Over the years, much has appeared here that was slightly less than flattering of the Carrie Nation of revenge porn, Mary Anne Franks. It was never about sloughing off the problem, but her flagrant dishonesty, intellectual and factual, in pursuit of her cause. When questioned as to the First Amendment implications of her advocacy, she lied and denied, calling her challengers sexists, misogynists, racists and perverts.
Franks, despite not being a lawyer, is a law professor, and she used that credential to delude as many people as she could, at a time when others in the Academy were deathly afraid of speaking ill of a woman academic, lest the social justice warriors burn down their careers. It’s not that there weren’t substantial swathes of scholars who cringed at her lies, but the times were changing, and academic integrity was a cheap commodity compared to the advocacy of social justice causes.
Lie for the right side of social justice and all was forgiven, no shame attached. The search for truth was replaced with the search for justice, as long as it was the approved flavor of justice. Truth is the first casualty of war, and this was war.
And then came Trump.
This wasn’t possible. Conservative academics recognized that he lacked the competence and principle to be trusted to govern. Progressive academics lost their shit because he was the embodiment of evil. Yet, he was elected president. My view is that America preferred an unknown outsider of dubious psychological status and certain cluelessness to the progressive Utopia of the New World Order. Your mileage may vary, but that’s not important here.
Since the election, and before, insufferably partisan academics have been pulling a Mary Anne Franks on the public. promoting the cause by using their academic cred to pander and deceive. They have now chosen to institutionalize it in a blog dedicated to why Trump is horrible.
Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution commands that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” Take Care is devoted to insightful, accessible, and timely legal analysis of the President’s adherence to that duty. We undertake this mission in direct response to recent assaults on the rule of law in America by President Donald J. Trump and his Administration.
If this was a legitimate effort, it would be welcome. There is little doubt that President Trump lacks a grasp of law, Constitution or governance that would enable him to “take Care” in a competent principled way. While he couldn’t be further from the regular joe, he approaches the job with a similarly clueless and simplistic grasp of how this nation and its government happen.
This has nothing to do with Trump’s policies, which you may or may not like at any given time, but with his ability to drive the Mack truck of state without crashing into walls. Some will see his lack of competence as a stand-alone virtue, that he won’t be the same old politicians that have paralyzed government and failed to address the needs of regular people. Maybe it’s time, some reason, for crashing into walls, Maybe it’s time for some walls to be knocked to the ground. Fair enough.
But that doesn’t preclude a fair disagreement as to what the government should be doing or how it should be accomplished. Will this new legal blog provide the voice of that fair disagreement?
The list of bloggers is long and impressive, consisting mostly of prominent liberal constitutional law professors. The contributors page lists 52 bloggers and 15 interns, so it promises a lot of content.
Initial posts already up at the site include Presidential Bad Faith by Larry Tribe, Desuetude and Immigration Enforcement by Jamal Greene, See You In Court 2.0 by Leah Litman, Trump’s Approach to Crime & Punishment by Chiraag Bains, Faith in the Ninth Circuit by Daniel Hemel and Youngstown Zone Zero by Leah Litman and Ian Samuel.
By no means do I suggest that Harvard con law prawf Larry Tribe isn’t a brilliant scholar. But I do suggest, no, assert, that he is so deeply dedicated to the advocacy of progressivism and hatred of Trump that he will say anything, no matter how false and absurd, to attack his enemy. How far will he go? How about calling SDNY United States Attorney Preet Bharara a “hero” for no better reason than his refusal to be fired by Trump.
On its first day of existence, the Take Care Blog demonstrated that it can’t be trusted, that it will distort and deceive to pursue its advocacy ends. It will likely be spotty in this regard, given that 52 academics will have differing degrees of shamelessness, and some might be less willing than others to put on their pink hotpants and strut down Progressive Boulevard in their effort to find a willing john.
At the same time, it will become the “go-to” source for advocacy journalists, the ones who self-righteously leave out facts and arguments that fail to prove how evil Trump is and how his every move, from his proposed budget to his most inanely irrelevant twit, proves he’s the embodiment of fascism. Much like resort to the Southern Poverty Law Center as the “go to” resource to “prove” who’s really a White Nationalist racist neo-Nazi because he didn’t wear a pink knit cap at the Women’s March, reference to the Take Care Blog will be the new and easy means of imputing academic credibility to every anti-Trump scream.
There have long been blogs, not to mention putative “news” sources, that are up to their eyeballs in progressive politics. This isn’t new, and it isn’t wrong. Whether you agree or not, it presents a perspective as worthy of consideration as conservative or liberal. But the Take Care blog is different. Instead of trying to be an honest broker of legal analysis, its mission is to exploit scholarly cred to present false analysis for the sole purpose of attacking Trump.
Trump deserves to be attacked and challenged at every turn. Every president does. But the challenge should be honest and accurate, not any feces academics can throw at him to see what sticks.
The first post at Take Care by (guess who?) Larry Tribe says:
But can it be seriously believed that Trump does anything “faithfully”?
And with that absurd hyperbole, the mission of this blog is revealed. Sadly, the academics who post there will be forever tainted by having sold their integrity for their cause.*
*Or, as noted in the comment below, celebrated.