I like Truthout. I’m on its email list and so I receive daily notices about newly posted articles on the site. I don’t read them all, but the ones I read usually are worth the time. And I was deeply flattered when, two years ago, on the basis of two lengthy articles I posted here on AB on complicated legal issues, I was invited to blog for them, mainly on legal issues, through a new forum they were at the time planning for a small set of invited bloggers. (The forum never got off the ground, much to my disappointment.)
So I suppose that this is, in a sense, a family quarrel. But earlier today Dan emailed me with a link to a Truthout article and asked my opinion of it, and I obliged. And hours after I first read the article, I’m still seething enough to repost those comments here.
The article is titled John Cusack Interviews Law Professor Jonathan Turley About Obama Administration’s War On the Constitution. Turley is the Someone and Someone Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington Law School. Good for him. He’s also the Director of the Environmental Law Advocacy Center there. And the Executive Director of the Project for Older Prisoners. Verygood for him. And he’s one of those omnipresent law-prof. presences whose byline is everywhere, or seems to be, and whose quotes also regularly appear in articles under other people’s bylines because, I think, his contact information comes already printed on the Rolodexes of legal-issues journalists when purchased. This is especially so in recent years, because, as his GW faculty page says, “[h]e has served as a consultant on homeland security and constitutional issues, and is a frequent witness before the House and Senate on constitutional and statutory issues as well as tort reform legislation.” Very, very good for him.
It also says, “He also is a nationally recognized legal commentator; he ranked 38th in the top 100 most cited ‘public intellectuals’ in a recent study by Judge Richard Posner and was found to be the second most cited law professor in the country.” I know. That’s my point. He’s eminent.
John Cusack, the article’s actual author and Turley’s interviewer, is, well, a movie star. Star, being the operative word here. As it is with Turley himself.
The point of the interview was to elicit Turley’s assertion that it is the obligation of principled liberals to not vote for Obama this time, because of Obama’s stances and actions on Patriot Act and other War on Terror questions and in Afghanistan. Which Cusack did, bracketed and interspersed between Cusack’s own musings on the subject.
Hyperventilating after reading the article, I responded to Dan (OK, slightly edited here):
Wow. I don’t even know where to begin. I too have been baffled and stunned by the Obama administration’s positions on Patriot Act-related and other War on Terror prisoner civil rights issues. And on some lower-profile civil liberties issues unrelated to war or to Patriot Act matters, too—particularly certain positions as amicus at the Supreme Court, from time to time; cases in which the federal government is not actually a party but in which the Court has asked the Solicitor General’s office to way in anyway, or in which the administration has decided on its own to way in. And on Afghanistan, well, the situation speaks for itself.
But only liberals like John Cusack and Jonathan Turley—people who can, literally, afford the luxury of putting “principle” above the realities of the effect of Romney/Ryan vs. Obama on so many, many, many other critically important public-policy and legal issues—are anything but insane to engage in the absurd conceit that they are principled in helping elect Romney/Ryan. Anyone else who takes that “principled” stance is crazy.
I know all too well the specifics of the profound harm done by the Federalist Society judges—at all three levels of the federal bench, not just the Supreme Court. And the courts are only one of so many parts of this.
There is, truly, almost nothing that makes me angrier than reading this kind of garbage from people who themselves will never actually be directly impacted by the outcome of this election.
Japan’s kamikaze pilots during WWII were principled, too—or at least their prime minister and military commanders were.
To people of that ilk, I say: Drop dead. Or vote for Ralph Nader. And then drop dead.
The Romney campaign should have put Cusack on that stage last Thursday instead of Clint Eastwood.