First, we just went through another election. We live in Manhattan, which votes overwhelmingly Democrat, so the results were a foregone conclusion no matter which way we voted. So we voted for candidates from the micro-minority parties: the “Rent is 2 Damn High” party, the “Anti-Prohibition” party, and the ever-adorable little “Republican” party. Amazingly, none of our candidates won. But at least they got someone else besides their mothers voting for them.
But outside the Northeastern megalopolis, the San Francisco inkblot, and Los Angeles County, the voters seem to have shoved the Democrats out of their House majority, and left them without a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, while giving enough state legislatures the requisite Republican majorities to gerrymander in a new direction.
We like this state of affairs. As a defense attorney, anything that prevents legislators from enacting new crimes, or pushing new idiotic policies whose only visible effect is to put the wrong people in jail for far too long… well, that’s a good thing. And divided government is just the thing.
When the President and the Congress are of the same party — regardless of the party — they tend to “accomplish” things. And that usually means loads of legislation and regulations. From an economic standpoint, such “accomplishments” are usually counterproductive. They create false incentives, or artificially shift demand/supply curves to create market inefficiencies and more stupid incentives. Apart from damaging the economy and needlessly upsetting the citizenry, such “accomplishments” also tend to include more and more crimes and penalties.
A divided government, on the other hand, is less likely to get anything done. Which means more breathing room for the economy to get back on track. And at least a slowing of the rate at which criminal penalties are expanding.
Which leads us to the link. Something we posted over on Urban Elephants a little while ago, predicting that a Republican victory would actually be good for the Democrats, and would probably guarantee an Obama re-election in 2012, despite his disappointing performance thus far. Click here if you’re interested in reading it. [UPDATE: Their site seems to be down. Here’s the Google cache.]
Meanwhile, the good citizens of Oklahoma voted to forbid judges from applying Sharia (Islamic) law when deciding cases.
Was this a big problem in Oklahoma?
Finally, Prof. Volokh reports that the Supreme Court has issued a “Call for Response” from the state of Oregon, in reply to his petition for cert on the issue of Oregon allowing non-unanimous criminal verdicts. While not a guarantee, it’s a darn good indicator that cert may actually be granted here.
Note that the call for a response opens up another window for the filing of amicus briefs on our side; such briefs can be filed until Dec. 2. Let me know, please, if you know of some person or group who might be interested in participating.
Go to the Volokh Conspiracy to contact him, if you can help.