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Thursday, January 24, 2008
Hewitt Didn't Really Go There, Did He?

There are times when I do wonder about Hugh. His latest column at Townhall ponders the question of judicial nominations:

Which of the Republican candidates for the presidency is most likely to get "Soutered?" To nominate for the Supreme Court, not an originalist, but in fact the opposite. Those vulnerable to being Soutered lack an ear for or an interest in the inner ideology that all lower court judges keep carefully tucked away until they arrive on the Supreme Court of the United States where it is allowed to take full flight. It is hard work to get SCOTUS nominees right. Even when a president cares about the Court and the Constitution's interpretation by the nine deeply, he can still be flummoxed by the process. If he isn't passionate about it going in, it won't spring up in the course of his busy life in the Oval Office.

Of course, that's all just a lead-in to his conclusion that John McCain would be the most likely to get Souterized.

Ahem. Aside from pondering the question academically, we could also try to look at the past records of the candidates.

Meet Daniel Tavares, Jr.

Charming looking fellow, isn't he? And the looks are only half of it. In 1991, Tavares stabbed his mother to death. Since it happened in Massachusetts, he was sentenced to 17 to 20 years in prison, no doubt pleading to the judge that he was an orphan.

So after 16 years, Tavares was released from prison due to time off for "good" behavior:

But Tavares was no model prisoner. From behind bars, he threatened to kill then-Gov. Romney and other state officials -- and scuffled with prison guards. Immediately upon his release in June, Tavares was rearrested on two counts of assaulting correctional officers.

Bail was initially set at $50,000, but a second judge, Kathe Tuttman, decided to release him without bail. The prosecutor requested that he be required to wear a GPS tracking device, but the judge concluded that he did not represent a flight risk. And yes, Tuttman was appointed by Mitt Romney.

Well, you can probably guess where this story's going. Tavares next popped up in Washington state, where he murdered a newlywed couple, Brian and Beverly Mauck, over a disputed $50 debt.

Now, there's an argument to be made that the judge followed the law, that she just made a mistake in judgment. But even that doesn't let Mitt off the hook:

A killer accused in the slaying of a newlywed couple in Washington state shortly after he was released from prison in Massachusetts should have been held behind bars for almost a year longer, but the administration of then-Gov. Mitt Romney failed to file paperwork in time to take away his "good time" credits.

A Department of Correction superintendent under Romney did not act on a disciplinary recommendation to strip 300 days of credit from Daniel Tavares after he was accused of threats to prison staff in 2003, state officials announced Friday in releasing results of a probe into the Tavares case.

Because of the paperwork error, Tavares was allowed to keep nearly a year's worth of "good days" to complete his sentence June 14. Five months later, newlyweds Brian and Beverly Mauck were killed in Graham, Wash., allegedly by Tavares.

Huckabee has his own Willie Horton problem.

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