Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mark Steyn Will Not Kiss Judicial Robes

While Steyn is not out as a contributor to National Review, he's clearly on the hook for the legal expenses he's incurred writing there.

Here's the update, which includes an admission by Steyn that he might need some help, "The Robe to Hell":
Two days after Judge Weisberg's ruling in the Mann vs Steyn case, the offers to chip in for a legal defense fund are still pouring in. I'm genuinely touched by the kindness and generosity of readers. As most of you know, I resisted such offers during my Canadian travails and suggested instead that anyone who wanted to show financial support should take out a subscription to Maclean's. But the scale of expenditures down here is so much greater I may have to break my rule and pass the hat. We'll make a decision in the next few days. In the meantime, if you've got a few bucks to toss my way, there's an autographed copy of my book on free speech with your name on it, or some other item from the SteynOnline store. That way we all win: I get enough funds to fight a full-strength defense; you get some great reading matter, or listening matter, or chest-hugging matter.

The other thing I've been tremendously moved by is the number of lawyers offering their services. I'm thinking this one through very carefully after what happened this last year, but I am poring over the various bits of legal advice. One thing that's not going to change, though, is my inclination to speak up when judges play fast and loose. As I said to Mother Jones:
The misplaced reverence for judges in America is perplexing to me. In my cultural tradition, a judge is just a bloke in a wig. He may be a smart bloke in a wig, or he may be an idiot in a wig. But the wig itself is not dispositive.
After many years in America, I have never felt so foreign as reading the pile-up of commentary from supposedly sophisticated persons tutting about how my "assailing" the judge will not be "helpful" to the case. This absurd prostration before the bench is one of the biggest structural defects in this country. Jim writes to Mark's Mailbox as follows:
I'm certainly on your side on this one but would recommend not criticizing the judiciary or previous judges ("incompetence of the previous judge", "an act of jurisprudential hygiene", "procedural bungling", etc.) while the case is pending. The judges all work together and don't like litigants to take potshots at their colleagues and procedures. For a judge to bristle against comments like that is human nature and while it may not overtly cause the judge to rule against you on motions, etc., it is likely to subconsciously influence the judge against you.

Focus on the actions/claims of the plaintiff, not on the judges. You've apparently been through litigation before so you might have a strategy for doing this, but from my vantage point it's a bad idea.
So it's "human nature" for a judge to go into a big queeny huff because one of his supplicants is doing insufficient robe-kissing? So much for judicial temperament. David Appel headlined his post on the case "Who Knew? Judges Don't Appreciate Insults From Defendants" - implying (without evidence) that Judge Weisberg's ruling is some sort of pique at my dismissing his colleague Combs-Greene as an incompetent. As Mr Appel's first commenter responds:
It's a far bigger insult to the judge for you to imply they are not impartial - letting some perceived insult influence the case - than anything Steyn has said.
Exactly. Or as Tyler Null tweets:
If that uppity-peasant theory is true, we're all f**ked.
Continue reading.

And visit Steyn's online store if you're like to pitch in that way a bit.