Name That Tune, SJ Edition

I started SJ in 2007, a very different time than now. There was much to say to a public woefully unaware of either criminal law or policing, the pendulum firmly planted deep into the “tough on law” side of the spectrum and people blissfully unaware of the bad things that happened in their name and were hidden from view.

Over the past few years, the pendulum damn near took off my head when it swung with vicious force in the other direction, the public (or at least a certain very loud cohort of it) adopting the view that cops were constantly slaughtering black people in the street with abandon and without consequences, that bad laws could be easily fixed with one cool trick and that simplistic slogans chanted by clueless but passionate people with too much time and education on their extremely soft hands could give us Utopia.

The content of SJ has changed with it, trying to the extent I can to maintain a fair and real vision of sustainability, law and the culture that forms it that works for everyone.

Not everyone here has appreciated this approach. Some are quite angry with me for “abandoning” my critical criminal defense lawyer views. Others found a home at SJ because of it. Still others get what and why I’ve eschewed fashion trends in favor of trying to blunt the worst, most dangerous, least sustainable impulses of the mobs. You can’t please everyone and I decided long ago not to try.

But the once vibrant blawgosphere has mostly faded away. It’s been replaced, to some extent, with podcasts, a phenomenon that I find unsatisfying. Talk is cheap. I’ve been asked to do some, but I’ve demurred. It’s not my thing. It’s too easy to gloss over the holes in an argument as you mumble through it rather than subject your words and thoughts to scrutiny in writing, where gaps become obvious. So while many of my fellow blawgers have laid down their keyboards, I just kept pounding.

Much as I write for my own benefit, I maintain SJ as an open wound for anyone to read. It’s never been a for-profit venture, which is why there are no pop-up ads or paywalls. I’ve left a lot of money on the table because of that choice. Instead, I put the tip cup in the sidebar and left it to the discretion of readers to decide whether to support the cost of maintaining SJ. My theory was that I write it and, if you find it worthwhile, you fund it. The internet is not free. It can be very expensive at time, particularly when there is an occasional site disaster that needs fixing.

For a while, there was a tech entrepreneur who became the SJ patron, providing a substantial contribution that covered the costs of running this hotel. He disappeared one day without a word. I could have asked what happened to him but it struck me as wrong. If the whole point is that it’s voluntary, then walking away was as fair as supporting SJ.

There have been some very substantial donations to the cause, and many readers provided kind monthly contributions, more modest but both fair and very much appreciated. In the past year, these have slowly dwindled, a number of regulars ending their regular contributions.

Maybe this is because of circumstances. Maybe this is because you’ve tired of SJ, or at least tired of contributing to SJ. Maybe this is because you chose not to support SJ. I don’t ask and you don’t tell.

I’ve tried a few new things of late. I’ve largely kept out of the comments, leaving people to speak their mind without fear of my reply. I still trash the crazier and more off-topic comments, but I wanted to see what would come of a less controlled environment. For many years, readers would tell me that they appreciated how I didn’t allow SJ to devolve into a shit-throwing free-for-all by flaming nutjobs of either stripe. Trying to keep my house clean was an effort that angered many of you, but it was appreciated by others. The vast majority of readers don’t comment, but do let me know their thoughts. You know who you are.

Since I’ve decided to keep my nose out of the comments, things have gone better than expected. Others here have taken up the cause of calling out and correcting the crazy and stupid, and much to my surprise, most of you have tried hard to stay on topic. As experiments go, it’s been pretty successful thus far. It didn’t hurt that I simultaneously decided to cut off some of the worst offenders who thought they were hysterically funny trolling me. What was funny once isn’t funny forever. It gets tedious.

But given these circumstances, it struck me as time for you to let me know what you think of SJ. Have I lost the tune? Is SJ still worth supporting? Has it “changed” for the better or worse? Has it played itself out? What do you think?

Bear in mind, nobody makes you read SJ, support it or comment here. If the only thing you have to offer is to tell me what an asshole I am and how much you hate me, then the least you can do is explain why you’re here at all, why you care what I write. I don’t care how you feel, but I might care why you feel that way.

Okay, the floor is yours.

61 thoughts on “Name That Tune, SJ Edition

  1. Tom Kirkendall

    Scott, thank you for publishing your thoughts for readers to think about, share, and (hopefully) refine. It is a labor of love. When I read and think about your blog, I recall the words of the late Houston criminal defense lawyer, Mike Ramsey:

    “Who God forsakes, I defend.”

  2. Beth

    Why am I here? Because I’m constantly learning from you. News items, stories, topics related to law and/or politics, even words or phrases I sometimes question you on (often in error and you kindly set me straight).
    You challenge my thinking.
    Your dedication to this site has provided a sense of normalcy in a chaotic time. No matter what’s going on, you’re up at the crack of dawn writing away.
    I admire your commitment.

    And behind your gruff exterior you are a kind soul I am grateful to call my friend.

    [Ed. Note: For those unaware, Beth is my editor, without whom I would be revealed as a typo-ridden illiterate. Thank you, Beth, for everything.]

  3. Kirk A Taylor

    You help me with my own writing on tax law.
    You make me better at dealing with the IRS.
    You make me think, especially when we disagree. If I disagree with you, more than many others, it makes me question my viewpoints because you are very often right, though not always. It is way too easy to dismiss many other writers whose opinions are inconsistent or poorly defended.
    I also respect a fellow blogger that doesn’t jump to podcasts and monetization. There is nothing worse than a podcast or video without a transcript.

  4. LRB

    I tuned in about a year ago, and I read far more often than I comment (for everyone’s benefit). There is an incredible amount of rubbish online, put about by nutjobs from both extreme ends. So it is very refreshing to be able to come to a place where issues can be discussed with some sense, and from a perspective where liberal means what it is supposed to. You seem to be able to keep it a place where no one is too comfortable all of the time, something for which everyone should be grateful when it is so easy to become ensconced in an echo chamber.

    (Trigger warning: tummy rub) The prodigious output and the breadth of things discussed is honestly quite astounding. Not sure how you keep it up, but I’m sure we’re all glad you do and apparently continue to enjoy doing so.

    I miss your comments, even (especially?) the more pointed ones. Keeping us all on track, while keeping the place generally tidy, also focuses the mind and encourages a bit more critical thinking—something not exactly in abundance today.

    If you keep writing, I’ll keep reading. Many thanks for your efforts.

    1. Chris Van Wagner

      I could have written this, so, ditto. But I miss the Rock’em-Sock’em robots aspect of your commentary. Then again, maybe that fills a need for this “Coastie” out here in the more reserved land of Midwestern Nice. Either way, I shall keep reading and commenting when the spirit (or some momentary insanity) moves me. After all, this IS my neighborhood saloon – a strange truth coming from one who also lives in the home of Milwaukee’s Best and other lesser lagers. (I’m also comforted knowing typos can be more than one man’s brand.)

  5. Jamison


    You have been prescient on many issues. You predicted the demise of the blogosphere, for example, long before this possibility had occurred to anyone else. The legal analysis is spot-on such that I am always disappointed when you do not cover an issue — as if that were an entitlement. The crankinesss was enjoyable when it was not directed at me. You never pander, and you seem to look for unpopular positions. And I have never contributed a cent.

  6. Eddie Harrington

    SJ is still one of my first reads every day, as it has been for at least 10 years, because, like Beth, I almost always learn something new every day and I also know that if there is something important going on in the world of law or politics, I am going to see a fair and nuanced blog entry from you about it with a spirited discussion in the comments. My son just recently graduated from law school and I have turned him into a regular reader as well. I have also suggested it to a few others over the years and will continue to do so. And when that day comes that you finally write a book I will be one of the first in line to purchase a copy!

  7. Richard Kopf


    Keep at it for as long as you take some modicum of joy in writing this wonderful and extremely thoughtful commentary. But quit when you tire of the drudgery of keeping this place open.

    All the best.


  8. Jeffrey Gamso

    I eat when I’m hungry;
    I drink when I’m dry,
    And if moonshine don’t kill me,
    I’ll live till I die.

    You know me, Scott.

    Don’t always agree, sometimes wish you’d get off this or that horse. Comment when the mood strikes and I think I’ve maybe got something to add. Wish I were still writing my blog every day (or even every month). But I read always. And fully expect I’ll continue to. (Being “retiredish,” as a friend called me, gives me more time if not more wisdom.)

    P.S. I have no clear idea why I began this with the clip from “The Moonshiner.”

  9. James

    I’ve been mostly lurking here since the beginning. You made me a better lawyer when I was practicing. Nowadays you provide my morning mental calisthenics and you well articulate that despite all the farting out there, it’s all about taking one client at a time and doing your best lawyering for that fellow human being. Thank you. I finally hit the tip jar. Go buy yourself half a bottle of Bowmore 18, or better yet, a full bottle of Scapa or Lagavulin 16. You’ll get change.

  10. Keith

    I recall when I started reading SJ because I was sitting in a hospital room (waiting interminably). Luckily I had someone on the internet available and willing to tell me how wrong I was and how little I knew, in his, well, unique style.

    Over the years, you’ve screamed at me, cursed at me, bought me a beer and held my kid (not always in that order) — all while you helped me understand many things I would likely never fully appreciate.

    You’ve been very clear that you write for you and we can read it (or not), so I’ll leave it there.
    Not sure how long this hotel will stay open, but while your editors have to work overtime, I will say that your circulation department is much better than USPS.

    You keep writing; I’ll keep reading.
    And when the $.02 stops, you’ll know where I stand.

  11. Scott J Spencer

    I have no recollection of how I fell upon this place, but I am very appreciative of what goes on here. While I have a law degree, I don’t practice (never have) and coming here helps me feel like I am a part of the legal world in some way.

    The posts and the comments have taught me a lot. This is the first place I look at in the morning and come back throughout the day to refresh the comments and see what others are thinking.

    I will keep reading as long you keep posting.

  12. Hal


    FWIW, I find your writing thought provoking and it has caused me to question my assumptions/ evaluate by beliefs on many occasions. For me that’s of great value… likely less so to you/ others.

    Should yo choose to “shut down the hotel” I’d miss it greatly, but I agree w/ Hizzoner that you should quit when it becomes a chore rather than a source of joy.


  13. F. Lee Billy

    How to respond to such soul searching? We don’t want to say anything stewpid, untoward or overly offensive. Which we have been known to do, even here. (We’ve been blocked from half a dozen sites, but not here,…not yet!)

    Our cash flow has dwindled as well over the years. It’s paradoxical, and inverse to the stock market. We have our theories, but who cares? It’s each his own, his own unknown. Folks seem reluctant to spend money these days. We listen to local NPR affiliates, but do not contribute. Why should we? Let those folks with more money than can possibly be spent in a lifetime, contribute to good causes.

    One of my relatives left a substantial sum to Doctors Without Borders, which baffled us. Why did she do that!?! Well, how can you argue with charity and not fight greed.

    This site has changed how we think and the ways in which we think. Indeed, it has changed our very persona, hopefully for the better. Yes, we went to college, and have forgotten more than most will ever know. We trust you will keep the ship afloat, come hell or high water. Top job, Admiral. We thank you for your service. Here at BB Headquarters, we like when you stray off the beaten pathway, like today. Like yesterday and the day before.

    Hope this was not off-topic, or too long. It’s not easy being sleazy. Wind is picking up outdoors. Gotta run.

    1. Billy Bob

      It occurs to me, belatedly, that if you were to change SJ to Lawyers Without Borders, the donations would come rolling in. Ha. Just sayin’. Eureka!

  14. Guitardave

    You do what you do so well, you could write about anything and I would look forward to reading it.
    (…and i would say that even if you weren’t the kind hearted, supportive friend I never expected to have.)

  15. Drew Conlin

    Some people are smarter than others. You’re smarter than I am. I’m not being maudlin; I’m simply stating a fact.
    I sometime back told myself that when I encountered those smarter than myself I should try and take advantage and perhaps gain an idea or wisdom I might not have reached on my own.
    I’m not unsmart I know it’s not a word… so I’m encouraged when I read where others ( SJ for example) have come to the same conclusion or idea as I have on something I’ve given thought to .
    Lastly if it matters I’ve never felt any ill will when I’ve been admonished here.

  16. Bruce Coulson

    You’ve brought an education in the law. Not the kind that would let someone be a lawyer, but the kind that would let people understand the law; what it is, what it isn’t, and why some changes are good, but a lot more are bad in ways that the people who wrote the laws (hopefully) didn’t understand. I’ve found your column entertaining, educational, and sometimes very funny. Hopefully you will continue writing, but even if you don’t, I’ve had my mind opened and my horizons expanded. All the best.

  17. Sgt. Schultz

    Knowing how much you love tummy rubs, I suspect these very kind and sincere comments weren’t what you were looking for with this post. I try to do my part to deflect the crazy away from you, not because I’m your fanboi but because it’s more than enough that you write what you do and the least others can do is put in a modicum of thought when commenting.

    I asked the other day how long you plan to keep “this” up, your staying out of the comments. In one sense, your smacks are part of the fun here, but I can understand how it can get tiresome and, like a few others here, want to help take some of the burden off you. I hope I help and don’t make things worse.

    As we’ve discussed off the blawg, your law posts attract a different response than your culture posts, even though you do your best to explain how your culture posts relate to what ultimately ends up in the law. Some get it. Many do not. I think that there are a lot of people who might have a far better appreciation of why you address certain issues if they appreciated how the dots connect. It can be hard to see, at times, but when I fail to see the connection, I assume it’s my failing rather than yours.

    As for financial support, you are already aware of where I stand. And for those who have nice things to say here, somebody has to pay for this joint. Scott has never asked anyone for a dime to read SJ. He leaves it entirely up to you whether it’s worth the nut.

  18. Steven

    I greatly appreciate the time and effort you spend on this blog. While I disagree with you on most things political, you have often forced me to rethink my positions and re-asses arguments I had dismissed due to the presentation and apparent motives of their most vocal supporters. I read here regularly as is gives me hope to see reasoned arguments I can understand and areas of agreement and compromises I think could be accepted if only the Bacchae from both ends of the spectrum could be ignored.

    Thank you for your writing and I hope you continue for many years; we will be all the poorer when you cease.

    1. Miles

      This is a fascinating comment. You say you disagree with SHG on most things political, and yet I have no idea whether you’re left or right. That speaks volumes to me.

  19. John Wolfe

    I started reading SJ around 2010 and was so enthralled by your well-reasoned thought processes, that I dove into the archives and read every piece you wrote up to the then-present. Doing so educated me on a great variety of topics that I thought I had no opinion on.

    Your writing makes me think, and doing so makes me a better person. I read SJ mainly because it presents a side of things that I might not ordinarily hear in my small slice of the world. What I hear from SJ is what Paul Harvey used to refer to as “The rest of the story.”

    As Beth said, “You’re writing challenges my thinking.” And for that alone I thank you.

  20. abwman

    Hi Scott. I’m a relatively new follower of SJ, brought in by the sanity of the discussion here in what has become an increasingly un-sane (or at least unthoughtful) environment. As a (now retired) securities enforcement litigator with only a few forays into criminal defense, I learn some from the legal discussions, but I was most drawn in by your willingness to speak truth to dogma, and do so with intelligence and style. Where do we go for intelligent discussion when pillars of “liberal” thought (50’s through 80’s style) like the ACLU have so terribly lost their compass? For me, SJ has been the place. How else can I keep up with the latest displays of anti-liberal (and dangerous) excesses generated by what we once thought were societal thought leaders in commentary, policy, and (especially) academia? Although your comments can sometimes be pretty brutal, I get that you’d prefer not to have the site hijacked by crazies or mindless noisemakers. I am honestly astonished at the effort you put into SJ, and the prolific body of work you produce. I wrote a blog myself about securities enforcement and litigation issues for a few years and was barely able to generate what I thought was useful content on even a weekly basis. That ended when I could no longer gather the energy and focus to do the hard work of trying to get both the substance and the writing right. That you’ve been doing this for 15 years with the breadth and quality of content you produce is nothing short of astonishing.

  21. Marco

    I’ve been reading this site for just over nine years. The oldest reference that I found in my notes was to “The Bad Guy Bias” from January 2012. The Internet is a better place with you in it. As a fellow old-school blogger, I’m continually impressed with the regularity and quality of your output.

  22. Anon

    Hope your fragile boomer ego has been sufficiently stroked by all your fans, but you asked, so here you go: You once reflected the concerns of the criminal defense side, but have since used your platform and whatever cred you built up to attack real change to systemic racism and those fighting to support BIPOC and save them from the bastards who have oppressed them.

    You know it and you don’t care. You quibble over details but would rather see reform die than use your voice to end the nightmare white people and their paid guns have perpetrated on Black and brown people. You are a racist. You are responsible for racism. You choose to perpetuate racism than to use your voice to end it. Fuck you. I can’t wait for your generation to die off so scum like you won’t undermine the efforts of those of us trying to actually change things.

    1. F. Lee Billy

      Yup, change is coming real fast with language like that, kid. You did not, and do not, have to identify yourself. It’s obvious that you are a kid and have a lot to learn. Good luck!

      Look kid, it’s a tough time of year for all of us baaastards. You are not unique in any way, shape or form. We boomers may not be the greatest generation, but merely second greatest. We are descended from the greatest, you see? You are an insolent, spoiled brat and deserving of a good bitch-slapping. Where do you live? In a prison of your own mind, no doubt! Put your mask on; your face is giving me agita. Gotta lie down now that I got this off my chest. May have to see a doctor, thanks to you.

    2. Elpey P.

      The irony of that last line. This is an act, right? It’s so supervillain-y. Let me guess, you thought Killmonger should have been the hero. When people who think that way gain power, they retain very little interest in “criminal defense.”

  23. Anthony Kehoe

    My wife and I learn a lot from reading at this here hotel and your take on things is very much appreciated. And also the regular patrons at the bar. The closest I have ever been to a lawyer is handling my own immigration petitions for H1-B and Green Card/Citizenship, but it is educational to see a more formalised thought about events that seem easy to grasp. And occasionally I get a comment posted so that helps my self esteem.

    Thanks for all you writing and I hope it continues.

  24. Jeff Tyler

    I began reading SJ a few years ago when Judge Kopf stopped offering his thoughts on his own space. I somehow found your writing through Kopf. I stayed when your thoughts seemed to make more sense than those of many in my community at a time when a district judge was being targeted for defeat during a judicial election here in Alaska a few years ago. I’ve remained because of the writing.

    As a man in his sixties, I’ve found myself drawn more to the written word in the last few years. Much of the what passes for podcast “content” seems increasingly to be irritating noise, to my mind. Dalton Trumbo once opined something to the effect that; “Spoken words are lost on the air. A concisely written letter commands the man’s attention.”

    Keep writing so long as you have something to say and the writing brings you some sense of satisfaction. Otherwise, stop.


    Jeff Tyler
    Anchor Point, AK

  25. Jill Brockus

    I am a 63 year old housewife with a high school education. I have read your blawg for years. I remember being sad when you posted the “And thanks for the fish” video and glad when you chose to continue posting. It was fun to see a subject developed and argued when a bunch of you had a round robin of posts going, years ago.

    Your passion, your calm good sense and your joy are part of what has kept me reading over the years. Your passion for the law and for seeing wrongs and wishing to right them. Your calm way of discussing the issues you bring up and trying to persuade others to see it your way, to think and not emote. And your joy in life, in doing your part to make the world better, day by day, inch by inch, despite the mess and wrongness all around.

    The other reason I keep reading is that you have widened my world. For that, my heartfelt thanks.


    I’ve been reading and learning, and getting slapped down for teh stoopid here more times than I can count. Came here from a link on another blog in 2013 and have visited daily ever since.

    Keep up the great work. I’ll continue reading until you throw in the towel.

  27. Ray

    Like an earlier commentator I discovered this blog when Hercules and the Umpie went off air. For the same reasons why I enjoyed an appreciated Hercules and the Umpire, I enjoy coming to this blog. It’s a worthwhile endeavor, so I hope you continue the project.

    But how the heck do you find the time?

  28. Robert

    I’ve read for more than a decade, my best takeaway is that it is really hard to write, implement or apply a law. There are so many ways to confound things that seem simple at first glance.

    I value SJ both for SHG and for the commentary, long may it thrive!

  29. Stephanie

    I cannot accurately predict your views. I attribute that to your thinking independently about issues in a case by case way. Basically, you don’t seem to be knee-jerk anything. You add information cogently. I trust what you present as fact. I feel more knowledgeable and able to form my own opinion based on your writing. I enjoy your sarcasm.
    The personal anecdote about buying your son a suit, was so touching and demonstrated as readers of SJ know, you have an abundance of head AND heart.

  30. Suzi

    Like others, I’ve been reading here a long time and comment infrequently. But there’s one thing here that’s always been very important to me here, that you treat women with real equality. If they say something dumb, you call them on it like you would anyone else. You may be the most “feminist” man I know, because you don’t pretend to be feminist at all. We’re all just people here and that’s how it should be.

    Remember when the children at #appellatetwitter lost their minds because you called some woman crazy? Not because she wasn’t (she was), but because you weren’t “allowed” to call a woman crazy? That’s when I appreciated that you didn’t care if someone was male, female or other, and would not give in to the word police to appear “feminist” rather than actually be feminist. Thank you.

    1. F. Lee Billy

      Remember when Scott trashed Only Mom in response to one of her inane comments? That was hilarious. My response at the time was, “Only Mom is now Only Toast!”. Yup, he posted that too.

      Only Mom was active for a while, but seems to be on sabbatical during this pandemic. Regarding the substance, it seems this site is dominated by men,… cause “women’s work is never done!” Did I just say that? Hi Mom. An observation, not a criticism. Ahem!

  31. KeyserSoze

    I would go into withdrawal and DT’s should I miss my daily dose of SJ. This is one of only two blogs that I come back to multiple times a day not only to read Scott’s postings but also everyone else’s.

    I think our host writes with both hands at night……..

  32. L. Phillips

    Them that can, do.
    Them that can’t do, like me, read.
    Them that read should hit the tip jar early and often.
    Except in cat houses, tummy rubs don’t pay the bills.

  33. Shadow of a Doubt

    I’ve been kicking around for a few years, can’t remember how I found you in the first place, I think some other smart ass lawyer I followed on social media recommended one of your posts.

    I can’t speak a whole lot about the comments as I rarely post on here, I’m simply not of the capacity to add much to the conversation most times. I come from a family consisting almost entirely of lawyers and police, yet I never followed either career, so I don’t often have much to offer here, but I read often.

    What I will say though is that your writing is invaluable to me when it comes to an honest, but intelligent take on the law. As a Canadian married to an American, I split my time between NY state and Ontario, I often find American law very confusing and arcane and most news outlets don’t explain it well. You’re one of the rare sources that both has an opinion about the law, and also adequately explains what’s happening at the same time. There’s plenty of lawyers with opinions who don’t explain what laws actually mean, and there are plenty of people who explain law without having enough experience with it to have an intelligent opinion on it. You offer the best of both worlds, even if I don’t agree with your opinion you will at least have a solid description of what the law is and why you feel how you do about it, which is far more than even most people who professionally educate the populace about legal matters can say.

    If you’ve ever gotten a random contribution in the amount of what a bottle of Bowmore goes for here, that’s been me, though not if recent. COVID has hammered my business into the ground over the last bit and I’ve had to cut my patreon etc. budget, but on the off chance it makes a difference, there will be more quality hooch sent your way when things pick back up again. I hope to continue to read your posts in the meantime.

  34. Chris

    The voices on the Internet that acknowledge that nuance still exists and that there are, indeed, three sides to every story are few and far between. I appreciate that you are still amongst that number.

    Thank you for making me a slight bit smarter, if no wiser, through your efforts.

  35. PK

    I found you because a classmate my 2L year told me to check SJ. He said something about you being hilarious in the comments as a bonus feature. Then I said really, really stupid things here as I’m apt to do. Then you shot me down and shot me down and eventually asked me why you would care about what some pseudonymous kid on the internet had to say. You didn’t know that in my culture that meant you had agreed to adopt me. Sorry about that. You’re always gonna have weirdos doing weird things.

    I’ve read most everything you’ve put on here since and all the comments I can too. I love it here. It’s my safe space. I know if I act out, I’ll get called out, and that’s how I prefer it even if I’m making an effort not to say as much stupid shit. I know that the same goes for everyone else. You’re fair about it. I trust you. That’s important.

    Don’t let Sarge get in your ear. Keep “this” up. Stay the course, please. The sorts of cultural topics you invite us to discuss don’t lend themselves to a strict moderating policy. And there’s value in discussing these topics in the ongoing divisive culture war or whatever we’ve got going on. If it threatens to become a cesspool or more of one you can always pull the plug. You’re the angry god, after all.

    Please keep writing, however you manage to do it and thanks for everything.

  36. Burban

    Like many commenters above, I don’t remember when or how I got here. SJ is a daily read. I don’t comment much as I often have nothing cogent to add.

    Tummy Rub Alert:
    I appreciate you making me think. I appreciate and am surprised at Guitar Dave and Howl’s knowledge and breadth of music. I enjoy Chris Seaton’s reports from Mud Lick. This is a nice place to be.
    Thank you for all you do.

  37. Colin Samuels

    I could say that I read most days from habits formed during (and nostalgia for) the “golden age” of legal blogging and blawg reviewing. It’s true; habits are comforting. I could also say that when all others from said “golden age” have been beaten down, given up, or faded away, I know that something you post each day will be compelling and provocative. Also true; you’ve a much better batting average than anyone else I read regularly. The real reason though, is that of the many posts I wrote, the hundreds I reviewed, and the thousands more I read during that era, your critical response to something I wrote changed my perspective entirely on something relating to criminal law. Ever since, I’m reminded of that when I feel myself sliding toward baser instincts, frustrated by the state of things or reacting emotionally to something I’ve read, seen, or experienced. In short, your writing made me better, and that’s something I can’t say about too many others.

    [Ed. Note: I miss Ed. Thanks for making me think of him.]

  38. Mark Daniel Myers

    I’ve read your blog since Rakofsky v. the Internet. I followed all the other defendants and have been a fan of yours and of Mark Bennett’s especially since then. I’m not a lawyer, but in the time I’ve been reading you I’ve had front row seats to the criminal defense mindset, shared for free, for the love of the sharing. I’ve felt blessed. Out of respect for the desired level of discourse, I keep to myself, for the most part.

    Early on, I emailed you privately to say something stupid, and earned the response you gave me. I stuck around, and I like to think I am better for it. On the occasions I don’t agree with you, I have to seriously consider why. I also shamelessly pillage your work for a turn of phrase. The last time I hit the tip jar I had just searched up your propensity evidence posts. If the motion I wrote wins, I’ll hit the tip jar again.

    I’ve seen Fault Lines come and go. I regret its departure. I’ve seen Popehat and crew churn out posts and then switch to podcasts, which don’t resonate with me, mainly because I read faster than I listen. I’ve seen Marc Randazza’s blog posting dry up. I’ve seen Mark Bennett switch to paid posts, which I subscribed to, for a time. His pace isn’t the reliable two-a-day that you maintain. I felt the loss of Hercules and the Umpire keenly, although I’m thrilled the good judge still comments on posts, and Gideon’s website doesn’t even work anymore. The graveyard of blawgs saddens me, but Simple Justice keeps chugging along. I appreciate it. I hope you keep going, and keep sharing, and when you decide you are done, I will remain grateful for what you shared.

  39. Jacob Williams

    One of those long-time silent readers, here. I picked up on the legal blawgosphere from investigating a fraud scheme that happened to target an office run by a member of my family, the UST toner scams that Kenneth White covered back in 2011-onwards. His advice on reporting and researching scams of that type was invaluable, and I spread from his blog to anything else nearby that offered that level of thought in criticism of philosophy and legal theory and all the other considerations that form an understanding of both law, the creation thereof, and the enforcement thereafter. It was a new world to me.

    It wasn’t one for long. Kenneth first moved to Above the Law (which remains much too partisan for my tastes), then stopped writing entirely. Other bloggers went silent that I enjoyed, or switch to podcasts, which I care little for on the basis that factchecking and references are so much less valued in the spoken format. Podcasts aren’t interested in educating anyone, or prompting discussion. One reads to learn, but one listens to indoctrinate.

    I haven’t always found a warm welcome here when I’ve reached out to comment, but that’s because others have pointed out objective flaws in my arguments and statements, and after I finish nursing my wounded pride – I won’t pretend I don’t have it – I appreciate that. I appreciate the work that’s done here, and the open discussions that happen here, and the consideration that’s put into each topic that comes up.

    For what it’s worth from an anonymous, blue-collar worker from the Deep South: Simple Justice has helped shape what my vision of a better and more thoughtful person is. It’s helped me see angles of decency, of consideration, and of justice I wasn’t aware existed. It challenges my preconceptions and offers no answers and makes me think.

    Thinking, these years, is a rarer and more persecuted art that ever, and finding anyplace that will debate the nature and dispensation of decency, not just partisan politics, will only get harder in the future as well, I expect. I don’t see Section 230 lasting much longer, and open discussion in the print format won’t survive its fall. I archive each of your posts now in expectation of that.

    You, and the other readers and commenters here, do valuable work. May Simple Justice continue another 15 years.

  40. Pedantic Grammar Police

    I read your blog because I value your insights. For the same reason, I like it when you reply to my comments, even (maybe especially) when you disagree.

  41. Rengit

    I only started commenting here in the December or January prior to the start of the pandemic, March 2020. I had been a long-time but not frequent commenter over at Popehat’s blog, which I’d started reading a decade ago before even starting law school; Ken’s comment section was more free-wheeling, and the libertarian dude-bro commenting base that he gathered probably played a part (in addition to the bigger gigs and Twitter following) in Ken giving up on the blog.

    I was aware of SJ through Popehat, and had read a couple posts over the years, but started reading more actively in 2019, then worked up the courage to post the winter before the pandemic. I took some lumps, which I didn’t appreciate at the time, but now much better appreciate why SJ does this and has the various house rules: this place would be filled with off-topic trolling, ideological axe-grinding garbage, and outraged drive-by commenters coming from other sites, like Popehat and so many other blogs (legal or not) became over the years. Better to have a comment section that is moderated both formally, in terms of deletions and bans, and informally, getting slapped with “what a stupid comment” and “FOCUS”-type replies from our host, than become no better than any particular subreddit.

    I’ve learned a lot here in just two short years, and appreciate the regular posting. And I’ll just say that I don’t like podcasts either. At the risk of violating the “no tummy rubs” rule, keep doing what you’re doing, because it’s working great.

  42. st

    Is SJ still worth supporting? Yes, and I have been remiss

    Has it “changed” for the better or worse? Changed, of course. The ones that don’t change are silent. I think it has changed for the better.

    Has it played itself out? I fervently hope not, but that is entirely your decision.

    What do you think? I think I discovered yet another very large gap in my oh-so-expensive education. Reading this blog at least keeps me aware of things I don’t know or understand. Now and then I learn a little something, and that is a very good thing.

    You write for yourself, but you have improved the minds and perhaps lives of a great many. Thank you.

  43. Oskar von Ahn

    My first time interaction with SJ I got trashed, rightly, in a post for a moronic comment on the Twitters.

    Then trashed trying to defend the moronic comment in this comment section.

    I read SJ a couple of times a week now. It’s stimulating and it makes me think, and rethink. I don’t comment much as I guess most of you don’t need the Swedish perspective on things closer to home.

    Of course you do exactly what you want to do. But I like it here and I thank you for it.

  44. RemnantPsyche

    I’m a non-lawyer who has lurked here for around 5-6 years, turning to SJ when I need to kill time and would prefer to be seen reading something respectable in public. I’ve learned a lot over the years and respect Scott’s commitment to the truth no matter how much he (or I) likes it. Indeed, it’s why I keep coming back: for a principled person’s take from, roughly, the other side of the political aisle. In a partisan and polarized time like now, that’s probably more important than it’s EVER been.

    So yes, SJ is still worth supporting, reading, and writing.


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