URLs du Jour


  • At Reason Jacob Sullum is beyond disappointed with a pol and his party: Ted Cruz’s Eagerness to Fight Trump’s Legal Battles Epitomizes the GOP’s Complete Lack of Principles.

    Ted Cruz will not get a chance to argue that the Supreme Court should stop Joe Biden from taking office by overriding the presidential election results in four battleground states. But the Texas senator's eagerness to do so speaks volumes about the extent to which the Republican Party has abandoned the principles it once claimed to defend, instead organizing itself around the whims of a president who stands for nothing but his own personal interests.

    Donald Trump personally asked Cruz, who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1995 and argued nine cases before the Supreme Court as the solicitor general of Texas, to represent the state if the justices agreed to hear Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's last-ditch lawsuit challenging election procedures in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The senator agreed, his spokesman told The Texas Tribune. Cruz had earlier said he stood ready to argue another pro-Trump lawsuit, in which Rep. Mike Kelly (R–Pa.) maintained that Pennsylvania's election results should be set aside because the state legislature had violated the Constitution by expanding absentee voting.

    SCOTUS swatted away the garbage lawsuit unanimously, so it's probably best for Cruz that he didn't get his wish.

    But I have to excerpt a paragraph further down in the article:

    After Trump, who had dubbed Cruz "Lyin' Ted," implicated the senator's father in John F. Kennedy's assassination (yes, that really happened), Cruz was notably angrier. "I'm going to do something I haven't done for the entire campaign," he said in May 2016. "I'm going to tell you what I really think of Donald Trump. This man is a pathological liar. He doesn't know the difference between truth and lies. He lies, practically every word that comes out of his mouth. And in a pattern that I think is straight out of a psychology textbook, his response is to accuse everybody else of lying….Whatever he does, he accuses everybody else of doing. The man cannot tell the truth, but he combines it with being a narcissist—a narcissist at a level I don't think this country has ever seen…..Everything in Donald's world is about Donald….The man is utterly amoral. Morality does not exist for him….Donald is a bully….Donald is cynically exploiting that anger [at the political establishment], and he is lying to his supporters. Donald will betray his supporters on every issue."

    Cruz is a smart guy. I wish he were a principled guy.

  • At National Review, Andrew C. McCarthy notices A Stunning Passage from the Latest Court Rejection of Team Trump.

    The most telling aspect of the Wisconsin federal district court’s rejection of another Trump campaign lawsuit on Saturday is so obvious it is easy to miss. And no, it is not that the rejecting was done by a Trump-appointed judge, Brett H. Ludwig, or that it was done on the merits.

    After all that’s been said over the last six weeks, this fleeting passage near the start of the court’s workmanlike, 23-page decision and order should take our breath away (my highlighting):

    With the Electoral College meeting just days away, the Court declined to address the issues in piecemeal fashion and instead provided plaintiff with an expedited hearing on the merits of his claims. On the morning of the hearing, the parties reached agreement on a stipulated set of facts and then presented arguments to the Court.

    A “stipulated set of facts,” in this context, is an agreement between the lawyers for the adversary parties about what testimony witnesses would give, and/or what facts would be established, if the parties went through the process of calling witnesses and offering tangible evidence at a hearing or trial.

    I hope Trump got a guarantee from his legal team. "If you don't get the Presidency, you don't owe us a cent!"

  • It's understandable that people are outraged about the sheer gall of the Trump-sycophantic GOP joining in the garbage Texas lawsuit. However, Power Line's Paul Mirengoff notes a newspaper going off the edge on that: The Washington Post throws a mindless fit. He has some good points, notably that the WaPo failed to throw an equivalent fit in 2016 when Democrats were trying to sabotage Trump's win. (Also happened for Dubya in 2000 and 2004, I think.) But here's a really good point:

    Finally, if Democrats wanted the results of this election to have wider public acceptance, they shouldn’t have insisted on voting procedures that removed traditional safeguards against fraud. But the Democrats (like any political party, I assume) were more interested in obtaining power by winning the election than they were in having their opponents widely accept their win.

    It would be and should be a good bipartisan effort to tighten up election security, to clean out dead (and otherwise ineligible) people from voter rolls.

    I still think that the GOP's silly concentration on baseless conspiracy theories makes it easy to dismiss efforts to do that.

  • Jim Geraghty says: Hey, despite all the legal wrangling, Weren't We Supposed to Be in Post-Election Chaos by Now?.

    You may recall that one pre-election simulation run by the “Transition Integrity Project” envisioned “National Guard troops destroy[ing] thousands of ballots in Democratic-leaning ZIP codes, to applause on social media from Trump supporters.” Rosa Brooks of TIP concluded, “A landslide for Joe Biden resulted in a relatively orderly transfer of power. Every other scenario we looked at involved street-level violence and political crisis.”

    Except we didn’t have a clear winner Election Night (the results looked like they were starting to go Biden’s way) and . . . things turned out more or less okay, at least in terms of politically motivated violence. We’re not in a political crisis. The president is rage-tweeting, Sidney Powell is promising the Kraken will arrive any day now, and Lin Wood is calling for martial law. And yet, for the vast majority of Americans, life goes on. The Electoral College is meeting and voting, and the gears of the presidential transition are turning. The National Guard is not running around, destroying ballots.

    So are the TIP simulators going back to the drawing board, asking "Gosh, how did we make such an embarrassing mistake? Let's check our assumptions and methods."

    No, I don't think so either.

  • A couple more notes about the "Dr. Jill Biden" controversy. Paul Gigot of the WSJ, wrote in the Monday paper: The Biden Team Strikes Back. Probably paywalled.

    Joe Biden says it is “time to heal” America’s divisions after the Trump presidency, and The Wall Street Journal has praised him for saying so. Presumably he intends less rancor with the press as part of this mandate, but on that score my run-in with the Biden team this weekend was very Trumpian.

    The catalyst was our Saturday op-ed by Joseph Epstein, “Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not if You Need an M.D.” Mr. Epstein, a longtime contributor, criticized the habit of people with Ph.D.s or other doctorates calling themselves “Dr.” as highfalutin, using Jill Biden as Exhibit A. Mr. Epstein can be acerbic, and his piece began: “Madame First Lady—Mrs. Biden—Jill—kiddo: a bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter. Any chance you might drop the ‘Dr.’ before your name?”

    This has triggered a flood of media and Twitter criticism, including demands that I retract the piece, apologize personally to Mrs. Biden, ban Mr. Epstein for all time, and resign and think upon my sins. The complaints began as a trickle but became a torrent after the Biden media team elevated Mr. Epstein’s work in what was clearly a political strategy.

    Biden keeps making noises about unity, but his team sure does like to play smashmouth politics.

  • Bruce Bawer at City Journal writes In Defense of Joseph Epstein on Dr Jill Biden. He notes that Epstein's real point comes later in the column:

    “The Ph.D.,” Epstein lamented, “may once have held prestige, but that has been diminished by the erosion of seriousness and the relaxation of standards in university education generally, at any rate outside the sciences.” As the author of a 2012 book entitled The Victims’ Revolution, about the rise of such ridiculous academic “disciplines” as (yes) gender studies, I heartily agree. Epstein pointed out that Ph.D.s once had to jump through some major hoops, becoming genuine experts in their subjects, to earn their titles; now, in all too many departments at all too many universities, the doctorates are handed out like free-drink tickets outside of strip clubs.

    On this matter, Epstein was, quite simply, right. Unfortunately for him, he decided to use Jill Biden as a hook for a thoughtful piece on an important issue. In retribution for that politically inadmissible choice, he’s now a non-person—at least in the eyes of Northwestern University.

    Dr. Jill for Surgeon General!

  • We'll let Eugene Volokh at Volokh Consipiracy have the last word (for now?): Who Should Be Called Dr.? Probably Not Jill Biden, Just as Lawyers Like Me Aren’t.

    But at the University of Delaware, where Jill Biden got her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, the Ed.D. appears much more like a J.D. (or perhaps a M.S. or M.A.) than like a Ph.D. The Ph.D. program is a full-time 4-5 year program; the Ed.D. program is a part-time 3-4 year program (though I should note that a master's degree is required for entry). Recall that a J.D. is generally 3 years full-time, though without at thesis; M.S.s and M.A.s tend to be 1½ to 2 years full-time, with a thesis.

    [UPDATE: I've confirmed that, when Jill Biden was in the Ed.D. program, it required 54 credits of coursework (including 12 research credits), which means a workload corresponding to about 14 3-hour-per-week semester-long courses, plus the research time. By way of comparison, using roughly the same credit=hour-per-week during a semester calculation, the 3-year J.D.s require 83 credit hours, some of which also often correspond to research or to practicums. The Ed.D. is thus roughly comparable to a 2-year full-time professional program.]

    So Dr. Jill's Ed.D wasn't even a particularly academically rigorous one.

    People (especially University people) have their "preferred names" and "preferred pronouns". Maybe we're on our way to "preferred honorifics". And refusing to use the preferred honorific would be considered hate speech?

    How does "The Right Honorable Pun Salad" sound to you?