June 26, 2012

Let's take a closer look at Jonathan Turley's reaction to the internet's response to his Court packing plan.

In the first post of the day — "Jonathan Turley's civility bullshit about my calling 'bullshit' on his Court-packing plan" — I said some things about why I don't give powerful speakers the insulation of so-called "civility" and about the interplay between big journalism and the law professoriat. Not wanting to go unbloggily overlong, I said I'd do a second post parsing the details of Turley's blog post criticizing me for criticizing his proposal to enlarge the Supreme Court to 19 Justices. I call it...



This might need to go a bit long, so let's go to an inside page.


Turley's post is titled "The Limits of Civility: How A Proposal On Reforming The Supreme Court Unleashed A Torrent Of Personal Attacks." Unleashed! Torrent! Personal! Attacks! You see how he goes big and emotional, not sober and restrained at all? He's a victim. But, I wonder, will there be any personal attacks made on me? I called his idea "bad" and his reason for it "bullshit." I rejected his implicit admiration for the utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham, and I said he'd made an analogy that was "one of the worst... I'd ever seen." But I didn't make any personal attacks. Ironically, it's a personal attack on me to accuse me of making a personal attack. I attacked his ideas, not his person, but I did it with sharp language that was meant to hurt and did. He chose to respond in a personal way. Why? Because he can't or won't defend his ideas? Or is he simply taken aback that a law professor would attack with concision and ferocity?

On to the body of the Turleypost:
As many on this blog know, I rarely respond to criticism of columns that I run in USA Today or other newspapers. As a columnist, I feel that I am given a rare opportunity to express my views and criticism comes with the territory. However, I was taken aback by many of the comments in response to my Sunday column in The Washington Post discussing my proposal for the expansion of the United States Supreme Court. 
Why don't you normally respond to criticism? You take your high platform in mainstream media. You profess from that position, and the little people who carp about it may not seem worth your time. But now you will bother. Why? It seems that blogging has raised a few people to a significant enough level that it matches the perch you got from the Washington Post.
Though the proposal was given serious and supportive reviews by some sites like Forbes, some conservatives immediately assumed that I was a liberal simply upset with the anticipated ruling striking down the individual mandate provision of the health care law. When another law professor and blogger (Ann Althouse) joined this ill-informed and uncivil chorus, I thought I would respond. 
I didn't assume he was "a liberal simply upset with the anticipated ruling." What if he hadn't read my words carefully and he was attributing to me the things he believed he was hearing from a "chorus"? That would make him ill-informed. That would be ironic. And, as we shall see, that is what he is doing.
This blog has always strived to maintain a strict civility rule — distinguishing it from many other blogs by discouraging and sometimes eliminating ad hominem and personal attacks. 
But you just hurled a series of insults at me. I only attacked your ideas. But I myself don't preen about civility. I do what I do. It is what it is. And I leave it to the reader to figure out what it is. I have my standards, but I don't brag about how lofty they are. Turley trumpets his "strict civility rule," and he's already violated it.
Yet, I am still surprised by the lack of civility and responsibility by many — particularly fellow lawyers and academics — in responding to such proposals. 
I'm not surprised that he's acting surprised, that he imagines he's a model of civility, or that he's making mistakes about me without noticing, or that he expects lawprofs to defer to other lawprofs. I find that all crushingly predictable. Can we get to the substance? I mean, my kindergarten teacher used to say "Ann, I'm surprised at you!" It hurt my feelings. But I'm old now, and I don't have much time.
[Update: Professor Ann Althouse has responded to my call for greater civility with a new blog entitled "Jonathan Turley's civility bullshit about my calling "bullshit" on his Court-packing plan." (Apparently both civility and factual accuracy fall into the same "BS" category for Professor Althouse). Notably, Professor Althouse does not address the fact that she was completely wrong in claiming that I was motivated by dislike for the anticipated ruling striking down the individual mandate in the health care case.]
And Professor Turley does not hurry to add that my new post includes a statement that I'm going to write another post — you're reading it now — in which "I'll respond to more of Turley's long, professorly post which denies that his Court-packing plan arises out of a distaste for the Supreme Court's opinions." Notably, Professor Turley does not address any of what I did say in that post.

And speaking of "completely wrong," I never said he was motivated by his dislike for the anticipated ruling in the health care case. He has this long, long post about me, perseverating about how I have not read and understood him, but he has yet to read my writing with much care at all.

My original post accused the Washington Post of pushing the Court-packing proposal "in anticipation of the Obamacare decision." I'm saying that Turley was given an op-ed spot to promote his theory, last Sunday, because of the impending Obamacare decision, which WaPo is advance-spinning. It would be damned hard to deny that inference, and I stand by it. I then quote Turley saying "The health-care decision comes 75 years after the famous 'court packing' effort of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.... Roosevelt may have had the right idea for the wrong reason," and I assert that my belief that Turley has the essentially the same reason: "You don't like the opinions." The opinions. That's a large, nonspecific category. I do infer Turley wants to diminish the power and prestige of the Court, but I'm not focusing on a particular case in the future.

Back to Turley:
The column generated a torrent of comments (roughly 1100 on the Post site alone). Many of these comments came from conservatives who immediately assumed that I was a liberal law professor who was just proposing this reform because I expected to the Court to rule against the health care law. Others asked why I did not propose this in the past and just suddenly called for an expansion on the eve of the health care decision.
That's not about me. I guess that's the "chorus."
Just to set the record straight.

First, before the health care law was passed, I spoke on Capitol Hill and expressed my personal opposition to the individual mandate law on federalism grounds though I felt that the Administration would have the advantage in the lower courts due to the current precedent from the Supreme Court. I then wrote and spoke against the individual mandate provision in columns, blog entries, and speeches....
Turley only links to one column, and it doesn't say the individual mandate is unconstitutional. It merely states that there's a constitutional question that the courts will have to resolve. He's being very bland! (Actually, it's the same kind of restraint I've shown on the issue.)

Back to Turley:
Second, I did not just come up with this proposal on the eve of the decision. See, e.g., “Unpacking the Court: The Case for the Expansion of the United States Supreme Court in the Twenty-First Century.” 33 Perspectives on Political Science, no. 3, p. 155 (June 22, 2004). I proposed the expansion of the Supreme Court over ten years ago. I have discussed the reform with members of Congress and it has been debated in prior years.
2004... 2002... this is post-Bush v. Gore and post- a lot of cases that have led the law professoriate to work on ways to limit the power of the Court. I don't know (or assert that I know) the details about which cases bother Turley, but to resort to Wikipedia, he is "frequently regarded as a champion of liberal and progressive causes," he's appeared frequently "on Countdown with Keith Olbermann and The Rachel Maddow Show," and he "has called for criminal prosecution of Bush administration officials for war crimes." I don't think my inference of his hostility to the Court's opinions is wrong, and I stand by my suspicion that his desire to dilute the power of Supreme Court Justices arises out of — remember my exact phrase — "a distaste for the Supreme Court's opinions."

Turley goes on:
Third, I have often agreed with the conservatives on the Court in its most controversial decisions. For example, like many in the free speech community, I agreed with the holding in Citizen’s United even though I disagreed with parts of the decision’s analysis and language. I have also said that I felt Arizona has a strong case on the immigration matter in claiming the right to enforce federal laws on illegal status.
Fine. I can see he's not the most predictably left lawprof in the academy. I never said he was.
Finally, the criticism of these readers and Professor Althouse below appear based on an assumption that the expansion of the Supreme Court would predictably add liberals. 
Now, you're making inferences about me, so I guess inferences are okay. I made mine and you made yours. I'll set a good example by treating your assumption as a request to say whether that's what I really think. I don't!
There is no reason to make such an assumption since the expansion is spread over a decade. 
I know that's the proposal, and I quoted your language to that effect in my original post. Without that slow phase-in, the proposal would be truly ridiculous (an obvious, partisan power-grab).
Moreover, the Senate is expected to either continue to be split roughly evenly between the parties or actually go Republican in the next election. There is certainly no reason to assume that the additions to the Supreme Court would include candidates to my liking. 
Oops! He just admitted he wants liberals.  Also, let me point out that it's Republican Presidents who've been disappointed by appointees who turn liberal. In recent years, we've seen Blackmun, Stevens, and Souter skew far from the politics of the Republican Presidents who appointed them. When's the last Democratic President whose appointee skewed conservative?
Indeed, I criticized Obama’s selections. I do believe that additional justices will add a diversity of experience and viewpoints regardless of philosophical leanings.
I agree the Court lacks diversity. (For example: no Protestants.) But I think more Justices will mainly dilute the significance of the position. As Turley ended his op-ed: "the power of individual judges is diluted." You get more of a faceless panel of legal experts, much less of a sense of particular human beings making decisions.
After a couple of decades writing as a columnist and doing legal commentary, I have no illusions about people writing anonymously about articles or positions. The Internet often seems to unleash the most vicious side of people who seem to believe that they are relieved of basic decency or civility by anonymity. However, I was surprised by lawyers who made these baseless claims, including claims that are directly contradicted in the article (like the notion that one president would appoint all ten justices or that the number was simply selected arbitrarily). A simple search on the Internet would have shown that I am in fact a critic of the health care law.
You have already made statements about me that are directly contradicted by the blog post you are talking about. So this hand-wringing about what other people do is annoying. But hang on, because next is the part about me:
That brings us to University of Wisconsin Professor Ann Althouse who ran a blog blasting my column. Althouse makes the point in her headline: “Don’t like the Supreme Court’s decision? Propose a Court-packing plan!” She then states the column pushes for the packing of the court “in anticipation of the Obamacare decision.” She responds to the proposal with “Oh, spare me the bullshit. It’s the same reason. You don’t like the opinions. It was a bad idea then, and it’s a bad idea now.” I must confess that, when one of our regulars sent me this link, I was taken aback. 
There's that word "aback" again. How many times does he need to tell us how emotional he got over the criticism? I mean, talk about bullshit. I don't really believe the Turley vapors come on that easily. Why is he begging readers to feel sorry for him? I suppose the answer is that he wants readers to get mad at me. Aren't I terrible? He had an op-ed in the WaPo and I... I... criticized it!
I do not expect such ill-informed and uncivil attacks from a fellow academic. While Althouse writes a conservative blog....
Wait! Wait! Wait! Now, now, you wouldn't! You wouldn't commit the very offense you accuse me of? Ah ha ha. Too rich! Too funny!
... and has been something of a lightning rod in the past, I would have thought that she would do a little research before going after another professor. 
And I wouldn't have thought that you, a law professor, would talk about me not doing a little research before talking about me, a law professor, not doing a little research before talking about me (a law professor!). I write a conservative blog? You mean the one where I wrote about why I voted for Obama? The one with 300+ posts favoring same-sex marriage? The one that consistently supports abortion rights?
In reality, I am calling for the expansion of the Court despite the fact that I would agree with the anticipated decision from the Court striking down the individual mandate. It is precisely the opposite of what is being suggested. Even though I expect to be on the winning side, I still do not believe it should be left to a single swing justice. 
And, as explained above, I did not say one word about what I thought you thought about the health-care case. Think you might want to back off? You really deeply committed to this. It seems to me that you just don't want to hear any suspicion that your Court-packing proposal has a motivation based on the substance of the Supreme Court's opinions.
I understand that some bloggers are given to hyperbole like Althouse asking “If the greatest good is in the greatest number, why not 100? Why not 1000?” — even though the column (and longer original article) addresses this question with reference to how en banc appellate courts work and more importantly the high courts of other countries. 
It was mockery based on your statement "sometimes the greatest good can be found in the greater number." Since you admit a desire to dilute the power of judges, it was fair criticism to link this idea of yours — the superiority of the greater number — to the hypothetical problem of majoritarian decisionmaking about what the Constitution means (which would be antithetical to the idea that it is the role of the judges to say what the law is).
(I must confess that I find it odd to see the arbitrarily selected number of 9 defended by objecting that adopting the average size of other top courts is arbitrary). 
I didn't say it was arbitrary. I didn't delve into the comparison to circuit courts, but if you want to know, I think it's a bad comparison, because what the Supreme Court does in its ordinary cases isn't like an entire circuit of Courts of Appeals judges, who only occasionally come together for an en banc decision. Ordinarily, Courts of Appeals judges decide cases in 3-person sets. Those case-deciding units are one-third the size of the Supreme Court, so we learn, if anything, that a smaller decisionmaking group is better. In other words, the Supreme Court is already expanded.
It is the allegation that I am just making this proposal due to my opposition to the expected decision that is beyond the pale in my view. 
Your view is bad. You're hearing a "chorus" and seeing beyond "the pale." Wake up. Sharpen up.
I understand that we cannot always control comments on our blogs (and free speech allows for considerable room of expression), but such attacks do not present a particularly good model for our students.
Yeah, so you need to stop. You, with the "strict civility" rule.
In her response to my call for greater civility and responsibility, Althouse responds by calling civility “bullshit” and says that she is “merely passionate and serious.” 
Professor Turley, you have put something in quotes that is not a quote. I said "I am passionate and serious about what I am doing...." I didn't say I was "merely passionate and serious." I am many other things too, including fun-loving. And law-professor-ass-kicking. You're being such a stickler that you are making yourself into such a big target that this isn't even fun. What I am passionate and serious about is, as I say right there, "speaking clearly" and showing my readers things they might find it hard to see, such as how law professors, facilitated by elite media, try to trick them with words. That's what bullshit is. I am passionate and serious about calling bullshit on law professors. And I'm doing it again.
Rather than simply admit that she was wrong...
Because I wasn't!
... in suggesting that I was motivated by opposition to the expected ruling invalidating the individual mandate provision and a failure to simply confirm my position (which has been widely cited supporting the challengers), she again portrays the column as another example of how the Washington Post publishes columns “from law professors to launder its partisan politics into something with that looks scholarly and thoughtful.” 
Hey, how about proving your good faith by simply admitting you were wrong? And show me you understand that I'm saying the Washington Post was using you, with your theory, at a particular time for a particular reason. You're essentially discounting this point as if it's only a distraction that I'm putting up to keep from admitting I was wrong (which — have I ever told you? — I wasn't).
It appears that “passionate and serious” includes falsely stating another professor’s positions on cases as the basis for a personal attack.
No, but I will passionately and seriously say right now that you are misstating what I have said.
Indeed, Professor Althouse has yet to inform her readers that she was wrong in suggesting that I disagreed with the conservatives in the health care litigation (and that my proposal was motivated by that opposition). 
You disagreed with the conservatives? Ahem.
She merely states that “In a later post, I’ll respond to more of Turley’s long, professorly post which denies that his Court-packing plan arises out of a distaste for the Supreme Court’s opinions.”
What is the function of the word "merely" for Turley? Could it be... bullshit?
Of course, the obvious suggestion was that the column was timed to anticipate the health care decision — a common theme in comments on her blog. I am not sure what “distaste for the Supreme Court’s opinions” means (though Professor Althouse’s reference to my dislike for a “decision” is now distaste for “opinions.”). 
Oh! See, after all that bullshit, he's finally noticing my actual words. With his strict civility rule and staunch demands for accuracy, you might think that after he wrote that he'd realize that he needs to rewrite everything he's just said about me. Why didn't he?! Where is the civility? He's "not sure" but he can't make the mental effort to read the actual words of my original paragraph (even as amplified in this morning's post). Hello? Fellow law professor?! I said that the Washington Post decided to run this op-ed in anticipation of the Obamacare decision and that I presume that you have a distaste for (unspecified) opinions.
We all disagree with some of the Court’s decisions — even though I have agreed with the majority of the decisions from this Court. I often side with conservatives on federalism and other areas while disagreeing on other areas like free speech and criminal cases. I disagree with the liberal justices on other cases, but I am not motivated by a desire to pack the Court with libertarians (which is widely cited as closer to my own views on many issues) rather than liberals. 
Fine. I still suspect that your desire to dilute the influence of individual Justices arises from a distaste for the substance of their work and not merely — merely! — from some wholly neutral, disembodied structural conception of decisionmaking supposedly modeled on en banc Court of Appeals decisions. 
It would make no difference to me if this was the Warren Court. It is in my view demonstrably too small. While it may seem highly improbable in today’s rabidly political environment, it is possible to make such a proposal out of principle. 
With or without rabies, the human mind does not operate in a substance-free vacuum. 
Moreover, in a term with a series of 5-4 decisions on major cases and polls showing an increasingly unpopular Supreme Court, the proposal is obviously relevant to the current debate.
I have spent over ten years advocating for the expansion of the Court even though I often agree with the rulings of swing Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. Putting aside the possibility that my proposal is based on principle rather than partisanship, I have never encountered a law professor advocating for incivility as a type of personal signature (a reaction shared by other leading legal bloggers like Scott Greenfield). I was hoping that raising the issue would result is a bit of self-reflection and possible dialogue on the loss of civility in our national discourse. While I did not expect an apology from Professor Althouse, I did not expect an academic to affirm the value of name calling and incivility — even when the blog is shown to be wrong on critical allegations.
And I don't expect an apology from you either. I've read what you have to say and given my response. I'd like to see you truly engage with the substance of what I've written about you. And feel free to keep talking about the form of what I've written. You've got a thing about form instead of substance. I care about form too. I care about sharp and interesting writing, and I intend to keep it sharp. And when that sharpness hurts elite law professors, I'm fine with it.
My only point is that the overall commentary following the column shows once again how we have lost the tradition of civil discourse in this country. The tendency today is to personally attack people with whom you disagree...
Remember your idea about "a bit of self-reflection"!
... and suggest hidden agendas or conspiracies. 
That sounds sinister, but what does it say about me? Of course, I don't take things at face value! Of course, I don't assume people only mean the things they are willing to put in writing! Law professors (and lawyers and judges and politicians) use words to manipulate people all the time. What I do on this blog is to try to pull apart those manipulations. With me, that's not just a "tendency." It's a mission.
I am always delighted to see spirited debate following a column, including those with whom I disagree. As in a classroom, I value the debate for its own sake — forcing people to consider alternative views and possibilities. The current tendency to shout down other voices with shrill or sophomoric attacks is degrading our politics and our society.
Oh, bullshit!

161 comments:

Unknown said...

A legendary smackdown for the ages, Ann. Brava!

Skyler said...

Whew. My head is spinning from all that talk of bull shit and civility and what not.

In the end, the man should be ashamed of suggesting packing the court, no matter how much he dresses it up with pseudo intellectual prose.

Suggestions to pack the court are right up there with euthanasia and sterilization of the third generation of imbeciles in the rankings of scholarship.

pduggie said...

"I never said he was motivated by his dislike for the anticipated ruling in the health care case."

Um...

""Don't like the Supreme Court's decision? Propose a Court-packing plan!" (ok, you claim to say that's the WP's issue, but its really unclear you don't mean Turley too

and

" It's the same reason. You don't like the opinions. "

Who is you? Turley, right, not the WP?

This claim fails, Anne.

Neo said...

There are 3143 counties in the US and counties don't get any respect, so why not 3143 justices on the Supreme Court ?

Mogget said...

I think Turley might be more accustomed to folks who tend to assume the position than those who question him. The whole thing must be quite a shock to him.

William said...

He's calling you a dumb a dumb chorus girl.

Ann Althouse said...

"Don't like the Supreme Court's decision? Propose a Court-packing plan!"

That's directed outwardly at the reader. It's saying: here's an idea. You can do this.

It's the imperative mood (in grammar).

Scott said...

That wasn't a Fisking...that was an Althousing! Poor Turley didn't get his face slapped, he got run through the wood chipper head first!

Saint Croix said...

This claim fails, Anne.

My Mom is an Ann. And at least in the South, when Ann's meet up, they have to clarify if they are simple Ann or fancy Anne. Our Ann is a simple Ann, not a fancy Anne.

Ann Althouse said...

"This claim fails, Anne."

This, from someone who can't spell the simplest name there is.

edutcher said...

As I say, civility only goes one way with the Lefties.

How dare you criticize an idea that been a punchline for 3/4 of a century?

pduggie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wild chicken said...

Hahaha you go, girl.

The dinosaur media just hate hate hate the Internet don't they?

They still don't get the difference between a dead-tree columnist and a blogger, and try to convert reporters and academics and into their own "bloggers" who then take umbrage at all the immediate interactive blowback.

They can't handle being talked back to, and their discomfort is a beautiful thing to see.

And it really is ugly, that the media would float this idea right when the decision is possibly still up for grabs, hoping to force another Robert's Switch. Nasty stuff that.

pduggie said...

Awe, manne, I'm a terrible typist. Pleese forgive mee.

Seriously wish blogger would allow comment editing

rehajm said...

Quality defense. Is it safe to say this will likely be lost on the recipient?

Mike Tanis said...

Turley appears to be one of those self-absorbed people who find it difficult to accept that life isn't all about him.

Lem said...

Pay attention children...

This is how you do a 'takedown'.. cut him down to chewable bites for us.. reminded me of the Hawk perched at University recently.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

pduggie,

Neither of the lines you quote from AA can have any reference to a decision that doesn't exist yet, can they? At least, not unless you think the WaPo isn't averse to timing Turley's OpEd to run just before a decision is announced that the WaPo thinks might come out not to its liking.

pduggie said...

Ann, then is that "clear"?

I take sarcastic titles that then have blog entries that go on to quote another writer as the sarcastic re-framing of the argument of the writer.

You were unclear.

(fixed spelling)

Saint Croix said...

This, from someone who can't spell the simplest name there is.

Don't forget Bo!

pduggie said...

I agree with Ann that the WP timed it for that reason. I didn't think her post distinguished Turley's motivation from the WPs.

At least not clearly.

Quayle said...

Shorter Turley by me:

"How dare you!"

"Don't you know who I am!"

"In the world of Washington DC weasel-worders, I'm a God!"

leslyn said...

"Let's take a closer look at Jonathan Turley's reaction to the internet's response to his Court packing plan."

Oh no, no, no, let's don't!

I confess, I confess, to whatever you want, just stop the torture!

Scott M said...

tl;dr

(lol, j/k)

I was scrolling down through that whole thing and my two-year-old saw me and looked at the screen.

He said, "It's over." I couldn't for the life of me figure out what he thought it was and then it hit me. He thought I was looking at the credits at the end of a movie.

Give 'em hell, AA. Full stream ahead and damn the exclamation points.

Marty Keller said...

I love Ann Althouse. I read her every day. I agree with her most of the time. In this case I think she doth protest too much. The substance of her original post, that Turley was being used by WaPo was really the salient point. The civility bullshit was just that. Getting sidetracked by Turley's pique seems a waste of time--although I'm guessing perhaps his posture indicates that Ann's actual point got to him. Let him go, Ann. Keep the focus on the MSM and its incessant liberal line.

Rumpletweezer said...

I turned away from liberalism when I realized that life didn't work the way I wished it worked. Some people, apparently, can't make that transition.

JorgXMcKie said...

pduggie: reading comprhension problems much? Try re-reading the relevant material again, only this time slow enough to consider the actual meanings of the words. Going all Humpty Dumpty doesn't impress many.

And I'm hardly surprised by Turley's response. That's what we've been getting from any challenged 'expert' for decades. "How dare you doubt my conclusions..." then wandering off into ad hominems, tu quoques, etc.

It's getting extremely tedious from the current self-elected elites, though.

Bob Ellison said...

I would like to introduce into evidence the fact that my first name is simpler than "Ann". Also, mine's a palindrome. Is "Ann"? Nna.

leslyn said...

"Is it safe?"

"Is it safe?"

(consciousness mercifully fades....)

Rob said...

When's the last Democratic President whose appointee skewed conservative? We'd have to go back fifty years to Whizzer White, who was appointed by Kennedy.

MadisonMan said...

This, from someone who can't spell the simplest name there is

I don't think Ann is simple, because you can too easily misspell it Anne.

Dee. Now there's a simple name.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

To follow a chain of reasoning is a lawyerly thing to do. Turley's 'Civility' is agree with me and STFU.

leslyn said...

Mr. T.

Richard Dolan said...

"I agree the Court lacks diversity."

Justice Ginsburg made the same point at the 2d Circuit conference a couple of weeks ago, lamenting the fact that we don't have a justice born on Staten Island (the other four boroughs all have their home-grown representative on the Court, and they (more or less) mirror the leanings of their place of birth). It must be a feminist thing, this concern for Staten Island, even though a Staten Island justice would likely be a righty.

As for the most recent takedown of Turley, too long and not enough verse in it. But it packs a wallop nonetheless.

solarity said...

I like you Ann and generally agree with you but Turley has the better argument in this instance. You damaged your case with the adolescent "bullshit" comments and just a little too much emotionalism. A short apologia for going "over the top" would have been a much better response than what you did here.

Eric said...

And you, a law professor!

Jacques Cuze said...

1. We can all tell you're full of shit Ann, because this post of yours is about 20 times longer than your original post.

2. Turley never insulted you, and you never actually gave an example of anything an outside observer would identify as an insult.

3. You never actually engaged in a single one of Turley's ideas, you blasted him as a partisan and dismissed out of hand all of his ideas.

4. Your tl;dr is way tl;dr. "Oops, I made a mistake and I apologize" would have been so much more succinct, and a lot more accurate.

5. Nice that you play the victim card.

6. What a load of bullshit Ann.

7. Nice punching up.

Jacques Cuze said...

My original post accused the Washington Post of pushing the Court-packing proposal "in anticipation of the Obamacare decision." I'm saying that Turley was given an op-ed spot to promote his theory, last Sunday, because of the impending Obamacare decision, which WaPo is advance-spinning. It would be damned hard to deny that inference, and I stand by it.

This is also nonsense as I pointed out earlier.

It was good enough for FDR, and it's what the Washington Post is pushing in anticipation of the Obamacare decision. Jonathan Turley writes:
"The health-care decision comes 75 years after the famous “court packing” effort of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.... Roosevelt may have had the right idea for the wrong reason."
Oh, spare me the bullshit. It's the same reason. You don't like the opinions. It was a bad idea then, and it's a bad idea now.


Your language, excoriates "You" but the antecedent to "You" is Professor Turley, not the Washington Post.

Who doesn't like the opinion?
Whose bullshit are you asking to be spared from?

You do this as you blame Professor Turley for not being clear.

So I will assume that you were being clear and the antecedent to "You" was Professor Turley and you were excoriating him, not the Washington Post.

Lem said...

Wow..

The professor caught Turley giving the impression that a greater number was better based on a less than accurate impression of "an en banc".. Here is the bite..

... but if you want to know, I think it's a bad comparison, because what the Supreme Court does in its ordinary cases isn't like an entire circuit of Courts of Appeals judges, who only occasionally come together for an en banc decision. Ordinarily, Courts of Appeals judges decide cases in 3-person sets. Those case-deciding units are one-third the size of the Supreme Court, so we learn, if anything, that a smaller decisionmaking group is better. In other words, the Supreme Court is already expanded.

Turley cant even cite a good example for what he says would be so much better off.. and what he does cite makes a better case for the opposite of what he proposes... and this is the guy on TV?

Thank you Althouse.

Joe said...

So I will assume that you were being clear and the antecedent to "You" was Professor Turley and you were excoriating him, not the Washington Post.

So what?

Turley says "I am always delighted to see spirited debate following a column, including those with whom I disagree."

But he hasn't debated shit. He's made no attempt to justify his completely asinine proposal. Instead he's whined about "civility."

This is classic bullshit, straw man "debate."

(And yes, Ann is being too defensive. She does this from time to time. Grow a thick skin and simply say, "Fuck you Turley; your idea is shit.")

D.D. Driver said...

3.You never actually engaged in a single one of Turley's ideas, you blasted him as a partisan and dismissed out of hand all of his ideas.

This.

To the merits, if done in a fair way, expanding the Court would have benefits. A single justice would have less power. I would think Turley's proposal would be attractive to all the lawyers that bemoan Justice O'Connor's 5-part balancing tests.

It would be nice to see a thoughtful debate about the merits rather than an old-fashioned flame war.

Patrick said...

Jacques Cuze - What mistake did the Professor make? She writes that the Wapo is pushing its anti court agenda in anticipation of the Health Care ruling. Is that correct? I doubt that even Turley believes his op-ed was published for any other reason.

Her "offending paragraph" is this: Oh, spare me the bullshit. It's the same reason. You don't like the opinions. It was a bad idea then, and it's a bad idea now.

Is there a reason other than the Court's opinions to increase the number of Justices? Prof. Turley acknowledges that he likes Justice Kennedy's opinions. He clearly thinks this plan will lead to more Justice Kennedy types on the Court, leading to more Justice Kennedy type opinions.

What mistake did Prof. Althouse make?

Charlie Martin said...

I had a fun time with Turley a couple years ago:

http://rightnetwork.com/posts/the-shame-of-being-jonathan-turley/

He wasn't any better then.

Patrick said...

Jaqcques Cuse - Our comments cross posted, but the "you" refers to Turley. But he acknowledges that he wants more Kennedy types. Why? Because he wants more Kennedy type opinions. Because he doesn't like Scalia type opinions, or Bader-Ginsburg type opinions. If he did, why would he propose such a reform?

rhhardin said...

Indeed, Professor Althouse has yet to inform her readers that she was wrong in suggesting that I disagreed with the conservatives in the health care litigation (and that my proposal was motivated by that opposition).

"I hesitate to say that I don't disagree with you." - Bob and Ray

What new voice is the parenthetical?

There's two Turleys, a transmitter of important boilerplate, and a wounded emoter.

Paddy O said...

"To the merits, if done in a fair way, expanding the Court would have benefits."

You're taking this as an objective truth, when in fact this is the core disagreement at hand. Ann, effectively, argues no, it would not have the benefits that are suggested. Indeed, this is not merely Ann's argument, as this is the prevailing opinion since it was first proposed, that expanding the court would not provide overall benefits.

What's interesting is that people are making Ann sound like the outlying opinion, while Turley is, in fact, the one proposing again a move that has been entirely rejected over the course of the last century. To the merits, the great majority of people disagree there would be benefits.

Which means that dismissing something out of hand is neither outlandish nor mean nor evasive when arguments have been made for generations covering the exact same issues. Turley is not making a new proposal, even if he is trying out some nuanced reasoning.

Rabel said...

Jonathan, you ignorant slut

Jacques Cuze said...

Joe, Patrick,

"So what?"

Ann's defense earlier today, and here too is of the form, "I was hitting the Washington Post!" "Professor Turley is mistaken to think I was hitting him!"

(Sounds like me when I was a kid and trying to persuade my parents.)

But she was hitting him.

I don't know how to get a link to the comment, but she made it at 6/26/12 12:32 PM in the earlier post.

"Ann Althouse said...

Has anyone mentioned that my post *does not say* that Turley is opposed to a decision striking down Obamacare?

You'd think before saying I should be more careful, he should be more careful!

My text -- written with unobtrusive accuracy — says:

Don't like the Supreme Court's decision? Propose a Court-packing plan! It was good enough for FDR, and it's what the Washington Post is pushing in anticipation of the Obamacare decision. Jonathan Turley writes.... You don't like the opinions. It was a bad idea then, and it's a bad idea now."

Note the importance of the role of the WaPo, which I have further highlighted in this post.
"

So again, her defense is that she wasn't attacking Turley, she was attacking the Washington Post and Turley is stupid to not realize he was being used, and stupid to think he was being attacked.

But her language was clear, and she prides herself on being clear, and it was clear the primary attack was on Turley.

So the whole thing comes off as an enormous wall of text in which Ann denies she was attacking Turley.

Talk about pounding the table.

Sounds like something my kids might do, but it *should* be beneath the behavior of a Professor and beneath the behavior of a lawyer.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Pduggie said:

"Seriously wish blogger would allow comment editing"

It does. You type; you read; you revise; you post.

What am I missing?

traditionalguy said...

You did a great job unpacking" Turley's superficial pretense that his suddenly regurgitated 19 Pieces of Shit Plan doesn't stink as much today since he first defecated it during the Bush years; and that therefore he can say whatever he wants and also gets a chance to impersonate a misunderstood victim of a Limbaugh Loving Grendel.

Turley has no class, because he is not smart enough to appreciate a superior mind when he meets one.

Patrick said...

J.C - hi is being used by WaPo in their attack on the Court, in advance of what the WaPo believes will be striking won the ACA. Turley may not know it, or may not believe it, but yes, it is hard to reasonably argue that is what is going on.

Prof. Althous attack was to his poorly developed idea of putting 19 Justices on the Court and supporting that idea with poor arguments. That is what law professors are supposed to do. Prof. Turley confuses many of the commenters on the WaPo site for what Prof. Althouse says.

Lem said...

Is not called "Court packing" out some indication of lofty respectability.

Quite the opposite I'm afraid.

Penny said...

I remember when Kellogg 19 hit the supermarket shelves.

It was one of those "healthy", not so tasty, fortified cereals, and until just a minute ago, I assumed it was pumped up with NINETEEN good things we weren't getting in our regular diets.

I was wrong!

Penny said...

Don't you just HATE being wrong?

I mean, OK, I was only wrong about cereal, and it's not like cereal is nearly as important as being wrong about fortifying the Supreme Court...

But still?

CWJ said...

As others (h/t paddy o) noted in the previous post, Turkey's problem is with how he was set up (framed lol) by the Washington Post. So why is his outrage directed toward the commentariat, rather than his publisher?

It's thin skin on stilts.

Ned said...

Well done...very well done!!!
Piercing the elite bubble...tastes good!

Lem said...

With all the talk from first lady Michelle about how obese we are Jonathan Turley proposes a Court packing plan.

tom swift said...

"Fun-loving"?

I'm tempted to say "bullshit" but that civility thing gets in the way.

Jason said...

Bloggingheads! Bloggingheads! Bloggingheads!!!

leslyn said...

As I say, civility only goes one way with the Lefties.

This, from edutcher?

Surely you jest, sir.

leslyn said...

"Suggestions to pack the court are right up there with euthanasia and sterilization of the third generation of imbeciles in the rankings of scholarship."

Said by a third generation.

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wyo sis said...

"Should be beneath the behavior of a Professor and beneath the behavior of a lawyer."

I' d like to comment about this comment, but I'm laughing too hard.

leslyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
leslyn said...

Ann Althouse said...

"Don't like the Supreme Court's decision? Propose a Court-packing plan!" That's directed outwardly at the reader. It's saying: here's an idea. You can do this. It's the imperative mood (in grammar).

How nice of you to state that clearly, and how conveniently after the fact.

rhhardin said...

Everybody's talking about court packing and nobody's talking about court covering.

A court covering would have some justice at most some maximum distance from any issue; the smaller the maximum the better the covering.

A court packing has as many justices as possible without any two closer than some minimum distance; the larger the minimum the better the packing.

MikeB123 said...

Who are we kidding, Turley's a whiny little D-bag.

William said...

I think Prof. Turley is the Margaret Dumont in this comedy of manners, but that's only because Althouse is the only one with a sense of humor. So far as incivility goes, I don't think either party has any grounds to call the other out for a duel. It's sad that Althouse doesn't know about Turley's views on Kennedy's views and Turley doesn't know Althouse's views on same sex marriage, but there you have it. Life is short and we all have too little time to research each other's views on same sex marriage and Justice Kennedy....I don't think either party has said anything ghastly about the other party. I'm sure many lawyers here lament that so much time and rhetoric has been expended in an unbillable cause.

leslyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
leslyn said...

MikeB123:

Says the worker bee for the Red Queen Bee.

Penny said...

Fisking's a LOW END debate strategy, Althouse... and Turley, too!

Henry said...

So a 10-9 decision is better than a 5-4? What's wrong with a 5-4 decision, anyway? Whence comes this expectation that difficult judicial questions need some kind of super majority to be "popular." I know Turley is talking about "dilution" not super majorities. So I ask him and his ilk again: What's makes a 10-9 decision so great? How about a vote of 219-212? In SCOTUS terms, that's 4.57 to 4.43, but without any need to round.

I have an alternate proposal. Let's have a Quaker Supreme Court. Only consensus decisions allowed. Let's dilute the institution like a mad homeopath and make it popular again. It's for its own good.

Penny said...

My mind wanders!

D.D. Driver said...

You're taking this as an objective truth, when in fact this is the core disagreement at hand. Ann, effectively, argues no, it would not have the benefits that are suggested.

I don't think Ann has really addressed the issues. Her argument about en banc decisions is a complete non sequitur---it does not respond in any way to Turley's point. Turley's point was that en banc decisions seldom turn on a single swing voter. Is he right about that? No idea.

But if he is right, many lawyers (and typically conservative lawyers) would think expansion would have at least one major benefit. Next time you are at a social event, poll conservative lawyers on how they feel about O'Connor's five-part balancing tests.

Here is another thought experiment: imagine that on Thursday Obamacare is upheld based upon a Kennedy concurrence that "health care is special" based upon a created out of whole cloth three part balancing test. You don't think conservatives would be interested in Turley's idea?

The problem (as I see it) with the current system is not 5-4 divisiveness, it's not that it concentrates power in 9 "unelected" justices, it's not even that it further concentrates power into the one or two "swing" votes who serve as de facto Super-Justices.

The problem under the current system is that it gives Super-Justice power to the justice who is the most wishy-washy justice on the bench.

Maybe expansion would fix the problem, maybe not. But it is worth debating rather than simply tackling strawmen.

Real American said...

one of the first things I learned in law school was that "mere" (or "merely") is a weasel word. WEASEL!

SH said...

Along with blocking efforts at ID checks in elections and paths to citizenship for illegals.. this plan is simply a way to disenfranchise citizens who don’t agree with his politics by changing the rules regarding the structure of the government. He can wrap it in whatever academic or social science veneers he wants. It does not change what it is… and we have a right to call it what it is and resist it.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paco Wové said...

"Maybe expansion would fix the problem, maybe not. But it is worth debating rather than simply tackling strawmen."

As commenter Henry said, how is a 10-9 decision any better (or more unlikely) than a 5-4?

rhhardin said...

With nine, you get the nine best people in the country.

With nineteen, you let in ten dumber ones too.

Penny said...

"Drama much?"

When I'm not doing comedy, phx. ;)

Penny said...

And I just said that to be FUNNY and sort of... "newsy".

Penny said...

Quite like Althouse...

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
leslyn said...

SH said,

.. this plan is simply a way to disenfranchise citizens who don’t agree with [Turley's] politics by changing the rules regarding the structure of the government. (Emphasis added.)

There are no rules governing the number of SCt justices. Get a grip.

Turley's rebuttal knows you well:

The tendency today is to personally attack people with whom you disagree and suggest hidden agendas or conspiracies.

Penny said...

Althouse the "serious" edutainer!

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paddy O said...

"The problem under the current system is that it gives Super-Justice power to the justice who is the most wishy-washy justice on the bench."

But that's a problem that happens with a huge electorate. The upcoming election is going to be decided by currently "undecided" voters or voters who might even change their mind a few times over the next few months, even as the issues at hand are pretty clear. Depersonalizing the wishy or the washy isn't really helpful.

"Maybe expansion would fix the problem, maybe not. But it is worth debating rather than simply tackling strawmen."

How do we debate this? The issues aren't really all that complicated. Keep it the way it is or expand it. Maybe it would fix some perceived problem, maybe it wouldn't. Maybe the perceived problem isn't really a problem at all, just a way it makes us feel. We feel like having a wishy washy judge isn't right, it isn't fair to have all those distinct personalities, who aren't elected but are appointed by who we elect.

Debating it doesn't help because who knows what would happen? Should we try it out for a year and see? Would that make us feel better about it all? Make it feel more like we're all involved by adding yet more unelected people to the mix. Instead of 9 people representing the reality of 312 million, we'll have 19, because that's more representative?

We tackle the strawmen because they're really the only folks actually involved in this argument. It's all straw, man.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maguro said...

There are no rules governing the number of SCt justices. Get a grip.

Uh huh. And you woulda been totally fine with Bush appointing a couple more SC justices, cause there are no rules governing that number. Sure...

Penny said...

Ha ha

Her undoing?

Althouse has "delicate" hide.

D.D. Driver said...

As commenter Henry said, how is a 10-9 decision any better (or more unlikely) than a 5-4?

Turley makes the point that a 10-9 decision is unlikely based upon the historical results of en banc decisions seldom coming down to a swing vote. If he is wrong about that explain why you think he is wrong.

My intuition is that he is right, and here is why. My math/statistics is rusty but imagine these two scenarios. First, the typical three judge panel. In a three judge panel, there are only two possibilities: a unanimous decision and a split decision coming down to one swing vote.

Now imagine that there is a 1,000,001 judge panel. Even assuming a closely divided court, how many decisions do you think would turn out 500,000 to 500,001? I feel pretty safe in saying that the likelihood of that happening approaches (and is effectively) zero.

My intuition is that we have a continuum. As move move away from a three judge panel the likelihood of any case coming down to a single swing vote decreases.

Turley says that at 19 the likelihood is already negligible. I have no reason to disbelieve him.

Synova said...

I tend to see far less directed purpose in things than Althouse does. I would assume that the decision at WaPo to run the article or op-ed didn't extend far beyond the subject matter trending at the moment.

As for civility, it's obviously in the eye of the beholder, or at least in the perception of the person being criticized. I won't try to say who is right to have tender feelings and who is wrong.

I do take exception to the moronic notion that the proper response to those tender feelings is a short, reflexive, apology. The demand for apologies is itself incivility disguised as enforcement of social norms. It's a club to bash with, as uncivilized as any other, and the first person who swings it is the winner.

The Farmer said...

I adore Althouse but holy crap lady, send an e-mail.

Did anybody read that whole thing, and if so, can I study your brain?

D.D. Driver said...

"Maybe expansion would fix the problem, maybe not. But it is worth debating rather than simply tackling strawmen."

How do we debate this?


You have done a good job proving that you can't. So I guess you win. Good job.

Penny said...

And just for tonight, I am going to give Mr.Truly, the benefit of believing him when he says, "This ISN'T about politics!"

Unknown said...

This post made my day!

Synova said...

"Now imagine that there is a 1,000,001 judge panel. Even assuming a closely divided court, how many decisions do you think would turn out 500,000 to 500,001? I feel pretty safe in saying that the likelihood of that happening approaches (and is effectively) zero."

And since this doesn't apply whatsoever to divisions according to the perceived politics of the judges, what is gained by having bigger numbers? A better chance to confuse the ignorant masses?

The only reason anyone at all worries about a decision going one way or the other on a single vote is that they feel the other side has the majority.

With 19 judges there is still a majority.

With 1000 judges there is still a majority.

What there ends up being, however, with far greater numbers of judges is less individual accountability.

If the judges are likely to be political, at least with 9 judges there can be greater scrutiny. Regular people might know the actual name of a judge or two. With 19 judges each is weaker, less important, and not going to have to face someone picking through their decisions with the same care.

Penny said...

I say that... because it's entirely possible...and because I REALLY want that to be true, Turley.

D.D. Driver said...

I do take exception to the moronic notion that the proper response to those tender feelings is a short, reflexive, apology.

It's not about feelings. It's about being wrong. Ann is wrong. You can find plenty of examples of Ann lashing out at those unfairly characterizing her viewpoint. Now the shoe is on the other foot.

There is nothing moronic about apologizing when you are wrong. It's what I teach my children. Then again, maybe I just want to raise little morons that are thoughtful and polite. I can live with that.

leslyn said...

Drama:
"it's a personal attack on me to accuse me of making a personal attack. I attacked his ideas, not his person, but I did it with sharp language that was meant to hurt and did."

Drama:
"Suggestions to pack the court are right up here with euthanasia and sterilization of the third generation of imbeciles"

Drama:
"And it really is ugly, that the media would float this idea right when the decision is possibly still up for grabs, hoping to force another Robert's Switch."

Drama:
"Along with blocking efforts at ID checks in elections and paths to citizenship for illegals"

Drama:
"his plan is simply a way to disenfranchise citizens"

Humor:
To arms! To arms! Alarum!

D.D. Driver said...

The only reason anyone at all worries about a decision going one way or the other on a single vote is that they feel the other side has the majority.

This is wrong. Like I said, go ahead poll your conservative lawyer friends about how they feel about an O'Connor five-part balancing test.

It's about having actual decisions that future lawyers and judges can follow and apply in future cases.

leslyn said...

Penny--are you high?

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paddy O said...

"It's about having actual decisions that future lawyers and judges can follow and apply in future cases."

You honestly think that getting 19 justices to agree on the wording of a decision will be more helpful?

And I'm not sure why you're stuck on polling conservative lawyers at our social functions. Not only would that entirely ruin an already suspect party, it isn't really the issue at hand. Of course, some people think particular decisions are complicated and unfortunate. The answer isn't to add yet more complexity to the mix.

Penny said...

And Althouse?

We see that you know how to exhibit the "CRUEL" part of your "cruel neutrality".

Well done!

Paco Wové said...

"Turley makes the point that a 10-9 decision is unlikely based upon the historical results of en banc decisions seldom coming down to a swing vote. If he is wrong about that explain why you think he is wrong."

Well, there are a couple of things: first off, the Supreme Court is not a circuit court, and I would not expect its dynamics to match a circuit court. Perhaps if circuit courts had their members chosen in the politically charged atmosphere the Supreme Court does, circuit courts would also become politically fraught.

Secondly, I'm not sure why a 10-9 vote is worse than, say, an 11-8 vote. Have we suddenly crossed some threshold of legitimacy now?

Synova said...

"This is wrong. Like I said, go ahead poll your conservative lawyer friends..."

My bad.

Imprecision again.

The only reason non-lawyer voter regular joes are led to distrust the Supreme Court is the perception of political bias. Without the perception of political bias, some rulings are close, and some rulings are not close. Big hairy deal.

A larger number of justices would not, in any way whatsoever, solve this problem of confidence with the general public.

It would, however, increase the perception of a lack of accountability, and rightly so.

Synova said...

"Secondly, I'm not sure why a 10-9 vote is worse than, say, an 11-8 vote. Have we suddenly crossed some threshold of legitimacy now?"

Exactly.

How much math does a person need to know, to understand that 4/5 is the same as 12/15?

Dread Pirate Roberts said...

This is the silliest pissing match I have seen in all my years on the bench.

Penny said...

Leslyn?

"High"?

Damned right.

Higher than I ought to be, and higher than YOU ought to be too.

William said...

I can think of many convincing arguments for the sanctity of private property. If an editor should publish such arguments on the day the Supreme Court handed down the Dred Scott decision, I would not wish to retract the arguments, but I would feel offended at the editor who chose such a day to publish them. Prof Turley wishes to be regarded as above the fray, as someone who is above partisan politics. Perhaps he is, but the most salient fact of his argument is not its substance but its timing. It does seem to depreciate the current Court. It seems to me that he should direct some of his ire at the editors who chose such a time to publish it......But, as noted previously, what a fine life Althouse and Turley must lead if this argument represents the dark side of their natures.

LoafingOaf said...

God damn, she'll spend a day writing a post like that just to avoid apologizing to someone she owes an apology to?

The title's a reference to her infamous "Let's take a closer look at those breasts" post from back in the day, so you know you're not in good hands from the outset.

Penny said...

But this? It's ALL about Althouse.

Sadly, she thinks she is "punching up".

Synova said...

"It's not about feelings. It's about being wrong. Ann is wrong. You can find plenty of examples of Ann lashing out at those unfairly characterizing her viewpoint. Now the shoe is on the other foot."

Wrong on what substantive thing?

If it's not about *feelings* what is she wrong about? But it is about feelings isn't it. It's "you were rude and uncivil!" and she's like "was not and besides I don't think being rude is inappropriate."

It's about feelings.

About the best you could get out of it is that both parties are equally uncivil thin skinned poopy-pantses.

And even then she's *right* about the incivility disguised as a call to civility. But that's pretty standard and has been ever since the start of this civility bullshit.

And I'm right that calling for apologies is gaming an argument and inherently uncivil.

Ken said...

This, from someone who can't spell the simplest name there is.

Never knew anyone named Ed?

Paco Wové said...

"This claim fails, Anne[sic]."

And yet, when I go to look at Turley's piece in the Post, I find it titled:

"The fate of health care shouldn’t come down to 9 justices. Try 19."

Maybe that's not Turley's fault, or intention, but it clearly was somebody's idea to tie court-packing with the assumed outcome.

Penny said...

And not one thing wrong with "punching up"...

Except for the "punching" part.

D.D. Driver said...

A larger number of justices would not, in any way whatsoever, solve this problem of confidence with the general public.

I will give you this point. But I think we are talking past one another: I don't care about public perception. I actually made that point above. I don't care that there are 5-4 decisions. I don't care that the Court is perceived as partisan. It doesn't bother me at all.

What bothers me is that the court made law that governs our lives has too often been created by most wishy-washy member of the Court. Trust me: that is a problem. (And, yeah, it's fine if you think I am full of shit. That is why I invite you to ask around.)

Penny said...

The not so funny thing that is happening here is the "presumption of bad intent".

Paco Wové said...

"What bothers me is that the court made law that governs our lives has too often been created by most wishy-washy member of the Court."

And with 19 members, law will be created by the most wishy-washy bloc on the court. Happy now?

D.D. Driver said...

"It's not about feelings. It's about being wrong. Ann is wrong. You can find plenty of examples of Ann lashing out at those unfairly characterizing her viewpoint. Now the shoe is on the other foot."

Wrong on what substantive thing?


You can find plenty of examples of Ann lashing out at those unfairly characterizing her viewpoint. Now the shoe is on the other foot.

Penny said...

I'm just going to turn my other cheek.

I DO NOT BELIEVE that we are here to presume "bad intent".

Dread Pirate Roberts said...

Synova said,

"And I'm right that calling for apologies is gaming an argument and inherently uncivil."

Oh, you're right are you? Well, as the "biggest, most prominent, most loved and revered chief justice in the history of chief justices" [Rush Limbaugh] (polishes nails), I can tell you, little lady, that an apology is a most civil thing to offer. Hah!

Synova said...

Civil to offer, uncivil to demand.

Ha!

D.D. Driver said...

"And with 19 members, law will be created by the most wishy-washy bloc on the court. Happy now?"

This is a possibility, no doubt, but I do not believe that it is inevitable. I would be interested in seeing evidence one way or another.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry said...

D.D Driver wrote: Now imagine that there is a 1,000,001 judge panel. Even assuming a closely divided court, how many decisions do you think would turn out 500,000 to 500,001? I feel pretty safe in saying that the likelihood of that happening approaches (and is effectively) zero.

D.D., I don't know if you read my entire comment, but the other vote I proffered was 219-212. As a ratio of nine this gives you a vote of 4.57 to 4.43. That is far closer than 5-4.

A large voting group will surely produce more two or three -- or seven -- vote margins than a small one simply based on the math. If people take comfort from that, it only demonstrates a lack of numeracy on the part of the comfort-takers. It says nothing about the judgeship.

Turley's desire to dilute the influence of the individual justice can be debated on its own merits. But the quantity or closeness of close votes is a meaningless metric.

Unknown said...

Charlie Martin's link to his blog post (above and copied below) sheds some light on Turley's intellectual honesty. I had been leaning a bit towards thinking Turley had the better of the argument, but Martin's helpful context has me back in the Althouse camp. It is good to be back home.

http://rightnetwork.com/posts/the-shame-of-being-jonathan-turley/

Penny said...

Shit rolls downhill.

Fight the physics, not the turd.

Penny said...

Wow, great quote, Penny!

D.D. Driver said...

Turley's desire to dilute the influence of the individual justice can be debated on its own merits. But the quantity or closeness of close votes is a meaningless metric.

We absolutely agree on this point. It's not the mathematical closeness that I care about. It's the swing-vote phenomenon that skews towards wishy-washiness.

EMD said...

Has anyone here been in a meeting with say, 9 people versus 19 people?

Which meeting was better?

leslyn said...

Turley's desire to dilute the influence of the individual justice can be debated on its own merits. But the quantity or closeness of close votes is a meaningless metric.

Thread winner. And only ONE paragraph.

Bob Ellison said...

Let's unpack the court. One wise Latina's should do the trick. That way every decision is unanimous.

Dante said...

Ann, admit your goddamn mistake. You said "Oh, spare me the bullshit. It's the same reason. You don't like the opinions."

The antecedent here is Jonathon Turley:

"Jonathan Turley writes:

The health-care decision comes 75 years after the famous “court packing” effort of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.... Roosevelt may have had the right idea for the wrong reason."

And you say "Oh, spare me the bullshit. It's the same reason. You don't like the opinions." [emphasis mine]


You aren't going to argue THAT, are you? It's straight-forward grammar rules.

So let us first dispense with this idea that you didn't attack Hurley personally. You accused him of offering up "Bullshit," AKA deception, instead of truth, so that he could advance his personal agenda. It's not polite company that doesn't like that, NO ONE likes being called a deceiver, with rare exception, since it implies a degree of arrogance, and hypocrisy. Of COURSE this is personal. It's not ideas. It's not saying you are wrong. It's saying you are offering up deceit to cover what you know to be a wrong basis.

That having been said, I think there is a lot of BS going on in the MSM, but that's another story. . .



So the person who does not LIKE the opinions, is Jonathon Turly.

What is the fucking topic of the whole article? People who don't like supreme court decisions:

"Don't like the Supreme Court's decision? Propose a Court-packing plan!"

That's the headline. WHO is proposing a "Court-packing plan?" Is it the feckless fucked up Washington post? Well, they printed the article, but the real person who is doing the writing, and who is professing to believe all that he writes, is Jonathon Turley. He is the one who does not "like the positions."

Perhaps WAPO found it expedient to print this subject matter in support of their goals. Who the fuck can say? I'm not saying there is no evidence they might, only that was not the thrust of what you wrote. You wrote four articles, all of which are on my screen, and each one of them takes Jonathon Turley to task.

Here is the strange part of it. I think you are probably correct. I suspect that Jonathon Turley wants this decision. The suspicion is he is torn, between what he thinks he wants, but maybe isn't quite sure, and what is legal. My suspicion further leads me to believe you are the same way.

However, what you did is, in my view, wrong. You can chalk it up to be a mistake in your grammar, or you can chalk it up to a mistake in your psyche. You know you have it, you blogged about it. There should be nothing wrong with retracting an emotionally generated response, as I suspect is the case here. Retract it. Admit it. Go back to being the 7 year old girl who could not admit a mistake, admit it, and provide some human decency.

THEN tear apart this fraud on a higher moral ground, because I, who do not have the voice you do, and can cast aspersions willy nilly whoever I want, do strongly suspect everything you said is exactly correct, except that you did not make a mistake.

M. Nettesheim Hoffmann said...

Professor Althouse, do not back down from your mission nor feel apologetic for being passionate which some commenters have wrongly defined as overly emotional. I say your blog posts in relation to Turley's court packing writings have made you the quintessential Socratic gadfly.

phx said...
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Dante said...

Couple of points, someone said: "Now imagine that there is a 1,000,001 judge panel. Even assuming a closely divided court, how many decisions do you think would turn out 500,000 to 500,001? I feel pretty safe in saying that the likelihood of that happening approaches (and is effectively) zero."

Right, like Florida and Gore never happened.

Second, reading through the posts, pduggie has the best way of pointing out Ann's mistake.

Everyone who reads this blog should realize Ann is only human too, and forgive her. Certainly, her many wonderful attributes make up for her faults, and I wish she could overcome her paranoia that others don't value her highly even if she IS human.

P.S. the stuff in the grey box does not seem to stop being able to post.

Lawyer Mom said...

Turley hangs wallpaper for WaPo and you said so. BFD. Wondering what nerve you struck.

The poor fellow even tweeted his responding diatribe, dressed in his full-victim jacket. Not that further evidence was needed to show your bullshit calls were spot-on. Turley. What a "civility" spoof goof.

phx said...
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harrogate said...

Good Lord, but Ann is on a self-aggrandizing roll. Even by her own standards. These Turley posts are almost embarrassing to read.

Penny said...

Althouse has no standards.

She's merely cruel and neutral.

Penny said...

Put THAT in your stove-pipe hat!

SH said...

leslyn said...

Not all rules are written. We had an unofficial two term limit for president, for instance, until someone set it aside and we had to formalize it.

Of course he has an argument in response. Doesn't make it a good one. Like the other examples I mentioned; this is just a plan to change the structure of the government to disenfranchise citizen voters you don’t agree with.

leslyn said...

SH, I didn't say anything you said...but if you are saying it, then:

The SCt has had a varying number of justices, from six to ten. Although it has been settled for some time at nine, the Judiciary Act calls for six. So if there's a conspiracy or hidden agenda, it's in Congress, which has been confirming nine.

wyo sis said...

I don't know who's right or wrong, but I do know Ann has a better argument. In this case Turley escalates the bullshit and it points out his outrage at being challenged when he is "clearly smarter and more civilized than that uppity law professor from Madison Wisconsin." For that alone he should be soundly mocked. As he very thoroughly was.

(I wish there were a grammar mark to indicate huffy outrage, I'll have to settle for quotation marks. Very unsatisfactory)

David said...

EMD said...
Has anyone here been in a meeting with say, 9 people versus 19 people?

Which meeting was better?


That pretty much nails it.

However, what you view as a bug, Turley probably sees as an elegant feature.

Remember, most of these people are going to be lawyers. (Do you think for a moment that the law faculties, bar associations, legal interest groups and lawyers in Congress will permit anything else?) Turley thinks this is great--a bunch of "experts" none of whom has much individual power or leverage, deciding issues of constitutionality and statutory construction.

What I see is a series of confusing opinions with multiple concurrencies, multiple dissents and a considerable volume of preening by person who are using the Supreme Court as a stepping stone to political or academic glory of an even higher level. It will be like an Italian parliament, with numerous shifting alliances and factions. The opinions will be total messes, and pretty soon Congress will start taking big chunks of jurisdiction away from the Court.

I accept Turley at face value when he says he's not a liberal academic. But he's still a goofball academic, who lacks the imagination and practical experience to see what a disastrous dynamic would obtain in a court with this many judges.

leslyn said...

wyo sis,

In this case Turley escalates the bullshit and it points out his outrage at being challenged when he is "clearly smarter and more civilized than that uppity law professor from Madison Wisconsin." For that alone he should be soundly mocked.

I could agree with you if Prof Turley had said anything like the quote you posted--but he hasn't. Where on earth did you come up with it?

JamesB.BKK said...

If the op-ed writing law professor is facilitating the manipulations of the WaPo, the timing and the manner of making the proposal should properly be subjects of critique. These are not personal attacks; they are substantive assessments of the op-ed (relating to its timing and presentation in such case). Fair game.

leslyn said...

wyo sis,

"In this case Turley escalates the bullshit and it points out his outrage at being challenged when he is "clearly smarter and more civilized than that uppity law professor from Madison Wisconsin." For that alone he should be soundly mocked."

I could agree with you if Prof Turley had said that--but he didn't. Where on earth did you get that quote?

leslyn said...

JamesB.BKK:

Turley is very clear that he is not "facilitating the manipulations of the WaPo, the timing and the manner of making the proposal" and has quite a bit to back it up. Did you read his post?

wyo sis said...

leslyn
did you notice the part about grammar marks?

wyo sis said...

I was trying, ever so unsuccessfully, to indicate that his tone sounds like he's thinking that.

wv excusto---really!

Penny said...

It seemed Turley had a point he wished to make.

All in all, was his point of view wrong, or was he wrong for sharing his point of view?

james conrad said...

LOL, DAMN! LETS GET READY TO RUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMBLE

Actually, I think Ann hurt Turley's feelings by speaking plainly and he's obviously not used to it.

D.D. Driver said...

Couple of points, someone said: "Now imagine that there is a 1,000,001 judge panel. Even assuming a closely divided court, how many decisions do you think would turn out 500,000 to 500,001? I feel pretty safe in saying that the likelihood of that happening approaches (and is effectively) zero."

Right, like Florida and Gore never happened.


Exactly my point. That election was as close as anyone could imagine, and the margin was still over 500.

Henry said...

Exactly my point. That election was as close as anyone could imagine, and the margin was still over 500.

Aargh. The margin was .0092%. In SCOTUS terms this is a 4.500415 to 4.499585 decision.

I'm going to 7 significant digits here, based on the 5,825,043 Florida voters. The fact that a great huge number of voters turns a .0092% difference into 537 votes doesn't make that difference extra valid.

I thought we'd already settled this point.

Henry said...

Here's another way to think about it: 5-4 is a pretty significant difference. It is over 11%.

The bigger the court, the greater the chance of decisions being made with narrower margins.

In some perverse star chamber version of Athens, in which every citizen gets a SCOTUS vote, every controversial case would tip 48-46% with 2% voting for Mickey Mouse.

D.D. Driver said...

I'm going to 7 significant digits here, based on the 5,825,043 Florida voters. The fact that a great huge number of voters turns a .0092% difference into 537 votes doesn't make that difference extra valid.

I thought we'd already settled this point.


We are not even having the same discussion. I have said (numerous times) that it is not the closeness that I care about.

But, yes, in an alternate universe where I am arguing that expanding the Court will reduce the mathematical closeness of the votes: you win.

Congrats. I owe you a hover-board.

kcom said...

Brevity is the soul of wit. After reading 90% of the way through, i hit the tl;dr wall and now feel witless.

In other words, it was long but the real problem was it was too rambling to be effective. Lots and lots of repetitiveness that didn't add anything.

Also, shouldn't it be professorial and not professorly?

Scalito said...

Turley is a joke, professor Althouse. You should never have deigned to respond to him in such a lengthy manner---he is not worth your time. When I was at GW Law School a decade ago, students referred to him pejoratively as Jonathan "Television" Turley because he was more media whore than educator. He billed himself as an "expert" on whatever legal issue was most relevant to current events, so he could get himself on radio or television, and never had time for his students. There was even an apocryphal story about a past student who could never get Turley on the telephone until one day, after being informed by his secretary that the good professor was not available, the student called back and said he was a reporter with Newsweek, at which time the student was promptly transferred to the man.