February 9, 2017

Did the NYT talk about "the Quiet Grandeur of the Courts" when decisions went against President Obama?

I'm seeing "After Mr. Trump’s Din, the Quiet Grandeur of the Courts" — by the Editorial Board of The New York Times — and inclined to scoff. I'd like to feel inspired and exalted about courts, but there's just way too much past history to waft "quiet grandeur" with a lofty disinterested attitude. The NYT Editorial Board has made too much din of its own attacking the courts over the years to act so offended when the President lets us know what irks him.

And, frankly, I listened to the oral argument in the 9th Circuit the other day. I didn't hear "quiet grandeur" from the panel of judges. I heard grandeur — haughtiness, imperiousness — but it wasn't quiet. It was interrupting and argumentative and it chewed into the limited time the lawyers had to complete their thoughts.

But I don't have a huge problem with what the NYT also celebrates as "aggressively questioning." It's just not "quiet grandeur."

And federal judges are fallible human beings hanging onto lifetime appointments* and the power to say what they will about what the law is. So let's not get too sentimental. You may want to attack them tomorrow. They are not above criticism. They should be criticized. They are not godlike oracles, but human beings whose work is laid out in the open, in writing, where we have the opportunity — the responsibility — to judge them. We should not shrink from that work. (And I do judge the district judge for his failure to provide a decent written explanation for his activism.)

You want quiet grandeur? How about celebrating Clarence Thomas? That guy never interrupts. Barely ever even talks.

____________________

* One of the judges on the panel is 85 years old.

60 comments:

Hagar said...

They are "god-like oracles" when it sounds like they are on my side.

Gahrie said...

How about celebrating Clarence Thomas?

It will never happen...which is a damn shame. His life should be celebrated and held up as an example....there should have been movies made about his life already.

Sebastian said...

"So let's not get too sentimental. You may want to attack them tomorrow." Lefties will, with a clear conscience, foolish consistency being the hobgoblin of conservative minds.

"They are not above criticism. They should be criticized. They are not godlike oracles" But in effect they are, since by American mores they have the last word. Don't like SSM? Too bad, buddy: Tony has spoken. You wanna vet extremely? Too bad, Donald, so-called judge Robart has spoken, for the whole country no less. You didn't think the individual mandate was a tax, and Congress had no authority to impose it? Too bad, sucker: John R defined the problem away, so STFU. "Criticism" is pointless. No critic can check the checkers or balance the oracular imbalance. The only thing that matters in the U.S. is power, including the power to appoint the powers.

Quayle said...

Quiet grandeur???

All I heard was disjointed scattershot interruption.

EDH said...

Sebastian said...

The only thing that matters in the U.S. is power, including the power to appoint the powers.

The Drill SGT said...

Lest we forget the Obama rebuke of the SCOTUS to their faces in 2010

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/us/politics/29scotus.html

cubanbob said...

Correct me if I am wrong but my understanding of the issue here is that Judge Robart has for the purposes of the temporary restraining order has bought the notion brought for that the US Constitution is not only applicable to US citizens and nationals wherever they may be but it also grants rights to anyone who wishes to come to the US. That is where the logic of the argument leads to. So taking this to it's conclusion, the US Constitution applies to everyone on the planet. Everyone is now a US national and Trump is World President.

Original Mike said...

"You want quiet grandeur? How about celebrating Clarence Thomas? That guy never interrupts. Barely ever even talks."

...and they disparage him for it.

Walter S. said...

Eighty-five? Wow, that used to be old. Even now, he'll have to look at retiring in another ten or twenty years.

BDNYC said...

Quiet grandeur? Barf.

Mike Sylwester said...

When the courts include so-called "Judge" Robart, they deserve criticism.

He in particular deserves public contempt.

Nonapod said...

Sadly the Supreme Court system is heavily corrupted with politics. And there's nothing... grandeurous (is that even a word?) about a politics. Politics is a mean and filthy beast that's not quiet at all.

So yeah, NYT is doing their usual silly characterizations in an unaware, unexamined, and intellectually lazy way.

Original Mike said...

"And I do judge the district judge for his failure to provide a decent written explanation for his activism."

Trump's charge of a "so called judge" has merit.

Owen said...

The more I learn about Justice Thomas, the more he impresses me. His judicial temperament is evidenced not only by his behavior on the bench, but by his incredible patience and modesty off the bench, in the face of endless and baseless calumny. He is able somehow to let it all go. Which allows us to see more clearly just how unfair it is.

As for the 9th Circuit panel: meh. They were impressive only when compared to the DOJ's lawyer, whose name I have already forgotten.

Quayle said...

"Correct me if I am wrong..."

Judge Robard wrote such a threadbare opinion that it is really hard to confirm any notion he might have had, except that the plaintiffs' will certainly be irreparably harmed and will positively likely win, and therefore a TRO is awesome!

traditionalguy said...

Actually, Gorsuch seems to be the one thinking SCOTUS is meant to be an audit committee that over-rules claims of a mere President and Congress to set Immigration standards.

Matthew Sablan said...

If I recall, when they decided against Obama, it was a very just-the-facts covering of it, with "what Obama can do to fix it" style editorials. But, my memory is bad.

BDNYC said...

Yes, I am also reminded of Obama's bitchy remarks about the the Court at the SOTU. In many ways, Obama made it possible for a disgusting creature like Trump to become president. Like Trump, Obama was thin-skinned and petulant, and inserted himself in minor controversies like the Skip Gates thing. Obama liked to act like a celebrity, too. He would dance on Ellen and go on the Tonight Show and do skits with Zack Galifianakis as the word burned. He sang, he tweeted, he jetted off to Martha's Vineyard, Hawaii, Palm Springs, and if Michelle wanted a date night in NYC, he had the city effectively shut down. He acted like royalty but in a vulgar American way. Sound familiar? Because Obama destroyed the "quiet grandeur" of HIS office, we got Trump.

Yancey Ward said...

Yes, you now need a "Quiet Grandeur Bullshit" tag.

Chuck said...

Althouse, you are about 30 years late to our party in which the editorial board of the New York Times is liberal, partisan, biased and hypocritical.

We can deal with that. It does not help to challenge the Times and the liberals within the federal judiciary and the DoJ, to have Donald Trump calling a U.S. District Court judge a "so-called judge."

There is a good case to be made, for conservatives. Donald Trump is not the guy to make it.

rehajm said...

And federal judges are fallible human beings hanging onto lifetime appointments...

Perhaps not for long. I'm sure somewhere a Sexbot development team has been pulled off the job into a leftie Manhattan Project to develop a realistic enough replacement for RBG when her time comes.

Or perhaps it already has?

Big Mike said...

The Ninth Circuit has been the shame and humiliation of the American judiciary for decades. Nothing new under the sun. I have read that the Ninth easily holds the recent record for most reversed and most unanimously reversed. Perhaps some current or recently retired law professor can confirm or deny.

As for Clarence Thomas, someday some honest historians will look back at the treatment of him with confusion and disgust. He is one of the great ones.

Darrell said...

Chuck's Republican pals were lobbying for a carbon tax at the White House the other day. They must have missed the confirmation of fraud at NOAA. Fuck them all. Go Trump!

Darrell said...

Chuckservatives or Cuckservitives?

bagoh20 said...

The phrase "quiet grandeur" has never and will never be appropriate to describe human beings. Mountains, valleys, maybe a huge pyramid, but that's as close humans can get to either "quiet" or "grandeur". "Verbose poseurs" is more appropriate.

Comanche Voter said...

Let's see if that "quiet grandeur" hoo hah evaporates at the New York Times if and when the courts uphold Trump's executive order. If that happens, all of this "quiet grandeur" fluff will vanish down the memory hole.

gspencer said...

"I've never been elected to anything. So I'm not a law maker. But I play one when I sit in my courtroom."

"And the likelihood that I'd ever be impeached is sooooooooo remote !!!"

MaxedOutMama said...

I THOUGHT that article title would trigger the Althousian BS meter.

CubanBob, you're probably wrong about Robart, but as Ann has mentioned, the Quietly Grand One was too modest in his Legal Brilliance to overawe the public with any reasoning. He made a decision, but did not get around to providing any basis for his finding that the states were likely to succeed in their lawsuit. You can read his order here:
https://drive.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3446169/Robart-Order-20170203.pdf

So who can tell? Robart has acted in the guise of a Delphic oracle - there is an offering from supplicants, smoke, some good dope, some ritualized chanting, and a voice speaks from the cave. It is just something everyone must accept without expecting to understand.

IMO, Robart just wanted to boot this to the Supreme Court, and did this deliberately (hard to overrule the judge's reasoning if there is no reasoning!) - but I suppose the NYT staff is still prostrate before the oracle.

Fernandinande said...

The words "grandeur" and "courts" generally don't belong in the same sentence.

Achilles said...

Chuck is just angry someone is actually making a case for the country. No matter who argues for republicans they would not live up to his standards. His point is republicans should never make a case.

james conrad said...

(And I do judge the district judge for his failure to provide a decent written explanation for his activism.)

Yeah, THAT'S the problem, judges who want to make a NATIONWIDE ruling on just their say so, no legal reasoning at all. So matter how one slices & dices it, that is wrong.

johns said...

I was blissfully unaware when I was younger that Supreme Court justices were so political. But they have always been political, mostly much more than they are today. Salmon Chase was gov of Ohio and member of Lincoln's cabinet. Earl Warren was gov of CA. I was so much older then

Stephen said...

And was the argument "disgraceful?" Blast the Times, ignore (or defend) Trump. Not neutral.

Birkel said...

Did Chuck, who is called so, make a point? I'm relatively certain so called Chuck did not simply repeat his position that Trump is boorish. Right?

Because if that is all so called Chuck has to offer I'm just not sure he's an actual lifelong Republican. And if that's not the case I'm not sure what I'll do with my self.

Whole. World. Shattered.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Professors Lee Epstein & Eric Posner: Obama had the worst record before the Supreme Court since FDR. Obama's admin lost many unanimous decisions, too, so blaming a partisan Court doesn't work. It's almost as if there was something extraordinary about the Obama admin's exercise of Executive power, huh?

Link to the paper (.pdf)

Johnny Sokko said...

All the feigned outrage is just a load of bullshit.

It all depends on whose ox is being gored.

For example:

Then: The filibuster is undemocratic!

Now: The filibuster is the only thing separating us from anarchy!

Lem said...

Bags hit it out of the park 😉

Get it?

This is a tough crowd.

Todd said...

Johnny Sokko said...
All the feigned outrage is just a load of bullshit.

It all depends on whose ox is being gored.

For example:

Then: The filibuster is undemocratic!

Now: The filibuster is the only thing separating us from anarchy!

2/9/17, 1:42 PM


Well of course. It was always so. The only thing that is different now is that the left/Democrats and the Republicans (distinct from conservatives) have dropped any remaining pretense. All that is left is the raw fight for power. Principles carry as much energy as unicorn farts these days. Those living in the cheap seats have had enough of the spectacle, hence Trump. They got tired of having to root for the gladiators or the slaves and decided to tag in a T-Rex to clear the field...

bgates said...

IN: "Quiet Grandeur of the Courts"

OUT: "unelected group of people"

bgates said...

We can deal with that. It does not help to challenge the Times and the liberals within the federal judiciary and the DoJ, to have Donald Trump calling a U.S. District Court judge a "so-called judge."

What does help is to incessantly criticize Donald Trump. It's only by making sure the President lacks the support to challenge the Times and the liberals within the federal judiciary and the DoJ that we can ensure victory.

Richard Dolan said...

Have you noticed that judges are not shy about criticizing officials in the Executive and Legislative Branches, often in the sharpest terms while second-guessing their motives and intentions?

That 'checks and balances' thing is not for the feint-hearted.

Jamie said...

"Grandiosity."

If the founders had had any illusions that the courts would (or could) be relied on to be dispassionate interpreters of the Law in all cases, we would have had a judicial oligarchy all along. Instead of just "periodically since the '70s or so."

pacwest said...

I'm watching the "Outrage of the Day" shows on cable today. To find a way to attack President Trump they have to make Gorsuch look good. Is Trump an evil genius or what. More popcorn please, I'm running out. This is more fun than a Republican should have!

Peter Irons said...

The media are losing credibility because they keep trying to force unconvincing and tendentious narratives against Trump. They have become an annoying buzz, like the sound made a defective fluorescent light. Meaningless but something you want to turn off.

James Pawlak said...

AGAIN---I thank you for reading the NYT so I do not have to.

Angel-Dyne said...

Chuck: Althouse, you are about 30 years late to our party in which the editorial board of the New York Times is liberal, partisan, biased and hypocritical.

30 years, eh? Thirty years...

We can deal with that.

Any year now...

It does not help to challenge the Times and the liberals within the federal judiciary and the DoJ, to have Donald Trump calling a U.S. District Court judge a "so-called judge."

"Trump's gaucherie could very well impede the implementation of the plan to assemble a committee to bring under consideration the suggestion that we undertake to challenge this judicial overreach...because, my dear, gaucherie! It may very well have destroyed thirty years of patient, prudent conservative planning to eventually get around to giving those biased liberals and their abuse of the courts what-for.

"But do excuse me for now, I have some important, business to conduct with Democratic colleagues in the Senate cloakroom (which will be carried out, let me assure you, without a trace of vulgarity)."

Drago said...

Peter Irons: "The media are losing credibility because they keep trying to force unconvincing and tendentious narratives against Trump. They have become an annoying buzz, like the sound made a defective fluorescent light. Meaningless but something you want to turn off"

This mornings press conference was typical in that regard. Question after question trying to gin up conflict between Gorsuch and Trump followed by a hilarious exchange prompted by a question about why Trump IS NOT tweeting about things the reporter thought were most important.

Naturally, the reporter wanted to know why Trump wasn't tweeting often enough about the mosque shooting in Canada. Naturally because that's the one act the media is up in arms about.

Spicer didn't have the heart to tell the reporter that was just a "local crime story" and was merely an example of "workplace violence". Spicer did recall that his press conference just a few days ago led off with that incident.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

cubanbob said...
Correct me if I am wrong but my understanding of the issue here is that Judge Robart has for the purposes of the temporary restraining order has bought the notion brought for that the US Constitution is not only applicable to US citizens and nationals wherever they may be but it also grants rights to anyone who wishes to come to the US. That is where the logic of the argument leads to. So taking this to it's conclusion, the US Constitution applies to everyone on the planet. Everyone is now a US national and Trump is World President.

More like what the alt-right refers to as the "0th Amendment": In the US non US citizens have more rights that US citizens.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Re: above comment. It's pronounced "Zero-eth Amendment".

Bob Ellison said...

Jamie, well said.

The three branches are not potted plants to each other. I don't care about Trump saying this guy in Seattle was a twit. That guy in Seattle was a twit. Trump was apparently the one to point it out.

Mark said...

Judge criticizes and undermines respect for and credibility of the president.
(Applause)

President criticizes and undermines respect for and credibility of the courts.
(Loud condemnation)

Meanwhile --
Dred Scott
Plessy
Buck v. Bell
Wickard v. Filburn
Roe
Stenberg v. Carhart
Kelo
Korematsu
ObamaCare cases

So, who's right here?

Mark said...

Trump might be a blowhard, but the evil wrought by the judiciary is infinitely greater than any other institution in the country.

khesanh0802 said...

@AA Happy to see your feelings on criticizing judges. They are only human beings and way too many at the highest level are much too willing to try to shape the world to their beliefs. I admit I have an initial adverse reaction to the Trump tweets, but there are probably a lot of voters who agree with him.

When one jumps on Trump for his criticism one should aways remember Obama scolding the Supremes at the state of the Union for Citizens United.

khesanh0802 said...

Because I am still high on the Pats win I will post the following to illustrate the quality of the NYT family of "newspapers". This.

Michael K said...

The more I learn about Justice Thomas, the more he impresses me.

Have you read his book, "my Grandfather's Son, a Memoir" ?

If not you should. I bought copies for my kids to read when it came out.

Wilhelmina said...

9th Circuit rules against reinstatement of the travel ban. Trump's head is going to explode.

Michael K said...

9th Circuit rules against reinstatement of the travel ban.

No, it will go to the USSC where it will probably be upheld.

9th Circuit has invited retaliation. They will either be expanded with conservative judges or there will be another west coast circuit established by Congress. The 9th should be restricted to California and maybe Oregon.

cf said...

How about right here on Althouse, we just declare this evening a tribute to Clarence Thomas, just us, right now.

I am having my usual glass of red wine, and I raise it in his honor, may the good works of this steadfast American Man bear fruit long into the future.

Salud.

Hagar said...

The 9th Circuit already have 29 judges and sits in batches of 9 or 10. It is way too unwieldy to sit all together and should have been broken up long ago.

Jamie said...

I loved how NPR (I spend a lot of time in the car...) presented the 9th Circuit decision as "a serious blow" instead of "an entirely anticipated, if time-wasting, step on the way to the Supreme Court."