its face. Because the warrant in this case authorized the searches that are challenged - and because a reasonable officer, in any event, certainly could have thought that the warrant conferred such authority - I would reverse."

Every indication is that the officers in this case met the highest professional standards. What did they get for their pains? They got sued. Judge Alito's opinion in Groody is well-reasoned and highly persuasive. There is no reason why leftists should be allowed to use it to cast doubt on Alito's qualifications. On the contrary, it is a good illustration of why we need jurists like Judge Alito on the Supreme Court.

What we'll see on the ads, though, will be hysterical claims that Alito wants to strip search your daughters. It's inevitable. The only thing more pathetic than the ads that the Left'll churn out are the people who'll find them persuasive.

CBS' Foul-Mouthed Reporter

First Howard Dean suggests that the White House is playing "Hide the Salami" with Harriet Miers' qualifications and now CBS' John Roberts delivers himself of this bit of smuttiness:

CBS newsman John Roberts asked White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan if today's appointment of a new nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court amounted to little more than "sloppy seconds, or what?" Among other things this has a rather unfortunate sexual connotation.

After his words turned up on The Drudge Report and elsewhere, the new CBS "blog," The Public Eye, carried a full report and this apology:

"At the morning White House gaggle, I used an unfortunate choice of words in a question to Scott McClellan. Please be assured that there was no perjorative intent to my question. I was merely attempting to reconcile past statements about Harriet Miers with the President's new nominee for the Supreme Court.

"The early morning White House gaggle is an informal, free-wheeling and often irreverent forum, which is not broadcast and generally not publicly available.

"Obviously, my tone this morning was a little too casual.

"As we all experience from time to time, it was one of those 'oops' moments which we wish we could rewind and re-record.

"I apologize to anyone who took offense to my poor choice of words. I can assure you I meant none."

No, Mr. Roberts. What you meant is irrelevant. What you said was crude and degrading, not merely "a little too casual." What is it with you guys on the Left? Haven't you ever heard of class?

The irony here is that the media made a big deal about a private vulgarism directed at Senator Leahy by Vice President Cheney a year or so ago, but they have said nothing about Dean's gross breach of taste on national television, and they're certainly not going to criticize one of their own for his tastelessly salacious metaphor in a public forum.

Good News in Iraq

W. Thomas Smith has an article at National Review Online which should be required reading for anyone who has an opinion on the American effort in Iraq. He points out that all the multitude of positive developments occuring in that country are being ignored by our media so that they can emphasize the difficulties and bloodshed.

The American media seems interested in reporting just one thing: casualties and mayhem. Everything else is off their radar screen because to report it would be to inform the American people that are efforts there are largely successful. It's so irresponsible that it should cost those responsible their jobs, but, unfortunately, it will likely continue as long as Democrats can't be given credit for any success we experience. If the day comes when it looks as though our achievement in Iraq is due to the efforts of a Democratic successor to President Bush, the tone and coverage of the media will spin 180 degrees, Iraq will be touted as a twenty first century Marshall Plan engineered by a latter-day Harry Truman, and the media will transform themselves into the biggest cheerleaders of American involvement in the Middle East.

It's all pretty dishonest and contemptible, but dishonest reporting is the price we have to be willing to pay for a free press.