Quoteworthy Lawyer, Or Gang Leader?

Monday, blogger Karoli of Crooks and Liars referred to me like this:

That's the province of Popehat and his gang of libertarian lawyers.

Friday, blogger Karoli of Crooks and Liars referred to me like this:

AL.com has a decent analysis, including quotes from LA lawyer Ken White of the Popehat blog:

Did I quit the gang? Did I stop being a bad lawyer and become a good lawyer?

No.

Monday, Karoli was speaking in support of the (pseudo-) progressive Brett Kimberlin, and against the conservative people Kimberlin is suing for blogging about him. I've defended the people Kimberlin is suing in the face of his censorious and abusive lawsuits that attempt to suppress First Amendment rights. So I was a gang leader.

Friday, Karoli was speaking in favor of progressive Roger Shuler, and against the conservatives suing him. I criticized the injunction against Roger Shuler as a prior restraint that violated the First Amendment. So I was a "LA Lawyer" worthy of quoting.

Monday, Karoli felt comfortable letting the court sort it out when Brett Kimberlin sues people for blogging, and not drawing conclusions about whether Kimberlin's complaint is political or his targets' speech is protected:

I don't write any of this with an intention to hold blog court, nor is this post intended to take up the cause of justice for Brett Kimberlin. That's the province of Popehat and his gang of libertarian lawyers. The court will decide this case, and as part of that decision they'll have to decide what constitutes free speech and what does not.

Friday, Karoli felt comfortable saying that the court's contempt order in Roger Shuler's case is wrong, that the case against him is political, and that his speech is protected:

Blogging is not a crime, and having bloggers tossed in jail because you're the son of a powerful politician with your own ambitions is a dangerous precedent that has not escaped the scrutiny of many, without regard to whether we are right or left.

I'm tempted to be uncouth. I'm tempted to draw the conclusion that Karoli views free speech as something that people she likes should have.

But maybe I'm wrong.

Karoli has been blogging for a while. She's a capable writer who has addressed many social, legal, and political disputes.

Surely, in all that blogging, she's spoken out once in defense of the free speech rights of someone she opposes politically.

Right?

Last 5 posts by Ken White

Comments

  1. Nicko says

    You make a great point Ken. More than a few agree with you in the comments on C&L. The best part is, they use your own thoughts to explain theirs.
    How big is your family?

  2. Jim Tyre says

    Will,

    Great link.

    I can verify that Ken is an LA lawyer, I am too. Whether he's the top lawyer of anything or anywhere is a different matter. '-)

    (One reason why I love the link is because I get shit all the time that assumes I'm in San Francisco, not LA. But that may because folks know that EFF is based in SF, and I'm an EFF Special Counsel.)

  3. That Anonymous Coward says

    You want I should take her out boss?
    For the impaired, this is humor.

    There is a trap, that is easy to fall into, where a personal issue overrides your general feelings. The easy peasy well they are "Bad People ™" so they do not deserve what us "Good People ™" deserve.

    One would hope that this blogger actually reflects on the statements and identifies what appears to be bias in who deserves what based on their own views.

  4. says

    On the subject of Karoli-on-Ken, I thought that the mention of "Popehat and his gang" in the first article was more tongue in cheek than angry or disparaging – to my reading very distinct from the preceding discussion. The question of what will be justice for Brett Kimberlin there is also (to my mind) very ambiguous.

    You don't have to agree with all of someone's views to respect them, and I suspect Ken gets a lot more respect from folks on the left than many might expect even if it's snarky at times.

  5. Bamalaw says

    As a long time reader of Popehat and an Alabama resident, may I just say that I have been tickled as a pig in shit to see Ken quoted on AL.com.

  6. says

    "Gang" is not always pejorative; you may be seeing it as such because of your professional history. Outside of the world of big city lawyers, "gang" can simply mean "group", without criminal or violent overtones. If I comment I'm spending Sunday afternoon with the gang, it means polyhedrals and cheetohs, not black leather, switchblades, and choreographed dance numbers. (Admittedly, we spend this time pretending to be sociopathic murderers committing genocide, otherwise known as "a good-aligned party battling the orcish hordes".)

    I'd need a couple more data points to decide if I think it was meant with hostile intent or not.

    The next topic, though, needs to be if "gang leader" or "lawyer" is more pejorative.

  7. ketchup says

    "Gang leader" and "LA Lawyer" are not mutually exclusive. Nor is a "gang" necessarily pejorative. Both ideas are at best tangential to the main point – that Karoli advocates free speech for those with whom she agrees but mutters a weak "let the legal system do its job" for those with differing views. Yet as of my writing this, more than half of the comments are regarding the tangents.
    Ken hijacked his own post.

  8. Black Betty says

    So…does your gang do upbeat dance routines like in the Michael Jackson videos? Just askin'.

  9. Joe Pullen says

    "what constitutes free speech and what does not." Nope hate to tell Karoli but that has already been determined. What she should have said is whether or not what has been written by the bloggers being sued falls under protected speech or not.

  10. Tim says

    I was once a reader of C&L in the long distant past, and stopped for reasons very similar to this. Having had fairly liberal ideas for most of my life(at least on the social side, NOT on the fiscal side), the writing at C&L made me see for the first time that the left is just as hypocritical as the right.

    As I aged, I have become more concerned if people apply their ideas of how others should behave, to themselves as well. Strangely, there are very few people who do this.

  11. En Passant says

    … Popehat and his gang of libertarian lawyers.

    No gang can be truly awesome without a proper name. Who wouldn't fear a gang-audit by Hell's Accountants?

    I suggest something like Lucifer's Litigators or Demonic Defenders, but those might not have enough mysterious panache.

    So maybe Baal's Barristers, Satan's Solicitors or Cthulhu's Counselors, or maybe even Rulerz Against Perpetuitiez.

  12. says

    Later today, I will attempt to distinguish between (a) merely being wrong, as so many people are, and (b) being actively evil, which is the province of the despicable few.

    Anybody care to guess what side of that line Karoli is on?

  13. Dion starfire says

    @Ken hmmm, I seem to recall you contradicting your stated opinions a time or two as well. It's something people do. Call it hyperbole, different attitudes for different situations, whatever; very few people feel the same way about every aspect or instance of every issue.

    This is probably an example of "Ken is a great guy, except when he's ripping on Kimberlin". Just like Clark's an interesting guy, except when he's on an anti-government rant (rather than his usual well-reasoned arguments against government).

    I'm in favor of free speech until I see signs and notices written 2 or 3 languages (or 1 non-english one) because … [insert rant about people living in a country without speaking the language of that country].

    Yeah, the world's messed up, but as a wise man once said "The world is always getting better and people will always think it's getting worse"

  14. says

    I did not approve the comment of the dipshit who thinks that Karoli's religious/ethnic background is relevant. Dipshit, begone.

    (Dipshit's comment included the phrase "cast into the Lake of Fire," for what it's worth.)

  15. htom says

    Surely, in all that blogging, she's spoken out once in defense of the free speech rights of someone she opposes politically.

    Possibly, especially if they had no chance of prevailing and were attacking a common enemy.

    Our culture seems to have wandered into a perpetual low-grade war wherein those who are not perfectly aligned with me are the enemy. The concept of someone being an ally seems to have disappeared.

  16. Bruce Godfrey says

    Her first comment regarding a "gang of libertarian lawyers" doesn't imply, on its face, that she thinks you are a "bad lawyer." That must be self-evident from other context.

  17. MCB says

    Ken,

    Are you sure she meant gang negatively? As in "gang violence" vs. "hey hey the gang's all here"?

  18. Anony Mouse says

    I don't know, from reading the excerpt, "gang of libertarian lawyers" doesn't seem to be intended as a playful descriptor.

    Reading the post itself (peppered with "clever" derogatory descriptors), makes me even more confident in Ken's interpretation. Furthermore, "I don't write this to hold blog court" comes after about two pages of hyperventilating blog court.

    It was clearly intended as a pejorative.

  19. says

    ur culture seems to have wandered into a perpetual low-grade war wherein those who are not perfectly aligned with me are the enemy. The concept of someone being an ally seems to have disappeared.

    I've seen a lot of debate, articles, etc., on "Progressive" sites that basically say "Anyone who is not 100% with us is 100% against us!". Common goals are not enough; any deviation from ideological purity mandates shunning.[1] Despite the usual paeans to "diversity" and "tolerance", I've never seen such passionate dedication to monolithic conformity.

    [1]"We're the People's Front of Judea, not the Judean People's Front! SPLITTERS!"

  20. Consumatopia says

    Of course "gang" was pejorative. Look at how the word is used elsewhere in the same article.

    I'm not sure there's any inconsistency in saying "wait and see" with Kimberlin and "free Shuler!", though, given the issues of prior restraint and contempt of court. Shuler doesn't get to wait and see, he's already in jail. That's the problem.

  21. SA says

    This comment has nothing to do with the post.

    Ken – I sent you a pair of emails on SEO spamming for a law firm. If you need help finding them in your spam filter, they were sent about 90 minutes ago from the same email used in this reply.

    (No response expected, unless you didn't get anything at all)

  22. Dan says

    I'm a member of Clark's Gang of Internet Malcontents. Let's have a gang-fight-cum-dance-number with Ken's Gang of Libertarian Lawyers.

  23. Joe Blow says

    Q: How can you tell you're confronting a gang of libertarian lawyers?

    A: Because nobody in the loose assemblage in front of you will agree on anything, several will resent being considered part of a "loose assemblage" much less a group, and three guys will question your premises that individual confrontation and freedom of action is even possible in this damned surveillance state.

    FWIW, I think the flexible language here is because many on the left seem to believe that the exercise of fundamental rights is conditioned the worthiness of the cause for which they'd be exercised. Speech in defending a liberal = worthy= ree speech. Defending a conservative against a liberal's attacks = not worthy = we'd rather you just be quiet.

  24. says

    @JoeBlow:

    FWIW, I think the flexible language here is because many on the left seem to believe that the exercise of fundamental rights is conditioned the worthiness of the cause for which they'd be exercised. Speech in defending a liberal = worthy= ree speech. Defending a conservative against a liberal's attacks = not worthy = we'd rather you just be quiet.

    Joe, I dissent on two points:

    1. I'd change "many" to "some", and

    2. I'd insist on pointing out that some on the right are the same — witness the reaction to lawyers representing Gitmo detainees pro bono.

  25. says

    @Dan

    I'm a member of Clark's Gang of Internet Malcontents. Let's have a gang-fight-cum-dance-number with Ken's Gang of Libertarian Lawyers.

  26. WhangoTango says

    It's entirely possible that the blogger just forgot, in between posts, that she hated you and everything you stood for. This is the Internet, and five minutes ago might as well be the Cretaceous Period.

  27. En Passant says

    WhangoTango Nov 4, 2013 @9:57 am:

    This is the Internet, and five minutes ago might as well be the Cretaceous Period.

    That's soooo last millisecond!

  28. says

    This is the Internet, and five minutes ago might as well be the Cretaceous Period.

    Or, in the case of some bloggers commenting on law, the Jurassic.

  29. Jay says

    I have to know: What is your gang sign? Can you do funky finger-shit and make the scales of Justice? ;)