“The Echo Chamber”: Reuters Investigation Finds That a Small Group of Lawyers Dominates the Docket at the Supreme Court

Supreme Court of the United States

Supreme Court of the United States

By Elaine Magliaro

This morning, Reuters published the first part of a three-part investigative series, Part 1: A cadre of well-connected attorneys has honed the art of getting the Supreme Court to take up cases – and business is capitalizing on their expertise. Written by Joan Biskupic, Janet Roberts, and John Shiffman, the series tells how “a handful of lawyers now dominates the docket” at “America’s court of last resort.”

In the first paragraph of the initial report in the series, the authors note that the marble façade of the Supreme Court building proclaims a high ideal: “Equal Justice Under Law.”

The authors report, however, that there is an elite cadre of lawyers who have emerged “as first among equals, giving their clients a disproportionate chance to influence the law of the land.”

Biskupic, Roberts, and Shiffman:

A Reuters examination of nine years of cases shows that 66 of the 17,000 lawyers who petitioned the Supreme Court succeeded at getting their clients’ appeals heard at a remarkable rate. Their appeals were at least six times more likely to be accepted by the court than were all others filed by private lawyers during that period.

The lawyers are the most influential members of one of the most powerful specialties in America: the business of practicing before the Supreme Court. None of these lawyers is a household name. But many are familiar to the nine justices. That’s because about half worked for justices past or present, and some socialize with them.

They are the elite of the elite: Although they account for far less than 1 percent of lawyers who filed appeals to the Supreme Court, these attorneys were involved in 43 percent of the cases the high court chose to decide from 2004 through 2012.

The authors of the report said that Reuters comprehensive investigation of the Supreme Court’s docket “suggests that the justices essentially have added a new criterion to whether the court takes an appeal – one that goes beyond the merits of a case and extends to the merits of the lawyer who is bringing it.” They added that the examination of the docket showed “a decided advantage for corporate America, and a growing insularity at the court.” They noted that there are some legal experts who contend that the court’s “reliance on a small cluster of specialists, most working on behalf of businesses, has turned the Supreme Court into an echo chamber – a place where an elite group of jurists embraces an elite group of lawyers who reinforce narrow views of how the law should be construed.”

Click here to read The Echo Chamber: At America’s court of last resort, a handful of lawyers now dominates the docket (Reuters)

 

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186 Responses to “The Echo Chamber”: Reuters Investigation Finds That a Small Group of Lawyers Dominates the Docket at the Supreme Court

  1. po says:

    Wow, surprising…but not really! The 1% across the board!

  2. WOW…conflict of interest issues raised to the highest possible level for the biggest problems in America…

    Corporations rule!

  3. bigfatmike says:

    Some of us must be feeling pretty stupid – thinking that really bright clerks were reading and sifting different opinions among the districts to forward to the Justices.

    Apparently some Justices don’t feel it necessary to give so much as the appearance of impartial even handedness.

  4. Elaine M. says:

    Chewing over the “power bar”: Biskupic discusses major study of the Supreme Court bar’s influence on certiorari
    http://www.scotusblog.com/2014/12/chewing-over-the-power-bar-biskupic-discusses-major-study-of-the-supreme-court-bars-influence-on-certiorari/

    Excerpt:
    What prompted Reuters to dig into the Supreme Court docket?

    We’d noticed that certain lawyers seemed to be increasingly successful with cert. petitions and that many in this core group were arguing more cases. A tiny cadre appeared to have developed a disproportionate influence. We wanted to see if the data matched that hunch. No one had ever looked comprehensively at petitions.

    How was the examination done?

    Using Westlaw files, a Reuters data editor and researchers went through more than 10,000 petitions filed by private lawyers, categorizing them by type of case, type of client, and type of lawyer and firm. This took months. Those petitions involved about 17,000 attorneys. Looking at various measures, we identified sixty-six lawyers, each of whom had filed an average of at least one petition a year from 2004 to 2012 and had at least three granted cases. That put these sixty-six far above the norm in terms of success. We probed oral argument patterns, too, and identified an elite group of eight lawyers who were arguing the most before the nine Justices.

    What surprised you most?

    First, it was the big influence of this tiny group. Although the sixty-six lawyers we identified made up far less than one percent of the lawyers who filed petitions with the Court, they were involved in forty-three percent of the cases the Court accepted. The strength of the corporate tilt and the deepening insularity surprised us, too. Both elements were predictable to an extent with the current court, but the depth of the patterns was striking. For example, on the insularity, we found that half had been law clerks. There was no getting around the fact that familiarity seemed to matter, and that the merits of the lawyer may be playing a role in the review of petitions today.

    What struck you about the “corporate tilt” that you mentioned?

    The domination of the docket by corporate interests has consequences for consumer and employee cases. Because corporate lawyers can’t take those cases (based on firm-wide conflicts of interest), individuals are often left to a smaller, and collectively less successful, pool of lawyers. Also, it’s probably worth noting that this elite, largely corporate group of sixty-six lawyers is remarkably homogeneous: sixty-three are white, and only eight are women.

  5. NBC says:

    There would be an easy way to avoid this by not having the names of the parties on the documents.

    Of course, I would like to caution about the inevitable confounds. And there are plenty. Again, an interesting study to start a discussion with.

  6. NBC says:

    About 1/3 of the lawyers are women so the raw expectations would be 22 versus 44. However, that number looks at the overall number of lawyers, not those who have submitted certs to the Supreme Court.
    Yes, women are woefully underrepresented in law, they face a strong ‘old boy’ network that is hard to penetrate. Is the 58-8 representation a surprise? No.

    Do people understand that there are quite a few reasonable explanations for these data? Of course, that does not mean that the explanations should be accepted as inevitable outcomes. Success breeds more success.

    Any suggestions how this could be avoided?

  7. gbk says:

    NBC,

    “There would be an easy way to avoid this by not having the names of the parties on the documents.”

    Yes, this simple solution would solve everything. Audit trails suck.

    “Again, an interesting study to start a discussion with.”

    I see your chips are placed early.

  8. NBC says:

    gbk: I see your chips are placed early.

    50% on red, 50% on black Almost a safe bet.

  9. NBC says:

    gbk: Yes, this simple solution would solve everything. Audit trails suck.

    What is the relevance for having an audit trail here? And audit trails do not need names. No, I have to reject that as not relevant. And no it would not solve everything, but it would reduce the effects of bias of the court, if any.

    The other issue is much harder to address. Successful lawyers tend to be successful lawyers, which unfortunately means that one can buy ‘justice’ to some extent. The ‘dream team’ comes to mind, but a great team is no guarantee, but it surely helps. For that I blame our adversarial approach to justice.

  10. gbk says:

    NBC,

    “Success breeds more success.”

    This could also be referred to as inbreeding.

    Others, more kind than myself, might refer to this phenomena as the influence of graft or corruption inherent in our country’s political structure.

  11. gbk says:

    NBC,

    “What is the relevance for having an audit trail here?”

    Where, or what, is “here”, NBC? Define the bounds of your presumed and anticipated argument so that the shiftings of later course can be noted.

  12. NBC says:

    GBK: Others, more kind than myself, might refer to this phenomena as the influence of graft or corruption inherent in our country’s political structure.

    One may require the other but that does not mean that ‘success breeding success’ by itself is sufficient to cause graft or corruption or that it is inevitable?

    GBK: NBC: “What is the relevance for having an audit trail here?” Where, or what, is “here”, NBC? Define the bounds of your presumed and anticipated argument so that the shiftings of later course can be noted.

    A weird response. You brought up the audit trail? Let’s first defined the bounds of your presumed and anticipated argument. As to shifting of arguments, what is wrong with people modifying their beliefs in light of the evidence?

    Looking forward to a more detailed argument that can help further the discussion.

  13. gbk says:

    NBC,

    “A weird response. You brought up the audit trail?”

    Yes, I did bring up “the audit trail.”

    It was a lure cast in the murky waters of your verboseness, thanks for biting.

    Your response was, “[w]hat is the relevance for having an audit trail here?” which was uttered so as to justify your prior opinion of supporting, “not having the names of the parties on the documents.”

    Should we go around again? I hate recursion, unless it helps to solve a problem, which is rare in the human realm of words. But, hey, go for it.

  14. Strange loops, gbk. Strange loops. :mrgreen:

  15. NBC says:

    GBK It was a lure cast in the murky waters of your verboseness, thanks for biting.

    So it served no other purpose. Well, that helps understand. I guess you not longer wish to explain or defend your comments about audit trails. I understand as it was, as I expected a red herring, to abuse your fishing analogies.

  16. gbk says:

    NBC,

    “So it served no other purpose.”

    This might be true from your perspective as it exposed a fault in your budding argument.

    But from my perspective it’s called, ‘testing the waters.’

  17. pete says:

    Fat Tony don’t talk to just anybody.

  18. “There would be an easy way to avoid this by not having the names of the parties on the documents. [. . .] an interesting study to start a discussion with.”

    “Interesting” isn’t the choice of words I’d have gone with.

    “Ridiculous” is more like it.

    A huge part of our legal tradition are open courts. The potentials for abuse in closed systems is so large as to be guaranteed. That’s an idea almost as bad is inquisatorial courts.

    We do not have a perfect systems of justice, but believe it or not, in the history of the world a lot of different structures and permutations have been tried. While perfection is a moving target and not actually attainable in reality (complex systems breed error, that’s just the mathematics of the thing), we do know many things that don’t work. Not disclosing the names of all parties involved in litigation (with a very few very narrow exceptions such as minors) including counsel is one of those things; a seriously bad idea.

  19. NBC says:

    GBK This might be true from your perspective as it exposed a fault in your budding argument.

    At best it made a somewhat irrelevant statement about audit trails. I understand why you no longer want to pursue the argument. But I do understand the ‘bait’ aspect of it all. And it was at best a fishing expedition.

  20. Elaine M. says:

    pete,

    Speaking of Fat Tony:

  21. I’ve got three words that illustrate why a lack of audit trails is a crap idea: conflicts of interest.

    I got more, but those three are sufficient.

  22. NBC says:

    Gene: A huge part of our legal tradition are open courts. The potentials for abuse in closed systems is so large as to be guaranteed. That’s an idea almost as bad is inquisatorial courts.

    I understand your objection to inquisatorial (sic) courts and I disagree. So let’s explore my statement and elaborate, as you could have asked questions of clarification.

    I interpreted, and likely erroneously, that the bias was on the part of the court, when selecting what cases to hear based on who was the attorney of record. Such could be easily avoided by what is called a blind trial. Of course, the researcher, or a third party has the key to decode the trial results which would deal with your ‘openness’ concerns.

    What is so seriously bad about not knowing the name of counsel, at least for the duration of the appeal? Do the names matter? Do the names of the parties even matter? Should justice not be blind to such?

  23. NBC says:

    Maybe I did not misinterpret

    A Reuters examination of nine years of cases shows that 66 of the 17,000 lawyers who petitioned the Supreme Court succeeded at getting their clients’ appeals heard at a remarkable rate. Their appeals were at least six times more likely to be accepted by the court than were all others filed by private lawyers during that period.

    A blind trial would resolve at least the concern of a ‘old boy’ network.

  24. Little late on the draw there, pard.

  25. And with blind counsel, we’d have no way of knowing about such improprieties now would we?

  26. Yep. Crap idea.

    And you can disagree about courts of inquisition all you like. History tells a different story. You’re free to be 1) as wrong as you like, 2) on the wrong side of history or 3) in favor of a justice system where the accused has no rights at all in the face of charges from the Crown/Holy See/Whatever.

  27. Gene,

    E Tu’

    A frustrated cordial boo…

    I’m writing this one off.

  28. gbk says:

    NBC,

    “At best it made a somewhat irrelevant statement about audit trails.”

    What is “it”, as in, “[a]t best it made a somewhat irrelevant statement about audit trails.”

    Is it so difficult to be specific for you?

    Now you claim an observed fault as your own. Good for you.

    “I understand why you no longer want to pursue the argument.”

    Did I say this? This is wishful thinking on your part. I said nothing of the kind. But this dovetails into all your posts of the last week, of which I have read every one.

    Your deflections are obvious to any with reading skills.

  29. gbk says:

    Gene,

    “Strange loops, gbk. Strange loops.”

    Yeah, they’re everywhere!!

  30. laser,

    I’m not really sure why you’d be booing shooting down a bad idea from NBC, but okay.

  31. gbk says:

    NBC,

    “50% on red, 50% on black Almost a safe bet.”

    What courage you display.

  32. NBC says:

    gbk: Did I say this? This is wishful thinking on your part. I said nothing of the kind. But this dovetails into all your posts of the last week, of which I have read every one.

    I am glad to hear about your diligence in these matters. I was referring to your behavior afterwards. Did I ever state that you said it? Come on, if you are holding me to strict standards then the knife if surely as sharp on your edge.

  33. NBC says:

    gbk: What courage you display.

    I know, foolish is it not, after all there is the 0 and 00 to mess with my investment. It’s often best not to rush into issues. I have bloodied my nose on that one more than once already. There is only so much blood I have to contribute to the cause.

  34. gbk says:

    NBC,

    “I understand why you no longer want to pursue the argument.”
    Offered out of blue sky.

    “Did I ever state that you said it?”
    Again, what is ‘it’? Also see the quote right above.

    “I was referring to your behavior afterwards.”
    What behavior — you only have been privy to my words directed to you and not my behavior.

    ————————————————————–

    You deflect beyond your skill.

  35. NBC says:

    Gene: And with blind counsel, we’d have no way of knowing about such improprieties now would we?

    What improprieties? The whole idea is to avoid the courts knowing, at least for the duration of the case, who the lawyers are. Lawyers are precluded by law from contacting the court ex parte so this could be a reasonable way to avoid the appearance of malfeasance.

    Of course, the part you missed was the 3rd party holding they key and being able to decode the relevant data. And of course, after the case is over, the details can be made available.

    And you can disagree about courts of inquisition all you like. History tells a different story.

    That depends on your willingness to look more carefully. Sure, we all know the excesses of the Spanish inquisition but that’s hardly the inquisition I have in mind. Nor do I consider an all white jury convicting blacks of almost anything a valid example against the adversarial legal system.

    Perhaps we could explore the facts that compare adversarial and inquisitorial legal systems?

  36. NBC says:

    gbk: You deflect beyond your skill.

    I see what you are doing here. Clever… Don’t feel bad if I ignore your baiting 😉

  37. gbk says:

    NBC,

    Expound on, “what [I’m] doing here.” Can you? Because, I really have no idea what I’m doing here wasting my time with you.

    I don’t feel bad if you ignore me or my baiting. It’s all good, but you have not impressed given your copious contributions.

    Just letting you know.

  38. gbk,
    OT for the thread, but was wondering how the leg is coming along. Hope the healing progresses well. Bites are bad for many reasons, not the least of which are gram negative bacteria on teeth. My wife startled our Cocker Spaniel awake, and got a little nip on the pinkie finger as a result. The infection put her in the hospital for a week. Stay infection free and have normal mobility soon.

  39. Elaine M. says:

    Chuck,

    My mother got a serious infection from a cat bite years ago.

    *****

    Gbk,

    I hope your wound is healing and not causing you much pain.

  40. NBC says:

    gbk: It’s all good, but you have not impressed given your copious contributions.

    I am so hurt. It almost stings.

  41. NBC says:

    Chuck, ouch, I had accepted the old wives tale that dogs saliva has healing capabilities. Given the places they lick, perhaps I should have thought twice. I guess when I was bitten by my friends dog, I should not have accepted her comments that it was ok…

  42. gbk says:

    Chuck,

    It could be better. They took one-hundred some stitches out last week so that they could open up and scrub a large area twice a day — which basically means it could be better. Hence my “chewing wood” statement to Bron on another thread.

    But it could have been much worse also. It was more of a long slashing wound as opposed to punctures due to the fact I was uphill (about a 30 degree slope) from the dog and my response was quick. If not for the chainsaw I had it undoubtedly would have been much worse.

    I am worried though, truth be told.

  43. NBC,

    Thanks for illustrating you have no idea how conflicts of interest impact the legal profession. After the fact? May be too late, especially when dealing with the court of last resort.

    “That depends on your willingness to look more carefully. Sure, we all know the excesses of the Spanish inquisition but that’s hardly the inquisition I have in mind.”

    Sure. You want a kinder, gentler inquisition. I have news for you, sport. Inquisitorial courts were the norm in much of Europe during the Middle Ages. The same basic program the Spanish Inquisition used based in cannon law. The Crown(s) brought charges, supplied evidence and made a determination and there wasn’t squat the accused could do in their defense except pray they were found innocent. Guess what didn’t happen very often if you’d pissed off some noble or rich merchant?

    You clearly are 1) a would be despot or 2) talking out of your ass.

    I vote 2.

  44. Hang in there, gbk.
    We’re all pullin’ for ya.

  45. gbk says:

    Elaine,

    Thank you. It’s sort of reminiscent of Jack Nicholson’s response in “Chinatown” where the director of water and power asked him if his slashed nose hurts: “Only when I breath.”

  46. gbk says:

    Gene,

    Thanks, it will be alright in the end, or so I believe.

  47. NBC says:

    Gene: Sure. You want a kinder, gentler inquisition. I have news for you, sport. Inquisitorial courts were the norm in much of Europe during the Middle Ages.

    I know and they had a lot of abuse. Are you perhaps aware of the German, French, Dutch system?

    I can understand your lack of familiarity. We all have heard about the Spanish Inquisition, fewer are familiar with the legal system in Western European nations.

    For example, according to the following study, the Dutch is one of the best legal systems in the world

    The World Justice Project annually assesses almost hundred countries on eight aspects of the rule of law, such as the absence of corruption and the functioning of the criminal law. On each aspect of the index the Netherlands is included in the top fifteen. With this result the Dutch legal system preforms better than many Western European and North American countries. Only the legal systems of the Nordic countries score slightly higher. Strong points of the Netherlands include the clear and effective laws, the good accessibility of the law and the independence of judges.

    Under the aspects studied, the US is not doing that well.

    http://www.studylaw.nl/575

  48. gbk,
    Keep us posted on progress.

    Chain saws are good for a lot of things. A comedian used to have a routine about carrying a chain saw in a violin case. Muggers never seemed to be interested in him.

  49. NBC says:

    As to the adversarial system? If you can compare the inquisitorial system with the past, I can perhaps point out that one of the oldest adversarial systems may have been ‘trial by combat’.

    Survival of the fittest…

  50. gbk says:

    NBC,

    “Survival of the fittest…”

    So know we know your perspective.

  51. gbk says:

    Sorry, should be:

    So now we know your perspective.

  52. NBC says:

    gbk: So now we know your perspective.

    Wow, you are so observant. A single phrase and you think you know my perspective. It’s almost a miracle, I’d say. And you know what, it’s even quite defensible in general as even the present day adversarial system is based on the best justice money can buy.

  53. gbk says:

    NBC,

    They are your words.

    Am I wrong to quote you?

  54. gbk says:

    NBC,

    Should you blather on with pretensions of wit that you so appear to love?

    I would suggest not.

  55. NBC says:

    Do I hear an echo here?

    But you did not just quote me, now did you?

    “So now we know your perspective.”

    Love those echoes but there is some noise… Bats?

  56. NBC says:

    You’re a darling gbk. I know you read all my postings. Hugs hugs.

  57. gbk says:

    NBC,

    “Do I hear an echo here?”

    Only in your mind. Most refer to this phenomena as megalomania.

  58. gbk says:

    NBC,

    You’ve lost track of your own bullshit.

    ————————————————

    “But you did not just quote me, now did you?

    “So now we know your perspective.”

    ————————————————

    If you confuse my statement as a quote attributed to you, I can’t help you. It’s quite clear that I was responding to your:

    ““Survival of the fittest…”

    Maybe you should read twice, speak once.

    Get some sleep, asshole.

  59. NBC says:

    Wow, a free analysis… I guess I get what I pay for though. Still, I appreciate the effort. Hugs

  60. NBC says:

    gbk: Get some sleep, asshole.

    Ah, it was not that hard now was it? Hugs. I knew you could do it.

  61. NBC says:

    And in all your haste you forgot to carefully read. Oh my. I applaud your effort. Let’s work on the delivery.

  62. NBC,

    Thanks for showing you don’t know the difference between trial by ordeal and inquisitorial courts. Not the same thing. Not even close.

    As to the rest of your gibberish, you seem to look up a lot of facts, but you don’t understand them in any meaningful context. This is much like how parrots talk.

    First, when you refer to modern European inquisitory courts, they are not the same as the inquisitory courts of old. You seem to have intuited this, but you don’t really have the knowledge or context to understand why. Modern inquisitory courts are a construct created by the promulgation of Napoleonic Code which wasn’t adopted by France until 1804 much less promulgated (mostly by war by the way). The Civil Law tradition has safeguards in it that prevent some of the abuses past. For instance, the accused is allowed to hear the case in chief before mounting a defense and, unlike before Napoleon, they are actually allowed a defense. However this is beside the point if you know the Constitution was finally ratified in 1790. It was also ratified by primarily former British subjects and England never adopted Napoleonic Code and had its own robust legal traditions predating that code by about 500 years.

    You also don’t know enough about the two systems to have an informed opinion about what selectively incorporating elements of one into the other would mean. One problem would be that jury trials are an element of the Constitution, found in both Art. III, sec. 2 and the 6th Amendment. As previously mentioned, grand juries are mentioned in the 5th Amendment. To do away with adversarial courts, you’d have to amend (at a minimum) Art. III and two existing amendments. Not practically going to happen. You are going to have a hard time convincing people that jury trial isn’t a right they want to have. Another problem would be essentially political. While appointed jurists tend to write better opinions (they have a legacy they want upheld as professionals), only Federal judges are generally appointed although states may appoint or elect judges as they see fit. If you change the U.S. Constitution, you’d be requiring (probably) every state to amend theirs as well. While this at first may seem like not much trouble, you have to keep in mind that elected judges inherently act like any other politician. You’d lock up the Federal courts with challenges even if you could get the amendment passed. You also dismiss the issue corruption creates when dealing with political appointments. If you don’t think that would create a problem, then you haven’t been paying attention to what 30 years of stacking the Supreme Court with neoconservatives has done to the state of our rights and liberties. Our political system is eaten up with special interest money and that influence peddling would rapidly filter throughout the entire justice system. In the end, you’d have the same net effect of the inquisitorial courts of old and none of the safeguards built in to the Civil Law tradition (without, of course, even more Constitutional amendments).

    Speaking of which, another real problem would be that at Common Law, courts can review and challenge both statues and actions by the Executive and under Civil Law they do not (that is a separate administrative process). Would you want to live in a country where a bad law couldn’t be challenged in court but instead had to rely on an administrative process to address that problem?

    Also the style of argumentation in the Civil Law system and Common Law system are different. The Civil Law tradition relies upon modest use of arguments based in deductive reasoning. The Common Law tradition relies upon extensive use of adverse arguments based in inductive reasoning. While at first blush, deductive reasoning might seem the best for a legal system: if all the premises are true, the conclusion must be true. However, deductive reasoning has the inherent problem that all conclusion are contained in their premises either explicitly or implicitly. Inductive reasoning, however, is not constrained this way. Inductive reasoning allows better for new information and novel situations because the premises are supposed to support the conclusion in such a way that if the premises are true, it is improbable that the conclusion would be false. This allows for a more robust body of case law that better reflects reality versus being tied to code the court (in the case of Civil Law) cannot review.

    However, the primary hole in your logic regarding Dutch courts goes back to your original reasoning being being flawed as a matter of chronological history. Our Founders only had the old school inquisitory courts for comparison and found them (rightfully so) lacking in comparison to the Common Law tradition. To compare any modern Civil Law based inquisitory court to the inquisitory courts of old is like comparing a jet to a kite. Sure, both fly, but the underlying principles are radically different.

    If we had been a Napoleonic Code derived system from the start? It would be a different proposition. As it is, inquisitorial courts in the US are a bad idea. They have their benefits but those benefits come at a cost and vice versa. As a soft-rule utilitarian and a technocrat, there is no question about which system is better for a rapidly changing world.

    Your agreement is not required. Your ill-informed opinion is noted.

  63. Also, if you’re seeking the job here as resident contrarian, we already got one.

  64. gbk says:

    NBC,

    Yeah, sorry about the asshole thing. That was uncalled for, and I sincerely apologize.

  65. NBC says:

    Gene: First, when you refer to modern European inquisitory courts, they are not the same as the inquisitory courts of old.

    Duh.. That was your confusion and now you tell me I am confused? Quite the audacity. Love it.

  66. NBC says:

    gbk: Yeah, sorry about the asshole thing. That was uncalled for, and I sincerely apologize.

    No worries, I am quite a cute asshole and being reminded of the latter does help put things back in perspective.

  67. gbk says:

    NBC,

    But all else stands.

  68. NBC says:

    However, the primary hole in your logic regarding Dutch courts goes back to your original reasoning being being flawed as a matter of chronological history. Our Founders only had the old school inquisitory courts for comparison and found them (rightfully so) lacking in comparison to the Common Law tradition. To compare any modern Civil Law based inquisitory court to the inquisitory courts of old is like comparing a jet to a kite. Sure, both fly, but the underlying principles are radically different.

    And yet that is what you were doing. And I am not finding anything wrong with the Founders, I am talking about today’s world.

    And you blame me about being ill informed. You are hilarious.

  69. NBC says:

    Gene: Also, if you’re seeking the job here as resident contrarian, we already got one.

    Did you step down?

  70. NBC says:

    gbk: But all else stands.

    Never a doubt in my mind otherwise.

    And really, I do appreciate your apology.

    Nuff said. Hugs.

  71. gbk says:

    NBC,

    What “latter” do you refer to in, ” . . . I am quite a cute asshole and being reminded of the latter does help put things back in perspective?”

  72. gbk says:

    Are you talking to yourself, again?

  73. NBC says:

    gbk: Are you talking to yourself, again?

    Is that you my dear?

  74. NBC says:

    gbk: What “latter” do you refer to in, ” . . . I am quite a cute asshole and being reminded of the latter does help put things back in perspective?”

    The asshole par of course. The cute part needs no reminder… Geez…

    I do not want to be the contrarian, the Megalomaniac sounds soooo much better Mega and Maniac brought together by a lovely ‘lo’

  75. NBC,

    I’m not the one who is confused and thinks they are an expert in an area they clearly are not. You haven’t refuted any points. So what good are you. Other than taking up space, not understanding fundamentals, not being able to read a calendar and having no context to properly understand that of which you speak, not much apparently.

    Also, I suggest you learn a lesson about disruptive troll-ish behavior.

    I’ve come close to my fill of you, Slarti’s friend or not. After you were warned about stalking, your behavior has been persistently disruptive of threads. Consider this a second caution.

    You won’t have a third.

  76. NBC says:

    Gene: I’ve come close to my fill of you, Slarti’s friend or not. After you were warned about stalking, your behavior has been persistently disruptive of threads. Consider this a second caution.

    Your response was totally missing the point. You presumed that I was comparing today’s US system with the historical inquisitorial system which you yourself cannot really be compared with the modern one.

    What do I have to rebut when you made my case so well?

    As to your second warning, as the owner of this blog, I accept your right to enforce the rules however you may see them fit. Consistently or not… Perhaps you may want to revise another rule?

  77. gbk says:

    NBC,

    To Gene: “I know and they had a lot of abuse. Are you perhaps aware of the German, French, Dutch system?”

    What is your historical time frame, CuteA? Do you divert only, or do you eventually offer substance?

    Is your question open-ended for your convenience or do you have a point to share?

  78. You miss my point – you were arguing a weak version of the historian’s fallacy.

    The rules are fine, but thanks for your concern.

    You, on the other hand, are not.

  79. NBC says:

    gbk: What is your historical time frame, CuteA? Do you divert only, or do you eventually offer substance?

    Did you check the pdf? Hugs.

  80. NBC says:

    Gene: You, on the other hand, are not.

    Oh shucks, so soon after you reminded Laser… Consistency would be helpful.

    Gene: historian’s fallacy

    Oh gosh, you presumed I was talking about the past inquisitorial system. That’s quite the fallacy itself. Sorry for all the time you spent on outlining our history but as you pointed out yourself, the modern inquisitorial system is a bit different from the old one.

    I am not arguing that our Founders should have chosen an inquisitorial system, I am arguing that the inquisitorial system we see in modern day provides a better alternative. Nothing to do with Founders, Constitution etc.

  81. If you cannot make your arguments properly the first time, that is your fault alone.

    Also, you mistake my enforcing rules as being something personal.

    I really don’t care what you think enough for you to even come close to making me angry.

    But by all means, keep on how you’re going. See how that works out for you.

  82. NBC says:

    By golly I checked the rules, where is the trollish behavior one?

    I found this one quite interesting

    1) Civility is encouraged but the Ethic of Reciprocity applies. If someone gives you insults back for insults given? That’s just what you deserve. If one has a position and advocates it, one owns it unless stating the position is some form of Devil’s Advocacy. If it is an abhorrent position that causes recoil and/or social rejection, then the problem lies with the position first and the holder as consequence. If one does not like the consequences of being seen in a negative light, one should revisit their position(s) or live with it. If incivility becomes a persistent problem and disrupts threads? You will be warned. You might get banned. Try to stick to the topic at hand instead if you want to avoid trouble. Agreement is not required.

    Empty words ?

    Quick, it’s not to late to retroactively add trollish behavior to the list. You may even call it megalomaniac trollish behavior if that serves your purpose. Or wait, contrarian megalomaniac trollish behavior.

    You should be ashamed of yourself Gene. Pretending until rule (1) hits you and then…

  83. gbk says:

    NBC,

    Of course, it took all of three seconds. Will there be a test?

    I clumsily phrased my question to you, which should read: Do you divert only, or do you eventually offer substance beyond links?

  84. Apparently the word “disruptive” means nothing to you.

    Be elsewhere. You can contact Slarti when you’ve learned your lesson.

  85. bron98 says:

    Gene:

    “To compare any modern Civil Law based inquisitory court to the inquisitory courts of old is like comparing a jet to a kite. Sure, both fly, but the underlying principles are radically different. ”

    Uh, last time I looked, the principles of flight are weight, lift, thrust and drag. A kite and a jet follow those principles to fly.

  86. Looking for a title onthe door?

    Executive VP of CMBT Division

  87. Bron,

    How are they powered?

  88. Elaine M. says:

    Don’t think I’d fly a kite across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe.

  89. pete says:

    Uh, last time I looked, the principles of flight are weight, lift, thrust and drag. A kite and a jet follow those principles to fly.
    =============================================

    kites use wind deflection, heavier than air aircraft use Bernoulli’s principle.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernoulli%27s_principle

  90. The term “thrust” isn,t apropos to kites

  91. Bob Stone says:

    NBC: “There would be an easy way to avoid this by not having the names of the parties on the documents. [. . .] an interesting study to start a discussion with.”

    Gene: “Interesting” isn’t the choice of words I’d have gone with. “Ridiculous” is more like it.

    Not if you’re attempting to remedy a problem of noticeable bias in the highest Court.

    What NBC seems to be referring to is removing the bias angle by doing what colleges and law schools replace names with student numbers.

    Not ridiculous at all.

  92. Bob Stone says:

    Gene: “Little late on the draw there, pard.”

    Bullshit. That’s exactly how I read it.

  93. Bob,

    Do you really think blind parties, even just at cert, comply with the notions of precedent, open records and res judicata? That SCOTUS is so isolated the trending cases (especially with media coverage) wouldn’t make it a moot step at best? That they and their clerks don’t have access to Westlaw and Lexis? Do you think that in any area of law that there aren’t some firms/practitioners that don’t lead in their area of expertise? Should the USTPO not do business with the top patent attorneys? The real problem is the revolving door relationship with former clerks. It is roughly analogous to the revolving door relationship between Congress and the professional lobby. You want to end any appearance of impropriety or possibility of influence peddling? Blind process won’t do squat until you close that door first except needlessly obscure a layer of transparency.

  94. Pete,
    Bad as I hate to admit it, Bron is right. :mrgreen:

    Lift, thrust, drag and weight. The kite is heavier than air, just like a B-747 or Piper Cub. Lift component is activated by “relative wind.” That is the speed of wind past the lifting surface, no matter if it is a kite held by a string in a stiff breeze, or forward motion.

    The Wright brothers discovered the best kites were flexible and bowed upward, creating a cambered shape. The first airfoil.

    Drag always exists in a flying body, either induced or parasitic drag. Price paid for displacing air in order to achieve lift, as well as frontal area.

  95. pete says:

    lift, thrust, drag and weight work for an airfoil.

    wind hits the kite at an angle and pushes the kite upward

  96. Elaine M. says:

    RIGGING THE WHEEL: MORE TRUE TALES OF THE NEW OLIGARCHY
    By Charles P. Pierce on December 9, 2014
    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/Supreme_Disenfranchment

    Excerpt:
    In all parts of our politics, the compass of acceptable ideas gets more tightly circumscribed by the money power. In all parts of our politics, the number of people on whose behalf the government works gets more tightly circumscribed by the money power. In all parts of our politics, the number of people that the government recognizes at all gets more tightly circumscribed. Increasingly, in all parts of our politics, and within the institutions of government, as the redoubtable Driftglass always reminds us, there is a club and you’re not in it.

    As a consequence, individuals seeking to challenge large companies are left to seek counsel from a pool of attorneys that’s smaller and, collectively, less successful. The court generally has a conservative, pro-business majority, but even one of its most liberal justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, accepts the corporate tilt of the specialist bar that dominates the docket.”Business can pay for the best counsel money can buy. The average citizen cannot,” Ginsburg said. “That’s just a reality.”…

    The findings in the Reuters report are easily understood and unbelievably damning, especially when you consider what the incoming and more radical Congress has planned for what’s left of the social safety net and what’s left of the government’s regulatory apparatus. It’s become so grotesquely unbalanced that even lawyers at the highest levels of corporate power are becoming unnerved by it.

    Michael Luttig, general counsel for aerospace giant Boeing Co., understands the advantages of hiring from that group; he has done so when the company has had a case before the justices. But as a former U.S. appeals court judge who earlier served as a Supreme Court clerk, he says he also sees a downside. “It has become a guild, a narrow group of elite justices and elite counsel talking to each other,” Luttig said. The court and its bar have grown “detached and isolated from the real world, ultimately at the price of the healthy and proper development of the law.”

    If a guy making almost $3 million representing a corporate leviathan like Boeing thinks the game is fixed, perhaps the rest of us should, too. Like so many other things that have gone badly wrong for the political commonwealth, this also began with the election of Ronald Reagan.

  97. Pete,
    Google “angle of attack.”

    Here is a good explanation, complete with picture and arrows and writing on it, just like the crime scene pictures in Alice’s Restaurant.
    http://blog.nasm.si.edu/aviation/how-kites-fly/

  98. Bob Stone says:

    Gene,

    The suggestion was far from “Ridiculous.”

  99. You may think less transparency is far from ridiculous, Bob.
    Some don’t.
    Agreement is not required.

    • Bob Stone says:

      Gene,

      It was far from ridiculous because one of the reasons student papers and tests are identified by number and not name is to remove the element of bias.

  100. Student anonymous and case anonymous – is apple to orangutan compare

  101. Removal of name on student submission is a far different concept than case facts

  102. Bob,

    As indicated, factual apples and oranges.

    Chuck,

    At first blush, what pete said sounded right. Some kinds of kites don’t look anything like a wing. But upon further (albeit casual) inspection, apparently even those designs rely on lift as well. Learned something new, today hasn’t been wasted. Nonetheless, when I made the comparison, I was thinking about power rather than lift. Could have picked a better analogy. That’s what happens when you argue without enough sleep. 😛

  103. You all are still losing me on the one issue of “thrust”

    Is there a technical definition of such in “kite-speak” that means something different outside?

    How can a kite “thrust” (self propel) like a plane/ jet does?

  104. EDITORS NOTE: Some people have asked for a clarification as to why NBC got a time out. Here is a relevant excerpt from the email chain in question:

    He baited damn near every person he talked to with persistence, high frequency, and low (practically non-existent) variability in tactics – generally antisocial behavior. His posting habits are best described as flooding. He was disruptive on multiple threads. He was recalcitrant when given a second caution in as many days. While that last one isn’t a clincher in itself? It along with the stalking, baiting and flooding paints a pattern of disruption.

    For those of you not familiar with the tactics of propaganda (and other) trolls, “flooding” is subsuming a thread by sheer volume of posts.

    The result of this out of camera conversation has made me realize that while most of the a/e’s here operate on a similar understanding of what constitutes trolling and the rules are technically sufficient, I should take some steps to codify some (if not all) trolling behaviors rather than rely upon extrapolation so that in the future should such episodes won’t result in any confusion.

    Thank you for your continued participation at FFS and please pardon our growing pains.

  105. NOTE: – – On NBC issue(s)…

    As the party who was first “stalked” as it were – by NBC (and who’s blood was boiling due to the persons artful naysayings – it was I who went on the record and stated to the party and the authorities here

    that NBC’s acts were forgiven – as my piggybacking (so to speak) opened the door for banging.

    I, personally, don’t like censorship and openly went on the record about the redaction of the verbal wars with reviling slings n arrows the other night. After asking if others (above) agreed, I learned there was much discussion and the redacting was properly vetted.

    It is commendable that Gene comes down from his loft above and risks the cliche reality that yours truly suffers greatly from (familiarity DOES breed contempt).

    Though I believe NBC to be troubled and even mean beyond compare and also admit that said persons tactics made my blood boil (more than it has in years); the fact of the matter is – I’m okay with it being (at present) simply a “time out”.

    Also take some delight in the fact that NBC is boiling right now;
    because there’s no chance (other than via alias) – of getting the last word in.

    As we yids say about retailing “you need ganef’s”; because the validate success.

    For the battles to come (though he may always stick with his ignoring me posturing) – I’m very okay with Bob being an attorney, who has NO other choice, but to side with the system – or keep his mouth closed (hands of the text/type).

    Looking forward to NBC coming back (btw – when will that be)!

    That being said, I also willing to bet – the return to the prior status quo will be quick.

    You all are to be commend on your equitable efforts;
    and – you should take note –

    I’ve got very important people

    WATCHING

  106. Mike Spindell says:

    Laser,
    I was the one who intervened first with NBC. I did it for the reasons I stated at the time. It’s nice that you are good enough to plead his case but the activity that got him banned was more than just about you. I agree with Gene’s decision on this.

    Let me express something else that comes to mind as well. The Authors/Editors here work for free. Even if we all are not birds of a feather, politically, or socially we have developed longstanding relationships. The most common thread between us is that we spend the time doing this because we are passionate about the issues we bring up and committed to promote good discussion, whether the commenters agree or disagree with our opinions. Sometimes though people try to manipulate discussions and turn it in their direction, this is a variety of troll. Other people try to overwhelm, thus end discussion, by sending out a stream of continuous comments before even waiting on a response. This was in effect what NBC was doing. I try to read every single comment on the blog, because of course I’m one of the principals and feel that responsibility. However, when the comments from the same person go on and on without any real discussion with others, my human tendency is to zone out. I reached the point with NBC that I just scrolled past his comments because they turned the discussion boring.

    Then too he used another tactic which is known as deflection which goes like this:

    First person to NBC: You said it was in the transcript. I read the transcript and it wasn’t there.

    NBC: What do you mean by it?

    First person: It referred to you previous comment about the gunshot.

    NBC: Did I say something about a gunshot?

    First person: Yes you did in your previous comment.

    NBC: What previous comment? And why do you feel you can interrogate me about what I said. Are you trying to slander me?

    That is deflection.

  107. Laser,
    “Thrust” is a term referencing energy propelling the heavier than air object into the relative wind. In the case of a kite, the thrust is provided by energy from the string. If you have flown a kite, you know they can exert quite a tug. Some of that is to counter lift so it will not rise, and some to restrain it from being blown backward like a leaf. That component of energy is the “thrust.” In a glider, the forward energy comes from stored kinetic energy from gaining altitude.

    Gliders are the truest solar powered airplanes. They get to altitude by riding wind and thermals, which are generated by the Sun’s heat.

  108. Okay Chuck; – that define of thrust is accepted as the (a) define i.e “push”. As per jets – the (b) define is “propulsive force of engine/ rocket”. My nick pick being – they aren’t the same – (apple to orange) – for the sake of the above(s).

    Technically.

    Gene was pointing out (to NBC) that such are two similar – but different – items. And bron (one who “technically” slices liberalism to new plateau based on “metaphysical” classifications on items such as “corruption”.

    Kite, Jet – aren’t the same. Thrust (a) and (b) defines result in 2 different states of being.

    As do inquisitions of old – and new (except for CIA torture thingy’s)

    I’m just saying – everyone here is more educated and smarter than me;
    but – (it would seem) – we are now racing to the bottom of logic.

    Sheesssh!

  109. bettykath says:

    Thanks for the NBC timeout. S/he slowed real discussion and made it boooring.

    • bigfatmike says:

      “Thanks for the NBC timeout. S/he slowed real discussion and made it boooring”

      I think I agree with you. I am not completely humorless. There is a place for quips. But a night of one liners disparaging others in the thread made me grateful for the scroll button.

  110. bettykath

    Do you think it will matter – in the end?

  111. NBC says:

    Bob: It was far from ridiculous because one of the reasons student papers and tests are identified by number and not name is to remove the element of bias.

    My point exactly. And I did not necessarily require the identity to never be known, just for the duration of the trial/appeal.

    That of course presumes that there is a bias on the part of the Supreme Court to preferentially hear cases from the ‘inner circle’. I can think of far more plausible explanations, many far more innocent

  112. Bob Stone says:

    NBC is not a troll.

    Trolls don’t take the time to actually read a transcript; they’re too intellectually lazy.

    NBC had his facts straight because NBC did the homework.

  113. Your objection has already been noted, Bob.

  114. Really, Bob?

    An unassigned declarative statement made before a group is generally considered directed at all.

    • Bob Stone says:

      Gene: “Really, Bob?

      An unassigned declarative statement made before a group is generally considered directed at all.”

      Yes Gene, really.

      I was looking at Mike’s post when I wrote it. But thanks again for telling me what my true intentions were.

      • Bob,

        Again: not intent, presentation. If your intent was misinterpreted in a case where a specific target of the declaration is not defined and your declaration was a general statement devoid of even any pronouns from which a target could be inferred, then grammatically the mistaken intent rests on the statement’s faulty structure and not the reader’s interpretation. If I was going to attribute intent, Bob? I’d be quite specific in doing so, but clarity of message – especially on so base a grammatical level – is the responsibility of the speaker/writer. Or are we all supposed to be psychic and know where your eyes are at any given moment? That seems a tad unreasonable.

  115. po says:

    Agree with BFM, i think it rude to skip post but felt justified with NBC. I was impressed by how quickly he got on my bad side.
    I think he/she exchanged pleasantries with everyone here! Even Bob yelled at him/her to take his/her issues elsewhere.

  116. Cheer up Bob

    As you may be the expert on the “legal” definition of what a troll is;

    and how much research one has to do in order to move up from being a troll

    To that of a royal pain in the, who values instigators over mitigatiors, in a shoot first and ask questions later

    Kind of way

  117. Po

    That go some where else was a direct order by a mother hen

  118. Mike,

    The web world is my 2nd home. As you and others may surmise, due to whom it is I battle (HaRMoney), I’ve endured more than my lifetime share of trolls n naysays. DK has an esteemed in its top ranks ( lawyer) who used a gang thst git me bojo,d for 1/10th of the rhetoric that went on between NBC and I.

    If NBC spawned a litter of like kind pups, we’d all go nuts.

    Difference between NBC and Bob,s hard line, is a staunch commitment to a position (Bob)

    And a dedicated purpose to be (very artfully so) contrary on everything (NBC).

    All I’m saying is, I could have stopped tge ignorance possibly , by ignoring the party.

    As much as that one thrived on inflaming and then jumping away when the fscts were overwhelming;

    I too, was playing to the readerships, trying to become better debater such as you guys/ gals.

    We are on shaky grounds and I believe you all know it; but that such gets even.more jurisprudence when I – the no. 1 victim of it all – states it is an issue worthy of deep discussion.

    Like the one we are all having now.

    I’ve bern through more than I,d wish on anyone. Managed thousands of employees and am homeless due to crooks extraordinary.

    Yet I,m still smiling and even meek.

    Right now, I know NBC is doomed to eventual oblivion; because that person is the most dedicated troll I’ve ever seen; and simply can’t help him/ her self.

    There,ds more going on there than meets the eye.

    At the same time, though Bob will always despite me (as one seeks to boot bad faith counsels out of the BAR);

    I feel sorry for his lordsip now having to tske his stance all by his lonesome.

    And I worry that he may get pissed (as he too is on the wrong side of the Blue Wall line) and abandon this newly launched ship of discussion.

    As a fellow yid, you should knoe what I mean, by the old room parsha… that retsilers need ganef.s (ad not having any means you’re not doing any … biz,ness)

    If a blog has no.trolls;
    It ain’t doing any web view biz,ness.

    I’m just sayin…..

    • Mike Spindell says:

      “If a blog has no.trolls;
      It ain’t doing any web view biz,ness.”

      Laser,

      All too true, but if like at Turley’s it has too many, than why do it?

  119. po says:

    “If a blog has no.trolls;
    It ain’t doing any web view biz,ness.”
    True, true!

  120. Awh, come on Po….

    I twas laying down and then, shutting off, caught your new posting reference on right hand side.

    I’ve re booted, all lights ON

    And you barely give me right to grin

    Your levity brevity is So COOL

    when can I get some more?

  121. swarthmoremom says:

    Agree with bettekath and bfm… Blog was becoming tedious to follow.

  122. Tolerance is a virtue; and the more attention this realm gets, the greater the need for wise virtue will become.

  123. Mike;

    I’m the choir (more than anyone can fathom). Both RIL and DK have queer policies on moderation. That’s why I like Democratic Underground; where their jury system serves jurisprudence – well.

    A good example, for a fine answer to your question “Why do it” – is my case.

    Everyone, friends, family and business associates think I’m an idiot for going against a pseudo City Hall-esque that also has access to mercenaries (Clear Channel = Red McCombs = Blackwater {and their rejects looking for work}).

    No journalists’ (correction – MOST) don;t touch our cases – not for any lack of proof – but due to the fact that trolls, ostracizing and loss of Bain Cap/G Sachs ad revenues will abound.

    Same thing for bloggers and lawyers. Until one honorable public servant (Judge/ FBI agent etc.,) comes out and/or a main stream outlet – that tells the WHOLE story – everyone stays under the rock.

    Why do it?

    Because it’s the right thing to do!

    Your group here, is one of the finest cores I’ve ever witnessed and I’m glad you tolerate me. It is just my hope and prayer that – as you get bigger (and maybe even funded or awards) – that you remember why your here to begin with.

    That over yonder –

    They are putz’s!

  124. blouise says:

    Agree with the decision.

  125. I’d like to be the fly on the wall – seeing you guys back door convo’s with Bob…

  126. pete says:

    I sprained my finger scrolling through it, or there was one other way I my have injured it butt we won’t go there.

  127. LOL 🙂

    Thanks pete – you and Po can keep me happy these gloomy holidays

  128. Nothing to do with intent. Everything to do with delivery.

  129. FFS requisite

    Blogging Debate Banter 101

    OR

    You too, can be an antagonist

  130. I think.we should use Flash and hsve a fart bubble button.

    You name will be posted like a regular comment, along with the 1st 160 characters like Twitter (so that we can Tweet the comment, promote this realm – while also compelling brevity ( Yes, I,m talking to myself).

    But, just like fart bubbles, we can swat them away/ mot open them up – when the stink factor meter is going redline

    Just sayin

    Oops!

  131. “All too true, but if like at Turley’s it has too many, than why do it?” Mike S Yes…. Turley’s trolls or new regulars are pro torture. Sure glad I left.

  132. pete says:

    s’mom

    My favorite was the guy that said the guber hearings were more important.

  133. You made me curious enough to look, Smom.

    Unfortunately, I was eating my lunch at the time. But hey! Jon got the audience Rupert he wanted by his selective enforcement of subjective standards.

    So he’s got that going for him. Which is nice.

  134. Should the model rules of conduct clarify greater?

    3 times out of the vast banter, the party made (surprisingly) licit remarks.

    Just think the cognitive dissonance pyramid on Wikipedia would be a perfect statement.

    The party (IMO) was timed out for unrelenting incongruity. It seemed the agenda was to be contrarian.

    Bob,s hard line seems inbred and inherent of his profession. As one in the system, he can.only defend such (the. Bar will put to task any who outspeak without a ruling)

    Whereas the party capitulated as to not being an attorney at law; but kept acting as a judges clerk with authority.

    Where do you draw the.line?

    Gene,s quip is perfect. As one can never argue the “intent”; but can readily note “delivery” values.

  135. As for me, JT,s purported paradigm of “RIL” is now utter bull; and he shoukd be banned from managing his own blog, due to his agendas empirical proof that only parts of the truth may
    be told,

    And the heavens may only fall upon liberal mindsets

    Especially given the fascism visible

  136. Harvey says:

    I don’t know, guys. Seems to me FFS ought to be able to withstand baiting and sarcasm. And weren’t there two parties involved in the prolonged discussion of the Bain case?

    As I understand it, NBC has an opposing view of the law to most here. He’s biting and sarcastic. So’s Scalia. Would he be banned?

    • bigfatmike says:

      ” So’s Scalia. Would he be banned?”

      We have a choice?

    • Mike Spindell says:

      “So’s Scalia. Would he be banned?”

      Harvey,
      Despite Bob’s petulance over losing a good ally, NBC’s banning was not about the content of what he was saying, but the manner. Think about something. Bron is diametrically opposed to the outlook of all of the A/E’s and no one has banned, nor will ban him here. Why? Bron is not a disruptive force. But go beyond that. Obviously Bob in this case has adopted a view that is uniformly disputed by every other A/E. In a personal sense Bob and I have had our differences over the years in various disputes and debates over issues. This Blog was started by Gene, after he and I left RIL. Other friends jumped on board early. Bob was invited to join later and I advocated strongly for him to become a principal, knowing from past and current history that we are at loggerheads on certain things, Israel among them (See the commentary threads stemming from my blogs on Gaza). Why would I do that if all I wanted was people here who agreed with me? This blog is about open and spirited debate, yet we who founded it learned certain bitter lessons during our time with Jon Turley that he didn’t learn. You can see the mire that RIL has become and we don’t intend to have that happen here. .

  137. Bob Stone says:

    Harvey: “I don’t know, guys. Seems to me FFS ought to be able to withstand baiting and sarcasm. And weren’t there two parties involved in the prolonged discussion of the Bain case?

    As I understand it, NBC has an opposing view of the law to most here. He’s biting and sarcastic. So’s Scalia. Would he be banned?”

    Well said Harvey.

    Well said.

  138. If this were Bob,s blog, background checks, sworn oath,s to hus lordship,s by or leave would be the requisite.

    Fortunately,.it’s not Bob,s blog

  139. And Harvey,

    He and I were supposed to have our convo,s on Holder,s thread. The baits ( and much more serious stalk line) were agsinst everyone else too.

    Not healthy

  140. Harvey/Bob,

    It’s not a matter of survival. It’s not a matter of disagreement. And sarcasm? What could possibly be wrong with sarcasm? 🙄 Baiting as an occasional tactic in argument is fine. Sun Tzu and every general since him has realized the value of angered opponents; they make mistakes. If you doubt that I’m familiar with this tactic, ask anyone here – even Bob – and they’ll tell you when the time comes for it, I can twist an unwary opponent into all kinds of emotional knots. But there is a time for that. It isn’t an acceptable mode of engaging people on an ongoing basis . . . unless you just like getting your ass kicked. As SOP, such a thing is antisocial in the extreme.

    If I was going to allow that kind of behavior at this soiree, why bother leaving RIL as that kind of unmitigated behavior by certain select posters (even encouraged and protected by Jon) there was in no small part why we left and I formed this alternative salon.

    To be clear and to use a restaurant analogy; I don’t care if there is heat in the kitchen so long as the dinner gets cooked. Even the odd kitchen fire can be a moment of excitement. But heat is not someone flinging poo and rubbing their crotch on the other cooks all day. It won’t be tolerated. It makes other cooks not interested in cooking and it drives away the customers who aren’t interested in eating hot flaming crap.

    If anyone is interested in that kind of environment, there is always RIL, FAUXNews and Stormfront.

  141. bfm,

    Scalia would probably run away on his own. :mrgreen:

  142. It is my hope that, upon the return, the lesson is learned;.and then we can progress.

    In the meantime, Bob should be recruiting more allys.

    Hopefully with less time on their hands and less of a mean streak.

    Nobody has answered the question

    When whilst the return be?

    In all fairness, Bob is lonely; and – either the lesson is learned –

    Or it won’t be.

    Just sayin. …

  143. Harvey says:

    Mike,

    Bron is also an old friend (that seems to make a difference here) and most of his positions appear to have been made (and shut down) many times before. That makes the comparison to NBC difficult.

    Is this about RIL? You’ve won that argument. RIL is a cesspool and these is NO voice (sorry, there is Mike Appleton) that is worth reading except for the horror component.

    But it seems an unsettling precedent to close down the new guy with whom everyone disagrees, particularly on a post whose headline is “The Echo Chamber”.

    NBC is not Spinelli and with time he may have become a buddy just as Bob Stone has.

  144. And he may yet still, Harvey.

    That is up to him.

  145. Bob Kauten says:

    Gene,
    Block that metaphor!

  146. RE: Bron.

    Bron of today is not the Bron of old. He got a time out (actually banned) at RIL early on. In fact, when the topic of reinstating him there came up, Mark (mespo) and I were the first to advocate on his behalf (and due in no small part to his own personal change, speaking for myself). He used to engage in some pretty bad trollish behavior, but over the years he realized the error of his ways and became a valuable contributor there and now here. But the Bron of old? Would have gotten a time out too, possibly banned eventually if he screwed up bad enough.

    So actually the situation is quite comparable.

  147. Bob K.

    Rest assured if NBC was like a certain party, this wouldn’t be a time out.

  148. Listen, I suffered most from NBC and still wrench at the thought of dealing with the party again. When the first alarm bells dinged; I pleaded for leiency… and said,,,it’s. Okay.

    After the party apologized and promised to be legitimate, same bad patterns of arguing, just to keep the argument going…, continued wickedly.

    Even now, I’m asking that they let the party back on; because Bob is without an akin and 1 day, week or month doesnt matter. Either the person will be more genuine.. or he/ she wont.

    The decision was well vetted, with deep consideration for all parties. In such an over considerate manner of both liberality and fairness to NBC. Bob will either be able to influence NBC to be more considerate… or not.

    Let’s get this overwith and move on!

  149. By the way;

    Has anyone looked into the verity of Chris Hedges allegations that witness 40 is bogus;

    and McCullogh knew it?

    • bigfatmike says:

      Got no idea. But I did see the piece and even before Hedges mentioned it I thought the short selection on the screen read more like something for presentation than the intimacy of a journal.

      Of course everyone’s style is different so in fairness we would have to read much more of the author to assure ourselves the part about Ferguson was written with special a purpose in mind.

      And the story of just happening to venture into Ferguson to see how the other 65% live and totally by accident coming upon the incident reasonably raises questions. It might have happened just that way, after all people do get struck by lightening. But doesn’t that part of the story cry out for examination?

      And the other question has to do with the reasonableness of the ADA’s putting this story u unvetted before the GJ.

      But I am the kind of guy that believes that doing a document dump on a GJ is a manipulation – not a crime, just an unethical manipulation.

      A document dump is a technique to prevent meaningful action.

  150. Concur…GJ.. Manipulation

    Hedge is a purist

    Have to wait n see where it goes

  151. Elaine M. says:

    laser,

    Are you sure you don’t mean Chris Hayes?

    • bigfatmike says:

      Well, I meant Chris Hayes on msnbc, in any case. Maybe that goes to show how unreliable eye witness testimony is.

  152. pete says:

    Elaine

    What struck me most was how they keep claiming he was “charging at him”.
    Have you ever seen someone when they are trying to stay on their feet while falling forward? As they fall they keep trying to get their feet under themselves so it looks like they’re in something of a shambling run. This would also account for the angle of the head/chest shot.

    Just a thought.

  153. Elaine M. says:

    pete,

    Michael Brown “charging at” Officer Wilson fits the narrative that some choose to believe. I don’t understand why someone would decide to charge at a policeman with a gun who had been shooting at him. It doesn’t make sense.

    • bigfatmike says:

      If Brown had already run for more than 150 feet why would he stop unless something like shots changed his understanding of his situation – he had already ignored words and presumably shouts from Wilson to be taken into custody.

      The stop makes no sense unless he intended to surrender.

      In any case we are asked to believed that after running for 150 feet with nearby escape routes, he stopped for some reason that was not shooting in his direction, then decided to charge the officer who had already shot twice in his direction wounding him once.

      Does any of that make sense?

      I don’t know about evidence, but a simpler story is that Wilson shot at the back of fleeing Brown because he though he was justified to shoot a fleeing felon. Brown stopped, despite the prospect of eluding Wilson in the nearby yards, because he believed he was in little trouble and could surrender. Brown then moved toward Wilson because he thought he was under orders to do so, or because he was mortally wounded and stumbling, or because Wilson continued to shoot and Brown then understood he could not surrender and had to overpower Wilson to survive.

      The claim that Brown ignored lawful orders from Wilson, managed to run over 150 feet to escape Wilson, then stopped without any shots being fired, and then shots were fired only after Brown stopped, turned, and started moving toward Wilson ought to raise questions.

  154. Science is a wonderful thing.

    Speed, distance, time and audio of shots (purportedly); and its not rocket science.

  155. Especially, the question of Wilson,s account that Brown kept puuting his hand in his clothes “as if going for a gun”

    Concur

  156. Mike Spindell says:

    Brown’s actions, in light of Wilson’s testimony, seem to be quite unbelievable. However, if you paint Brown as a criminal, bully and demon, then the strange behavior portrayed in Wilson’s testimony seems to be understandable. The effort to besmirch Michael Brown’s reputation began quite quickly and from a propaganda viewpoint it was done to turn him from victim to aggressor. The problem is, I know that I’m only 6 ft., 200 lbs., but in a life and death situation I’d take on someone who is 6’4″, 275 lbs…………….providing he was at least 20 feet away and I had a fully loaded Sig Sauer.

  157. blouise says:

    BFM,
    As common sense is applied, Wilson’s story unravels. McCulloch is telling us to suspend our common sense and reasoning abilities in much the same way as Obama is vis-a-vis the CIA’s torture program. I guess McCulloch figures that what worked with the GJ will work on the rest of us.

    That’s fine and dandy if everyone’s reasoning ability begins and ends with a FOXNEWS pundit. Such power resides in and is dependent on the dumbing down effect.

    History is repeating itself in that the choice is, once again, presented in bold relief. There are heroes but Wilson, no matter how hard they try to convince us otherwise, isn’t one. He’s simply a thug with a badge and a gun much like the CIA’s torture boys. That both were supported and maintained by our government is what drives said government along the dumbing down path. Their continued power depends upon the support of the governed and the dumber the governed are, the better.

  158. Repetitive, babbling, obfuscating, B,S, works…. over n over ..again

    because the rest. Of U.S.

    are insubstantial

  159. Disregard that last response, Bob. I was fouled up by the WP notification system. Didn’t intend to answer twice.

  160. Anonymous says:

    Mike Spindell says:
    December 11, 2014 at 10:01 am

    Brown’s actions, in light of Wilson’s testimony, seem to be quite unbelievable.

    I disagree. Based upon Wilson’s testimony, forensics evidence and multiple eyewitness testimonies, which refer to Brown seen struggling with Wilson (“tussling” or “bobbing up and down”) at the driver’s side of the police vehicle, Brown was clearly an aggressor, with a police officer; and especially in light of the fact he had just committed a strong arm robbery only moments before his encounter with Wilson. Wilson had reasonable cause to perceive Brown as a threat.

    And, no, I have not watched much of the media coverage.

    I’ve read many transcript pages of the State of Missouri vs Darren Wilson grand jury hearing sessions.

    I do recognize our nation has very far to go with regard to bigotry, racial profiling and racial discrimination, but using Michael Brown as a poster slogan for the cause of racial profiling and police brutality, is…well… unjust.

    Using Trayvon Martin? Yes. Or Eric Garner? Perhaps.

  161. Eaant!

    What was unjust was 12 bullets.

    Instigating.

    Sham GJ process by taint

  162. Bob Stone says:

    Good thing you deleted it.

  163. Oooo. Extra cranky today.

  164. BULL

    The INITIAL aggression – was the back up of the SUV, by a single officer against 2 men.

    Just plain dumb!

    And – it is just as plausible that the follow up, of the back up, door thrust open, slammed back; was followed up by the officer grabbing Brown.

    GJ testimony is NOT evidence vetted – only positions stated – without cross.

  165. I’m not arguing Brown is the “poster-child” case for him being a martyr;
    but that this is par for the course justice of a ruling class resulting in

    nolle prosequi

    of one of their own!

    • bigfatmike says:

      ” this is par for the course justice of a ruling class resulting in…nolle prosequi…of one of their own!”

      I think that is one of the key issues presented by this case and several others recently in the news. Will we have meaningful, rigorous evaluation of LE when there actions result in serious harm to citizens?

      Even when the officer is not culpable for a crime, I have to wonder about the treatment of officers. Don’t we have an obligation to examine the officers conduct after the decision to prosecute? The question of guilt or innocence of a crime is a very narrow one. The simple fact of not committing a felony does not imply that the officer acted appropriately for the situation or in accordance with departmental regulations. Their job is difficult. Nevertheless can you think of any other field where the criteria for continued employment is not being guilty of a felony?

      There seems to be no interest in evaluating officers for fitness for duty if they are not convicted of a crime. Can you think of any other field where the worker can take actions leading to serious injury or death, or serious violation of standards for the job and return to the job without so much as a review, reprimand, or retraining because he was not convicted of a crime?

      I think we see two kinds of action, a rush to avoid charging officers, and a refusal to give serious scrutiny to their actions if there is no conviction.

      We give LE the greatest powers in our society. Don’t we have an obligation to examine their use of those powers fairly, critically, rigorously.

      • Mike Spindell says:

        “There seems to be no interest in evaluating officers for fitness for duty if they are not convicted of a crime. Can you think of any other field where the worker can take actions leading to serious injury or death, or serious violation of standards for the job and return to the job without so much as a review, reprimand, or retraining because he was not convicted of a crime?”

        BFM,

        That is an excellent line of reasoning that I didn’t even think about previously and I don’t think anyone has raised it after all the comments on this subject.

  166. Exactly! – That’s why the officer resigned; and avoided further investigations. (still should though)

    How about the RIL detailing the daughter of a police officer was recording, assaulted, had her video deleted, charges trumped up – and then retrieved the video (they’ll shoot the phone next time).

    Revolution comes – when peaceful protest is halted – and righteous indignation explodes!

  167. Thats because, on the better legal eagle instructional CSI, NCIS, Blue Bloods etc., etc.; shield n gun turn in and desk duty is automatic

    😉

    As truth is much more unrealistic than fiction (Right counselor)

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