3/18/2017: civility and flawed logic

Instapundit cites Matthew Continetti: Charles Murray’s Attackers: – “What happened to Charles Murray at Middlebury was an affront to academic freedom, democratic norms, freedom of speech, and basic manners.” … “The left will miss civility when it’s gone. They’re happy now while its disappearance is one-sided. That won’t last.”

And the following post is another example. David Harsanyi: Chuck Schumer’s Indecent Attacks on Neil Gorsuch.Make no mistake, though: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) now opposes a potential SCOTUS justice because he promises to be impartial when upholding the Constitution.” Then there is Orrin G. Hatch on What to expect in Gorsuch confirmation hearing – “At its best, the confirmation process provides an open venue for careful questioning and reflective deliberation; at its worst, the process can quickly devolve into partisan spectacle, killing the chances of even the most qualified nominees.”

Notwithstanding Gorsuch’s superb qualifications and principled approach to judging, Democrats and their liberal allies strain mightily to find plausible grounds to oppose his nomination. They misread his opinions, misstate his reasoning, and in general paint a picture of a man who simply does not exist. Unfortunately, we can expect more attempts to misrepresent Gorsuch’s record during his confirmation hearing. In particular, we can expect to hear over and over again the false and frankly ridiculous claim that Gorsuch is outside the “judicial mainstream.”

Liberals will tie themselves in knots claiming that Gorsuch is some sort of fringe jurist, that his views place him on the far flank of the federal judiciary. But any honest observer will concede that these accusations are complete bunk. Opponents will claim that his decisions say things that they very clearly do not say, or stand for propositions that even a generous reading cannot substantiate.

Ultimately, Gorsuch’s opponents will fail because he is so clearly a man of integrity and so clearly qualified to serve on our nation’s highest court.

Perhaps the most important take-away from comments like this is that the Republicans are beginning to accept the nature of the political opposition they face.

Or, back on Instapundit, CRICKETS:Bow Wow slurs Melania Trump in the nastiest way possible. Three guesses how reporters responded to the message.

Jonathan H. Adler quotes The most important part of Judge Bybee’s dissent from denial of en banc review in Washington v. Trump – “Five justices dissented from the denial of en banc review, arguing that the panel decision made multiple legal errors and should be vacated.” The dissent is tainted by a complaint that is, perhaps, a dig at the President and others who have a low opinion of the court due to opinions such as the one at issue. Do note, though, that the complaint also applies to both the judge who issued the restraining order as shown in his decision and in those seeking the restraint as shown by how they based their request.

The personal attacks on the distinguished district judge and our colleagues were out of all bounds of civic and persuasive discourse—particularly when they came from the parties. It does no credit to the arguments of the parties to impugn the motives or the competence of the members of this court; ad hominem attacks are not a substitute for effective advocacy. Such personal attacks treat the court as though it were merely a political forum in which bargaining, compromise, and even intimidation are acceptable principles. The courts of law must be more than that, or we are not governed by law at all.

This confuses several issues. Ad hominem is about the personal characteristics of an individual, not about an institution such as the court nor is it about a decision or other specific behavior of that person or institution. The kind of “civic and persuasive discourse” that one expects inside a courtroom proceeding is different from that in the political or social arenas. The topic of civility is an important one but it does not belong here. The topic at hand is that of the role of the courts in regards to the law and established practice.

Read Hawaii Judge’s Flawed Aloha Akhbar Logic by Daniel John Sobieski.

Judge Watson’s logic belongs in a parallel judicial universe where judges are allowed to regulate foreign policy, clearly a presidential prerogative defined in both law and the U.S. Constitution. Judge Watson cites no law and, in the case of the Constitution, says the travel ban violates the Establishment Clause which forbids favoring or disparaging a particular religion. By that logic, you could never restrict any immigration from any Muslim country for any reason. Judge Watson strays outside the four corners of the executive order and ignores explicit U.S. law to cite President Trump’s campaign statements, which are totally irrelevant. Motive, even if correctly discerned, is irrelevant here. Only the law and presidential authority should apply.

A first requirement for civility is intellectual integrity. When a group of people dismiss integrity in thought and action, the rest of the people have a difficult problem to address. 

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