Among the handful of truly important things within the legal academy, intellectual honesty was pretty high on the list. It was fine to disagree about something, but misstating facts (or, as lawyers are more inclined to call it, lying through your teeth), was not only frowned upon, but the kiss of death for scholarly respectability. It appears that someone took a crayon and crossed it off the list.
When Judge Richard Kopf questioned the Supreme Court’s decision to wade into the deep end of controversy, he closed with this phrase:
As the kids say, it is time for the Court to stfu.
Colorful, even if not your cup of tea. Naturally, he was attacked for his
fresh mouth nasty fingers by the prissy, who found his use of the vernacular disturbing. This was noted in my plea for the judge not to cease writing, which included the criticism of three law professors, Stephen Bainbridge (who bizarrely called Judge Kopf’s post “thinly veiled anti-Catholicism”), Rick Hasen (who felt that it undermined the dignity of the judiciary) and Jonathan Adler, who had no reason but didn’t want to miss the train.
Judge Kopf responded to Brainbridge’s accusation of anti-Catholicism, largely because an accusation of animus toward a religion is a pretty ugly thing to leave hanging, and no doubt because Bainbridge’s accusation was totally unfounded and, well, unhinged. Unless, of course, Bainbridge was personally told by God to attack the Philistine, which is an entirely different problem. Within his post, Judge Kopf included this:
Without intending to shove a stick in the eye of such types, I encourage them to read Christopher M. Fairman, FUCK, 28 Cardozo Law Review 1711 (2007). I then encourage them to grow up.
My reaction to Judge Kopf’s post was that this was how the blawgosphere was supposed to work, the back and forth, the agreement and disagreement, the debate. But then, I’m a lawyer, and argument is part of our world. Bainbridge, on the other hand, did not take it well:
Judge DummKopf is back at it, and this time it’s personal
Remember Senior District Judge Richard George Kopf who told the SCOTUS to STFU? Apparently one of his keepers screwed up and let him near a computer, because he’s back and, instead of responding on the merits to any of the folks who took him to task, the dummKopf has the balls to tell me to “grow up.” This from the idiot who is a self-confessed “dirty old man” who blogged about how much he appreciated an attractive female lawyer who “wears very short skirts and shows lots of her ample chest.”
I still think the judge needs to take his own advice and STFU.
Aside from the infantile (and played) dummkopf, there were no merits to discuss. The only basis for your anti-Catholicism claim came from the voices whispering in your head, and nobody can hear them but you. But Bainbridge’s censorious paranoia wasn’t done yet:
Update: And I have the same advice for the judge’s left-liberal groupies who have been trolling my email and twitter feed.
As a law professor, regardless of your extreme politics and delicate sensibilities, you really ought to be aware that when you write something batshit crazy, people are going to call it batshit crazy. That’s just how things are. It’s understandable that you don’t allow comments at your blog, given your fragility, but if you want to scream out stupid stuff, don’t be surprised that others, especially the judge’s left-liberal groupies (sorry, but that’s just too funny not to repeat), scream back.
Hasen, who came to Bainbridge’s rescue because lawprofs are nothing if not protective of each other’s self-esteem, had this to add:
“STFU” Judge Tells Professor Bainbridge: “FUCK”
This is really out of control. As I suggested earlier, it is time for the good judge to retire or stop blogging. I am worried about his judgment at this point, and I think he has demeaned his office. (And this of course has nothing to do with his positions on Hobby Lobby. Mine are probably closer to the judge’s than to Professor Bainbridge’s.)
That would have been a really cool headline, if it was close to accurate. Sadly, it’s not. Now it’s possible that Hasen failed to grasp the point of Judge Kopf’s inclusion of Fairman’s law review article, as it requires a bit of thought to connect the immaturity of getting all bent out of shape because grownups occasionally curse, and most other grownups don’t faint at the sound of the word “fuck.”
Hasen’s concern for Kopf’s judgment is endearing. My concern for Hasen’s intellectual failings are in the same vein. I would expect Hasen to get it given his claim to be scholarish. That he missed the point by so wide a margin is disappointing, unless he didn’t miss the point but hopes to falsely smear the Judge by disingenuously misrepresenting what he wrote.
All of this raises three concerns that demand voicing.
1. If lawprofs want to engage in a battle of wits with lawyers and judges, they are going to have to come to grips with the fact that we aren’t inclined to heed their lectures in silence. Say something stupid and expect a response. While this may not be the way of the professoriate, it’s how the rest of the world works. Stupid and crazy gets called out.
2. The knee-jerk resort to ad hominems may strike fear in the hearts of your fellow scholars, but doesn’t mean shit to lawyers and judges. This has become de rigueur in the Academy, whether racist, misogynist, Catholic-hater, whatever. This dog won’t hunt with lawyers and judges. We get called bad names all the time and laugh it off. More importantly, your need to smear your enemies proves your intellectual emptiness. We can all see your underpants, guys.
3. What happened to the professoriate, the legal academy, the scholars, who once held intellectual integrity as a mandatory virtue of their tribe? A handful of loudmouth assholes run around throwing insipid pebbles from behind rocks, and the rest of you hide behind your couches lest some blowhard like Bainbridge call you a name too? Are you all too scared to expect more of your self-proclaimed scholars? Is there not a person left in the Academy with the guts to challenge one of your own?
The lawprofs are afraid that their relevance has been lost, their law school may close or at least layoff the prawf with the fewest bylines. The bad news is that when these things happen, no one will miss you, and no one will care. You become irrelevant by choice, not fiat. Oh, and by posting batshit crazy crap on the internet. Let’s not forget that.
Update: I probably should have realize it, but I’m afraid I didn’t. My bad. Rick Hasen is deeply hurt that he hasn’t received the attention he so deeply needs. It’s not much, but I’ll do what I can to make up for the deficit.
Really Judge Kopf? Any reasonable reader of your earlier blog post would see that your severe criticism of Prof. Bainbridge coupled with your suggestion that he read a law review article entitled “FUCK” is your way of saying that to Prof. Bainbridge—though perhaps a smidgen less direct than your earlier post telling the Supreme Court to “STFU.”
Not to be uncharitable, but I’m pretty sure you meant to write “any reasonable butthurt conservative Bainbridge-loving mypic academic reader,” but you didn’t want to squander all the really good words. I only say this because reasonable readers, at least those fluent in the English language, would not agree with what you apparently see as too obvious for words (though you still feel compelled to say so).
I think this is sad actually. I have never seen a federal judge so desperate for attention, and perhaps losing his competence. As I wrote in the last post, “it is time for the good judge to retire or stop blogging. I am worried about his judgment at this point, and I think he has demeaned his office.”
Protip: If you write this three times, it will become far more compelling. Sure, no one will give a damn that you think this is “sad,” or that you’re “worried about his judgment at this point,” largely because of your not being the center of anyone’s universe, but give it one more go and see what happens. Remember, third time’s the charm!
Bainbridge Update: Well, I tried, but can’t keep my eyes averted from this train wreck:
Update 3: Althouse points out that the Judge’s attack is not well grounded:
The “florid” post of Bainbridge’s accused Kopf of “(thinly veiled) anti-Catholicism,” which (understandably) irked Kopf. Kopf says Bainbridge cited no evidence, but the evidence was Kopf’s own statement that all the Justices in theHobby Lobby majority are Catholic. That’s some evidence, but not enough to meet the burden of proof in the courtroom Kopf has no knowledge of Bainbridge ever stepping into if somehow the question of Kopf’s anti-Catholicism were an issue.
I’d say it’s pretty damned good circumstantial evidence.
Update 3: The good judge has announced that he will be ignoring me from now on out. And it was just getting fun.
It would be unfair of me to assume that Professor Bainbridge teaches law because his arithmetic skills are limited, but if he’s going to hurl invective (not to mention raise the specter of circumstantial evidence, which is similarly circumstantial evidence that he’s never been in a courtroom where any judge has charged a jury on circumstantial evidence, or he would know of the elevated charge of “moral certainty”), but it is clear that Ann Althouse didn’t quite suggest that Bainbridge wins any prizes. Indeed, Althouse appears to put a pox on both their houses:
For now, I’ll just say that a stick is a phallic symbol and aimed into an eye is close enough to a rape metaphor that I’d caution against using it in the same sentence as yelling “FUCK.”
And here‘s Professor Bainbridge who — having been told to “grow up” — calls the judge “DummKopf.”
Somehow, the rape metaphor seems a bit of a stretch, even for Althouse. But Bainbridge is taking comfort wherever he can, as would any scared child.