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Pejman Yousefzadeh reacted to Andrew Sullivan's post about the controversy regarding Dr. James Dobson, and the thank you note he received from Judge Alito.
I really have no brief for James Dobson, but this is absurd. Unless you are the kind of person who sees a wink-wink-nudge-nudge-say-no-more element in just about every bit of human interaction, it's hard to see what the big deal is regarding the fact that Alito was polite. It doesn't signify a desire to engage in any kind of quid pro quo, and if Sullivan actually does think that Alito's letter is enough to demonstrate his supposed lack of independence, well, let's all thank goodness this hanging judge of a blogger isn't a real judge in the court system. And I say this as someone who believes Sullivan to be quite intelligent and eloquent on a number of issues.

Noting, perhaps, that he is on thin ice with this kind of innuendo and anxious to shore up a weak position, Sullivan protests that his suspicions are somehow well-founded. Why? Because Dobson read Alito's letter on the radio! Because writing a thank-you letter constitutes "associating with overtly political entities"! (Query: Was Andrew Sullivan upset that Justice Alito attended the State of the Union, where "overtly political entities" were in abundance?) And finally because "there is more than just a hint of a constitutional quo for a political quid in the letter," and Sullivan "hoped [Alito's] jurisprudence would not amount to a carte blanche for whatever the Christianists demand. The letter suggests otherwise." How this is the case, we do not know and Sullivan does not tell us. I guess we are just supposed to take his word for it.
Adam C also commented on reactions from Taranto:
Now, Alito's defenders will doubtless point to Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution, which stipulates that federal judges "shall hold their offices during good behaviour." Surely, they will argue, sending a thank-you note qualifies as "good behaviour."...

Luckily, there is a way Alito can defuse the scandal. All he has to do is send a note to Sullivan thanking him for his endorsement. Then, when he casts a vote against same-sex marriage, Sullivan's pet issue, it will be clear that there is in fact no quo.


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