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LawProfs for Sotomayor:

Today the Senate Judiciary Committee posted a letter supporting confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court signed by over 1,100 law professors from around the country. Organized by the Alliance for Justice, and promoted by professors at various schools (including Columbia, which released the letter to the press), the letter makes the standard case for Sotomayor's confirmation:

Judge Sotomayor will bring to the Supreme Court an extraordinary personal story, academic qualifications, remarkable professional accomplishments and much needed ethnic and gender diversity. We are confident that Judge Sotomayor's intelligence, her character forged by her extraordinary background and experience, and her profound respect for the law and the craft of judging make her an exceptionally well-qualified nominee to the Supreme Court and we urge her speedy confirmation.
The letter is pretty standard stuff for this sort of thing. One paragraph in particular caught my eye:
As a federal judge at both the trial and appellate levels, Judge Sotomayor has distinguished herself as a brilliant, careful, fair-minded jurist whose rulings exhibit unfailing adherence to the rule of law. Her opinions reflect careful attention to the facts of each case and a reading of the law that demonstrates fidelity to the text of statutes and the Constitution. She pays close attention to precedent and has proper respect for the role of courts and the other branches of government in our society. She has not been reluctant to protect core constitutional values and has shown a commitment to providing equal justice for all who come before her. (emphasis added)
Having now read dozens upon dozens of Sotomayor's opinions and other decisions in which she joined, I think this is a defensible summary of Judge Sotomayor's record on the bench (though reasonable people could also reach a somewhat different conclusion). What I wonder, however, is what percentage of the 1,100-plus signatories to the letter are sufficiently familiar with her record to have reached an informed, expert judgment?

I am sure many academics have spent the last several weeks poring over Sotomayor's work, and that many such folks signed the letter. But I am also quite confident that some of those who signed the letter have not read more than a case or two, and based their judgment on news reports and other second-hand information. For some, I suspect, merely receiving a solicitation from a colleague (or from the AFJ) to support a liberal president's liberal nominee was sufficient.

The whole point of a law professor letter is to establish authoritative support for a particular position. It communicates the message that presumed experts have come to a reasoned, and presumably authoritative, conclusion that non-experts should heed. In this case, the position espoused is not merely that Judge Sotomayor should be confirmed — a view which most law professors almost certainly share — but also that her opinions demonstrate certain, specific characteristics that are desirable as a judge. The underlying claim may be true. Yet I doubt all 1,100-plus signatories took the time to assure themselves of this fact before lending their names, and the authority of their positions, to the letter.

Let me be clear that my concern is not with the substance of the letter. I do not oppose Judge Sotomayor's confirmation and believe that reasonable people could well conclude that her record support's the letter's claims. I assume that many signatories and those who solicited signatures are familiar with Judge Sotomayor's record. I also have little doubt that most all of those on the letter would support Judge Sotomayor's confirmation even after reading every jot of writing she's ever produced. My concern is that some legal academics appear willing to place their political preferences ahead of their academic integrity and would sign such a letter before confirming, for themselves, that everything the letter says is actually true. This is not the first time I've expressed this concern. Unfortunately, I doubt it will be the last.

UPDATE: Jason Mazzone suggests that some enterprising journalist should call random signatories to the letter and ask which Sotomayor opinions demonstrate the traits identified in the letter.

SecurityGeek:
Probably the worst case of sign-before-I-did-any-research-itis has to be the Duke "Concerned Faculty" letter.
7.8.2009 6:41pm
troll_dc2 (mail):
I do not understand why academics and others risk their professional reputations by signing documents drafted by other people. When they do that, two bad things occur. First, they are at the mercy of whatever those other people happen to assert, and, second, when called to justify some of the wording, they reveal the fact that they signed in ignorance.

I am not an academic, but I saw enough embarrassments that I adopted the rule of never signing anyone else's document even if I agreed with it; if I felt strongly about something, I wrote my own. (This policy also allowed me to say "no" to a request to sign something that I disagreed with without getting into an argument.)
7.8.2009 6:43pm
Owen H. (mail):
It doesn't seem to bother Sotomayor's critics that most of them haven't read her cases. The emphasis placed on Ricci, especially as she was only one of three on the panel, followed established precedent, and the SCotUS majority had to acknowledge putting a new standard in place to rule as they did, is particularly telling. Back in January, some Republican or other was declaring that they should oppose everything Obama did, everyone he nominated, as a matter of policy rather than worrying about facts. We see he got his wish.
7.8.2009 6:56pm
josil (mail):
Similar to SG's observation, this reminded me of the "Duke 88" and one other. In the 1964 election, full page ads in multiple newspapers attested to Goldwater's mental unsuitability for the office of President. The ads were signed by a multitude of psychiatrists...not a single one with the advantage of an examination. The authors of these ads were sued (successfully); the Duke 88 settled out of court. So, in 45 years little has changed.
7.8.2009 6:57pm
cboldt (mail):
I'd put those legal academics to the same test I propose for nominees: to brief the Presser and Miller cases. My speculation is that the majority would, in that simple exercise, put their policy preferences ahead of their "academic integrity." It's an apt test in light of Sotomayor too, as the Maloney decision cites Presser.
.
I think their endorsement of Sotomayor was a foregone conclusion.
7.8.2009 6:57pm
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Fascinating observation. Seems like it can be reduced to a sentence: "Most law profs who signed the pro-Sotomayor letter are dishonestly whoring their positions for political purposes."
7.8.2009 6:58pm
Pseuss (mail):
In Animal Farm, the slogan was "4 legs good; 2 legs bad".

For liberal academics it's "is she one of us or one of them?"

Or maybe: "Obama good. Obama good"
7.8.2009 7:06pm
ArthurKirkland:
It is merely an oversight that no one has mentioned the Project For A New American Century letter, or the presentations used to justify the invasion of Iraq, or the series of 'Plan For Total Victory' documents issued with respect to the botched occupation?
7.8.2009 7:06pm
krs:
In my limited experience, most lawprofs think Obama is the coolest and will support any Obama nominee who is confirmable, smart and liberal enough. She's all 3 and "diverse" as well. I'm surprised that they could only find 1200 profs to sign this.

Re: Ricci, the result isn't controversial, but the panel botched it administratively. It looks like the panel decided to sweep a controversial case under the rug. Sotomayor is not solely responsible for that, but she does bear some responsibility for it, and I hope she gets asked about it.
7.8.2009 7:06pm
24AheadDotCom (mail) (www):
the position espoused is not merely that Judge Sotomayor should be confirmed -- a view which most law professors almost certainly share

From the legal perspective that might be valid, but shouldn't they widen their horizons a bit and consider the multi-decade impact on the U.S. from putting a former member of not just one but two far-left racial power groups on the highest court in the land?
7.8.2009 7:07pm
learned intermediary:
Were there 1000 law professors for Roberts and/or Alito?
7.8.2009 7:26pm
U.Va. Grad:
Were there 1000 law professors for Roberts and/or Alito?

There were upwards of 300 for McConnell, and that was for a lowly circuit court position.
7.8.2009 7:37pm
JoshB:
Interesting that not a single George Mason professor supported Judge Sotomayor. Mason seems to be the only Tier 1 school without an endorsement.
7.8.2009 7:40pm
cboldt (mail):
--Were there 1000 law professors for Roberts and/or Alito? --
.
Against! But not 1,000.
Law Professors Opposing Supreme Court Nominations
7.8.2009 7:49pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):

Interesting that not a single George Mason professor supported Judge Sotomayor.

Perhaps they're waiting for a petition in opposition, see cboldt's link above.
7.8.2009 7:50pm
MCM (mail):
Probably the worst case of sign-before-I-did-any-research-itis has to be the Duke "Concerned Faculty" letter.


More like one of the worst cases of complete-failure-by outsiders-to-understand-the-context-of-the-debate.

Of course, if you were at Duke at the time, I'd love to hear your perspective.
7.8.2009 7:52pm
Crunchy Frog:

The context of the debate???

Do you really mean to defend the Duke 88, here of all places?

More likely, the implication of this letter was, "sign, or kiss tenure goodbye, both in this lifetime and the next."
7.8.2009 8:17pm
cboldt (mail):
I haven't found a cite to a petition letter of support for Roberts.
.

Two hundred distinguished law professors, former judges, solicitors general of the United States and other appellate lawyers sent a letter to the Senate expressing their strong support for [Alito's] confirmation.

CWA Says Judge Alito Will Withstand Lefts Blood Sport Jan 9, 2006
7.8.2009 8:18pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Nice job on NPR yesterday. Funny how putting you in the same segment with Ed Whelan made you sound almost liberal, though I suspect Whelan would have that effect on anyone.
7.8.2009 8:20pm
krs:
Chemerinsky seems to be a big fan of these "I found some lawprofs who think X, so X must be right" things. I vaguely recall a vapid amicus brief or two urging that the Supreme Court grant cert in a case because some lawprofs cared about it.
7.8.2009 8:39pm
Curmudgeonly Ex-Clerk (www):
I was curious to see who signed on to this letter from my alma mater (Univ. of Texas at Austin). Of the 23 UT Law signatories, approximately a quarter are made up of adjunct professors (2), clinical professors (3), and the interim head of the school's law library (1). I'm not really intent upon denigrating the worth of these folks; but, given that the value of the letter in question largely rests on the credentials and positions of the signatories, one cannot help but note their actual credentials and positions. Of the remaining UT Law signatories, what stands out most is how many faculty (many of whom are quite liberal and no doubt sympathetic to Sotomayor's nomination) are missing from the letter. One wonders if UT Law is representative of other schools in this regard. If so, even on its own terms, the letter is a bit underwhelming.
7.8.2009 8:43pm
Darya:
... academic integrity....


Don't be coy, Adler.

You're making some serious charges. Name names.
7.8.2009 8:43pm
justme:
Interesting to see the profs who didn't sign... amazing, even some from YLS.
7.8.2009 8:45pm
RPT (mail):
As Sen Sessions and 24.com point out, she should not be confirmed because she has is of Puerto Rican descent and has supported CIVIL RIGHTS SUITS BY MINORITIES!!!!!!. Can you imagine a worse crime? Next week will be good television, as I expect she has seen and had to deal with more than her fill of smart-a** white kids during her lifetime.
7.8.2009 8:54pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

My concern is that some legal academics appear willing to place their political preferences ahead of their academic integrity

I was surprised to suddenly see both how many experts on the Honduran constitution there were, and how they all agreed that the military ouster of the president was not a coup.
7.8.2009 9:20pm
great unknown (mail):
Far worse, ethically and consequentially, than sign-before-I-do-any-research is vote-without-reading-the-bill-I'm-voting-on. viz. Steny Hoyer's remarks on the health-"reform" bill.
7.8.2009 9:56pm
Ploni ben Ploni:
what's really interesting is not the people who signed, but those who didn't sign. For example, it appears that only about 1/3 of the faculty at the top law schools signed it, less if you exclude the lecturers, clinical faculty, and adjuncts. So, the Republicans could turn this around and say, "The majority of law professors at top schools do not support Sotomayor." Of course, they may not have signed it not b/c they don't support her, but b/c they didn't want to sign onto something w/o doing the due diligence, which only highlights the point that Jonathan made, namely, it's irresponsible and unethical of the signers to participate.
7.8.2009 10:03pm
PeteP (mail):
"what percentage of the 1,100-plus signatories to the letter are sufficiently familiar with her record to have reached an informed, expert judgment?"

Probably the exact same as the percentage of Senators and Representatives who have actually ( will actually ) READ the 'cap and tax' bill or the upcoming health bill(s) before voting on them.

IOW - Damned few, if any.
7.8.2009 10:03pm
byomtov (mail):
I am curious as to how many people writing about Sotomayor, for or against, are, in Jonathan's words,

"sufficiently familiar with her record to have reached an informed, expert judgment?"
7.8.2009 10:06pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Were all the economist signatories to the letter opposing the bank bailout bill last September sufficiently familiar with it to have reached an informed, expert judgment? Or did they see that some respectable names had signed and decided to rely on their decision?
7.8.2009 10:21pm
Public_Defender (mail):

She has not been reluctant to protect core constitutional values

It will be interesting to see if this is true, especially given the view of many on the defense bar that she's not all that willing to protect rights when asserted by criminal defenants. The strong endorsement from law enforcement isn't a good sign. Informed speculation is that she may be the fifth vote to overrule or greatly limit the Court's recent discovery that the Sixth Amendment right to confront your accusers means you actually get to confront your accusers. (Thank you Scalia!)

That said, skepticism or opposition from the criminal defense bar is highly unlikely to damage her confirmation chances. Everyone should get used to saying, "Justice Sotomayor."
7.8.2009 10:25pm
24AheadDotCom (mail) (www):
RPT: I expect lies like that at MattY's place [1], but not here. Neither Sen Sessions nor I have said anything remotely like what you claim we said. Here's my coverage of one of the racial power groups Sotomayor joined.

[1] For an example of a liberal sewer, see MattY's blog.
7.8.2009 10:31pm
Lib Law Prof:
Professor Adler, I am very disappointed in this post. I am one of the profs that signed the letter. The process was simple - an e-mail was forwarded with a link. It instructed those who where interested in signing the letter to click on the link and complete the "electronic signature" of the letter. The letter in its entirety was there for anyone to read. The turnaround time was pretty brief; I want to say it was a week or so. Then, it was sent around again to those that had already signed to ask if they had other colleagues that might be interested. I say all this to make a few points:

1. Given the timing of the letter, I would read NOTHING into who did NOT sign the letter. A lot of this happened during the AALS New Law Profs Conference and a lot of other summer conferences, so I imagine more would have signed. I know at my home institution, my colleagues and I debated sending the letter around again, but half of us are out of town. SO, many more might have signed.

2. I resent terribly your insinuation that those that signed the letter "place[d] their political preferences ahead of their academic integrity and would sign such a letter before confirming, for themselves, that everything the letter says is actually true." That is simply an uncalled for and unsupported accusation. SCOTUSBlog - which to my knowledge is not partisan - did a four part series on Sotomayor's cases. Many other outlets have done the same and have reached the conclusion you itlaicized in your post. Most recently, the Congressional Research Service declared that it conld not find an ideological bent in Sotomayor's opinions. In other words, any law prof that wanted the information to vefify the statement merely needed to click on a few links. As the X-files said, "the truth was out there." The insinuation that the signing profs didn't do their homework is just mean. Given the almost instant attacks on Sotomayor, I'm sure most of them were following the information quite closely. So, thanks to Jeffey Rosen, the profs are probably quite well educated on all sides of the issue.

What bothers me is that your allegation is just a more academic and intelligent way of saying that we've drunk the Obama Kool-aid and the other things the more rabid right-wingers say. Give us some credit. We do think before we support our president and his positions. Just be fair.
7.8.2009 10:38pm
Darya:
Lib Law Prof,

I doubt Professor Adler meant to say that you had committed academic misconduct.

No, I think Professor Adler had some specific colleagues in mind. He should simply name them, and present his proof.
7.8.2009 10:51pm
JK:
<blockquote>
RPT: I expect lies like that at MattY's place [1], but not here. Neither Sen Sessions nor I have said anything remotely like what you claim we said. Here's my coverage of one of the racial power groups Sotomayor joined.

[1] For an example of a liberal sewer, see MattY's blog.
</blockquote>
So a poster at VC missrepresents something that you said, and your move is to shit on Matt Yglesias. Way to claim the higher ground.
7.8.2009 11:12pm
The Cabbage (mail):
Rulz of teh Internets #6:

On teh internets, a signed argument shall always defeat an anonymous argument, regardless of their respective substantive strengths.
7.8.2009 11:20pm
AndrewK (mail):
I can think of a number of professors who have not signed the letter who probably would have, had they the chance.

I think the random call-up would be a great piece of investigation... but it is a foregone conclusion that it will prove that the signatories don't know all that much about her opinion-writing. So calling for such a tactic is simply a partisan manoeuver here.

I'm sure we all know the nomination process is probably very informal. She makes clear her desire to be nominated up back-channels and at cocktail parties. She gets an interview, gets asked a few questions about abortion, and she's in like flint, with the full weight of the institutional revolution behind her. At no step does anyone need to waste the effort in actually reading what she writes... and in any case, we all know the case disposition is what matters. Rules of law are simply ideological restraints on what should be an ad-hoc decision-making process, based upon the particular class statuses of the parties involved.

Hell bells, you think case law actually matters? I've read a handful of her opinions, and the word choice and grammar are good--- enough to pass as a typical, legal opinion. In fact, eye-popping eloquence and incisiveness is more likely a hindrance here. So long as some critical mass of the public believes she is acting in good faith, what matters the rest?
7.8.2009 11:22pm
JK:

Rulz of teh Internets #6:

On teh internets, a signed argument shall always defeat an anonymous argument, regardless of their respective substantive strengths.

So sayz The Cabbage
7.8.2009 11:23pm
peter (mail) (www):
Jon - I signed the letter. I read about 5 of Sotomayer's opinions. I would not be able to name them to a reporter. I am impressed by her focus on facts and her decision on cases on a case by case basis. I am impressed by the fact she's been a prosecutor and a trial court judge. That the current SCOTUS bunch includes no such trial level experience is appalling - they come up with rules governing the trial court's without understanding of how trial court's work. They're too much the "law professor" type -- contemptuous and dismissive of actual practice experience, convinced that their job is to come up with abstract rules that govern all cases rather than what common law judges are supposed to do: come up with just results on the facts before them, thereby coming up with "rules" that are always subject to revision on different facts where true justice points to those different rules. It's a problem inherent in SCOTUS, and it's a problem in law school faculties, and the sooner the problem is addressed the sooner both SCOTUS and law schools will function better. That's why I signed the letter.
7.8.2009 11:27pm
Jonathan H. Adler (mail) (www):
Lib Law Prof --

I think you should re-read my post, as you are both responding to things I did not say and ignoring things I said. First, I said nothing about whether to read anything into who did not sign the letter. That was a claim made by one of the commenters.

Second, I repeatedly noted my belief that many who signed the letter are familiar enough with her work to assert the claims made in the letter ("I am sure many academics have spent the last several weeks poring over Sotomayor's work, and that many such folks signed the letter"; "I assume that many signatories and those who solicited signatures are familiar with Judge Sotomayor's record").

That said, I am quite confident that more than a few of those who signed the letter, if asked to identify and explain specific opinions that demonstrate her "careful attention to the facts of each case and a reading of the law that demonstrates fidelity to the text of statutes and the Constitution" would come up blank.

For legal academics, reading SCOTUSBlog summaries, news stories, and blog comments is not sufficient. I have lots of respect for the SCOTUSBlog folks. They do good work. But they are hardly beyond reproach. (See here and here). It's also one thing to say she's a smart, experienced, and careful jurist who respects precedent; quite another to say there is no evidence of any ideological leanings in her body of work. The latter is simply not credible (and, I would note, not disputed by the law professor letter).

We are academics. When we express our opinions about the merits of judicial opinions, we are implying that we ourselves have reviewed the relevant material and reached our own independent judgment. The same goes when we sign a letter that makes a specific claim about a given judge's opinions. Clicking a few links doesn't cut it, and hardly constitutes doing our "homework." That's like a student saying she's prepared for class because she read Gilbert's. You wouldn't reach a firm conclusion about the merits of a Supreme Court opinion based on what Tom Goldstein or I had to say about it, why is Judge Sotomayor's work any different?

If you took the time to read a representative sample of her opinions before signing the letter, then good for you, but you will have a hard time convincing me that all 1,100-plus signatories did the same.

JHA
7.8.2009 11:29pm
geokstr (mail):

Tony Tutins:
I was surprised to suddenly see both how many experts on the Honduran constitution there were, and how they all agreed that the military ouster of the president was not a coup.

Funny, Tony, but having read a lot about this from a variety of sources, what I have not seen yet is a plethora of leftists with any analysis of the Honduran constitution and its implications on what happened there at all. The intellectual deliberation I've seen from your team so far about the Honduran situation amounts to "military bad, leftists good, musta been a coup, we demand Hugo Fidel Daniel Mel be reinstated".

I'd go into why your contention that this is a "coup" is totally dishonest, but I don't want to hijack the thread. I've read Alinsky too, so how do you like it when Rule #5 comes back at you?
7.8.2009 11:41pm
Darya:
[Y]ou will have a hard time convincing me that all 1,100-plus signatories did the same.


Professor Adler is on the same faculty with signatories:
Karla Bell
David Carney
Kathleen Carrick
Laura Chisolm
Carol Fox
Peter Friedman
Sharona Hoffman
Lewis Katz
Robert Lawry
Kenneth Ledford
Kevin McMunigal
Calvin Sharpe
Gary Simson

(All Case Western Reserve University.)

Professor Adler knows their academic work habits.
7.9.2009 12:06am
Steve:
This post is pure speculation. "I bet some of the 1100 didn't read her opinions." Well, who knows? It's pointless to make such an untargeted accusation.
7.9.2009 12:15am
Tony Tutins (mail):

what I have not seen yet is a plethora of leftists with any analysis of the Honduran constitution

True, some legal academics do not appear willing to place their political preferences ahead of their academic integrity.
7.9.2009 12:23am
Lib Law Prof:
Dear Professor Adler:

Two brief points in reply:

First, your initial post said, "My concern is that some legal academics appear willing to place their political preferences ahead of their academic integrity and would sign such a letter before confirming, for themselves, that everything the letter says is actually true." Now, in the comments, you suggest that the *only* true way for each law prof signing the letter to confirm the statements in the letter is by reading each and every one of Judge Sotomayor's opinions for him- or herself. Really? Reading each and every thing she has ever written is a ridiculously high standard. I don't know about you, but I'm trying to get tenure and have no time to read 1,000s of opinions that are not going to result in a law reiew article. I imagine most profs would feel the same. And to counter your analogy, this is a far cry from a student using cribbed cases. This is more akin to a professor having a research assistant do the heavy lifting, and then drawing a conclusion based on the summary of the findings.

Second, in the first post you said, "For some, I suspect, merely receiving a solicitation from a colleague (or from the AFJ) to support a liberal president's liberal nominee was sufficient." Your recent attack on secondary sources of research does nothing to diminish this assertion, which is the point that initially annoyed me. The rationale of your post is basically that all a signatory needed to know was that she was a "liberal" who was appointed by another "liberal." That is the part that adds nothing to our academic discourse. I'm sure, as I said, that given the controversy, most people did some research and thinking about this before making an opinion. You may disagree with their use of sources that are not original, but you can't deny that the use of any sources - primary or secondary - completely negates the "liberals just love other liberals" line of "argument."

P.S. The first part of my post was directed to the commenters, not your post. Sorry about that lack of clarity.
7.9.2009 1:01am
MCM (mail):
Crunchy Frog:

Why would it matter WHERE anyone defended them? Are arguments more or less valid depending on the website where one posts them?

Pathetic.
7.9.2009 1:11am
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):
Why are these leftists always so concerned about adding to the discourse when they perceive themselves to be wronged, and yet consistently allow themselves to become obviously polemic at the judicial confirmation battles of Republican nominees? Adler, too graciously in my opinion, does not oppose Sotomayor's confirmation to USSOC. How many times did we observe the same magnanimity in the respect for the "advise and consent" charge of the Senate from stringently liberal professors when the shoe was on the other foot?

I read a good swath of both Left and Right blogs. Take it from me, leftist level of discourse is nowhere near "elevated". Indeed, in what other legal forum could an obvious troll like Sarcastro find sanctuary?
7.9.2009 1:24am
Californio (mail):
Well just you wait! Everyone knows it is a law of jurisprudence that when a critical mass of law professors all decide one thing is correct - then by the Gods - it is correct! That is why they did so well in their opposition to the Solomon Amendment! Why I was just reading that...[Unanimous Supreme Court Upholds Solomon Amendment ]...um, uh, nevermind.
7.9.2009 1:46am
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):
Heh, I confused my acronyms, the "USSOC" above should be changed into "USSC". I also meant to put "adding to the discourse" in scare quotes.
7.9.2009 2:05am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
adler:

[Y]ou will have a hard time convincing me that all 1,100-plus signatories did the same.


You will have a hard time convincing me that your various claims ("I am also quite confident that some of those who signed the letter have not read more than a case or two … I doubt all 1,100-plus signatories took the time to assure themselves of this fact … some legal academics appear willing to place their political preferences ahead of their academic integrity") are anything other than rank speculation. And your irony impairment is severe, since you are ostensibly promoting the idea that people shouldn't make claims unless they're sure the claims are true.

You could promote this idea more effectively if you started by adopting it yourself. That is, try setting a better example.
7.9.2009 2:30am
luxurytwist:
As has been mentioned, it is possible that Professor Adler has knowledge he has not shared. I do agree with jukeboxgrad that the argument would be more persuasive if it were more specific on that point.

On the other hand, Lib Law Prof has all but admitted that at least one signing was pretty much based on SCOTUSblog. That's if that poster is for real. I kind of hope it's just an unfunny parody, especially in light of the demonstrated inability to comprehend the difference between "read a representative sample" and "reading each and every one of Judge Sotomayor's opinions".
7.9.2009 3:15am
Careless:
I really hope Lib Law Prof is a troll. I know that most people are stupid and have terrible reading comprehension. I get bothered when I see lawyers, of all professions, who have bad reading comprehension. I get really bothered when I see a law professor or judge who has bad reading comprehension.

Lib Law Prof: no one would have said anything if they had signed it not as professors of law. If they're relying on the expert opinions of others, their credentials are of no matter and should not be mixed in with those of people who actually know what they're talking about, first hand.
7.9.2009 3:33am
The River Temoc (mail):
Welcome to how policymaking 101. These kinds of mass-signature letters get circulated all the time. I once read a letter in support of the Peru free trade agreement signed by several hundred organizations, mostly groups such as regional chambers of commerce. I randomly called a few signatories up to discuss the letter. Most of them knew nothing about what the letter said. In one case, the signatory never even gave the authors of the letter permission to use the signatory's name.
7.9.2009 4:37am
The River Temoc (mail):
I think I should elaborate on my post above, actually. The more I think about it, the more I find myself disagreeing with Prof. Adler.

Very rarely does a potential signatory agree 100% with every assertion in a "dear colleague" or interest group letter. Indeed, in some cases, the signatory agrees with the gravamen of the letter, but finds a sentence or two objectionable.

If the signatory is powerful or otherwise has leverage over the drafter of the letter, the signatory may be able to negotiate a change in the letter's language. But that is rarely the case.

Or the signatory could draft his or her own letter, but again, that only has an impact if the signatory is well-known. A concurring opinion from a Supreme Court justice carries weight; a concurring letter from the Chamber of Commerce of Biloxi makes for water cooler fodder.

Like everything, all this comes down to tradeoffs. It would be tidy if signatories all conducted registration statement-quality diligence on every word in a dear colleague letter. But if that were the standard, nothing would ever get done.

The signatory has to apply some judgment as to how much he wants to nitpick the language and as to whether the language is good enough to get the point across, and weigh that against the risk of putting his name to something embarrassing. The alternative -- sigantories should never weigh in on policy matters unless they essentially draft the letter themselves -- strikes me as unrealistic.

Reading a handful of opinions and observations on blawgs is far more diligence than the average citizen will do, and in any event those opinions and blog posts will probably zero in on the most controversial, and the most relevant, portions of Sotomayor's jurisprudence in any event.

Lastly, if you're uncomfortable with the level of diligence behind these letters, do what gets done with most of them: throw them in the trash.

The Senate Judiciary Committee staff is surely doing deeper diligence on Sotomayor's opinions than did LibLawProf. Outside observers who have read thousands of her opinions can do more than sign a dear colleague letter: they can publish a policy report for a think tank, offer to brief the members of the Judiciary Committee, etc.
7.9.2009 5:04am
Public_Defender (mail):
I'm shocked, shocked, that someone might make a comment on a judicial candidate's 1100+ case history without reading each case. It's a good thing no one speaks against her without doing that kind of work.

Sarcasm aside, the River Temoc has a good point (weird pseudonyms make for weird sentences, don't they?). This was a letter, not a research paper. By itself, that shows the level of diligence put into researching the claims. It certainly diminishes the weight of the assertions.
7.9.2009 5:38am
Leo Marvin (mail):
Cato The Elder:

I read a good swath of both Left and Right blogs. Take it from me, leftist level of discourse is nowhere near "elevated". Indeed, in what other legal forum could an obvious troll like Sarcastro find sanctuary?

It's no crime not to get the satire, or if you do get it, not to like it. But don't embarrass yourself by calling him a troll. He's anything but.
7.9.2009 5:41am
Owen H. (mail):


For liberal academics it's "is she one of us or one of them?"

Or maybe: "Obama good. Obama good"



Switch the sides. For many of her critics, it seems to me that it's a case of, "Obama bad." For a very long time now, some on both sides of the aisle have claimed that the other side only goes along with what their side does, or opposes what the other does, for purely partisan reasons, while they themselves do not. So blanket statements like yours are null noise.
7.9.2009 6:46am
pot meet kettle (mail):
What I wonder, however, is what percentage of the 1,100-plus signatories to the letter are sufficiently familiar with her record to have reached an informed, expert judgment?

What I wonder, however, is how long you took to come up with an unsupported snide insinuation that would give you plausible deniability?

some enterprising journalist should call random signatories to the letter and ask which Sotomayor opinions demonstrate the traits identified in the letter.

Some "ethical" blogger should name signatories whom they suspect of "putting their political leanings ahead of academic integrity". Or state front and center that they do not know that anybody has actually done this.

Way to divert the conversation from the point that 1100(!) law professors came out in favor of Sotomayor, who's been labeled as everything from dumb to argumentative in an incessant innuendo campaign. You should consider pursuing a career on Fox and Friends.
7.9.2009 7:22am
Pseuss (mail):
Are macroeconomists and climatologists also likely to sign on to something simply because it's the party line?

Or is there some reason to think that they are more principled?
7.9.2009 7:38am
pbf (mail) (www):
Darya: "Professor Adler is on the same faculty with . . .
Peter Friedman . . . Professor Adler knows their academic work habits."

Darya — as I stated above (sorry, I signed in as "Peter" with a link to my web site — before declaring such things I would suggest you do a modicum of inquiry), my signature was hardly uninformed. Nor is your assumption correct. Professor Adler knows nothing of my work habits. I would be surprised too if he knows anything of the work habits of my co-signatories from Case Western Reserve. I would be shocked if he he really meant to impugn the integrity of his colleagues you have listed, and I wish he would make clear to those like you who believe he intended to.

-- PETER FRIEDMAN
7.9.2009 7:39am
rosetta's stones:
It's ironic to be reading about alleged academic sloth from a blogger allegedly expert on issues environmental, who's demonstrated so little knowledge of issues environmental, even as he pontificates on them. If knowledge is power, this guy's posts are a rolling blackout.

Makes one wonder if he even has knowledge of environmental law, given the slothfully-origined displays I see on this blog regarding the wider environmental arena.

Rather than spending time at voluminous readings of Sotomayor's writings, perhaps the blogger could spend some time educating himself on the issues he empty-headedly blogs over, rather than citing and linking to frickin' social studies majors who support his pet theories.

Spare us the academic sniping, and remove the plank from yer own eye, bro'.
7.9.2009 8:26am
Jonathan H. Adler (mail) (www):
My post is a comment about legal academic, not any specific colleague. I have been in legal academia long enough, and seen enough of these sorts of letters take shape, to know that some only sign once they have reached their own independent judgment about the truth of the matter asserted, others sign anything that supports their political preferences, and some are in between. I have also had experiences in which I have challenged specific individuals for signing prior letters (such as the anti-Alito letter) who could not offer evidence in support of the letter's assertions. In this case, I've also received e-mails from individuals who support Sotomayor's confirmation but did not sign the letter because they did not believe they were sufficiently familiar with her record to sign on to the language in the specific paragraph I highlighted.

I think The River Temoc's points are valid insofar he is talking about interest groups and lobbies, but I do not believe these points are applicable to academics. Signing on to a "law professor" letter is not a signal of support for a policy outcome as much as it is an assertion of authority. It's not "we support position X," but "we experts assert claims Y are true." I maintain that, as academics, we should not sign such statements and assert our academic authority unless we have verified for ourselves that the claims are true.

JHA
7.9.2009 8:33am
Pseuss (mail):
Lib Law Prof wrote:

That is simply an uncalled for and unsupported accusation. SCOTUSBlog - which to my knowledge is not partisan - did a four part series on Sotomayor's cases. Many other outlets have done the same and have reached the conclusion you itlaicized in your post.

I would like to think that "experts" have a firmer basis for their views than blog posts that I can read myself.

When macroeconomists support massive deficits, or when climatologists express confidence in computerized climate models, am I supposed to think they really understand these things? Or just that they read a bit from some blog or newspaper column?
7.9.2009 8:37am
Smooth, Like a Rhapsody (mail):
This looks like a typical recommendation letter.

If I were a prof, all things being equal, I would sign it--not because I am a devotee of SoSo or Barry O, but because she ought to be confirmed under what should be the rules of the system.
What I would NEVER do is join any group called the "Alliance for Justice". (When is the "Alliance for Injustice" going to weigh in on this nomination?)

Looking at the list of signatories from my alma mater, I notice the name of a former Rehnqust clerk and DOJ atty who had a rep as being quite conservative. I doubt he reveres (or even knows a lot about) SoSo, but he probably figures that she is well within the realm of acceptable nominees.
7.9.2009 8:37am
Teh Internetz:
In this case, I've also received e-mails from individuals who...


"Lurkerz supports me in email."

 

 :

In before 'post full headers.'
7.9.2009 10:00am
frankcross (mail):
Well, my impression is that Jonathan is basically right but I'd add a couple of caveats

1. Even if the signatories had familiarized themselves with Sotomayor's opinions, it probably wouldn't matter much. They would agree with the content of the letter if they agreed with the outcomes.

2. This same criticism could be made of pretty much every such letter, regardless of the topic, and to those written by conservative lawprofs as well.
7.9.2009 10:26am
ruralcounsel (mail):
While the politics of prefering or not prefering Sotomayor have clearly erupted here, I think the point that many posters are missing is that this letter should be more along the lines of an opinion letter of counsel, and not a campaign endorsement.

As such, it should be held to a higher level of scrutiny for the assertions and representations it makes. A practicing attorney could be held accountable for malpractice in issung an opinion letter without either clearly stating the basis for the representations or showing due diligence in reaching them.

Law professors should understand that. Even if they don't pracice law.

I find it amusing that some think that a blog like this requires evidentiary proof about whether the signers of the letter did their homework or not, when common sense tells us that it is likely that some, perhaps a majority, did not. And somehow, I think the reasons for less than due diligence are irrelevant (Like, I was too busy trying to get tenure and so relied on hearsay on some other blogspot)

Opinion letters, of which this is one form, have professional implications. Law faculty should understand that. Otherwise, it should be clearly marked as having no more value or substance than advertizing.

Perhaps an ethics refresher for law professors is needed.
7.9.2009 10:52am
tbw:
I second Curmudgeonly Ex-Clerk. The signatories from my alma mater have similar backgrounds.

The 1100 figure looks impressive at first glance, but one must question the value of some of these signatures. E.g., Jagdish Bhagwati. He is a great economist, and a law professor, technically. But, we shouldn't care what he thinks about Sotomayor's "fidelity to the text of statutes and the Constitution."
7.9.2009 11:09am
krs:
I'll be happy when this blows over and SCOTUSblog can go back to posting news instead of the latest talking points.
7.9.2009 11:11am
Jonathan H. Adler (mail) (www):
Lib Law Prof --

You continue to misrepresent what I have argued.

I did not say or suggest "that the *only* true way for each law prof signing the letter to confirm the statements in the letter is by reading each and every one of Judge Sotomayor's opinions." Rather I said that academics who are going to offer an assessment of Judge Sotomayor's opinions should be "familiar" with her opinions and, in response to your comment, that one should have read "a representative sample of her opinions before signing the letter." I stand by that claim. If you don't have the time to review her opinions, then don't sign a letter that makes a representation about what reviewing the opinions would show.

I think the analogy to a law professor's reliance on research assistants is instructive. It is certainly appropriate for a law professor to rely upon student research assistants to comb through cases, identify relevant decisions, and the like. But it is not appropriate for a law professor to rely upon a student research assistant's characterization and substantive analysis of a judicial decision and pass it off as her own without reviewing the material herself. To say, as a law professor, that given judicial opinions say "X" without having actually reviewed the opinions is irresponsible.

By the same token, it is certainly reasonable to rely upon blogs and second-hand commentary to identify those cases which may be most relevant or worth reviewing. But it is irresponsible for a legal academic to rely upon such characterizations as the basis for issuing an authoritative statement about those cases.

JHA
7.9.2009 11:26am
LTR:
Calling Sotomayor "a brilliant jurist" is clearly a serious stretch. Experienced? Yes. Respectable? Yes. Qualified? Yes. Brilliant? For God's sake let's save that for people like Henry Friendly, Richard Arnold or Richard Posner.
7.9.2009 11:38am
DangerMouse:
What bothers me is that your allegation is just a more academic and intelligent way of saying that we've drunk the Obama Kool-aid and the other things the more rabid right-wingers say. Give us some credit. We do think before we support our president and his positions.

Comedy gold. Here's a newsflash, Lib Prof: your credibilty on matters political is zero, because the professorate has mindlessly been in lockstep with the left for so long that only a fool would believe that you have any "credit" at all.
7.9.2009 11:47am
krs:
Lib Law Prof writes:

What bothers me is that your allegation is just a more academic and intelligent way of saying that we've drunk the Obama Kool-aid and the other things the more rabid right-wingers say. Give us some credit.

* * *

The rationale of your post is basically that all a signatory needed to know was that she was a "liberal" who was appointed by another "liberal." That is the part that adds nothing to our academic discourse.

If the shoe fits, wear it.
7.9.2009 11:53am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
temoc:

The signatory has to apply some judgment as to how much he wants to nitpick the language and as to whether the language is good enough to get the point across, and weigh that against the risk of putting his name to something embarrassing. The alternative -- sigantories should never weigh in on policy matters unless they essentially draft the letter themselves -- strikes me as unrealistic.


How dare you be so temperate, realistic and logical. Don't you realize this is the internet?

In one case, the signatory never even gave the authors of the letter permission to use the signatory's name.


That sounds familiar:

Several people whose names appear on the anti-Kerry letter from SBV have stepped forward to state that they never approved the use of their name in that letter and that they do not support SBV. One of them suggests up to 25% of the names on SBV's letter may have been fictitiously included.


The blog I'm citing contains a dead link, but the original article is archived here.

================
pbf:

Adler knows nothing of my work habits


I think darya was being sarcastic.

================
adler:

I maintain that, as academics, we should not sign such statements and assert our academic authority unless we have verified for ourselves that the claims are true.


I maintain that, as ostensibly honorable humans, we should not make defamatory insinuations ("some legal academics appear willing to place their political preferences ahead of their academic integrity") unless we have verified for ourselves that the insinuations are backed by evidence. That is, evidence solid enough to share.

academics who are going to offer an assessment of Judge Sotomayor's opinions should be "familiar" with her opinions


How many of the 1,100 are " 'familiar' with her opinions?" You are acting like you know the answer to this question, even though you don't. That's the core issue.

it is irresponsible for a legal academic to rely upon such characterizations as the basis for issuing an authoritative statement about those cases


Trouble is, you don't know how many of the 1,100 did that ("rely upon such characterizations as the basis for issuing an authoritative statement about those cases"). Nevertheless, you're pretending that you do (as expressed in your words like "quite confident"). And that's "irresponsible."

================
ruralcounsel:

I find it amusing that some think that a blog like this requires evidentiary proof about whether the signers of the letter did their homework or not, when common sense tells us that it is likely that some, perhaps a majority, did not.


Common sense tells us that speculation unencumbered by evidence is worthless.
7.9.2009 12:22pm
troll_dc2 (mail):
It is kind of funny to read the comments in this thread about whether the law professors really knew what they were endorsing and then read an article in today's Washington Post that reports the conclusions found in an examination of all 46 of Sotomayor's cases in which the Second Circuit issued a divided ruling. It seems that a major "problem" of hers is that she is too thorough and detailed for what she is supposed to be doing.

Any endorsement or opposition public letter is a political document, and law professors ought to be more worried about that than a lot of them seem to be.
7.9.2009 12:29pm
John Doe (mail):
I doubt all 1,100-plus signatories took the time to assure themselves of this fact before lending their names, and the authority of their positions, to the letter.

This is just common sense. No one who is remotely familiar with legal academia thinks that all 1,100 people really made themselves experts on Sotomayor's opinions before signing this letter. It's a political letter, not a representation of actual expertise. See Ward Farnsworth's excellent article: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=260239
7.9.2009 2:41pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
JHA,

My concern is that some legal academics appear willing to place their political preferences ahead of their academic integrity and would sign such a letter before confirming, for themselves, that everything the letter says is actually true. This is not the first time I've expressed this concern.

Do you disagree with Frank Cross that this is a bi-partisan practice? If you do disagree, isn't that the argument you should make and support? If you agree it's a bi-partisan practice, have you (contemporaneously) posted your concerns when letters were sent supporting confirmation of Republican nominees?
7.9.2009 3:27pm
Jonathan H. Adler (mail) (www):
Mr. Marvin --

I agree with Frank Cross. The one qualification is that there are more such letters from the law professors advocating "liberal" causes because the majority of law professors are left of center. Were this not the case, I have no reason to believe conservative law professors would, on the whole, be any less guilty of the practice.

I am not aware of an equivalent letter relating to GOP nominees. Are you? The closest I recall was a brief, one-paragraph statement in support of Judge Alito's confirmation that was signed by a combination of law professors, appellate advocates, and DoJ alums. The language of this letter was more constrained and made clear that, while all signatories supported his confirmation, they did not all endorse the same reasons for doing so. (That is, it contained language like: "Those of us who . . . feel that . . ."). Had the AFJ included such limiting language -- or omitted the paragraph about her opinions -- I would not have written my post.

JHA
7.9.2009 4:08pm
pot meet kettle (mail):
In this case, I've also received e-mails from individuals who support Sotomayor's confirmation but did not sign the letter because they did not believe they were sufficiently familiar with her record to sign on to the language in the specific paragraph I highlighted.

So let me understand. You actually have documented evidence that there are people who put academic integrity ahead of political leanings. This immediately motivates you to write a post about the nameless, faceless, unknown people who did exactly the opposite, without a shred of evidence of this happening. Is this how logic works?

(Aside from the fact that you chose not to acknowledge the documented evidence about several people not signing based on their lack of familiarity in the post. You just seem to be burnt up that 1100 law professors signed for Sotomayor, and are finding pathetic excuses to divert the discussion and bury the lead on this.)
7.9.2009 4:38pm
John Doe (mail):
without a shred of evidence of this happening.

Other than not being a complete moron, that is. Every time there's a major political issue (from Clinton's impeachment to Supreme Court nominations), there will be a mass letter from several hundred law professors, and only a complete moron thinks that all of these professors sign such letters only when it touches on their specific scholarly expertise.
7.9.2009 5:12pm
pot meet kettle (mail):
and only a complete moron thinks that all of these professors sign such letters only when it touches on their specific scholarly expertise.

Alrighty then. I await baseless speculation posts by Jonathan Adler on any public statement by any public figure about any issue "Do they know whereof they speak? (not that I know that they don't or have any evidence to that effect). I will also refuse to acknowledge evidence that they do know whereof they speak because nanananananana".
7.9.2009 8:42pm
pot meet kettle (mail):
Jonathan Adler, why so skeptical? It might interest you to meet my friend, Jonathan Adler who approvingly believes in mass letters by law faculty.
7.9.2009 9:19pm
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):
Pot Meet Kettle,

You must be a dunce. Adler does not disapprove of mass letters by law faculty per se. He disapproves of them when the signatories clearly haven't had the time or the knowledge to examine the details and yet still choose to affix their names and their scholarly credibility to a public petition.

You try to brush aside this issue by dishonestly using the word "mass", because you know it is important that you don't distinguish between 10 professors writing in to speak on something, and the 1,100 diligent investigators of Sotomayor's appellate opinions in the case.

Those U of I faculty clearly knew the intimacies of the topic they were opining upon. They related tangential facts and occurrences about admissions criteria and Illinois state politics. On the other hand, there is no indication of that breadth of knowledge here. How many times must the good professor repeat this same point?
7.9.2009 10:00pm
pot meet kettle (mail):
Adler does not disapprove of mass letters by law faculty per se. He disapproves of them when the signatories clearly haven't had the time or the knowledge to examine the details and yet still choose to affix their names and their scholarly credibility to a public petition.

And he and you know this how? Adler only knows people who did take the time.

Those U of I faculty clearly knew the intimacies of the topic they were opining upon. They related tangential facts and occurrences about admissions criteria and Illinois state politics.

They did? I thought they all signed onto a written letter. I wasn't aware there was a collaborative madlib that created the letter. Did they all independently confirm the facts that they signed onto? Or did they, shudder, sign onto an agenda?

You try to brush aside this issue by dishonestly using the word "mass", because you know it is important that you don't distinguish between 10 professors writing in to speak on something, and the 1,100 diligent investigators of Sotomayor's appellate opinions in the case.

It is 15, not 10. Also, what is the critical number beyond which unsupported insinuations become justified? Is there a comprehension test administered when the number of signatories does not exceed 15? If so, can I be privy to these results so I too will see why the belief in the detailed understanding of those professors is justified?
7.9.2009 10:30pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
cato:

the signatories clearly haven't had the time … to examine the details


The Sotomayor nomination was announced on 5/26. The letter was released yesterday. That interval is 43 days. You might have some kind of a point if the interval was three or four days, but it's not.

the signatories clearly haven't had … the knowledge to examine the details


If a law professor doesn't have sufficient "knowledge" to evaluate the work of a judge, then who does?

What's the basis for your claims about lack of time and lack of knowledge?
7.10.2009 12:04am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
cato:

the signatories clearly haven't had the time … to examine the details


The Sotomayor nomination was announced on 5/26. The letter was released yesterday. That interval is 43 days. You might have some kind of a point if the interval was three or four days, but it's not.

the signatories clearly haven't had … the knowledge to examine the details


If a law professor doesn't have sufficient "knowledge" to evaluate the work of a judge, then who does?

What's the basis for your claims about lack of time and lack of knowledge?
7.10.2009 12:07am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Oops, every now and then there's an echo in here. Sorry about that.
7.10.2009 12:14am
Careless:
Jukeboxgrad


How many of the 1,100 are " 'familiar' with her opinions?" You are acting like you know the answer to this question, even though you don't. That's the core issue.


On the bright side for Adler, the only person who's tried to defend signing this ran away when asked if they had actually read any of her opinions. Adler may be right or wrong, but all the evidence as well as the neutral assumption favor his interpretation.
7.10.2009 12:19am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
careless:

when asked if they had actually read any of her opinions


Someone asked that question? Where?

all the evidence


What "evidence?"
7.10.2009 12:36am
Careless:


Someone asked that question? Where?


... Ok, now you've just pointed out that you didn't read the original post.

What "evidence?"

the fact that no one will try to defend an attack on her by going to evidence.
7.10.2009 1:00am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
now you've just pointed out that you didn't read the original post.


Now you've just pointed out that you're being completely incoherent. You said this:

the only person who's tried to defend signing this ran away when asked if they had actually read any of her opinions


The "person" you are apparently talking about is Lib Law Prof, who first appeared in the thread here. Where was that person asked the question you claim they were asked? You seem to be saying they were asked this question in "the original post." Really? But if that's when they were asked the question, and if they "ran away when asked," then they never would have posted to begin with. So I think you are presenting a narrative which requires a belief in time travel.

the fact that no one will try to defend an attack on her by going to evidence


More gibberish. Where is the evidence that "no one will try to defend an attack on her by going to evidence?" There are numerous examples (like the SCOTUSBlog posts that were mentioned) of people who "try to defend an attack on her by going to evidence." And even if were true that "no one will try to defend an attack on her by going to evidence," what does that have to do with the claim Adler made?
7.10.2009 1:32am
CJColucci:
Anyone ever hear of sampling? Or division of labor? I haven't read all 1100-plus Sotomayor opinions and I expect I never will. Since I practice in NYC,I have read a few hundred of them, not while researching her in particular, just as part of doing my job. I've also seen the more comprehensive studies, which do not appear to contain any significant errors, and I have heard the gossip -- a much under-rated source.
While it would be irresponsible for, say, an admiralty expert to discuss or predict her record in admiralty cases without more direct and comprehensive knowledge of the details of her record, I think I, as well as hundreds of random law professors, have enough information to feel secure in asserting that Sotomayor is a standard-issue, slightly left of the actual judicial center, mainstream jurist of more than adequate, if not necessarily dazzling, qualifications. If she were a whack-job, or extremist, or unqualified, we would know it.
Who, by the way, holds her critics to more demanding standards of knowledge?
7.10.2009 1:25pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
careless, you made a specious claim about how someone allegedly "ran away" from a certain question. Trouble is, the person was never asked that question, and there's no reason to claim that they "ran away."

Now that I've pointed this out, you're silent. Did you run away?
7.10.2009 2:26pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
jbg, haven't seen you around much lately. Hope all's well.
7.10.2009 5:00pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Hi Leo, nice of you to speak up. Yes, everything is fine here in my neck of the woods. I've been writing less at VC, but I imagine that's temporary. You realize Soros pays me by the word, and he finally said I was driving him bankrupt, so he asked to take a break for a while so he can figure out how he's going to make ends meet. jk.

Seriously though, the whole time I've been here (about four years) I've always taken long breaks. It has to do with waiting for certain stories that catch my interest. And it's not my fault that our hosts here decided to make VC the only blog on the planet that said nothing about Palin's recent spectacle. I guess they don't mind passing up the chance to boost traffic.

My first reaction to the news was sadness, because I figured it meant that she was planning to not run in '12. But then lots of people started saying that she would still run, so I felt happy. But now I'm sad again, because so many people in the GOP are laughing at her and it looks like she couldn't possibly get the nomination. But I'm trying to keep hope alive.

Anyway, I hope you're well.
7.10.2009 7:11pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
jbg, I've noticed the ebbs and flows, and I assumed this was the same. I guess my mother just trained me too well. When somebody calls, there must be something wrong. When nobody calls, there must be something wrong.

If Orin was blogging, Palin might have gotten a mention. As for what remains of her political prospects, I'd be careful what I wish for. I was confident nobody could turn Reagan into a credible candidate, and I still don't think I was that far off about Reagan. It was the relevant meaning of "credible" where I was out of touch. And as GWB said, "fool me once...."

Glad all's well. And have some more liver. Doesn't that shikse feed you?
7.10.2009 11:10pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
When somebody calls, there must be something wrong. When nobody calls, there must be something wrong.


Exactly. That reminds me of the famous joke about the two ties.

If Orin was blogging, Palin might have gotten a mention.


Good point, I didn't think of that.

Doesn't that shikse feed you?


Yes, but who wants to eat chazerai all day long?
7.10.2009 11:57pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Apparently I do.
7.11.2009 8:32am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Then ess gezunterhait, and leave some for me.
7.11.2009 9:18am
Leo Marvin (mail):
Thanks, and of course.
7.11.2009 7:49pm
Californio (mail):
"Of course she is qualified, everyone I know thinks so..."

citation: the inverse of Pauline Kael talking about how Nixon could not have won......
7.12.2009 2:09am

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