volokh at mail.law.ucla.edu
Thu Nov 29 11:12:59 PST 2001
I'm curious why there should be any "ridicule" of Gonzales here. He
certainly didn't say gender; whether or not we suspect that gender profiling
is going on, his statement is certainly not opening himself up to "ridicule"
on this score.
Nor did he say "national origin." Those words, according to the
transscript, never came out of his mouth. And I don't quite see how we can
say, as Lynne does, that "'country of origin' was meant in terms of
nationality, but Gonzales could argue he meant 'country from which they
migrated', which might be different from nationality or ethnicity."
Gonzales *twice* specifically said that he wasn't talking about ethnicity,
and also said "where people came from, the country of origin." It seems to
me that not only the more charitable, but also the far more plausible,
interpretation of his statement, is that he's talking about the place where
these particular people themselves came from, which -- if most of them are
noncitizens -- is generally the place of their current citizenship. One may
argue whether or not classifying aliens based on the place of their current
citizenship (or even of their past residence) is unconstitutional or unwise,
but it's hardly "ridiculous."
So how exactly did Gonzales "open himself up to so much ridicule," as
opposed to just opening himself up to be misquoted by people who misheard?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Discussion list for con law professors
> [mailto:CONLAWPROF at listserv.ucla.edu]On Behalf Of Judith Baer
> Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2001 10:55 AM
> To: CONLAWPROF at listserv.ucla.edu
> Subject: Re: Detention of Terrorist Suspects
> actually, of course, it is based on age, national origin AND gender.
> THanks for pointing that out, Leslie. And, as we know, gender is only a
> semi-suspect classification, and age is just an ordinary old
> which gets minimal scrutiny. If G. had stuck to age, he wouldn't have
> opened himself up tyo so much ridicule.
> Judy Baer
Lynne Henderson also wrote:
From: Discussion list for con law professors
[mailto:CONLAWPROF at listserv.ucla.edu]On Behalf Of Lynne Henderson
Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2001 10:46 AM
To: CONLAWPROF at listserv.ucla.edu
Subject: Re: What Gonzales really said (at least according to the
It is true Gonzales said "country of origin". I think "country of origin"
was meant in terms of nationality, but Gonzales could argue he meant
"country from which they migrated", which might be different from
nationality or ethnicity. But I would go with Daivd and Forrest and say
this was very close to stating something that might trigger strict scrutiny,
and Gonzales said there wasn't anything wrong with it. While it is true
Congress can set limits on immigration from various countries, once someone
is here legally, targeting him or her because of her ethnicity/national
origin raises serious constitutional problems as members of this list know.
As for ad hominem "attacks"--there is nothing wrong with the argumentum ad
hominem addressing the actual person's arguments or statements, or
identifying the person who said something. It's done all the time in
philosophy. Criticizing an official's apparent missteps is hardly uncalled
for either. The negative "ad hominem"--"you're a moral cretin"--is of
course a different matter.
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