Another Reason Martha Coakley Should Not Be Senator

I've never thought Martha Coakley would make a good U.S. Senator. I'm even more convinced now that she has signed her name to a brief restricting death penalty appeals, while claiming to be against the death penalty.

The case, which comes as Coakley is battling for votes in the Democratic Senate primary, involves a convicted murderer from Alabama who has appealed his case to the Supreme Court, on the grounds that his state-assigned lawyer failed to introduce crucial evidence that he is mentally retarded.

“There’s no way this kid should be killed,’’ said Stephen B. Bright, president and senior counsel at the Southern Center for Human Rights, an organization that opposes the death penalty. “It’s old-fashioned Southern states’ rights. I was shocked to see that she and the state of Massachusetts had joined that brief.’’


“This, from our point of view, is unrelated to a death penalty or any of the issues around that,’’ Coakley said. “A real concern was that we get a clear determination from the Supreme Court on what is the standard of review of a federal court looking at a state court decision.’’

How is limiting the appeal rights of a mentally retarded person sentenced to die not about the death penalty? AEDPA, which the brief addresses, is the infamously unfair "Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act."[More...]

At issue is the interpretation of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, which in most instances bars federal reconsideration of legal and factual issues on which state courts have already ruled. A Supreme Court ruling in Alabama’s favor could result in federal courts having to defer to state judgments in many instances. Death penalty cases from the states are among those frequently challenged in federal court.

Martha Coakley hasn't changed a bit since she prosecuted nanny Louise Woodward. Or was involved in the Fells Acre case. She's no Ted Kennedy, that's for sure. I wouldn't vote for her for dogcatcher.

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    I sure wouldn't want her to be my (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Nov 07, 2009 at 09:24:53 AM EST
    Senator if I lived in Mass. But, even though I don't, I'd prefer she not be one of the votes in the U.S. Senate.

    My impression of her was set in stone with the attitude she displayed during the nanny trial. I'm surprised she's a Democrat, actually.

    Shameful distortion of facts (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by veritas3 on Sat Nov 07, 2009 at 10:00:50 AM EST
    What is particularly painful is women beating up on other women without the full story.  Half truths are lies.  This amicus brief has very little to do with the death penalty. The case in which the brief was filed has to do with federal review of a state court decision - something that, under the Constitution, should be limited. Coakley signed onto a brief arguing for limited federal review of state court decisions.  If anyone had bothered to check out the actual unbiased facts combined with sophisticated brain power it would be clear that this is a state's rights case and as Attorney General she was obliged to protect the state.  In other words, she was doing her job well. Now if she were voting purely for political purposes she would not have added her name and you would be busting her for that too.  Her signing on shows that she doesn't put her finger in the air to test the political winds. It's the same courage she has displayed in her 23 years working in public service for little money.  Martha Coakley was the first AG (and only) to sue the federal government over DOMA-she showed courage -suing big pharm, bringing to justice child abusers, sexual predators, holding energy companies to price controls, heading up the Boston Organized Crime Task Force for the Justice Department-the list is long.  There is a reason we have never, in 221 years, had a woman Senator from Massachusetts- Sadly the old boys club is aided and abetted by other women.  Of course you can have another candidate that you feel is more qualified -but you can't twist the facts - Let's hear why your candidate is so good- don't trash the first viable woman candidate-we've seen that happen too often.  17% representation is lower than many third world countries.  Martha is more than competent, intelligent and experienced.  We will be proud to have this class act who combines heart and mind and has been doing it for a lifetime- her words have been backed up by actions and deeds.  
    So hard to hear bashing from another woman- sad fact of life in America.

    Coakley (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by Pacific John on Sat Nov 07, 2009 at 11:31:56 AM EST
    ...as a number of qualities that Jeralyn wants to submerge. Yes, Martha is the most assertive pro civil, rights AG in the nation, with her federal suit to overturn DOMA. She was the first AG to sue the Catholic church over pedophilia. And she's loyal - she was one of the few superdelegates to vote for HRC in her state delegation, unlike guys like Corzine, who gave away all of NJ's pledged delegates to Obama counter to the will of NJ voters, something that is illegal in 11 states, and should be illegal nationwide.

    She has the significant support of the NWPC the Nurse's Association and of course EMILY's List.

    I don't know that much about Coakley, and am sure she has human flaws, but I do know people in MA who are sold on her, notably the organizers of  Lawyers for Coakley and a number of New England DNC delegates. So for purely personal reasons, I'll choose to trust MA lawyers I know over a blogging lawyer who supported Arnold Schwarzenegger in the CA special election/right wing coup.

    This sort of absolutist bashing of viable, credible, quality Democrats isn't enlightening or persuasive.


    hey, we agree (none / 0) (#1)
    by diogenes on Sat Nov 07, 2009 at 07:30:56 AM EST
    I wouldn't vote for either.  Put an openly anti-death penalty Democrat on the ballot and let the Republican win as Alabama senator.  

    Martha Coakley is not from Alabama; (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Anne on Sat Nov 07, 2009 at 08:30:26 AM EST
    she's the Massachusetts Attorney General.

    This comment is hilarious (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by CST on Sat Nov 07, 2009 at 10:47:28 AM EST
    for so many reasons.

    From MASS as Anne mentioned.  And no Republican has a shot in hell in taking Ted'd old seat.  To be honest, Capuano is growing on me but I like him in the house, Capuano and Coakley seem to be the only ones with a real shot, the others just don't have the name recognition and political cred.  Capuano is playing the role of super-lib, which I like, but I also really like him in his current role as well.

    None of them are Ted Kennedy, but that's just life.


    2001 Capuano voted to execute terrorists (none / 0) (#7)
    by veritas3 on Sat Nov 07, 2009 at 02:57:35 PM EST
    As an added detail: Martha Coakley was recognized by the Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty for her "Anti-Death Penalty Advocacy" in 2008. It's particularly ironic to hear criticism on this issue from the only candidate in this race who has actually voted in favor of the death penalty, Mike Capuano.
    For further details and the facts for anyone who cares to vote based on reality not gut and innuendo:

    Gut and innuendo (4.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Pacific John on Sat Nov 07, 2009 at 03:30:20 PM EST
    is a stronger factor in our party than we would like to admit. It's the reason Obama's style points converted to the impression that he was a liberal, and his major opponent was a racist authoritarian warmongering Wall St. tool of insurers.

    The problem with this post by JM - which, BTW, BTD is good about - is that it does not allow for another side, or address contrary positions.

    It's not a sign of strength to make your sale by withholding information.


    One plus (none / 0) (#9)
    by lentinel on Wed Dec 09, 2009 at 02:06:51 AM EST
    for Coakley is that I have read that she opposes Obama's escalation in Afghanistan.

    We need some sober voices in the Senate.

    Reno's little sister (none / 0) (#10)
    by Yes2Truth on Wed Dec 09, 2009 at 08:38:19 AM EST

    Coakley sounds like another Janet Reno:  make a name for yourself by framing/prosecuting vulnerable child care givers, pay lip service to a few liberal ideas, and take the main chance.

    Coakley earned her bones the old fashioned way:  proving to the rich & powerful (via the MSM) that she is as willing to carry out state-sanctioned
    killings and false prosecutions as any man who is given the opportunity.

    Once you have the blessings of the corporate media, the political road ahead is clear and wide open.

    thanks for the comments (none / 0) (#11)
    by nycvoter on Wed Dec 09, 2009 at 01:20:07 PM EST
    I was pleased to hear that Coakley had won.  Each time we add a qualified woman to a leadership role I'm thrilled.  I didn't look at her closely because I live in NY and I'm tapped out.  All of the NY democratic women I know were supporting her and sending money.  I must have been solicited by at least three oranizations.  Jeralyn makes her sound like a monster!  I'm glad the rest of you were here to add perspective.  Same as her trashing Leslie Crocker Snyder as well...