Legal Insurrection is 10 years old
Dread has turned to cautious optimism
Ten years ago today, at 5:42 p.m. Eastern, Legal Insurrection published its first post, Obama is Door No. 2.
Prior to starting this blog, I was completely non-political. I may have donated small amounts of money to a handful of candidates, but I was not politically active. Like most people, I was more concerned with other aspects of life.
As 2008 progressed, I became increasingly frustrated with and concerned about the mass delusion of Obamamania sweeping the nation, and the blatant media bias.
Yet I still did not become political until very late in the game, and by happenstance.
In early September 2008 I was at the home of a friend and former client, someone I had represented quite successfully in a case before I left private practice. Despite having spent hundreds of hours together, we never had discussed politics.
At the dinner table with our wives, he asked me for whom I was voting. I mentioned that I was voting for McCain, and we got into a big argument, since he was an ardent Obama supporter and suffered from severe PDS.
After we argued back and forth for a while, he said that he never had heard anyone make the points as clearly as I had, and suggested that I should start a blog.
That’s it. No grand plan, just an argument and a dare.
I didn’t really know what a blog was. I didn’t follow the blogosphere much, if at all. So I picked Google Blogger because it was free, easy to use, and free. I was so ignorant of blogging that it never dawned on me to blog under a pseudonym.
Back then it was just me. And it remained just me for two years until then-Cornell-student Kathleen McCaffrey (Breitman) joined. And then we left Google Blogger, and added other authors.
For background on how we have grown over the years, see our 7th Anniversary post, and scroll through our Blog Anniversary tag.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years now. The camaraderie and spirit of those early Tea Party years still are my fondest memories.
I’ve been through a lot, and I’ve met many great people *virtually* along the way. I’ve also crossed the internet-real world divide many times.
There are readers and fellow bloggers I now consider friends. It’s those people and friendships I’ll still cherish when the pixels dim.
The state of the legal insurrection
Last year I wrote that Legal Insurrection is 9 years old, and filled with dread. On that 9th Anniversary, I was seriously expecting that this year’s anniversary post would be “Legal Insurrection is 10 years old, and done.” I was dispirited:
So I’m thinking through what it will mean to live without institutions.
Sorry to be a downer on our blog birthday. I’ve always tried to be honest with you, and honestly, this blog birthday I’m filled with dread, not good cheer.
So what is the state of the legal insurrection on this 10th Anniversary?
I’m feeling a little more optimistic now, and have dialed back the Dread Clock:
I wish I had a Dread Clock, similar to the Doomsday Clock.
If so, it would have been about three minutes to midnight. But I’ll dial it back by a couple of minutes because of the ongoing success in reclaiming the federal judiciary from the grip of liberal activism…, the clock is being dialed back now because of the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy….
There’s a reason the left is freaking the hell out over the Kennedy retirement. The federal district and appeals courts have been the principal vehicles for achieving liberal political gains that could not be gained at the ballot box or through congressional elections. The Supreme Court, usually by a one-vote Kennedy margin (with the exception of Obamacare, where Roberts defected), also has served that role in fewer, but the most important, cases.
We are used to losing institutions. The left is not. They are waking up to the possibility that the judiciary may be restored to the neutral role it should play, and would no longer serve as a liberal super-legislature.
The reclaiming of the federal judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court, is why the Dread Clock now stands at 5 minutes before midnight.
I did not know at the time the Dread Clock was dialed back that the nominee would be Brett Kavanaugh, or that the Democrats would engage in a months-long smear campaign at the level of dishonesty and fury at which it was fought.
“The personal life is dead in Russia, history has killed it” is one of my favorite lines from the movie Reds. I kept thinking of that line as Democrats weaponized Kavanaugh’s liberal college and law school classmates against him.
I understand what it’s like to be the target of a smear campaign, though what I experienced at Vassar a year ago was a proverbial drop in the ocean of hate and fabrication directed at Kavanaugh. It was an out-of-body experience.
My experience being the object of Vassar’s two-minutes of hate changed the way I look at the left. While many of them are merely misguided, far too many of them are bad people who simply must be defeated. They don’t share our core values of liberty and freedom. In the insane world of the modern campus, defending free speech for those who are unpopular is denigrated as an act of white supremacy. Insisting on due process for the accused is deemed an act in service of the “patriarchy.” And now those campus orthodoxies have taken over the Democratic Party and progressive movement, and are projected by the media.
A meaningful segment of the “progressive” movement has had their minds captured by anti-capitalist, anti-American and anti-Western educational indoctrination. There is no reasoning with such people not because I don’t want to reason with them, but because they have what amounts to a religious zealotry. “Intersectionality” has weaponized these zealots against Israel and Jews, as a proxy for capitalism, America and the West. It’s a singular enemy we face.
If Vassar was an eye-opener for me. Kavanaugh was a game-changer. I don’t know what will be in a few years, but for now there is pre-Kavanaugh and post-Kavanaugh.
Others have made the point, but it’s worth repeating: The malicious campaign against Kavanaugh proves that none of us are safe. No matter how well you live your life, you are exposed to serious damage if you get in their way politically.
The failure to confirm Kavanaugh would have been a disaster, emboldening further abuses. When defeat for Kavanaugh seemed possible, I also was reminded of how Natan Sharansky read Psalm 30 as he was released from Soviet imprisonment:
“I will exalt You, O Lord, for You have raised me up, and You have not allowed my enemies to rejoice over me.”
Thankfully we prevailed this time, just one battle in a long war which, as least superficially, we are losing.
Academia is gone. High tech is gone. Mass media is gone. The entertainment industry is gone. And along with those losses has come the loss of control over our vocabulary, which now is subservient to political needs of the institutions we have lost.
But I’m not as gloomy as I was a year ago. As always, Democrats and liberals overreach. On April 29, 2009, after Arlen Specter switched parties, I wrote, Relax, The Dems Will Screw Up:
It would be very easy to fall into a depression over Arlen Specter switching political parties, giving Democrats a likely filibuster-proof Senate majority. The result will be that Obama will be able to push through much of his agenda without meaningful debate….
What history shows us is that a liberal, blame-America-first Democratic President, urged on by a liberal, blame-America-first Democratic Congress, is a prescription for political self-destruction. Leave Democrats to their own devices, and they will screw themselves politically, just when they are at the height of power.
And so it came to pass. Democrats under Obama did pass Obamacare (barely), but over the next 8 years they were eviscerated at the state level and in Congress, culminating in Election Night 2016. No matter what happens in the future, we can always cherish the meltdowns of that night.
So Democrats, liberals, progressives, leftists — whatever label you want to put on them, are in control of the key cultural institutions of society. But they already are overreaching. Their ideological and cultural totalitarianism already is creating a backlash that may be as great as the political backlash of 2009-2016.
Dread has turned to cautious optimism. If we can hold off the barbarians at the gates in 2018 and 2020, change could be institutionalized and long-lasting. But they are not going to go away quietly or nicely.
All we have is ourselves, our camaraderie, our friendships, our loved ones, our faith, and our Constitution.
So the legal insurrection will continue, for as long as we can keep it going.
But enough about me.
Now a personal note.
As many of you are aware, the last three years have been incredibly difficult due to family illness, and never more so than this past year. My mental and physical energy have been non-existent at times. There are days and sometimes weeks when I just have to disappear. You may have noticed. Nonetheless, I remain hopeful that life can return to *normal* in this fourth year of our difficult journey.
Next year we will celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary, and that means more to me than all the rest.
But enough about me.
Through it all, we’ve kept pushing forward at Legal Insurrection through this adversity. Thanks to the editors and authors for helping keep the wheels rolling here. That we have celebrated so many author 5-year Anniversaries says a lot about how we view ourselves as a team.
Thanks also to the many readers who donate. We run an incredibly lean operation here, and scrape by on what is a rounding error for many websites.
We appreciate the readers who keep coming back for more. In a difficult time period for smaller websites, our traffic held steady and is on the increase.
Thanks even to, ahem, the, um, [heaves a little, almost ralphs], the commenters, many of whom have been here for several years.
Thank you for allowing me into your lives, and for your many good wishes and expressions of support over the past decade.
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.
Many more years ahead!
Ad multos annos!
Blogging is hard, especially when it isn’t all you do. It needs support from others for fresh content, and a dedicated audience to keep you from blog-burn-out (people reading and supporting you is a big motivator).
Here’s to another decade or five…!!!
Rags is right on this one. We love LI and all of the staff and management.
Great blog. All of you keep up the good work and don’t let the bastards get you down.
That was a beautiful post, Professor. I just love how you explain our political situation so clearly. You’ve been a good husband to support your wife these last few years and I hope things really do return to normal soon. I also hope you can see your way clear to keep your blog going.
Happy Birthday to Legal Insurrection
I’ve been following LI for maybe eight years. I check the blog 4-5 times a day, looking for perspective on the craziness around us. LI never falls short.
Around LI fundraising time every year, I send a little cash to the mailing address. I hope that what I send is received and that it does some good. I can’t imagine a day without LI.
Thank you Professor and all of the team (and most of the commentators—you know who you are). Adding content to the blog all the time is truly a Sisyphean task. Don’t ever think your engagement and hard work doesn’t matter. It matters hugely.
I wasn’t in on the beginning, but have been around a long time. I never posted anything in the comment area for years, though I would read them.
I have enjoyed the blog posts quite a bit and found they reflected most of my own thoughts in the main.
Best wishes for this coming trip around the sun for the blog is a good one for our dear Professor’s personal life. Health issues eventually face us all, they aren’t easy to deal with. Having been going through all kinds of issues, which seem to steam roller over you, one aspect smacking you up the head after another, as the body tends to go out of balance with some issues and acts like a gyroscope that was knocked off axis.
I know I am grateful for a blog which puts out reasoned content and has a number great commentators. We need an outlet for our views, and it helps knowing we are not alone in our thoughts when the onslaught from the left has been pervading most of the public information sector.
So thank you, so glad you started up this blog, and hope it continues for a long time.
This is a daily go-to site for me. A touch of sanity from you and the commenters in this mad world.
Prayers for you and your wife!
Professor, congratulations and thank you!!
I’ve really grown to count on your news coverage. LI will frequently have live coverage of events or news of late breaking stories I don’t find on other sites where this is their sole business, so it’s truly a go-to site and greatly appreciated.
Thank you Professor Jacobson and staff for all your hard work in running this web site. I can hardly believe it’s been ten years. This is my favorite site and I come here every day to keep up with what is going on in the world. I wish you good luck and success on the next ten years.
Congratulations Professor! You’ve come a long way since those early “Tell Me About…” blog entries. You were a one-man operation back then finding your way through conservativism. The only time I worried about you quitting was when you posted the famous “I’m So Tired” entry.
Watching you evolve was a big part of the appeal of this blog and you’ve come a long way since then. No need for “Tell Me About…” entries anymore. You are now fully involved in the battles at the front lines. Great insights and commentary every day. Another ten years must be looking better these day.
Congratulations on ten years of blogging. I always go first to LI when I want to understand the legal underpinnings of our current events. I wish you and your family continued health and strengh to continue this vital project !!
“There is no reasoning with such people not because I don’t want to reason with them, but because they have what amounts to a religious zealotry. “Intersectionality” has weaponized these zealots against Israel and Jews, as a proxy for capitalism, America and the West. It’s a singular enemy we face.”
When I read this it occurred to me that the liberal mindset is in many ways similar to Mohammedanism. Either could bring on a new dark age.
In any event, I am hoping that the next few elections are a huge disappointment for the left 🙂
Has it been that long? I still come here everyday. Thanks Professor.
Congratulations on making this site the best of the best.
Your contributions, as are all of those who write and contribute to making it happen, is no little feat. Many times over the past few years one can find you and/or your site being picked up in by many news organizations and other blogs via the Drudge Report.
And to missing you while you have been absent of posting; It is very noticable. Those who follow your postings know of what you and your wife are struggling with. In those days and weeks of absence, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Stay strong, hold on tight..we’ll be here for you.
Happy Birthday! Congratulations and thank you!
Thanks Professor! This site is one of my favorite places on the web. You’ve got some great writers and editors, and your comment section is a bright spot for it’s (largely) thoughtful commentary that doesn’t (usually) devolve into the typical web-vitriol.
I circled back to catch this
Episode 248 Scott Adams: Senator Collins’ speech
and decided that it’s a fit addition to a celebration of the contribution lawyers can make to society. Scott Adams usually talks about persuasion and the forms it takes. In this podcast, he talks about the persuasive and rescuing power of Susan Collins’ speech.
To me, it’s a paen to the legal opinion. That speech sounds like a legal opinion resolving a difficult case. One of the great things we have done in this country is to force our judges to put the basis of their decisions in writing. It has led to a format and a body of knowledge about how to arrive at a result that a reasonable person can recognize as fair, if not necessarily agreeable or perfect.
He even mentions her formulation of a standard for decision, “more likely than not,” which is different from that of a criminal case, “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
So I think its great to hear a popular media voice explain why we do things the way we do.
What a long, strange trip it’s been. I still have the original LI blogger link in my bookmarks (new comments will not be put through).
Look at the time. It’s almost Christmas…
Congratulations and many, many happy returns, Prof!!
Happy Birthday … and a subject I know you will be interested in.
NYU, Harvard etc. law schools being sued for diversity waivers on Law Review selection.
As a former law review editor, I was astounded when Obama cited law review on his resume, as he demonstrated no legal depth whatsoever. Then we learned that Harvard abandoned the two path selection process (essay, grades or both) in favor of a third, an election process that favored minorities. Now, law schools have gone even further, and have quotas.
puhiawa, thank you for shedding some light on such a disgusting situation.
Congratulations Prof. and many hopes and prayers for you, your wife, and family.
Congratulations to Professor J., Kemberlee Kaye, Leslie Eastman, “Fuzzy Slippers,” Vijeta Uniyal, Andrew Branca, Tony Branco and all the rest of the fantastic contributors and supporting crew, on reaching this milestone anniversary!
All of you are doing your part in providing an invaluable public service, as far as I’m concerned, contributing badly-needed insights and perspective to combat the tripartite scourges of totalitarianism, Leftist ignorance and propaganda, in all of their sundry manifestations.
Here’s to another glorious hundred years!
And, Professor, I wish you and your family, and, all the members of the larger Legal Insurrection family, best wishes for health, peace and prosperity.
Thank you Professor!
And thank you to every one who posts, making the comment section of LI one of the best on the web! It is the only site where I read every comment to every article I read (which is most of them)!
And a fanTASTIC 10 years it has been. Keep it up, please!
I’ve always been a lurker here, but want to take an opportunity to send a giant Congrats on ten years. I’m not a lawyer so sometimes I’m lost in the conversation on technicalities and legalese, but reading here often reminds me that some things are worth fighting for. And some people are worth standing beside in the fight.
Let me add my thanks for all the work you’ve put in to create and maintain this terrific website. I support it financially because it is so worthwhile. That you’ve been able to attract such awesome contributors and to maintain the high quality of content, while contending with personal challenges that would sideline most of us, is testament to your commitment to sharing truth.
You’re smart enough, you’re good enough, and, by golly, people like you.
May you enjoy many more years of success with Legal Insurrection and may your personal challenges be overcome. Bless you for what you do.
Congratulations Professor Jacobson. I can’t say I have been here for all 10 years but its been a solid 7 at least. Your blog is a go to for me a few times a day and during times like those we have experienced in the last few weeks it is an invaluable resource for clear, concise, accurate information.
“While many of them are merely misguided, far too many of them are bad people who simply must be defeated.” Bad as in hordes of relativist zombies lying in wait to feed on you or any of us while we helplessly watch. The Christian imperative is to pray for our enemies and to forgive them. Yeah, the outlook seems pretty grim. Strangely, that plot twist happens a lot in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.
Mark – scripture doesn’t tell us what to pray for our enemies. Paul went from enemy of the faith to champion – but in between he was struck blind and rendered helpless. David often prayed for his enemies to be struck down in the Psalms … under Jeshoshephat a horde marched on Jerusalem and the Father turned them against each other before they reached Jerusalem. The Son called the religious leaders liars like their father, the devil … so I have no issue praying for the Father to silence lying tongues and to turn their evil plans against themselves where hopefully, like Paul, they’ll repent and be healed.
As an attorney, I appreciate the clarity of thought in the way you articulate your opinions here and the genteel, collegial approach to considering arguments. I am profoundly disgusted by the state of our profession, and this site embodies the exemplary deportment expected of us as professionals. Aside from the intelligent commentary, this site (& Powerlineblog.com) serves as a tremendous example for our profession. Many thanks, & here’s to many more years. Cheers!
Happy birthday, LI; may you have many more! Happy anniversary, Professor and Mrs. Professor; may you have many, many more! Just the fact that you are feeling optimistic makes all of us here feel more optimistic, too.
2008. What an awful year.
Except for the birth of Legalinsurrection.com
First and foremost, prayers for you wife’s and family health. Nothing else matters more.
Secondly, you make it look so easy with your posts, but you’ve got an originalist’s mind. I value your posts and use their wit and wisdom when dueling with the leftist mob on other sites. I’m not nearly as good as you so thanks for the help.
Thanks for everything you do Prof, wishing you a wonderful 10th!
Professor, live long and prosper. You are an inspiration to me and others.
I hate to admit it, but it was (the now-hated) Megyn Kelly who first drove me to this site.
I cannot remember the issue, but there was some sort of breaking legal news and on her show, Megyn said she was consulting your site – which she said was the best. She was right!
I am not an attorney, as she is, but I have looked at other legal sites, and, in the main, found them wanting.
Keep it up – I’m sure you’re not tired of winning.
Thank you all.
I have been with you for probably 5 years, and I really enjoy your work.
Keep it up!
My many thanks as well.
Pasha: I used to admire your poetry.
Zhivago: Thank you.
Pasha: I shouldn’t admire it now. I should find it absurdly personal. Don’t you agree? Feelings, insights, affections… it’s suddenly trivial now. You don’t agree; you’re wrong. The personal life is dead in Russia. History has killed it. I can see why you might hate me.
Zhivago: I hate everything you say, but not enough to kill you for it.
Been here since almost the first day – I found the “Obama is Door No. 2” post only days after it was posted. I was so hungry for sanity in a world gone mad–suffering from Obama-mania, media malpractice, and visceral hate from the left like I’d never witnessed or read about in history in this great nation. Thankfully, I found this island of sanity, Legal Insurrection.
Ten years on and this blog grows better every day. Yours is the brilliant, sane voice crying into the Internet wilderness that I seek out daily, still.
Thank you Professor, for sacrificing your time, and for your dedication to bring clarity, reason, and sanity to us. Praying for you and your wife, and wishing you both many more years together!
Long live Legal Insurrection!
Legalinsurrection.com is ten years-old.
How ironic that its political adversaries are emotionally the same age.
For this site, thank you kindly.
Best wishes from Seattle on LI’s 10th anniversary. Keep up the great work!
Congratulations, hoping to be reading this great blog for many years. Your efforts are appreciated and the truth is winning, due in large part to you and the contributors efforts. Thank you very much!
Ḥazak ve-emaẓ, Profressor Jacobson! (I understand this translates “Be strong and of good courage” on the occasion of success and achievement.)
Congratulations Professor and the crew! Keep it up. I love your work.
I’ve never been as well informed politically, nor as courageous to speak up about politics with friends and family, thanks to this site Professor. A heartfelt thank you for the continuing education I get from you ProfJ and all the contributors here.
It is We who wholeheartedly thank you for creating this place for us.
I look back on the early years, the obama years, and know it would have been so much more difficult without this place and without your perspective.
I would read your posts and think, Yes that is it.
I hope you also understand how much it meant to know I was not alone.
I am praying for health for you and your family
Here’s to so many more,
Thank you so
Much Professor, a calm in a storm
In all the web, there are only a handful of sites worth a daily visit. This is one of them. Thank you, Sir.
“Thanks even to, ahem, the, um, [heaves a little, almost ralphs], the commenters, many of whom have been here for several years….”
Sorry to be late to the party. I’ve been on the road.
You’re one of the best, professor, for insightful comment and analysis. Keep it up. A daily go-to place.
Oregon Mike, #100,000
I hit this website and Drudge several times per day.
I’ve read every single article and 99% of the comments. Though you may not know it we spend a lot of time together. Thank you for providing a path to clear understanding in a world of confusing detritus and pablum.
Keep up the good works.
Legal Insurrection is a wonderfully thoughtful website. It’s an island in a big ocean of hysteria. Thank you, Professor.
Thank you for all your efforts over the years.
I also think the appellate courts are “where it’s at” for us. And so I rejoice over Trump’s three new justices for the notorious Ninth Circuit. Game changer for the West, suffering under the desperadoes who have captured it.
Has it really been teen years? Gracious! This is an appreciated, quiet corner of sanity in a crazy world Professor.
Congratulations….and Happy Anniversary.
This is absolutely my favorite site. I don’t remember when or how I stumbled across LI, but it was as if I stumbled across the Lost Dutchman Mine. Great writers with a pretty diverse group commenting on the world of law and politics. At times, I learn as much from the comments as I do from the article posted.