October 4, 2017

We sent you Unclubbable Neil!

Forgive me, but I need to talk about Jeffrey Toobin again. I started the blog-day with a long Toobin-focused post, but now I'm reading Instapundit:
MORE SUPPORT for my theory, expressed earlier, that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the source in that Jeffrey Toobin anti-Gorsuch piece from last week. If RBG can’t handle having Gorsuch around, perhaps she should retire.
The first link there goes to the same Toobin piece I already wrote about and the second one goes to an Instapundit post titled "I’M GONNA GO WITH 'NOT BADLY ENOUGH'" and linking to a Jeffrey Toobin piece from a few days ago titled "How Badly Is Neil Gorsuch Annoying the Other Supreme Court Justices?"

There's something I want to talk about in that other Toobinity:
As Linda Greenhouse observed in the Times at the end of Gorsuch’s first term, he managed to violate the Court’s traditions as soon as he arrived. He dominated oral arguments, when new Justices are expected to hang back. He instructed his senior colleagues, who collectively have a total of a hundred and forty years’ experience on the Court, about how to do their jobs. Dissenting from a decision that involved the interpretation of federal laws, he wrote, “If a statute needs repair, there’s a constitutionally prescribed way to do it. It’s called legislation.” Perhaps he thought that the other Justices were unfamiliar with this thing called “legislation.” Gorsuch also expressed ill-disguised contempt for Anthony Kennedy’s landmark opinion legalizing same-sex marriage in all fifty states. Earlier this year, the Court’s majority overturned an Arkansas ruling that the state could refuse to put the name of a birth mother’s same-sex spouse on their child’s birth certificate. Dissenting, Gorsuch wrote, “Nothing in Obergefell spoke (let alone clearly) to the question.” That “let alone clearly” reflected a conservative consensus that Kennedy’s opinion was a confusing mess.

Perhaps Gorsuch will, as the years pass, prove to be a more clubbable colleague; or perhaps he’ll decide, at least socially, to go his own way....
A more clubbable colleague...



Oh, sorry. I'm supposed to read that like a New Yorker reader, someone who is upper class or striving to feel upper class. Here's the Oxford English Dictionary definition of "clubbable":
Having such qualities as fit one to be a member of a club; sociable.

1791 J. Boswell Life Johnson anno 1783 II. 475 Boswell (said he) is a very clubable man. [Johnson is said to have used unclubable sometime earlier: see unclubbable adj.]
Okay, let's see "unclubbable." (Unclubbable/That's what you are/Unclubbable/That's Gorsuch so far....) "Unclubbable" is the older word, and "clubbable" is the back-formation. The OED defines "unclubbable" as said of a person who is "not suitable for membership of a club owing to lack of sociability or desire to conform; (of a characteristic) that does not inspire friendly relations; unsociable." The oldest usage in print is:
?1764 F. Burney Early Jrnls. & Lett. (1994) III. 76 Sir John was a most unclubable man!
So the question becomes: Is the Supreme Court a social club, where the old members have their established manner and the new man must fit in? One thing that's very unclublike: The Court doesn't get to decide if it wants to let the new person in. He's been sent in by the President and the Senate, who got their power from the people, and we're a diverse bunch, quite rowdy and ornery many of us. You wouldn't want me in your club, and I'm a lot nicer than many — probably millions — of very rude folk who vote.  

We sent you Unclubbable Neil and you're stuck with him. We clubbed you over the head with him.

68 comments:

Henry said...

Welcome to the Diogenes club!

In Sherlock Holmes' words:

There are many men in London, you know, who, some from shyness, some from misanthropy, have no wish for the company of their fellows. Yet they are not averse to comfortable chairs and the latest periodicals. It is for the convenience of these that the Diogenes Club was started, and it now contains the most unsociable and unclubbable men in town. No member is permitted to take the least notice of any other one. Save in the Stranger's Room, no talking is, under any circumstances, allowed, and three offences, if brought to the notice of the committee, render the talker liable to expulsion. My brother was one of the founders, and I have myself found it a very soothing atmosphere.

That was the first unclubbable reference that came to my mind.

Quayle said...

Can't we all just get along (with precisely what I want to do and direct?)

A Man for All Seasons (A script for all seasons):

The Duke of Norfolk:
Oh confound all this. I'm not a scholar, I don't know whether the marriage was lawful or not but– dammit, Thomas, look at these names! Why can't you do as I did and come with us, for fellowship!

Thomas More:
And when we die, and you are sent to heaven for doing your conscience, and I am sent to hell for not doing mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?

Henry said...

Of course the environment described is the opposite of Toobin's complaint.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Henry!

Ann Althouse said...

"Diogenes ... became notorious for his philosophical stunts such as carrying a lamp during the day, claiming to be looking for an honest man. He criticized and embarrassed Plato, disputed his interpretation of Socrates and sabotaged his lectures, sometimes distracting attendees by bringing food and eating during the discussions. Diogenes was also noted for having publicly mocked Alexander the Great."

Ralph L said...

There's something I want to talk about in that other Toobinity
I believe it's called a "Toobing."

Laslo Spatula said...

Strong post, but the freeze-frame of the guy about to club the seal makes me ill.

I'll be glad when that leaves the front page.

I am Laslo.

Ann Althouse said...

Note to Neil Gorsuch: Emulate Diogenes by bringing a sandwich to oral arguments and eating.

M Jordan said...

Hear, hear!

Great piece, Althouse.

Sebastian said...

Stress on legislation, contempt for Kennedy, Ginsburg upset: I like it!

Ann Althouse said...

@Laslo

The video is cut so that you never see the club hit the seal.

AllenS said...

Once the clubbing continues until moral improves, RBG will be calling it quits.

traditionalguy said...

Gorsuch is a very stubborn conservative. He can talk and write with the best scholars, but he holds to his position as if he thinks it is the right one. This guy who has riled up the sweet old lady with an equally stubborn NYC Liberal culture standards, may just as well rile up Trump's NYC Liberal standards that lie under his populist approach. Ask Steve Bannon about that.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, your last three sentences should be chiseled into the top step of the entrance to the building at 1 First Street, NE, in Washington.

Rick said...

How much does this undercut the feminist assertion that men are granted leeway for disruptions while women are not? This piece suggests people support disruption based on whether they agree with the person's goals. But no one is recognizing this because the usual suspects only highlight circumstances where women are being opposed and actively avoid evidence it happens to men as well.

Fernandinande said...

When it comes to government lawyers, "clubbing" is even more exciting than "slapping", but after either one it'd be nice if a racist like Ruth Bader Ginsburg were run out of town on a rail.

Laslo Spatula said...

"The video is cut so that you never see the club hit the seal."

It's the freeze-frame: the seal looking up at its killer is enough for me.

I am Laslo.

Sydney said...

Ha! It was the violent club that came to my mind. Didn't even think of the social club. Great post.

Hagar said...

Groucho Marx: "I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member."

CStanley said...

I'm not informed enough to know, but I read the exchanges between Gorsuch and RBG and think of her relationship to Scalia...weren't they famously good friends who sparred frequently?

Is it possible she's already developing a similar relationship with Gorsuch, and for some obeservers like Toobin that simply won't do?

David said...

Pretty simple. She misses her work husband, the charming and witty Scalia. Neil just does not measure up. She has a broken heart.

robother said...

"The Court doesn't get to decided if it wants to let the new person in. " Don't give 'em any ideas, Ann.

tcrosse said...

Not to mention that Gorsuch "stole" the seat that rightfully belonged to Merrick Garland, after the vile usurper took the Presidency from its rightful H>eiress.

Laslo Spatula said...

"The video is cut so that you never see the club hit the seal."

In the shower scene in Hitchcock's 'Psycho' you never see the knife strike Janet Leigh.

Secrets of the Psycho shower

"When the reviews for Psycho, which is rereleased this week, rolled in, they focused on one shocking moment: the shower sequence, in which Janet Leigh is slashed to death. Comprising over 70 shots, each lasting two or three seconds, it has become one of the most infamous moments in horror movie history. Mixing fast cutting and Bernard Herrmann's screeching music, Hitchcock created a brilliant illusion of gore, violence and nudity – while actually showing very little..."

"In later interviews, Hitchcock and Leigh categorically stated that it was her body in the shower scene – but it wasn't. The body belonged to a model called Marli Renfro. When you can't see Leigh's face in the shots, you're looking at her body double...

"A Dallas-born stripper who worked in Las Vegas, Renfro was one of the first Playboy Bunnies. Apart from Psycho, she only appeared in one other film, Francis Ford Coppola's 1962 soft-porn comedy-western Tonight for Sure. Then she disappeared, forgotten – until a news report in 2001 said a 34-year-old handyman had been sentenced for raping and strangling her, a crime that had occurred in 1988 but had gone unsolved for over a decade....

"The original 2001 Associated Press report said Kenneth Dean Hunt, the handyman, had been convicted of "killing two women, including an actress who was a body double for Janet Leigh in the film Psycho". This actress was called Myra Davis; subsequent press reports explained that this was Renfro's real name.
Graysmith probed deeper into the story, certain that something didn't add up. In December 2007, he read an interview with Davis's granddaughter in which she expressed confusion at the shower connection. "My grandmother would never have done any nude work," she said.
Graysmith made two discoveries. First, that Renfro and Davis were two separate people; and second, that Renfro was still alive. The confusion had arisen from the fact that, while Renfro was Leigh's body double on Psycho, Davis was her stand-in, used to check lighting set-ups. In his new book, The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock's Shower, Graysmith suggests that Kenneth Dean Hunt was a Psycho obsessive who wanted to kill Leigh's body double but got the stand-in by mistake.

I am Laslo.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Emulate Diogenes by bringing a sandwich to oral arguments and eating.

Or a big bowl of popcorn. crunch crunch

gg6 said...

Club on, Althouse, club on!

Mattman26 said...

Toobin’s “not one of us” derision is painful to behold, as is Toobin’s apparent inability to recognize how that looks to us normals/deplorable.

AlbertAnonymous said...

Toobin is a Self-important douchebag. This is the same Toobin who hates on Thomas for NOT speaking at oral arguments....

Laslo Spatula said...

A clubbing scene that doesn't involve seals.

I am Laslo.

Oso Negro said...

A trip to Newfoundland in spring, and observation of the movements of the ice, reveal that clubbing baby seals is a lot more sporting than you might suppose.

Mattman26 said...

I was just thinking that, Albert. Thomas' usual silence at oral argument is portrayed by libs (likely including Toobin) as evidence that he is a mediocrity, out of his depth. Gorsuch's active involvement is portrayed as boorishness (and it would be fun if someone would fact-check the notion that he "dominated" oral argument last term).

Bottom line: It sure is hard for a conservative to get it right.

Todd said...

Laslo Spatula said...
"The video is cut so that you never see the club hit the seal."

It's the freeze-frame: the seal looking up at its killer is enough for me.

I am Laslo.

10/4/17, 8:55 AM


Laslo, replace the seal with the Constitution and the fellow with Ginsburg and it all makes sense.

Bill R said...

I miss the baby seal hunt.

Michael K said...

Washington DC is pretty much a leftist club and conservatives are not welcome.

I am reading " Nixon's White House Wars" again and enjoying it.

Buchanan tells a story that sounds so much like the Trump story that it makes me wonder what would have happened if Mark Felt had never been able to mount his coup.

I think of the fall of Rome and the fact that there was a working steam engine in 300AD. After Nixon fell we got the Dark Ages of the past 40 years. Even Reagan had to bribe a Democrat Congress with spending to win the Cold War,

Oh well, we have one more chance but it is a smaller one that we missed in 1974.

Big Mike said...

Neil Gorsuch is unclubbable!

holdfast said...

Seals steal the cod.

If you shoot or stab them, you can't sell the pelt. Any Newfie knows that.

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

"So, baby seal walks into a club...Thank you, thank you, I'm here all week."

Laslo Spatula said...

Also: Nancy Kerrigan after being clubbed like a baby seal.

I am Laslo.

EDH said...

Is clubbing similar to being "Ginsberged"?

[Needlessly long NBC ad at link for those who don't know the Kate McKinnon SNL routine.]

Trumpit said...

"A trip to Newfoundland in spring, and observation of the movements of the ice, reveal that clubbing baby seals is a lot more sporting than you might suppose."

What a fiend you are, Oso Negro.

Ken B said...

"You are here on sufferance and due only to the Founders allowing a loophole for the Russians to exploit. Be suitably obsequious and defer to your betters."

lgv said...

Now this is a classic Althouse post. Love it.

How dare Gorsuch not follow "expectations" in oral arguments! Based on seniority, she should criticize Thomas for not talking enough during orals. How about the expectation that judges not talk politics as RBG has done?

I'm waiting for the accusation of white male privilege. Maybe next week.

Bob Boyd said...

Deplorables elect appalling President who appoints unclubbable Justice.
So far so good.

SDaly said...

"Unsuitable for membership of a club owing to lack of sociability or desire to conform."

I'd say that most Republicans view the Republican Presidents' Supreme Court appointees' "clubability" as their worst trait.

Gabriel said...

I'm most disturbed that the Supreme Court seems to treat each other as academics do in a department meeting. You'd hope that people with their enormous trust and power would do better than that, but they are not philosopher kings, just descendants of savannah apes like the rest of us.

Intellect is often used for rationalizing, rather than being rational.

Susan said...

Gorsuch must have the better argument otherwise they wouldn't be so upset.

McG said...

Groucho Marx might have liked Justice Gorsuch.

Oso Negro said...

Blogger Michael K said...
...
I think of the fall of Rome and the fact that there was a working steam engine in 300AD.
...
10/4/17, 9:31 AM


Ah, the apocrypha of Althouse! Thanks for turning me on to Hero of Alexander and his "Pneumatica", Michael!

Yancey Ward said...

It must grate on Ginsberg, Toobin, and Greenhouse every single time they see Gorsuch or his name. It is probably sort of like seeing the guy who is fucking the girl you have a huge crush on.

Comanche Voter said...

Toobin desperately wants to feel like he's part of the "club". Just like every nerdy high school junior wants to be in the "in crowd" so he can get the girls. Well not to be obnoxious, but the "girls" that Toobin so desperately wants include RBG, Elena Kegan and the "wise Latina". Toobin needs a new pair of glasses.

exiledonmainstreet said...

I remember when Souter was portrayed as the unclubbable one. During his confirmation hearings, there was a lot of talk about how he was a middle-aged bachelor living in the boonies in New England,like some character in a Stephen King novel who has 10 bodies buried beneath the floorboards of his farmhouse. Oooh, creepy! But then Souter “evolved” and became non-creepy. After that, the Left directed their venom at Scalia and at Thomas, who was just a Uncle Tom, an echo of Massa Anthony who was too dumb to say peep during oral arguments. Gorsuch will become charming, personable and brilliant if he too evolves and becomes an echo of Ginsberg and Sotomayer.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Bottom line: It sure is hard for a conservative to get it right.

10/4/17, 9:26 AM

It's not hard.

It's impossible.

Sebastian said...

Gorsuch may not be clubbable but it looks like he does want to be a member of a club part of which didn't want him as a member.

The unclubbable have three options: sulk and stay away, get their own club, or change the club. Women changed men's clubs. Gorsuch may be changing the Court, a bit. Too early to say, but when we see the sandwich at oral argument, we'll know.

D said...

Hey, this guy talks too much! Hey, this guy barely talks at all!
Hey, this guy is rude - he expresses his opposition openly!
Hey, this guy is sneaky - he doesnt express his opposition openly!

Note: you are Damned one way or the other, if you dont join the(ir) club.

When thinking about a fawning press over the anointed, I think of the epiphany of Mr Green:

"The Bears are who we thought they are. Thats why we took the field! If you want to crown them, then go ahead and crown their asses!
But they are who we thought they are. And we let them of the damn hook!"

Substitute --- for Bears, and maybe some folks can understand why the press is viewed with a measure of derisiveness.

CStanley said...

Hey, this guy talks too much! Hey, this guy barely talks at all!
Hey, this guy is rude - he expresses his opposition openly!
Hey, this guy is sneaky - he doesnt express his opposition openly!

Note: you are Damned one way or the other, if you dont join the(ir) club.


Any club is good enough to beat them with.

Tank said...

What you mean "we" kemosabe?

RichardJohnson said...

He dominated oral arguments, when new Justices are expected to hang back.

Talking during oral arguments, like Gorsuch, is evidence that you are a poor Justice.
Silence during oral arguments, like Clarence Thomas, is also evidence that you are a poor Justice.

Kathryn51 said...

Jeffrey Toobin - is he still an acceptable member of the club? That's a rhetorical question, but he should have been expelled long ago. . . .

"Toobin and Casey Greenfield, a 36 year-old Yale-educated lawyer—daughter CBS analyst Jeff Greenfield—had an on-and-off affair for many years. In 2008, he got her pregnant. And Toobin went above and beyond his duty as her lover: He offered to pay for an abortion. But that's not all: He would also pay for her to have another baby with a sperm donor, according to the Daily News. And they say chivalry's dead.
But Greenfield told him that she was keeping the kid, so Toobin told her "she was going to regret it, that she shouldn't expect any help from him." And after she gave birth to Rory, he didn't respond to Greenfield's emails asking if he wanted to meet him." [From Gawker, May 2010]

Toobin was married with kids. But he's a lib so all is forgiven when he treats a woman like trash. Maybe RBG likes him because he was willing to be a gentleman and pay for the abortion.

He's not fit to wipe Gorsuch or Thomas' nose.

vanderleun said...

"Is the Supreme Court a social club, where the old members have their established manner and the new man must fit in?"

As we learn in the Holy Book of Bob Dylan:


While some on principles baptized
To strict party platform ties
Social clubs in drag disguise
Outsiders they can freely criticize
Tell nothing except who to idolize
And then say God bless him

Left Bank of the Charles said...

This blog post headline "We sent you Unclubbable Neil!" is a classic use of Althousian "we".

The reader is induced to think that the we includes she, and that she must therefore be a President Pajama Boy voter, but there is a little tell:

"He's been sent in by the President and the Senate, who got their power from the people."

So she can also be a we by virtue of voting for a Republican Senate candidate, such as Ron Johnson in Wisconsin. Johnson carried Wisconsin by 99,000 votes, as compared to a 23,000 margin for Trump. Based on the vote totals, only 2,201 Ron Johnson voters (net) pulled the lever for Hillary Clinton. That's an unclubbable few.

The question now is, do the people want another Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court? The average Trump voter does but what about the people? The Democrats have the opportunity to make the 2018 U.S. Senate election about maintaining the status quo on the Supreme Court.

khematite said...

No matter how hard Gorsuch tries, he'll never top Justice James McReyolds (1914-1941) for unclubbability.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Clark_McReynolds#Personality_and_conflicts

Todd said...

The question now is, do the people want another Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court? The average Trump voter does but what about the people?

Well according to the world's greatest orator "elections have consequences" and for [at least] the next 3.5 years Trump voters are "the people" just like 6 months ago, Obama's voters were "the people". I know that is NOT how it is supposed to work, that all of the people are "the people" but Obama and the Democrats showed us that when you win, those that lost don't matter and you can do what you want due to having a phone and a pen.

Trumpit said...

Kathryn51,

I believe Anita Hill, not you. You're an ugly man posing as a female.

Ann Althouse said...

One of us, one of us, we accept him, we accept him...

tcrosse said...

Goobum gobbum, goobum gobbum.

AL said...

Toobin says Gorsuch "expressed ill-disguised contempt" for Justice Kennedy's "landmark" opinion on same-sex marriage. Gorsuch wrote, "nothing in Obergefell spoke (let alone clearly) to the question" that Gorsuch was considering. Toobin think this is contemptuous because it reflects a "conservative consensus" that the Kennedy opinion was a "confused mess."

Toobin is flat wrong. Gorsuch was not showing disrespect. He was considering whether an Arkansas case should be summarily reversed. This was proper only if the law was settled, the facts were not in dispute, and the Arkansas decision was "clearly in error." Gorsuch states this legal standard, then two sentences later notes that the Obergefell decision did not "clearly" address what was in question. It is hard to see how Toobin could have honestly misunderstood this as disrespect.

It is sad to see a magazine that was once an American cultural landmark become a a forum for partisan mudslinging.




hombre said...

Jeffrey Toobin is an unmitigated rumpswab. He interviewed me over the telephone for just under two hours about an allegation of prosecutorial misconduct in a capital case. The prosecutor was disbarred after refusing the Bar Association Disciplinary Committee's offer of a reprimand, and insisting that he was innocent. Since Toobin's agenda was anti-death penalty, he didn't bother to mention the offer or any other mitigating circumstances I pointed out, including the prosecutor's disclosure of the facts used against him.

He is indifferent to evidence that counters his predilections.

Howard Nelson said...

Best to kneel to Neil when he's right lest he gore you in such manner you'll never forget.