Everything you say can and will be used against you.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

General George Washington and the Bank of England

There is substantial evidence to support the inference that Washington, for one, did not view “private business pursuits . . . with foreign state-chartered trading companies” as emoluments. [DC & MD v. TrumpCiv. A. No. 17-cv-1154-EGS, at *23 & *27 (D.D.C. Apr. 30, 2019) (Sullivan, J.)] During the Revolutionary War, George Washington owned stock in, and received dividends from, the Bank of England.[1] This foreign corporation received its charter by operation of an act of the English Parliament: the Tonnage Act of 1694.[2] The Bank of England, which was analogous to the first Bank of the United States,[3] served as the private banker for the British Exchequer.[4] More importantly, the Bank of England was analogous to the foreign government “instrumentalit[ies]” that Plaintiffs allege Trump-affiliated commercial entities are doing business with.[5]
At the relevant times, the Articles of Confederation governed our young republic. That charter included a Foreign Emoluments Clause, which provided “[N]or shall any person holding any office of profit or trust under the United States, or any of them [i.e., any State], accept of any present, emolument, office or title of any kind whatever from any King, Prince or foreign State . . . .”[6] Furthermore, the Continental Congress had chosen Washington as the commander-in-chief of the nation’s armed forces. As an appointed military officer, he held an “office . . . under the United States,” and could not “accept of any . . . emolument” from a “foreign State.”
If the Court’s analysis were correct, then General Washington would not have been permitted to accept distributions—a “profit, gain, or advantage”—from the Bank of England, a “foreign state-chartered . . . company.” [DC & MD v. TrumpCiv. A. No. 17-cv-1154-EGS, at *23 & *27 (D.D.C. Apr. 30, 2019) (Sullivan, J.)] But he did. Nor was Washington a passive beneficiary of bank-related benefits. For example, throughout the Revolution, Washington’s personal London representatives, at his instructions, transferred such monies out of the Bank of England, to make payments to his creditors.[7] Thus Washington was not a mere passive recipient of automatic distributions; rather, he made timely use of sophisticated foreign commercial agents who actively “accept[ed]” dividend income on his behalf during the war. After peace was made, Washington took action to close the account and to repatriate the funds from the Bank of England account.[8]
Amici know of no evidence that any contemporaries or that any subsequent historians or legal scholars suggested that these transactions violated established law. This absence of debate reaffirms DOJ’s position that “substantial ground for difference of opinion” exists with respect to how Washington, and those in the early Republic, understood the term emolument. The better reading is that during the Founding era, an emolument was tied to lawfully authorized office-related or employment-related compensation.




[1] See Bryan Jones, The Farming Game 151 (1982); Eugene E. Prussing, George Washington, Captain of Industry/The Bank of England Stock—The Bank of the United States, 70(5) Scribner’s Mag. 549, 554, 556–57 (Nov. 1921); see also Sol Bloom, Our Heritage: George Washington and the Establishment of the American Union 210 (1944); Thomas Bayard McCabe, Central Banking’s Role in Our Free Enterprise Society 17 (1951).
[2] Robert J. Reinstein, The Limits of Congressional Power, 89 Temp. L. Rev. 1, 11 n.53 (2016).
[3] See Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton 347 (2004).
[4] See Our History, Bank of England, https://perma.cc/B7FQ-Y5QA; see also Robert E. Wright, The Wealth of Nations Rediscovered 13 (2002).
[5] See Plaintiffs’ Amend. Compl., ECF No. 14, at ¶¶ 56, 59, 62, 65, Part VI/Prayer For Relief.
[6] Articles of Confederation of 1781, art. VI, para. 1. Textually, the Confederation provision was very similar to the Foreign Emoluments Clause now in force under the United States Constitution. Accord U.S. Const. art. I, § 9, cl. 8 (“[N]o Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them [i.e., the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”).
[7] See Bloom, supra note 1, at 210; Letter from George Washington to Robert Cary & Co (May 1, 1759), Founders Online, https://tinyurl.com/yy3arfaf.
[8] See Bloom, supra note 1, at 210; Prussing, supra note 6, at 556. 


The above is an extract from my just-filed amicus brief: 
Brief of Scholar Seth Barrett Tillman and Judicial Education Project as Amici Curiae in Support of the Defendant’s Supplemental Brief in Support of his Motion Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) for Certification of the Court’s Denial of Motion to Dismiss and Defendant’s Motion to the Stay, Senator Richard Blumenthal v. Donald J. Trump, in his official capacity as President of the United States of America, Civ. A. No. 1:17-cv-01154-EGS (D.D.C. May 21, 2019) (Sullivan, J.), ECF No. 73-1, ____ WL _______, 2019 U.S. Dist. Ct. Briefs LEXIS __, <https://ssrn.com/abstract=3381838>. 


Seth Barrett Tillman, General George Washington and the Bank of England, New Reform Club (May 21, 2019, 4:05 PM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2019/05/general-george-washington-and-bank-of.html>. 

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EU Elections and Brexit

EU elections for Member of the European Parliament (MEP) seats will be held between May 23, 2019 and May 26, 2019. Irelands elections will be held on Friday, May 24, 2019. The UK’s elections will be held on Thursday, May 23, 2019. Brexit will be a key issue on voters’ minds. My primary prior Brexit-related posts include:

Seth Barrett Tillman, Who Was On The Remain Side?, New Reform Club (Jan. 18, 2019, 7:32 AM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2019/01/who-was-on-remain-side.html>;

Seth Barrett Tillman, The Libertarian/Popperian Case for Brexit: A Response to Professors Somin, Levy, Norberg et al., New Reform Club (July 19, 2016, 11:16 AM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2016/07/the-libertarianpopperian-case-for.html>;

Seth Barrett Tillman, Reflections on the Revolution in the UK: Part 4: Errors of the Labour Party and the Remain Camp, New Reform Club (July 1, 2016, 3:10 AM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2016/07/reflections-on-revolution-in-uk-part-4.html>;

Seth Barrett Tillman, Reflections on the Revolution in the UK: Part 3: Farage’s Poster Is Racist, The New Reform Club (July 1, 2016, 3:02 AM), <http://reformclub.blogspot.com/2016/07/reflections-on-revolution-in-uk-part-3.html>;

Seth Barrett Tillman, Reflections on the Revolution in the UK: Part 2: The U.K.’s Bradley/Wilder Effect Is Enough To Swing Elections, The New Reform Club (June 30, 2016, 3:54 AM), <http://reformclub.blogspot.com/2016/06/reflections-on-revolution-in-uk-part-2.html>; and,

Seth Barrett Tillman, Reflections on the Revolution in the UK: Part 1: It Is All Cameron’s Fault, The New Reform Club (June 30, 2016, 3:40 AM), <http://reformclub.blogspot.com/2016/06/reflections-on-revolution-in-uk-part-1.html>.


Seth Barrett Tillman, EU Elections and Brexit, New Reform Club (May 21, 2019, 1:53 AM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2019/05/eu-elections-and-brexit.html>. 

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Conlawprof—It Is Infuriating

Professor AAA at 10 AM 
It never ceases to amaze me how so many men on this listserv systematically silence women’s voices, with such comments as the post being off topic or off the mark, or overly simplistic. There are so few women that post to this list anymore, and when we do, many of us are waiting for a cutting remark. The only women who do post regularly have to be 10x as good as a man to be taken seriously. It is infuriating.

Professor AAA at 12:45 PM 
This is clearly different, and if you can’t see that, then you’re being disingenuous. 

Seth adding here at New Reform Club
What about conservative/libertarian voices on Conlawprof? Or at law schools in the United States? It is infuriating.


Seth Barrett Tillman, Conlawprof—It Is Infuriating, New Reform Club (May 21, 2019, 1:52 AM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2019/05/conlawprofit-is-infuriating.html>. 

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Monday, May 20, 2019

The Past Is Another Country



I have some history with your [peer reviewed] journal. A good number of years ago, before the Hamilton documents imbroglio, I proposed an article to your then-editor-in-chief outlining how the reproduction of Hamilton’s 1793 financial statement appearing in The Papers of Alexander Hamilton was based on the actual Hamilton-signed original, but that the reproduction of that document appearing in American State Papers was based on a copy made some time later by or for Senate employees and printers.

The editor-in-chief told me, in no uncertain terms, that such an article would not be welcomed by your journal’s busy editors, as the Hamilton documents at issue did not involve any of the great issues of Hamilton’s era, nor was it specifically related to more modern inquiries relating to race, class, gender, identity, etc. As such, there would be no real interest and no real audience in regard to what appeared to be little more than an archivist’s oddity.

In reply, I pointed out how the original Hamilton-signed document had some interesting legal implications in relation to Professor Zephyr Teachout’s First-Amendment-related scholarship. The editor-in-chief told me it was very unlikely that such a tangential line of research (meaning my research, not Teachout’s) could ever come up in actual litigation, and maybe … I ought to look to publish my idea in some student-edited law journal instead. After the Hamilton documents imbroglio, no one at your journal, including your current editor-in-chief, invited me to submit an article discussing how to authenticate eighteenth century American documents.[1] 

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

So you see: your journal and I already have a history.

Seth




[1] See Declaration of Seth Barrett Tillman, Lecturer (Exhibit D), in Amicus Curiae Scholar Seth Barrett Tillman’s and Proposed Amicus Curiae Judicial Education Project’s (JEP’s) Response to Amici Curiae by Certain Legal Historians, CREW v. Trump, Civ. A. No. 1:17-cv-00458-GBD (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 19, 2017) (Daniels, J.), ECF No. 85-5, 2017 WL 7795997, <https://ssrn.com/abstract=3037107> (discussing how to authenticate eighteenth century American documents); see also Seth Barrett Tillman, Scholarly Papers & Other Papers, Social Science Research Network (last accessed Jan. 3, 2019), <https://tinyurl.com/hkzwasq> (collecting my papers, briefs, declarations, etc). See generally Declaration of Professor Kenneth R. Bowling, Ph.D. (Exhibit H), in Amicus Curiae Scholar Seth Barrett Tillman’s and Proposed Amicus Curiae JEP’s Response to Amici Curiae by Certain Legal Historians, supra, ECF No. 85-9, 2017 WL 7964211 (discussing how to authenticate eighteenth century American documents); Declarationof John P. Kaminski (Exhibit G), in Amicus Curiae ScholarSeth Barrett Tillman’s and Proposed AmicusCuriae JEP’s Response to Amici Curiaeby Certain Legal Historians, supra, ECF No. 85-8, 2017 WL 7964226 (same); Declaration of Professor Stephen F. Knott (Exhibit I), in Amicus Curiae Scholar Seth Barrett Tillman’s and Proposed Amicus Curiae JEP’s Response to Amici Curiae by Certain Legal Historians, supra, ECF No. 85-10, 2017 WL 7964225 (same); Declaration of Professor Robert W.T. Martin (Exhibit J), in Amicus Curiae Scholar Seth Barrett Tillman’s and Proposed Amicus Curiae JEP’s Response to Amici Curiae by Certain Legal Historians, supra, ECF No. 85-11, 2017 WL 7964229 (same); Declaration of Michael E. Newton (Exhibit E), in Amicus Curiae Scholar Seth Barrett Tillman’s and Proposed Amicus Curiae JEP’s Response to Amici Curiae by Certain Legal Historians, supra,ECF No. 85-6, 2017 WL 7964201 (same); Supplemental Declaration of Michael E. Newton (Exhibit F), in Amicus Curiae Scholar Seth Barrett Tillman’s and Proposed Amicus Curiae JEP’s Response to Amici Curiae by Certain Legal Historians, supra, ECF No. 85-7, 2017 WL 7964223 (same).

Seth Barrett Tillman, The Past Is Another Country, New Reform Club (May 20, 2019, 1:43 AM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2019/05/the-past-is-another-country.html>. 

Seth Barrett Tillman, A Work in Progress: Select Bibliography of Court filings and Other Sources Regarding the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses Cases, New Reform Club (Feb. 28, 2018, 8:59 AM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2018/02/a-work-in-progress-select-bibliography.html>, <https://tinyurl.com/ybg5dg6u>. 


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Sunday, May 19, 2019

Thaddeus Stevens Remembered



Rep. Fernando Wood (Dem-NY): I’ve asked you a question, Mr. Stevens, and you must answer me. Do you or do you not hold that the precept that “All men are created equal” is meant literally? Is that not the true purpose of the [13th] [A]mendment? To promote your ultimate and ardent dream to elevate ...
Rep. Thaddeus Stevens (Repub.-PA): The true purpose of the amendment, Mr. Wood, you perfectly named, brainless obstructive object ...
Rep. Wood: Now you have always insisted, Mr. Stevens, that Negroes are the same as white men are.
Rep. Stevens: The true purpose of the amendment ... I don’t hold with equality in all things, only with equality before the law. Nothing more.
Rep. Wood: That’s ... That’s not so. You believe that Negroes are entirely equal to white men. You’ve said it a thousand times!
Rep. George Pendleton (Dem-Ohio): For shame! For shame! Stop prevaricating and answer Representative Wood!
Rep. Stevens: I don’t hold with equality in all things, only with equality before the law.
Rep. Pendleton: After the decades of fervent advocacy ...
Rep. Ashley (Repub.-Ohio): He’s answered your questions! This amendment’s not to do with race equality.
Rep. Stevens: I don’t hold with equality in all things, only with equality before the law, and nothing more!
Mrs. Lincoln: Who’d ever have guessed that old nightmare capable of such control? He might make a politician someday.
Mrs. Keckley: I need to go.
Rep. Pendleton: Your frantic attempt to delude us now is unworthy of a Representative. It is, in fact, unworthy of a white man!
Rep. Stevens: How can I hold that all men are created equal when here before me stands, stinking, the moral carcass of the gentleman from Ohio, proof that some men are inferior, endowed by their Maker with dim wits, impermeable to reason, with cold, pallid slime in their veins instead of hot, red blood! You are more reptile than man, George! So low and flat that the foot of man is incapable of crushing you.
Rep. Pendleton: How dare you?
Rep. Stevens: Yet even you, Pendleton, who should have been gibbeted for treason long before today. Even worthless, unworthy you ought to be treated equally before the law! And so again, sir, again and again and again I say, I do not hold with equality in all things, only with equality before the law. 

Seth Barrett Tillman, Thaddeus Stevens Remembered, New Reform Club (May 19, 2019, 7:45 AM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2019/05/thaddeus-stevens-remembered.html>.  


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Polls Wrong: Any Pattern Here?






Seth Barrett Tillman, Polls Wrong: Any Pattern Here?, New Reform Club (May 19, 2019, 4:34 AM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2019/05/polls-wrong-any-pattern-here.html>, <https://twitter.com/SethBTillman/status/1130026222115704832>. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Tillman on Toleration and Prejudice in Academia


I quote Professor [Geoffrey] Stone in full.
The Christian establishment responded with a vengeance [to the spread of Deism]. As early as 1759, Ezra Stiles warned that “Deism has got such a Head” that it is necessary to “conquer and demolish it.” Thirty years later, Timothy Dwight, the president of Yale, published a biting antideist work, The Triumph of Infidelity, and Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was literally put to the torch at Harvard because of “its uncomplimentary interpretation of early Christianity.” In 1784, Ethan Allen, the leader of the Green Mountain Boys and the hero of the Battle of Ticonderoga, published a book-length argument for deism. This work, Reason the Only Oracle of Man, was furiously condemned by the clergy. Timothy Dwight accused Allen of championing “Satan’s cause,” Ezra Stiles charged that Allen was “profane and impious,” and the Reverend Nathan Perkins called him “one of the wickedest men that ever walked this guilty globe.”
Stone’s consistent use of terms like “with a vengeance,” “warn[],” “biting,” “accused,” and “charged” is puzzling. Is it really true the clergy not only “condemned” Allen’s Reason the Only Oracle of Man, but that they did so “furiously”? How does one fairly distinguish a furious condemnation from a plain condemnation from a mere emphatic disagreement or an honest debate over strongly held beliefs and principles? The choice of such terms is, in most (albeit, not in all) cases, indicative of a lack balance, of a lack of perspective. Much of what Stone describes above was nothing more than writings and speeches in private letters, sermons, and books. In law review articles, traditionally, such speech is usually characterized in less judgmental and more neutral terms, i.e., as core First Amendment protected activity (although there was, of course, no First Amendment at this time).
Indeed, if such speech is fairly characterized as “respond[ing] with a vengeance,” merely because it opposes other speech and comes next-in- time, then this Article and every other academic disagreement will fall under the orbit of that expression. At that point the phrase itself ceases to be meaningful. Admittedly, not all of the statements quoted by Stone were vanilla, even-handed, and unthreatening: Stiles’ “conquer and demolish” statement does seem a touch strong. But Stiles looks much better in fuller context.
It is true with this Liberty [of accepting deistical books into religiously-affiliated university libraries] Error may be introduced; but turn the Tables [and see that] the propagation of Truth may be extinguished [if you do otherwise]. Deism has got such Head in this Age of Licentious Liberty, that it would be in vain to try to stop it by hiding the Deistical Writings: and the only Way left to conquer & demolish it, is to come forth into the open Field & Dispute this matter on even Footing—the Evidences of Revelation in my opinion are nearly as demonstrative as Newton’s Principia, & these are the Weapons to be used . . . . Truth & this alone being our Aim in fact, open, frank & generous we shall avoid the very appearance of Evil.
How is this an example of the “establishment respond[ing] with a vengeance” to the spread of Deism? If anything Stiles overflows with a very boring, almost trite excess of Brandeisian toleration, although he clearly is attached to his own parochial theological views. To me at least, Stone’s “conquer and demolish” snippet misses much more than it explains.
As to Stone’s fantastic claim that circa 1789 Gibbon’s Decline and Fall was “literally put to the torch at Harvard,” I see no evidence that any such event ever happened. To make his case, Stone wholly relies on Professor Kerry Walters’ 1992 publication: Rational Infidels: The American Deists. Walters does not actually say “torched,” he says “burned.” Walters, in turn, relies on William Henry Channing’s The Life of William Ellery Channing, D.D. and G. Adolf Koch’s Republican Religion. But neither work supports Walters’ position. Channing merely records that “[t]he patrons and governors of the college made efforts to counteract the effect of the[] [principles of the French Revolution] by exhortation, and preaching, and prayer, as well as by the publication of and distribution of good books and pamphlets.” I see no indication of any book-burning. By contrast, Koch writes that in 1791 “Gibbon’s famous work was publicly banned . . . by the President of Harvard College from that institution.” Again, no book-burning, no torching, no auto-da-fé.
Nevertheless book-banning at a university is pretty terrible behaviour (or, at least, it is when adjudged under contemporary standards). But it seems there was no book banning either! Koch’s only source is John Quincy Adams’ Life in a New England Town: 1787, 1788. Adams does not indicate that Gibbon was banned; rather, Adams indicates that in setting the curriculum the President preferred Millot’s Elements of History to Gibbon’s Decline and Fall. To sum up, in 1791 Harvard made a mundane curriculum decision; it was recorded in a 1903 publication; in 1933 it became a book-banning; in 1992 it became a book-burning, and in 2008 Professor Stone tells us Gibbon was “literally put to the torch” at Harvard. Literally.
The constellation of facts, misunderstandings, misstatements, exaggeration, and error hardly seems believable. Still, there is no reason to judge Stone harshly: such mistakes do happen.** His mistake, such as it was, was to rely on a single source, Walters, who, apparently misquoted Koch, who expanded on Adams’ initial statement.
***
. . . Here we come to an awkward and difficult point. Leave aside Professors Stone, and Walters, and Koch—what about you, the reasonable and well-informed reader. When you read Stone’s claim in regard to a book burning at Harvard, circa 1789, did you believe it? Try to remember your reaction, if any. Did it seem shockingly wrong, or did you just read past his claim as a matter of no real consequence, or did it seem reasonably tenable to you? And if you thought the latter, what other historical fictions (or unsupported factual claims) might you believe in error (or absent sufficient evidence), and what does that say about the prejudices you may harbor in relation to people different from yourself? Did you blush when you read Stone’s claim, or are you blushing now? 


The above is from my 10-year-old publication: Seth Barrett Tillman, Blushing Our Way Past Historical Fact And Fiction: A Response to Professor Geoffrey R. Stone’s Melville B. Nimmer Memorial Lecture and Essay, 114 Penn St. L. Rev. 391, 402–09 (2009) (footnotes omitted) (asterisked footnote added), <https://ssrn.com/abstract=1333576>.

**My comment here was prescient.


Seth Barrett Tillman, Tillman on Toleration and Prejudice in Academia, New Reform Club (May 14, 2019, 10:53 AM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2019/05/tillman-on-toleration-and-prejudice-in.html>.

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Monday, May 13, 2019

What The Irish Times Will Print About White Americans

May 13, 2019
  
Letters Editor
The Irish Times

Re: Una Mullally, Eroding reproductive rights part of white America’s cruelty playbookThe Irish Times (May 13, 2019), <https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/una-mullally-eroding-reproductive-rights-part-of-white-america-s-cruelty-playbook-1.3889641>

Ms Mullally wrote that “Everything comes back to race in America, that is true. But everything also comes back to white American cruelty.” If this statement, along with several others like it in the same editorial, are not straight-up anti-white bigotry, what is? Would Ms Mullally or other writers at The Irish Times be willing to pick any another racial or ethnic group, i.e., a group other than “whites,” and proceed to say “everything” wrong with some other society “comes back to” that group’s behaviour, much less its “cruelty”? I doubt it. And if this sort of writing is acceptable at The Irish Times as a standard which applies exclusively to “white” people, then certain conclusions will naturally follow. Indeed, they must follow. 

Seth 

Seth Barrett Tillman, What The Irish Times Will Print About White Americans, New Reform Club (May 13, 2019, 5:14 PM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2019/05/what-irish-times-will-print-about-white.html>.


Seth Barrett Tillman, Letter to the Editor, ‘White America’s cruelty playbook,’ The Irish Times, May 15, 2019, at 13, <https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/white-america-s-cruelty-playbook-1.3892144>. 

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Conlawprof, the Sandbox, and Orangeman Bad





Today on Conlawprof, Professor AAA wrote:
This should have been a winning argument if text mattered or if Thomas wasnt an unconscionable hypocrite.
Professor BBB responded with:
I did notice that Professor AAA called Justice Thomas an “unconscionable hypocrite.” Please stop with the name-calling.
Professor AAA replied:
I will call public figures what I want, when I want. . . .
[P]oliticians are called out all the time, [as well as] governors, Senators, Presidents. On this list, the Clintons have been called much worse than unconscionable hypocrites. There is no earthly reason the same standard shouldn’t be applied to those politicians we call judges.
Professor CCC chimed in with Orangeman Bad:
Silly nicknames are silly and unworthy of anyone, including public figures talking about other pub[l]ic figures, but reasonably well considered characterizations are within the realm of polite discussion about robed public figures.
My contribution was as follows:
Professor AAA wrote: “This should have been a winning argument if text mattered or if Thomas wasn’t an unconscionable hypocrite.” (emphasis added) Somehow, I am not all that confident that that was what AAA meant to write. I could be wrong, but I think AAA meant to write (or, perhaps, should have written): “This should have been a winning argument if text mattered or if Thomas weren’t an unconscionable hypocrite.” Let me put it another way: if AAA actually meant what he wrote, then what he wrote is not all that much of an insult, and Professor BBB has little cause to complain about name-calling. Of course, it is possible that I am wrong about this, but I think Justice Thomas (for one) would know the difference between the indicative and subjunctive moods.
Seth

Seth Barrett Tillman, Conlawprof, the Sandbox, and Orangeman Bad, New Reform Club (May 13, 2019, 3:40 PM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2019/05/conlawprof-sandbox-and-orangeman-bad.html>. 

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Orwell’s Newspeak and The Observer (a/k/a the Sunday edition of The Guardian)




Simon Tisdall, Mike Pompeo: a bully boy calls at No 10, The Observer (a/k/a the Sunday edition of The Guardian) (May 4, 2019, 15:07 BST) (emphases added), <https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/04/mike-pompeo-bully-boy-calls-at-no-10>:

The [American] decision to invite Hungary’s much-ostracised nationalist leader Viktor Orban to meet Trump at the White House on the eve of this month’s critical EU parliamentary elections smacks of typical Pompeo-style contempt for European democracy.

Orban was elected by the voters of Hungary. So it is difficult to see why meeting with him should be construed as an offense against democracy. One might as well posit the opposite: that failing to meet with an elected leader is a sign of contempt for normal democratic institutions. Of course, Tisdall, the editorialist, does not speak to anything like common or ordinary democracy; rather, he speaks in terms of something elsesomething more enlightened, more complex, and more nuanced: European democracy. The EU is a parliamentary “democracy” that lives and breathes absent anything like meaningful responsible government. What Tisdall means is that Orban—although popular with actual voters in his own country—among people who have an incentive to know precisely what Orban is up toremains an object of suspicion among the bureaucrats in Brussels and among members of the European Parliament from countries other than Hungary. What Tisdall does not understand is that it is he who is illustrating a contempt for ordinary democracy and ordinary voters. 

Orwell’s newspeak and 1984 were supposed to be an account of a fictional dystopic future, not a how-to manual.

Seth

Seth Barrett Tillman, Orwell’s Newspeak and The Observer (a/k/a the Sunday edition of The Guardian), New Reform Club (May 13, 2019, 9:41 AM), 
<https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2019/05/orwells-newspeak-and-observer-aka.html>. 

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Sunday, May 05, 2019

Another Day On Conlawprof




Professor AAA: To say, therefore, that no one was misled by Barr[’s] [letter] is simply wrong, even if one over generously conceded that there was no intention to do so.

Tillman: Barr’s letter was a summary of principal conclusions. All knew that the full report (less redactions) would come out in a few weeks’ time. The idea that people were too stupid to suspend judgment until the later of the two events or that people who had not suspended their judgment were constitutionally incapable of changing their minds in light of the full report demeans the common sense of everyman. No one was misled. My guess is that no one on this list will admit to being so misled—it is just other people they think were misled. And if a listserv member tells us they were misled but changed their mind in light of the redacted report, why do they think others have not done the same?

The idea that Americans were misled by an Executive Branch letter from a presidential appointee ....

Seth 

Seth Barrett Tillman, Another Day On Conlawprof, New Reform Club (May 5, 2019, 12:16 PM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2019/05/another-day-on-conlawprof.html>.

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