April 5, 2017

The plagiarism charge against Gorsuch.

Read the details here (at Politico).

The words in question are stating the facts of a legal case — medical details. I have a feeling lawyers, law professors, and judges take shortcuts lifting this sort of detail from legal cases and briefs all the time. We're not seeing Gorsuch lifting any distinctive ideas from the author and not giving her credit. It's material about, for example, what "esophageal atresia with tracheosophageal fistula" means, and Gorsuch, like the other author, cited a 1982 Indiana court ruling — which we can't look at now because it's sealed — a pediatrics textbook titled “Rudolph’s Pediatrics,” and an article that appeared in the Bloomington Sunday Herald in 1983.

Should I have put the words after "cited" in quotes? I copied and pasted "A 1982 Indiana court ruling that was later sealed, a well-known pediatrics textbook, 'Rudolph’s Pediatrics,' and a 1983 article in the Bloomington Sunday Herald." And I changed the words a little.

If Althouse hadn't called attention to what she did, would you consider it plagiarism?
 
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If you voted on that, now vote on this:

Was your vote influenced by your preference about whether Gorsuch should be confirmed?
 
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79 comments:

rhhardin said...

Without plagiarism there would be no good ideas.

rhhardin said...

What's his name. Galumbosianism.

Only the originator of any idea has any right to talk about it unless there are royalty payments.

Yet it's in wikipedia.

AJ Lynch said...

Well I guess his judicial career is now kaput. But he could still prosper in the feilds of politics or journalism [see Slow Joe Biden or the smug guy with the accent on CNN].

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I think that, without plagiarism, there wouldn't be any good ideas.

Tank said...

This only happens in the legal world 365 days per year.

Danno said...

The lefties and the lamestream media are getting desperate.

Original Mike said...

"The words in question are stating the facts of a legal case — medical details. I have a feeling lawyers, law professors, and judges take shortcuts lifting this sort of detail from legal cases and briefs all the time."

Common practice in grant review (NIH, NSF). Grant reviewers use whole sections of the grant verbatim when preparing their review. The object is to get the job done efficiently, not impress somebody.

traditionalguy said...

We can re-start the hearings so the Demogogcrats can get more TV face time. Even Gorsuch might like that. He seems to be a male model with a few learned memes that he has memorized.

Brando said...

I don't know what the strict definition of "plagiarism" is but my understand was it is trying to pass off someone else's work as your own. If you're citing to the correct source but fail to use quotes properly, that may be sloppy but it doesn't seem to be the spirit of plagiarism.

Even if he did plagiarize, for me the real question is what this would reveal about his character and work. Was this a slip up, a lack of attention to detail, and if so is that enough to be concerned about the job he would do on the Court? Or was this part of a pattern of troubling behavior that calls into question his own ethics and commitment to professional and legal standards?

From the sound of it this is pretty much nothing. If this is the worst his opponents have on him, he has nothing to worry about.

Brando said...

And while I get the politics of it (donors, base, and Garland) I think the Dems would make a mistake to attack Gorsuch's nomination because the GOP could certainly appoint someone far worse (e.g., someone of poor credentials, or a slavish Trump devotee, or a thoroughly unprofessional hack). Though I think one reason they are attacking is that they know he'll be confirmed--if faced with the serious choice of sinking him and risking whoever else Trump might nominate, they might consider themselves better off sticking with this guy. After all, he's replacing Scalia who was also very conservative. This doesn't change the court ideologically.

traditionalguy said...

I want Trump to replace Gorsuch with Kellyanne Conway. That would be some great TV.

Ann Althouse said...

How much of his own legal opinions has Gorsuch written? What percentage of the writing under the name of a federal judge is words that he has personally written? Aren't they all taking credit for writing done by their clerks? The only question is how much. I don't know how they maintain any standards at all about lifting the writing of others.

But Gorsuch wrote his book before he became a judge (though he'd been a law clerk). The book is based on his doctoral thesis.

Unknown said...

Judge Gorsuch's use of the law review article was not limited to the medical details of the case. If it were, that would be excusable, although the better and more honest practice would still be to cite the law review article. He followed the law review article, sentence for sentence, in writing up the entire case. He presents the description of the case as his judgment of what was and wasn't important, and yet the reality is that it's someone else's research and work that yielded that analysis. It's plagiarism, and it's wrong. It may be an isolated instance in a long career, and it may not have bearing on his fitness to be given a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, but it's still wrong.

Jake said...

Every lawyer ever has plagiarized. So, to be clear, death, taxes and lawyers plagiarizing.

Biotrekker said...

The plagiarism card is one that can be played, almost at will, against anyone, using computer software that was not available years ago. To me, true plagiarism involves lifting carefully constructed and unique sentences or phrases, unique analysis or distinctive prose. There are only so many ways to say, "Joe is a lawyer". This "example" was all they could manufacture out of reams of documents -- an obvious smear campaign.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

I want Trump to replace Gorsuch with Kellyanne Conway. That would be some great TV.

I'd save Kellyanne for RBG's seat.

Brando said...

"How much of his own legal opinions has Gorsuch written? What percentage of the writing under the name of a federal judge is words that he has personally written? Aren't they all taking credit for writing done by their clerks? The only question is how much. I don't know how they maintain any standards at all about lifting the writing of others."

What's the rule on that as applied to ghostwriters? Most celebrity books are written by someone else, but does that make it plagiarism if the party writing it acquiesces to someone else taking credit?

Matthew Sablan said...

I, in general, dislike plagiarism, even of the "shoddy citation" sort.

But, full on plagiarism has been OK'ed by the media with Zakaria, or however you spell his name, Biden, Obama, etc., etc., etc., that while it bothers *me*, I see no reason it should bother the media or Democrats.

It also doesn't bother me enough to change my position on him.

AprilApple said...

The desperate left's final desperate push.

Etienne said...

I think the best option is to leave the Supreme Court justice position vacant.

It will save millions.

Matthew Sablan said...

"If you're citing to the correct source but fail to use quotes properly, that may be sloppy but it doesn't seem to be the spirit of plagiarism. "

-- There's generally two sorts of plagiarism. The kind most people think of, and then the shoddy citation kind. The problem with the second is that, in academic writing for classes, it can be very hard to tell type B from type A, hence why you should do your best to avoid type B. Biden's lifting of speeches, verbatim, is an example of Type A; this appears to be more of a Type B. But the problem is, of course, we can't prove one way or the other about Gorsuch.

"Most celebrity books are written by someone else, but does that make it plagiarism if the party writing it acquiesces to someone else taking credit?"

-- Recently, you usually see the celebrity/politician giving acknowledgement to their ghost writer as "helping to put my thoughts on paper" or "molding my words" or something like that in the acknowledgements section/book jacket. Which means the ghost writer gets to make their boss suck up to them on paper.

Mike Sylwester said...

For the plagiarism accusation to get traction, some racism angle should be added.

AllenS said...

Considering how many people are in this world, the possibilities that someone, somewhere, has said just about everything that can be said, is very high.

Johnny Sokko said...

I would love to hear Nina Totenberg peddle this story on NPR and call for his non-confirmation because of allegations of plagiarism. That would be rich.

Brando said...

"-- Recently, you usually see the celebrity/politician giving acknowledgement to their ghost writer as "helping to put my thoughts on paper" or "molding my words" or something like that in the acknowledgements section/book jacket. Which means the ghost writer gets to make their boss suck up to them on paper."

Yes--I suppose in a way that counts as attribution, and so long as you disclose that someone "helped" you with what you wrote (which can mean as little as editing and as much as wholesale drafting) that should satisfy that it isn't plagiarism.

Oh Yea said...

Were the charges made by Anita Hill and/or Nina Totenberg?

Left Bank of the Charles said...

A high percentage of legal writing is drivel. To claim a piece of legal writing as original thinking is even more embarrassing than to admit to plagiarizing it. But the same could be said of academic writing in general. Funny how the highest standards of plagiarism are reserved for the books that no one reads.

mezzrow said...

The desperate left's final desperate push.

No, we're not even close, methinks.

For the plagiarism accusation to get traction, some racism angle should be added.

Plus, it couldn't cost all that much to recruit someone to gin up a sexual harassment charge.

Any gender would do, after all. Widens the pool of potential victims and all that. You could drill back as many years as needed, and it's not like the major news outlets would check all that much at this point, so it doesn't have to be true. Its like Harry Reid talking about Romney and his unpaid income taxes. Just like that, now that I think about it. You just have to find someone who will do what is necessary.

If they weren't so busy trying to keep Susan Rice out of the news, they could probably pull it off since all they must do is peel off a couple of Republicans.

Just look at what Obama and his people have done for the Democratic party. It's remarkable. He promised change, and I suppose he delivered on that promise. Could Trump have been president without Barack Obama?

I doubt it.

CWJ said...

I'm not a consumer of celebrity/politician books, but don't the ghostwriters usually get a "with" or an "and" in the authorship? The relative font sizes on the dust jacket may be radically different, but the name's still there somewhere.

As to plagiarism, I think Mathew Sablan's type A/B distinction is quite important.

CWJ said...

When the media get on one of these kicks where everyone describes someone or thing in identical terms, where's the attribution to the first hack to say it? I joke of course.

Brando said...

"I'm not a consumer of celebrity/politician books, but don't the ghostwriters usually get a "with" or an "and" in the authorship? The relative font sizes on the dust jacket may be radically different, but the name's still there somewhere."

I think there are some cases where they don't even do that--JFK's "Profiles in Courage" comes to mind. His own profile in courage was accepting a Pulitzer for a work that someone else wrote and got no credit for!

Real American said...

What a load of bullshit.

Michael K said...

"The lefties and the lamestream media are getting desperate."

"Last minute smear,' seems to be appropriate.

MaxedOutMama said...

I really don't believe that is plagiarism. I wouldn't believe it was plagiarism even if someone of whom I really don't approve (Elizabeth Warren, for example) were being hassled in this manner.

I take plagiarism seriously, just as I do rape. It follows that I find the current style of calling conduct that clearly was not rape "rape" very wrong, and the same follows for false charges of plagiarism. Those who obfuscate meaningful distinctions tend to diminish the seriousness of objectively harmful conduct.

The point of this exercise is to throw mud, but the result of doing this is rather serious - since most of the public is not familiar with academic standards of plagiarism, the meaning of the word "plagiarism" will become corrupted in the public mind.

By the standards used to accuse Gorsuch, virtually anyone who writes significantly about technical matters could be accused.

Owen said...

Agree that there are two types of plagiarism: A is "stealing" and B is "sloppy." Type A is reprehensible and arises when there is some kind of valuable creativity that is worth appropriating, usually by somebody short of time or talent. Type B is just irritating, because it leaves readers without a solid basis to check things out. I think it arises not so much to appropriate a particular locution and much more because somebody is careless or clueless.

A major consideration in evaluating type A is, how many different ways are there to say this thing? And that is wound into the context of the work in question. If we are talking about an instruction manual for a lawnmower, there may be dozens of ways to say the same thing, but really, the point of the manual is not to impress with originality or rhetorical power, it is to explain something.

I see a legal opinion as being pretty much like a lawnmower manual. Who really cares here? The motivations of the attackers are quite obvious, and because the attack is so weak they merely betray their desperation.

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Bay Area Guy said...

Once confirmed, I hope Gorsuch remembers this quaint little two-month episode and who the prime actors were.

That may sound like "payback", but it's not. The Dems have so perverted the judicial appointment process - starting with Bork - that they need to be taught a lesson.

The prime motivation of the Left seems to be propping up Roe v Wade as a "super-precedent", and voting against anyone who doesn't see it that way.

Funny, I don't recall Bowers v Hardwick being touted as a "super-precedent" Gee, I wonder why.

Mike Sylwester said...

the media get on one of these kicks where everyone describes someone or thing in identical terms

For a long time, all the journalists reported that Donald Trump's speeches are "dark".

Owen said...

"the media get on one of these kicks..."

As buwaya astutely noted in a recent comment, you can tell when the attacks are coordinated because the messages do not step on each other and there is no variety.

A classic way to detect plagiarism is to salt a work with small errors. A map might contain a creek or hill that isn't really there. A document might contain a distinctive phrase. If these features are replicated in ostensibly original work, they are a tell-tale.

But when the "overlap" (as alleged in Gorsuch's case) is incidental, a workmanlike laying-out of background facts, substrate for any comment or analytical moves? Who gives a toss?

In the Politico piece I could not dig through to the footnotes in the Gorsuch/Pediatrics Text, to see if Gorsuch, at that "deeper" level, had given the reader all that was really needed for attribution. Plagiarism implies (or requires) concealment, both theft from the true author and deceit toward the reader. I don't see that here.

Static Ping said...

So we are saying that Joe Biden, Vice-President, was a YUUUUUGE mistake now?

More seriously, what Gorsuch is being accused of is, factually and objectively, not plagiarism. See this article for the explanation:

http://www.nationalreview.com/bench-memos/446427/phony-plagiarism-charges-gorsuch

For goodness sake, one of the persons who Gorsuch allegedly plagiarized has said it is not plagiarism and explained why. This is complete garbage.

Professional lady said...

As a former law review editor, I have to say that this attack is truly ludicrous. A bit sloppy in his citation, but that's it.

Francisco D said...

This is ridiculous. How much time and energy did Politico expend to find this trivial example?

Grouch was not relating any original thoughts in the supposed plagiarism. He was describing terms and situations. At worst, he is sloppy for not citing where he got that information. Note that the information is widely available and not unique. There is no attempt to deceive or take credit for it.

~ Gordon Pasha said...

Bruce Lee seems to have plagarized Roger Crosnier's Fencing with the Foil heavily in the first edition of the Tao of Jeet Kun Do.

madAsHell said...

Wait!! Didn't Obama plagiarize "....just words" from his buddy Devil Patrick?

Whaddya mean I misspelled his name??

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Static Ping said...

More here:

http://hotair.com/archives/2017/04/05/last-minute-plagiarism-smear-against-gorsuch-is-denied-by-supposed-victim/

There's literally nothing here. I think all we have proven is Politico's editors do not know what plagiarism is.

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roy Lofquist said...

Pedantry is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

Krumhorn said...

Oddly, my vote was influenced by the fact that,over the years, Althouse has earned my trust, and I take for granted that she would adequately credit the work of others where she thinks appropriate. It may have the (richly deserved) scent of fanboy to it, but that's why I voted as I did, and gave it no further thought.

- Krumhorn

Birches said...

Does this mean the Dems are worried about their filibuster? It seems to me they know they have a weak case and are trying to pad the stats. Very interesting.

wildswan said...

Cliches can be buffed up by non-cliched use - a lot of joking conversation turns on this:

Rice twists in the wind while Obama windsurfs.

Rice drops dime; media turns on her.

Obama's ghost pays flying visit to DC to check files

buwaya said...

I have problems with a profession where one gets credit for writing something and putting your name on it.
And where one gets into trouble by copying info from elsewhere.
It seems a bit vain and pettifogging.

Information is, it exists independent of the writer, and is intended to be applied to solving problems. The real physical world doesnt care about giving people credit, or the identity of the problem-solver.

Birkel said...

I am given to understand the editors are supposed to catch these sorts of, perhaps sloppy, problems. I'm also given to understand that they do catch these sorts of minor problems in a great many publications.

Is the standard for Supreme Court nominees now perfection in all things? Is that what the new Schumer Rule will be?

Michael K said...

Static Ping, thanks for the link to Bench Memos.

In writing my history of Medicine, I was very aware of the risk of plagiarism in writing about history. Much of what I was using as sources for ancient history were secondary and I was careful to summarize rather than copy text on items that were universal historical stories. Truth is truth but there are ways to state the same facts and avoid copying long segments of the text of others.

When I got to more recent history, I used primary sources much more. Those I linked with references.

Owen said...

My view hasn't changed but I am not entirely clear yet on one point: the mapping between what Gorsuch wrote (in the Politico piece, his text on the Downs case) and what the medical text said, and the underlying material to which both gave footnotes. Call the underlying material "Text 1" and the medical text "Text 2" and Gorsuch's work "Text 3."

The question: did Text 3 map to Text 1, via the footnotes Gorsuch gave? Did Text 2 do the same? In which case, both Gorsuch and the other author were just doing their jobs, citing the source. The parallelism of their language was somewhere between convenient (why reinvent the wheel for background facts?) and meaningless.

Or: Did Text 3 map to Text 2, not to Text 1? Maybe that's more plagiaristic, but to me the question would still be: who gives a toss?

Overall, a real desperation play. Like the filibuster, why bother? It just shows how bankrupt they are.

wildswan said...

This plagiarism charge is ridiculous. The need for daily Trump-stomp stories is making the daily media front-pages look like a bag lady's shopping cart - a vast collection of junk fiercely guarded and driven about by a muttering, delusional drunk.

Richard Dolan said...

In writing briefs and opinions, there is a strong bias against suggesting that what you are claiming is novel or creative. Just the opposite. Judges and lawyers both usually want their reasoning and their result to sound like it was all pre-ordained, just a neutral application of settled principle to the peculiar facts before them. The point is that there's nothing to disagree with, and anyone who understands the legal landscape and applies the rules fairly will end up with the same conclusion. In that system it's usually better (more persuasive) to quote higher authority that supposedly sets forth the principles you are purporting to apply. But the more it looks and sounds like a formula, something as old and familiar as you can make it, the better it will be. In short, it's a system that encourages and rewards copying. Pride of authorship is not the point, and creativity even less so. That is especially true when the brief or opinion is stating really basic propositions -- the standards for a motion to dismiss or summary judgment, for appellate review of a particular issue, etc. Lawyers and judges all have standard verbiage for that stuff that they copy and plop into whatever they are writing that requires it, and copy such stuff freely without attribution when they see a formula that they think is a bit better. And all of the legal materials a lawyer or judge uses to write briefs and opinions are now on-line, and it's easy to cut and paste from those materials.

In a system where time is money in the most basic sense (many legal tasks are billed on a time basis), it all makes perfect sense.

Static Ping said...

As to the poll, I will admit that my support for Gorsuch made me immediately suspicious of the charge. However, I was also immediately suspicious because the media is incompetent and biased. And I was suspicious because Politico is definitely not one of the exceptions to the prior statement. And I was suspicious because these last second things are typically brought in bad faith and have a high percentage of misses regardless of the source.

It is my responsibility after my initial impression to actually research the facts and make an honest and objective judgment on the matter.

After performing that research, my initial position was correct. The "plagiarism" is, in fact, not plagiarism by any objective definition. This position is supported by experts in the field who know of what they speak, including one of the "victims." As usual, the "journalists" and their "layers and layers of editors" are ignorant of all subjects outside of their field. It is not clear what their field is. It does not appear to be journalism.

Bruce Hayden said...

Copying is rampant in the legal field. It is rare to start out fresh and clean on much of anything. If you wanted me to write you an NDA (non-disclosure agreement), I, and most other attys, would start with one lying around somewhere, and then modify to fit. Ditto for a lot of motions, briefs, and pleadings. When you find stuff that you like, you squirrel it away for future use. In my patent applications, my background sections tend to come from Wikipedia (equivalent to public domain both from an originality and a disclosure point of view). Then my detailed descriptions often come from the inventors' disclosures, but I have been known to take text from other patents and patent applications in the relevant field. And, then, on occasion, you find wording that you know is yours in the patent applications of others. I have stock sections that I update as needed, with more current cites, or when the law changes. Many/most attys seem to do this as a matter of course. It is far more efficient than always starting from scratch, and the result is often superior because you didn't miss something that was important.

khesanh0802 said...

I don't understand. There are footnotes (?) for every passage outlined in both pieces. Were Grouch's footnote numbers without actual footnotes? It would seem that the original reviewers would be the people who would notice that there was plagiarism. They didn't so I think this whole piece - yours included Ann - is a steaming pile of horseshit.

Bruce Hayden said...

Dolan said what I tried to, only better. Time is money in the legal field, and it was no different for me whether I was in private practice billing by the hour, or in-house working for a company (where your performance review includes a metric for throughput).

Gahrie said...

Apparently they are waiting until tonight or tomorrow morning to release the fake sexual harassment charge.

Brando said...

"Copying is rampant in the legal field. It is rare to start out fresh and clean on much of anything. If you wanted me to write you an NDA (non-disclosure agreement), I, and most other attys, would start with one lying around somewhere, and then modify to fit. Ditto for a lot of motions, briefs, and pleadings."

Absolutely--in drafting any document for the first time, my first question is to see if we have a template or previous example to start from. It's pretty well understood that a typical "indemnification clause", for example, was borrowed from another agreement and not drafted completely fresh from some lawyer's head.

Thorley Winston said...

Apparently they are waiting until tonight or tomorrow morning to release the fake sexual harassment charge.

No doubt the charge will consist of someone who claims to have been a friend or confidante of someone who once worked with Gorsuch and who told her in confidence that she was harassed by Gorsuch. The woman who actually worked for Gorsuch will probably have either died or otherwise be unavailable to either corroborate or deny that she told her “friend” this.

tcrosse said...

Since the Democrats are unalterably opposed to Gorsuch, maybe Trump should withdraw his name from consideration and nominate somebody who is actually as bad as the Democrats imagine Gorsuch is. Ted Cruz comes to mind.

Thorley Winston said...

Since the Democrats are unalterably opposed to Gorsuch, maybe Trump should withdraw his name from consideration and nominate somebody who is actually as bad as the Democrats imagine Gorsuch is. Ted Cruz comes to mind.

No, the goal is to get the Democrats to filibuster a perfectly acceptable nominee like Gorsuch so that Republicans can enact the Reid Rule and eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. The public doesn’t support filibustering Gorsuch when he’s going to replace Scalia and there’s little political risk to Republicans in using that as the reason for eliminating the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees.

Later on after Justice Ginsburg is officially pronounced dead, Trump can nominate someone like Cruz to replace her which will shift the ideological balance of the Court but by then it will be too late for the Democrats since they squandered the filibuster instead of saving it for when it could have done them the most good.





tcrosse said...

Later on after Justice Ginsburg is officially pronounced dead, Trump can nominate someone like Cruz to replace her

I can imagine that there's a Ruth Bader Ginsburg body double waiting in the wings.

PackerBronco said...

Basic rules of smears:

"Release baseless and ridiculous smears at the last minute before people have time to realize they are baseless and ridiculous."

Politico has played its part.

PackerBronco said...

Blogger Gahrie said...
Apparently they are waiting until tonight or tomorrow morning to release the fake sexual harassment charge.


I'm a bit hazy on this whole sexual harrassment thing. Is asking a female co-worker out to dinner alone sexual harrassment or is it NOT asking her out to dinner alone?

Trumpit said...

Cheating is the national pastime. It is part of the "lie, cheat, steal" paradigm, and culture to become a success in life, and make money. Liars, cheaters, and stealers, have little guilt because they will rationalize it away.

The problem just isn't stealing money, it's harming and killing people. A chemistry teacher of mine, who was teaching a bunch of pre-med students, was asked why he made his tests so hard. He replied that he didn't want a future doctor to remove the wrong kidney. I didn't like his answer to the question, but the advancement of incompetent people is a bid problem in society.

People who lie, cheat, steal, and kill need to be dealt with harshly to punish them and set an example. Commit serious fraud, go to jail and pay a million dollar fine. Fraud is the real F-word as every good lawyer knows.

PackerBronco said...

Blogger tcrosse said...

I can imagine that there's a Ruth Bader Ginsburg body double waiting in the wings.


Do they still have that Crypt Keeper dummy from Tales of the Crypt?

Owen said...

Richard Dolan, Bruce Hayden, Brando (and possibly others): Yes, yes and yes. As a practitioner of the dark art of creating, annotating, editing and using templates for a whole mess of legal agreements, I know whereof you speak.

There's a reason we do it that way. Efficiency. The upside is saving $$$ when the billing is hourly. Another upside is avoiding Homer's nods, when even the most brilliant and memorious practitioner might miss some key provision.

On the downside this leads to encrustation, vast atolls of textual fragments that are assembled over the years "just in case."

But on the whole it works pretty well.

Once again, I see absolutely no reason to fault Gorsuch. The journalists seem not to know how the craft is actually practiced.

Thorley Winston said...

Do they still have that Crypt Keeper dummy from Tales of the Crypt?

I think she’s busy trying to convince people to donate to her foundation after she lost the presidential election.


Brando said...

"On the downside this leads to encrustation, vast atolls of textual fragments that are assembled over the years "just in case.""

Yes, we still have to carefully review what we put in there, and what we add or take out or change, but the "borrowing" is such a constant part of contract drafting that I can't remember last putting one together from scratch. Nobody expects otherwise, of course--only that we can stand behind whatever we include in there.

Douglas said...

I flunked five law students for plagiarism last quarter. In each case, they copied several paragraphs of background material from various news articles and academic articles without any attribution of any kind (some did more than that but they all did that). Unlike Gorsuch they were not describing a technical medical procedure that can't be paraphrased in more or equally concise language but instead events in the world of banking and finance (the global financial crisis and its aftermath). They could have easily paraphrased their sources and dropped a footnote, but didn't because (so they told me) they were in a hurry to finish their papers. I don't think Gorsuch could have paraphrased the technical language at issue. So should he have quoted it? I don't think so, because quoting language signals importance, and this was just background information, not some important fact or argument. Gorsuch also had several footnotes in the section at issue, but I haven't been able to read them so I don't know what sources they cite. This is an uncommon case, but to be completely safe, he should have included a footnote saying the medical description came from XYZ source.

Would I have flunked a student for copying one paragraph of technical language describing the background of the paper without attribution? No. But I don't think fine distinctions are what the slime merchants in the Democratic Party care about.

They could have taken the honest route. They could have said they are opposing Gorsuch as retaliation for Garland. That would have been true and understandable. Instead, as the Democrats are wont to do, they went for slime and character assassination. I hope the result is that the GOP nukes the filibuster for everything, including legislation.

Zach said...

Look, it's good practice to reword things in your own language. But the idea that you can plagiarise one sentence (!) is just ludicrous. Doubly so if that sentence is defining a technical term. Triply so if the sentence is used to explain a technical term that is used in another technical document, such as a court ruling.

Plagiarism is about stealing ideas. There isn't enough content in one sentence to steal.

Also, highly technical terms have very specific meanings, which limit the number of ways you can explain them without oversimplification. There are only so many ways you can say what "esophageal atresia with tracheosophageal fistula" means in ordinary English.

Zach said...

Ok, reading the Politico article, it looks like the case writeup was lifted more or less completely from the law review article. The sentences are very similar, and they cover the same material in the same order. If I caught a student doing this, we would have a conversation about plagiarism, and I would make them rewrite the passage.

That said, I think this would be classified as uncomfortably close to plagiarism, rather than plagiarism itself. This is just the summary of the court case: Gorsuch hasn't started talking about case yet. There's nothing in this passage that's written in Gorsuch's "voice."

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*OBAT CARA BESARKAN PENIS JAKARTA

*OBAT CARA BESARKAN PENIS MAKASSAR

*OBAT CARA BESARKAN PENIS BEKASI

*OBAT PEMBESAR PENIS DEPOK

*OBAT PEMBESAR PENIS MANJUR JAKARTA

*OBAT PEMBESAR PENIS MANJUR BALI

*OBAT PEMBESAR PENIS MANJUR BEKASI

*PEMBESAR PENIS MANJUR MAKASSAR

welas asih said...

CONDOM GETAR GERIGI

CONDOM DURI

CONDOM SAMBUNG JUMBO

PENINGGI BADAN

PENIS TEMPEL JUMBO

PENIS GETAR GOYANG

PENIS MUTIARA

PENIS IKAT PINGGANG

BONEKA FULL BODY

VAGINA GETAR GOYANG

VAGINA CENTER

VAGINA NUNGGING

VAGINA NUNGGING

PENGHILANG TATTO

PENYUBUR SPERMA

VAKUM PAYUDARA

JohnMashey said...

Try
Gorsuch (2004, 2006) From Kuzma(1984) - Classic Copy-Paste-Edit In Color

82% of the words in Gorsuch's "Baby Doe" section were copied identically, in-order from Kuzma,
shaded blue and then with line breaks to align them.
They he made trivial (1-2-word edits, yellow) and moves (green).

The pink is the most disturbing. Kuzma provided a balanced view between infant & parents, he changed/deleted words in ways that tended to lessen sympathy for parents. That fits his views in Chapter 10 of dissertation/book.