Misinformation Campaign Alleged in ABA Journal Competition

Well, our friend Lottakatz has certainly stirred up a hornet’s nest. Various posters on the blog have contacted me about the sudden surge of over 100 votes on Legal Satyricon to take it from just 15 votes to the lead in the ABA competition. There was a surge of over 100 votes in less than an hour. I have discouraged (and even deleted) a few postings on the issue to keep the matter civil. After all, this is just a fun distraction for bloggers and we tend to have more fun than most. However, with some sleuthing, Lottakatz appears to have found a campaign of misinformation on pro-gun sites where an alleged regular on LS claims that I am a leading anti-gun advocate. The false representation promptly made opposition to our blog as cause celebre for gun rights advocates. Given the emails from our regulars, I wanted to address the controversy.

As the poster must have been aware, I am not an opponent to constitutional gun rights. Indeed, regardless of my personal views on forms of gun control, I agreed with the historical and textual analysis in decisions like McDonald. While I felt this was a close interpretive issue and that the dissenting justices made a compelling case, I felt that the plain meaning of the amendment favored individual gun rights. For prior columns, click here and here. I am a gun owner (a shotgun I have used for skeet shooting for twenty years). I feel like I am competing against Bristol Palin and no one is looking at our actual dancing.

The misinformation was clearly an effort to generate votes and cites the need to support the more conservative editors at LS and Volokh Conspiracy. I certainly do not mind regulars on other blogs flogging for votes. I do not even mind the ideological arguments for support. We are obviously more liberal than VC which is probably the leading conservative site in the country. I do not know a lot about LS. After posting on this blog, I have very little time to surf other blogs. This is the description from the ABA:

The Legal Satyricon, aka Marc Randazza, seems to have handed over more of his blogging duties to the “Satriyconistas” of late. But the content still consistently alternates between refreshingly blunt posts on First Amendment issues and frat-boy humor.

I really do not know the politics or ideological character of the blog. Moreover, flogging one’s blog is a natural and commendable action by loyal regulars. However, a campaign of misinformation is beyond the pale of any competition.

Having said that, I appreciate everyone keeping this civil. I think that ABA does a great service in highlighting top legal blogs and nothing can protect a competition from such shenanigans. We have a great blog that combines thoughtful discussions of legal and political issues with a commitment to civility. That makes us something of a standout among the blogs. It could be worse. I could have been denounced as a war criminal or White Sox fan. Besides, my Bears ARE THE DIVISION CHAMPS. The world cannot be hopelessly dark and evil when God reaches down and leads the Bears to the triumph over the Vikings yesterday. He even arranged for the a total lunar eclipse to fall on the winter solstice (the first time in 372 years) to signal his choice for the Superbowl.

We are on our way to Chicago today in a van with four kids and a large dog. Our guest bloggers will be contributing over the holiday, which I hope is safe and relaxing for everyone — gun right advocates and gun opponents alike.

Jonathan Turley

55 thoughts on “Misinformation Campaign Alleged in ABA Journal Competition”

  1. LK wrote:

    “It does make you mentally lazy though…”


    That is the salient point, after all, isn’t it. When debating with others, those that have lost the argument often stop using cogency and degenerate to ad hominem attacks laced with vulgarities. I certainly do not care when people blow off steam with some ‘blue’ words; however, TLS is overwhelmingly vulgar—for a law blawg—to the point that it is hard to enjoy the good aspects of First Amendment arguments that occur there.

  2. LK,

    I just read your posts over at TLS. You made your points. Those guys are really something else…

  3. I need to bake something chocolate, I’m bored today.

    Their lack of sportsmanship offends me. I decided I’d make that point when I saw their posting. We’re just poking at each other with sticks but they are calling names so I guess I hit a sore spot, LOL. It’s like arguing with frat-boys. In any event I made my point, a couple of times and they are welcome to making their political point regarding the corruption of the ABA by winning an award and publicly disrespecting it and the group bestowing it.

    I recall that they purged some of your comments. That’s how you know you ‘won’. 🙂

    I don’t mind the cussing, I worked with military personnel, active, retired and ex, and ended up quickly being able to give as good as I got. It does make you mentally lazy though and I curb those impulses now.

    I am a great fan of The Rude Pundit who generally says, in the most ugly and scatological manner possible, those things regarding current events, the people and movements driving them, that I say to myself mentally. It is a therapy session of the bizarre kind.

  4. Lottakatz,

    First Amendment rights appear to apply only to them. Last year they posted my comments, which contained no foul words; then, Mr. Randazza deleted my posts along with some others here who posted there. Your post is currently posted at TLS.

    I often agree with Mr. Randazza’s opinions regarding the First Amendment, although I rarely access his site as much as I would like because the language there is consistently very crude. Of course, I have seen some of those words scribbled on filthy bathroom walls. Furthermore, I heard all those words from my experiences in high school/college sports locker rooms, military shower/bathrooms, and especially during my LEO training where role-play actors forced you to listen to foul language during arrest training because they knew you would be subjected to offensive name-calling during your LE career and that you must accept such vulgar language.

    However, since I am virtually an absolutist regarding the First Amendment, websites like The Legal Satyricon and the vile websites to which he and his collaborators often link must be allowed and remain uncensored. No person forces us to visit such sites; then again, I would always caution visitors to TLS to be very careful when clicking on an imbedded link therein.

    LK, we all thank you for exposing the hypocrisy that is rampant at TLS regarding the Blawg 100 vote. CEJ and others exposed last year’s hypocritical ranting during the Blawg vote and you might have contributed then, as well.

  5. Well, I wanted to see if TLS held true to form this year by dissing the ABA award so I visited their site. Mr. DeVoy has not disappointed. His posting on the ABA blog award competition is just what you would expect and more. I wrote him a snarky comment but know it won’t se the light of day there. They are such children, did they not have any home-training?

    site posting link:


    My comment:

    I find your posting disingenuous Mr. DeVoy. It was after all you that went to a ‘shooter’ site and painted one of your competitors, Professor Turley, as anti-gun as well as elitist. You then exhorted them to deny his blog any kind of victory suggesting instead TLS and Volokh (no problem with Volokh) should they choose to help you out. They did, to the tune of a hundred or more votes in a matter of hours for TLS, bringing you from 3rd or 4th place to first.

    Now, after trolling for votes among notoriously reactionary special interest blawgers in order to win, TKS has again chosen to mock the very award it seeks to win. No doubt some obtuse political rationale will later be generated as was done last year.

    If Mr. Randazza had the strength of conviction espoused by your posting or last years sour-grapes over winning, he would instruct the ABA to remove his blawg from consideration.

    Yes, I’m a Turlyblawg fan and knowing your editorial policy, I have no illusions that you will actually allow my reply to be published. You folks take the prize alright, you do indeed.

    Link to letter to, and responses at, the ‘shooter’ site. Red meat to the pitbulls:


  6. Professor, congrats on the shout out from Mr. Carlson!

    I admit I am a bad ambassador for your BLAWG. I do though hope Mr. Carlton doesn’t hold you responsible for my interjecting a bit of discord into his comment thread.

  7. Number 2 out of the 10 “go-to” blogs in 2010. The Legal Satyricon’ is #4.

  8. Is there any discussion of restricting what can be published about individuals since they don’t have recourse to courts when fraudulent statements are published to hurt them?

  9. I don’t think anyone is questioning Randazza’s skills.

    His “personality” on the other hand?

    Could be.

  10. regarding net neutrality

    I was quite literally floored at the absence of self awareness


    Hello CNN

    Yesterday morning i had the opportunity to hear your morning entertainers discussing something called Net Neutrality. The following are from CNN transcripts.

    John Roberts: Net neutrality, sounds sexy, doesn’t it? Well, maybe not. But it may just be the most important free speech issue that America has faced in decades. Coming up next: why everyone who uses the Internet should care about a big vote today by the FCC.

    POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: It’s a huge issue, we should all care about it. Think of this as sort of the government’s biggest step yet, guys, into regulating the Internet — something we use all day every day for more than six years now. The FCC has been working to dramatically reshape the future of what the Internet looks like.

    Today, that issue takes center stage and it may sound like just policy and politics out of Washington. But this could mean major, major changes for all of us. Take a look.

    maybe the most important free speech issue in decades!!
    something we should all care about!!
    something that could affect 250 million Americans!!!
    major, major changes for all of us!!!
    and we’ve probably never even heard of it!!
    for 6 years!!!

    I started thinking, it’s too bad that there isn’t a person or perhaps a group of people that could aid in keeping a watchful eye on our Government and provide necessary and critical information to the public at large in order that they, the public, could be informed about the decisions the Government makes that will affect them, perhaps using television as a means of disseminating this information.

    It’s also unfortunate that the Founding Fathers didn’t have the foresight to realize that this person or group of people could be instrumental in keeping our Government in check and aid in protecting our Republic from tyranny, despotism and maybe even groups of people with large sums of money and devise some sort of mechanism in the Constitution that would provide protections for a person or persons, working alone or as a group, in order that these people could provide critical information to the public regarding the daily workings of our Government.

    PS many thanks for the bit about Ginger’s faux leather handbag and Shaquille O’Neal, a person problably wouldn’t be able to sleep without that bit of enlightenment. Also your entertainers are pretty attractive, that’s good because I surely don’t want ugly people telling me about cell phone distractions.

    R. Allen

  11. Eniobob and Blouise,

    That was, as it appears to be, a 1950s video. How glad I am that such things have changed from the time I was a little kid asking my Mother why there were separate water fountains and restrooms and why some other kids were restricted to sit up in the balcony during 1950s Texas Saturday matinees portraying white cowboys and ‘red’ injuns…

    Thanks for getting/catching my drift.

  12. Blouise:


    eniobob is a master of disguises … he is, after-all, from New Jersey”

    Now my secret is out LOL!!

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