Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 30, 2005

Billmon: Rush to Judgment

R.L.: "Compassion is no substitute for justice."

Posted by b on April 30, 2005 at 8:10 UTC | Permalink


What's weird about RL is the way he keeps on condemning liberal approaches to justice even as he demands mercy. Seems like maybe he really wants the punishment. there any legal way to ensure he gets the punishment he's been begging for all these years?

Posted by: citizen | Apr 30 2005 8:35 utc | 1

I am shocked I tell you, shocked that a rightwing blowhard would consider himself above the law.

Hey look! there is something shiny over there....

Posted by: dan of steele | Apr 30 2005 8:54 utc | 2

I find it easy to forgive people for most of their small failures. Hypocrisy is not one of those small failures. It’s a much deeper character flaw. So I forgive RL for his drug use
but demand serious rehabilitation for his habitual hypocrisy. It would be in the public’s interest to insist Rush run a short hypocrite warning before each broadcast.

Posted by: folgers | Apr 30 2005 11:54 utc | 3

though I wonder, will he ever spend a minute in jail...

Posted by: PaxRomano | Apr 30 2005 12:39 utc | 4

Limbaugh damaged his inner ear with pain-killers and required special surgery to partially restore his hearing (lying to his physicians about the history of drug ingestion, of course). Whether one gloats about this misfortune is perhaps a test of character. I confess to some weakness in this regard. A Buddhist regard for human suffering yields to the Schadenfreude that this piece of scum fried his cochlea.

Posted by: Roger Bigod | Apr 30 2005 14:32 utc | 5

That is great Billmon. I have absolutely no sympathy for Limblowhard. None, none, none I tell you.

His bullshit on right to privacy is strait from the Scalia school of bullshit. Limblowhard preaches every day about Christians rights, how great then rethugs are, less government, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Yet this guy is a drug addict, divorced three times and could be gay. We have accusations, but not proven. Yet he bashes gay marriage, he hates the lower and middle classes. I say throw the bastard in jail. Maybe he can be someones bitch.

Posted by: jdp | Apr 30 2005 14:42 utc | 6

Rush is such a hypocrite. I hope he gets sent up the river for a few decades (fat chance, I know). I hate the war on drugs, but Rush deserves the sort of punishment he's so vigorously advocated for other drug abusers. It's obscene that some poor black or Hispanic first-time drug offender gets a 10-year mandatory minimum (and, in states like Florida, loses the right to vote forever), while Rush Limbaugh and Noelle Bush get a slap on the wrist, if that.

Posted by: Frederick | Apr 30 2005 16:21 utc | 7

He's just jumped up a few places on my guillotene list.

Posted by: Friendly Fire | Apr 30 2005 16:49 utc | 8

I hate to say it, but this is one of those cases where you have to hold your nose and support Rush--but only because of the legal principles at stake. When the Nazis were permitted to March in Skokie, free speech was protected. When we protect a defendant's right to privacy--even if it is Limbaugh--or exclude evidence improperly seized, well, it scores one for all of us.

This is precisely why the ACLU supported both the Nazis in the Skokie case, and RL presently.

It is hard to be in the same room with these guys, but that is one of those small prices we pay in this alleged democracy.

That said, I hope Rush chokes, on the air, on his own Oxycotin-chunk vomit--


Posted by: thepuffin | Apr 30 2005 16:57 utc | 9

What's the principle here? If there is clear evidence of a crime, and fraud in the cause of illegal drug use is a crime, then examination of your medical records as they pertain to that crime is legit. People go to jail for doctor shopping all the time. And the rights of poor floridians are being violated by the cops on a daily basis. So when the ACLU stands up and says "at the same time that immigrants are being jailed without due process, the ballot rights of black Floridians are treated like toilet paper, children are routinely lost and tossed into a violent and careless foster care system and on and on, we have the resources to help a rich scumball drug addict who hates the very concept of liberty avoid just punishment for dealing drugs on a scale that would get some poor kid shoved into a hole for the rest of his life", how can anyone with sense have respect for them?

Posted by: citizen k | Apr 30 2005 17:37 utc | 10

Rush Limburger, the soft stinky cheese of talk radio, coming soon to a cartoon near you.
rush (rush)n. {OE}1. The surging of sensations associated with the administration of illicit drugs ("I popped 4 Oxy-Contins,WHAT A RUSH!"). 2.A grasslike swamp plant used for making mats.

Posted by: zencomix | Apr 30 2005 19:01 utc | 11

Citizen k

Of course you are correct in pointing out the numerous injustices that the ACLU has either ignored or addressed inadequately--

No doubt our election and criminal laws have been applied to silence minorities and working class--

But this does not shore up the slippery slope.

Now,RL's medical records are relevant for the purpose of the prosecution for doctor shopping. If the court orders that the records may be used only for that purpose, then I don't see the privacy issue. But to simply permit the government access to use any records at all (impotence, say, or flatulence, or toe fungus, eh?) is where the line should be drawn.

But RL is likely arguing that the records were seized in violation of the fourth amendment, and thus NONE of them can be used at all. And this is key--the 4th Amendment is meant to prevent the gov't from seizing your private records and property IN THE FIRST PLACE--because it will all be wasted effort. Recall the case (maybe 5 years old) where a semi-trailer full of pot had to be excluded (thus charges had to be dropped) because the officer had impoperly detained the suspect--

We have miles to go before we sleep. But we can't let'em fuck Rush, because then we are only fucking ourselves.


Posted by: thepuffin | Apr 30 2005 19:08 utc | 12

speaking of blowhards, has anyone heard anything more about the exploding toads in Germany?

And have they also found them in Denmark? And is this really about crows eating their livers? how could they survive long enough to crawl onto land?

Limbaugh is just being a typical conservative who wants to impose one set of laws on everyone else while he, because his money makes him superior, does not have to suffer the outrages of ordinary law. Same with abortion issues. Same with bankruptcy laws.

Crack 'ho Noelle Bush wasn't subject to the three strikes rule in her daddy's state. Her daddy wasn't kicked out of his public housing, and the only way she was busted for bring crack into the rehab facility was because other clients reported her because she threatened their recovery and ability to be with their kids. The rehabbers were too threatened by power to have her face the consequences of actions that anyone else would have to suffer in the same circumstances.

Petty thieves are denied freedom and the right to vote. Enron-level thieves vacation in the Bahamas.

Rule of law has no meaning, in other words. The only problem for the poor is getting caught, just as it is with the rich. It's only the consequences that are different.

Posted by: fauxreal | Apr 30 2005 19:12 utc | 13

@thepuffin - I am with you, though I do see the danger as the enemy will use these liberal "I´ll defend you on the principle" attitudes to totally discard those principles at the first possible moment. RL is such a guy and thats why citizen thinks it's stupid.

Where is the balance? I don´t know - in my homecountry Nazi speech is highly regulated (mostly forbidden) as are some other relicts from the third reich. "Mein Kampf" can not be distributed (the internet doesn´t care of course). When I recapitulate the history of the 30s I do agree with these laws though on principle I should be against them. Difficult call to me.

Posted by: b | Apr 30 2005 19:13 utc | 14

So we have
(1) the ACLU does not have resources to address a tiny percentage of the rights violations in Florida.
(2) An avowed enemy of the ACLU who strongly demands the harshest penalties for drug users is known to be a (1) drug addict (2) an illegal purchaser of drugs (3) a target for prosecution for his crimes and (4) rich enough to afford the best representation.

Now Rush, as liars and drug addicts and scum usually do, claims that he is the victim of unjust prosecution. You can find people claiming this in any courthouse in the US - and finding more plausible cases is easy. So what is the fucking excuse for picking Rush to defend - and therefore depriving deserving and defenceless people of assistance. I'm sick of faux high-mindedness that helps the right.

Posted by: citizen k | Apr 30 2005 19:29 utc | 15

deanander, in a previous thread, I think zeroed in on the way the right/fascism negates any opposition through a kind of vulgar transvaluation all values. Everything is reduced to a lie and all responses to reality are hypocritical. What remains of virtue when the right/fascism freezes all possible debate and obviates every form of critique, is pure domination.

The heroism of these devils only grows in proportion to the "left's" usual condemnations. This is because "conservatives" who no longer have any imagination for a capitalist utopia honoring the old bourgeois values of thrift and industriousness, find in the cruelties of domination an illusorily vicarious freedom. Rush et al. induce among many the same excitement felt by old facists after watching a deathcamp guard crush a prisoner's skull.

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 30 2005 19:43 utc | 16

The popularity of Rush is a symptom of a mutilated life for which only domination and death are an answer.

I say this after a two-hour visit from my cousin, who loves RL, and has impressed me Rush is cool precisely because he is not moral; Rush is cool in the same way abu ghraib is cool: pure performances of domination.

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 30 2005 19:54 utc | 17>Snapshot: Life in Bush's America

"I was actually taking a nap, and there was a knock on my door, there was a West Virginia State Trooper and a Secret Service agent," she says, identifying them as Trooper R. J. Boggs and Agent James Lanham. "They asked to come in. And I let them. And they started interviewing me."

Jensen, who at the time was running for city council, asked why they were there.

"Apparently someone had made a statement that I'd been canvassing door to door and had said I wanted to cut President Bush's head off," she says. "I told Agent Lanham that I was running for city council, but I hadn't started my door-to-door campaign yet and I never had said anything like that."

This didn't satisfy them, though.

"They conducted an extensive interview about my background, my family, and any political organizations I belonged to," she says. "I told them I belong to the ACLU and that's about it."

They continued to pry, she says.

Agent Lanham "asked me several times to sign a form about releasing my medical records, and I refused," she says. "That was kind of annoying. And he asked to search my house. He didn't have a search warrant, but I said go ahead. And they took some pictures of me and some pictures of my signs."

Before they left, she says, "I had to sign a statement that I never threatened the President's life."

"Hi, we're from the Secret Service, and we are responding to an anonymous report that you have been conducting Black Masses in your basement, poisoning wells, and putting curses on the neighbour's cow which subsequently foamed at the mouth and collapsed. We'd like to know a bit about your family and what organisations you belong to. And are those Harry Potter books we see on the bookshelf over there? I'm sorry, we'll have to confiscate those, ma'am. Evidence, you know. Have a nice day, now."

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 30 2005 20:07 utc | 18

So, Limb-up-his-butt has a Constitutional right to Privacy when he wants to protect his medical choices, even though drug addiction results in countless murders/deaths of innocent living people; but women do not have a Constitutional Right to Privacy to Make Medical Decisions about their bodies 'cuz that leads to "killing" the not-alive.

Posted by: jj | Apr 30 2005 21:41 utc | 19

Rush wants the world liberals have created and fought for toapply to him while applying the world of vengeance, punishment, and interference to liberals themselves.

It's his philosophy and his rules, let him rot in jail.

Posted by: Scorpio | Apr 30 2005 22:42 utc | 20

Agree with your take on it Faux, and am damned cirious about the toads as well.

Posted by: FlashHarry | May 1 2005 0:02 utc | 21

their hypocricy so consistent. their complete inablity to ever take real responsibility for all or any of their actions has such a long history

the evil roy cohn & the dwarf edgar hoover scome to mind. they are wrapped so completely in their unending viciousness they do not know that they live in a world of lived relations

beyond farce beyond burlesque beyond a joke - yes i'd like to see him hangin upside down in marian maximum security rapping with mutalu shakur

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 1 2005 0:08 utc | 22

I believe that the U.S. State Department has classified the toads as suicide bombers.

Posted by: Nugget | May 1 2005 0:09 utc | 23

Limbaugh's religious hate talk blasphemes religion, Interfaith Alliance president says

WASHINGTON -- April 28 -- Today, in response to Rush Limbaugh's statement that "the religious left in this country hates and despises the God of Christianity and Catholicism," the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of The Interfaith Alliance, released the following statement:

"All people of faith in the most religiously diverse nation on earth should be insulted by the uninformed religious pronouncements of a vitriolic radio host," said Rev. Dr. C Welton Gaddy, President of the Interfaith Alliance. "Mr. Limbaugh has repeatedly demonstrated his ignorance and insensitivity to the religious communities in this nation.

"Mr. Limbaugh demeans the very spirit of Christianity as well as the faithful Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Baha'i, and other religious communities. Unfortunately Mr. Limbaugh's words echo the recent misuse of religion by politicians. We remain gravely concerned about the continuing manipulation of religion for partisan political purposes. The fusion of partisan politics and religion arrogantly blasphemes religion and aggressively threatens the vitality of democracy.

"The Interfaith Alliance remains committed to the healing role of religion in America and stands with all people of faith and good will who remain dedicated to common values that enhance our lives together...."

Posted by: Nugget | May 1 2005 0:21 utc | 24

I'm not sure why, but this reminds me of something that made me leave an energy-resources mailing list of which I was once a part. I posted a Tarot reading I did about the outcome of the election, and three followers of the Little Lord Jeebus on the list had a hissy fit. Supposedly it was because Tarot readings were off-topic, but that didn't seem to stop these paragons of Christian virtue from finding time again and again to take another running kick at the Tarot in the name of their Little Lord Jeebus. I left the list after one of them accused me of the equivalent of devil-worship and the list moderator, even though she didn't agree with them, silenced me when I attempted to respond to this hysterical nonsense, thus setting the precedent that all subsequent posting on that list would have to meet with the approval of the Little Lord Jeebus. And the reason for that was nothing more than the squeakiest wheel should supposedly get the oil.

Oh yeah, now I know why this post reminded me of that. CHRISTIANS WALLOW IN HYPOCRISY!!

Posted by: Loveandlight | May 1 2005 0:50 utc | 25

It isn't "faux highmindedness" to insist that the cases which bear on the issue are decided the right way and for the right reasons. Like it or not, if the court rules that the police have carte blanche on ol' Rush, vermin though he be, they can apply the same to you, me, my mother, your children--

That's the function of the courts: to tell the gov't where the boundaries of constitutional behavior lie. All the gross mistreatments of certain groups and the poor will never mean it is a good idea to officially sanction government misconduct. The fact that the poor (like me) are underrepresented at the ballot box and have no real access to meaningful legal help in a system rigged for the rich, well, I agree that it is shovelling against the tide...but lifting the barriers on the gov't just to get Rush isn't a good idea. If and when the time comes for you to have to resist some improperly seized evidence, you'll want your lawyer to be able to cite good law, even if it is U.S. v. Limbaugh.

I'm all for the armed revolution, but until then, I feel it is best not to empower them or grant their tactics any legitimacy.

Peace out,

Posted by: thepuffin | May 1 2005 1:43 utc | 26

Sent Bushie an e-mail today telling him I reject all his SS ideas and how the admin and rethugs have been the worst managers of the govt in my lifetime. I said they are blatantly attacking the lower and middle class. I am sure they will be looking at me. Tax returns or something.

I see most people feel the same way I do about Limblowhard. I think Abu Garaib would be to good for him. This man must be stopped. The key to the rethug downfall is Delay and Limblowhard. Bushie is contributing. But Delay raises loads of money and if that can be cut off, the dems have a chance. The dems just must remember the working man is their constituancy.

Posted by: jdp | May 1 2005 1:52 utc | 27

Puffin, with all due respect, you are dangerously wrong. Rush does an enormous amount of harm and causes a great deal of misery. Helping Rush is directly contributing to deaths in Iraq, poor people in the street, and the terror campaign against women. Your boat encounters a shipwreck and you pull the drunken bloodstained pirate captain out of the water, while his victims drown all around - because you are too delicate in your sensibilities to ignore his demands for help.

Posted by: citizen k | May 1 2005 3:05 utc | 28

I'm not at all up to speed on the specifics of Rush's case (just tracking down all his quotes was repugnant enough) Nor do I understand the nuances of the Constitutional issues involved. But the case has been argued through three levels of Florida courts - incoluding the Fla. Supreme Court, which is hardly a hot bed of police state authoritarians (although I guess they might be looking for a little payback for what Rush said about them during Bush v. Gore.)

It seems to me that when there is probable cause to believe that someone has been obtaining prescription drugs illegally, and claims a health condition as an excuse, it's not unreasonable for a court to issue a search warrant to look at the guy's medical records. This seemed to have more to do with some of the specifics of the procedures required under a Florida law dealing specifically with medical records - precisely the kind of "legal technicality" that conservatives complain about.

I frankly don't see it as a civil liberties issue worthy of the ACLU's time. I think the decision to intervene was basically a political one - the reasons for which are pretty obvious.

It's also worth pointing out that the DA's office offered a plea bargain in which Rush would plead to one count of doctor shopping and get a brief probation. They refused, which doesn't leave the DA much alternative to pursuing the charge, unless he/she wants to look like a complete sell out.

I've got my eye on the exploding toad syndrome. If it spreads to America, Rush could be toast.

Posted by: Billmon | May 1 2005 4:21 utc | 29

Well the old joke goes, "A conservative is liberal who has been mugged... or audited." If this a "conservative's mugging" and he becomes a liberal... Nah! Never happen.

Posted by: SJS | May 1 2005 9:28 utc | 30

Billmon, I am hardly an attorney, but I have played one in court, in pro se. Griswold v. Conn. (1965), is the case "in the gunsights of the right", as David Neiwert at Orcinus and others have observed. I am told by people who I trust that these are all the fundamental family-related rights protected by the right of privacy. They will all be at risk if the court ever reverses Griswold.

1) Right to marry
2) Right to have an abortion
3) Right to divorce
4) Right to die
5) Right to buy/use contraceptives
6) Right to privately possess obscene material
7) Right to parent your kid (make decisions regarding care, custody, and control)

A friend of mine, also an amateur but a much more informed one than myself, has offered this common rebuttal to my fears about our right to privacy, which you may find interesting, if not useful.

"SJS my man...Griswold is at peril.....but have no fear brother, we need not have Griswold to have a right to privacy. Remember, the one thing the "strict constructionist" crowd reveres more than the words in the Constitution itself is "common law." Yes my friend...there is many very early high court references to a right to privacy being a basic staple to British Common Law. Allow me to establish some history here. And Ralph, incase you are wondering, I will probably be the closest expert you will find in ConstitutionalLaw...and I am not expert...but I know enough. So why don't you engage with some knowledge...or just sit back and drool...whatever. anyway, on with the history lesson.

When Louis Brandeis was a wee little private attorney way back when, he caught a personal injury case in Boston Massachusetts. He and Samuel Warren fashioned a new tort....the invasion of privacy. In their case, they argued that their clients, the Warrens, had more than injured reputations (libel and slander) but that the damage lay in the lowering of the affected individual's "estimation of himself." The argued that the invasion of privacy was a personal right, that when violated, impaired a person's sense of their own uniqueness, independence, and integrity; as well as assaulted their dignity.

Forty years later, while a Supreme Court Justice, Justice Brandeis worked this right into a Constitutional opinion for the first time in the Olmstead case...although it was in dissent. Brandeis wrote "that the individual possessed as against the government, the right to be let alone-the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by CIVILIZED men."

The very next year, 1891, a case called Union Pacific Railway Co. V Botsford, 141 U.S. 250, 11 S.Ct. 1000 (1891),posed a question to the court as to whether a woman who had sustained a concussion and other injuries in a train wreck could be forced to undergo SURGICAL examination by the railroad experts to assess the extent of damage. Justice Gray, who wrote the majority opinion, said: "No right is held more sacred, or is more carefully guarded, by COMMON LAW, than the right of every individual to the possession and control of his own person, free from all restraint or interference of others, unless by clear and unquestionable authority of law."

Now, here is an example of when we let our "right to privacy" be taken away by rogue strict constructionists. Now Ralph, pay close attention to this one because you may not be alive today had the right to privacy not carried the day.

The case was Buck V. Bell, 274 U.S. 200 47 S.Ct. 584 (1927). In this case, the court upheld an Virginia law which set forth a policy of sterilizing its citizenry it considered to be mentally see now how this would be pertinent to you Ralph. If the State of Virginai had its way, you would have never been conceived as you mom and dad would have been sterilized. But, to move on, Virginia won this case. Then the Court heard whether habitual criminals could be "sterilized" in Skinner V. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 62 S.Ct. 1110 (1942). Justice Douglas wrote the opinion for the court and said: "The power to sterilize, if exercised, may have subtle, farreaching and devastating effects." It is important to note that this law only attempted to sterilize habitual criminality...but purposely excluded embezzlers, revenue act violators, or political misgivings. Therefore, the court ruled this law to be invidiously discrinimatory in nature. Basically attempting to, as the court pointed out, sterilize the three time chicken thief and let the three time embezzler procreate. Basically the state of Oklahoma had hand selected which people insociety it was going to do away with...whcih is discrimination....but the court later brings up common law and our right to do things that are inalienable to free men."

Posted by: SJS | May 1 2005 9:48 utc | 31

I should add that I had to remind my friend that the common law comes from England, a foreign country, and Americans won't tolerate foreign laws and values defiling ours if it prevents us from executing minors. If I'm not mistaken, the French even spent some time in England, so there must be an argument in favor of ignoring the English common law being designed at this very minute.

Posted by: SJS | May 1 2005 9:57 utc | 32

I have to agree with thepuffin here, even though I understand and appreciate the moral outrage expressed by citizen k and others. I'm also going to have to disagree with our beloved barkeep about the purview of the ACLU- in this particular age of constant attacks on our cherished civil liberties, it is difficult for me to imagine a case that is small enough to be insignificant.

Citizen k raises a valid issue about how Rush, despite his whining, is hardly the greatest victim of injustice by either the state of Florida or the United States federal government. The giant caveat here is about the allocation of resources (viz. the sad reality that one high profile case has greater impact than a million judicially similar cases concerning poor people and children). Defense by the ACLU of a morally bankrupt lapdog of Satan is not only the right thing to do (he is repugnant, but still, the last I heard he is a US citizen)it also has the potential to do far greater good in the long run. It's difficult for me to imagine that spending more money and resources and achieving less just because you personally dislike the defendant and what they stand for is actually your goal... all righteous indignation aside.

One quality that continues to propel the far right is that their absence of ethics gives them no compunction about banding together for a common cause, even when they ally themselves with the thoroughly detestable (do you honestly think anyone, regardless of politics, actually wants to be in the same room, much less on the same side, as Tom "A Better America Without" DeLay?) But as even this debate has shown, many on the left will refuse to play ball with even those who, in principle, agree with them.

Without being too preachy, I want to warn against the presence of our old friend enantiodromia (the tendency of a phenomenon to resemble its diametric opposite as it becomes more polarised). The far right have demonstrated their hypocrisy when it comes to who should be protected by the law and who shouldn't. They base their own "elite" upon the conferred status of wealth and privilege. Let's not commit the same hypocrisy based upon the conferred status of moral superiority. In one respect, Rush is correct... compassion is no subsititute for justice. Compassion IS justice, and if the left's treatment of their enemies is no better than the right's treatment of theirs then the "elite" of the left become substantially more subjective.

Posted by: Monolycus | May 1 2005 15:22 utc | 33

The problem in the logic of "civil rights" afforded someone like RL is such "rights" are always already ideological--these rights constitutionally assure privilege and produce (as Duncan Kennedy argues) "wealth effects" benefitting elites. The ideology of "rights" is especially pernicious when the claim of rights ostensibly conferred to all citizens endlessly reproduces material inequalities. For example, RL's right to privacy is qualitatively different than the same right enjoyed by the average joe--RL can use the "right" of privacy to conceal medical records, which is a good outcome of privacy rights, but, as we all know, the same right, circuitously accessed via intellectual property and speech laws, is used by corporations (who are persons under the law) and elites like RL to conceal other information. The case law is complicated, and corporations do not fully enjoy 4th and 14th Am. rights of privacy, but corporations use libel law to suppress environmental science and quash the speech of whistle-blowing scientists, and IPR laws are used to hide proprietary info.

This is all to say that the demand of "civil rights" by all persons is also an ipso facto guarantee of equality and justice, is not true--enantiodromia the outcome of the delusion someone like RL is served by such rights in the same way as the average joe.

Posted by: slothrop | May 1 2005 16:49 utc | 34

Put another way: privacy rights for the average joe mostly preserve the abstract sanctity of a very limited and idealized private sphere, while the same rights serve the real material, concrete class interests of elites.

Posted by: slothrop | May 1 2005 17:16 utc | 35

That is an extremely valid observation, slothrop, and it had not entirely escaped my attention. I decided not to rail against the legal "personage" of corporations and public figures in my post in order to streamline the points I was trying to raise. This is a sticky issue and the abuses of this ambiguity by the privileged should not be glossed over as it might have appeared I was suggesting. Nothing could be further from my intent.

Some confusion exists between whether we are discussing Rush Limbaugh, the detestable average joe or Rush Limbaugh, the detestable public figure. In the former case (and yes, he is still a human being albeit an extremely unlikeable one), then there can be no question that his medical records- if entered into the record in violation of Constitutionally prescribed parameters of search and seizure- must be disregarded. I reluctantly believe that this is the view which must be taken. The man is not a policy maker nor an elected official, nor again is his radio show the subject of the litigation. As RL qua individual citizen, we can not selectively deny him due process even though he uses his first amendment right to free speech to espouse hatred and disingenuousness.

I want to reassure you that I am not naively sweeping aside the fact that the elite routinely abuse this confusion. I do recognise that the de facto rights of the "average joe" are qualitatively different than those of the "elite" classes. It galls me to no end that former Enron CEO Kenneth Lay, whose crimes are several orders of magnitude greater than those presently under discussion, is given leniency that would not be afforded to an underprivileged junkie. What I am trying to say, however, is that in the case of the insufferable RL, the approach of the left seems to be an inability to see it as a legal case and not a richly deserved comeuppance (which it also is... adding more ambiguity).

The inability to view human beings as "created equal" is a diagnostic quality of the right. I am simply cautioning against allowing free reign to the schadenfreude in this case lest we dilute what we stand for in the process.

Posted by: Monolycus | May 1 2005 19:26 utc | 36

i really get the sense that, having been witness to u.s. politics since watergate, the right & their minions have been enjoying a non-stop run of "what does not kill me only makes me stronger"

Posted by: b real | May 2 2005 3:25 utc | 37

Despite my loathing for the "Little Limbaugh of Satan", I have to side with the proceduralists here -- the law (under the social system we're presently saddled with) is our only protection against the arbitrary whim of royalty and aristocracy. It is a weak and inconsistent shield, but what else have we, aside from flaming torches and pitchforks? A villain like Limbaugh, however vile, still gets whatever Constitutional protections apply to him as a US citizen, just as the cruellest rapist/murderer gets to hear his Miranda rights at the time of arrest. I can't see any other way to go at it -- equality of persons under the law seems like a principle too fundamental to abandon.

I bear in mind here BushCo's fascination with psychotropic medication and "mental health checkups," and the DSM's inclusion of "Oppositional Defiance Disorder" and proposed inclusion of Political Paranoia Disorder in the codex. Our medical records may one day provide the pretext for sedating us out of our limited ability to dissent. Paranoid? you betcha. Anyone who isn't paranoid around these guys is likely to wind up on the street at midnight sans wallet, watch, keys, and bus ticket. Or Constitution.

Posted by: DeAnander | May 2 2005 3:51 utc | 38

I would hope there is no political motivation involved in taking Limbaugh's case. It would be a first if it was, unless representing the Nazis at Skokie or the "infamous NAMBLA" case have some kind of political motivations I don't understand. I did it or a few years as a volunteer, screen the calls that came in for help at the Nor Cal offices in S.F. and try and figure out which one's to bring to legal at the end of the day. In all that time, they were pretty consistent. They just don't take individual cases unless they have a major impact on large segments of the population. It's simply a question of limited resources. Having said that, it was almost 20 years ago when I did that, and times have changed.

Intake Info For The ACLU

Posted by: SJS | May 2 2005 4:52 utc | 39


I am hardly an attorney, but I have played one in court, in pro se. Griswold v. Conn. (1965), is the case "in the gunsights of the right"

That may well be, but Limbaugh's case isn't a federal case - it's not based on the Bill of Rights. He's arguing about a clause in the Florida Constitution related specifically to medical records. So even if this is all part of grand conspiracy by the Palm Beach DA to promote the fascist police state, it's not going to advance the movement very much.


these rights constitutionally assure privilege and produce (as Duncan Kennedy argues) "wealth effects" benefitting elites

Actually, they DON'T constitutionally assure privilege -- even if that's the way they work in practice. The characteristic sin of the bourgeoisie is hypocrisy: lofty ideals matched with an unparalleled ability to ignore how those ideals are violated in a class society.

I agree with DeAnander that the solution isn't junking the ideals but rather trying to hold the legal system accountable for them -- as futile as that can seem at times. It's just that in this particular case the ACLU's eagerness to rush to Rush's side seems completely disportionate to the actual stakes.

Wouldn't that money be better spent suing Donald Rumsfeld for war crimes?

Posted by: Billmon | May 3 2005 17:47 utc | 40

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