January 23, 2010

Rush Limbaugh answers my question about how President Obama, a law professor, could have responded to the Citizens United case the way he did.

Yesterday, at 8:42 a.m. CT, I wrote:
So, the Supreme Court came out with a big free-speech decision yesterday, and President Obama's response was that he needs "to develop a forceful response to this decision. The public interest requires nothing less."...

The President was a law professor — technically, a "senior lecturer" at the University of Chicago Law School — for 12 years. Why would a law professor oppose a Supreme Court decision on a matter of constitutional law and not respect the authority of the Court and honor our system of separation of powers?
And here's Rush Limbaugh, on yesterday's show (which begins at 11:00 CT):
Now, the Supreme Court came out with this big free speech decision yesterday. It's sweeping. It is huge. Did you hear Obama's response? Obama said that he needs to develop a forceful response to this decision. The public interest requires nothing else, a forceful response. Now, I want to point out that Obama was a law professor, or technically a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago law school for 12 years. Now, why would a law professor oppose a Supreme Court decision on a matter of constitutional law and not respect the authority of the court and honor our system of separation of powers? Why? Of course it's easy. Because he doesn't like the Constitution. And this we know. He thinks the Constitution restrains him and restricts him for doing things to people. The Constitution spells out what the government may not do, and that's what he doesn't like.
IN THE COMMENTS:  El Pollo Real wrote:
So, are you peeved that he didn't mention you, curious about why he didn't, or flattered even though he didn't?

I said:
The similarity of the language — especially "on a matter of constitutional law and not respect the authority of the court and honor our system of separation of powers" — makes it unquestionably mine. He did this once before that I noticed, but I declined to post about it.

I'm happy that he or somebody who prepares material for him reads my blog, but certainly if you're going to quote me like that, you ought to say my name.

If you go to the link, you'll see that the very next paragraph begins: "Thomas Lifson writing about this in the AmericanThinker.com." Why didn't I get that? Lifson even got his URL said aloud.

He has used things from my blog a couple times and named me. That needs to be the standard form, certainly when a quote is used. I think there are other occasions when a topic is inspired by a blog post, and I think in at least some of those cases, the blogger whose idea is used ought to be credited by name.

It's quite possible that my material arrived chez Rush in email form without attribution, but all they'd have to do is put a distinctive phrase in Google and they would see if it's a quote so they could give credit.

I think perhaps Rush has text in front of him that he is intending to paraphrase -- as he started to do with my post -- and then for one reason or another he lapses into outright quoting. Maybe he's in a hurry or he can't, in real time, quite understand the text so he can't paraphrase it.

I don't think it's outrageous and deliberate presentation of my work as his. I just think I should get named.

Another thought is that maybe they're trying to protect me from the wrath of Madison, Wisconsin and law professors everywhere. They should email me if they have questions in that vein. In case you are wondering, Rush and his people have never corresponded with me about anything.

132 comments:

rhhardin said...

I suspected actually that Limbaugh got the question from Althouse.

rhhardin said...

Obama doesn't have to uphold the Constitution because Roberts botched the oath.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

"Now, why would a law professor oppose a Supreme Court decision on a matter of constitutional law and not respect the authority of the court and honor our system of separation of powers?"

Because the reasoning sucks. Which is probably why it was railroaded through on the piggybacks of four ideologues and their token, senile liberal.

Good thing Limpballs has you to write his scripts for him, though. Do you regret the lack of citation or are you now a true artistic duo, where the lines between individual contributions become seamless? Like Lennon-McCartney?

Robin said...

Sucks, railroaded, ideologues, token, senile, Limpballs. In 3 sentences.

That's some straightup, clearheaded, thoughtful reasoning.

Pogo said...

Obama has been using the FDR playbook from day one.

Does he have the temerity to add more Supreme Court justices?



P.S. Worst Ritmo post ever. Seriously, Limpballs? Do your balls get erections, MUL? Because that's just not right.

michaele said...

In a local NPR show some years back, Obama seemed critical of the static interpretation of the Constitution. Here is the quote from that interview,

"As radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical. It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as it has been interpreted -- and Warren Court interpreted it in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. It says what the states can't do to you, says what the federal government can't do to you. But it doesn't say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf. And that hasn't shifted, and one of the tragedies of the civil rights movement was because the civil rights movement became so court-focused, uh, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change. And, uh, in some ways we still suffer from that.

AJ Lynch said...

Wow, that is too similar- almost identical. Rush reads your blog!

If he comments, he would have to be one of the snarky commenters. Maybe it's ...........

The Drill SGT said...

Or at least one of us does research for Rush, it appears

Chase said...

thoughtful reasoning

Ritmo's never going to be convicted of thoughtful reasoning. You are correct, Robin. RB name calls because RB can't give actual details and reasoned discourse. If Rb could, then RB would.

But RB can't.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Ok. How about one sentence, two words? Dred Scott.

All this probably matters less in the age of the internet. But for people still hanging on the media relic known as the television, it's really too bad that the concept of natural rights has lost all meaning. Interpretations of the Constitution should bolster the force of natural rights, and not reinforce a division between natural and legal rights.

I personally am sympathetic to the case brought by CU. But once again, I think the unwillingness of the ideologues to consider these issues from a natural rights perspective is a travesty.

And sorry about the limpballs thing, BTW, Pogo. I'll come up with a better one next time.

El Pollo Real said...

So, are you peeved that he didn't mention you, curious about why he didn't, or flattered even though he didn't?

AllenS said...

When reasoning sucks, a word like Limpballs appears.

kentuckyliz said...

What amuses me is the un-called-out conflagration of the term lecturer as if it meant professor.

A lecturer is not on the tenure track, not a permanent hire, is not expected to do research or publishing, and does not supervise graduate student research or even advise students. They usually teach lower level survey courses.

A lecturer does not have academic rank and will never be peer-reviewed in the process towards tenure.

Quit using the term professor for Obama. He is anything but.

He helped UChi with their affirmative action statistics, borrowed some prestige for his halo, but didn't have any long-term serious responsibilities or peer review.

University version of Michelle Obama's hospital job.

Perfect affirmative action couple.

I am a full professor and went through the whole process. My system has annual review regardless of rank, even after tenure and full professor. In the literature that's called post-tenure review. It's a good thing.

Adjuncts (=lecturers) don't get that review.

Chase said...

There are some who believe the Constituion. There are others who even today would have, if living then, opposed the Revolution

rhhardin said...

Limpballs is metonymy.

Intimate association.

Paul said...

It's nice to know Rush, or someone who works for him (more likely), is reading your blog,but he should at least give you credit.

Pogo said...

Limbaugh should toss Althouse a link, at least.

kentuckyliz said...

He might not read her blog--there might be ongoing discussion about this at Heritage.

Actually, his statement reminds me of his address on the health care issue, at which Joe Wilson punched back twice as hard by calling him a liar.

I'm gonna call you out!

The President that talks ghetto.

Unseemly for the office. Save it for Springer.

Now POTUS is calling out SCOTUS.

Smooth move in an election year.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Thoughtful reasoning? What thoughtfully reasoned excerpts from the decision were quoted? And how thoughtfully reasoned do you suspect Steven's ruling was? The guy is ninety, you know and slurs his speech. Yet your conserva-times chose him to do the deed and I saw very little of what he had to say quoted here. Must have been an open and shut thing, despite the... how many pages was it?

All I hear in all the ballyhoo on this blog about the ruling is "Yeay! Go First Amendment!" and I'm the one who's putting out thoughtless boilerplate? Moi?

Ok. If you insist.

AJ Lynch said...

Althouse and Rush were born on the same day right?

Could they actually be twins separated at birth for some experiment? And now, 59 years later, they have a reunion via the internets. Heh.

wv = flics = I watch too many

rhhardin said...

Rush has mentioned Althouse, so there's some show prep path to the man, even if not in this case.

rdkraus said...

As one with confirmed ODS, to be fair, most politicians (not to mention plenty of others) don't think much about the Constitution or its limits. They want to do what they want to do and, to the extent the Constitution is an obstacle, that is all it is to them.

As Joe Sobran says, "Anything called a program is unconstitutional." If you look back to what the framers intended gov't, particularly the Federal gov't, to be, virtually everything (outside the military) the Feds do is beyond their vision.

When McCain wanted "campaign finance reform," he did not care about the Constitution, when the government wants to take your property, they don't care about the Constitution. The list is endless.

No, it is practically a dead document. Liberals talk of a living document. Well, it's more dead than alive.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

You see, Rush had one of his underage Dominican sex slaves on the Skype with him as he was excitedly prepping for the show... and she found the quote from here much juicier than anything Rush would have quoted from Volokh, etc.

AllenS said...

piggybacks

SMGalbraith said...

Ugh, I hate when public commentators do this and don't give credit to the source.

Keith Olbermann does this all the time. He uses liberal/left blogs for his show and never credits them. Well, if the material turns out to be incorrect, he'll blame the blog source for the error and not take responsibility for failing to check the allegations.

Obama's response was interesting. I'd really like a reporter to ask him why Americans lose their rights when they are exercising them through a corporation.

Other than the First Amendment, Mr. President, what other rights do they lose? The Fourth? Right to own property? Freedom of religion?

Can the government do whatever it wants to corporations? Anything at all?

pcleddy said...

Says something about you, I'd say, that you are easily translated.

Richard Fagin said...

We have the 14th Amendment and all the jurisprudence that followed to deal with the Dred Scott decision. Dred Scott is irrelevant.

Limbaugh and all the other "knuckle draggers" had it right in 2008. Barack Obama is every bit the consitution-hating radical his public statements suggested. Failure to recognize this was an inexcusible lapse in understanding personal character of the man.

Sofa King said...

Which is probably why it was railroaded through on the piggybacks of four ideologues and their token, senile liberal.

Kennedy is senile? He's not even that old?

And how thoughtfully reasoned do you suspect Steven's ruling was? The guy is ninety, you know and slurs his speech. Yet your conserva-times chose him to do the deed and I saw very little of what he had to say quoted here.

Wait a minute. You don't think...you think Stevens was part of the majority! BWaaaahaaa haaa! You haven't the slightest clue what you're talking about, you pompous windbag! Why don't you come back after at least reading the summary! I wonder if your opinion of Stevens will suddenly, conveniently completely reverse!

Folks, this is what happens when you get all your news from Democratic Underground.

El Pollo Real said...

"Limpballs" would have been acceptable, had it been more original.

Question: Why are people shunning the subjunctive mood these days?

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

My bad, Sofa King. I skimmed over the post yesterday on the dissent and took it that the senile one was the liberal the majority co-opted. I'm less interested in the specifics of all this, but would look at them if anyone here was. I'm just saddened to see how eager people are to outsource their individual liberties to faceless organizations, you see, and haven't found much here to indicate that those who are might be interested in the particulars of how such a case is made.

SMGalbraith said...

We have the 14th Amendment and all the jurisprudence that followed to deal with the Dred Scott decision. Dred Scott is irrelevant

Exactly.

Under the Scott decision, Africans had no rights. None. Anywhere in America.

So Congress set about correcting that awful ruling by enacting the 13th and 14th Amendments and passing various Civil Rights legislation to address that decision.

Harsh Pencil said...

In principle, I have nothing against a President pushing back against the Supreme Court. In fact, I think they should Jacksonianly defy them when appropriate. But that is not the case here. Here, the Supreme Court was, IMO, properly telling the other two branches they had overstepped their constitutional authority.

But more generally, when the President takes the oath of office, he swears to defend the Constitution, not whatever the Supreme Court says is the Constitution, but the actual Constitution.

The problem with thinking the President has to defer to whatever the Supreme Court says is in the Constitution, no matter how ridiculous, is that it sets up judicial supremacy. The Court is then free to make up whatever policy outcome they want, declare it to be in the Constitution, and the rest of need to go along like sheep.

So what should the other branches do, if, say, the Supreme Court declares health care a right (positive rights like Obama seems to endorse above) and mandates government health care? How about telling them "No"?

bagoh20 said...

"My system has annual review regardless of rank, even after tenure and full professor. In the literature that's called post-tenure review. It's a good thing."

This is not snark, but honest curiosity: How hard is it to get fired as a full Professor? If you were to fulfill all the pro forma requirements, but just insisted on exclusively teaching the most radical ideas in your subject, ones that are widely dismissed and not the more accepted views, would you, could you be fired? If so, would it take years?

Pogo said...

"Why are people shunning the subjunctive mood these days?

Would that it were.

kentuckyliz said...

"Limpballs" doesn't work. It doesn't call to mind Limbaugh. It calls to mind certain previous boyfriends with performance issues.

Sofa King said...

Ritmo -

I haven't seen any evidence that you seek to understand anything at all. You obviously haven't bothered to read a single word of the case. The position of those who agree with the Court is really quite simple: people must be allowed to exercise their rights collectively just as they are allowed to exercise them individually, because the Constitution does not provide a basis to distinguish between the two.

Perhaps you can start by responding specifically to this, and do try to think throught the logical consequences of your argument.

John Lynch said...

Could it be that he's not a law prof anymore but the President of the United States? He's taking a position that favors the Presidency because he's the President. It's self-interested. More money for election ads reduces the advantages of incumbency.

That's how the government works, and it's assumed that the branches will use whatever argument they can to increase their own power. That's why there's three of them, so they cancel out. Which is what just happened.

Ann Althouse said...

The similarity of the language — especially "on a matter of constitutional law and not respect the authority of the court and honor our system of separation of powers" — makes it unquestionably mine. He did this once before that I noticed, but I declined to post about it.

I'm happy that he or somebody who prepares material for him reads my blog, but certainly if you're going to quote me like that, you ought to say my name.

If you go to the link, you'll see that the very next paragraph begins: "Thomas Lifson writing about this in the AmericanThinker.com." Why didn't I get that? Lifson even got his URL said aloud.

He has used things from my blog a couple times and named me. That needs to be the standard form, certainly when a quote is used. I think there are other occasions when a topic is inspired by a blog post, and I think in at least some of those cases, the blogger whose idea is used ought to be credited by name.

It's quite possible that my material arrived chez Rush in email form without attribution, but all they'd have to do is put a distinctive phrase in Google and they would see if it's a quote so they could give credit.

I think perhaps Rush has text in front of him that he is intending to paraphrase -- as he started to do with my post -- and then for one reason or another he lapses into outright quoting. Maybe he's in a hurry or he can't, in real time, quite understand the text so he can't paraphrase it.

I don't think it's outrageous and deliberate presentation of my work as his. I just think I should get named.

Another thought is that maybe they're trying to protect me from the wrath of Madison, Wisconsin and law professors everywhere. They should email me if they have questions in that vein. In case you are wondering, Rush and his people have never corresponded with me about anything.

John Lynch said...

Or, if you prefer, he disagrees with the court ruling as a matter of principle. I don't think law profs need to agree with the court. If I was one, I'd disagree quite often. Obama is just in a position to do something about it.

kentuckyliz said...

Moral turpitude
Abandonment of duty
Violating the ethical code to which I am legally bound
Elimination of an academic program or department (layoff, not firing)

I am not subject to the whims of someone else's differing opinion.

I engage in controversial things that others don't like. The conservative Christian administrators don't like the fact that I have labeled my counseling office as a safe space for GLBTQQQs, and assist in defending the rights of the GSA. Those conservative Christian administrators would rather pretend GLBTQQQs don't exist and maintain the silence.

I won't go along with that, and am glad that I have several layers of protection to keep me from being fired on a whim.

lucid said...

Michaele's post above, with the following quote from Obama, captures exactly what Obama is doing and what is so frghtening about him:
"one of the tragedies of the civil rights movement was because the civil rights movement became so court-focused, uh, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change. And, uh, in some ways we still suffer from that."

As Obama makes his leftist/populist pivot and begins to explictily attack the institutions of a captialist market economy, he begins to move in a more openly radical and destructive direction. The first result of his pivot is that the stock market has dropped 5% in 3 days.

Be afraid of this man. He intends a kind of change that most of us will find very frightening.

HelenParr said...

Althouse should put her comment on the front page. Rush will NEVER find it in the comments.

When I heard him say the senior lecturer technicality, I was listening for the Althouse reference which never came.

Rush: if you're going to use it, credit it!

Dave C said...

Rush and Ann are very smart people..

Is it that difficult for two different people to come to the same conclusion about Obama's statement?

El Pollo Real said...

...protect me from the wrath of Madison,..

Isn't that in Meade's job description? :)

rhhardin said...

I'm of the opposite mind, namely that it's more satifying not to be credited.

SMGalbraith said...

George Mason professor Ilya Somin briefly addressed the question of whether Hugo Chavez, i.e., non-Americans, could use this decision to influence our elections.

His response:
Whether foreigners are entitled to do the same thing is a different question. It’s part of the broader issue of which constitutional rights foreigners have. If you believe that foreign speech generally is not protected by the First Amendment, then neither is the speech of foreign-owned corporations. The key point is the foreign status of the owners, not whether the speech goes through a corporation or not (notice that by this logic, their noncorporate political speech would be unprotected as well).

Hmm, I guess if you think Islamic terrorists have full Constiutional rights then you must think Chavez has the right to run political ads.

Tongue in cheek but not firmly there.

kent said...

I repeat my posting of yesterday, in the aforementioned thread:

Why would a law professor oppose a Supreme Court decision on a matter of constitutional law and not respect the authority of the Court and honor our system of separation of powers?

Because, so far as President Present is concerned: this is a nation of men, not laws.

He is, at his core, the anti-John Adams.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

It calls to mind certain previous boyfriends with performance issues.

My flight out of town for the weekend leaves around 2. Suffice it to say, I will not be stopped at the gate with prescription bottles filled with little blue pills and marked under the prescriber's name, as L-i-m-b-a-u-g-h was.

As for last night's performance review, you can get that from the source. For my part, I will say that I did not sleep a wink.

Pogo said...

Is it that difficult for two different people to come to the same conclusion about Obama's statement?"

It is that difficult for two different people to come to the exact same words about Obama's statement.

EDH said...

Those lamenting this Supreme Court decision because it will open the floodgates on unfair special interest advertising should take notice of what happened in the background of the Brown election campaign.

Brown's campaign threatened to bring state criminal charges against those within the Mass Democratic Party that produced the ad: "1,736 WOMEN WERE RAPED IN MASSACHUSETTS IN 2008. SCOTT BROWN WANTS HOSPITALS TO TURN THEM ALL AWAY."

Dan Winslow, counsel for the Brown campaign attorney invoked MGL Ch. 56 Sec. 42. VIOLATIONS OF ELECTION LAWS, CERTAIN PRACTICES FORBIDDEN:

Winslow cites a state law which says "No person shall make or publish, or cause to be made or published, any false statement in relation to any candidate for nomination or election to public office, which is designed or tends to aid or to injure or defeat such candidate."

Chapter 56: Section 42. False statements relating to candidates or questions submitted to voters

Section 42. No person shall make or publish, or cause to be made or published, any false statement in relation to any candidate for nomination or election to public office, which is designed or tends to aid or to injure or defeat such candidate.

No person shall publish or cause to be published in any letter, circular, advertisement, poster or in any other writing any false statement in relation to any question submitted to the voters, which statement is designed to affect the vote on said question.

Whoever knowingly violates any provision of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than six months.


Supreme Court jurisprudence does allow for regulation of falsity, even in political speech.

McCain-Feingold's complete prohibition on speech by certain parties was overbroad.

The remaining argument in favor of McCain-Feingold is one of timing, in preventing last minute media blasts where legal and equitable remedies may be too late. But, as the Brown instance points out, McCain-Feingold as it stood was underinclusive with respect to groups like the Massachusetts Democratic party to do any good there either.

AllenS said...

Since retiring, I've listened to Rush almost daily. There are days I can't stand him and will switch over to a music station. Some years ago, I remember him dissing blogs. I also remember him saying things on his radio show that were almost an exact quote of something that I had read on my morning blog rounds. I don't think he understands this blog thing.

Pogo said...

"He is, at his core, the anti-John Adams."

I just love that.
Instapundit did, too, though it was buried in a second-gen link.

lucid said...

@Ann
I agree you should get credit for your ideas.

But it is also terrific that your ideas are getting this kind of amplification.

And now, via your post, you are getting some credit, which will circulate as a meme in its own right.

Pogo said...

"For my part, I will say that I did not sleep a wink."

And good for you.
I did not sleep a wink because I have insomnia, a performance issue of another type.

Don't deride Viagra use, though. Age will almost certainly slay your lance. It's like mocking cataracts or sagging breasts; the arrogance of the young.

kent said...

I just love that.
Instapundit did, too, though it was buried in a second-gen link.


Awesome! I'm actually one of the working parts in an Instalanche! ;)

Meade said...

"sleep a wink"

More metonymy. Synecdoche.

Meade said...

@kent: Excellent!

Trooper York said...

Limpballs just doesn't cut it. You needa the spicey meatballs

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

So Congress set about correcting that awful ruling by enacting the 13th and 14th Amendments and passing various Civil Rights legislation to address that decision.

Funny thing is, that it took a civil war to get to that point. And war is, as you recall, the extension of politics by other means.

I appreciate Sofa King's clarification, I understand the problems with the overruled legislation (which, as I understand it, dates back to Teddy Roosevelt), and was sympathetic to the plaintiff. But I've already said as much about the problems this re-establishes vis a vis democratic governance of the country. Perhaps it will matter less in the era of the internet, and I can see the other side of the matter. But I am troubled by how cavalier so many seem when it comes to the problems posed by a voice that is less representative of the will of the people than it is of whoever's got the deepest pockets. Campaigns cannot be analogized to every other situation involving political speech; they are regulated by specific processes and procedures governing how debates are held, etc. - even if those arose from longstanding tradition rather than law.

William said...

It would be irresponsible for Limbaugh to prepare for his show without reading Instapundit and Althouse.....I seem to remember Nixon and any number of Republicans running against the Warren Court. I don't think it was an infringement on Constitutional boundaries. Obama and Nixon have a free speech right to rally opposition to a Supreme Court decision that they disagree with. I think Obama's opposition to this ruling will be as ineffectual as his support of national health insurance and thus be of no threat to our system of government......When flamingly bad Supreme Court decisions are cited, it nearly always the Dred Scott case that is mentioned. Much closer in time and thus more egregious, however, was the Supreme Court case that allowed for the internment of 150,000 Japanese-Americans during WWII. The fact that it is not is illustrative of why we need corporate money to counteract the liberal mindset.....I am proposing to Exxon that they finance a 100 million dollar movie to dramatize that case. In the movie George Clooney will portray Robert Taft, the conservative Ohio Senator who opposed the program. (It really happened.) Roosevelt will be played by Ron Perleman or, perhaps, Christopher Walken. Earl Warren who supervised the internment is a part made for that guy who played the Nazi in Inglorious Basterds. In the movie, Roosevelt and Nazi Warren will be shown giggling together as they plot their evil. Clooney, backlit and with his brow in full Morrow furrow, will demonstrate how conservative principles as embodied by Robert Taft were the one redeeming light in the darkness that spread over our nation during the apogee of liberalism.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Ok. How about one sentence, two words? Dred(sic) Scott.

Okay, what is it about Scott that we should dred(sic)? ( I'm assuming that 'dred' is the verb in that sentence, since 'Scott' would not really make sense as a verb.

Sofa King said...

But I am troubled by how cavalier so many seem when it comes to the problems posed by a voice that is less representative of the will of the people than it is of whoever's got the deepest pockets.

If we seem cavalier about it I suggest it is because material inequality - as opposed to legal inequality - is something that someone has to come to terms with quite early if one truly believes in a free society. Those that do have decided it is a tradeoff they are willing to make a long time ago.

"A republic, ma'am; if you can keep it."

Omaha1 said...

Prof. Althouse, I only heard Rush for a few minutes yesterday, and from his statements I did get the impression that he had read your post. He should have given you credit for the question, as he repeated it almost verbatim from your blog! He has covered Obama's view of the Constitution before, how Obama feels that it constrains the government too much, i.e., not expressly advocating "social justice", income redistribution, etc. I will try & find a cite for this.

Peter V. Bella said...

The amazing thing is Obama's forceful response. He is now going to battle the Supreme Court. So far, he is battling Republicans, his own Democrats, Wall Street, the pundits, the media, and others.

Now he wants to fight the court. Is there no limit to this man's self perception of power?

Fight, fight, fight!!! Earth to Obama, if you fight the SCOTUS, you may find out real quick that even the liberals on the bench will turn on you. The next "unpopular decision" may be unanimous.

Yep, he has to make history. A legacy must be established.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

material inequality - as opposed to legal inequality - is something that someone has to come to terms with quite early if one truly believes in a free society.

I honestly don't see what this has to do with anything, though. I have no problem with anyone making as much money as they can legally. I don't see how this means that using the money to influence campaigns (which makes for legal inequality) brands the advocate of regulated campaign finance an opponent of capitalism and individual wealth. That's sort of a non-sequitur. Lots of people have all sorts of money. Not all of the ways you could choose to use it are legally and constitutionally protected, just because you have it. You've lost me on that one.

SMGalbraith said...

But I am troubled by how cavalier so many seem when it comes to the problems posed by a voice that is less representative of the will of the people

I certainly understand the potential, okay, reality, in this ruling of "wealthy speech" drowning out "less wealthy speech" as well as the more obvious problem of individuals using this ruling to garner favorable legislation in exchange for favorable advertising.

It's there.

But I'm as "troubled" by those that think that Americans exercising their rights through corporations somehow have no rights. That the government can deny them not only free speech but all other rights as well. Really? Do people really realize the potential consequences of that view?

In any event, if we wish to minimize the pernicious effect of money in politics, on this matter we'll have to find another way of addressing it. Censoring the speech of Americans acting through a corporate entity is not permitted.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Personally, I don't have any problem with President Obama's statement. The president can certainly criticize the Supreme Court and it's decisions. He can also work on a law that is narrowly tailored to restrict some category of speech that is not constitutionally protected, without restricting anything that is. I have trouble imagining what that law would look like. But he can try.

I also don't have a problem with the court overturning precedent, or deciding more issues then the absolute minimum needed to get rid of a case.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Anyway, I'll return to look at the response late Sunday. Have a good weekend, everyone!

Trooper York said...

"Dred" is in fact the nickname of Byron Scott the former Laker and one time coach of the New York Nets. The case arose when the Nets refused to pay off his contract when he quit because he refused to be Jayson Williams limo driver to work off his deal. It went to the Supreme Court and in retrospect he made the right choice.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Sometimes when Althouse posts a revelation she has had all by herself, I remember having seen someone else bring up the same point a day or so earlier in the comment section. It doesn't happen often, so I don't mind. Althouse, like Rush, is awash in information and this is bound to happen. Blogs and radio shows are not papers published in a journal. Strict adherence to attributions is sacrificed for a timely and spontaneous flow of information.

If you are on the receiving end of this behavior, I'd suggest just being happy your ideas are getting a wider audience. And also, to keep coming up with interesting ideas; because while people like Althouse and Rush sometimes make an omission, for whatever reason, they don't often make a habit of it.

SMGalbraith said...

Anyone recall how candidate Obama mitigated the problem of special interest money in elections by accepting public financing of his campaign?

Yeah, me neither.

Y'know, I considered voting for the man but, ugh, the list of broken promises and dishonest statements by him is getting a bit aggravating. Even for politicians (yeah, they all do it but c'mon).

Omaha1 said...

This is from the Rush Limbaugh page http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_102309/content/01125107.guest.html

"'While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy.'" I don't care that it's just now surfacing, but they kept it suppressed until now, but here it is showing up. So "the so-called Founders..." and how many times have you people sent me e-mails, "Rush, be very careful when you start saying the president of the United States looks at the Constitution as an obstacle"? He doesn't like the Constitution! I've said it over and over again, and now here are his own words. "[T]he Constitution allows for many things, but what it does not allow is the most revealing. The so-called Founders..."

This is his thesis, his college thesis at Columbia: "The so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document..." Supposedly? Political freedom supposedly a cornerstone... "the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned." Now, Ledeen says, "That's quite an indictment, even for an Ivy League undergraduate. I wonder if the prof -- and I'd like to know who the prof was -- made an appropriate marginal comment, something about historical context, about the Constitution's revolutionary status in the history of freedom, and about the separation of powers in order to make the creation of any 'shackles' as difficult as possible." The Constitution is the most liberty-promoting and freedom-acknowledging document in the history of the world, and this little boy in college is writing about it with utter disdain, and he still shares those feelings.

Ledeen writes: "Maybe instead of fuming about words that Rush Limbaugh never uttered, the paladins of the free press might ask the president about words that he did write. Maybe he'd like to parse 'the so-called Founders,' for example. I'd like to know what he thinks of those words today. And what about the rest of the thesis?" This is Michael Ledeen. What's the name of Ledeen's book? Find it. Go on Amazon and find it real quick. I want to plug it because it's a great book. It's about what's going on in Iran and US foreign policy. Now, we have audio of Barack Obama saying much the same thing only about the Supreme Court, not the Constitution. This is from 2001, eight years ago, long after his college thesis, on an FM radio station in Chicago. He was asked this question: "We're joined by Barack Obama, Illinois state senator from the 13th District, senior lecturer in the law school at the University of Chicago." This is what Obama said.

OBAMA 2001: If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples so that, uh, I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at a lunch counter and -- and order and as long as I could pay for it I'd be okay. But the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Just to clarify my previous comment, I don't have a problem with the President's statement in terms of separation of powers.

I do agree with the Supreme Court's decision, and thus will almost certainly disagree with whatever forceful response the President comes up with. But unless his response is to pass a substantially similar law, or to try to pack the court, it is not a separation of powers issue.

rhhardin said...

The subjunctive is used for moral posturing ("If there be justice...") and stalling for time ("What if he were?..."), according to Thurber.

The trouble, he says, comes when one person goes into the indicative.

AJ Lynch said...

Jason:

I laughed to myself the other day when I heard Rush ask why Obama did not save the jobs at Air America. Because I had made a similar comment at Althouse a day or so before.

"Awash in information" is a good way of looking at it. If only more Americans were also awash in information.

bagoh20 said...

I don't get the controversy asked in the question. Why would a law professor not question a supreme court decision? I expect doctors to question medical board decisions, etc. Isn't that how a healthy profession works? It doesn't mean his challenge is a good one, but it's not some kind of ethical breach. A system of separate powers are only healthy if they are challenging each other.

I also don't get the piety of the phrase "We are a nation of laws not men." We just rewrote them...again. (9 men)

It's the same problem I have with religion, where the biblical texts are held out as divine and outside of human production or challenge.

The rules are written by men, interpreted by men, and changed constantly, so where else do the strings terminate.

Just never understood how that gets by so often unchallenged.

Peano said...

Ann said, "It's quite possible that my material arrived chez Rush in email form without attribution, but all they'd have to do is put a distinctive phrase in Google and they would see if it's a quote so they could give credit."

True, but is it reasonable to expect him to Google phrases from an email? If I had received your posting, verbatim but unattributed, in the body of an email, I wouldn't suspect it of being quoted material.

My guess is that a staff researcher pulled that language from your blog and failed to attribute it. That was a lapse, to be sure, but hardly worth fussing over. I'm sure thousands of people raised substantially the same question in their own minds and their own words.

kent said...

I also don't get the piety of the phrase "We are a nation of laws not men."

Oh.

My.

God.

rhhardin said...

You don't necessarily want Rush's traffic. The blog might not scale with audience size, owing to comments.

rhhardin said...

We are a nation of lass, not of men.

Pogo said...

"I also don't get the piety of the phrase "We are a nation of laws not men."

There is no functional Constitution if it is so malleable as to be made meaningless.

It means we have guiding principles which supersede the whims of the moment, however important they may seem.

Peano said...

Ann said, "I think perhaps Rush has text in front of him that he is intending to paraphrase -- as he started to do with my post -- and then for one reason or another he lapses into outright quoting."

As I suggested before, the text in front of him might have been prepared by staff and showed no indication of its source.

For a lawyer, you're doing a lot of perhapsing about what Rush knew (as distinguished from what a staffer knew when copying and pasting from the web).

Suggestion: Email Rush directly, show him the quote, and ask him to kindly credit you in the future when he quotes from your blog.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

This must sting.

Thomas said...

From Ann's fingers to God's mouth?

Jason (the commenter) said...

rhhardi: You don't necessarily want Rush's traffic. The blog might not scale with audience size, owing to comments.

I think we know how to handle trolls. Besides, there's always the Althousian diaspora on Twitter to talk with.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Zachary Paul Sire: This must sting.

Yes, imagine saying so many interesting things, and having them repeated by so many people, that you eventually hear famous people spouting them. How awful.

rhhardin said...

If the comments were five times bigger, you couldn't read them; and the regulars would be too numerous to remember.

As to trolls, you'd have a critical mass of troll responders that would wipe the blog out.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Also, it's too bad such a thoughtful, nuanced question was so blatantly plagiarized only to be met with a dumb, unimaginative answer like, "because he doesn't like the Constitution."

bagoh20 said...

"It means we have guiding principles which supersede the whims of the moment, however important they may seem."

Then we should say: "We are a nation slow moving men, who change their mind a lot."

Zachary Paul Sire said...

This must feel like high school when the hot jock you've had a crush on for years asks to copy your homework one day but then acts like he doesn't know you when he's at the dance with all his friends.

bagoh20 said...

"...a dumb, unimaginative answer like, "because he doesn't like the Constitution.""

Unimaginative perhaps, but the correct answer usually is, Occam. Besides it's the main issue critics have with this President. We really do believe, he sees the Constitution as a deeply flawed restraint to confront and transform, at least in interpretation.

Pogo said...

Still bringing up that old hurt, Zachary?

Let it go man; let it go. =)

Zachary Paul Sire said...

This also makes you wonder how much of Rush Limbaugh's show and persona are really him or just things his producers put in front of him. I mean, he's just reading blog posts on the air now.

What if this had been a blogger, and he or she simply wrote up an entry copying your text and your ideas. I'd be pissed, not flattered.

Don't let your love for Rush blind you, Althouse. Sue the pig!

G Joubert said...

First I'll throw Ritmo a bone or two. Maybe instead of Dred Scott he meant to cite Plessy v Ferguson, which WAS decided post 13th and 14th Amendments, and which essentially enshrined segregation for 50+ years. His larger point being that the Supreme Court sometimes gets it wrong. Fair enough. But what I wonder is if his opinion that nonhuman entities such as corporations do not have freedom speech extends to the other nonhuman entity at issue, labor unions. I'm betting it doesn't. One thing I've noticed about the left is they make a big show about being all for free speech, but it always depends whether they agree with what is being said and whether they approve of the speaker.

ricpic said...

As to the similarity of what Althouse wrote and Limbaugh said: maybe it was just an incidence of great minds thinking alike.

ricpic said...

Scratch incidence, substitute instance.

Almost Ali said...

Why not drop Rush a line noting the similarity? Person to person, absent [any] implied legal implications. A mediation of equals.

My guess is that he would gladly give attribution if and where it's due.

rhhardin said...

Rush also has a broadcast contraint, namely that any footnotes have to improve the show.

I think you have to be a regular source to get a mention that flows easily, maybe flowing because he actually wants to send you over there.

He sounded unfamiliar with Althouse when he cited it the time I remember.

It's one of the pleasures of citing sources that you want people to see something there.

Trooper York said...

"This must feel like high school when the hot jock you've had a crush on for years asks to copy your homework one day but then acts like he doesn't know you when he's at the dance with all his friends."

Althouse is like Glee.

Almost Ali said...

...As for Obama, I repeat my call for articles of impeachment. And when that time comes, "I" want attribution.

Seven Machos said...

You oughta call his show, Althouse.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Can people (including Althouse) stop using the word "similar" here. What Althouse wrote and what Limbaugh said ARE WORD-FOR-WORD EXACTLY THE SAME.

Did y'all read the two paragraphs?

SUE THE PIG.

Pogo said...

I think Zachary will be on the next High School Reunion in Hawaii, giving a 'hall pass' to the quarterback, who declines, again.

Almost Ali said...

Can people (including Althouse) stop using the word "similar" here.

"Similar" is an implication. "Exact" is a threat.

SMGalbraith said...

Fair use is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as for commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching or scholarship.

Limbaugh acted unethically but not, it seems to me, illegally.

Seven Machos said...

Zach -- It's pretty obvious that Althouse doesn't want to sue. And if she did, what are her damages?

Get over your sad, angry self.

Almost Ali said...

It's not Fair Use without attribution.

Almost Ali said...

A compromise: The wording was "Strikingly similar."

Seven Machos said...

Limbaugh obviously took the idea from Althouse and should credit her, especially if she wants credit. He should own up to the fact that he's in the vortex.

Given the constraints of live radio, there's no reason why he can't credit her later. And it's funny to watch Zach get his panties in a wad because he didn't do it right then.

Ralph L said...

John Lynch said...
If I was one, I'd disagree quite often.
If I were a professor, I'd tell you to use the subjunctive, dammit.

SMGalbraith said...

It's not Fair Use without attribution.

Thanks. My huge goof.

Almost Ali said...

Thanks. My huge goof.

Not huge at all. Especially when we consider the distinct possibly that a plaintiff might work the argument all the way up to the Supreme Court. Not on legal grounds, but rather, for personal "attribution".

El Pollo Real said...

Jason wrote:
I think we know how to handle trolls. Besides, there's always the Althousian diaspora on Twitter to talk with.

I like the term Althousian diaspora. :)

DADvocate said...

You have to wonder when things like this happen. Did Limbaugh or someone on his staff have exactly the same thoughts or did they steal it from your blog. Giving you credit on air could diminish his credibility. Maybe Limbaugh, himself, isn't aware of where the thought originated.

Once, in my blog, I mentioned shmoos. Two days later, Jonah Goldberg mentions shmoos. Coincidence? Given that shmoos are a rather obscur reference to Al Capp's cartoon strip "Li'l Abner" and that few under the age of 50 or so would have remembered it, maybe not. I have also noticed sitemeter occasionally picks up a hit from a ip address identified as an information gather site.

rhhardin said...

As I recall, you kill shmoos by commanding them, ``Shmoo, flop over."

I know this only by hearsay.

A classmate was a fan.

Ann Althouse said...

"I'm sure thousands of people raised substantially the same question in their own minds and their own words."

But my words were spiffy. The form of expression matters. By the way, copyright law protects the form of words and not the ideas.

rhhardin said...

The point of makng comments is to get the expression just right.

Constant correction and restatement.

The question to take away here though is how to get Rush to read a decent economics blog, not how to get him to distribute credit.

rhhardin said...

I said long ago to a guy I worked with, about outsiders, always share your best ideas freely. If you're really any good, you come up with lots of other things and credit won't matter.

In return people talk to you right away.

rhhardin said...

Rush has health care as an albatross shackled around the Democrats' ankles on Thursday's show.

Flexo said...

Late to the party here, but this is such a generalized and generic question that it is likely that countless people were already asking the same thing without having read the blog post.

If someone asks on their blog, "why is Obama nationalizing everything" and someone else on the radio asks that same question, it hardly calls for attribution.

There is hardly any unique intellecutal property in the question of how a former "law professor" like Obama could respond the way he did.

Now, come up with something unique, then attribution is called for.

Cedarford said...

Chase said...
There are some who believe the Constituion. There are others who even today would have, if living then, opposed the Revolution.


I disagree. The people back then who treasured Rule of Law and worshipped the sacred parchments of the King and Parliaments powers and their judges in the Imperial City - were known as Loyalists.
The other guys, the Revolutionaries, did not worship Rule of Law.

======================
Galbraith - Exactly.

Under the Scott decision, Africans had no rights. None. Anywhere in America.

So Congress set about correcting that awful ruling by enacting the 13th and 14th Amendments and passing various Civil Rights legislation to address that decision.


Congress didn't correct.

War, to the tune of 660,000 Americans dead and 1/3rd of the US wrecked - corrected for the great failing of the US Constitution and the need to first render 8 states powerless to stop the Northerners from "Amending it".

As then, the Sacred Parchment has now largely become un-Amendable on any matter special interests wish to stop.
The last Amendment passed with any controversy attached to it was the 1962 Amendment repealing the Poll Tax. And that was only because LBJ cooked up a deal with Southern Senators to transfer most money for military bases and shipyards to go from the North and Midwest, to the South.

SMGalbraith said...

Congress didn't correct.

Technically I'm right but "historically" you are.

I call it a tie.

Not a lot of those on blogs.

Alex said...

This is serious shit - the POTUS openly defying the SCOTUS. This could be prelude to Civil War 2.0.

Alex said...

But my words were spiffy. The form of expression matters. By the way, copyright law protects the form of words and not the ideas.

And thus Apple makes another trillion dollars off patenting "form".

From Inwood said...

Prof A

Of course, you're exactly right.

This is the kind of quoting without attribution that got Doris K.G., Stephen A., & MoDo in trouble.

It will be interesting to see what Rush says, if anything on his next show.

He would be quite hard on anyone else who did this & I would feel that he should acknowledge & explain what happened.

PS Re Googling: I place some pithy packed comments in a Word Pro document I keep but I carefully distinguish between my own & others.

Recently, I found one with no attribution, meaning that it should be mine, all mine &, Jack Horner like I said "what a good boy am I".

But it sounded so lapidary that, before using it, I Googled to see if it really was original on my part. I was immediately led to it as a comment I'd made on this blog! So, I assume now that it was original to me. But my point is that so many statements can be so easily checked.

So I just Googled the following phrase

The President was a law professor —technically, a "senior lecturer" at the University of Chicago Law School — for 12 years. Why would a law professor oppose a Supreme Court decision on a matter of constitutional law and not respect the authority of the Court and honor our system of separation of powers?

And got referred to your Friday Post:

"Althouse: And you, President Obama, a law professor!"

bagoh20 said...

"War, to the tune of 660,000 Americans dead and 1/3rd of the US wrecked - corrected for the great failing of the US Constitution and the need to first render 8 states powerless to stop the Northerners from "Amending it"."

Which is why I contend that we are in fact a nation of men, not laws.

When men and law meet in battle, the law bends, changes or dies.

Even when the law restrains some men, it is only because of the other men standing behind her with clubs and torches.

Lazarus Long said...

"Ritmo Brasileiro said...
Ok. How about one sentence, two words? Dred Scott."

Which was promulgated by a racist Democratic court.

Ooooops.

rhhardin said...

So how did Rush start Wednesday's show?

"For the first time in my life, I am proud of Massachusetts."

He doesn't need to steal material.

Gerard said...

"If you go to the link, you'll see that the very next paragraph begins: "Thomas Lifson writing about this in the AmericanThinker.com." Why didn't I get that?"

I think you'd best face facts, Ann. It's because... well, it's because.... because you're a girl, Ann.

traditionalguy said...

When I read Rush saying exactly what The Professor had written on the subject, it was deja vu all over again. Rush may be smart enough to think of it too. But it is worded like a lifted term paper paragraph.

Revenant said...

But for people still hanging on the media relic known as the television, it's really too bad that the concept of natural rights has lost all meaning.

From a natural rights perspective, throwing a man in prison because he had his corporation pay for a political ad is as wrong.

This is because:
(a) People have a natural right to do as they wish with their own property, provided doing so does not infringe on the rights of others, and

(b) The right to freedom of speech (and of the press) includes the right to pay others to speech or publish on your behalf.

There. That was easy.

AlphaLiberal said...

Rush Limbaugh has had a change of heart, apparently.

As far as saying a President should not criticize the decisions of the Supreme Court, that's ridiculous.

They are public officials and their actions and decisions may be criticized. That's all there is to it. They are not God.

And, really, this whole conversation ducks the issues at play and the embrace of corporate influence by the USSC.