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WaPo on Tom Goldstein and ScotusBlog:
Howard Kurtz has the scoop here, via Dan Solove. My favorite excerpt:
White House officials had asked to consult Goldstein on the court vacancy, but by the time he returned from a weekend in Paris, Obama had made his choice. Determined not to miss the action, Goldstein canceled a meeting in Los Angeles with a top producer about a reality series based on his life, the rights to which were bought by Sony Pictures Television.

levisbaby:

"They have wing nut-person X who says she's an incredibly liberal ideologue without respect for the law, and in that format you don't have to justify anything.

How can he expect to have meaningful dialogue if he refers to others this way?
6.1.2009 12:19pm
some dude:
And this is interesting because?
6.1.2009 12:20pm
krs:
weird. I wonder what Obama wanted to know. Who does StatPack predict will write the firefighters opinion? Would he mind writing a blog post telling Sotomayor's opponents to pack it in? Is Judge Sotomayor's picture on your iPhone?

That's all I can think of.
6.1.2009 12:26pm
krs:
Only 4 minutes later and I'm already questioning my decision to hit "post"--I was just being flippant and didn't mean to question Mr. Goldstein's independence on the blog... so if anyone actually reads my comment, don't take it that way.
6.1.2009 12:32pm
Snitty:
@levisbaby

When someone attacks a sitting, well respected, judge of having no respect for the law, what two-word phrase would you suggest they be called?
6.1.2009 12:35pm
dirc:

When someone attacks a sitting, well respected, judge of having no respect for the law, what two-word phrase would you suggest they be called?

How about "Edward Kennedy"?

I'm sure we can find immoderate people across the ideological spectrum.
6.1.2009 12:51pm
levisbaby:
Snitty -

A few days ago I suggested to Orin that the wingnuts weren't really interested in Sotomayor's merits and that his efforts to parse what kinds of "empathy" were desirable in a judicial nominee were therefore sort of a waste of time.

Orin politely scolded me using the word "wingnut".

Hence my little jibe today.

I fully agree with you. When people question a nominee on the basis of what her favorite dish is, argue that she should stop pronouncing her name in such an odd way, and suggest that her menstrual cycles will affect her abilities - those people are simply not rational and the term "wingnut" is appropriate.

I applaud Orin for urging civility and all, but a wingnut is a wingnut and you can no more change their opinions with an appeal to reason than you can explain card tricks to a dog.
6.1.2009 12:52pm
Mike& (mail):
How can he expect to have meaningful dialogue if he refers to others this way?


There is no meaningful dialogue to have with wing nuts. I'm a libertarian, so there is much about Sotomayor for me to disagree with. Yet there's no discussion to have with someone who can't get past slogans like "judicial activism" or "ideologue."

How many people calling her activist can name the case style to even three of her cases?

I am sure Goldstein and others would be thrilled to talk to others about Sotomayor's jurisprudence. That would require study and thought.... which isn't what wing nuts are about.
6.1.2009 1:07pm
J. Aldridge:
I applaud Orin for urging civility and all, but a wingnut is a wingnut and you can no more change their opinions with an appeal to reason than you can explain card tricks to a dog.

Same goes for moonbats, too.
6.1.2009 1:08pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Funniest line:
Goldstein is a Democrat, but journalists regard him as an honest broker.
"But"? Isn't that about like writing, "Alito is a conservative, but Republicans regard him as a good judge."
6.1.2009 1:10pm
Dave N (mail):
I was actually wondering why Sony Pictures Television thought that ANY lawyer's life would make either a good or interesting "reality series."
6.1.2009 1:14pm
Snitty:
@dirc, @levisbaby

I don't disagree that the left has as many people who aren't reasonable as the right does. I was just saying that if someone won't engage in honest debate it's fair to call them wing-nuts, left or right.

It's a bit of a pity that you get better ratings on cable for being inflamatory than actually discussing something on the merits.
6.1.2009 1:17pm
Terrivus:
Goldstein was denigrated by more credentialed members of the bar as an overeager ambulance chaser, but the strategy worked: He has argued 21 cases before the Supreme Court.

There's no doubt that Goldstein pioneered the practice of finding certworthy cases and getting the Court to grant them. But frankly, getting cert granted in a case is not comparatively that difficult when you've done a search for cases with certworthy features and can write a halfway competent brief.

The real question, however, is how he does with those cases once they get to the Court. Does he emerge victorious? My rough guess, based on following the Court, is that this is not often the case. And if not, then he's contributing to the crystallization of law unfavorable to the very clients whose cases he found. Is he really adding value to the causes of his clients?

Also, how many cases has he had DIG'd? Truly expert SCt practitioners do not have many (if any). If he has had more than even just a couple, I would not call that very impressive.
6.1.2009 1:24pm
Volokh Groupie:
@krs

I don't think you're wrong to question his independence. In 'It's over' it struck me how flippantly he claimed that 'a sentence from a speech' and the Ricci case were simply fall backs when at least the first of those has brought about some admission of being wrong in some way. Even if Sotomayor isn't very ideological and will be confirmed (both of which I think are true) that was a particularly puzzling bit to add in.

Throwing out the phrase 'wing nut' is also certainly something that is troubling for a supposed impartial commentator. I absolutely agree that the sexist and stupid criticisms of her that Levisbaby (great name for somebody harping on wingnuts by the way) lists must be frustrating but its unfair to try to marginalize legitimate criticisms or questions based on the speech/a talk/a case/etc as belonging in that vein. There are also issues that do seem to walk the line between the two like say membership in La Raza, especially considering the controversy over Fed Soc membership a couple yrs ago.
6.1.2009 1:44pm
OrinKerr:
Levisbaby,

I thought your first comment was fair and correct. Sorry to hear that you were just joking.
6.1.2009 2:56pm
dmv (www):

I thought your first comment was fair and correct. Sorry to hear that you were just joking.

Goldstein was criticizing the way the MSM have covered the nomination. Let's quote the whole passage:

By the next day, shuttling between studios, Goldstein felt frustrated with the cable debates over the Supreme Court nominee. "They have wing nut-person X who says she's an incredibly liberal ideologue without respect for the law, and in that format you don't have to justify anything. Nobody asks follow-up questions.

"I talked to three reporters from Politico today. If they can find the Supreme Court, it's because it's across the street from the Capitol. It's not their beat, and they're highly open about that."

But hey, let's pull quotes out of context and then criticize the man for meaning something completely other than what he was obviously getting at!
6.1.2009 3:24pm
Asher (mail):
A reality show about Goldstein's life? Why?
6.1.2009 3:55pm
byomtov (mail):
When people question a nominee on the basis of what her favorite dish is, argue that she should stop pronouncing her name in such an odd way,...those people are simply not rational and the term "wingnut" is appropriate.

Indeed. Given no information, how would English speakers with no knowledge of Italian pronounce "Scalia?"

(I heard he likes opera, too. What's up with all this ethnic stuff?)
6.1.2009 5:25pm
Per Son:
Terrivus:

You said it right. Goldstein is so excited about getting to court that hd does not care whether the case will be good on remand even if he is succesful - and whether the petitioner will really benefit.

Case in point: Whitman.
6.1.2009 5:29pm
OrinKerr:

But hey, let's pull quotes out of context and then criticize the man for meaning something completely other than what he was obviously getting at!

I don't follow.
6.1.2009 5:53pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Snitty:

I was just saying that if someone won't engage in honest debate it's fair to call them wing-nuts, left or right.

It's a bit of a pity that you get better ratings on cable for being inflamatory than actually discussing something on the merits.

Those statements seem to conflict. How is calling someone a wingnut not an inflammatory distraction from discussing something on the merits?
6.1.2009 6:47pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Orin,

I don't follow.

Neither do I. How does that context change the meaning?
6.1.2009 6:52pm
Jim Copland (www):
This sentence should be contemplated by every journalist interviewing lawyers who are involved (directly or through their firms) with an active Supreme Court practice:

"Goldstein says he would stay silent rather than trash a court nominee who was likely to be confirmed."

It's interesting to me how many journalists have built pieces discussing Sotomayor from obviously conflicted sources.
6.1.2009 10:58pm
Desiderius:
Leo,

I believe that dmv is making the argument that Goldstein is ragging on both Fox (first paragraph) and the Politico (second) and that his general point is that the media coverage is shallow across the spectrum, and so is being an honest broker.

Evidently, the term wingnut is so familiar as to be unobjectionable, and, perhaps in this context (attacks exaggerated out of all credibility, at least by non-Bork standards) it is, but the generally overbroad application of that term makes it problematic.
6.2.2009 12:54am
Leo Marvin (mail):
Des,

Yes, dmv pointed out Goldstein criticized both sides, but s/he also implied Orin had obfuscated that point by omitting context, which he never did, at least as far as I can tell. I don't read levisbaby's initial (apparent) criticism of Goldstein's use of "wingnut," or Orin's endorsement of that criticism, as having a partisan bias one way or the other.
6.2.2009 3:40am
Desiderius:
LM,

"I don't read levisbaby's initial (apparent) criticism of Goldstein's use of "wingnut," or Orin's endorsement of that criticism, as having a partisan bias one way or the other."

Well, you're smart and idealistic and stuff. On the other hand...

As Leiter thinks that everyone knows, the bias goes without saying and without remedy. I think what irked dmv was not Orin's bias but his alleged attempt to pull a fast one in service to that bias by making Goldstein look like a run-on-the-mill leftie Con-basher rather than the nuanced, above-it-all, equal-opportunity playahata/playa that Sony is apparently convinced that he is.

Then again, maybe I should let dmv make his own arguments.
6.2.2009 8:00pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Des,

Look, I don't want to crucify dmv for shooting first and asking questions later. I seem to recall having done something similar in our first exchange. I think we read his comment the same way, and "the bias that [allegedly] goes without saying" is exactly the problem. Unfortunately for dmv, anyone familiar with Orin's blogging, and I'm guessing dmv isn't, knows he would say the same thing if Goldstein called a left wing commentator a wingnut. (Whether levisbaby would too is immaterial since dmv directed his criticism at Orin.)

So this is just a cautionary tale about presuming bias, especially in someone you don't know. If he happens to have a reputation for fairness, you may make yourself look both disagreeable and foolish.
6.2.2009 11:39pm
Desiderius:
LM,

"So this is just a cautionary tale about presuming bias, especially in someone you don't know. If he happens to have a reputation for fairness, you may make yourself look both disagreeable and foolish."

Very much agreed, with the addendum that when one's philosophy (to be clear, I believe Leiter to be mistaken) doesn't even recognize that presumption, instead mistaking it for hard-nosed realism, one can end up with the result you noted, without even being aware of how one got there. See also: Leiter

Given the fullness of the record, I don't include Obama, or even Sotomayor, in that category, unlike many of their would-be supporters.
6.3.2009 12:21am
Leo Marvin (mail):
Des,

I don't disagree about Leiter, though I do agree with him on many substantive matters. And with that I fear we've exhausted all basis for argument.
6.3.2009 1:30am
Desiderius:
LM,

"I don't disagree about Leiter, though I do agree with him on many substantive matters."

As do I with El Rushbo. The two share a regrettable tendency to preclude recruiting others to said agreement. As George and Ted continue to focus attention on Rush, I wonder if Rupert has found his counter in http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124346735555660341.html?
6.3.2009 8:46pm
Desiderius:
Whoops, that link was supposed to read Leiter.
6.3.2009 8:48pm

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