Respectful Insolence

Eh Nonymous has posted a first hand account of a speech by Judge John E. Jones III, who decided the Kitzmiller v. Dover case on “intelligent design” creationism in Dover. We need more judges like him. My only thought is: How on earth did this guy get appointed to the federal bench by the Bush Administration? He’s way too reasonable and unwilling to let religion influence his decision-making process.

I’m sure it’s a mistake the Bush Administration won’t make again.

Comments

  1. #1 Sid Schwab
    July 23, 2006

    Thanks for the link. He’s an impressive guy, and what he says is right on. It’s amazing (and, as usual, depressing) how few people understand what a (good) judge really does: addresses facts and the law. To the Coulters and Delays of the world, who claim they want non-“activist” judges, Judge Jones is anathema; yet he’s exactly what we need everywhere in the judiciary.

  2. #2 epador
    July 23, 2006

    I believe Bush has appointed more sensible and moderate folks with diverse gender and race than his predecessor. Not that he hasn’t thrown in a few folks with backgrounds or beliefs that are anathemas to his critics. Being so sweeping in your condemnation almost makes me wonder if the Bush-Hating zombie took a nibble at your cerebral cortex at some time…

  3. #3 caerbannog
    July 23, 2006


    I believe Bush has appointed more sensible and moderate folks with diverse gender and race than his predecessor.

    Unlike Bush, Clinton had to make appointments that could pass muster with the opposing political party for 6 out of the 8 years he served in office. If you believe that Clinton really did fail to appoint enough “sensible and moderate folks” to the federal bench, feel free to give the Republican-dominated Congress an equal share of the blame.

  4. #4 trrll
    July 23, 2006

    If you read his decision, you see that Judge Jones is exactly what the Bush administration thinks they want–a conservative, judge who pays careful attention to precedent and original intent–about as far from an “activist” judge as it is possible to get. Of course, to many conservatives “non-activist” really means “activist in support of our ideology.”

  5. #5 Bronze Dog
    July 23, 2006

    “An activist judge is a judge who disagrees with you.” -Me.

  6. #6 Sid Schwab
    July 23, 2006

    “An activist judge is a judge who disagrees with you.”

    Precisely. Or one who points out that a particular piece of legislation or behavior violates the Constitution. Who does, in other words, what a judge is there to do.

  7. #7 Graculus
    July 23, 2006

    I believe…

    That is the problem, right there.

    How about some actual evidence, epador?

    I found a transcipt of on of Judge Jones’ speeches online that covers much of the same ground…

    “The premise of Ms. Schlafly and some others seems to be that judges can and should act in a partisan matter rather than strictly adhering to the rule of law. Now, to those who believe that judges must cast aside precedents and rule as according to an agenda, let me say that I believe that the public’s dependence upon the impartiality and the integrity of judges is absolutely essential to its confidence in our system of justice.

    I will submit to you that had I decided the Dover matter in a different way, I would have then engaged in just the kind of judicial activism which critics decry… as citizens, we do not want and in fact we cannot possibly have a judiciary which operates according to the polls, or one which rules based on who appointed us or according to the popular will of the country at any given moment in time…

    let me return to the role of the Rule of Law, which is I think so fundamental and so embedded in our system of justice. We must never forget that the Rule of Law is not a conservative or a liberal value. It is assuredly not a Republican or Democratic value. Rather, it is an American value. Confidence in the Rule of Law rests entirely at any given point in time on the character and the integrity of the individual American judge and on that judge’s absolute commitment to fairness and impartiality.”

  8. #8 Prup aka Jim Benton
    July 24, 2006

    I want to thank you, not just for aiming us at Judge Jones’s speech, but at the blog in general. A very valuable addition to my reading. The comment on the ‘three-legged stool’ of history, math, and language is, alone, worth as much as the entire comments of some valuable blogs — present company, along with Orcinus, Glenn Greenwald, PZ, and Andrew Sullivan honorable exceptions.

    Speaking of cites, Graculus, can you add the cite on that full copy of the speech? I’d enjoy reading it.

  9. #9 epador
    July 24, 2006

    BTW, great speech.

    I didn’t see any citations debunking my belief.

    Which I am not trying to impose on others,

    and only playfully (I hope) poked at Orac.

    I don’t love the current (or the previous) President. I am intolerant of rote intolerance to one’s political opponents. Which I don’t see at RI, but thought a little balance in the comment section was appropriate.

  10. #10 Ichneumon
    July 25, 2006

    My only thought is: How on earth did this guy get appointed to the federal bench by the Bush Administration? He’s way too reasonable and unwilling to let religion influence his decision-making process. I’m sure it’s a mistake the Bush Administration won’t make again.

    Perhaps the “mistake” is yours, in presuming that President Bush wanted to appoint some other sort of judge. On the contrary, Judge Jones is exactly the kind of judge Bush promised to appoint while he was campaigning (e.g. “I am going to name judges who will strictly interpret the Constitution and not use the benches from which to legislate. I am going to name strict constructionists to the Supreme Court.”) He also stated that he would not use abortion or religion as litmus tests for judicial nominees.

    Don’t mistake your cartoon version of Bush for the reality.

  11. #11 Kristjan Wager
    July 25, 2006

    Some of us go strictly by Bush’s record, and so far, there have been depressingly few Judge Jones among his appointees.

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