Back From Colorado Springs

We’ve returned from Colorado Springs, where I’ve been for the last three days, attending the 10th Circuit’s Bench and Bar Conference at the lovely Broadmoor resort. The judges of the 10th Circuit were kind enough to invite me to address the conference on the subject of law blogs. I was part of a panel that also included Eugene Volokh and Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog, who supplied a liberal perspective.

Power Line is not a “law blog,” of course, but we write about legal issues pretty often because in today’s world, many controversial issues involve legal questions of one kind or another. I talked about the broader phenomenon of lawyers writing on the web, as well as about some of the specific legal issues we have addressed here.

The Bench and Bar Conference was lots of fun; the judges and staff of the 10th Circuit couldn’t have been more gracious, and we hooked up with some old friends and made some new ones.

One of the highlights was a speech by Justice Sam Alito. I expected Alito to be witty and wry, which he was; but I wasn’t prepared for the fact that he was also, much of the time, fall-down funny. He told, in often hilarious fashion, the story of his nomination and confirmation to the Court, and the bizarre intrusion of media celebrity into his previously cloistered life. He also made a serious point about the disturbing trend toward using bogus ethics charges as weapons against judicial nominees. Alito said–and I agree–that it would be hard to find an organization, public or private, with higher ethical standards than the federal courts, and it does a real disservice both to our federal judges and, ultimately, to the public to routinize the assertion of frivolous claims of ethical transgression.

Listening to Alito, and observing his obvious good sense, good humor and superior intelligence, cast into sharp relief a comment by a famous mainstream journalist who spoke on the panel immediately before mine. In response to a question, she said: certainly we can go back to the days when Senate confirmation votes were unanimous or close to it, if only President Bush would stop choosing such controversial nominees!

Anyway, it was a great experience; many thanks to the judges of the 10th Circuit.

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