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What passes for a right wing intellectual


Northwestern law professor Stephen Presser:

 It was little noticed, and of little effect, but more than 2,000 professors signed a letter urging the U.S. Senate not to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. Given that he is the best qualified nominee in some time, having graduated from Yale and Yale Law School and having served a clerkship with Justice Anthony Kennedy and for more than a decade on the nation’s second highest court as the author of opinions embraced by the Supreme Court itself, this is curious. 
Kavanaugh has essentially the same “qualifications” as every nominee other than Harriet Miers has had since the 1970s, but whatever.

This cri de coeur from the professors tells us more about them than about Kavanaugh, and it tells us about the diseased state of jurisprudence in the law schools.

The ostensible reason for the letter was Kavanaugh’s defense before the Senate Judiciary Committee against the charges brought by Christine Blasey Ford. He vehemently denied her claims that when he was a wastrel youth at Georgetown Prep, in a drunken stupor, he sought to remove her clothes, and forcibly to detain her in a bedroom with an equally inebriated comrade. There was no substantiation for that assertion, nor was there for any of the other slanders perpetrated as part of the Left’s effort to sink the nomination and ruin Kavanaugh’s reputation.

How then, to explain why so many of our academics purported to be among the most intelligent could be against the man? The signers of the letter, including many of our most prominent legal scholars, claimed that “Judge Brett Kavanaugh displayed a lack of judicial temperament that would be disqualifying for any court, and certainly for elevation to the highest court of this land.” Their evidence for that was Kavanaugh’s behavior at the special hearing called following Ford’s uncorroborated testimony.

Kavanaugh, of course, emphatically denied that the event Ford described ever happened, and no one came forward to rebut that denial. Accordingly, then, Kavanaugh was defending his honor before his family and the nation, and, as was the case with Clarence Thomas, following the uncorroborated allegations of Anita Hill against him, he passionately protested the “high-tech lynching” to which he was being subjected.

This business of testimony being “uncorroborated” is apparently playing real well with the rubes, since every right wing hack keeps repeating it.  Questions for Stephen Presser:

Was the testimony in Bill Cosby’s criminal trial “corroborated?”  How about the accusations against Harvey Weinstein?  Are any of them “corroborated?”  How about the many accusations of sexual assault against your hero Donald Trump? (Sorry — I couldn’t resist slipping a trick question into this issue-spotting exam: Trump has himself admitted to committing sexual assault on numerous occasions. I think that does count as “corroboration,” even for those demanding Dude Process).

Anyway what would constitute a “corroborated” accusation of sexual assault (or, as in the case of the Surprisingly Painless High Tech Lynching, sexual harassment)? Does corroboration require a witness other than accuser? Multiple witnesses?  What percentage of sexual assaults could be prosecuted, or even subject their perpetrators to civil liability, or, say, negative consequences during a job interview, if corroboration requires the eyewitness testimony of multiple witnesses?

The rest of the column is a paean to Donald Trump’s battle against “political correctness,” plus lots of whinging about how it gives Stephen Presser a major sad that there aren’t enough proto-fascists like him in the legal academy.  Also featured are such Federalist Society Komedy Klassics as:

It is long past time that we return to the Framers’ original conception: the important decisions about our future as a nation must be made by Congress, as well as by state and local governments. *

*Note: cited jurisprudential principle not applicable to, among many other pieces of legislation, the Voting Rights Act, the Affordable Care Act, or federal campaign finance laws. Also not applicable to certain presidential elections.



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