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Richard Painter’s Deceptive Portrayal of Goodwin Liu—Part 3



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I’ll limit myself to a couple of additional observations (beyond my Part 1 and Part 2 posts) on Richard Painter’s deeply defective Huffington Post defense of Goodwin Liu:

1. In addition to failing to confront my actual arguments, Painter relies heavily on the argument-by-authority fallacy. As he puts it:

Now, you can believe the top experts in the areas of Liu’s scholarship and prominent conservatives such as Ken Starr and Clint Bolick–or you can believe National Review Online’s Ed Whelan. I know where I would put my marbles.

Set aside that Painter, having evidently lost his marbles, would have to find them first before he could put them anywhere. Painter leaves the false impression that folks like Starr and Bolick have actually responded to my critiques of Liu and of their misunderstandings of his record. So far as I’m aware, they haven’t.

(It’s also amusing that Painter can’t even be evenhanded in his mistaken argument by authority. While he invokes various credentials of Liu supporters, he identifies me only as “National Review Online’s Ed Whelan.”)

2. Towards the end of his piece, Painter tries to dismiss the relevance of Liu’s demagogic and irresponsible arguments against the confirmations of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito. According to Painter, “[i]t is critically important … that people feel free to speak their minds about Supreme Court and other judicial nominations without fear of retribution.” But as I explained ten months ago when Painter made the same bad argument, Painter completely misses the point: The shoddy quality of Liu’s opposition to Roberts and Alito reflects very poorly on him. There is no reason to encourage cheap attacks like Liu’s by not holding him accountable.



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