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Hamilton to Get Second Hearing:

CQ's Legal Beat reports the Senate Judiciary Committee will have a second hearing on the nomination of David Hamilton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on April 29. At the same hearing, the committee will consider the nomination of Andre Davis to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Hamilton to Get Second Hearing:
  2. Heat Rises Over Hamilton Nomination:
  3. Hurrying Hamilton?
ruuffles (mail) (www):
Inhofe (R-OK) intends to filibuster Hamilton.
record
4.22.2009 12:05pm
Crust (mail):
No surprise, but the Hamilton promoted Allah over Christ meme circulated by Gingrich and others is bogus.
4.22.2009 12:17pm
My Middle Name Is Ralph:
Leahy made the right decision to hold a second hearing. Hopefully, Republicans will reciprocate by not stalling the nomination any longer.
4.22.2009 12:37pm
A.S.:
No surprise, but the Hamilton promoted Allah over Christ meme circulated by Gingrich and others is bogus.

No surprise, but David Tomasky is a complete moron.

In fact, if you read the Inhofe discussion linked above, you would learn that the offensive statement by Hamilton was made in a ruling on a postjudgement motion, so Tomasky's discussion of the judgement itself is complete irrelevant.

I'd say that Tomasky deliberately falsified his column, except that he says in the column that the post is merely based on a couple minutes of googling. Now I wouldn't write a whole post for a major newspaper based on a couple minutes of googling. But maybe that's just me.
4.22.2009 12:48pm
Ben S. (mail):

No surprise, but the Hamilton promoted Allah over Christ meme circulated by Gingrich and others is bogus.


I'm guessing you meant: "No surprise, but the Hamilton-promoted-Allah-over-Christ memo being circulated by Gingrich and others is bogus."
4.22.2009 12:48pm
frankcross (mail):
A.S., where in the discussion linked above is this evidence?
4.22.2009 12:53pm
frankcross (mail):
Nevermind, I found the referred to language of the postjudgment order. This criticism of Hamilton is also quite false, for a different reason. His order says that "Allah" may be acceptable because it is a different language. He also suggests that references to a Christian God would be acceptable, if in a different language (e.g, Dieu). This seems like a strange distinction to me, but it clearly does not place the Islamic God above a Christian God.
4.22.2009 12:58pm
A.S.:
Allah is acceptable because it is a different language? Odd. My point is not so much to comment on Hamilton's opinion or postjudgement ruling, neither of which I've read, but merely to point out that Tomasky is a moron who doesn't know what he's talking about. But anybody who's ever read Tomasky before should already know that.
4.22.2009 1:05pm
zuch (mail) (www):
A.S.:
Allah is acceptable because it is a different language?
No. It is acceptable because it is the same as the non-specific "God" in English, being the translation of that word in Arabic. Now I would maintain that even the use of "God" is impermissible, but we do have Marsh v. Chambers and other cases that seem to smile benignly on "ceremonial" religious references and practises.

Cheers,
4.22.2009 1:34pm
cboldt (mail):
-- A.S., where in the discussion linked above is this evidence? --
.
Page S4419: Congressional Record, April 20, 2009.
.
Mr. INHOFE: ... In his conclusion, Hamilton wrote: "If the Speaker chooses to continue any form of legislative prayer, he shall advise persons offering such a prayer (a) that it must be nonsectarian and must not be used to proselytize or advance any one faith or belief or to disparage any other faith or belief, and (b) that they should refrain from using Christ's name or title or any other denominational appeal." Further, ruling on a postjudgment motion, Hamilton stated that invoking the name of "Allah" would not advance a particular religion or disparage another. So, praying to Allah would be perfectly acceptable. I find this line of reasoning to be insane. Who in this body would not identify the name of "Allah" with the religion of Islam any less than they would identify the name of Jesus with Christianity?
4.22.2009 1:34pm
byomtov (mail):
frankcross,

I believe the distinction Hamilton was getting at was simply between general terms for God and references to Jesus, which are specifically Christian. That seems wholly reasonable, and hardly justifies the hysteria of people like Whelan and Gingrich.
4.22.2009 1:51pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Just for record, in Bahasa Indonesia, the word for "The Bible" is "Al-Kitab" (direct loan word from Arabic, and exact translation of "The Book" into Arabic as opposed to Latin) and the word Protestants use for "God" is "Allah."

Interestingly "God" has a very interesting (and even somewhat disputed) etymology.
4.22.2009 2:24pm
A.S.:
But what is the Arabic word for the Christian God?
4.22.2009 2:39pm
A.S.:
A quick Wikipedia check confirms that the Arabic word for the Christian God is, indeed, "Allah".

It looks to me that Christians get screwed due to their adherence to the trinity. (I should say "most Christians", I guess - I'm a Unitarian.)
4.22.2009 2:47pm
cboldt (mail):
-- But what is the Arabic word for the Christian God? --
.
FWIW, I think the issue is improperly resolved by applying correct literal translations. Inhofe's argument is based on a colloquial take on the use of "Allah" in a prayer, and whether or not a listener in the Indiana legislature would assign any particular religion to the utterance.
4.22.2009 2:50pm
A.S.:
cboldt - I agree. The common usage of the word "Allah" in the United States is to refer to a specific religion - Islam - even if it may be used more broadly elsewhere.
4.22.2009 2:52pm
Crust (mail):
Yes, Ben S, that's what I meant. Sorry for the inarticulate phrasing.

And thanks everyone else for explaining to me what the controversy was really about, pace Tomasky. I agree with cboldt and A.S. that in English (unlike Arabic) "Allah" usually refers specifically to Islam (rather than monotheism more generally like the English "God"), so there is room to question Hamilton's judgment here. Though it's still a tempest in a teapot, IMHO.
4.22.2009 3:12pm
Crust (mail):
Here's the controversial bit:

The Speaker has also asked whether, for example, a Muslim imam may offer a prayer addressed to "Allah." The Arabic word "Allah" is used for "God" in Arabic translations of Jewish and Christian scriptures. If those offering prayers in the Indiana House of Representatives choose to use the Arabic Allah, the Spanish Dios, the German Gott, the French Dieu, the Swedish Gud, the Greek Theos, the Hebrew Elohim, the Italian Dio, or any other languages terms in addressing the God who is the focus of the non-sectarian prayers contemplated in Marsh v. Chambers, the court sees little risk that the choice of language would advance a particular religion or disparage others. If and when the prayer practices in the Indiana House of Representatives ever seem to be advancing Islam, an appropriate party can bring the problem to the attention of this or another court.
4.22.2009 3:21pm
Oren:


It looks to me that Christians get screwed due to their adherence to the trinity. (I should say "most Christians", I guess - I'm a Unitarian.)

Resolving the theological issue over whether references to "Jesus" by contemporary American Christians refer to the one monotheistic God or the separate being (three persons, one substance, right?) is outside the power of the Federal judiciary. Then again, it's been a long time since I studied the matter ...

Meanwhile, it's fairly uncontroversial by any standard to assert that "Allah" is a synonym for "God" or "Yaweh" or "Brahman" or "Ishvara".
4.22.2009 3:23pm
Oren:

I agree with cboldt and A.S. that in English (unlike Arabic) "Allah" usually refers specifically to Islam (rather than monotheism more generally like the English "God") ...

That seems quite odd -- I've never encountered anyone that claimed that "Allah" has a nature distinct from "God".

At any rate, endorsement tests pursuant to the 1A are a mishmash of objective and subjective components so I'm really at a loss.
4.22.2009 3:28pm
My Middle Name Is Ralph:
Presumably, Hamilton would prohibit a reference to "Allah, and his prophet Mohammed." So, I can see Hamilton's point that since it's OK to say "God" it is also OK to say the same word in another language, including but not limited to the word "God" in Arabic, which happens to be "Allah." But, even though I can see the reasoning behind Hamilton's Allah ruling and it clearly is not meant to promote Islam over Christianity, I think cboldt makes the more persuasive argument.
4.22.2009 3:28pm
Oren:
Yup, the prophet Mohammed would definitely be out of bounds.

For the purposes of assessing the subjective meaning that an Indiana legislator would take (as cboldt suggests), can we assume he's taken Comparative Religion 101?
4.22.2009 3:34pm
wolfefan (mail):
"For the purposes of assessing the subjective meaning that an Indiana legislator would take (as cboldt suggests), can we assume he's taken Comparative Religion 101?"

It seems that neither Sen. Inhofe nor Dr. Gingrich have...
4.22.2009 3:40pm
A.S.:
That seems quite odd -- I've never encountered anyone that claimed that "Allah" has a nature distinct from "God".

Really? It seems to me that, in English, "Allah" refers to the Muslim God, not an unspecified nondenominational God. In English, we have a perfectly good word for an unspecified nondenominational God: "God".

Now, if the prayer were in Arabic, Hamilton's point might make more sense. But presumably we are referring to prayers in English, not Arabic.
4.22.2009 4:35pm
A.S.:
If you look up the word "Allah" on Dictionary.com, for example, you see one definition as "the Supreme Being; God." But you also see "God, especially in Islam". The "especially in Islam" part would seem to me to problematic from an Establishment Clause perspective, just the same as "Jesus Christ" is especially a reference to Christianity.
4.22.2009 4:45pm
Crust (mail):
A.S.:
If you look up the word "Allah" on Dictionary.com, for example, you see one definition as "the Supreme Being; God." But you also see "God, especially in Islam". The "especially in Islam" part would seem to me to problematic from an Establishment Clause perspective, just the same as "Jesus Christ" is especially a reference to Christianity.
You're overstating your case. "Jesus Christ" is solely a reference to Christianity. (Yes, Islam recognizes Jesus as a prophet also. However, "Christ" means "messiah" and only Christianity recognizes Jesus as the messiah; that's pretty much the definition of Christianity.)
4.22.2009 4:51pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Crust;

I wonder if "Jesus Chrest" would be acceptable... (Crest being the same transformation from Chrestos as Christ is from Christos). Chrest would then mean The Excellent One....

Strangely enough the PGM corpus refers to Jesus as Chrestos in a number of places.......
4.22.2009 5:30pm
Oren:



Really? It seems to me that, in English, "Allah" refers to the Muslim God, not an unspecified nondenominational God. In English, we have a perfectly good word for an unspecified nondenominational God: "God".

Of course Allah refers to the Muslim God. Who happens to be the same referent as the Chrstian God. And the Jewish God. And the Hindu concept of Brahman. The properties of the referent cannot be changed by multiplying or classifying the references.

Maybe the legislators should take a class in symbolic logic as well as comparative religion ...
4.22.2009 5:31pm
Oren:

Chrest would then mean The Excellent One....

Then not so much. Prayers to Jesus Christ would only be acceptable if they unambiguously referred to the one monotheistic God, not to the separate person that was Jesus of Nazareth (Joshua-bar-Joesph to us Jews) even though that separate person is in fact of one being with God.
4.22.2009 5:34pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
I am glad Hamilton will get the second hearing though. +1 for consensus candidates!
4.22.2009 5:36pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Oren:

Usually in the PGM when "Jesus Chrestos" is mentioned, it is in a litany that includes Osiris, Isis, and other pagan gods.

The PGM corpus is actually quite fascinating and has only recently started to get the theological focus it deserves though.
4.22.2009 5:38pm
zuch (mail) (www):
A.S.:
Really? It seems to me that, in English, "Allah" refers to the Muslim God....
It's all the same Gawd ... or didntcha know? The Bahá'u'lláh understood this. Compare with the Invisible Pink Unicorn (PBUHHH), who is in a separate category entirely. ;-)

Cheers,
4.22.2009 6:07pm
RPT (mail):
All of this theological controversy could be avoided if Obama would agree to appoint only members of the Federalist Society to judicial vacancies.
4.22.2009 6:12pm
A.S.:
Of course Allah refers to the Muslim God. Who happens to be the same referent as the Chrstian God. And the Jewish God.

See, this I don't get. Jesus Christ is the Christian God. So under your logic, references to Jesus Christ should be OK.
4.22.2009 6:59pm
Oren:

See, this I don't get. Jesus Christ is the Christian God. So under your logic, references to Jesus Christ should be OK.

Jesus Christ is both one with the Christian God and also a separate being who is the fulfillment of the Jewish messianic prophesy. The former identity is permissible as non-sectarian, but the latter identity is sectarian.

For a non-Christian to accept a prayer to Jesus Christ as one to the non-sectarian monotheistic God, he would have to accept that Jesus of Nazareth, the man, is in fact Jesus Christ the God.
4.22.2009 7:20pm
early bird (mail):
Wow, and this is what should disqualify Hamilton from the 7th Circuit? Because he makes a plausible application of a muddled Supreme Court precedent? If that's the worst he's ever done (and it must be, considering how nothing else about him is even being discussed), he sounds like a pretty good judge to me.
4.22.2009 10:54pm
Bama 1L:
Who in this body would not identify the name of "Allah" with the religion of Islam any less than they would identify the name of Jesus with Christianity?

John Sununu, who I am pretty sure grew up Maronite and has Antiochian Orthodox relatives besides, probably would identify "Allah" with Christianity. Of course his term ended January 3 and it's possible no one currently serving in the Senate knows anything about Arabic-speaking Christians, so I suppose Inhofe might be correct.
4.23.2009 1:45am
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4.23.2009 3:36am
Litigator-London:
Roman Catholics who attend Mass in Arab Countries will hear the word Allah in the liturgy because that is the Arabic equivalent of the Latin "Deus" or the English "God". I believe that is also true in Maltese which has many Arabic words.

If as Jews, Christians and Muslims believe, there is only one God, then the reference must be to the same omnipotent, unique and indivisible being.

The distinction comes with the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. For Muslims, Jesus is a revered Prophet (Issa in Arabic) as is Abraham (Ibrahim) and Moses (Moussa). Peace be upon them all. But none are considered to be deities.
4.23.2009 10:28am

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