Everything you say can and will be used against you.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Good Lawyers & Good Books: My Personal Difficulties During the Recent Hamilton-Signatures Dispute

Some of you may be aware of my personal difficulties during the recent Hamilton-signatures dispute. Although the Emoluments Clauses cases will go on, and the issues I raised in my briefs are yet to be litigated (assuming that those issues are ever litigated), no one (I think) now objects to my characterization of the two Hamilton-related reports: the authentic Hamilton-signed 1793 report, and the post-1820 scrivener’s copy.

You might think that I overcame my opponents’ objections armed with little more than reason and good sense. You might very well think that…but I can comment—you’d be wrong to think that.

In addition to family and some particularly loyal friends, bloggers, and New Reform Club co-bloggers, I was aided at every step by good lawyering and good advice from Professor Josh Blackman (South Texas College of Law) and from Robert W. Ray, Esq. (Thompson & Knight LLP). More recently, Carrie Severino, Esq., from the Judicial Education Project, joined my briefs, and team Tillman was additionally aided by Jan I. Berlage, Esq. (Gohn Hankey Stichel & Berlage LLP). Just imagine the difficulties they all overcame—a novel constitutional theory & having Seth Barrett Tillman as a client! Nothing would have happened without their diligent work in three different district courts.

There is another group deserving of my thanks. My 5 experts: Professor Kenneth R. Bowling, John P. Kaminski, Ph.D., Professor Stephen F. Knott, Professor Robert W.T. Martin, and Michael E. Newton. (Links to their declarations are here: http://joshblackman.com/blog/2017/09/20/new-filings-in-the-emoluments-clause-litigation/.)

These five experts did a very brave thing. They knowingly took on the cause of historical truth in spite of the fact that a social media mob had already descended on me, and in spite of the fact that they don’t (as far as I know) have any particular love for the administration. (Indeed, one of them loathes the President, but nevertheless took on this project because it was the right thing to do.) They have all written extensively on Hamilton, the Constitution, the Founding Era, and/or the Early Republic. As a personal favor to me, and if you value what has been accomplished to date, I would ask you to buy their books. If you cannot buy a book or two, please ask your local library or university library to do so. Of course, cite to their publications in your articles and elsewhere. That’s a valuable thing too. If you want honesty in our courts, in legal practice, and in the wider intellectual marketplace of ideas, then honest researchers have to be able to make a living. So if you can, help.

Some of my experts’ books include:

Bowling: Charlene Bangs Bickford & Kenneth R. Bowling, Birth of the Nation: The First Federal Congress, 1789-1791 (1989). [link]

Kaminski: John P. Kaminski, Alexander Hamilton: From Obscurity to Greatness (Wisconsin Historical Society Press 2016). [link]

Knott: Stephen F. Knott, Alexander Hamilton and the Persistence of Myth (2002) [link] (@publius57)

Martin: Robert W.T. Martin, Government by Dissent: Protest, Resistance, and Radical Democratic Thought in the Early American Republic (2013). [link]

Newton: Michael E. Newton, Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years (2015). [link] (@MichaelENewton1) (http://michaelenewton.com/)


PS: There is a literary allusion in my declaration. But no one seems to have noticed. It is a disappointment to me. [link

Seth Barrett Tillman, Good Lawyers & Good Books: My Personal Difficulties During the Recent Hamilton-Signatures Dispute, New Reform Club (Oct. 18, 2017),


dearieme said...

I suspect you do your readers a disservice. They will have grunted appreciation of your allusion and read on. Or at least I'd expect any Irish or British readers to do so. Are you perhaps suggesting that Americans would insist on making an exhibition of themselves over noticing such an obvious allusion? Fie!

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