A Tale of Sacrifice

Even though constitutional challenges usually cost around a million bucks, the HCR challenge is going to be a bargain for everyone. Luckily for the twenty states involved, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum volunteered to do most of the work, and he got a sweetheart deal on outside counsel:

McCollum has assigned seven people within his office to handle the work, and hired the Washington, D.C., law firm Baker and Hostetler to represent the states. McCollum, who is running for governor in Florida, lobbied for the firm as recently as 2006.

Its lawyers, David Rivkin and Lee Casey, have lowered their hourly fee to keep costs under $50,000. Rivkin normally is paid $900 an hour, said Ryan Wiggins, a spokeswoman for McCollum.

It’s touching to see a politician and two lawyers set aside crass personal interest to defend the Constitution.

I Hate to Agree With This Ruling

But I think I do:

The Supreme Court struck down a federal law Tuesday aimed at banning videos that show graphic violence against animals, saying it violates the right to free speech.

The justices, voting 8-1, threw out the criminal conviction of Robert Stevens of Pittsville, Va., who was sentenced to three years in prison for videos he made about pit bull fights.


But Roberts said the law could be read to allow the prosecution of the producers of films about hunting. And he scoffed at the administration’s assurances that it would only apply the law to depictions of extreme cruelty. “But the First Amendment protects against the government,” Roberts said. “We would not uphold an unconstitutional statute merely because the government promised to use it responsibly.”

Personally, I think people who abuse animals should be slowly beaten to death over a period of weeks with a sock filled with quarters, but I agree with Roberts.