Category Archives: Ethics Quotes

Unethical Quote of the Month: Justice Antonin Scalia

Scalia

“If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,’ I would hide my head in a bag. The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.”

——U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia, excoriating his colleague, Justice Kennedy, who was the fifth vote in the majority of SCOTUS’s ruling today,  authored by Kennedy,  that same-sex marriage was a Constitutional right  no state could deny. Scalia filed an angry and intemperate dissent, low-lighted by this comment in a footnote.

Wrote Prof. Stephen Gillers, legal ethicist:

“How after this can Kennedy work with him?  Scalia has himself “descended” from the manner of argument found  in  opinions of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the invective and mockery of the Internet. Lawyers have been chastised for less derisive comments in briefs. Yet here we have it from our Supreme Court.  Scalia sets a bad example that will harm civility in lower courts and at the bar.”

Exactly.

The rest of Scalia’s dissent is hardly more restrained, either.

You can read the opinion and dissents in Obergefell v. Hodges here.

UPDATE: Here’s a screenshot of another selection, courtesy of Slate:

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Arguing with the majority’s wisdom and legal analysis is one thing, mocking a Justice’s writing style is quite another—unprofessional, uncollegial and below-the belt. Yes, Nino is a much better writer than Kennedy, but belittling his efforts shows neither proper judicial temperament nor appropriate respect for the Court itself. Some commenters excuse this because they disagree with the ruling: Irrelevant. Check your rationalizations, especially #2. The “They’re Just as Bad” Excuse, or “They had it coming.”

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Etiquette and manners, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions

Unethical Quote Of The Month: Walmart CEO Doug McMillon

White-Flag“We don’t want any of the merchandise that we sell to be offensive”

—-Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, explaining to FOX Business Network host Maria Bartiromo why the retail chain was pulling all Confederate flag-themed merchandise. In another interview, with CNN Money, McMillon said that “We just don’t want to sell products that make anyone uncomfortable.” The Walmart announcement tarted a stampede of many large retailers to dump the flags and items with the flag design.

And thus did the CEO of a major U.S. corporation wholeheartedly endorse the speech- and thought-suppressing ideology of political correctness bullies, “hate speech” censors, and progressive fascists.

This widespread capitulation to a wildly irrational reaction to a single tragedy authored by a single individual is, for Democrats and race-baiters, a masterpiece of cognitive dissonance manipulation, one that should be a terrific case study in future psychology classes.

Because Dylann Roof was photographed with a Confederate flag, and because his racist church massacre occurred in a state that has obnoxiously and irresponsibly insisted on flying that flag despite its legitimately offensive connotations to many of its citizens, the flag was linked to the murders so viscerally that to defend its display was regarded by the news media, pundits, bloggers and, consequently, public opinion, as tantamount to supporting the killer. Naturally, politicians and businesses ran for cover, and whatever their previous stances on the issue, instantly flip-flopped to declare the Confederate flags the equivalent of Nazi swastikas.

Well-played, speech police. I am in awe. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Ethics Train Wrecks, History, Marketing and Advertising, Rights, U.S. Society

Unethical Quote Of The Day: Hillary Clinton

“We have to have a candid national conversation about race and about discrimination, prejudice, hatred. But unfortunately the public discourse is sometimes hotter and more negative than it should be, which can, in my opinion, trigger people who are less than stable. For example, a recent entry into the Republican presidential campaign said some very inflammatory things about Mexicans. Everybody should stand up and say that’s not acceptable. You don’t talk like that on talk radio. You don’t talk like that on the kind of political campaigns. I think he is emblematic. I want people to understand it’s not about him, it’s about everybody.”

—Democratic Presidential Anointee Hillary Clinton, in an interview with KNPB’s Jon Ralston, discussing the Charleston church shooting of nine African-American worshipers

Note that this is just the unethical quote of the day, rather than week or month, and to be fair, it probably wasn’t even the most unethical quote of the day on this particular topic. Later today I hope to announce the top ten most unethical public statements on the Charleston tragedy (so far), and it is not certain that Hillary’s comment will even make the list.

It’s that bad out there.

I wonder if anyone in the Democratic Party is at all concerned that Clinton is apparently incapable of speaking without a script and avoiding saying absurd and outrageous things? Or do Democrats not recognize that they are outrageous? Which is more disturbing, that they seem ready to hand the most powerful job on earth to this awful, addled, corrupt woman knowing how terrible her judgment and political skills are, or that they can’t tell how terrible they are?

Or that there isn’t a single qualified individual in the entire party that they think is far superior? Or two? Or a hundred?

Well, like wading through day old garbage, let’s analyze this mess. Yuck:

1. To suggest that Donald Trump’s crude statements about illegal immigrants (which was, you know, literally accurate, just needlessly offensive) did have, could have had or is “emblematic” of rhetoric that might have “triggered” Dylann Roof’s act is slimy, gutter level politics at its worst. Clinton implicates Republicans in a murder by linking the party to a self-promoting fraud who is not a serious candidate. Nice.

2. She doesn’t have the guts or fairness to name the man she is sliming (the host asked her to). Who campaigns like that? “I’m not going to name names, but a certain Republican who just entered the race and said this...”  Feminists should throw up: this is girly campaigning…for 7th grade class president.

3. Does Hillary not recall that the Democrats and various pundits thoroughly disgraced themselves by accusing Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin of “triggering” the Tuscon shooting that wounded Rep. Giffords, in a flagrant effort to shut down the speech of political opponents and tie them to the act of a madman? Or did she approve of that miserable, censorious tactic? Presumably it is the latter, because this statement exemplifies the same foolish, dishonest lack of ethics.

4. Hillary begins by saying that we need to have a candid conversation, and then goes on to condemn Trump for being candid. Trump has nothing to recommend in his character or leadership ability whatsoever, but candor is not a quality he lacks. Clinton can’t  maintain honesty and integrity in the span of one short statement in an interview! How can there be candor on race, if  everyone should stand up and say that candor is not acceptable? Hillary’s version of candor is “candor that doesn’t disagree with what my party has declared as acceptable speech and belief.”

Perhaps worst of all, Clinton made a victim out of Donald Trump, and allowed him to say in response, “politicians are just no good.” This is as close to correct as Trump will be in his entire life, except that Hillary Clinton makes other politicians look good by comparison.

 

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Filed under Character, Ethics Quotes, Government & Politics, Race

Ethics Quote Of The Week: The Sunlight Foundation

We will honor Twitter’s latest decision, but it stands at odds with a fundamental understanding of our democracy. A member of Congress does not and should not have the same expectation of privacy as a private citizen. Power can only be accountable with a generous application of transparency.

—The Sunlight Foundation, announcing the demise of its service Politwoops, a site that tracked and preserved tweets deleted by hundreds of politicians.

Maybe a better logo would have helped...

Maybe a better logo would have helped…

Twitter, without explanation, changed its stance on Politwoops, which allowed the public to see tweets that politicians, upon reflection, decided that they didn’t want the news media, constituents or opponents to see.

Says the Sunlight Foundation:

What our elected officials say is a matter of public record, and Twitter is an increasingly important part of how our elected officials communicate with the public. This kind of dialogue between we the people and those who represent us is an important part of any democratic system. And even in the case of deleted tweets, it’s also a public part — these tweets are live and viewable by anyone on Twitter.com and other platforms for at least some amount of time….Politwoops was created because public communications from public officials should be available to anyone who wants to see them. The site isn’t just about blunders, but rather revealing a more intimate perspective on our politicians and how they communicate with their constituents. It has created a unique lens to reveal how the messages from elected officials can change without notice or explanation — because Politwoops did not allow for such reversal of messaging to quietly be swept under the rug.

But Twitter is a private business, and can make whatever policies it wants.

I wonder who got to them…

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Citizenship, Ethics Quotes, Government & Politics, Public Service, The Internet

Unethical Quote Of The Week: Law Professor Orin Kerr

“If I understand the history correctly, in the late 1990s, the President was impeached for lying about a sexual affair by a House of Representatives led by a man who was also then hiding a sexual affair, who was supposed to be replaced by another Congressman who stepped down when forced to reveal that he too was having a sexual affair, which led to the election of a new Speaker of the House who now has been indicted for lying about payments covering up his sexual contact with a boy. Yikes.”

Prof. Orin Kerr on The Volokh Conspiracy.

Hatert as coachI thought more highly of Prof. Kerr, who belongs to the left end of the group of provocative libertarian legal scholars who make up the commentariat on the erudite blog, recently annexed by the Washington Post, than to believe him capable of abusing his authority with this kind of hackery. He is endorsing  the deceitful “logic” of Hustler publisher Larry Flynt.

Well no, Professor, I guess you don’t understand history properly, or government, or ethics for that matter. Clinton was not impeached for lying about a sexual affair, though that was the tactical spin placed on the impeachment by Clinton’s defenders.

Bill Clinton  was impeached for lying about a sexual affair under oath, before a judge, in court, an act that would get you, as well as any other lawyer, disbarred. If you don’t obey the law enough to be a lawyer, you don’t respect the law enough to be trusted to defend the laws of the land as President of the United States. He was also impeached for lying to a grand jury, another crime, and using his high office, his appointees and his staff to cover up his lies, which is obstruction of justice.

He was also impeached because he was President of the United States, the role model and exemplar for good citizenship, lawfulness and good behavior for the entire nation, and because the relationship in question occurred during his tenure in office, during the working day, and  with a low-level employee in violation of the principles under lying the sexual harassment law he had signed into law himself.

None of this was true of Newt Gingrich, Bob Livingston, and Dennis Hastert, the three GOP Speakers Kerr is referring to. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Professions, Romance and Relationships, Unethical Blog Post, Workplace

Unethical Quote Of The Month: The White House, a.k.a. President Obama

“Today, two judges of the Fifth Circuit chose to misrepresent the facts and the law. The president’s actions were designed to bring greater accountability to our broken immigration system, grow the economy and keep our communities safe. They are squarely within the bounds of his authority, and they are the right thing to do for the country.”

—-White House spokeswoman, Brandi Hoffine, relaying the White House’s response to the Fifth Circuit’s refusal to lift the injunction blocking President Obama’s dubious plan to defer deportations for millions of undocumented immigrants, using executive order rather than legislation.

The bottomless pit of miserable White House tactics...

The bottomless pit of miserable White House tactics…

There appear to be no depths of unethical rhetoric to which the Obama White House is not willing to stoop for political gain.

The wording of the White House statement is unethical: despicable, irresponsible, and offensive to the judicial system, as well as beneath the dignity of the Presidency.

Well, of most Presidencies, anyway.

The President is free, of course, to disagree with a court decision, and may say so. To imply, however, that the two judges who formed the majority in this ruling did not make their decision fairly and legitimately, but rather “chose” to misrepresent facts and law—essentially accusing them of dishonesty, is unethical to the bone. There is even an ABA Rule of Professional Conduct prohibiting such a comment as undermining “public confidence in the administration of justice.” The President is not only a lawyer, but a former law professor. He should be ashamed of himself, and we should be ashamed of him. Lawyers have been suspended for making similar statements, and he is President of the United States, whose statements are infinitely more harmful. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership

Unethical Quote Of The Month: William Spencer Reilly, Executive Director of the Sheen Center

This was Bishopr Sheen, after whom the Sheen Center is named. Having spent a lot of time watching and listening to Sheen, I am fairly certain that he would not concur with the Sheen Center's decision. Why? Because, among  other reasons, he was a lot smarter than that.

This was Bishop Sheen, after whom the Sheen Center is named. Having spent a lot of time watching and listening to Sheen, I am fairly certain that he would not concur with the Sheen Center’s decision. Why? Because, among other reasons, he was a lot smarter than that.

“When an artistic project maligns any faith group, that project clearly falls outside of our mission to highlight the good, the true, and the beautiful as they have been expressed throughout the ages.”

William Spencer Reilly, the executive director of Manhattan’s Sheen Center,  in an email announcing that it was cancelling an anti-censorship benefit event at its theater because the organizers refused to allow the Center to change a play’s title and redact the content of some speakers’ remarks.

Yes, a theater found an anti-censorship event unacceptable because it refused to submit to censorship.

Ethics Dunce is too kind for Mr. Reilly, though I suspect he is more likely a traitor to his art and profession because he wants to keep his job. He is, however, a strong candidate for Hypocrite of the Decade. He rents out the Center for a theatrical project to condemn censorship, and then attempts to censor the event.

Cowabunga.

There were two ethical courses open to him: either refuse to rent the space to the event, or rent the space, knowing its purpose, and leave the event alone. What he did instead was ludicrous, and indefensible.”The management of The Sheen Center actually suggested that we alter the title of Neil LaBute’s play, and alter the content of some of our panelist’s speeches,” said the artistic curator of “Playwrights for a Cause.” “Which we find completely out of line with the anti-censorship mission of the benefit.”

Ya think? Yes, I’d say that is res ipsa loquitur. Also indefensible was Reilly’s tortured interpretation of the Sheen Center Mission Statement, which is, admittedly, a pompous mess:

“The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture is a forum to highlight the true, the good, and the beautiful as they have been expressed throughout the ages. Cognizant of our creation in the image and likeness of God, the Sheen Center aspires to present the heights and depths of human expression in thought and culture, featuring humankind as fully alive. At the Sheen Center, we proclaim that life is worth living, especially when we seek to deepen, explore, challenge, and stimulate ourselves, Catholic* and non-Catholic alike, intellectually, artistically, and spiritually.”

Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes