A Word Regarding Judicial Bloviation

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16 Responses

  1. Peter H says:

    So Ken, what happened during your first appearance? A rant about how DOJ wasn't paying enough attention to how baseball is a national treasure?

  2. delurking says:

    "ass-damp rant"…

    You have a way with words.

  3. Ken says:

    Peter: by then the judge was mostly spent and confined himself to snapping and glowering.

  4. David says:

    I'm sorry, I can't get past the image of wiffle court.

  5. Eddie says:

    Ken – Before writing about Judge and Brigadier General Mark Martins you may want to look at a speech he gave when awarded the Harvard Law School Medal of Freedom. While it doesn't change the fact that he shouldn't use the bench as his bully pulpit it does give you some perspective on his background. I highly doubt he wants to bring Sharia Law to US Courts. Here is his speech from the Army Lawyer. https://www.jagcnet.army.mil/DOCLIBS/ARMYLAWYER.NSF/c82df279f9445da185256e5b005244ee/b52e34e02e675c63852579a4005cccb4/$FILE/By%20Mark%20Martins.pdf

  6. Ken says:

    I will read it before I write further, Eddie. I don't think he wants to bring Sharia Law to U.S. Courts. However, I think he is flat wrong about fundamental First Amendment values in a scary way, and he doesn't get any more right the more he defends himself.

    Not to tip my hand on my eventual post, but I see him as more symptomatic of the increasing muddle-headedness about free speech that you see in anti-bullying laws and the like, not so much a Sharia advocate.

  7. Eddie says:

    I agree with you 100% about the Judge's absurd position about the First Amendment. At the end of the day if the other guy was offended by the Mohammed costume I say too damn bad. I can't imagine what would happen in today's US of A were the skinheads to try and march on Skokie, Illinois today.

  8. Caleb says:

    This is dead-on, Ken.

    An unfortunate aspect of this whole debacle is how the involvement of a particular religion ("Moos-lums!! Sharia law!!1!") has distracted public attention from the far more weighty issues of: 1. The rapidly evolving misconception of the First Amendment in our society, and 2. The abuse of power and lack of discretion emanating from judicial benches across the nation. On the latter I have little to say, since my study of American jurisprudence indicates that this phenomena dates back at least to the signing of the Constitution, if not before. But the former is quite disturbing.

    From what I gather, Judge Martins thought the victim had (and the victim most likely did have) a fundamentally flawed conception of what Muslims actually believe. Martins used his superior knowledge on this point as a launch pad for his Sermon on the Bench. As if holding correct views on a subject is a prerequisite to gaining licence to mock that subject.

    This is a dangerous and pernicious idea. I think it is near the core of "tolerance" and "anti-bullying" and other such movements. It starts from an admirable premise: more knowledge and understanding are never bad things. But it progresses from there, and asserts that the only valid criticism of an ideology, or culture, or other social group comes from those who have as much knowledge of the group as the members of the group themselves. This has the effect of almost completely undermining any criticism that originates from outside of the social group, since almost nobody knows about the tenants of a group more than its members. The result is the (far too common) heuristic that only members of a group can engage in criticism of that group. All other criticism is ignorant, and thus deserves not only social shunning, but legal sanction.

  9. C. S. P. Schofield says:

    The problem with the First Amendment and with modern conceptions of Censorship is that so few people really THINK about either. They don't see that telling some vile bigot that he can't say something is EXACTLY what the First Amendment prohibits. They don't see that refusing to PAY for something you find objectionable ISN'T. So they chatter about how de-funding the National Endowment For The Arts would be Censorship, or how "hate speech" is a legitimate exception to the Amendment. And they feel all smug, and usually react badly when you indicate they they are so full of dung that their eyes are brown.

    One of my pet hates is the inevitable "Censored Books" display that the local public library is sure to put up at least once a year. Somehow it is always chock-full of books that everybody agrees shouldn't be Censored, like HUCKLEBERRY FINN. And somehow it never includes anything really difficult to tolerate; say, THE PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION or MEIN KAMPF. If they included those two, then people would really have to THINK about censorship, and about why it might be wrong to censor something really hateful. I've suggested it a time or two, and the Librarians have made polite noises, and still been willing to talk to me afterward, but so far nobody has been willing to DO it.

  10. Patrick says:

    It's amusing that the judge believes anyone would swear, as a believer to whom the gesture held the terror of the gods, on a copy of the Analects, or "the book of Confucius" as he calls it.

  11. Jag says:

    One of my first court appearances was before Judge Judy when she was still sitting on the bench. She yelled at me for quite a long time (it may have only been a few minutes though). Apparently the entire courtroom thought it was hilarious (minus myself and my unfortunate client I was covering for a friend).

  12. starskeptic says:

    Being able to wear duck boots in court would solve a lot of problems…

  13. bw1 says:

    So, Ken, from this post may we reasonably conclude that you blog because no one has appointed you to the bench yet? :)

  14. Samb says:

    Black Robe Fever is an old disease. Jefferys was famous for it, among other things.

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