Busting the filibuster

The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals is widely seen as second only to the Supreme Court in importance. It is where business comes to seek friendly interpretations of rules administrations write to execute the laws passed by Congress.

Federal judges are appointed by the president subject to the “advice and consent” of the Senate. Of the seven judges currently sitting full-time on the DC Circuit, four were appointed by a Republican president, three by a Democrat. They currently are assisted by six senior, or semiretired, judges on a part-time basis. Of these, only one was originally named by a Democrat.

Rulings by the court’s three-judge panels have lately reflected this partisan split. The court has struck down business-opposed rules adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission to implement the Dodd-Frank act. It has sided with employers against organized labour, ruling that companies cannot be forced to inform workers of their rights. It has blocked enforcement of Environmental Protection Agency clean air rules. Continue reading “Busting the filibuster”


Johnson, not Kennedy, was the real thing

My parents were on holiday in Mexico City in 1963 when my father, then Washington correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph, was ordered to join President Kennedy in Texas. It didn’t look like much of  a story. My mother looked on the bright side. “You never know, darling, someone might shoot him.”

My father was strolling past the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas on November 22, 1963 when Lee Harvey Oswald did just that from a sixth floor window. Early next morning the matron at the English prep school where I’d been stashed burst into my dormitory waving the morning’s Daily Telegraph.  Dad had written most of the front and back pages.

From then until his death in 1980 we often spoke often about the assassination. We even visited the scene together. He was never entirely content with the lone gunman conclusion of the Warren Commission. From his war correspondent days, he was familiar with the rifle Oswald used, an Italian Mannlicher-Carcano “pig sticker” not renowned for its accuracy. Continue reading “Johnson, not Kennedy, was the real thing”