Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Clearing the Pile

A round-up of stuff that's been hanging on my browser, but don't look to get a post of their own anytime soon.

David Law and David McGowan positively dismantle the "pragmatic defense" of originalism in the Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy (via PrawfsBlawg).

Brad Plumer asks us to take a closer look at "rogue prosecutors" in the context of reforming the criminal justice system. As someone who has been hitting on this issue for a long time, I hope folks take heed.

Barack Obama has put a hold on the nomination of Hans von Spakovsky to the FEC. Definitely the right move morally -- Robert Mugabe could teach von Spakovsky a few things about the commitment to free elections.

Ilya Somin asks why "genocide" is worse than regular old mass murder. It does seem morally intuitive to me that 10,000 people dying randomly isn't as bad as 10,000 being killed specifically because they're Jews. But I admit it's difficult to figure out why. I suppose one answer might be that genocide psychically wounds people distant from the actual killing fields -- people who either share the ethnicity of or an analogous social position to the victims -- who see themselves in the ghosts of all those murdered. The terrorism aspect of genocide, in this way, is operationally distinct from other mass killings. There is a greater feeling of "next time, it could be me."

Rep. Tom Davis, whose nascent Senate campaign took a hit after Virginia Republicans elected to hold a convention rather than a primary, is now hinting he may not run for the seat at all. Instead, he'd let former Governor Jim Gilmore get thrashed by also-former Governor Mark Warner, and then take on the far more vulnerable freshman Senator Jim Webb in 2012.

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