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The Sophistry of Judge Coughenour’s Soliloquy, and Eliot not-Ness’s “Investigation” into Air America.

Monday, August 8, 2005  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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Earlier today I used the word sophistry to describe the divestment rhetoric of the Presbyterian Church USA. The same description applies to Seattle Federal District Court Judge Coughenour’s sentencing statement of the so-called Millenium Bomber, who entered the United States in December, 1999 with the intention of blowing up LAX and murdering a large number of American men, women and children. Judge Coughenour’s windy rhetoric –which was really a lovce letter to himself stamped c/o ACLU– comes under the withering gaze of University of Chicago Law School professors Eric Posner and Adrian Vermeule in today’s Washington Post. Key graphs:

[C]liches about terrorism are familiar from debates among commentators and politicians. What is new and surprising is their citation by judges as self-evident truths. Judges do badly when they appeal to speculative causal theories about terrorism or to the romantic ideals of civil libertarianism. Both are incompatible with the kind of balancing that is so much a part of the judicial function. That ideals have a tendency to explode on the rock of fact was spectacularly demonstrated in Britain, where terrorist carnage occurred just a few months after the detainees in Lord Hoffman’s case were released under legal compulsion. It is too soon to tell whether there was a causal connection between the two events, but Lord Hoffman’s casual dismissal of the threat to citizens’ lives now appears grotesque.

The day before Coughenour’s soliloquy, Prime Minister Tony Blair said that he doubted whether statements such as Lord Hoffman’s “would be uttered now.” Perhaps that’s true in England, but it seems that American judges have yet to learn the lesson.

HT: Instapundit, who, though on vacation, sent me a link to the professors’ essay.

Radio Equalizer keeps the focus on Air America. Perhaps by the time I get back, some voice in MSM will have noticed the Would-be Radio Emperor’s new clothes. More at Michelle Malkin, including the word that Eliot Spitzer has opened a file on Gloria Wise’s Board.

This is interesting, as Spitzer’s staff must know the peril into which a botched investigation into Air America’s start-up funding will throw their boss. The Wise Board are the small fish do-gooders who got hood-winked by the fast-talking Air America start-up con. Obviously if Air America needed the funny money from the kids’, there’s a reasonable suspicion that more was needed from other funny sources. If Eliot’s team looks the other way but there is corruption within Air America –Air Enron style corruption as Michelle has branded it– the damage to Eliot not-Ness’s reputation will be profound.

A previously reputable blogger –who kept company with other blogs in good standing such as Hedgehog and Okie (also working on Air America)— has been corrupted by contact with the Fraters gang. If he does not shape up, he will be left behind in Moscow, along with the USC alums.

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