Saturday, April 14, 2007

"Federalist Society" as Epithet

Jonah Gelbach has a nice post on PrawfsBlawg about liberals' use of "Federalist Society" as epithet.

I want to go on record against the use of "Federalist Society member (FSM)" as an epithet by certain liberal blogs. For example, in this post and this one as well, the Center for American Progress blog ThinkProgress has made it sound as if being a FSM is itself some sort of terrible thing. They and others have also suggested that it's some sort of big deal to find that the DOJ made it a point to track FSM status of potential USAs.

There are plenty of FSMs with whom I disagree. There are some who I think are dishonorable and hypocritical. But both those statements also apply to plenty of liberals, both lawyers and otherwise.

More generally, so what if the DOJ and the WH in general look for FSMs to fill USA and other posts? Every administration seeks out politically likeminded folks to fill these jobs. That isn't and never has been the issue with fire-them-all-and-lie-about-why-gate.

It's hard for me to imagine that the same bloggers will see something wrong with the choice by President Obama/Edwards/(I-sure-hope-it's-not)Clinton to use, say, ACS membership as a good way to tell whether they've found someone with similar legal views.

Of course, some of this may be driven by the odd unwillingness of the WH to make the argument I just made. (And I can't help but remember John Roberts's strangely uncomfortable relationship to his FS history, whatever said history was, during the time surrounding his confirmation hearings. I do not, btw, think that Roberts's odd behavior can be explained by some fear that the GOP-held Senate would reject him on that basis--particularly given the Senate's history of confirming plenty of FSMs over the years.)

Anyway, I sure wish liberals would stop already with the ad hominem stuff. It's not like there's a shortage of substantively damaging information about this administration's brand of Justice.

Gelbach is right about the ad hominem attacks. What he doesn't say is that liberals don't know how to argue without it.