Justice Kennedy: A Useful Idiot for Obama?

Robert Sheridan rs at robertsheridan.com
Tue May 5 16:09:56 PDT 2009

Not to get any more into personal opinion than necessary, I respectfully 
suggest that not all critical commentary is bigoted, which is mainly a 
pejorative label like calling someone an idiot without calling him an 
idiot.  I mean, why get personal..  One of the risks one takes in 
commenting critically on matters that others hold dear, especially 
touching on matters of faith and I don't confine the term to mean 
organized religion, is being labeled, or mis-labeled pejoratively, 
something I neither welcome or appreciate, any more than anyone else 
here.  This seems a good reason to avoid hurling epithets or attributing 
bad motives while having a discussion concerning politics, law, and 
religion, come to think of it, to reduce that risk in the interest of 
open expression.  Many wise people steer clear of discussing such 
subjects. Conlawprofs are duty-bound to discuss them, however, often in 
the past, but sometimes necessarily in the present.  It can get touchy. 
  But if law professors hurl epithets as persuasive technique, are we 
any better than an ordinary lay guy in a neighborhood bar or on the bus?

Since the liberal/conservative divide seems to weigh so heavily in our 
constitutional law, and attract so much heat as the terms themselves are 
taken by some to be epithets (as in the dreaded L-word), it seems right 
to discuss it and issues bearing on those terms and the attitudes they 
represent, in this forum.  I'd like to see it done without the epithets. 
  By all means, no one should read anything s/he doesn't want, just as 
one doesn't purchase magazines whose editorial take one doesn't admire.  
It's even okay to say, "Ignore this person."  Or condemn him, whatever 
that means.  We could even burn his books, or better yet burn him at the 
stake.  We used to do that.  Someone said that when one starts with 
burning books one ends by burning people.   I've been known to say that 
if conlaw doesn't get you exercised, you probably don't get it.  I'm 
glad to see that so many here get it.  I don't know why several strike 
me as being so conservative, however.  I don't regard myself as a 
liberal, it may surprise some to know.  But I don't regard myself as a 
conservative, either.  Sometimes its one way and sometimes another and 
sometimes, where possible, in between.  The underlying attitudes we're 
getting exercised about are everything in conlaw.  These attitudes 
provide the energy for each side in the ongoing tug-of-war.  See the 
civil war and the civil rights revolution among so many other hot-button 
issues.  It seems right to discuss these things.  That means if, as in 
the current example, I feel that Justice Kennedy has been denigrated 
unfairly, it is within bounds to point that out.  I hope no one takes 
offense personally.


Nelson Lund wrote:
> To his bigoted statement about Catholicism, Professor Sheridan now 
> adds bigoted statements about conservatives. Charming.
> Nelson Lund
> George Mason
> Robert Sheridan wrote:
>> . . . His other big sin was Lawrence, treating gays as good people, 
>> which many think they are, especially in my town and I daresay, the 
>> country.  Perhaps he is seen as a traitor who must pay the price in 
>> public debate.  More freedom for the undeserving, I suppose is the 
>> conservative view of some of his decisive votes.  The morally impure, 
>> I think they believe, should not enjoy our freedom, and that includes 
>> many pregnant women (the ones seeking abortion), gays, and people who 
>> jump borders to feed their families.
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