"There are only two ways of telling the complete truth—anonymously and posthumously."Thomas Sowell

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

My Post on CONLAWPROF on Professor Christine Blasey's Allegations Against Judge Kavanaugh

[Dear Professor _____]

Could you explain what specific details pushed you to conclude that the Professor Blasey's ( https://www.paloaltou.edu/faculty/christine-blasey ) allegations are not merely "detailed," but "highly detailed," and not merely "credible," but "extremely credible"? 



Seth Barrett Tillman, My Post on CONLAWPROF on Professor Christine Blasey's Allegations Against Judge Kavanaugh, New Reform Club (Sept. 18, 2018, 3:51 AM), https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2018/09/my-post-on-conlawprof-on-professor.html

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Tillman Interview

Demography—it’s an important issue. It may very well be the defining issue of our time. The demographic implosion of the Western world—people just aren’t having kids.

I remember when PD James’ novel, Children of Men, came out: we laughed. It was sci-fi, a dystopian future with no real implications, but the truth is we are now living in such a culture.

The whole social welfare system—especially Social Security in the U.S.—was built on the presumption there would be a pyramid in terms of workers—fewer people going into retirement than coming into the working world.

The pensions (or quasi-pensions) that the state created would be supported by an ever growing population. That presumption has been proved wrong. That will put a strain on or perhaps cause the collapse of the budgets of Western governments or the implosion of many local authorities. There just aren’t the taxpayers.

What the governments are quietly doing is embracing open immigration to bring new people in to replace the people that they thought they’d have, but don’t have. I think it’s the driving force why the elites want so much immigration. It’s not that they care about the newcomers or dislike their own citizens, it’s that they don’t have enough people.

That’s one reason why we’re not seeing children of prominent politicians. Politicians are reflecting wider society, which is not to have children. One of the reasons so many women are actively getting IVF and other procedures is because they’re waiting late in life.

Just a few decades ago, by the time women were 40, the kids were grown up. Now people are delaying having children until the woman is 40. But it is difficult to conceive then and the state puts up the cost of the IVF and they have only one kid. The idea of having two children—and being at replacement level—or three or four childrenis lost on wider society.

There are even greater incentives on politicians: they get no credit for having children in that whatever fault of the child is ascribed to the parent. That can hurt them politically. The only way to get away with having children as a politician is to have an infant—so the child can’t screw up.

That’s why Cameron got away with it: his children were really young. God forbid you have a kid who uses marijuana or commits a crime: it’s the end of your career. I’m not surprised in the strong competition for political office, the advantage goes to the person without children. One of the interesting things about Trump is he has got a lot of kids. That didn’t hurt him at all with the sort of people who live in the key states he was trying to win.

Not having children is reflecting a large part of wider society delaying marriage, delaying having children, or not having children at all or putting it off until you’re infertile. It’s not where Western society was even a short time ago.


Seth Barrett Tillman, Tillman Interview, New Reform Club (Sept. 16, 2018, 1:49 PM), https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2018/09/tillman-interview.html

Friday, September 07, 2018

Unpolitical Animals

Harvard's Robert Putnam, in his famous work of political science Bowling Alone, observed Americans have transitioned (progressed?) from true "democratic deliberation" through actual, human contact among communities, to the more symbolic, impersonal political engagement of the last several decades:
"'Nationalization and professionalization have redefined the role of citizen activist as, increasingly, a writer of checks and letters,'..."

But if you're not a man of letters, or if the checking account is a little lean, don't feel left out! Just tell us to what address shall we deliver your democratic deliberation uniform?

The more Putnam-spirited local activist group in my city used to be quite active, but presented with modern options many residents have chosen to send their business to Facebook, who serves the public's grousing needs with more slickness and facility, but, in my view, with the approximate effectiveness of a giant protest condom. Our mayor confirmed for me this feckless politics of digital pecking and clicking suited politicians' preferences just fine when I met with him about a program our group was urging, but which I knew the mayor did not support. "How about," he scoffed, "you just do a SurveyMonkey?" 

Surveys, Facebook comments, petitions, none of these are probative of any real political engagement, or of any real social capital, or of any shared interest in finding answers to the problems that face us. "Neither force, nor argument, nor opinion...are thinking," wrote T.H. White, speaking through Merlyn in the Arthurian epic The Once and Future King. "At present, however, Homo impoliticus is content either to argue with opinions or to fight with his fists, instead of waiting for the truth in his head. It will take a million years, before the mass of men can be called political animals."

There was a fine example of how the modern protest culture forebodes the end of thought in 1993 when a feminist in Maryland raised a fuss over the motto on the official stationery: "Fatti maschii, parole femme," which translates as, "Manly deeds, womanly words." The crisis was neatly averted, however, by simply changing, by legal fiat, the official translation to "Strong deeds, gentle words." No need for democratic deliberation, historical analysis, etymological exegesis, or indeed any thought of any kind whatever. Protesters created a problem, such as it was, and government, without the need to bother the general public with it, simply legislated it out of existence.

Rather a nice cottage industry, that. Might look for more ways, you may be tempted to think if you are in government, to avoid democratic deliberation, all due respect to Bob Putnam.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Some Reflections on Trump and his North Korean Condominiums

For the last seven years, my family and I have lived in Ireland. So for the most part, my children have grown up abroad. That has had some lasting effects. The history they study at school is Irish history, European history, and Western history—it is not focused on American history, except insofar as American history impinges on the greater world. The French & Indian War (as I learned it) is taught as the Seven Years War, or the Pomeranian War, or the Third Silesian War, and occasionally as the First “World” War. Likewise, when I was their age, my family vacations—along the East Coast (of the U.S.)—was peppered with visits to Revolutionary War and Civil War battlefields, cemeteries, museums, and re-enactments. Not so for my children—America is too far away. We take our modest vacations in nearby Great Britain and Europe. But still we do what we can. This year we visited Bayeux. We saw the tapestry—not quite American history. We also visited Normandy—its museums, cemeteries, and, of course, its beaches.

On Omaha Beach, the French have put up two monuments—one traditional and one more modern. The beach itself is open and used. People traverse the beach and dip their feet in its cold water. Small children play in the sand. There is ample parking for tourists. There are places to buy souvenirs. And not so distant from the epicentre of the beach and its monuments—people have private homes. Maybe some of those homes are condominiums—I don’t know. What this means is that at some point, temporally and geographically, the mourning and the monuments must run out. Yes, the dead are buried. But the earth belongs in usufruct to the living.

At the outbreak of the Korean conflict, MacArthur believed the U.S. should engage in total war and defeat North Korea and its communist allies. For better or worse, his advice was rejected by the political authorities. Since then, more than half a century of containment has failedmiserably. The only path that remains open to us to wean the North Korean state off totalitarianism is peace. That could mean (among other possibilities) that North Koreans will need attractive homes (like the French at Normandy) and tourists (like the French at Normandy)—and that they should exploit that bit of the earth that is (North) Korea’s. For all the sacrifice of the Americans and others who fell at Normandy, I would not sneer at the French for living in attractive homes in their own country and doing business with tourists. For the very same reasons, we should not sneer at North Koreans should they choose to abandon barb wire and making instruments of war in order to build condominiums. Not only should we not sneer, we should applaud their doing so.

People sneered at Trump for telling Kim Jung-un to build condominiums on North Korea’s beaches. They were wrong; Trump was right.


Seth Barrett Tillman, Some Reflections on Trump and his North Korean Condominiums, New Reform Club (Sept. 4, 2018, 4:15 AM), https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2018/09/some-reflections-on-trump-and-his-north.html.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

My Post on CONLAWPROF: On Elected Judges and Elected Prosecutors

It strikes me that the complaint against judicial elections (as voiced on this listserv) is rooted in the absence of life tenure -- not elections per se. You could have elections filling judicial vacancies -- but with the candidates' receiving life tenure. And you could have appointments by political authorities to fixed and limited judicial terms -- with the possibility of reappointment. The threat to the rule of law (such as it is), lies with the prospective candidate for reelection/reappointment to judicial office biasing his/her decision for self-interested reasons. But that conflict of interest will appear whenever you have terms of limited duration with the possibility of reelection/reappointment. It is not elections per se that create the conflict.

Another solution to the conflict is to use either elections or appointment for fixed and limited terms -- but to preclude second or subsequent terms in judicial office (or, at least, to the same judicial post). 

I wonder if any might agree with the following proposed reform -- which is somewhat tangential to the discussion above.... U.S. attorneys (i.e., federal prosecutors) posts might only be filled with people at the end of their careers in private practice or in government. That is, former U.S. attorneys should be precluded from thereafter taking on both any federal judicial position (if not any appointed federal position) and any elected federal position. [I expect that any such reform would require a constitutional amendment.] I'd like to see prosecutorial discretion vested in those who are not thinking about the horizon of the next election or the next judicial appointment. If such a reform were passed, I expect the U.S. attorneys posts would fall to retiring federal (and state) judges, senators, governors, and, perhaps, very senior DOJ officials and other law officers in the civil service, professors, and members of the bar--all people who would be willing to give up a future career in regard to elective positions. If the feeling on this listserv is that (elected) judges are biased by elections--doesn't it make good sense to remove prosecutors from the orbit of such elections? 

Seth Barrett Tillman, My Post on CONLAWPROF: On Elected Judges and Elected Prosecutors, New Reform Club (Aug. 26, 2018, 9:21 AM), https://tinyurl.com/yd3q3ou8 

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

My Bertie Wooster Moment

After using the beach prior to sunrise, and after seeing the below-sea-level aquarium, I decided to leave Eilat. My time there was not exactly propitious. On arrival, I called one of the city’s two chief rabbis and asked what restaurants were kosher. I was told: “none.” So I left. I headed north—there was only one road in that direction. I was on my way to Safed. It was Friday, 9 AM. I had a full tank of gas—and I was in a black suit wearing sunglasses. Really. I was on my way to an arranged date to take place before sundown. But I never got there; I never made it to that date.

I was driving a new Subaru. A rental car. The sun was out, and it was hot—hot as only a desert could be hot. I was going about 90 mph, maybe 100, and I had a blow out. My car exited the safety of the raised road. In effect, I flew off a small cliff. It all happened so fast. It was over in what felt like an instant. And then the car landed, luckily, right side up. Thinking that my gas tank might be punctured, I exited the car hastily—not that there was much left of it. All the tires flattened. All the windows fractured in 1000s of pieces. A total wreck. I was fine—just the smallest cut on my left hand. A scar I still have. I was fine, not one broken bone or damaged organ. There was nothing left of the car. I fished out my kit from the wreck—all intact.

If I ever go by that spot, I have to say Hallel there.

The only other vehicle on the road nearby was an Egged tour bus. It was full of German tourists. Really. I am not making this up. I was befriended by a German nurse who took my pulse. The tourists all thought it was a miracle that I survived. The driver said: “If you could do that again, go to Hollywood as a stuntman.”

The driver offered me a ride to Masada. From there I would call the rental car agency, and get a new car, or, at least, a way back to a settled abode before sundown. I called the rental company. I told them I was at Masada, and that I’d need a replacement car, “as there had been some damage to their property.” Could they bring me a new car? It was about 11 AM, and they hoped to come by 2 to 4 pm.

When they picked up the car, they recognized that it was totalled. No chance of repair. It was then that I had an epiphany—which I’d like to share with you. It is the sort of thing Bertie Wooster might say to Jeeves. If you return a rental car so damaged that it cannot be repaired, you don’t have to (and, indeed, you cannot) fill up the gas tank when you return it. The incentives do not make any sense—but that is the world we live in.

Seth Barrett Tillman, My Bertie Wooster Moment, New Reform Club (Aug. 7, 2018, 12:08 PM), (https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2018/08/my-bertie-wooster-moment.html

Rocky & Racism

I was about thirteen years old when Rocky came out. I saw it during the summer, while in sleepaway camp—in a camp trip to the town movie theatre in Warrensburg, New York. I did not know much (actually—anything) about boxing. Still, I am sure I could have followed the basic plot had I been on my own. But I wasn’t on my own. Most of the camp counselors (who were with us in the theatre) were from Slippery Rock, and they were studying to be school gym teachers and college coaches. They were good guys, and they knew everything about things like boxing. So during the movie, I had a running commentary as to the details from a counselor.

Summer ended. We went home. And in pretty short order there were all sorts of reviews that Rocky was about race. The great white hope. A movie only racists could love. Here is Joe Queenan in The Guardian:

Cheerfully moronic, imbued with an almost infantile racism to which Stallone and the film's enthusiasts have long purported to be oblivious, Rocky lionizes a small-time South Philly hood who somehow manages to wangle a bout with the reigning heavyweight champion of the world, and thereupon gives him the fight of his life. The champion, Apollo Creed, is a motor-mouthed African-American punk who shows no respect for America, much less the flag; he is transparently a stand-in for Muhammad Ali, who, though sainted and adored now, was in those days reviled by a substantial percentage of white Americans, particularly old school Caucasian fight fans. (Joe Queenan, America’s great white hope?, The Guardian, https://tinyurl.com/y7wxb6g3).

Just about everything is wrong about the statement above. Apollo Creed was not portrayed as a “punk.” He was the champion. He was a boxer—who was so much better than his peers that he found difficulty finding contenders. When he could not find a contender, it was his idea to create one: giving “a local Philadelphia boy a shot at the greatest title in the world.” What this shows is that Creed was not just raw strength—he was a thinker. And that’s the truth too many of our movies never put forward about professional sports—athletes and their coaches are thinkers.

The remaining claims are similarly false. There was nothing about Creed that showed a lack of respect for America or its flag. As to Rocky, he did not “wangle” his way to getting the bout with Creed. It was handed to Rocky—a result which was wholly unexpected (from Rocky’s point of view) and wholly undeserved (ditto). Most of Rocky was about his transforming himself to make himself worthy of the shot fate (and Creed) had gifted him.

Then there is the racism charge. What is meant by an “almost infantile racism.” If it is “almost infantile,” does that mean that it is adult-like, or does it mean “almost racist,” as in not racist? Plain and simple: Queenan is a race huckster. The natural consequence of such race hucksterism is to make producers and others afraid to make movies with a diverse cast.

Still, I used to (sometimes) wonder—did I root for Rocky because he was the underdog, or because he looked more like me than Creed? I always thought it was the former, but now I am sure. Here is why.

Have you seen the Ip Man martial arts series starring Donnie Yen? Here is a link to Ip Man 2, where Ip Man fights Twister—the stand-in for British boxing. The fight is cast as a confrontation between East and West, martial arts and Western boxing, the champion and the underdog. I know that I was rooting for Ip Man, and I am not Chinese. I suspect that most people (including most Caucasian people) in British theatres (that is, in the country next door) were doing much the same—even though Twister is draped in a Union Jack.

It might be irrational to root for underdogs. Maybe underdogs don’t deserve our good will. But giving them our good will and support isn’t rooted in racism. It transcends race. I rooted for Ip Man. Rocky was never about race. Case closed.

Seth Barrett Tillman, Rocky & Racism, New Reform Club (Aug. 7, 2018, 7:06 AM), ( https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2018/08/rocky-racism.html )

Friday, July 27, 2018

What is the "Privilege" of the Writ of Habeas Corpus?

Seth Barrett Tillman, Merryman Redux: A Response to Professor John Yoo, 22 Chap. L. Rev(forth. 2018–19) (manuscript at 4 n.12), https://ssrn.com/abstract=3213353

The Constitution states: “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” U.S. Const. art. I, § 9, cl. 2 (emphasis added). President Lincoln’s order, issued on April 27, 1861, only purported to give General Scott authority “to suspend the writ of habeas corpus.” See 6 Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, 1860–1861, at 258, 258 (John G. Nicolay & John Hay eds., N.Y., The Lamb Publishing Co. new ed. 1894) (reproducing Lincoln’s order); Seth Barrett Tillman, Ex parte Merryman: Myth, History, and Scholarship, 224 Mil. L. Rev. 481, 527 & n.116 (2016) (peer reviewed), http://ssrn.com/abstract=2646888. But in his July 4, 1861 message to Congress, Lincoln recharacterized his prior order as permitting suspension of the “privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.” 6 Complete Works, supra, at 297, 308–09 (emphasis omitted) (emphasis added). The difference between suspending the writ and suspending the privilege of the writ is night-and-day. See, e.g., Ex parte Milligan, 71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 2, 130–31 (1866) (Davis, J., for a unanimous Court) (“The suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus does not suspend the writ itself.” (emphasis added)); see also, e.g., Ex parte Benedict, 3 F. Cas. 159, 174 (N.D.N.Y. 1862) (No. 1292) (Hall, J.) (“Such a suspension may prevent the prisoner’s discharge; but it leaves untouched the question of the illegality of his arrest, imprisonment, and deportation. If these are unlawful, the marshal and others engaged in these arrests are liable in damages in a civil prosecution; such damages to be assessed by a jury of the country.”). It is not particularly surprising that these distinctions are no longer understood, as this and much else relating to the Constitution’s original public meaning was forgotten even as early as Lincoln’s day, and, in regard to a few constitutional provisions and language, sometimes far earlier. But it is curious how few even notice there is a puzzle to be solved and a past to be explained. But see William Baude, The Judgment Power, 96 Geo. L.J. 1807, 1853 n.255 (2008) (pointing out the same textual distinction regarding the “privilege” of the writ and the writ itself, but not resolving the distinction); but cf. Peter William Bautz, Lincoln’s Long Shadow: Recreating the Legal Debate over Habeas Corpus, 1861–1863 passim (Master’s Thesis, University of Virginia, Department of History, 2018), https://tinyurl.com/y96uy8ys (collecting some early authorities addressing the distinction).

My view is that suspension of the evidentiary privilege of the writ of habeas corpus precludes a court (or even an Executive Branch officer) from taking cognizance of a party’s pleading (or invoking) the writ (once granted to that party by that court or any other court of record) in subsequent contempt and enforcement proceedings (and, perhaps, in other collateral and ancillary proceedings). E.g., Merryman II (granting an order to serve an attachment for contempt where the defendant failed to produce the prisoner-plaintiff). Suspending the writ (as opposed to suspending the privilege of the writ) precludes a court from granting the writ, on the merits, in the first instance. E.g., Merryman I (i.e., an ex parte habeas order to produce a prisoner), or a Merryman III-like order (i.e., a habeas order to release a prisoner—albeit, of course, this did not actually happen in Merryman). When both the writ and/or the privilege of the writ are suspended, federal courts (having general federal question jurisdiction) will still have jurisdiction to determine if the suspension or suspensions themselves are constitutional—unless Congress has validly stripped the federal courts of jurisdiction to do so. The scope of Congress’s power to engage in such jurisdiction stripping is a complex subject, and one well beyond the scope of this Article. See generally Edward A. Hartnett, The Constitutional Puzzle of Habeas Corpus, 46 B.C. L. Rev. 251, 289 (2005). Recently, the Suspension Clause has received renewed interest and full-length treatment in books…but the meaning of the clause’s text…its actual words…they remain largely an undiscovered country. See generally, e.g., Amanda L. Tyler, Habeas Corpus in Wartime: From the Tower of London to Guantanamo Bay (2017). But see Baude, supra at 1853 n.255; but cf. Bautz, supra passim. I have put down some truly remarkable support for this position in another paper which this Response to Professor John Yoo is too small to contain. (I submitted a prior draft of this lengthy footnote as my abstract to the Tenth Annual Originalism Works-in-Progress Conference. See Tenth Annual Hugh & Hazel Darling Foundation Originalism Works-in-Progress Conference, University of San Diego School of Law (last accessed July 27, 2018), http://www.sandiego.edu/events/law/detail.php?_focus=66934.)


Seth Barrett Tillman, What is the Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus?, New Reform Club (July 27, 2018, 2:41 AM), 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Tillman on the Judicial Backlog and Transparency in the Irish Judicial System

Tillman-authored Materials on the Court of Appeal and Transparency in the Superior Courts of Ireland                                                                                  

Seth Barrett Tillman, Court of Appeal: ‘The new court has failed to meet expectations, Journal.ie (July 26, 2018), http://jrnl.ie/4144580http://ssrn.com/abstract=3216200;

Seth Barrett Tillman, Op. Ed. (Thunderer), Court of Appeal failure should fuel reform of judiciaryThe Times (Irish edn.), July 26, 2018, 12:01 AM, https://tinyurl.com/yb2qb8dc;

Seth Barrett Tillman, Letter to the Editor, Court BacklogThe Irish Times, July 23, 2018, 12:02 AM, at 13, https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/court-backlog-1.3572788;

Seth Barrett Tillman, The Court of Appeal Backlog, 35(15) Irish Law Times 206–08 (2017), http://ssrn.com/abstract=2996405;

Seth Barrett Tillman, Has the Irish Court of Appeal Solved the Judicial Backlog? Can it?, 34(14) Irish Law Times 210–12 (2016), http://ssrn.com/abstract=2816458;

Seth Barrett Tillman, Opinion Editorial, Court of Appeal just a new version of Supreme Court—only more costly, The Irish Times (July 28, 2014, 1:30 AM), Business & Innovation at 7, http://ssrn.com/abstract=2465554http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/court-of-appeal-just-a-new-version-of-supreme-court-only-more-costly-1.1874746; and,

Seth Barrett Tillman, Opinion Editorial, Time to Open Courts and Let Justice Be SeenThe Irish Independent, August 22, 2012, 17:00 pm, at A14, http://tinyurl.com/bsy9789.

Quoted In:
Mark Tighe, Flanagan sees the appeal of more judgesThe Sunday Times (Irish edn.), July 22, 2018, at 8, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/ireland/flanagan-sees-the-appeal-of-more-judges-rbxgbdpxs;

Mark Tighe, Flanagan sees the appeal of more judgesThe Sunday Times (July 22, 2018, 12:01 AM), https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/ireland/flanagan-sees-the-appeal-of-more-judges-rbxgbdpxs;

Willie Penrose TD (Labour Party, Longford-Westmeath), Dail Debate on the Judicial Appointments Bill 2016: Second Stage, Houses of the Oireachtas (Oct. 26, 2016), http://tinyurl.com/hqsvdeq (at 41:50ff) (discussing Tillman’s academic research);

Micheál Martin TD (Leader of the Opposition, Fianna Fail party, Cork South Central) in Dáil debates, Kildare Street (Oct. 18, 2016, 2:05 PM), https://tinyurl.com/jm4lbzs, http://tinyurl.com/zhnsw5w (quoting Tillman); 

Leading Article, The Legal Limit; Ireland’s courts system needs to be less like an academic common room and more like a busy branch of McDonaldsThe Times (Irish edn.), Sept. 27, 2016, 12:01 AM, http://tinyurl.com/zymmkow;

Mark Tighe, Supreme Court clears five-year backlogThe Sunday Times, Sept. 25, 2016, 12:01 AM, at News, at 10, http://tinyurl.com/hfnxlt2;

Connor Gallagher, Court of Appeal backlog ‘could take over a decade to clear’The Irish Times, Sept. 19, 2016, at 6, http://tinyurl.com/jdnqfkn;

Mark Tighe & Catherine Sanz, Half of cases overturned on appealThe Sunday Times (Irish edn.), Sept. 18, 2016, at 1–2, http://tinyurl.com/hvl3x3x;

Mark Tighe & Catherine Sanz, How we scraped for data on appeal decisionsThe Sunday Times (Irish edn.), Sept. 18, 2016, at 6;

Leanna Byrne, Backlog building at new Court of AppealThe Sunday Business Post, Dec. 28, 2014;

Leanna Byrne, An Appealing Prospect? The new court aims to improve efficiency, but critics are doubtfulThe Sunday Business Post, Nov. 2, 2014, at 20;

Mattie McGrath TD, Press Release, Court of Appeal Act will only entrench systemic delays, July 30, 2014;

Declan Lynch, Foresight beats hindsight in any raceThe Sunday Independent, Oct. 13, 2013, at 14;

Niamh Lyons, Now let’s see real reform of SeanadIrish Daily Mail, Oct. 7, 2013, at 6–7;

Colin Gleeson, How The Referendum Campaigns Unfolded: A brief history of the Seanad abolition and Court of Appeal referendumsThe Irish Times, Oct. 5, 2013, http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/how-the-referendum-campaigns-unfolded-1.1551693;

Mike Dwane, Supreme Court case delays ‘unsustainable’, says Chief JusticeLimerick Leader, Oct. 3, 2013;

Mark Tighe, Jobs For The Boys? The imminent referendum on whether to establish an appeal court has sparked fears the Justice Minister will put supporters on the benchThe Sunday Times, Sept. 22, 2013, at 10;

Ruadhan Mac Cormaic, Shatter arguments for Court of Appeal ‘incoherent’, says law lecturerThe Irish Times, Sept. 16, 2013, at 6, http://tinyurl.com/mqcxqp9http://ssrn.com/abstract=2326071; and,

Kieron Wood, Business of Law, Open Democracy Requires Free Media Access to Court DocumentsThe Sunday Business Post, July 14, 2013, at n21.


Seth Barrett Tillman, Tillman on the Judicial Backlog and Transparency in the Irish Judicial SystemNew Reform Club (July 26, 2018, 5:43 AM), https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2018/07/tillman-on-judicial-backlog-and.html.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

CONLAWPROF: A Post on Nativists and White Supremacists

Got it. It is all clear now.

You wrote: “It is a bald racial appeal to [Trump’s] white supremacist, nativist base.”

When you wrote the above, you were not saying that Trump’s base is made of “white supremacist[s]” and “nativist[s]”. Instead you were speaking to that part of Trump’s base which is “white supremacist” and “nativist”. It is really obvious from context—except that it is not. And your after-the-fact, clarification is very helpful. And we should also generously ascribe the best interpretation we can to your original and revised statements.

Of course . . . don’t do any of this close textual parsing of ambiguous language for Trump, and don’t look to his after-the-fact clarifications. That would be totally crazy. Makes no sense. Totally different. Of course, we should a hold a businessperson-turned-politician to a stricter standard than a [legal] academic. See Trump, Academia, and Hyperbole, http://reformclub.blogspot.com/2016/08/trump-academia-and-hyperbole.html. Makes complete sense.

By the way . . . throw me a bone here . . . you are now saying you were only speaking to part of Trump’s base. How big a part do you (and Professor X) think that segment of Trump’s base is? Does it include Trump’s Hispanic voters (maybe some 20% of the Hispanic vote) and his African-American voters (maybe some 10% of the African-American vote). And if it does not include them, exactly who is left in that base that you are calling nativist, etc? Who?

Throw me a bone. What precisely do you and Professor X (now) mean?


Seth Barrett Tillman, CONLAWPROF: A Post on Nativists and White Supremacists, New Reform Club (July 19, 2018, 6:05 PM), https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2018/07/conlawprof-post-on-nativists-and-white.html 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

My Post on CONLAWPROF: my response to a discussion about removing Trump from office

Professor X:

I think you are confusing apples and oranges. 

What I said was that “removal was one thing”. We can have a debate about what constitutes good reasons for removal, and what political process best accommodates a needed removal. We can talk about whether we have reached a level of existential crisis such that a political actor could go beyond the regular bounds of the legal system to accommodate an exceptional situation. I believe that back in 1868, a Representative or Senator could have rightly voted to impeach and convict President Johnson (that is, consistent with his oath to uphold the Constitution). But the country survived Johnson and the Reconstruction programme blossomed under Republican majorities and subsequently under President Grant. So maybe I am wrong about the impeachment of Johnson. We can talk about whether we face a crisis of similar magnitude under Trump. 

But that debate (in my opinion) should not involve loose talk about concepts from the criminal law. Eg: “aid and comfort”. The only thing you’ll accomplish going down that road is to produce confusion in Congress, in the courts, and in the public mind. If you are lucky, it will start and end with mere confusion. If you are unlucky, such a strategy will yield speech crimes, speech monitors, and a speech police. The game is not worth the candle. 

Presidents are citizens too. They are allowed to have views—even controversial ones—including ones about which the President’s opponents disagree. If you are going to argue that the President’s expressing otherwise lawful speech about policy is a reason for removal, then I might add that that position is not precisely in tune with what a great many Americans believe about their political and legal inheritance. 

If your dispute with Trump and your call for his removal are based on policy (and his language about policy), rather than about discrete factual predicates amounting to legal violations, then you should eschew the language of the criminal law and push forward with debates (in this forum and elsewhere) about the prospective dangers you think Trump is creating or the harms he has already caused. But as I said, the country survived Johnson. To the extent that the argument against Trump is based on his saying stuff you think outrageous, I think the country will survive his talking big. I would also add that Trump has done little (as I see it) which substantially departs from his campaign statements—so a removal based on political disagreement about the expected consequences of policy is not going to be one with a strong democratic justification. 

Technical point: It may be that deporting foreigners is not a criminal punishment, but exiling/banishing/deporting Americans who are in the country legally would seem to me to amount to a violation of a 14th Amendment liberty interest. This brings up an important cultural divide in America today (and not just in America, but across the Western world). Many of Trump’s supporters see the elites as being indifferent between their fellow citizens and foreigners. I ask you not to prove them correct. 


Seth Barrett Tillman, My Post on CONLAWPROF: my response to a discussion about removing Trump from office, New Reform Club (July 17, 2018, 9:04 AM), https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2018/07/my-post-on-conlawprof-my-response-to.html

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Poland's Judicial Crisis: My Post on CONLAWPROF

I am just going to note that many societies have had disputes about how best to manage and appoint an independent judiciary. Perhaps the most well known such incident in the U.S. involved the 1801 Judiciary Act, Adams' midnight judges, the Repeal Act, and the 1802 Judiciary Act--culminating in Stuart v Laird (1803), which (according to the standard histories) upheld the power of Congress to abolish lower federal courts notwithstanding that the judges on those courts had good behaviour tenure. 

A less well known American incident involving the manipulation of the courts by the elected government took place during the Civil War...when Congress abolished the (federal) Circuit Court for D.C circa 1863. Why was this done? To get rid of troublesome Judge Merrick. Merrick was an Article III judge, and Lincoln had already stopped his pay! Merrick was using habeas corpus to let people out of the army during war time! See Murphy v. Porter (1861). So his court (along with his colleagues) had to go to save the country. Of course the "people" Merrick sought to remove from the Army were apparently legally still children who had volunteered and lied about their age in order to enlist--thereby separating themselves from their parents, who brought habeas corpus actions to retire their children from further Army service. 

I have read lots of histories of these events--some contemporaneous and some modern. I don't remember anyone using the language of "purge". I must have missed that. And notwithstanding the intervention by the elected arms of the government manipulating the judicial system, our country went on nicely absent any apparent authoritarian turn. (Unless of course, you think Jefferson and Lincoln were authoritarians.)

Arrayed against the policy of the elected government of Poland (which ran for election twice on this policy) is: the EU Commission (not elected), the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (not elected), the Council of Europe / Venice Commission (not elected), and any number of Polish judges -- all appointed by a process wholly insulated from democratic control. But I repeat myself. 

I cannot prove this, but I expect if during our domestic squabbles involving the elected arms of the government manipulating the federal courts (circa 1802, and again circa 1863, or even today in relation to court packing) a bunch of international organisations told us what to do, such interventions would not have been (and will not be in the future) very welcomed, and might very well have made (and will make in the future) normal political compromise less likely.

"Purge". If you want more Trump ... but I repeat myself.


Seth Barrett Tillman, Poland's Judicial Crisis: My Post on CONLAWPROF, New Reform Club (July 4, 2018, 1:49 PM), https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2018/07/polands-judicial-crisis-my-post-on.html

Friday, June 29, 2018

I trust science. Scientists, not so much.

On a major Vision of the Anointed, anthropomorphic
global warming climate change, a Nobel laureate in physics includes himself out:
Dr. Ivar Giaever, a former professor with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the 1973 winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, abruptly announced his resignation Tuesday, Sept. 13, from the premier physics society in disgust over its officially stated policy that “global warming is occurring.”
The official position of the American Physical Society (APS) supports the theory that man’s actions have inexorably led to the warming of the planet, through increased emissions of carbon dioxide.
Giaever was cooled to the statement on warming theory by a line claiming that “the evidence is inconvertible.”
“In the APS it is ok to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?”
Now, I’d like to use a “mainsteam” source for this instead of Fox, but a google doesn’t show any of them reporting it yet. Perhaps The New York Times will mention it in its own good time, but regardless, we should not expect a fawning tribute to Dr. Giaever in the NYT Magazine, as the brave rebel who gave the intellectual finger to the reigning academic Powers That Be.
The Leviathan of the Anointed has two heads, the academic establishment and the traditional media, a synchronized one-two bite that’s impressively deadly to its foes: one plays the game and the other prints the box scores, where the good guys always win.
I had an interesting exchange with an academician recently, the author of a new book for the Harvard University Press presumably on history, but really appears to be a Coulter-style polemic [sans wit and originality] against the fundamentalist Religious Right, therefore against the right, therefore against the GOP, therefore Vote Democrat. We Anointed-watchers are already familiar with this script. Even street-fighter James Carville knows the lines by heart:
“…these creationism-loving, global-warming-denying, immigration-bashing, Social-Security-cutting, clean-air-hating, mortality-fascinated, Wall-Street-protecting Republicans running my country.”
The rhetorical tactic is that creationism [on which the academy is surely correct] is leveraged into the self-evident truth of the academy’s other left-liberal positions on everything else: ecology, sociology, sexuality, history. Policy.
I recently declined an invitation into the tall weeds of the AGW debate; two commenters accepted it and spent hours and hours of research and cut-and-paste to the net effect of zero. So I decline again–my point then and now is that the Anointed have squandered the public trust on all these issues, with their claims that “the case is closed” and the strong-arming of their critics under cover of scholarly authority.
No surprise, then, that one recent poll found “69 percent of those polled believe it’s at least somewhat likely that some scientists have falsified research data in order to support their own theories and beliefs. Just 6 percent felt confident enough to report that such falsification was “not at all likely.”
Another poll found that 57% of Americans trust the media to report “fully, accurately and fairly” not very much or not at all. The Great Unwashed may be dumb, but they ain’t blind.
Our civic problem remains epistemological: that’s why we can barely have an adult discussion across ideological lines anymore. It’s my opinion that the Anointed of the academy and the media have betrayed their trust by their tactics. Whether or not that opinion is true, what’s a fact is that they have lost their trust and authority with a strong majority of the American public, and that’s the name of this tune.
Me, I don’t think academic alphabet soup after one’s name or a byline in the NYT liberates anyone from the bias and shading of the argument that we’re all prone to.
Because The Anointed are human beings, too. Sort of.