More DI Distortions about Judge Jones

You've gotta hand it to the DI Media Complaints Division - when their PR team gives them a catchphrase-laden response to something, they repeat it so many times that they begin to sound like Rain Man (just replace Judge Wapner with Judge Jones). Rob Crowther continues to beat this drum in yet another post calling him an "activist judge" and taking him to task for making a few speeches since the Dover ruling. And of course, he has to distort what he said in order to make his argument:

Judge Jones knew full well that the eyes of the world were upon him during the Dover case, and so chose that moment to deliver a "civics lesson."

Jones said he had no agenda regarding intelligent design but, rather, was taking advantage of the worldwide interest in the case to talk about constitutional issues important to him.

"I've found a message that resonates," he said. "It's a bit of a civics lesson, but it's a point that needs to be made: that judges don't act according to bias or political agenda."

Crowther completely misreads Jones' statement. He didn't take the moment of the Dover ruling to deliver a civics lesson; he was just doing his job in that ruling. It's the aftermath of the ruling, and the simplistic responses to it, that afford the opportunity to deliver a civics lesson. In his speech to the ADL, he used the criticisms of Phyllis Schlaffly as a jumping off point to deliver that lesson; he could easily have used many of the criticisms coming from Crowther and his compatriots as well.

Previously the Judge commented that his liberal arts education "provided me with the best ability to handle the rather monumental task of deciding the Dover case."Monumental? Did anyone tell him that legally the case only deals with the middle district of Pennsylvania? What's monumental is the Judge's hubris, which isn't helped by a fawning media.

The case was monumental in importance, regardless of where it technically applies. Like the McLean ruling, also only a district court decision, Kitzmiller has already proven very important in other states. It led, much to the DI's chagrin, to the Ohio Board of Education pulling the "critical analysis" lesson (the governor of Ohio asked the board to revisit the issue in light of the Dover ruling, despite the fact that it was not technically a binding precedent in Ohio). It is having an enormous influence in debates about ID around the nation, and the DI knows it damn well (and is quite unhappy about it).

If the ruling had gone the other way, do you suppose the DI would be criticizing someone for calling it monumental? Hell no. They'd be screaming from every mountaintop about the unrivaled importance of the ruling. And the only reason they're trying to downplay that importance now is because they lost the case. And that's what their PR firm told them to say. Do you suppose if the decision had gone the other way and Jones had given a few commencement speeches talking about the case that the DI would be whining about his "hubris"? The odds of that are well below Dembski's universal probability boundary.

All of this for a Judge who didn't listen to the evidence provided to him (as recounted in detail in "Traipsing Into Evolution: Intelligent Design and the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Decision"), revised history, and was an activist judge. He anticipated that he'd be called an activist in his ruling, because he knew full well that he was acting as such when he wrote the decision.

Or maybe he knew that you and your simpleminded fellow travelers react to every court decision you don't like by repeating "activist judges" over and over again like mindless automatons. I'm sure you're an excellent driver, and I agree that the "Who's on First" routine is very funny, but no matter how many times you repeat "Judge Jones sucks", it isn't going to become true. You were thrilled when he was given the case because he's a conservative Republican and you were sure that gave you the advantage. The fact that you still couldn't make a winning case even with that headstart just tears you up, I know, but it's time to stop whining about it and accept reality.


More like this

I thought I'd post what some legal scholars are saying about yesterday's ruling, since a good many of them have blogs and have responded. First, Timothy Sandefur writes at the Panda's Thumb: Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District is a major victory for science and a major blow to those who have…
There is a new interview with Judge Jones in the July/August edition of the Pennsylvania Lawyer. The article is not available online, but I wanted to share some of the more interesting bits. As he did at the close of the trial and many times since, he offered a great deal of praise to the attorneys…
Plaintiffs Prevail The much-awaited decision in the Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District is now available. The 139 page document finds for the plaintiffs. Judge Jones finds that "intelligent design" is not science. The DASD ID policy violates both purpose and effect prongs of the Lemon…
A new article in the York Daily Record about Judge Jones and how he's handled the aftermath of the Dover decision (okay, it's a few days old, but I just found out about it from Burt Humburg, and yes I've informed him that he really should be more on the ball and get me this information sooner). I…

Wonder what the Dover ruling did for their budget?


Not much good. Worse still for their budget would be an open rejection of special creation [a.k.a. "poof"] and a young earth as this would dry up the Evangelical base that provides nearly all of their support.

Their "big tent" is quite comfortable for all its diversity--quite comfortable on their budget as well.

God that place makes me sick.

Maybe when Crowther gets older and studies science in high school he will come to appreciate what Judge Jones has been saying. But now, he's acting like a puerile twit who thinks if he keeps saying "Is not!--is not!--is not!..." often and loudly enough, the world may come around to suit him.

Did anyone tell him that legally the case only deals with the middle district of Pennsylvania?

Um, if it wasn't monumental, how come the guys at the Discovery Institute came out with an entire book trying to refute the decision within a couple of months of it being handed down?

Is delusion setting in out in Seattle or just dissembling?

"... but it's time to stop whining about it and accept reality."

Dream on -- the problem with those guys is precisely that they can't accept reality!

By David Harmon (not verified) on 09 Jun 2006 #permalink

All of this for a Judge who didn't listen to the evidence provided to him (as recounted in detail in "Traipsing Into Evolution: Intelligent Design and the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Decision"), revised history, and was an activist judge.

Am I the only one who got the impression that they wrote this paragraph by going through a list of right-wing talking points and checking them off one at a time?

They also seem to have forgotten that the creationists on the school board were voted out at the first opportunity the public had to express their opinion.

So if being an activist judge means subverting the will of the majority, then wouldn't the ruling actually have to be in opposition to majority opinion?

A small point, but it strikes me that Judge Jones was describing the task of hearing the case (with its mountains of expert testimony and technical material) as monumental, not the decision itself. I think the judge intended a more modest comment than the willful mis-reading of Mr. Crowther would indicate.