October 6, 2009

Majoring in legal studies

[F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Cabela's)] made a great point last week regarding U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold’s, D-Wis., and U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl’s, D-Wis., decision to nominate former Wisconsin Supreme Court — and current University of Wisconsin Law School professor — Louis Butler to the vacated seat on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. Butler has since been appointed to the seat by President Barack Obama.
That's news to both Butler and Obama, I'm sure. Not to mention James Madison and the contemporary State ratifying conventions.

And it gets worse. Much worse.*

Toward an epic pinnacle, of sorts:
The author, Steve Horn, is a junior [!!!] majoring in political science and legal studies.
That's damned scary, is what that is. And embarrassing. For everybody. Hope it's not too late to switch to basket weaving.

Because this character's poli-sci instructors must be cringing. Indeed, pending the discovery of relevant evidence, there may well exist a compelling theory in torts under which they could be held responsible.
When did the contest for stupidest editorial begin?
Asked and — definitively — answered. Wow, just ... wow.

* Please, for the merciful love of gawd, someone tell me this is satire.


Anonymous said...

Hey man, rather than insulting my credibility and my department's credibility, why don't you say what your beef with the article is? Come up with an actual legitimate argument against it, rather than ad hominem, then I'll talk to you. While you're at it, rather than remaining anonymous under the guise of "Illusory Tenant", why don't you say who you are, too?

-Steve Horn

illusory tenant said...

There's not enough hours in the day. Search the archives.

Anonymous said...

It seems you have plenty of time to attack me personally and say how stupid I am and how bad our Political Science and Legal Studies Departments. I think the least you can do is articulate a legitimate argument against my argument, all while cowardly hiding behind a screen-name.


illusory tenant said...

You didn't present an argument, is what I'm saying. You asserted, and you speculated. And you have gotten a lot of fundamental facts wrong. Which is what raises the question of your credibility.

For example, if you are going to allege — as you do — the existence of a "quid pro quo," then you should present evidence. You haven't. The charitable interpretation is that you don't know what "quid pro quo" means.

In the meantime, that a "quid pro quo" occurred is not an argument, but an assertion, a speculation.

And in this case, a pretty irresponsible one.

five tomatoes said...

Suddenly I am glad there is a reading comprehension section on the LSAT.

illusory tenant said...

I may have to sign Steve Levine's diploma privilege petition, just in case. You know, as a precaution.

five tomatoes said...

It'd probably be a good idea. I think I should insult the English and journalism departments for this sentence:

"It seems you have plenty of time to attack me personally and say how stupid I am and how bad our Political Science and Legal Studies Departments."

but instead, I'm just going to assume he was a legacy.

Clutch said...

When I was an undergrad, lo these many decades gone, my enthusiasm for political commentary outran my understanding of the facts and my sense of what comprised an argument, too. So I'm a bit sympathetic. iT's "basket-weaving" remark is rather unkind and unfair -- and probably something of a reaction to Sensenbrenner et al's cynical politicking rather than to Steve Horn's confused rambling in isolation.

And Horn's column is deeply confused. Quite apart from absurdities like the "quid pro quo" allegation, by his own observations it was surely not last week that "democracy took a big hit," but last year. That's when "the average person [an average calculated over too many who are "easily manipulated by slime"] didn’t take the time to do some fact-checking on Gableman’s claims".

It's frankly dizzy to assert that the merely conventional operations of voting mechanisms, however ill-informed or practically flawed, are democracy in action when the judicial selection mechanism is by definition electoral, but to then hold forth about democracy taking a hit when discussing a judicial appointment mechanism that is by definition appointment-based.

As to this:

"Was Gableman’s sin any worse than John Kerry being “swiftboated” out of his White House bid in 2004 by George Bush? Or how about John McCain affiliates scaring people enough to believe that Obama was a “terrorist” and an “Arab?” Of course not. So what right does the Wisconsin Judicial Commission have to issue a lawsuit against Gableman for lying in a campaign ad? "

Some advice for life: When attempting a series of rhetorical questions, do make sure that you're not asking an actual question in there, with an actual answer that could easily be found by investigating the most basic facts of the situation. Unless you think that "Because it contravenes Wisconsin SCR 60.06(3)(c)" somehow fails to distinguish the former cases from the latter with respect to the rights of the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, that is.

That's the sort of affection for bluster over facts and argument that will lead one's readers to be a bit sharp. You might as well learn now that when you presume to publicly lecture on the rights and wrong of a polity, other members of that polity will feel themselves licensed to call you on clear failures of informedness and cogency.

illusory tenant said...

probably something of a reaction to Sensenbrenner et al's cynical politicking

Yes, that. And no more serious than a faculty malpractice suit. I hope he graduates summa.

Still, the first course I took was Pol Sci 101: American Government. So by third year the major should have heard of Bork, Thomas, and Sotomayor and know how they got where they are.

Anonymous said...

So, you're saying I'm going to have to read the original article before I understand the subtleties of the logical leaps in the article? Geez... don't you understand that I need everything presented to me through oversimplified blog post?!

Clutch said...

And speaking of the rhetorical question that isn't, I got a giggle out of one Ron, in the comments to Horn's article:

Where were Steve Horn and Jim Sensenbrenner in Dec., 2000 when American Democracy got crucified by those 5 “Just Us”es on the US Supreme Court in Gore vs Bush ?

This is a bit conjectural, but judging from the picture at the head of the article, the answer to the first half of that question is, "In Grade Five, thinking about Christmas."

illusory tenant said...

Aw, now that was unkind!

Clutch said...

A man gets older, intimations as to his youthfulness come to seem complimentary.