Balkinization  

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kudos to the University of Virginia Law School

Sandy Levinson

In my posting of May 11, I rather snarkily noted that Virginia was "reputed" to have a fine law school. I am glad publicly to testify that its reputation is well merited: Most of the faculty has signed a superb letter, noting the decision by the University indeed to fight the outrageous witchhunt by Virginia's Attorney General and going on to provide a number of fine arguments supporting that decision. A desire to vindicate academic freedom does indeed seem to be alive and well at Mr. Jefferson's University! Kudos to all involved in writing the letter and then seeking out the impressive array of signatories.

NOTE: I am allowing comments, but I really do hope that no one returns to the substantive arguments about global warming. Not only are they really quite beside the point of this particular controversy--i.e., the power of the Virginia Attorney General--but also, as I have written earlier, there is absolutely no reason to believe that any of the potential discussants on this particular blog site possess sufficient expertise to say anything independently illuminating about that issue. (And, for the record, I agree with "jpk" that there really is no longer a serious debate about the phenomenon of "global warming," though there is certainly a justified debate about the best responses to that really undoubtable reality. Even if you think I'm wrong on this, please don't bother chastising me, because I, too, have no expertise, and I am in fact only reflecting what appears, to my lay mind, the quite overwhelming consensus of competent scientists on the matter.) I do intend to write a far more extensive posting on the general subject of "expertise" and "authority" and the frightening disdain for the "reality-based" community expressed by such denizens of the contemporary polity as former Gov. Palin. Again, please forego your desire to comment about that until the post.

Comments:

In my mind, I added Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to the list of signers.
 

I didn't know that Thomas Jefferson and James Madison had given free-speech rights to their slaves.
 

I love the comment "I am allowing comments." Lawyers? Law professors?
hal
 

jpk noted "What informed persons know: there is no substantive debate on global warming and has not been for years. There is scientific consensus on the basic facts."

I believe that might be who "Joe" is. It wasn't me. I'm inclined to agree, but it really is not my area.
 

It was in fact "jpk," and I've made the correction in the original post. Thanks.
 

Government money always comes with government control and an inevitable loss of freedom.

It is fascinating to see an academia dominated by progressives who wholeheartedly support the government running banks and auto makers who take government money under the reasoning that the government is looking after the interests of the tax payers then do a 180 and cry bloody murder when the government gets into their business using the same rationale.

To paraphrase a classic poem...

They came first for the businesses,
and I did not speak up because I was not a businessman.

Then they came for the states,
and I did not speak up because I was not a state representative.

Then they came for those who did not buy insurance, and I did not speak up because I had insurance.

Then they finally came for the professors,
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

Did you really think they would not come for you in the end?

You are cordially invited to join us wacky libertarians in the Tea Party.
 

Bart, the University of Virginia School of Law receives almost no funding from the taxpayers of Virginia. The School of Law is not dependent on government money, except insofar as the state legislature has made the acceptance of de minimis government funding (and in-state quotas) a condition of retaining the University of Virginia name. The School of Law has moved to this model over the past 10-15 years, transitioning to an essentially private institution.

As to the main point of the post: though I'm not the biggest believer in anthropogenic global warming myself (consensus or no), I am very proud to see a number of my former professors stand up for Dr. Mann's academic freedom. I only regret that some of my favorite professors didn't sign on as well. I had expected they would.
 

Charlie:

Mann took the money and Mann is the target.
 

There's no need to paraphrase our former backpacker who says it all with this clas-sick:

"You are cordially invited to join us wacky libertarians in the Tea Party."

because many do and will indeed continue to speak up about the "Waco libertarians" and according to our own Garp their creed:

"Government money always comes with government control and an inevitable loss of freedom."

"Always"? Is this the creed of "true" libertarians?
 

Bart, your original comment was clearly focused on "an academia dominated by progressives . . . [who] cry bloody murder when the government gets into their business." In the context of Levinson's post, which deals entirely with a letter signed by many of the faculty of the U. Va. School of Law, the most reasonable interpretation of your remark is a slam on the School of Law for its public funding.

As I explained, such public funding borders on nonexistent.

If you'd like to move the goalposts, that's fine, but it's pretty clear that your original remark had about as much to do with Dr. Mann as the School of Law has to do with taxpayer money.
 

"a slam on the School of Law for its public funding"

I should have been more clear here: a slam on the School of Law related to its public funding.
 

Speaking off government money, take a look at Ann Telnaes' animated political cartoon at the WaPo today (5/21/10) "Rip Van Tea Partyer" on war costs during the Bush/Cheney Administration and extending into the Obama/Biden Administration. Our former backpacker proclaimed earlier:

"Government money always comes with government control and an inevitable loss of freedom. "

With the trillions of dollars of government money spent but have not paid for that our yodeler yodeled for during the Bush/Cheney years while his wacky Tea Party slept, how much freedom have we lost?
 

What Bruce Bartlett says at his capitalgainsandgames blog on 5/20/10: "Rand Paul is No Barry Goldwater on Civil Rights." (Query: Is Paul's full name Ayn Rand Paul?)

How much of a backward leap will it be for the Tea Party from questioning the 1964-5 Civil Rights Acts to questioning SCOTUS' unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and further backward to Plessey v. Ferguson, in the Tea Party's quest to take back "our" government from the clutches of Barack Obama, America's first African American President? I wonder what A. Rand Paul's eye chart looks like - 20-20 hindsight? It's not only the Liberty Bell that's cracked.
 

Add to my earlier comments what Mary Dudziak said in her recent post at this Blog: "Rand Paul's Constitutional Confusion." Some Teabaggers steep too long in hot water. With Dr. A. Rand Paul, it's a matter of constitutional stigmatism.
 

Charlie said...

Bart, your original comment was clearly focused on "an academia dominated by progressives . . . [who] cry bloody murder when the government gets into their business." In the context of Levinson's post, which deals entirely with a letter signed by many of the faculty of the U. Va. School of Law, the most reasonable interpretation of your remark is a slam on the School of Law for its public funding.

You have completely misconstrued my post, so please allow me to clarify.

Mann takes a great deal of government money including the five grants at issue here.

When Mann took the money, he accepted the controls of the Virginia FATA law under which this facially legal CID was issued from the VA AG.

Sandy, the UVA law school and many other progressives in academia are howling about the resulting government threat to their collective academic freedom.

My observation was that these fine progressives never had a problem when fellow progressive politicians use the same reasoning to run GM, Chrysler, the banks, the states and anyone else who takes government money. They only started howling when the government came after a fellow professor.

Freedom for me, but not for thee, indeed.
 

Shag from Brookline said...

BD: "Government money always comes with government control and an inevitable loss of freedom. "

With the trillions of dollars of government money spent but have not paid for that our yodeler yodeled for during the Bush/Cheney years while his wacky Tea Party slept, how much freedom have we lost?


Did I qualify that statement by political party?

Ask state and local governments about their losses of freedom under NCLB.

Ask the elected Iraqi government what strings came with all those billions of US aid.
 

Ask the elected Iraqi government what strings came with all those billions of US aid.
# posted by Bart DePalma : 9:49 AM


They have to pretend to listen to us while they steal it?
 

Note that our former backpacker in his current role as the voice of the Tea Party tries to be apolitical or non-partisan:

"Did I qualify that statement by political party?"

lest we forget his cheerleading of Bush/Cheney from 1/20/01 - 1/20/09 AND his (il)literary announcement shortly following Pres. Obama's inauguration of a proposed work of fiction on Obama. Just as A. Rand Paul can't hide from his past statements, neither can our yodeler. Now, after the 8 years of Bush/Cheney our yodeler is concerned with the strings tied on elected Iraqi officials as a result of the funds spent in the search of non-existent WMD by Bush/Cheney (and continued by Obama/Biden). If what our yodeler proposes is libertarianism, then perhaps death is preferable. But many of us will not be guilty of not speaking up in response to our yodeler's diatribes.
 

Shag:

I have a chapter in the book about the Bush creation of many of the tools which Obama has used to advance his socialist policies and compared the Paulson strong arming of the banks into taking TARP money they did not want to a scene from the Godfather.

I never claimed to be non-partisan, but I am objective enough to recognize birds of the feather regardless of which party they reside.
 

I never claimed to be non-partisan, but I am objective enough to recognize birds of the feather regardless of which party they reside.
# posted by Bart DePalma : 10:21 AM


Why didn't you write this "book" while YOUR birds were fouling the nest?
 

Is our former backpacker with this::

"I have a chapter in the book about the Bush creation of many of the tools which Obama has used to advance his socialist policies ...."

suggesting that Pres. Obama is merely building on the socialist policies of Bush/Cheney from 1/20/01 - 1/20/09? Or is only the continuance socialist policies?

And surely any claim of objectivity by our yodeler is mere hyperbole.

Since our yodeler seems to want to prove his point on the problems with government money by pointing to elected Iraqi officials having strings attached to such funding (and thus losses of Iraqi freedoms), perhaps he would extend his sympathy to Karzai and other Afghan officials. By the way, were there no strings with government funding for Iraq and Afghanistan during 1/20/10 - 1/20/09?

Speaking of strings as our yodeler did initially, I wonder if he is his own puppeteer, engaging in puppetbation?
 

Shag from Brookline said...

Is our former backpacker with this: "I have a chapter in the book about the Bush creation of many of the tools which Obama has used to advance his socialist policies ...." suggesting that Pres. Obama is merely building on the socialist policies of Bush/Cheney from 1/20/01 - 1/20/09? Or is only the continuance socialist policies?

No.

Bush created TARP to buy toxic assets and then used it to make loans to the banks and then to GM and Chrysler. Unlawful, but not socialist.

Obama then used the TARP and the Bush precedent to use it as a slush fund to set bank employee compensation, strong arm banks into giving away mortgage principle to deadbeat home mortgage borrowers and then to nationalize GM and Chrysler. Unlawful and socialist.

Shag, this is getting off topic. If you have any further questions, go to my blog.
 

Baghdad, I have tried posting on your blog. You block everything I post.
 

Side note: I've updated Open Balkinization with the latest posts.
 

PMS:

Nice mirror site. I'll add it to my favorites.

Thanks.
 

After opening the door with this:

"You are cordially invited to join us wacky libertarians in the Tea Party."

our former backpacker says:

"Shag, this is getting off topic."

to avoid his need to get his foot out of his mouth in defense of inconsistencies and weird statements he has offered on wacky libertarianism.
 

Before the door opened by our former backpacker on this thread slams shut, take a look at Tim Rutten's column in today's (5/22/10) LATimes "Newts tea party - The former GOP speaker has latched onto the movement as the key to his political fortunes." Rutten mentions Newt's upcoming book:

"He's tried on a variety of ideas and ideological colorations in those intervening years, but this week, with the publication of his new book, 'To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine,' he explicitly linked his fate to the 'tea party' movement. Given the fact that Gingrich has said he is weighing a presidential bid, it's a safe bet that others, similarly ambitious, will carefully watch how he fares."

Apparently Newt has beat our yodeler to the bookshelves with his new book, the title suggesting a theme similar to our yodeler's screeds at this Blog on his own work of fiction on Obama announced around the middle of Obama's first year. What is it they say about timing - and the pre-publication dustbins?

And Rutten's column also ties in A. Rand Paul's recent successes before displaying foot in mouth disease. (Check out Paul Krugman's Blog at the NYTimes for commentary on Paul and libertarianism.)

Yes, the eye of Newt continues to wander.
 

Some legal background would be useful. What is the ordinary procedure for investigating suspected research fraud? I doubt that a suit is filed first, and then the attorney-general, NSF, or whoever is in charge issues subpoenas. Is this Michael Mann email CID unprecedented, or is it standard procedure?

Of course, one might still worry about whether the investigator should have to show cause to get records, but I wonder whether this is unsuual. Already, there is tremendous government interference with research via the Human Subjects regulations, which nobody seems to sign petitions about.
 

Shag:

Newt is running for President and IMHO is doing precisely what he needs to do to get nominated. We have been discussing this over at 538.com. Gone are the Dances with Pelosi commercials and the rock headed endorsement of Scuzza in NY-23 and back is the Rebel Newt of '94 intent on leading the Tea Party bandwagon. Newt read the proverbial electoral tea leaves about the same time I did last year, whipped out a book and is now running for President.

If he can mend fences with the base after his flirtation with leftism, Gingrich could be a very formidable candidate. I will have to pick up a copy of his book and see what he is pitching.
 

Our former backpacker points out:

"Newt read the proverbial electoral tea leaves about the same time I did last year, whipped out a book and is now running for President."

while our yodeler is whipping out his familiar screeds and running for cover from the Bush/Cheney 8 years? How long will it take for Newt, our yodeler and other Tea Party libertarian types to get back to condemning Brown v. Board of Education with the ground work laid by Dr. A Rand PauL? To paraphrase, when will they start calling a club a club (wink, wink) when they put alll their cards on the table?

We'll all be keeping an eye on the eye of Newt.
 

"If he can mend fences with the base after his flirtation with leftism, Gingrich could be a very formidable candidate. I will have to pick up a copy of his book and see what he is pitching.'

I'm hoping he can't mend those fences. We've already seen Newt in power, in the legislature, and know better than to think he'll make a real effort to advance a conservative agenda. Did he really think, "I never promised to try to pass the Contract, just get it voted on..." was going to be forgotten?

Newt is the kind of 'conservative' the tea party movement arose to get around. His desire to coopt the movement is understandable, but it would make no sense to play along with it.
 

Fear not, Brett, Newt doesn't have a fig of a chance. Here's the Democrats' anticipated bumper sticker for the Republican slate in 2012:

"PAUL/PALIN 2012? PATHETIC!"

By 2012, Sarah will have received honorary Ph.Ds from Oral Roberts and similar institutions, such that this slate could be described as:

"DOCTOR! DOCTOR!"

It's time for LIBERTINES to unite!

By the Bybee (no, I haven't forgotten), the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal had an interesting article on A. Rand Paul, M.D., that included Paul's concerns with Wickard as well as the rest of the New Deal. Libertarians of all varieties/shades are doing a dance around Paul's statements in protecting their principals [sick!].
 

On the Newt front, I was watching a re-run of the PBS show of last Friday that took the place of Bill Moyers (who really can't be replaced, unfortunately) that referenced Newt's book focusing upon Newt's statement of Pres. Obama's secular-socialism that Newt compares to Hitler, Stalin and Mao. WOW! And Newt's a historian, now working on Revisionism 601 as he seeks to emulate Sarah Palin's goals of personal profit. We have an idea of how Palin's net worth has been enhanced following her serving a half term as Governor of Alaska. Perhaps Newt sees the Tea Party for his fortune to make up for the circumstances that led to his demise as Speaker of the House.
 

Back to the Dr. A. Rand Paul front, today's NYTimes (5/24/10) has Ross Douthat's OpEd "The Priniciples of Rand Paul" that distinguishes Paul's brand of libertarianism:

"Paul is a libertarian, certainly, but more importantly he’s a particular kind of a libertarian. He’s culturally conservative (opposing both abortion and illegal immigration), radically noninterventionist (he’s against the Iraq war and the United Nations), and so stringently constitutionalist that he views nearly everything today’s federal government does as a violation of the founding fathers’ vision.

"This worldview goes by many names, including 'paleoconservatism,' 'the old right' and 'paleolibertarianism.' But its adherents — Paul and his father, Ron, included — view themselves as America’s only true conservatives, arguing that the modern conservative movement has sold out to both big government and the military-industrial complex."

So libertarianism is evolving (sort of like living Constitutionalism?). But over at the Volokh Conspiracy, it seems the proponents of different versions of libertarianism are trying to disentangle the twisted knickers that Dr. A. Rand Paul is now wearing in defense of libertarianism of whatever kind. (Being a little bit libertarian is not the same as being a little bit pregnant, is it?)

I particularly enjoyed Douthat bringing Pat Buchanan into the mix of paleos.

By the way, someone should tell Dr. A. Rand Paul that political lasers can be dangerous, leading to political blindness.
 

"...arguing that the modern conservative movement has sold out to both big government and the military-industrial complex."

I'd say that is a fairly accurate summation of today's institutional 'conservative' movement. Long since coopted by office holders, it's really not representative of conservatism as a cultural movement.

The Pauls are a pretty good illustration of this. Ron keeps getting reelected, term after term, in spite of his own party trying over and over to replace him. Rand ends up winning a primary the party meant somebody else to win. This sort of thing wouldn't happen if the institutional 'conservative' movement well represented conservatives. It's proof positive that the GOP leaves a large fraction of it's base out in the cold.
 

Brett tells us:

"Ron keeps getting reelected, term after term, in spite of his own party trying over and over to replace him. Rand ends up winning a primary the party meant somebody else to win. "

Dr. A. Rand Paul's response with respect to the BP problem in the Gulf of Mexico was that accidents happen. Perhaps that's the case with the Pauls' wins.

And just how large is that "large fraction" of the conservative base that is frozen in the late 18th century? Oh for the days of laissez faire, when men were men, women couldn't vote and slaves were property.
 

Here's the closing graph of Jonah Goldberg's column in today's (5/25/10) in the LATimes titled "Rand Paul's Civil Rights Act comments revisited:"

"Liberals often deride the libertarian notion that the free market could have solved segregation. I think libertarians have a pretty good argument in theory, but the simple truth is we'll never know because the market wasn't free under Jim Crow. Nonetheless, it's certainly repugnant and bizarre for libertarians like Paul to lament the lost rights of bigots rather than to rejoice at the restored rights of integrationists."

Jonah is a whale of a conservative but even he is a-Paul-ed. And so is George Will.
 

"Dr. A. Rand Paul's response with respect to the BP problem in the Gulf of Mexico was that accidents happen."

And your rebuttal would be, what? "No, they don't."?

"Nonetheless, it's certainly repugnant and bizarre for libertarians like Paul to lament the lost rights of bigots rather than to rejoice at the restored rights of integrationists."

Yes, as bizarre as protecting the rights of Nazi marchers in Skokie, instead of those of the people they were marching past. The rights of bigots are the rights of everybody, and if you allow the rights of bigots to be taken away, you'll find you've allowed everybody's rights to be taken away.
 

Brett says:

"The rights of bigots are the rights of everybody, and if you allow the rights of bigots to be taken away, you'll find you've allowed everybody's rights to be taken away."

suggesting that he is possibly a bigot. I agree that Brett has a right to be a bigot as does Dr. A. Rand Paul, with the full benefit of the First Amendment's speech clause, as in the case of the Skokie Nazis. Let's give a "Seig Heil!" to Brett.

As to Brett's take on "accidents happen," yes they do. But that doesn't mean that fault - liability - cannot be attached to such accidents. It may turn out that under theories of strict liability, BP et al may be legally liable for damages, just as Dr. Paul may be responsible legally for an accident happening in the course of his providing a patient with laser surgery.
 

[BDP]: Newt is running for President and IMHO is doing precisely what he needs to do to get nominated.

An opportunist as always. Figures he'll sucker the rubes again, and has reeled in BDP hook, line, and sinker. Hoping from another knobbie in his limousine ... this time from the American public. Pathetic.

Cheers,
 

To get back on topic, check out the WaPo editorial today (5/29/10) applauding the decision of U of VA to challenge the VA AG's witch hunt. This should warm things up in VA.
 

To get back off-topic, it is surprising to me that none of the Balkin Bloggers has posted on Justice Souter's Harvard commencement address on the role of Justices/Judges in interpreting the Constitution. Those interested can Google the Harvard Crimson. Souter does not use the words "originalism" or "living constitutionalism" as he illustrates with the Pentagon Papers and Brown v. Board of Education cases.
 

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