Category Archives: Unethical Blog Post

From The “I Told You So” Files: Judge Kopf Finally Decides To “STFU”

There go de judge!

There go de judge!

Last year, I wrote a post about the intemperate blogging of Judge Richard G. Kopf, a senior district court judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska. Actually intemperate doesn’t quite describe it: in his criticism of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case (the Ethics Alarms discussion is here) he wrote, “As the kids say, it is time for the Court to stfu” and linked to the Urban Dictionary so his less cool readers would take his meaning. I wrote:

That he did this on his blog, Hercules and the Umpire, doesn’t matter. It was in print, in public, and he’s a Federal judge. The obscenity came in the context of Judge Kopf’s criticism of the recent Hobby Lobby decision, but the context doesn’t matter either. There is no context in which it would be appropriate, judicial and ethical for a member of the judiciary to tell the Supreme Court of the United States to shut the fuck up. Nor does it matter that he used the texting code stfu rather than spelling out the words.

For a Federal judge to be openly disrespectful, uncivil and abusive to the top of the nation’s judicial branch is an assault on the rule of law, and undermines public respect for our institutions…. If the objective is to speed a complete breakdown in public respect for our institutions, divisive partisans like Kopf  and Wilson are doing a bang-up job. Neither they, nor you, nor I will like where this will lead if our leaders and officials don’t come to their senses.

This post, of all posts (I don’t think my position is rationally assailable, frankly) managed to get three commenters banned from the blog, essentially by 1) arguing that the Roberts Court doesn’t deserve the usual respect due to any court, and 2) telling me to “stfu.”  All were Judge Kopf acolytes who weren’t going to stay here to contribute anything positive, just uncivil, arrogant progressive lawyers who the judge-blogger had trained well.

Last month, a year after his obscene riff on SCOTUS, Kopf slipped again, writing that  “Senator Ted Cruz is not fit to be President.” The post wasn’t obscene; in fact it was  funny: Kopf, who had a year earlier condemned the Supreme Court for bias, argued that Cruz was not fit to be President because…

“Any rational person understands that we must accept decisions we like and decisions we don’t like when we ask the highest Court in the land to decide difficult hot button questions for an entire country. Judicial retention elections are fine for Nebraska and all the other states that have developed unique and parochial histories and traditions. However, we are talking about a federal Constitution–one that protects and covers 320 million people from Maine to Hawaii. Given the fractious divisions in our country that exist now (and many times in the past) and the obvious geographical fissures among the states (Red State/Blue State), judicial retention elections, fueled by whether a majority likes or dislikes particular Supreme Court rulings at a given point in time, is a formula for chaos and for further dividing our country into factions, a well placed fear held by the Founders.”

Wait…who is this guy? Surely he bears no relation to the sneering, potty-mouthed anti-Supreme Court critic I wrote about the last time? Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Unethical Blog Post

Ethics Hero: F.I.R.E…Again.

FIREOnce again, the indispensable Foundation for Individual Rights in Education stopped a private university from crushing a student for the imaginary offense of expressing opinions on-line that others find offensive.

Texas Christian University disciplined Harry Vincent, a 19-year-old sophomore, after he posted harsh comments on Twitter about ISIS, illegal immigrants and the Freddie Gray rioting in Baltimore. After a complaint from a Maryland Twitter user named Kelsey, who, having failed to win her online argument with Vincent decided to get him kicked out of school for daring to disagree with her, TCU declared that Vincent had violated the Student Code of Conduct prohibiting the ‘infliction of bodily or emotional harm’ and ‘disorderly conduct,’ neither of which fairly described  his intemperate but entirely personal social media declarations.

The student was suspended from all extracurricular activities for one year, and could no longer live on campus or use non-academic facilities, such as the cafeteria and recreational center.  First, however, the school compelled him to apologize for daring to cast aspersions on terrorists, rioters and illegal immigrants. He was also told to see a psychiatrist, because if you are politically incorrect in 21st Century America, you must be mad.
Continue reading


Filed under Education, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Heroes, Government & Politics, Rights, The Internet, Unethical Blog Post

Wait, Should I Change The Name Of “The Niggardly Principles” To “The Pachycephalosaurus Principles”?


Are P.C. crazies attacking “Jurassic World” for using for the supposedly racist term “packies” in the film? Don’t these fools realize that their argument is even dumber than that of the illiterate clods who briefly got a D.C. government worker disciplined for using the word “niggardly” in a meeting?

Well, no, despite what you may have heard, nobody in the U.S. is that far gone. That hasn’t stopped conservative anti-P,C. warriors from falsely claiming otherwise, though.

“Packie” is a nickname used in the fictional dinosaur park for the Pachycephalosaurus, a dome-skulled creature that was also featured in “The Lost World,” the second “Jurassic Park” sequel. Exactly what else would you call them? Even by the standard of dinosaur names, this is a tough one, and a short, easily pronounceable monicker is both necessary and potentially life-saving. By the time someone has spit out, “Look out! There’s a charging Pachycephalosaurus coming right for you!,” you are mashed, believe me. What’s the alternative, “Phaloses”?  That has its own problems “Pachies” is the obvious and reasonable choice.

Yet because an escape of  these prehistoric things from their enclosures in the theme park causes  one character to shout, “The Packies are out of containment!,” Twitter users, commentators, political correctness fascists and insane people are seriously accusing the film of being “racist” in Great Britain, where “packie” is a racial slur for something or other: I really don’t care. It has nothing to do with the Pachycephalosaurus, dinosaurs, or “Jurassic World.”  Thus the Independent, echoing many Brits on social media, called the line “very racist.” That’s moronic, of course. Continue reading


Filed under Around the World, Arts & Entertainment, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Race, Social Media, The Internet, Unethical Blog Post

Ethics Dunce: Above The Law

Wait, you mean Above the Law ISN'T The News Nerd? Could have fooled me.

Wait, you mean Above the Law ISN’T The News Nerd? Could have fooled me.

The legal gossip and commentary blog “Above the Law” is a useful source of inside-baseball stories about the machinations and peccadilloes  of law firms, lawyers, judges and law students, and occasional hard news of special interest to lawyers. Today it sported an intriguing headline:

Samuel Alito Gets A Supreme Benchslap

…which was filed under the categories of Justice Alito, The Supreme Court, and benchslaps. The latter is legal jargon for a reprimand from a judge. The Supreme Court reprimanding one of its own justices is big news, and unprecedented. Like many others, I clicked on the link, and read a jaw-dropping, insulting rebuke of Justice Alito by Chief Justice Roberts, banishing him to  “to a minor appellate jurisdiction” until he writes ” a few decisions in some lower-pressure situations” and is ready to return.

The post explained at the end of the quote that Justice Alito had been temporarily removed from the Supreme Court and appointed to the Eleventh Circuit, and that, according to reports, Alito will be replaced by Judge Ricardo Gonzalez of the District of Puerto Rico.

Then Above the Law’s writer, Staci Zaretski, revealed that…

(This quote comes from The Onion, a satirical news site, but that in no way takes away from the overall awesomeness of imagining a Supreme Court justice being demoted as a form of spanking.)

Ah. So you just wasted my time, then.

I had begun to suspect that the Roberts quote was fake, both for its use of the neckname “Sammie” for one of his brethren, and also because it sounded so much like a manager’s explanation for why a player was being sent to the minors. Nevertheless, posting a fake story, announced with a plausible headline, is unprofessional and unfair to ABL readers: Continue reading


Filed under Ethics Dunces, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Unethical Blog Post

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


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

No, Craig, Barry Bonds Wasn’t A “Great” Baseball Player. Bernie Madoff Wasn’t A “Great” Investment Manager, Either

Christy Mathewson, a genuine hero. Barry Bonds would have made him want to throw up.

Christy Mathewson, a genuine hero. Barry Bonds would have made him want to throw up.

I like and admire Craig Calcaterra, who blogs entertainingly and perceptively about baseball on the NBC Sports website. I suppose I’m a bit jealous of him too: he’s a lawyer who now earns his living blogging about something he loves.

But Craig has always been a bit confused about how to regard baseball’s steroid cheats (they are cheats, which should answer any questions, but somehow doesn’t for a lot of people), and predictably, I suppose, he couldn’t resist reacting to the early results of Major League Baseball’s “Franchise Four” promotion, in which fans vote (until mid-May) for “the most impactful players who best represent each Major League franchise” as well as some other categories, including “Four Greatest Living Players.” The early results have Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax and Tom Seaver leading in the “Greatest Living Players” category, so Craig snarked that this is sad, because “it must mean Barry Bonds has died in a tragic cycling and/or Google Glass accident and no one thought to tell me.”

No, Craig, this is what someone failed to tell you: cheaters in any profession are not “great” by definition. Great baseball players, like great lawyers, writers, doctors, scientists and Presidents, bring honor on their profession, don’t corrupt everyone around them, don’t force people who admire them to embrace unethical conduct and turn them into aiders and abetters, and accomplish their great achievements while obeying the law, following the rules, and serving as role models for everyone who follows them. Barry Bonds was not a great baseball player. He had the ability to be one, but not the character.

Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax and Tom Seaver never once disgraced their game while they wore a uniform, and indeed made baseball stronger and better while they played. Good choices all.

The disgrace is that San Francisco fans voted Bonds as one of that team’s “Franchise Four,” and dishonoring great Giants of the past like Juan Marichal, as well as New York Giants greats like Christy Mathewson, Bill Terry, Carl Hubbell, and Mel Ott, Hall of Famers  and lifetime Giants who played with honesty and sportsmanship. But Giants’ fans warped values are among the casualties of Bonds’ career…and one more reason he can’t be rated anything but a great villain.


Filed under Character, Ethics Dunces, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Sports, Unethical Blog Post, Workplace

The “Non-Violent Protest” Lie


The leaders and participants in the protests related to incidents of excessive police force and violence—real, imagined, manufactured or equivocal—are creating an environment of racial distrust, fear and hate that cannot avoid  resulting in violence. Yet astoundingly, they not only deny the natural consequences of their words and rhetoric but feign indignation (and racism, of course) when the effort, long underway with the assistance of such accomplices as Eric Holder, Barack Obama and Bill De Blasio, is properly condemned as the dangerous and reckless attack on society that it is.

I am not sure which amazes me more: that demagogues like Al Sharpton would have the audacity to proclaim that his organized campaign of hate against police, accusing them of being both racist executioners and the embodiment of a racist justice system, or the caliber of pundits who have rushed to Sharpton’s defense. How can this be? African-Americans are told, for years now, that whites with guns are hunting them; that police are determined to kill them, that the justice system is rigged to let the carnage continue. The carriers of this message includes members of Congress, celebrities, civil rights activists, the Attorney General and the President of the United States. False accounts that support this gross characterization of  disparate incidents, each with unique circumstances, are turned into rallying cries, such as “Hands up! Don’t Shoot!”  The left-biased media openly endorses the narrative, which says that black Americans are being hunted coast-to-coastby an armed force, determined to kill their children.

But the protest is “non-violent.” Continue reading


Filed under Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, The Internet, U.S. Society, Unethical Blog Post