SharksWithLasers -- Seth Cooper

A CUTTING-EDGE BLOG FOR THE WORLD OF THE 21st CENTURY, Currently operated by Seth L. Cooper, a 27 year-old attorney in Seattle (sethlcooper at comcast dot net)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

NAPOLITANO RIGHTLY TAKEN TO TASK...BUT WAS IT TOO MUCH? Andrew C. McCarthy lays the smack down on Fox News Channel’s Judge Andrew Napolitano in an article entitled “Judge Not,” in today’s NRO.

McCarthy previously wrote an article--which I blogged about here, last week--discussing the conviction of NY attorney Lynne Stewart. (Also see my post here for more details about Stewart's case and recent conviction.) In my blog post from last week, I even contrasted McCarthy’s views with those expressed by Judge Napolitano in his recent book. So it came as something of a coincidence to see Judge Napolitano’s op-ed in The New York Times, shortly thereafter. The Judge defended Stewart, running roughshod over the facts of the case and some legal issues of crucial importance in the case—blasting the Ashcroft Justice Department. Now McCarthy takes on Judge Napolitano and sets the record straight.

However, my praise of McCarthy’s discussion of the facts and legal issues in Lynne Stewart’s does not extend to the earlier part of the article, where McCarthy takes a big swipe at Judge Napolitano’s credentials and expertise. McCarthy gives the impression that Judge Napolitano is a phony legal expert, or somehow unqualified to give his views on the Constitution and federal law because he was a state court judge. Never mind that Judge Napolitano was a law professor for many years, teaching courses in constitutional law. Never mind that he obviously spends a great deal of time analyzing statutes and cases in his current position.

Make no mistake, I have serious disagreements with Judge Napolitano on many issues. I take strong exception to plenty of the arguments he presents in his book. Likewise, I vehemently disagree with the mistaken views that the Judge presented in his NYT op-ed. And given the nature of Stewart’s crimes (and those of the Blind Sheikh, for that matter), I am entirely sympathetic with McCarthy’s righteous anger. Likewise, Judge Napolitano has much to apologize for in his NYT op-ed, for he disparages many hard working, honest prosecutors who are upholding the law and defending us from terrorists. But nonetheless, I still like Judge Napolitano and thing McCarthy’s opening salvo against his qualifications is unwarranted and somewhat diminishes his critique of the Judge’s NYT op-ed.

But McCarthy really does dismantle Judge Napolitano’s NYT op-ed. Completely. And, save the first three paragraphs, McCarthy’s article it is most definitely worth the read.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)

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