Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Re: Vaughn Walker’s Retirement


Media Matters demonstrates its usual combination of poor reading comprehension and/or rank mendacity with its post “Bizarre theory: Whelan suggests Judge Walker may have made Prop 8 decision to ‘feather his nest.’”  That post asserts that I have “used the occasion of Walker’s announcement that he will resign his position next year to come up with the completely baseless and bizarre theory that Walker may have used the marriage case to ‘feather his nest.’”

To the contrary, I specifically stated (emphasis added):

Applying Ockham’s razor, I will readily presume that Walker’s wild course of misconduct in the anti-Prop 8 case was driven entirely by his ideological fervor for same-sex marriage and that Walker wasn’t also trying to feather his own post-judicial nest.

I then used the counterfactual subjunctive (“if he were trying to feather his nest” (emphasis added)) to offer an additional observation.

Only in Media Matters’ demented world would my express non-avowal of a theory be misrepresented as my having adopted (or “come up with” or “suggest[ed]”) it.

Update/clarification (4:50 pm, in response to a comment from a reader):  If Media Matters had argued that my comments treat as within the realm of plausibility the possibility that Walker might have been motivated in part by a desire to “feather his nest,” I don’t think that I would have any reason to object.  But why would Media Matters believe that Walker must be conclusively presumed to be immune to the sorts of incentives that tempt all other mortals?


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