Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Another Cheap Shot from Rick Hasen

At a panel discussion on the Supreme Court on October 1 (I think), I provided a sloppy off-the-cuff response to a question about whether Judge Barrett should recuse from election-related matters. In particular, I stated (according to this ABC News report from yesterday): “In 2016, Justice Ginsburg made lots of remarks very derogatory about President Trump. No one was suggesting at that time that if there was election litigation that she should recuse.”

As I should have had in mind at the time, my second sentence was wrong, and I should not have made that misstatement.

Not content to correct me, law professor Rick Hasen accuses me of lying (“Whelan Lies,” his title proclaims), in a post that apparently went up shortly after the ABC News article did. Hasen didn’t contact me to inform me of my error and give me an opportunity to correct it, nor had I seen the ABC News article before I saw his post. Had the reporter contacted me about the quote before using it (not that he had any duty to do so), I would have corrected it.

For what it’s worth, Hasen seems very eager to take cheap shots at me. We used to have a cordial relationship, but that changed after he urged me to write a review of his badly flawed book critiquing Justice Scalia. Our exchange of views degenerated badly—a decline for which we both bore ample responsibility. In the end, I apologized privately to Hasen, and I thought that he accepted my apology, even as he refused to reciprocate it. But even as he has blocked me on Twitter, he has continued to take whacks at me. I gather from others that he has a reputation for being very thin-skinned.