Archive for January 17, 2012
With former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman gone, we’re down to five Republican Presidential candidates. At least, officially. But let’s be realistic…while it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings, she’s definitely warming up her vocal chords.
First, let’s look at the South Carolina polling. The January 11 Insider Advantage poll is clearly an outlier, as all of the polls on either side show a very different picture. The Insider Advantage poll from Sunday lines up with the rest. The trend shows Mitt Romney with a double-digit lead over second-place former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has about a seven-point lead over Representative Ron Paul (R-Lake Jackson, TX) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA). Even if the Diet of Brenham anointment of Santorum were to take effect, and all Gingrich and Perry voters were to defect to Santorum (an unlikely scenario), Santorum would beat Romney by a slim margin. The much more likely result is that Romney will walk away with a comfortable victory in South Carolina.
This is no small feat. South Carolina has been the center of the socon universe for the entirety of American history. For Romney to win in such a state is a clear sign that the battle for the nomination is rapidly coming to a close.
Florida polling shows an even bigger Romney lead, so if Romney wins South Carolina, Florida is a pretty sure win. Couple this with the national polls that show Romney with a growing double-digit lead, and you can almost hear her warming up in the wings. By the end of the month, it seems sure we’ll hear her belt out a few tunes.
And then we can focus our attention on the Romney vs. Obama battle.
In the case of Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, the Supreme Court established the concept of “qualified immunity” to shield government employees from prosecution even if they violate someone’s Constitutional rights. The idea seems to be that if government employees are doing what they are supposed to do, then they are not liable for the results. The government may perhaps be sued, but the individuals — state and local, as well as federal — are held faultless.
This prevents claimants from exploring what is in the mind of government functionaries. Someone who claims his or her rights were violated cannot argue in court that a government employee meant to violate those rights. Does this protection extend to private citizens who are not government employees? Specifically, if a private lawyer is retained by a city government, is that attorney precluded from claiming qualified immunity solely because he or she is a private lawyer rather than a government employee?
That is the question asked in a case to be argued today before the Supreme Court. (more…)