Archive for January 24th, 2006

Political partisanship can make you irrational

donkey elephantRepresentative Steve Heim (R-Culver) has posted a link to an article that Representative Win Moses (D-Fort Wayne) handed out to everyone on the House floor today.

The article, entitled, “A Shocker: Partisan Thought Is Unconscious,” starts off by stating:

Liberals and conservatives can become equally bug-eyed and irrational when talking politics, especially when they are on the defensive.

Self-identified politically partisan test subjects at Emory University were presented with contradictory statements from candidates they supported and candidates they opposed. MRI brain scans taken of the subjects showed that their evaluations of the statements did not rely on “cold reasoning,” but rather on the centers of the brain associated with emotion, forgiveness, relief, and reward.

It is possible to override these biases, Dr. Westen said, “but you have to engage in ruthless self reflection, to say, ‘All right, I know what I want to believe, but I have to be honest.’ ”

He added, “It speaks to the character of the discourse that this quality is rarely talked about in politics.”

I was glad Representative Moses took the time to pass the article around today, and I am glad Representative Heim reminded me of it.

Add comment January 24th, 2006

Removal of the Judicial branch?

A bill that could replace the entire judicial branch of government jumped into the mix yesterday.

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports:

Six House Republicans on Monday passed a bill that some judges likened to a political coup…

“It’s hard to see this as anything other than a potential naked use of political power to remove five justices from the Court of Appeals and one justice from the Indiana Supreme Court,” said Court of Appeals Judge John T. Sharpnack.

What the bill (HB 1419 – not updated as of this posting) essentially does is replace the current members of the Judicial Nominating Commission with new, partisan members. These new members would then vote on retention recommendations – and their recommendations would actually show on a ballot that Hoosiers would vote on.

Setting aside the ridiculous notion that partisan “recommendations” could be allowed to appear on an actual voting ballot – this bill actually would throw out the existing judicial branch and replace them with Daniels appointees.


Can you imagine the uproar if a President of the United States tried to remove the all justices of the Supreme Court, as well as all of the federal appellate judges in order to replace them with his own nominees? Any President - Democrat or Republican – would be mercilessly pilloried.

In addition to the Journal Gazette, there was a brief mention in the Indianapolis Star, as well as mentions in the Indiana Law Blog and TDW. But no one else appears to be covering the issue yet.

Let me know if you have any feelings about this bill.

2 comments January 24th, 2006


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