Totenberg: Kagan Appears Smarter and Tougher Than Gorsuch

As many on this blog are aware, I testified in favor of the confirmation of Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch at his Senate hearing. I believe him to be a jurist with a deep commitment to first principles of constitutional interpretation.  It was for that reason that I was taken aback the the dismissive and careless comments on Gorsuch by National Public Radio Legal Affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg.   Totenberg used the Supreme Court podcast “First Mondays” to launch into Gorsuch for what Totenberg described as pedantic and annoying conduct in conferences and oral arguments.  Gorsuch’s colleagues on the Tenth Circuit as well as the broader appellate bench uniformly described him as a collegial, civil, and respectful colleague.

Totenberg bizarrely claims that she hears Gorsuch “doesn’t believe in precedent.”  This may be a reference to the possibility that Gorsuch might reverse existing cases. However, all of the justices have voted to overturn prior rules. They are entitled to do so even under the narrowest contemporary view of stare decisis.  As I discussed in my testimony at the confirmation hearing, Gorsuch continued to apply cases with which he disagreed as an appellate judge, particularly cases following the Chevron doctrine.

Totenberg also chastised Gorsuch for starting statements in oral argument with “Let’s look at what the Constitution says about this … It’s always a good place to start.” He is described by Totenberg as divisive and opinionated.  She added:

My surmise, from what I’m hearing, is that Justice Kagan really has taken [Gorsuch] on in conference. And that it’s a pretty tough battle and it’s going to get tougher. And she is about as tough as they come, and I am not sure he’s as tough—or dare I say it, maybe not as smart. I always thought he was very smart, but he has a tin ear somehow, and he doesn’t seem to bring anything new to the conversation.

440px-Elena_Kagan_Official_SCOTUS_Portrait_(2013)440px-Associate_Justice_Neil_Gorsuch_Official_PortraitPutting aside Totenberg’s knowledge of internal deliberations, it is not clear how she gauges the relative toughness of Kagan as opposed to Gorsuch. However, Totenburg’s analysis on this and other Supreme Court issues has been challenged as revealing a strong liberal bias.  What is incredible in this case is her statement that Kagan is not only tougher but likely smarter.  Of course, it is not hard to imagine the response to a male legal analyst saying that Gorsuch is “smarter” or “tougher” than Kagan.  Moreover, this is not some cage match in a test of toughness.  It is a test of jurisprudence, not endurance.

This is not the first time that Totenberg has given Kagan a heroic, avenging image.  When she was nominated, Totenberg was breathless.  She heralded President Barack Obama’s nomination: “In some ways, the descriptions of Elena Kagan as dean [at Harvard University] sound a little bit like the beginning of the old Superman’ TV series. Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands!”

Totenberg has made other statements that reflect a strong bias against conservatives, including the outrageous statement in 1995 to Reason Magazine that Senator Jesse Helms deserves “retributive justice”  where he would “get AIDS from a transfusion, or one of his grandchildren would get it.”

I will leave my assessment of Gorsuch’s demeanor and intellect to my earlier testimony.  However, it is highly disconcerting to see this type of argumentum ad hominem from NPR.



309 thoughts on “Totenberg: Kagan Appears Smarter and Tougher Than Gorsuch”

  1. Paul Schulte, it was a Control Data Corporation CDC 6400 that you fed. An IBM competitor which eventually fell by the wayside.

    1. David Benson – I know you are taking a great interest in my ill-spent youth, however it was IBM people I was working with and IBM that offered me the job coding.

      1. IBM didn’t have a 6400 model number until 1999. As far as I know, IBM never used magnetic strip cards, but you could try to find a reference to the contrary.

        Hard to believe that IBM personel worked on a CDC 6400. Much easier to believe that you don’t recall who you were working for. Was it on an Air Force base?

        1. David Benson – the first one was for Omaha Hardwood Co. where I spent 6 months inputting their inventory onto cards. Let me tell you, they were a major lumber wholesaler and had a lot of inventory. 🙂 Each size had to be listed individually on a card with the quantity, size, cost, price. This included screws, nails, faucets, etc. everything that Lowes or Home Depot would have times ten because they also supplied specialty woods, tiles, etc. to manufacturers and builders. All of that had to be put on cards.

          The second was the Phoenix Hardwood Co., not quite as big, but same process.

          Then we had all the customer cards to do, as well.

          Both jobs were honchoed by IBM. Now maybe they subbed the 6400 and slapped their name on it, I don’t know. All I know is my immediate supervisor worked for IBM at both locations. And IBM took credit for it at both locations where it was known as the IBM 6400. That machine and I spent a year together 12 hours a day. The second machine had subtle upgrades from the first, based on my working with the first machine. They added a couple of things to protect the machine from the operator. 😉 I had a habit of periodically dropping things into the machine.

          David, I know this has become like a snipe hunt for you, but I really don’t care. I am responding only because you took the time to do the research. 🙂

          1. Thanks. I had thought that I knew the history of computers but this is something new for me.

    2. Aha! It might have been an IBM 604. Probably in the intervening years you disremember the model number. And yes, the 604 was an early vacuum tube machine for accounting.

      1. David Benson – I don’t remember any vacuum tubes, but assuming I might have misremembered, get me a picture and I will tell you for sure.

  2. In the mid-90s, shortly after moving to this area from the Midwest, I attended a semiprivate women’s luncheon with Nina Totenberg at the National Press Club. It was a gathering of women writers that had no political affiliation whatsoever. At the time, I considered myself somewhat left of center. Nina began her remarks, in an entre nous manner, by making reference to the Republican ‘crazies’ out there. I was shocked. It was one of those ‘click’ moments where I woke up to the complete bias of NPR and the rest of the MSM. Before that, I operated under the naive assumption that the news was balanced, and that NPR was the real honest broker out there. Silly me.

    1. Imagine, Americans are forced to fund NPR and suffer “Affirmative Action Privilege.” Can you say antithetical and unconstitutional? Silly me.

  3. Geez, I just noticed:

    George Washington COLLUDED with

    Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette.

    Will Mueller investigate that?

  4. I have no idea what Totenberg means by Kagen being “tougher” than Gorsuch, and I don’t think she does either. Next, she’ll be saying Kagen is more “intense” than Gorsuch is, Meaningless. As for Kagen being “smarter,” we don’t have enough information to make a judgment about that and neither does Totenberg. We have Kagen’s Harvard Law School grades and she performed well except in criminal law, torts, administrative law, and the legal profession–but nobody’s perfect and grades aren’t necessarily the best metric for measuring smartness. However, so far, Gorsuch has not, apparently, released his own law school grades.

  5. I say hooray for Nina, after all she is not sucking up to the repubs hoping for a seat on the SCOTUS like some who endorsed Gorsuch…

    1. plankbohrgauss – I don’t think any President, in or out of their mind, would appoint Nina to the SC. She would be Borked the first day.

      1. Probably not the Supreme Court for either of them…… Don’t recall that a radio or TV personality has ever been chosen for the highest court. i

    2. Totenberg doesn’t even appear to have earned a bachelor’s degree, never mind a JD. She also has a nasty incident of plagiarism in her past.

      JD teaches constitutional law at a top institution and has served as an expert witness to Congress for over two decades.

      Both, while eligible, will never get appointed. Nina, because she’s not qualified. And JT because Congress doesn’t like to appoint top-top judges. Too risky.

      1. G – I hope JT doesn’t get nominated because we would lose this blog. I guess I am just being selfish though. 😉

      2. “Both, while eligible, will never get appointed. Nina, because she’s not qualified.”

        Nina — of course — would never be appointed, for the reason stated above.

        “And JT because Congress doesn’t like to appoint top-top judges. Too risky.”

        I wouldn’t be so sure about JT. Time will tell.

          1. “G” wrote: “Both, while eligible, will never get appointed. Nina, because she’s not qualified.”

            I responded: Nina — of course — would never be appointed, for the reason stated above.

            So you think Nina is qualified for a judicial appointment, padlegal?

            “G” also said: “And JT because Congress doesn’t like to appoint top-top judges. Too risky.”

            I responded: I wouldn’t be so sure about JT. Time will tell.

            And your quarrel with this?

            (Thanks for the compliment, by the way.)

              1. Ignoring G’s confusion about the exact process and certain terminology, it is not outside the realm of possibility that Trump might nominate JT for a federal judgeship…and the Senate would likely confirm.

                1. anonymous, I’m still loving your work. However, a week or so ago someone whose handle I can’t remember accused Turley of seeking Sessions job as Attorney General. I didn’t think much of it at the time. But it might be Turley’s number two dream job after Director of the FBI.

                  1. Turley is extensively published. Sorting by subject matter, his publications in the following areas of law would appear to be in the range noted

                    Environmental law / natural resources: a couple of symposia contributions
                    National security: one article 17 years ago
                    Tax law: nil
                    Antitrust: nil
                    ‘civil rights’: nil
                    Civil practice / contracts / torts: nil
                    Criminal law: two articles on RICO 30 years ago

                    His publications over the years have been on martial law, private international law, constitutional law (notably on impeachment),

                    I tend to doubt given his interests he’d want any position other than Solicitor-General.

                2. Turley would be a fine judge even though historically he is center left.

                  He seems able to place the law in front of his feelings.

                  1. He seems able to place the law in front of his feelings.

                    His Achilles’s Heel however is the environment. It would be interesting to see if he could remain objective or need to recuse himself.

                    1. Olly, personally I haven’t heard Turley comment much on the environment. Congress has the ability to legislate environmental controls so I don’t know that he would have much of a conflict since what a judge should be doing is leaving the legislation up to Congress. The question more often raised is the interpretation of the law and the rules created by an agency as to whether or not the determination of the legality of the rules favor the government agency creating them. I think the court decided yes and Scalia was on that side. I don’t think I agree with Scalia but have an open mind. I believe Gorsuch takes the opposite position.

            1. anonymous – according to the Constitution, Nina is eligible to be nominated and confirmed to the SC, but no Congress in its right mind would do it. She would be Borked by the Republicans on day 1 of the hearings.

      3. Congress does not appoint judges and Turley’s not a judge, top-top or otherwise. The last nominee to the Court who was not a judge was William Rehnquist in 1971. Supposedly, both Antonin Scalia and Robert Bork were consequential thinkers in their respective areas of law, so top-top do get nominated from time to time. Kagan was more of an academic dignitary. Souter, O’Connor, and Blackmun were unremarkable figures with the right connections.

  6. How “smart” is Gorsuch, or Trump, compared to MSM, “progtrash,” and genius His Majesty and Most Excellent Jesus Obama, who all smugly and literally LOL when asked if Trump had a chance of winning the election? Immediately prior to the election CNN quoted HRC 93%, Trump 3%.

    One presumes an outsize ratio of HRC voters are/were otherwise healthy persons who are on disability, gaming the system, who eat Cheetos, smoke pot, and drink beer to excess. Is there anything more likely to make them stay home (rather than vote), watching Oprah reruns (saying “you go girl!”) more than their paymasters screaming 24/7 that the election don’t matter?

    1. Dog whistle to your klan wannabee friends? I bet you’all git rill worked up drinkin shine around to the klavern talkin bout them thare welfare queens drivin caddys, and them citified white gurls datin them dark ones.

      this is to “but all my friend say I look good in white-sheet” jonesy

      1. Marky Mark Mark – you are not ready for grown-up ad hominems yet. This one doesn’t even fit the subject matter of the topic of the comment you are responding to. Baby steps. Learn from WWAS.

  7. “Kagan” is old Kazarian (not Hebrew) word for “King.”

    Someone I can’t recall who, said Totenberg leaked the name of Anita Hill to Dems Re. the Judge Thomas hearings, to stop Thomas.

    Totenberg’s family owned a Stradivarius or other high end violin. IIRC they donated the instrument to a charity or some particular musician.

    1. Karen S, politics is often distasteful and even more often pejorated. But from where else other than a political process should we derive law, or statesmanship, or national defense or any of the other wonderful products of politics that we remain loathe to pejorate?

      1. I understood Karen’s comment to mean that just law stands apart from the politics that produced it. I agree with you that politics is often distasteful and even more often pejorated. But once the dust has settled and a law is produced, it should measured as just by its constitutional authority and most importantly its improvement of the equal security of natural rights in our civil society.

      2. Laws that are self-sustaining generally are not laws created by despots and other political leaders. Laws develop as a way of life within a culture over a long period of time. It is that part of the culture that may later be codified into laws by a political entity.

  8. SIDEBAR –

    Drudge reports that Donna Brazile feared an Arkancide, per her book.


  9. Totenberg and Kagan – the Theater of the Absurd.

    The Constitution was written in the interests of freedom not immaterial intellectual pursuits. Albert Einstein likely would have been a terrible jurist. Totenberg (enjoying the “entitlement” that is NPR) and Kagan would have been having babies (the birthrate is in a “death spiral” which is national suicide – without babies, having the vote is moot) and cooking dinner were it not for the unconstitutional artifice of “Affirmative Action Privilege.” The 19th Amendment was “necessary” because the Founders did not provide the vote to women and they understood the axiom that women have a natural or god-given funciton – to perpetuate the race and nation’s population. Totenberg and Kagan are preposterously loquacious, taxpayer supported academics who have never built anything or independently met a payroll in the open markets. The Constitution was written clearly, can be understood by all and needs only implementation, not “interpretation” by any aloof and arrogant segment of society. The American thesis is “freedom and self-reliance,” distinctly not central planning, redistribution of wealth and social engineering. Freedom needs no interpretation – dictatorship does. The judicial branch has no authority to legislate, modify legislation, “legislate from the bench” or “interpret” legislation. The Supreme Court has one charge which is to assure that actions comport with the Constitution. Cases of “interpretation” should result in prosecution for crimes of high office. The Supreme Court should be reduced to one Justice so that control though the impeachment process may be imposed with facility by the People, through their elected representatives in Congress.

      1. RW Ziegler Jr., can we “split the difference?”

        Can we just repeal unconstitutional “Affirmative Action Privilege” and rely on simple merit?

        Oh no, the parasites would never go for that, huh?

  10. It’s sad to see such a good legal mind pretend that Gorsuch is even qualified to be on the Supreme Court of the United States. There has never been a more obvious political hack appointed in the past century and perhaps more! Mommy got him his jobs and finally his turn came up for the big plum and he got it. He’s a right wing Republican hack nothing more.

    1. Yes, I cannot imagine why one would think someone who spent 11 years as a federal appellate judge, some years prior to that as the director of the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, some years as a trial lawyer, a year as a clerk to a federal Supreme Court Judge, a year as a clerk to an appellate judge on the DC Circuit, and got junk degrees from Oxford, Harvard, and Columbia could be considered for a seat on the federal Supreme Court. And his career is so disfigured by nepotism. His mother’s only been dead 13 years and only been out of office for 34 years and only wrote one memoir eviscerating Ronald Reagan’s staff.

      What we really need is someone with superlative qualifications like William O. Douglas. There’s no better preparation for the Supreme Court than sitting on a regulatory commission for five years and sashaying through the divorce courts three times.

        1. Miers. See Thomas Sowell and Wm. Dyer on Miers. There was an argument for Miers on the Court.

          Miers was taking a step down in working as Counsel to the President and Counsel to the Governor of Texas. She’d previously been the managing partner of a law firm with hundreds of attorneys and had negotiated its merger with another law firm of similar size. She also graduated 1st in her class at the law school of Southern Methodist University.

    2. “And monkeys may fly out my butt,” homage to Madonna on SNL back when it was occasionally funny.

    3. Horuss,
      And HRC was the most qualified person in US history to be POTUS, right?

      1. If the qualification for the presidency includes rigging a primary election, malfeasance of office and corruption then HRC was in fact the most qualified person.

        1. Ah, a respected member of the bar, who can be counted on to represent only factual accusations. I too, have a PACER account; funny, a name search for Hillary fails to turn up a federal criminal case. where can I find these indictments for “rigging”; “malfeasance”; and “corruption”?

          This is to “git yur red meat here” darren

          1. Marky Mark Mark – we know that Comey covered for Hillary during the emails, both times, creating an intent that was never in the statute. That saved her from an indictment and prison time. It still may be coming because she did not testify under oath to the FBI and that still leaves her open. And Congress has opened an investigation into Uranium One to see just what the FBI and DoJ did or did not do. Now we know that both will slow-walk the documents and witnesses to slow the investigation, but there is always hope.

    4. There has never been a more obvious political hack appointed in the past century and perhaps more!


      Your welcome!

    5. “There has never been a more obvious political hack ”

      No research or thought necessary to come up with a posting like this. You must have been at the bottom of your class or maybe never even made it out.

  11. I thought you were a lawyer. You are always very clear something often lacking on this blog.

  12. “How Are Things in the World of Neil Gorsuch These Days?”

    OCT 19, 2017


    “It’s gotten so bad that we’re starting to hear stories from the 10th Circuit, whence Gorsuch came to Washington, that people there couldn’t stand him, either. Anyone who sat through Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings could not help but be struck by the smug, entitled arrogance with which he condescended to sit through this constitutionally mandated bother before he could assume the seat that Mitch McConnell ‘jacked for him….

    “During the oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford, the Wisconsin gerrymandering case, he fairly oozed with contempt for the plaintiff’s arguments, only to get slapped down by Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Gorsuch launched into a patronizing spiel about separation of powers, arguing that the Court had no role whatsoever in determining that a state’s election maps had been rigged. He prefaced his lecture by saying, “Maybe we can just for a second talk about the arcane matter of the Constitution.” It made you want to hit him in the face with a dead fish. Instead, RBG rose up in her chair.

    “Where did ‘one person, one vote’ come from?” she asked him….

    “Can somebody be too much of a colossal dick even for Washington? Ted Cruz defies this possibility daily in the Senate, the president* defies this possibility every hour he spends in the White House, and now we have Neil Gorsuch to challenge it on the Supreme Court for the next 50 years or so. Thanks, Mitch.”

    1. Lessee, a progtrash magazine journalist offers a tendentious gloss on something Gorsuch said and we have to have an imaginary account of something Madame Justice Witchipoo supposedly said, all delivered in a text wall courtesy Elaine.

      1. I wonder if anonymous even read the articles she posts. On the Berlin article, she seems to have missed many of the ideas under discussion leading to a conclusion that I don’t believe truly relates to the article.

      2. “Lessee”…a comment from a nobody who hangs out on JonathanTurley’s blog…day in and day out, week after week, month after month…and keeps changing his (her?) name. Favorite words: “progtrash”, (a woman named) “Elaine”… And s/he keeps changing her own “name” (and claims that it a spam filter thing):

        S/he’s also been SteppingOnToads (SOT), Desperately Seeking Susan — or seeking something (DSS), TurleySpamFilterSucks (TSFS), and there are presumably others.

        1. The spam filter doesn’t prevent one from keeping their name or making a minor alteration until a new thread comes along (I used Allan and then Allan. with a period after the name). The constant shifting of names seems to be more of a way to restart a life than to continue one. However, many of the posters have a style that is recognizable so the change in name merely makes communication that much more difficult.

    2. From the same article:

      “And, according to my old Wisconsin Avenue running buddy, Joan Biskupic, another longtime Court watcher who’s now at CNN, Gorsuch has proven to be such a colossal pain in the gavel that he may have alienated Chief Justice John Roberts, who may be a reactionary blight grown in the same ideological hothouses that produced Neil Gorsuch, but who also would rather not run Fight Club in chambers for the next 20 years. From CNN:

      “After his Senate confirmation last April, Gorsuch skipped the first scheduled justices-only meeting even though Roberts encouraged him to attend. He fired off a raft of dissenting opinions, some that seemed to scold his colleagues. He has dominated oral arguments, cutting off and correcting other justices, expounding on the scope of the Constitution. With an approach that evinces the opposite of Roberts’ concern for appearances, Gorsuch spoke to a gathering of the conservative Fund for American Studies at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, embroiled in litigation about unconstitutional financial benefit for the President who appointed him.”

      1. embroiled in litigation about unconstitutional financial benefit for the President who appointed him.”

        That’s a tell, Elaine.

        More text and a cited support courtesy another shill employed in the media does not enhance the argument.

        1. Just old SOT’s opinion, so we can discount it.

          (“That’s a tell…”: So SOTs been hanging out with dicks again.)

  13. Gorsuch’s intelligence is measured by his modesty. In the confirmation hearings, he diplomatically but pointedly told Congress (paraphrasing) “if you would just do your job and legislate on the major political controversies of the times, you’ll be very happy with the Federal Court’s role”. But, he was speaking truth to an escapist Congress, one much more comfortable having the great controversies settled by 9 black-robed jurists than by themselves. Having a strong Constitutionalist point out this abdication of Congressional responsibility is very refreshing.

      1. “Travesties like Roe and Obergefell…”

        No wonder you’ve found your place in the comments section of a blog.

        1. I’ll cop to not subscribing to the inanities abroad within your social circle, Elaine.

            1. anonymous – calling him sweetie is sexual harassment. Cuts both ways for men and women.

          1. So, Nick Spinelli starts a rumor, some months ago, that anon is Elaine based solely on his exquisite deductive skills.

            SOT/DSS et al., grabs this conjecture like a drunken fool grabbing the brass ring at a carnival and uses said conjecture in such a fashion that the very presumption of anon being Elaine invalidates any comments by anon.

            Sick stuff.

            Now, the only way to know if anon was Elaine would be to correlate IP address, (assuming no obfuscation such as a VPN and no change of service providers over the years), and, more importantly and imminently more useful, user-agent headers, (which are easily forged with a local proxy) – and then to share this information.

            The only one that would do this would be Darren — in his illusion of being some IT savant out to save the world.

            Darren has been known to do this in the past, which is why many people avoid this place.

            Have fun, SOT, DDS, et al.

            1. WWAS – do you have proof that Darren has shared IP addresses with anyone other than JT? We did have a situation a while back while JT was on vacation where a certain commenter used 18 sock puppets in 48 hours. We were able to identify them fairly easily because she never changed her writing style, which stuck out like a sore thumb. She was eventually banned after getting into a food fight with Darren and me, because I kept using her real name, which she had used as one of the sock puppets, instead of the new sock puppet name she wanted to be called. JT decided she had doxxed herself and had no one to blame.

              People who are not happy with this blog can start their own blog, or just leave. People come and go all the time. So, the decision is yours.

                1. WWAS – just answer the question. BTW, when I am out of my depth I stay out of the discussion. You have made a blanket accusation with no proof. Back it up. And just because you have your name in all caps does not scare me. It intrigues me.

                1. WWAS – the world neither begins nor ends with me. However, your nom de plume has not been on here very long so either you were banned and JT finally let you back on or you were part of the group that went to Pansies for Pluto and died and now you have returned. Or, maybe you have a third option?

              1. What a pattern!

                PCS questions if commentators are having strokes, while you claim they are drunk.

                Nothing like the boys bullying around, uh?

                Pissing on their shoes while trying to save their bluster.

                1. WWAS – I was responding to a rather incoherent, babbling comment that really did not make a lot of sense, from someone who usually does make sense, even though I don’t agree with them. The question about the stroke was an honest concern about their current health, not an attack. Whatever it was their next comment was more coherent. Your problem is your one mode attacks.

                  1. Paul said, ” . . . someone who usually does make sense . . .”

                    Now I’m genuinely concerned about Paul’s health.

                    1. Diane – I appreciate your concern, but I just had my annual check-up and the doctor said that everything was just fine.

  14. Based on his multiple posts “stop calling us liberals!!!!”, I’d say that Benson is ashamed of his own tribe. Sad.

      1. David writes: “I never claimed to be a “liberal”.”

        I guess you are right Foxtrot ” I’d say that Benson is ashamed of his own tribe.”.

          1. David, Embarrassment alters what people admit to. Are you embarrassed? If not then you can define your tribal attachments. I’m willing to listen.

              1. That is what they all say “No, not embarrassed.”. But it seems you are embarrassed to such an extent that you are creating false batting scores.

                At least it appears your vocabulary has increased in size and you are saying more than ‘yup’ or ‘no’.

                1. And when is your rhetoric going to come fruition, Allen?

                  Again, and again, you claim the high road is all you travel; that your argumentation is superb, unyielding in its conclusions.

                  Yet, every time I read this blog this claim of yours quickly transgresses into the gutter of insults, no data, and the arrogance of not considering arguments offered.

                  Your much like PCS in this fashion – you mistake your quantity of blithering and backslapping comments as valid contributions that rises above all the dreck you so easily participate in.

                  1. WWAS – and here I was hoping you would move the conversation forward. Instead, we get ad hominems. Tsk, tsk. Are you incapable of an intelligent conversation?

                    1. Perspectives of “moving forward” here seem to be one of agreement combined with a piling on of any variances.

                      You are the most prolific progenitor of this current vogue, given that your copious comments contain little substance. You are guilty of your own dissension.

                    2. WWAS – now that is an attempt at a discussion. We can use that as a starting point.

                      Each of my responses depends on what and whom I am responding to. Is it straight-forward, humorous, sarcastic, pedantic, contrarian, etc. Am I trying to provoke a particular response from the individual or group? Am I joking with someone? Am I carrying on an extended discussion with someone? Am I trying to needle someone? Each comment takes a particular style. And I use each style every day, some better than others.

                      So, what about your responses? To me, they seem mean-spirited. Is that your intent? Are you a s**t-stirrer? What do you see as your purpose on this blog?

                    3. You weren’t hoping that at all, PCS.

                      Your trivial and self-serving comments are far past their prime.

                    4. “I was hoping you would move the conversation forward. ”

                      Paul, that doesn’t seem to be something a backward person can easily do.

                  2. Field Marshall Natacha has sent us a champion in Capt. WWAS. Thank you, fearless leader.

                  3. WWAS are you in bed crying again? Having difficulty posting things of substance on the blog? Wetting your bed? Try thinking for a change and comment on the news rather than just on anonymous people. Alternatively, comment on where you think they are mistaken. Too difficult for you? At least say something funny. You are a bore.

                    1. Allan said, “WWAS are you in bed crying again?”

                      Now hear this, Allan, you trouper in a menstrual show:

                      Get the tampons out your ears and put them in your mouth where they belong.

                    2. Diane – if you think tampons belong in the mouth your mother did a poor job of teaching you personal hygiene.

                    3. “Get the tampons out your ears”

                      Nothing in my ears and my mouth seems to be a lot better than yours. Tampons? You don’t have a need for them any longer. Try Depends.

  15. Jon: in regard to bias, the adage “takes one to know one” certainly applies to you. You want to talk about bias? What about your own breathless endorsement of the fat mental patient occupying the White House? What about ignoring fatso’s lack of accomplishments, the musical chairs in his so-called administration, one scandal after another, the constant pivoting to harp on Hillary Clinton, endless examples of lack of character and integrity? Now, just like fatso, you’re going to go after anyone and everyone who criticizes your favorite judge.

    1. Natacha, everyone knows you’re a head case. We don’t need daily reminders. The topic of the post is Nina Totenberg’s remarks.

        1. Natacha – you see anywhere where it says JT has to be neutral? You aren’t, why should he?

          1. It’s the pot calling the kettle black. Jon overlooks the extreme incompetence of fatso, including his nomination of radical conservative Gorsuch, and then criticizes Nina Totenberg for calling out Gorsuch for his arrogance and lack of neutrality.

            1. Um, maybe because Totenberg is pretending to be a reporter and trading in cock-and-bull?

            2. Natacha – so, you fat shame the President, but not Hillary? or Bill? or Valerie? or de Blasio? Have you no shame?

              1. “Natacha – so, you fat shame the President, but not Hillary? or Bill? or Valerie? or de Blasio? Have you no shame?”

                She has no mind.

                  1. “When Natacha says Trump is fat, she’s referring to his orange head.”

                    Then neither of you have a good grasp of the English language.

                    1. Clearly they have a good grasp of the English language, what they lack is the virtue necessary for civil discourse.

                    2. Olly pretentiousness and scattered ideas IMO might mean a person is fluent in the English language but isn’t what I would call a good grasp of the English language. Language is used to communicate and that type of language diminishes the ability to communicate.

                      But, your idea “what they lack is the virtue necessary for civil discourse.” is even more important and very much on target. Thanks.

                    3. There’s always the option to just ignore the comments you find lacking. Otherwise it’s like correcting other people’s children. You’ll likely not succeed where their parents have failed.

                    4. Olly, recreation takes many forms. I am semi-retired and have no needs what so ever and haven’t had any for a long time. I thought it would be interesting to delve into some of the different lives on this blog. Believe it or not one can learn a lot from the stupidity of others.

      1. Says the real “head case.” And here on this particular blog? “Daily reminders” are okay whether you like it or not. And commenters are free to post pretty much what they want.

        AroundandAround may want to dictate, but guess what? It’s not her (his) blog.

        1. Elaine fancies someone’s a ‘head case’ for the unpardonable offense of pointing out that Elaine’s a verbose and abrasive nuisance. You’re retired, woman, and there’s a limit to which those past elementary school age can be rolled by your rubbish.

          1. Said by the ideologue with an agenda, while spinning is circles…

            I guess you’d better get in touch with Elaine, old SOT…, because you seem to have an obsession with someone I’m not.

      2. AAWG, Natacha refuses to “normalize” Trump. Natacha refuses to allow the rest of us to become “desensitized” to the ongoing obscenity that is Trump. Natacha is right to challenge our acquiescence to Trump’s strategy of exhausting the patience of the American people.

        Daily reminders of Trump’s indecency from Natacha are exactly what we need. Those who have already lost the ability to see how abnormally obscene and indecent Trump is are the true head cases.

        1. Late4D,…
          I don’t think you recognize that people become “desensitized” when the same, tired, parrot-like prose appears again and again.
          I did give her credit for using a “new” word, “Dotard”, and she’s already managed to run that into the ground by using it again and again and again.
          With minor modifications, it is the same ineffective rants over and over again.
          Guess it’s also important that she made the unsubstantiated claim that the NY Times has kept a running tally of Trump’s lies that average 5 per day.
          “Preaching to the choir” with mindless, obsessive repitition and phony claims about the “NY Times/ 5 lies per
          day tally” are ineffective and foolish ways to present the anti-Trump message.

  16. Late4:
    ” I am not sure he’s as tough—or dare I say it, maybe not as smart. I always thought he was very smart, but he has a tin ear somehow, and he doesn’t seem to bring anything new to the conversation.”


    Classic ad hominem: Don’t believe Gorsuch because his opponent is smarter and listens better.

    1. Mespo, Totenburg’s comments on Gorsuch are clearly arguments against the speaker. But the arguments that Gorsuch has made were not entered into evidence on Turley’s OP. Consequently, the irrelevancy of Totenburg’s commentary to Gorsuch’s arguments has not yet been established. It can only be “imagined.” Which Turley invited us to do, while claiming that it would not be difficult to so imagine.

      I think Turley objects to Totenburg analyzing SCOTUS in the manner of a sportscaster commenting on a sporting contest. I further suspect that Turley, who is also a legal analyst and a court watcher, is pursuing a professional rivalry with Totenburg.

      Why else would Turley have us imagine the response to a male legal analyst saying that Gorsuch might be tougher and smarter than Kagan? Turley didn’t want to make his response to Totenburg explicitly ad hominem. Because Turley wanted to reserve the option of accusing Totenburg of an argumentum ad hominem. Turley is being coy. And he expects his female rival to follow suit.

      1. “is pursuing a professional rivalry with Totenburg.”

        The latter, Totenburg, has a mediocre biased mind. Turley is exceptionally bright. There is no comparison between the two. Totenburg is good at pressing the right keys for her audience. That is it. Turley, on the other hand, is a true analyst who is logical whether one agrees with his position or not.

  17. I agree with Totenburg. Gorsuch appears to me to be the most conservative justice ever to serve on the Court. Watching all of his confirmation hearing I sensed he was straining to go out of his way to conceal his many extreme right-wing views, save one slip when he smirkingly criticized trial lawyers and then quickly changed the subject in the hope he hadn’t opened a door to tuned in questions. After taking his seat on the bench his first vote was to deny a stay of execution of a man who was likely innocent of the crime. During the term, Chief Justice Roberts boxed his ears publicly on one occasion during oral argument, and Notorious RBG acutely called him for his obtuse lecturing on the Gerrymandering case with one question (“Where did ‘one person, one vote’ come from?) as he blathered on, dominating the questioning in a transparent attempt to substitute quantity for quality. On the last day of the June calendar, he (and only he) voted 5 times with Justice Thomas. After reading many of his 10th Circuit opinions during the confirmation process I was repulsed by his turgid and pandering writing style; attempting perhaps to imitate Scalia but never coming close. We are in for decades of ponderously atrocious opinions from Gorsuch as he will go down in history as the Roger Taney of our time. Shame on you Jonathan for your full-throated endorsement of Gorsuch and your Jeremiad against Nina Totenburg.

    1. “Extreme right-wing views’ is code for a refusal to impose progtrash public policy through the judicial ukase.

      Suck it up. You lost that one. And you deserve to lose all of them.

    2. as he blathered on, dominating the questioning in a transparent attempt to substitute quantity for quality.

      I irony is strong with this one. Thanks for the lengthy post and full-throated prognostication. 😉

    3. padlegal – we all know that you are a ‘card carrying liberal’ do we have any reason to doubt why you would detach your lips from Totenberg’s backside long-enough to attack someone whose robes you will never fill?

  18. How does Turley find a disconcerting argumentum ad hominem in the following Totenberg quotation he cited:

    “My surmise, from what I’m hearing, is that Justice Kagan really has taken [Gorsuch] on in conference. And that it’s a pretty tough battle and it’s going to get tougher. And she is about as tough as they come, and I am not sure he’s as tough—or dare I say it, maybe not as smart. I always thought he was very smart, but he has a tin ear somehow, and he doesn’t seem to bring anything new to the conversation.”

    If the argumentum ad hominem is an argument against the speaker that is irrelevant to the argument that that speaker made, then what argument did Gorsuch make to which Totenberg’s argument against Gorsuch would be irrelevant? Did Totenberg make any other arguments that might have been relevant to any arguments that Gorsuch made?

    Without answers to those questions about issues in cases before the court, Turley provides us little basis for finding Totenberg’s argument against Gorsuch to be a disconcerting argumentum ad hominem rather than something more like sports commentary applied to the Supreme Court. Perhaps that’s what’s got Turley so disconcerted. He would prefer Totenberg to be better than a sports commentator.

    1. Late4:
      ” I am not sure he’s as tough—or dare I say it, maybe not as smart. I always thought he was very smart, but he has a tin ear somehow, and he doesn’t seem to bring anything new to the conversation.”


      Classic ad hominem: Don’t believe Gorsuch because his opponent is smarter and listens better.

        1. Allan, the confused and disjointed statement to which you object defined the argumentum ad hominem. It’s a fallacy of relevance that finds fault with a speaker rather than finding fault with the issues raised in the speakers argument. The attributes of the speaker are irrelevant to the issues in the speakers argument.

          As such, you’ve just committed an instance of said fallacy. Moreover, you’ve done so most likely because of the impatience of your reading habits. You’re too easily frustrated with sentences that you not immediately grasp. You call them disjointed and confused because you’re unwilling to put much effort into reading.

          Meanwhile, Mespo interprets Totenburg’s comment on Gorsuch as stating “Don’t believe Gorsuch . . .” About what? Anything? Go back and read Turley’s OP on this thread and see if you can find anything in Totenburg’s comments even remotely like “Don’t believe Gorsuch about anything.” Had Totenburg said anything like that, then it would’ve been a classic argumentum ad hominem as Mespo claims.

          So show me, Allan, a clear statement from Totenburg of the classic type at issue.

          1. Diane, your writing is very pretentious. Look at how clear and accurately mespo writes. He doesn’t try to impress and thereby is impressive while you are just confused and disjointed. Simplicity is part of the art of a good writer though descriptive writers prolong the idea with well-placed descriptors of events and people. You do none of that while you reach for concepts where you have no understanding.

            1. Stop avoiding the simple and clear question, Allan.

              Did Totenburg say, “Don’t believe Gorsuch about anything.”

              Yes or no.

              1. Diane, your writing is very pretentious. Look at how clear and accurately mespo writes. He doesn’t try to impress and thereby is impressive while you are just confused and disjointed.

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