Al D'Amato, Leadership and the Courts


A few years ago Your Business Blogger would occasionally share an elevator with then Senator Al D’Amato (R-NY) where he had a hide-a-way of some sort. He was Senator from 1981 to 1999 until losing to Charles Schumer. D’Amato was personable, for a New Yorker, I suppose.

Al was willing to work the small things, like most of our legislators. But not the big things. Big things expected of leaders.

Senator Al D’Amato (R-NY) had such attention to detail to the everyday needs of his voters that he earned the not unkind moniker: Senator Pothole.


Senator Al D’Amato

Power, Pasta and Politics

While the Congress has devolved into a low-level constituent service provider, the Courts have evolved into legislative law givers. Our elected officials will fulfill our every request — save make a difficult decision.

They are all Senator Pothole now.


Fixing Potholes

Need a road repair on your street? Can Do — call your Senator. Vote on abortion? Can’t be done.

Fix immigration or fight a war? Not today. Congress does potholes and potshots.

Professor of Law, Lino A. Graglia wrote in the Wall Street Journal, that our very system of government has been changed by activist judges. While our legislators are busy with pork-barrel politics, our judges are running the country:


Lino Graglia

The battles in Congress over the appointment of even lower court federal judges reveal a recognition that federal judges are now…our real law makers. . .

The problem is that the Supreme Court justices have made the due process and equal protection clauses empty vessels into which they can pour any meaning.

This converts the clauses into simple transferences of policymaking power from elected legislators to the justices…

And it’s not clear the legislators want policymaking power back.

Political Scientist, Hadley Arkes suggests in his book, Natural Rights and the Right to Choose, that coddling the voters will ensure re-election. Making hard voting decisions will alienate some and might cost a election. Congress would rather the Courts make controversial decisions and take the heat — judges have tenure, anyway, so who cares? Congress would rather just stay out of the kitchen.

Potholes, yes. Abortion, no.

D’Amato is capable of some big decisions. He dumped his first wife — the mother of his four children.

He is a managing director of Computer Associates and doesn’t appear yucking it up on Imus anymore. In business he’s got real decisions to make these days.

Real leaders make the tough calls.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Cross Post from Reasoned Audacity.


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