Ethics Quote Of The Week: Prof. Jonathan Turley


“[T]he demand for clear evidence of systemic violations after only a couple days of the tabulation stage is bizarre. We would not necessarily have such evidence, which is largely held by election officials. As expected, we have a series of localized affidavits and allegations of intentional fraud. Yet, network analysts were dismissing any and all allegations within the first 24 hours, as tabulations were continuing. It is like saying that a patient has a low white blood cell level but insisting on stopping testing if you cannot conclusively say that there is cancer.”

——Jonathan Turley, discussing the rush to proclaim Joe Biden President-elect while legitimate questions remain unanswered

Bingo. Why is this such a hard concept to grasp?

The professor continues,

These initial allegations may or may not be indicative of a more systemic problem. There is no reason to presume fraud but also no reason to demand concessions before we look at these allegations, particularly with the addition of sworn statements and at least one computer problem resulting in loss of thousands of Trump votes in Michigan. Half of this country voted for Trump and it is not much for them to ask for a review of the challenges — a right that the Democrats would be demanding if the positions in this close election were reversed. Moreover, those voters can be understandably skeptical to hear these instant dismissals from networks, which previously predicted a sweeping victory for Biden and the Democrats. Even if, as expected, these allegations are rejected, it is important for this country to have a full and open consideration of these claims and the underlying evidence….

We need a review of counts in critical states to resolve a crisis of faith. A recent survey found that almost half of Americans lack confidence their ballots will be counted fairly. A Harvard study also found that only half of young black voters believe their ballots are even counted. This lack of faith in the electoral process has been fueled by the shift to mailed ballots but builds on growing distrust of our political system.

I am a fan of Turley’s as regular readers here know, but his otherwise sensible post had one glaring misstatement that I have vowed to correct wherever it appears.

He originally wrote that “studies” after the Bush-Gore election showed that Gore may have won the Presidency after all. I don’t know where he got that idea, but it is untrue. Although media organizations held multiple hand-counts of all Florida ballots hoping to prove Gore won, the results, to their disappointment and surprise, supported Bush’s win. That false statement has been excised from the article now after several commenters pointed out Turley’s error.

You have to then state that the text has been corrected, professor.

I make more mistakes than you, so you’re probably not used to the ethical blog correction process.

14 thoughts on “Ethics Quote Of The Week: Prof. Jonathan Turley

  1. I noticed that error in Turley’s piece, too. Glad he fixed it (and if it’s any consolation, I’ve seen posts from him containing numerous typos, too).

    Which said, he’s been fabulous lately. I look forward to new Res Ipsa Loquitur posts much as I do Ethics Alarms ones.

    I’ve even turned a liberal attorney neighbor (she specializes in wills and trusts) onto his blog. She’s now a fan. I’ll give her another four or five months with Turley to soften her up, and then recommend that she comes here. 😉

  2. Most of what I’m hearing from the commentariat is some version of the following:

    Trump is being a sore loser.

    Trump was fired by the American people and his fragile ego can’t take it.

    Georgia is changing, anyone who saw the last gubernatorial election knows there’s a new progressive South coming.

    One glitch doesn’t mean there was a systemic problem.

    Why can’t he be gracious and concede, coupled with quotes from other concession speeches.

    He’s just stalling.

    History is going to leave him behind.

    There. Is. No. Fraud.

    • The saddest and most frustrating part is when Iran is unleashed and other middle eastern relationships fall into chaos Trump will be blamed because of “setting the stage with his bombastic and unpredictable ways”

      • Well, it may not be that simple. Notice all those Sunni nations just lining up, even willing to pay, just for the chance to make peace with Israel and join Trump’s group of Sunni Muslim nations? Also, notice our ammo companies are running full-bore, yet the ammo isn’t reaching the stores? Anyone think these two things may be related?

        • Yeah, from an article I saw in the WSJ about the ‘Sand Curtain’ coming down, it sounds like these realignments in the Middle East may well be lasting — and spreading.

          If so — and I should think every American would hope that they are — this could be a real game changer at long last in the Middle East.

          Who’d’ve thunk it of Trump, eh?

  3. What is your opinion of Barr abandoning a 40 year policy (that doesn’t make sense to me but apparently has been the US political consensus since the late 70s), and the subsequent resignation of Richard Pilger, the director of the DOJ Criminal Division’s Election Crimes Branch?

    Anyone who still thinks the DOJ is apolitical hasn’t been paying attention for at least the last 3 administrations. It should be, of course. Obama damaged that reputation, Trump early on completely destroyed it, then sowed the ground with salt.

    I see nothing objectionable about Barr’s memo in and of itself.

    Yes, it makes Barr look like Trump’s lapdog (since Trump doesn’t have any other dogs), an impression that is accurate, so I can understand Pilger’s resignation on the Ceasar’s wife principle, but looking at the memo itself, without context, it just seems like good sense, completely unobjectionable.

    • You answer your own question, because that’s essentially my view. Moreover, this is not the usual case at all: even if the “40 year policy” made sense,which it doesn’t, this scenario would mandate a responsible Justice Department to get involved. The canard that Barr is somehow uniquely loyal to the President is just one more example of Trump’s administration being held to a different standard. I’m trying to think of one that wasn’t a “lapdog” (which is a pejorative way to say “Looks out for the President’s interests). Holder was flagrantly and unprofessionally an Obama partisan. Ashcroft? Gonzalez? I don’t know why you would stop at “last four.” Ed Meese? John Mitchell? Kennedy’s AG was his brother and top political advisor, and nobody called him a “lapdog.”

      One poll found that less that 50% of the electorate at this point feels the election was legitimate. If that’s even close to accurate, it’s a disaster. DOJ has to try to fix that. I’d like to see Barr appoint a special prosecutor. Otherwise, the memo is fine.

      Pilger’s resignation is grandstanding. He thinks he’s going to be out of a job and that assholes in his profession will punish him for being on the “wrong” side.

      • You also forgot the now dead Janet Reno, who did nothing but clean up the messes that the Clinton administration left. Yet apparently everything she did was perfectly all right. Never mind the fiascos at Ruby Ridge and Waco. Never mind the seizing of Elian Gonzalez at gunpoint. Never mind Clinton’s own misbehavior in the oval office, she was just making sure the law was followed. Yes, Eric Holder was nothing more than a naked Obama partisan, who thumbed his nose at Congress and said “cite me for contempt all you want, the enforcement apparatus is mine and I’m not going to enforce it.” I have forgotten his successor’s name, but she met with Bill Clinton during the 2016 campaign in a stunning display of either stupidity or partisanship. Yes, she said they just talked about grandchildren and golf, but if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.

        As for Pilger, he was also front and center in the whole IRS controversy that involved the hobbling of conservative groups before the 2012 election. He actually met with Lois Lerner. The Trump administration actually settled for quite a bit of money with some of those groups. I believe that he is fearful that if this inquiry by the department of Justice continues, his involvement in that situation will come under question, and he will be exposed as a swamp rat hack, possibly imperiling his pension. I believe that comes before Jack’s still valid other point that liberals in the legal profession will treat him like a pariah if he is perceived to be on the wrong side.

  4. How many “Russian collusion” headlines also had the adjective “unfounded”? Were there even any after the gamut of investigations closed? Why do we see that adjective so often now, even before any investigations?

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