Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Once more into the Sticksian ooze

Captain Fishsticks sucks his teeth, stares into his monitor with moist eyes, and then releases a long wistful sigh. You see, Sticks has been blowing hot air into the corpse of l’affaire de johnson for as long as Sticks can remember, and longer than most people care to remember. And that’s Sticks’ problem. People just don’t care. Of course, most people don’t live in the tight-assed world of epistemology that Sticks inhabits. Sometimes, Sticks, the pursuit of something turns into obsession; just ask a guy named Ahab.

Sticks’ valediction (Spotty fervently hopes) on l’affaire de johnson came in a Pioneer Press column today, thoughtfully reprinted by Sticks on his blog. Sticks is unhappy that the Senate ethics panel did not do a full Torquemada on Senator Johnson.

It sounds, in fact, like the Senator was well-represented at the ethics panel hearing. The Star Tribune reports today that two of the four panel members have said that Johnson’s version of events was “plausible.” They probably applied the Rule of Probability that Spotty told you about earlier, boys and girls. That and the fact that Johnson was apparently prepared to call witnesses to support him if the panel wanted to go the full-meal deal route. Spotty wonders if Johnson’s lawyer mentioned that Chief Justice Russell Anderson couldn’t be a witness at a hearing, since he had no first hand knowledge of what happened! According to the Star Tribune article, the Chief Justice has no further comment.

L’affaire de johnson is a cautionary tale for legislators, judges, and Spotty says, the voting public. As Spot discussed earlier, the barriers to party endorsement and discussion of issue positions by judicial candidates have fallen. These developments portend far more serious dangers to the impartiality and integrity of the judiciary than Dean Johnson’s little informal chats.


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