Get PJ Media on your Apple

Rule of Law

The Slippery Blogging of Election Law Professor Rick Hasen

March 22nd, 2013 - 10:57 am

I’ve watched with slight interest the increasing Democrat partisanship of University of California at Irvine Law Professor Rick Hasen. Hasen is a favorite source of election-law news for the left. His blog, housed on servers at the public UC Irvine, catalogs the left-wing narrative for other professors, students, and politicos to digest.

Rachel Maddow routinely brings Hasen on her show to promulgate his biases in the disguise of scholarly commentary.

His selectivity of content on his blog reveals his biases. Stories about voter fraud? They rarely get mentioned unless it can be demonstrated that “voter ID wouldn’t have prevented” the particular type of fraud he has chosen to report.

Stories about malfeasance in the Obama Voting Section, such as the career recommendation to preclear South Carolina voter ID (a decision later overruled by Assistant Attorney General Tom  Perez)? Hasen tweets that he won’t report on that until a “major” (read: liberal) newspaper reports it, or the documents that exist proving the PJ Media story are leaked.

In other words, Hasen will ignore the important story because none of my sources would ever trust his left-wing allies like Maddow with the documents.

Thankfully, senators like Lindsey Graham aren’t ignoring the (accurate) reporting.

Hasen subscribes to the theory that only the left-wing goose deserves sauce; the conservative gander doesn’t even exist. This was most recently on display in Hasen’s intellectually dishonest response to the devastating DOJ inspector general’s report on the rancid goings-on inside the Justice Department. He published this article, in which he ignores the findings he doesn’t like and continues to mislead the public about the Bush administration’s handling of voting rights cases.

He also continues to misrepresent facts surrounding PJ Media contributor Hans von Spakovsky. Hasen asserts we all “know” that “senior Justice Department officials in the Bush era, including Hans von Spakovsky, overruled the recommendations of career civil-service attorneys in the section to approve Georgia’s controversial voter identification law.”

We all “know” this? In fact, page 87 of the IG report specifically says that the long-time “career civil service” chief of the Voting Section, John Tanner, recommended that the Georgia voter ID law be precleared. Von Spakovsky — who was also a career civil service lawyer at Justice, although you would never know that from Hasen’s misleading article — didn’t overrule anyone.

Hasen also says we all “know” (that arrogant word again) the Bush administration “made decisions widely perceived to help Republicans, such as approving Texas’ mid-decade re-redistricting of its congressional seats to create more safe Republican seats, an effort partially overturned by the Supreme Court after finding it violated the Voting Rights Act.”

Again, we do not all “know” this — especially the inspector general, who disagrees with the professor. The inspector general specifically says on page 114 that “allegations of politicized decision-making in Section 5 decisions were not substantiated.”

The approval of the Texas congressional redistricting plan that Hasen is referring to was a Section 5 case. The IG report says that there were “strong differences of opinion” over the Texas Section 5 matter, but that after careful review, the IG “could not conclude that the positions taken … were inconsistent with applicable law or that they were offered as a pretext for advancing partisan objectives.”

If you are one of Hasen’s students, beware. When he describes a case as settled, consider the source.

Von Spakovsky told me that he asked Hasen in writing to correct his false assertions about the Georgia voter ID case because Hasen clearly intended to give his readers:

… the misleading impression in the Texas matter that the Supreme Court’s ruling showed that the preclearance decision was wrong. In fact, the violation the Supreme Court found that Hasen was referring to was under a different part of the Voting Rights Act, not Section 5, but Hasen never mentions that. The Supreme Court opinion actually vindicated the Bush administration’s approval of the Texas redistricting plan. The Supreme Court agreed with the Bush administration’s conclusion that there were only eight majority-minority congressional districts that needed to be preserved in the Texas redistricting plan. The one violation they found had no applicability to the Section 5 issue.

You would think a professor cares about accuracy. Sadly, among leftist election law professors, that is often not the case.

Hasen’s article grudgingly admits that the IG report concludes: “Many Bush-era decisions, such as those over Georgia voter ID law, were also within the policy discretion of Justice Department officials.”

Many? Actually, what the IG report says on page 115 is that “there were legitimate, non-discriminatory bases for the substantive enforcement decisions made by Division leadership in the high-profile, controversial cases handled by the Voting Section since 2001, and that these reasons were not a pretext for improper racial or political considerations.”

That means all, not many.

In fact, in several of these cases, the enforcement decisions made by the Bush administration “were vindicated by subsequent judicial decisions,” according to the report. That’s called vindication. Contrary to the false assertions that Hasen has been making for years, the IG found no evidence of partisanship or politics in the enforcement decisions made during the Bush administration, including when Hans von Spakovsky was a career lawyer there.

Given the false and malicious personal attacks that Hasen has mounted on von Spakovsky over the years, this IG report must frustrate him.

But readers of Hasen’s blog, and his students, must recognize that they are getting at best only half the story, and at worst a false narrative. Thankfully, these days, the role of any professor in moving a narrative has been replaced by ratings powerhouses like Fox News, conservative media, and other sources more widely read than an academic’s blog.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
I don't know many law professors in criminal justice who aren't involved in some form of preening, unabashed leftist activism, often outside their academic field of expertise, though they aren't shy to trumpet their status anyway. It is increasingly a requirement.

It is also entirely routine for law schools to dedicate vast portions of their resources to anti-law enforcement, anti-incarceration, pro-criminal agendas -- and I could make some distinction between public and private schools but why bother, really, as research grants in this field either come directly from the taxpayers or are empowered in some way through public entities -- and federal student loans and other public subsidies are the raison d'etre for the existence of higher education public and private these days.

Little wonder law schools also particularly favor old terrorists and cop killers and people who assist in protecting such murderers from justice -- Northwestern has Bernardine Dohrn; Albany Law, Eleanor Raskin (née Stein). Harvard -- well the day is short. Raskin's also a judge, a somewhat cosmic joke. Funny how short the road is, sometimes, from belonging to a terrorist cell that lobbed firebombs at a judge's house to throwing on the black robe yourself.

When institutions are so corrupt that it is obvious they have created special standards in order to admit violent criminals and people whose only visible accomplishments involve celebrating people who murder cops in cold blood, why bother calling them law schools in the first place?

A new name is needed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (6)
All Comments   (6)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
taxpayer funded blogging?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Here's a Tex axiom and an immutable truth:

The word MSNBC and accuracy should never be used in the same sentence, unless accuracy is prefaced by "a complete lack of..."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Liberals "know." What need for facts? They know men are unfair to women, whites unfair to blacks, gays incapable of unfairness, and women have access to a unique and innate form of wisdom. "Nuff said everyone. Let's go home and call it a day.

On one blog right now, they're asserting that there are Americans in favor of murdering and raping women, apart from those who actually do such things I mean. They feel a lot of men support the rape and murder of women. Liberals think weird thoughts. That's because they're morons.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Bias starts with selection. (paraphrasing Roger Ailes' dictum)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't know many law professors in criminal justice who aren't involved in some form of preening, unabashed leftist activism, often outside their academic field of expertise, though they aren't shy to trumpet their status anyway. It is increasingly a requirement.

It is also entirely routine for law schools to dedicate vast portions of their resources to anti-law enforcement, anti-incarceration, pro-criminal agendas -- and I could make some distinction between public and private schools but why bother, really, as research grants in this field either come directly from the taxpayers or are empowered in some way through public entities -- and federal student loans and other public subsidies are the raison d'etre for the existence of higher education public and private these days.

Little wonder law schools also particularly favor old terrorists and cop killers and people who assist in protecting such murderers from justice -- Northwestern has Bernardine Dohrn; Albany Law, Eleanor Raskin (née Stein). Harvard -- well the day is short. Raskin's also a judge, a somewhat cosmic joke. Funny how short the road is, sometimes, from belonging to a terrorist cell that lobbed firebombs at a judge's house to throwing on the black robe yourself.

When institutions are so corrupt that it is obvious they have created special standards in order to admit violent criminals and people whose only visible accomplishments involve celebrating people who murder cops in cold blood, why bother calling them law schools in the first place?

A new name is needed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thirty of the 50 states have Republican Governors and 24 of them have a Republican governor and Republican controlled legislature. In many of those states members of the state university system's board of regents are appointed by the governor and/or confirmed by the legislature. If we paid half as much attention to the governance of state universities as we pay to city council races, publicly funded universities and their law schools wouldn't be vipers' nests of communists. Even where political authority doesn't have control over the university's board, the university has to come to the legislature for funding. The university President/Chancellor/Deans having to spend a little quality time with the Governor or the Finance Committee chairs would crystalize their perceptions. Though there'd be a lot of wailing and knashing of teeth about academic freedom and such, when you have a bureaucrat by the budget, his heart and mind will follow. Just look how quickly the University of Tennessee pulled the public and tuition funding from their "Sex Days" event in response to public pressure. If the Dean of the Law School is contemplating not having a budget if s/he hires some lefty scumbag, the lefty scumbag won't get hired. I know legislators know how to do this stuff; I've done the carpet dance in a few committee chairs' offices, too, but I've never seen anything more than the ocassional general decrement in the University budget. We just don't pay attention!

My state has had a Republican Legislature almost continuously since the early '80s and Republican governors since 2002, yet our University remains a viper's nest of leftists and provides sinecures for most of the former Democrat officeholders who lost elections or appointments. The campus in Juneau is run by the former head of the Democrat Party. The former Lt. Gov. and failed Democrat candidate for Governor heads a department at the Anchorage campus. Several former Democrat legislators and appointees either hold administrative or teaching positions with the University and I can't think of a single Republican who does. Every member of the Board of Regents was appointed or re-appointed by a Republican governor. It is tragic, and from what I've seen other states are no different.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
View All