by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Former Duke law professor Erwin Chemerinsky, labeled by the Daily Caller as dean of a “backwater law school,” gets taken to task on the conservative website for his assessment of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s written opinions.
In a 601-word Los Angeles Times essay published on Tuesday, the obscure dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law criticized Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for “setting a terrible example for young lawyers” and writing with an improper tone.
The little-known, taxpayer-funded dean is Erwin Chemerinsky.
As he chides the towering Supreme Court justice, the undistinguished bureaucrat refers to himself no fewer than 12 times (or once every 50 words).
“I have taught argumentation for many years, first as an instructor to high school and college debaters, currently as a law professor,” Chemerinsky instructs. “Throughout my career I have always cautioned students away from nastiness as a crutch for those who cannot win using reason or legal precedent. I have told them to stick to persuasion and to dissecting the opposition’s logical fallacies.”
“Lately,” Chemerinsky then says, his students “have been turning in legal briefs laced with derision and ad hominem barbs.”
“For this trend, I largely blame Scalia,” Chemerinsky derisively declares. He believes the students find Scalia’s writing “amusing” and satisfyingly “truculent” (a $10 word for “mean”).
Chemerinsky then pontificates that Scalia’s opinions and dissents this Supreme Court term have been “especially nasty, sarcastic and personal.”
Chemerinsky decries Scalia for describing Justice Anthony Kennedy’s legal arguments as “pretentious” and “profoundly incoherent.” He criticizes Scalia for calling one of Justice Stephen Breyer’s arguments “nonsense.”
At the lowest logical ebb of the essay, Chemerinsky then attacks Scalia by charging that Scalia’s writing technique is “nothing more than an attack on the author’s writing technique.”
The Daily Caller is not making this up.