Scalia’s verbal stiletto

Jeremy at Parableman watched a debate on C-SPAN yesterday, where Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Stephen Breyer discussed the proper weight to assign to foreign law when deciding controversies in U.S. constitutional law. Jeremy spotted a wonderful example of Scalia’s rhetorical skill:

One thing really struck me in his explanation of one small point related to his view, and it displayed his keen rhetorical skill (in the good sense of the term ‘rhetoric’ and not the sense in which something might be mere rhetoric). It’s the sort of thing I would hold up as a model for speaking with those who might disagree. He was explaining why people who disagree with him on this should hesitate to see other countries’ moral views as a guide to our own. If you want to avoid being arbitrary and circular, you can’t pick and choose which countries to guide you to find ones that agree with you. Then he gives an example. Since very few countries allow abortion-on-demand in the first trimester, the American allowance of exactly that is a minority position. If we were going to allow world opinion to shape our interpretations of rights and laws, we’d have to restrict abortion far more than we do. Most left-thinking types don’t want that.

What a great technique for adding extra oomph to an argument. I’ll file that one away for future reference. Thanks for catching it, Jeremy.

Cleveland’s good news hat trick

Greater Cleveland may be a political and fiscal and economic basketcase, but we needn’t lose hope in the area’s core city. Three tidbits of good news have cropped up in the past week.

  1. The VP debate may have generated anywhere from $4.1 million to $45 million of P.R. for Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.
  2. The Cuyahoga River is slowly coming back to life. It’s at least 20 years away from a clean bill of health, but local efforts are underway to remove the Cuyahoga from an international list of the most-polluted sites on the Great Lakes and to finish the cleanup. Clean water’s critical to any city, and I’m glad that the locals are taking the lead on this project instead of the feds. Of course, I never want to see the end of Burning River Pale Ale.
  3. Cleveland will remain a hub for Continental Airlines through, thanks to Democrat Mayor Jane Campbell. This is especially encouraging, since according to WTAM most airlines have lately refused to commit past three to five years in other cities, and Continental also committed to $141 million in capital improvements at Cleveland International … including another lengthened runway to compliment the most recent stretch job. Hats off to you, Jane. Nice work.

Now let’s lower local taxes and ease stupid regulations (read: elect Republicans), get some development going downtown (instead of parking lots), exploit our waterfront with something more attractive than Whiskey Island, and clean out the dive bars and rundown warehouses in The Flats.

UPDATE: Oh, and put a stop to this nonsense too.