June 25, 2004

The Calabresi apology.

I see that Judge Calabresi "apologized 'profusely' yesterday for remarks he made last weekend at a lawyers convention comparing President Bush's election in 2000 to the rise of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini":
Judge Calabresi said that in his off-the-cuff remarks he was trying to make "a rather complicated academic argument," but he understood that they had been taken as an attack on President Bush. In a letter that contained no less than four apologies, he said he was "truly sorry" for "any embarrassment" he might have caused the appeals court. He did not, however, renounce the views he expressed.

Instapundit and How Appealing have noted the apology.

I would like to stress that the judge is only apologizing for giving the appearance of likening Bush to Hitler and Mussolini and that the apology contains the suggestion that people failed to grasp his "complicated academic argument." I summarized the supposedly complicated argument in my post on Tuesday, and his apology does nothing to change my opinion that it is a bad argument. Moreover, the judge made a high profile public speech that took a strong position that ordinary people should vote against Bush to restore democracy. The position purported to rest on legal not political grounds. If you're going to make a legal argument for a political choice and you're ethically bound as a judge not to make a partisan argument, shouldn't you make the legal argument clear? I think I made the legal argument reasonably clear in my Tuesday post. I also think when you make it clear, you can see that it doesn't make much sense.

I'd like to see the judge or his supporters restate the legal argument in a form that allows the people he's trying to persuade to vote against Bush to understand what the purportedly nonpartisan reason for doing so is and to argue about whether it is a sound reason. You'd think someone who makes principles of democracy central to his legal argument wouldn't stop at saying his argument is complicated and academic.

[CORRECTION: The last paragraph incorrectly said "vote for Bush" and has been corrected. And yes, I was simultaneously asking for clarity and being confusing. Sorry. That was lame.]

1 comment:

rediffco.com said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.