Friday, July 04, 2008

To Confirm A Thief

Wingnut legal scholarship in a nutshell: Steal someone else's intellectual property, collect power and prestigious friends among the rabid right, and lie like hell when caught. (Also known as Goegleining.) The punishment for the crime? Lifetime tenure on the federal bench.

The shoe is now on the other foot. President Bush nominated Mr. [Michael] O'Neill to be a judge on the Federal District Court here last month, and there are signs that his nomination might be a difficult one as well.

Last year, a peer-reviewed legal journal, the Supreme Court Economic Review, issued a retraction of an article by Mr. O'Neill in 2004. "Substantial portions" of the article, the editors wrote, were "appropriated without attribution" from a book review by another law professor. In addition, at least four articles by Mr. O'Neill in other publications contain passages that appear to have been lifted from other scholars’ works without quotation marks or attribution.

Long passages in the 2004 article are virtually identical to the book review, which was published in 2000 in the Virginia Law Review and was written by Anne C. Dailey, a law professor at the University of Connecticut.


Emily A. Lawrimore, a White House spokeswoman, said Mr. O'Neill had been "completely forthcoming from the start of the vetting process and had “expressed remorse for his actions."

"He was highly recommended to President Bush," Ms. Lawrimore said of Mr. O’Neill, "and the president is confident he will make an excellent judge."

Of course he is.

This explains quite a bit.

Friends and colleagues describe Mr. O'Neill as a creative, fair and exceptionally able lawyer. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and Yale Law School, and he served as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court and Judge David B. Sentelle of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He is working on a master's degree in writing fiction.

Clarence should be able to give O'Neill tips on giving perjured testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Or maybe O'Neill can just call the proceedings a high-tech lynching. Without attribution.

Rip O'Neill give a partial Shalit defense:

Mr. O'Neill was contrite about the duplications, blaming "a poor work method." He said he often mingled research materials and his own work in a single computer file. "I didn't keep appropriate track of things," he said. "I frankly did a poor and negligent job."

LEXIS makes thievery so easy.

I await with anticipation the chorus of outrage from conservative legal bloggers such as Instacracker, Althouse and Assrocket. I'll just sit back and enjoy this beautiful CD of cricket sounds while they compose their posts.

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