Report on Judge Jones' speech at KU
Judge Jones' KU speech was discussed on the Red State Rabble blog. His ADL speech gave only one example of an alleged challenge to the principle of judicial independence -- Phyllis Shafly's statement that his ruling "stuck the knife in the backs of those who brought him to the dance" -- but the KU speech added some other examples as well. The Red State Rabble noted:
After he issued his ruling, Jones noted, he was called a "fascist judge" by television pundit Bill O'Reilly. Evangelist Pat Robertson told the citizens of Dover, who voted out the pro-ID majority on the school board, not to turn to God, "you just rejected him from your city."
Right wing activist Phyllis Schlafly wrote that Jones' ruling "stuck the knife in the backs of those who brought him to the dance.”
Jones quoted a comment published on William Dembski's pro-ID Uncommon Descent blog as summing up this line of thinking on the role of judges and the courts:This is all about Judge Jones. If it were about the merits of the case we know
we’d win. It’s about politics… Judge John E. Jones… is a good old boy brought up through the conservative ranks… appointed by GW hisself… Unless Judge Jones wants to cut his career off at the knees he isn’t going to rule against the wishes of his political allies.
I think that Jones does not realize or pretends not to realize that a lot of the invective is just the result of people thinking that he was unfair.
Jones also repeated his view about the meaning -- or what some might consider to be a lack of meaning -- of the term "activist judge":
Jones said that after the ruling pundits called him an "activist judge, a label now applied to any judge with whose decision we disagree."
I think that Judge Jones' above statement really signifies that the term "activist judge" is now becoming more consistent with the general meaning of the term "activist" as being a person with an agenda who will stop at nothing in pursuit of that agenda. The Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines "activism" as a "doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue." Different factions trying to hijack the term "activist judge" for their own exclusive use have variously defined the term as meaning a judge who is a liberal, or a conservative, or a broad constructionist, or an originalist, or what have you.
The Lawrence Journal-World noted that Jones also took swipes at the general public:
“People do not really understand how the courts work in the United States,” he told the audience Tuesday.
After the decision, conservative pundits vilified him, he said, calling him “fascist” and predicting natural disasters.
For a week, federal marshals protected him from a constant barrage of death threats, he said. It’s happened to other federal judges in high-profile cases.
The problem stems from what Jones called “a creeping civic stupidity,” where the public, for whatever reason, thinks judges should bow to what politicians say or polls show.
No, Jones, the stupidity is yours, and it is not "creeping" -- see
Judge Jones, March of Slimes "activist judge" poster boy
The Thoughts from Kansas blog said -
-Jones set as a precondition of his visit that he wouldn't discuss the contents of his ruling nor the process of the trial. His ruling is comprehensive, and he clearly doesn't think there's much to add.
Well, just because there wasn't much to add doesn't mean that there wasn't much to debate, but given the short amount of time available for the speech and dialogue, it was probably necessary to set some priorities.
Thoughts from Kansas also briefly discussed the dialogue session held on the day after the speech:
In the speech and his question and answer period, Jones steered clear of commenting on any ongoing or future controversies. That was frustrating, but he did let down his hair once or twice. An audience member asked whether Casey Luskin's criticisms on behalf of the Discovery Institute had any validity. His answer was simply "no."