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My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Judge Jones is still on the lecture circuit

Uncommon Descent reports that Judge Jones is scheduled to be a plenary speaker at the 2007 Botany and Plant Biology Joint Congress.

Apparently it is now against Jones' policy to speak publicly about the specifics of the Dover case and now his public speeches are mainly about the issue of "judicial independence." What is the relevance of judicial independence to a meeting of botanists and plant biologists?

Also, the biography in the announcement of his upcoming speech does not mention his banning of Bad Frog Beer when he was chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. That figures.

Considering the embarrassment caused by the recent plagiarism scandals, I think that Judge Jones may soon quit the lecture circuit.

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12 Comments:

Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

>>>Apparently it is now against Jones' policy to speak publicly about the specifics of the Dover case and now his public speeches are mainly about the issue of "judicial independence." What is the relevance of judicial independence to a meeting of botanists and plant biologists?<<<

It has always been his policy to speak about the specifics of the Dover case. Hios speeches are more than just judicial independence, they are intended to educate how the law works. This would be a good opportunity for a speech on the intersection of science and law.

>>>Also, the biography in the announcement of his upcoming speech does not mention his banning of Bad Frog Beer when he was chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. That figures.<<<

And it is totally irrelevant. But it may be a good time to note that Pennsylvania law, which as the chairman he was under oath to uphold, required him to ban any such label. Just like as a judge, he had to follow the existing laws in rendering his decision - which incidentally meant he was covered by judicial immunity for that decision.

>>>Considering the embarrassment caused by the recent plagiarism scandals, I think that Judge Jones may soon quit the lecture circuit.<<<

Why should the DI embarrassing themselves with their ignorance of the law cause Judge Jones to quit the lecture circuit? If anything, it gives him more material for his speeches on educating the public on how the law actually works.

That said, interest in having him speak will probably die out by the end of next year, not because of any manufactured scandal, but because the American public has the attention span of a gnat and won't care about a decision made two years earlier.

Friday, December 15, 2006 8:37:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Kevin Vicklund said --
>>>>>It has always been his policy to speak about the specifics of the Dover case. <<<<<

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Thoughts for Kansas reported that Jones agreed to speak at Kansas University only on condition that he would not discuss the specifics of the Dover case.

>>>>> Hios speeches are more than just judicial independence, they are intended to educate how the law works. <<<<<

His condescending efforts to "educate" and give "civics lessons" are intended to insult the intelligence of people -- many of them legal experts -- who make legitimate criticisms of his Dover opinion.

>>>>> But it may be a good time to note that Pennsylvania law, which as the chairman he was under oath to uphold, required him to ban any such label. <<<<<<

Wrong. It was a matter of discretion. And the "finger" sign on the label is not obvious at all.

>>>>> he was covered by judicial immunity for that decision. <<<<<<

That's not judicial immunity -- it's executive privilege.

>>>>> interest in having him speak will probably die out by the end of next year <<<<<

Thank goodness.

Friday, December 15, 2006 9:15:00 AM  
Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

Sorry, my first sentence was supposed to read:

It has always been his policy to not speak about the specifics of the Dover case. (bold added)

>>>His condescending efforts to "educate" and give "civics lessons" are intended to insult the intelligence of people -- many of them legal experts -- who make legitimate criticisms of his Dover opinion.<<<

Nice lie, Larry. Stop bullshitting us.

>>>Wrong. It was a matter of discretion. And the "finger" sign on the label is not obvious at all.<<<

Wrong. Pennsylvania law prohibits obscene labels.

>>>That's not judicial immunity -- it's executive privilege.<<<

Wrong. As chairman of the State Liquor Board, a complaint was brought to him that the Bad Frog Beer label violated the obscenity laws. Original jurisdiction of liquor labels lies not in the courts, but in the state liquor board. The decision was a judicial decision that can be reviewed in court. It was not an instance of executive privilege. When a government agency takes action against a corporation or person due to a violation of law, that action is protected by judicial immunity.

Friday, December 15, 2006 10:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

The Ignoran Troll belches...

> What is the relevance of judicial independence to a meeting of botanists and plant biologists? <

The botanists and plant biologists have a stake in the courts not bending to those who would insert mythology into science classes. They would be interested in the process that is protecting their legitimate interest.

> Also, the biography in the announcement of his upcoming speech does not mention his banning of Bad Frog Beer when he was chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. <

Perhaps because of its total irrelevance.

> Considering the embarrassment caused by the recent plagiarism scandals <

What scandals? The idiots who don't even understand the meaning of the term "plagiarism" or have any understanding of court precedure do not seem to be embarrassed by the recent public display of their ignorance. This would not seem to have any bearing on Judge Jones lectures.

> intended to insult the intelligence of people -- many of them legal experts -- who make legitimate criticisms of his Dover opinion. <

I haven't seen any criticisms of his Dover opinion made by legal experts. What specifically are you talking about?

> That's not judicial immunity -- it's executive privilege. <

That's not executive privilege, it's judicial immunity. Go get yourself a dictionary. You need one badly.

Friday, December 15, 2006 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Kevin Vicklund said ( 12-15-06 10:03:33 AM ) --

>>>>> Sorry, my first sentence was supposed to read:

It has always been his policy to not speak about the specifics of the Dover case. <<<<<

Wrong. In his Dickinson College commencement speech, he discussed his views of the establishment clause (his "true religion" remarks), the constitutional basis of his Dover decision. That is as specific about the Dover case as it is possible to get.

>>>>> When a government agency takes action against a corporation or person due to a violation of law, that action is protected by judicial immunity. <<<<<

Many if not most people would define "judicial immunity" as applying only to judges or the courts. In fact, in that Supreme Court case that you cited concerning immunity for a court prosecutor, I think that the SC used the term "civil immunity" instead of "judicial immunity."

Friday, December 15, 2006 2:16:00 PM  
Anonymous W. Kevin VIcklund said...

>>>Wrong. In his Dickinson College commencement speech, he discussed his views of the establishment clause (his "true religion" remarks), the constitutional basis of his Dover decision. That is as specific about the Dover case as it is possible to get.<<<

That is utterly ridiculous. Making a general statement about the origin of a law is more specific than any of the details of a lawsuit? That is simply insane. He gave absolutely no specifics about the ruling, other than the fact that it was decided on the Establishment Clause. He didn't cite any of the precedents used, he didn't explain any of the arguments made. He simply gave a brief and accurate history, supported by historians, of the well-known motivations of the Founding Fathers in enacting the religion clauses of the First Amendment. (The only quibble is that a minority of the Founding Fathers, such as Patrick Henry, disagreed).

>>>Many if not most people would define "judicial immunity" as applying only to judges or the courts.<<<

Which means absolutely nothing from a legal standpoint. Law is not decided by opinion polls. What matters is what the judicial system defines judicial immunity as.

>>>In fact, in that Supreme Court case that you cited concerning immunity for a court prosecutor, I think that the SC used the term "civil immunity" instead of "judicial immunity."<<<

"Civil immunity" refers to the type of lawsuit to which the official is immune, not the doctrine by which the official is immune. Judicial immunity confers immunity from all civil suits to judges, prosecutors (under certain circumstances), etc., but not from all criminal suits. The decision I quoted said that prosecutors enjoy the same immunity as judges (ie., judicial immunity) when they are making decisions on whether to prosecute.

Friday, December 15, 2006 9:36:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Kevin VIcklund said...
>>>>> He gave absolutely no specifics about the ruling, other than the fact that it was decided on the Establishment Clause. <<<<<

Everyone knows the "fact" that it was decided on the Establishment Clause. What Jones did in his speech was try to interpret the Establishment Clause in a way that would help explain or justify his Dover decision. He was speaking specifically about his Dover decision -- he was not just making general statements about judicial independence, the meaning of the term "judicial activism," etc..

>>>>>> He didn't cite any of the precedents used, he didn't explain any of the arguments made. <<<<<

In a brief commencement speech, there was only so much he could talk about. He chose to talk about the Establishment Clause, partly because he felt that it was something that he could link to his undergraduate education at Dickinson College.

>>>>>>He simply gave a brief and accurate history, supported by historians, of the well-known motivations of the Founding Fathers in enacting the religion clauses of the First Amendment. <<<<<<

Wrong -- what he said is not "well-known" or generally supported by historians, and -- as I have shown -- is not even supported by the book that he plagiarized (I have no idea why the book made such a statement). There are a lot of different opinions about the religious views of the Founders -- see, for example, this article. And it was especially silly of Jones to say that his view of history here was "very clear."

>>>>>Many if not most people would define "judicial immunity" as applying only to judges or the courts.<

Which means absolutely nothing from a legal standpoint. Law is not decided by opinion polls. What matters is what the judicial system defines judicial immunity as. <<<<<<

"Judicial immunity" is defined as follows by the Findlaw legal dictionary --

judicial immunity
: absolute immunity from civil liability that is granted to judges and other court officers (as prosecutors and grand juries) and quasi-judicial officials for tortious acts or omissions done within the scope of their jurisdiction or authority


I know that you are going to say that Jones was a "quasi-judicial official" as the chairman of the booze board, but Findlaw lists more-appropriate terms for his immunity: executive immunity, governmental immunity, official immunity, and "sovereign" immunity

Of course, Findlaw's definitions of different kinds of immunity also raise questions about the South Dakota attorney general's official ballot "explanation" of the Amendment E (Jail-4-Judges) proposition, but I won't go into that. I don't even know why you brought up the issue of "judicial immunity" here.

>>>>> "Civil immunity" refers to the type of lawsuit to which the official is immune, not the doctrine by which the official is immune. <<<<<<

You are really getting evasive. There is no such thing as a "civil immunity lawsuit." And "civil immunity" is not listed by Findlaw.

Saturday, December 16, 2006 12:43:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Voice in the Wilderness said --
>>>>>I haven't seen any criticisms of his Dover opinion made by legal experts. What specifically are you talking about? <<<<<<

Here, here, and here.

Saturday, December 16, 2006 1:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

It depends on what you call "experts". I guess that in comparison to you, they are experts but then again. who isn't?

Saturday, December 16, 2006 7:19:00 AM  
Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

>>>Everyone knows the "fact" that it was decided on the Establishment Clause. What Jones did in his speech was try to interpret the Establishment Clause in a way that would help explain or justify his Dover decision. He was speaking specifically about his Dover decision -- he was not just making general statements about judicial independence, the meaning of the term "judicial activism," etc..<<<

And yet he had absolutely no details about the ruling. It's difficult to get much more non-specific than that without mentioning the decision at all. Your lies are exposed once again.

>>>In a brief commencement speech, there was only so much he could talk about. He chose to talk about the Establishment Clause, partly because he felt that it was something that he could link to his undergraduate education at Dickinson College.<<<

And he spoke about it in a way that was historical and non-specific to the Dover ruling. He has to talk about something.

>>>Wrong -- what he said is not "well-known" or generally supported by historians, and -- as I have shown -- is not even supported by the book that he plagiarized (I have no idea why the book made such a statement).<<<

The book made that statement (and supported it) because it is true in a general sense (as I said elsewhere, not every FF held that position). It is well accepted among historians that the Founding Fathers that crafted and were the motivating forces behind the Religion Clauses felt that religion should be open to rational enquiry and should not be restricted to a single sect's interpretation, nor to a single text, and that the various religions were multiple routes to legitimately arrive at the same conclusion. A recently defined category for this is theistic rationalism - it's not quite deism, but similar, and incoporates the religious values espoused by the Enlightenment.

>>>There are a lot of different opinions about the religious views of the Founders -- see, for example, this article. And it was especially silly of Jones to say that his view of history here was "very clear."<<<

The fact that fundamentalist religious leaders distort the words and otherwise quote-mine the Founding Fathers does not mean that historians are in disagreement. It just means that some people are incredibly dishonest in their atttempts to advance their own brand of worship.

>>>I know that you are going to say that Jones was a "quasi-judicial official" as the chairman of the booze board, but Findlaw lists more-appropriate terms for his immunity: executive immunity, governmental immunity, official immunity, and "sovereign" immunity<<<

The type of immunity, as the Supreme Court has repeatedly explained, is based on the type of act, not the branch of government employing the official. For example, FORRESTER v. WHITE, 484 U.S. 219 (1988)

Here, as in other contexts, immunity is justified and defined by the functions it protects and serves, not by the person to whom it attaches.

Also, two of those definitions, governmental and sovereign immunity, are not applicable to individuals in the government; rather, they apply to the governmental body as a whole. As Chairman, Jones normally would be entitled to the form of official immunity known as executive immunity, but under certain circumstances, he is entitled to the form of official immunity known as judicial immunity.

>>>Of course, Findlaw's definitions of different kinds of immunity also raise questions about the South Dakota attorney general's official ballot "explanation" of the Amendment E (Jail-4-Judges) proposition, but I won't go into that. I don't even know why you brought up the issue of "judicial immunity" here.<<<

It does nothing of the sort, especially viewed in light of the Supreme Court rulings. I brought it up to tweak your nose. By the way, I noticed that you are now admitting that prosecutors have judicial immunity.

>>>You are really getting evasive. There is no such thing as a "civil immunity lawsuit." And "civil immunity" is not listed by Findlaw.<<<

Ooh, lookie, I found another quote-mine by Larry! I did not claim that there was a "civil immunity lawsuit." In fact, my very next sentence defined what I meant Judicial immunity confers immunity from all civil suits to judges, prosecutors (under certain circumstances), etc., but not from all criminal suits.

Since Larry is too stupid to understand, I guess I have to rewrite it for him.

Someone with "civil immunity" means that they have "immunity" from "civil lawsuits". "Criminal immunity" would therefore convey "immunity" to "criminal lawsuits". Is that sufficient for you Larry, or are you so ignorant of law that you need the definitions of "immunity" and "civil lawsuits" and "criminal lawsuits" spelled out for you? I should also point out that the Supreme Court used the term "civil immunity," not me, and gave enough context to figure out what they meant - context that I kept in my original quote, I might add.

Back to Jones as Chairman. Forrester had this to say about whether Executive Branch officials could be quasi-judicial:

In the years since Bradley was decided, this Court has not been quick to find that federal legislation was meant to diminish the traditional common-law protections extended to the judicial process. See, e. g., Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547 (1967). On the contrary, these protections have been held to extend to Executive Branch officials who perform quasi-judicial functions, see Butz v. Economou, supra, at 513-514, or who perform prosecutorial functions that are "intimately associated with the judicial phase of the criminal process," Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 430 (1976). The common law's rationale for these decisions - freeing the judicial process of harassment or intimidation - has been thought to require absolute immunity even for advocates and witnesses. See Briscoe v. LaHue, 460 U.S. 325 (1983); Butz v. Economou, 438 U.S., at 512 .

So what types of Executive Branch officials does Butz say have quasi-judicial functions? Let's look at what Forrester was citing in Butz:

In light of these safeguards, we think that the risk of an unconstitutional act by one presiding at an agency hearing is clearly outweighed by the importance of preserving the independent judgment of these men and women. We therefore hold that persons subject to these restraints and performing adjudicatory functions within a federal agency are entitled to absolute immunity from damages liability for their judicial acts. Those who complain of error in such proceedings must seek agency or judicial review.

We also believe that agency officials performing certain functions analogous to those of a prosecutor should be able to claim absolute immunity with respect to such acts. The decision to initiate administrative proceedings against an individual or corporation is very much like the prosecutor's decision to initiate or move forward with a criminal prosecution. An agency official, like a prosecutor, may have broad discretion in deciding whether a proceeding should be brought and what sanctions should be sought. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, for example, may initiate proceedings whenever it has "reason to believe" that any person "is violating or has violated any of the provisions of this chapter or of the rules, regulations, or orders of the Commission." 7 U.S.C. 9 (1976 ed.). A range of sanctions is open to it. Ibid.


If Jones presided at an agency hearing, under Butz he can be granted judicial immunity.

I know have to make a correction. I was in Pennsylvania at the time this happened, and followed it (mainly because I thought the PA obscenity law was overbearing). There were reports of consumer complaints about the label, so I thought I remembered that the hearings had been initiated by the complaints after the beer had been placed on the shelves. It turns out that the complaints were reports from other states and from those who knew what the label looked like. Jones rejected their application prior to the beer being placed on the shelves. This type of hearing, where the administrator makes a decision on whether to allow a brand into the market, is covered by executive immunity (which in this instance only conveys qualified immunity to civil suit); the type of hearing I thought it was, a complaint brought by consumers alleging a violation, is covered by judicial immunity (which would convey absolute immunity to civil suit). The difference is that the second type is an adversarial hearing, in which there are two sides presenting, forcing the administrator to adjudicate between two opposing positions, whereas the first type is merely one side asserting that it meets certain qualifications. I apologize for my error.

Finally, Larry appears to believe that the various immunities are mutually exclusive. That is not true - there is a great deal of overlap, and one person can (in fact, by definition, must) have several types of immunity for a single act. There are three basic categories of immunity: the basis on which immunity is conveyed, the degree of immunity conveyed, and the type of suit to which immunity is granted. The first category, basis of immunity, is determined by the nature of the act and whether the defendant is a body or an individual. Governmental or sovereign immunity (they are synonyms) means that the governmental body has immunity. Official immunity means that an individual, due to their position as an official, has immunity, which is conveyed by the nature of the act. Some examples of official immunity: judicial, executive, legislative, diplomatic. The second category, degree of immunity, is the level of protection from suit granted. Absolute immunity means full protection, while qualified immunity means that immunity only applies in certain circumstances (for example, if an official with qualified immunity undertakes an action that he knew or should have known was well-established as unconstitutional, that official is no longer immune to suit). Finally, the type of lawsuit - as explained above, civil immunity conveys immunity to civil suits, while criminal immunity would convey immunity to criminal suits.

Monday, December 18, 2006 6:42:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Kevin Vicklund said...

>>>>> And yet he had absolutely no details about the ruling. <<<<<

He gave a detail that was not even given in his Dover opinion -- his interpretation of the establishment clause, the federal constitutional basis of the decision.

>>>>> And he spoke about it in a way that was historical and non-specific to the Dover ruling. <<<<<

It wasn't just historical -- it was his interpretation of the establishment clause's current meaning. And it was quite specific to the Dover ruling -- the establishment clause is the federal constitutional basis of the ruling.

>>>>>> He has to talk about something. <<<<<

He had lots more to talk about -- one of his favorite subjects is judicial independence.

This much is "very clear" -- Jones' "true religion" remarks showed great hostility towards organized religion, and this hostility tainted his decision.

>>>>>I don't even know why you brought up the issue of "judicial immunity" here.<<<

It does nothing of the sort, especially viewed in light of the Supreme Court rulings. I brought it up to tweak your nose. <<<<<<

And you know that you would be kicked off of most blogs for bringing up an off-topic subject just for the purpose of "tweaking" the blogger's nose.

Why not just choose a definition of "judicial immunity" that everyone can agree on? I presume that somewhere out there someone has written that since judges "legislate from the bench," their immunity should be called "legislative immunity" rather than "judicial immunity."

Monday, December 18, 2006 5:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> And you know that you would be kicked off of most blogs for bringing up an off-topic subject just for the purpose of "tweaking" the blogger's nose. <

And you know that Kevin has always gotten the best of you. Perhaps that is why you would like to kick him off.

Of course there are the missing posts. We don't really know how much material has been censored because it shows you to be the fool that you are.

Monday, December 18, 2006 11:23:00 PM  

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