Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Scalia, Thomas: Kill Him Anyway

This case is raising a few eyebrows, especially in the insight that the minority opinion gives into the thinking of the most conservative Supreme Court justices.

The question seems like a simple one: should the government execute a man who has been found guilty of a capital crime, even though later evidence reveals that he is in fact innocent? Common sense says no, you don't execute an innocent man. Justices Scalia and Thomas say, sure, kill the guy.
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday ordered a federal trial court in Georgia to consider the case of Troy Davis, who is on death row in state prison there for the 1989 murder of an off-duty police officer. The case has attracted international attention, and 27 former prosecutors and judges had filed a brief supporting Mr. Davis.

Seven of the witnesses against Mr. Davis have recanted, and several people have implicated the prosecution’s main witness as the actual killer of the officer, Mark MacPhail.

The Supreme Court’s decision was unsigned, only a paragraph long and in a number of respects highly unusual. It instructed the trial court to “receive testimony and make findings of fact” about whether new evidence clearly established Mr. Davis’s innocence. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who joined the court this month, did not participate. Supreme Court Orders New Look at Death Row Case

So the Supreme Court told a lower court to look at the new evidence. That sounds like a good thing, especially when a guy's life is at stake.
The decision set off a sharp debate between Justices John Paul Stevens and Antonin Scalia about Supreme Court procedure, the reach of a federal law meant to limit death row appeals and the proper treatment of claims of innocence.

“The substantial risk of putting an innocent man to death,” Justice Stevens wrote in a concurrence joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer, “clearly provides an adequate justification for holding an evidentiary hearing.”

Justice Scalia, in a dissent joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, said the hearing would be “a fool’s errand,” because Mr. Davis’s factual claims were “a sure loser.”

He went on to say that the federal courts would be powerless to assist Mr. Davis even if he could categorically establish his innocence.

“This court has never held,” Justice Scalia wrote, “that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is ‘actually’ innocent.”

You gotta love the quotes around the word "actually." Most of us operate under the assumption that defendants are actually guilty or innocent, and are not simply portrayed convincingly as one or the other by lawyers in court. The court may find incorrectly, and there may be ambiguous cases where the interpretation of the law is called into question, but usually, for instance in this case where somebody was murdered, the guy either did it or he didn't do it.

It may or may not be relevant to note that the defendant here is a black man convicted in Georgia for killing a cop. According to Wikipedia, "After the trial, seven of the nine prosecution eyewitnesses who had linked Davis to the killing recanted or contradicted their original trial testimony, claiming police coercion and questionable interrogation tactics." One of the remaining two is a possible suspect himself, and the other one identified the defendant in court two years later. Huh, interesting, "Many prominent politicians and leaders, including President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Presidential candidate Bob Barr, and former FBI Director and judge William S. Sessions have called upon the courts to grant Davis a new trial or evidentiary hearing." But Scalia and Thomas don't see any problem with executing the guy.

You remember that during the Sotomayor hearings there were complaints from the right about the question of "empathy." Conservatives argued that it was wrong to consider empathy as an important quality in a judge, they didn't want empathy, they wanted a literal reading of the Constitution.

This is what they were talking about.

You know, we could encode all the evidence from a criminal case into some kind of spreadsheet format and feed it into a computer program that had access to all laws and precedents. It could probably spit out a verdict within a few milliseconds, and that verdict would be perfectly defensible. There's a reason we don't do that. We have people decide, judges and juries, because it's better. Call it empathy if you want. Maybe it's legal to execute a man who you know is innocent, that doesn't mean we should do it.

A little more from The New York Times:
That question is indeed unresolved. In a 1993 decision, Herrera v. Collins, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote for the court that “we may assume, for the sake of argument in deciding this case, that in a capital case a truly persuasive demonstration of ‘actual innocence’ made after trial would render the execution of a defendant unconstitutional and warrant federal habeas relief.” But the showing of supposed innocence in that case, Chief Justice Rehnquist said, fell short.

Mr. Davis reached the Supreme Court by an unusually direct route, filing an original writ of habeas corpus with the court rather than appealing from a lower-court ruling. The court has granted such petitions just a handful of times in the last century, and Justice Scalia said the court had not taken the “extraordinary step” of ordering a federal trial court to adjudicate such a petition from a state prisoner in nearly 50 years.

There is no saying whether this guy would be found guilty in a new trial without all the lying witnesses that helped get him convicted the first time around. I hardly think it's a waste of time though, considering the consequences.


Anonymous Robert said...

Eye-witness identification is notoriously unreliable, as are memories for faces and events. Interrogation techniques compound these faults.

August 19, 2009 4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hope Anon-B has been reading realclearpolitics

all the polls agree with Ramussen, her named "outlier" poll

only about half the country now approves of Obama's high-jinks

believe me, it won't get any better over the next few weeks while he strolls the streets in Martha's Vineyard

August 19, 2009 8:17 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

That's great Anon. I'm glad you have some polls to cling to as your party spins around the drain, headed toward Finding Nemo.

Have you forgotten your history lessons? What were Ronald Reagan's and Bill Clinton's approval ratings by the end of their first year in office?

Below 50%.

Did that first year drop in their approval ratings prevent either of them from being handily re-elected for a second term?


And in case you missed what yesterday's Rasmussen poll said:

Just 34% of voters nationwide support the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats if the so-called “public option” is removed. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 57% oppose the plan if it doesn't include a government-run health insurance plan to compete with private insurers.

...for those not affiliated with either major party, 70% are opposed if the public option is dropped.

Now that Barney Frank has posed the question, which has gone viral, that we all wanted asked of birther-, deather-, and secessionist-fringers, namely, "What planet are you from?", public opinion will solidify behind the reformers we elected to change the course of this country last fall.

With or without GOP votes, the Democrats will get the healthcare reform job done. Personally I hope the GOP digs in their heels on this one so their JUST SAY NO - PRESERVE THE STATUS QUO philosophy leads the Democrats to even higher majorities in both Houses.

August 20, 2009 7:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"public opinion will solidify behind the reformers we elected to change the course of this country last fall"

ha ha ha

"With or without GOP votes, the Democrats will get the healthcare reform job done"

ho ho ho

You know, the way Obama has screwed this up, you'd almost think he didn't have any experience....hey, wait a minute...

"Sen. Charles Grassley, a key negotiator for bipartisan health-care reform, said Wednesday that the outpouring of anger at town hall meetings this month has fundamentally altered the debate and convinced him that lawmakers should drastically scale back their efforts.

After being besieged by protesters across his home state of Iowa, Grassley said he has concluded that the public has rejected the far-reaching proposals of Democrats, viewing them as overly expensive precursors to "a government takeover of health care."

"Not just on health care, but on a lot of things Congress has done this year, people are signaling that we ought to slow up and not spend so much money and not get us so far into debt," he said.

Grassley made clear that he remains committed to a health-care bill, provided it does not "make things worse" for people who are happy with their insurance or add to swollen budget deficits. His remarks echoed those of other GOP negotiators on the finance panel -- as well as some Democrats, who are urging Obama and congressional leaders to lower their expectations for what can be accomplished this year."

the Post editorial this morning:

"MAYBE THE White House meant to signal that it was backing away from its commitment to a "public option". Or maybe administration officials were over-interpreted on a sleepy Sunday morning in August. It doesn't much matter, because, the reality is that, if the Obama administration wants to get health reform done, it's going to have to back away from the public option.

This is a matter of political nose-counting. The kind of comprehensive health reform that the president wants requires 60 votes in the Senate. Democrats could pass some provisions with 50 votes, but a Senate rule limits how much can be done through that route. There's no way to amass 60 votes with a public option in the bill.

To listen to some Democrats talk, reform without a public option is scarcely worth doing. This is crazy."

(note: that's what happens when you elect lunatics)

"The president's advisers have been taken aback by the ferocity with which the left is opposing dropping the public option. That seems hard to believe. We wrote back in April that the left's "fixation on a public plan is bizarre and counterproductive." If anything, the administration fanned the flames of this irrationality with its repeated statements about the importance of the public plan. Now it is paying the price.

Republicans are clearly enjoying August more than their Democratic colleagues."

August 20, 2009 8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm glad you have some polls to cling to"


ha ha ha

"Have you forgotten your history lessons? What were Ronald Reagan's and Bill Clinton's approval ratings by the end of their first year in office?"

Yes, and the question is:

Does he more resemble Clinton or Carter?

Well, like Carter, he has an extreme left-wing Congress to deal with.

Like Carter, he seemed to run rings around the press, at first.

Like Carter, eveything he did seems to fail.

Face it, Obama didn't trip over the third rail of politics, national health care.

He walked up, stooped down, and hugged it!

A lesson that will be long remembered by legislators going forward.

August 20, 2009 8:46 AM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 20, 2009 3:11 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Bad anonymous, get lost with your off-topic comments. You claim you don't speak unless spoken to, so stop lying and start behaving that way.

Back to the topic of the post.

People like Scalia and Thomas are the reason why American conservatives are hated around the world. Decent people see rules as a means to an end, the end being a good, proper, and just outcome. Conservatives like Scalia and Thomas see blind adherence to rules and blind submission to authority (or imaginary authority like religion) as an end in itself. They don't care how bad the outcome is as long as they get to be unquestioned dictators. To American conservatives its better to put an innoncent man to death than to admit you made a mistake.

August 20, 2009 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Does he more resemble Clinton or Carter?"

Clinton. Just ask Toni Morrison.

August 20, 2009 3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"People like Scalia and Thomas are the reason why American conservatives are hated around the world.....To American conservatives its better to put an innoncent man to death than to admit you made a mistake."

That's sounds like the national health care system in Canada.

Better to have an innocent elderly patient who has worked and contributed to society all his life be denied a treatment that might not work than to have the government pay for it.

We gotta play the odds on this health stuff!

Of course, no one in Canada is ever going to be hated around the world.


They're irrelevant so you can't really get too worked up about them.

August 20, 2009 4:14 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

"Better to have an innocent elderly patient who has worked and contributed to society all his life be denied a treatment that might not work than to have the government pay for it."

Private insurance companies do this every day to their own paying customers and they even deny treatments that are known to work! Insurers cancel policies on 14,000 Americans every month, leaving them to scramble to cover their medical bills.

August 20, 2009 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but they can seek it elsewhere if they choose

so, yes, private insurance makes things more difficult for some

but national health insurance makes some things impossible for all

Americans usually side with hope

probably the reason Priya can't be treated for her evident mental issues is because the rate of success for cases like her are so low

August 20, 2009 4:38 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Lol, mental issues are evident in you, not me. You're the one claiming to not be gay and yet spending your every waking moment obsessing over gays.

And no one in Canada is denied treatments on the basis that they might not work. We have the best health care system in the world. Infant mortality is substantially lower in Canada than the U.S. and life expectency in Canada is substantially higher than in the U.S. If it weren't for the innocent people that you insist suffer with you I'd say go ahead and shoot yourself in the foot by denying yourself public health care.

August 20, 2009 5:33 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

And I might add that unlike the evil "health" care system you support no one in Canada is denied health care because of pre-existing conditions.

August 20, 2009 5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And no one in Canada is denied treatments on the basis that they might not work."

That's true. They all live close enough to drive to the U.S. when they can't get treatment in canada.

"We have the best health care system in the world."

ha ha ha

"Infant mortality is substantially lower in Canada than the U.S. and life expectency in Canada is substantially higher than in the U.S."

We attact a lot more immigrants from the third world.

Why would anyone want to go to Canada?

August 20, 2009 6:49 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

On a per capita basis Canada takes in more immigrants than the U.S. so you're a four-time loser.

August 20, 2009 7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They all live close enough to drive to the U.S. when they can't get treatment in canada."

How stupid are you?

Busloads of American seniors drive to Canada and Mexico every day so they can eat and afford their prescription medications without halving or quartering the dose their doctor ordered.

Shame on America!

August 20, 2009 8:46 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Good anonymous, bad anonymous's stupidity knows know bounds.

Like any Canadian is going to go to the U.S. to pay for 43rd rate health care when they can get first rate care here for free.

August 20, 2009 9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Like any Canadian is going to go to the U.S. to pay for 43rd rate health care when they can get first rate care here for free."

happens all the time

aside form the quality of the care available, there's also the issue of getting an appointment

August 21, 2009 12:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The OHIP Card—the Benefits are Priceless
by Karin Lippert

Don’t be misled by the rhetoric of opponents of single-payer health care, says the author, who has experienced the insurance systems on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border. She has a decided preference.

June 17, 2009

If you’ve been harangued by your insurance company in the middle of the night because you didn’t call them prior to checking your husband into the Emergency Room when he was having a heart attack—read on. Not long after that happened to me, my family moved from the United States to Canada to take advantage of a business opportunity. But of equal advantage for us was a small, powerful card that gives you access to free medical care.

With the health care debate in the United States often focused north of the border, it is important to state first what should be obvious—most of the information Americans hear or read about the Canadian health care system is inaccurate. It is information intended to distort the facts.

My family moved to Canada in 2002 as my son was entering high school. My husband had a history of heart disease, and I was stressed. But after 90 days, we had our OHIP Card (Ontario Health Insurance Plan). We were covered. No money, minimal questions and no intimidating customer service people on the other end of the line—ever. Peace of mind settles in quickly and feels great.

Since we arrived we’ve had many tests, consulted with specialists, been treated in the emergency room and in clinics for minor injuries and regularly visit our family practitioners. Some actually still do house calls for elderly patients. For a routine visit, the doctor has your OHIP information; for a test at a lab or at the hospital you show your card. Simple!

We are not alone feeling secure. In 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost 46 million people were uninsured—a number, estimates show, that has grown substantially during the recent economic crisis. In Canada, the entire population—31,612,897 in the most recent census—is covered. That is a startling difference.

While the benefits for prescription drugs do have major limitations (until you reach 65) and many people have supplementary plans for drugs (my family included), the fact is you can get quality medical care—yes quality—in Canada. And given the numbers of U.S. citizens who go to lengths to buy their drugs north of the border, that’s not as big a drawback as it could be. If you have a medical emergency while traveling outside Canada, OHIP will cover a substantial portion of the hospital costs—but not everything.

What about waiting to get treatment? It happens, but not nearly to the extent reported. Besides, waiting to get an appointment with a physician or a specialist and getting approvals from your HMO in the United States can take a long time too. And, the billing and paperwork process afterward can be—well, endless.

Because family practices are integral to the system in Canada, prevention is stressed and the relationship with doctors is ongoing and positive since the doctor and patient can easily establish a rapport. Is high-end care less accessible? Not in the experience of my friends. If you have cancer for example, getting the most sophisticated diagnostics, consultations with specialists, months of chemotherapy and follow-up care without the added worry about piling up bills is priceless.

One friend, who recently fought non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, now in remission, put it simply: “I never saw a bill.”

August 21, 2009 11:05 AM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Bad anonymous said "happens all the time".

LOL, Yes, just like Huckabee, er, Mccain is president.

You're delusional, it never happens. No one takes outrageously expensive U.S. health care with a high infant mortality and low life expectancy over free Canadian health care that provides low infant mortality and high life expectancy. This is just like your fantasies about religion - you've decided you're going to claim what you'd like to be true in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

August 21, 2009 12:25 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Bad anonymous said "aside form the quality of the care available, there's also the issue of getting an appointment".

As previously stated, in Canada infant mortality is substantially lower than in the U.S. and in Canada life expectency is significantly longer than in the U.S. The quality of care is undeniably superior. As to the "issue" of getting an appointment, there is no issue. I call my doctor whenever I please and typically see him within two days.

August 21, 2009 12:29 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Nice article, good anonymous. Bad anonymous is ccnsumed with hatred. He'd pay his life savings to die young than have Obama extend his life for free - clearly he's mentally ill.

August 21, 2009 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's not free, Priya

they will tax us for it

I, and 80% of Americans, already have insurance

we pay plenty for it and don't want to pay a new tax on top of it

other than denying coverage for older patients and talking them into euthanasia before their medical expenses get too high, Obama hasn't figured out how to save any money

August 21, 2009 1:13 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Bad anonymous, 43 million Americans don't have insurance, and of those that do the insurance companies are constantly cooking up novel new ways to deny them the health care they paid for.

As you said, you pay far too much for the pathetic level of coverage you've got. Once the public system is in place you'll have the option to stop being raped by the insurance companies and make use of the public option. But of course you wouldn't want your hatred of Obama to take a back seat to your best interests.

It is quite simply a lie that coverage will be denied to older patients, that's the sort of thing profit-motivated insurance companies do. My mother's in her late 80's, she's needed a lot of expensive medical care over the past several years. She's gotten it promptly with no reluctance whatsoever. That's why she's lived longer than you will and will probably live for several years beyond that.

Its time you stopped letting hatred consume you and started thinking about what's in your and the public's best interests. Alas, likely you're too messed up to do so.

August 21, 2009 1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually, the insurance companies are just trying to survive

they pay enormous costs for superfluous tests that doctors order to protect them from leeches like John Edwards

they have offered to insure all Americans without considering pre-conditions if all Americans will sign up with one of them

we don't need national healthcare, we need to crack down on trial lawyers

it's just like, in education, where we need to crack down on teacher unions

cracking down on trial lawyer abuse and allowing Americans to choose their own insurance, instead of leaving it to employers, will accomplish what Americans want


and by stupid, we mean Barack Obama

August 21, 2009 1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I, and 80% of Americans, already have insurance

we pay plenty for it and don't want to pay a new tax on top of it"

You won't unless you are in the top 1.2% of wage earners, who will see their taxes increase from 1% - 5.4% to pay for this plan. Majorities of Americans support paying for health insurance for the poor this way.

Bush cut taxes for the rich a couple of times. They can afford to pay a few percentage points more.

August 21, 2009 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Betsy McCaughey, who was just on The Daily Show, resigned from the board of directors of Cantel Medical, a medical equipment company.

Cantel Medical issued a release that says the company received McCaughey's letter of resignation on Thursday. The letter, Cantel Medical says, "stated that she was resigning to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest during the national debate over healthcare reform."

August 21, 2009 6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You won't unless you are in the top 1.2% of wage earners,"

You fool.

Insurance companies will raise rates to cover all the new sick people they will take on.

Fewer and fewer people will be able to afford private insurance and the government will be forced to subsidize more and more people, and even if they taxed "rich" people 100% of their income, it won't cover the bill.

People who aren't wealthy will be forced to but insurance when they already can't afford it. That's money out of their pocket. Many will try to get away with not paying and have huge fines levied on them.

This isn't speculation.

Maine has had the system Obama is proposing for years.

It's not working.

August 21, 2009 10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"anonymous is ccnsumed with hatred. He'd pay his life savings to die young than have Obama extend his life for free"

don't know why Priya thinks Obama is talking about giving anyone "free" insurance

must not be familiar with Obama's proposals

everyone would be required to have insurance and pay for it

very poor people will be subsidized but taxes will support that

no one is getting anything free

virtually everyone will pay more than they do now

economists and the CBO agree

August 22, 2009 12:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From 1999-2009 employment-based health insurance premiums have increased 120 percent compared to a cumulative inflation rate of 29 percent and cumulative wage growth of 34 percent during the same period.

Since 2000, the average employee contribution to company-provided health insurance has increased more than 120 percent. The average out-of-pocket costs for deductibles, co-pay for medication and co-insurance for physician and hospitals rose 115 percent.

Total spending in 2007 was $2.4 trillion – 17 percent of GDP. The United States has $480 billion in excess spending each year in comparison to Western European nations that have universal health coverage. The costs are mainly associated with excess administrative costs and poorer quality of care.

August 22, 2009 8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The costs are mainly associated with excess administrative costs and poorer quality of care."

Anyone who thinks that the government will reduce administrative costs hasn't dealt with Medicare.

If anyone has a friend with an auto dealership, asking them the problems they are having getting the government to pay out on the "cash for clunkers" program.

Right now, the Obama administration is starting to resemble the DC government back in the days of Marion Barry as far as efficiency goes.

Anyone who thinks the government will increase the quality of care hasn't experienced the public school system.

August 22, 2009 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

If anyone has a friend with an auto dealership, asking [sic] them the problems they are having getting the government to pay out on the "cash for clunkers" program.

That's a temporary problem brought about by the unexpected success of the Cash for Clunkers program at bringing customers into showrooms.

Transportation Secretary and former GOP Congressman for Illinois 18th District Ray LaHood has assured car dealers "they will be reimbursed for money they have fronted customers under the Cash for Clunkers program.

``I know dealers are frustrated,'' LaHood told reporters. ``They're going to get their money.''...

The program has been a great success, greater than anyone imagined.

When asked by NPR yesterday why the government has been slow in getting checks to dealers, Sarah Webster, Automotive Editor for the Detroit Free Press explained:

Ms. WEBSTER: "I think that they're trying as best they can. You know, I heard recently that they [the Transportation Department] had hired, the number of people that they had hired was about in the 1,000 or so range. And, you know, the people I talk to said that, you know, incredibly - that shows a lack of understanding about how many dealers there are in this country and, you know, how many shoppers something like this would have generated.

You know, in fairness to the government incentives, we've had almost, you know, 10 straight years of wild incentives in the auto industry, you know, discounts of up to seven and $10,000 on SUVs and pick ups and so forth. So, I think that many people thought that the market was, you know, pretty resistant to incentives.

So, I think people, even the automakers that I've talked to, they're sort of surprised that this program has worked so well because it wasn't really that uncommon to have a $5,000 rebate on a car or truck in the past. So, the fact the government offers it and people rush in the showrooms is, you know, little bit unexpected to be quite honest."

Apparently it's the large dealerships who are owed a million or more dollars who are griping about the slowness of the checks arriving and didn't participate the last weekend the program was available. Small dealerships, however, stayed in until the end last night because their sales were greatly improved.

August 25, 2009 2:06 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Damon Lester, President of the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers also spoke with NPR yesterday:

NPR's Jennifer LUDDEN: ...Damon, you had said that, you know, some dealerships - even though they weren't getting the reimbursements from the government in a timely fashion - were able to keep bringing in more customers and kind of float themselves through this period. But others didn't have the cash flow and had to shut down early. Is there - can you give us a breakdown, a sense of is it big dealerships versus small or is it geographical?

Mr. LESTER: A lot of the larger dealerships have stopped participating in the program. Largely because the amount of receivable that's due back to them from the government, which on an average those larger dealership range over a million dollars. The smaller ones are still taking customers.

LUDDEN: I'm curious. Who are the customers? I mean, have you been seeing people who thought wow I get this $4,500 bucks now, I guess I can spend the other 15,000 for a car or are these people who are just - that car's on it's last leg and, man, they were going to have to do something soon anyway. And they just kind of speeded it up and now there's going to be a big dry spell, what do you think?

Mr. LESTER: We've been told is that the consumers that have been coming in their showrooms are the families that have three or four cars, maybe a daughter or son is on their college. And they're trading in that older vehicle, and they're actually purchasing a newer vehicle for their sibling. So that's what we'll see, And a lot of it has been cash transactions.

LUDDEN: So this is a car they would not have bought otherwise?

Mr. LESTER: Yes.

And the unexpected success of the Cash for Clunkers program has lead to automobile manufacturers re-hiring laid off employees to produce more cars to meet the expanded demand. AP reports:

DETROIT – Shoppers are snapping up cars and trucks so quickly that General Motors Co. is boosting production for the rest of the year to keep up with Cash for Clunkers demand.

It's another sign that automakers believe consumers are returning to showrooms after a yearlong slump. Ford Motor Co. last week moved to increase its output, and other automakers took similar action earlier in the month. Confidence among manufacturers is up, even though analysts predict that demand from Cash for Clunkers is waning.

GM said Tuesday it would add 60,000 vehicles to its production schedule in the third and fourth quarters and bring back about 1,350 laid-off workers. The company now plans to make 535,000 cars and trucks during July-September.

That would amount to a 35 percent increase from the depressed second quarter, while production in the final three months of the year will rise another 20 percent.

"Our dealers are clamoring for more vehicles in almost every segment," said Mark LaNeve, vice president of U.S. sales. "We're getting extremely short on a number of our products."...

Ms. Webster of the Detroit Free Press told NPR yesterday:

we have a Ford Focus plant here right in Metro Detroit, and the Focus was one of the top selling vehicles under the program. And they've been running extra shifts at that factory. They've been calling workers back at a lot of factories to try to add more production into the system because inventories are incredibly low. You know, they haven't seen this for a while.

It took President Obama's Cash for Clunkers program to get things moving again.

Yes we can!

August 25, 2009 2:06 PM  

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