Bench Memos

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There’s a New Murphy’s Law


And it seems to be that when liberal constitutional law scholars are briefly inconvenienced at airports, they and their friends lose all sense of balance, proportion, and most importantly, humor.

That’s the only conclusion I can draw from Professor Mark Graber’s latest entry at Balkinization on the continuing flap raised by Princeton emeritus professor Walter Murphy that I discussed here yesterday.  I have known Mark Graber (though not intimately) for some years, but in responding to OpinionJournal’s James Taranto, Mark’s labored attempt to be heavily ironic just comes across as, well, humorless twaddle.  Sorry, Mark, you’re just too angry to be funny in this case.

For my part, I continue to find the Murphy incident one of the funniest things I’ve heard in years–not for what happened to Professor Murphy, which, though minor, I wouldn’t wish on anyone–but for his reaction to it, which was and is priceless.  Suspecting the Bush White House of targeting its political adversaries (to suffer the ignominy of lost luggage!) springs from a wish to believe the worst of a president one opposes.  But wishing doesn’t make it so.

UPDATE 8:30 p.m.: Professor Murphy has now officially joined the tinfoil-beanie brigade.  See his interview with the Threat Level blog here, where he muses about the NSA listening to his cell phone calls.  HT Orin Kerr at Volokh Conspiracy.


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