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Lying About Lying

In the latest installment of the Federalist Society's online debate on the Sotomayor nomination, Louis Michael Seidman wanders off the topic to take a gratuitous swipe at Justice Thomas with the well-worn lie that "Thomas swore under oath to the preposterous claim that he had never in his life talked with anyone about Roe v. Wade." Wendy Long then nails him on it, and Seidman curiously replies by quoting the portion of the transcript that definitively proves Seidman's statement was a lie.

In the transcript, Thomas does not say that he never talked about Roe. He says he discussed it only in the most general terms and wasn't involved in the debates that were going around. That statement is entirely credible. Hard as it is for the combatants in the abortion debate to believe, there are many people who do not feel strongly about it either way and don't get into the debates.

Seidman says he quotes the transcript to "leave to people to decide for themselves whether [Thomas's testimony] is credible." Say you don't believe his testimony if you like Professor, but your statement that he "swore under oath to the preposterous claim that he had never in his life talked with anyone about Roe v. Wade" is beyond question a lie. Lying is bad in any situation, but to lie while calling someone else a liar is hypocrisy of lowest order.

Update: See the comments regarding whether Seidman's initial post was an intentional lie or reckless disregard of the truth.


Seidman should correct the record. If he does not, then calling him a liar is appropriate. He may have just been repeating what he thought he knew. That shouldn't happen, of course, but Seidman should at least be given the chance to correct himself.

He has had a chance. If his first statement was merely reckless disregard of the truth rather than a deliberate lie, then his follow-up post after having pulled up the transcript should have been a retraction and apology. It wasn't.

Many libs have an "anything to win" mentality--it truly is jarring sometimes.

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