Judge Jones' lame excuses
Some critics thought Jones went too far in ruling on whether intelligent design is science or not. “Both sides asked me to render a decision on that precise issue,” he said. “Had I not done so, there was every chance that this same issue would have arisen before another tribunal."
How could a federal judge be so ignorant -- or pretend to be so ignorant -- of basic judicial principles? A judge is not required to rule on something just because both sides asked for a ruling. And judges are not supposed to make rulings just for the purpose of allegedly saving other courts the possible task of judging the same issue in the future. And if the issue comes up again in another court, that other court would have to rule independently on the issue anyway because the Dover decision is not controlling precedent.
“I didn’t think a school district somewhere else should be exposed to the costs and fees that the Dover School District ended up paying (more than $1 million) as a result of my ducking that issue.”
I am sure that you have the everlasting gratitude of other school districts.
There is an easier way of preventing school districts from getting ripped off like this in the future: a bill -- which recently passed the House by a large margin -- that would prohibit the award of attorney fees to winning plaintiffs in establishment clause cases.
You could have followed the precedent of Edwards v. Aguillard, where the Supreme Court approved the district court judge's refusal to hear expert witness testimony on the grounds that such testimony would not have illuminated the purposes of legislators. I believe that some of the Dover school board members said that they did not even need to understand intelligent design themselves because it was not actually being taught to the students.
John, you are able to bullshit ignoramuses like Ed Brayton but you can't bullshit me because I know how the courts operate -- judges couldn't care less about saving the litigants or the courts any time, money, and trouble. I remember one environmental lawsuit where the plaintiffs failed to give the federal and state governments a required 60-days notice of intent to sue. The plaintiffs corrected that defect by giving the required 60-days notice after the lawsuit had commenced and the district court later ruled against the defendant. However, the appeals court dismissed the case because the 60-days notice had not been given prior to filing the lawsuit, and the Supreme Court upheld that dismissal! See Hallstrom v. Tillamook County, 493 U.S. 20 (1989). The dissenters on the Supreme Court said, "The Court fails to recognize ... that there is no necessary connection between a violation of that statute [the statute requiring 60-days notice] and any particular sanction for noncompliance."
Jones said critics should “read the court transcript” rather than making an “abstract” critique.
So you are saying that your critics should read through six weeks of courtroom testimony before criticizing your decision? That's absurd.
They make much of my being a Republican judge who didn’t rule the way they would like.
Wrong. It is mostly the decision's supporters who have made much of your being a "conservative church-going Republican" who didn't rule the way that the decision's opponents would like.
Anyway, John, it looks like you have plumb run out of excuses.
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