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Transparency for Thee, But Not for Me

The "ACS" stands for the American Constitution Society, a liberal-leaning group which was founded to be a sort of Federalist Society anti-matter.  It has its share of provocative speakers, which is all to the good as far as I'm concerned.

It was thus disappointing to read Ed Whelan's post about how our liberal friends at the ACS, who yelp every day about the need for transparency, seem to have decided that hiding the ball is the better option when transparency is going to open the door on just how radical some of their favorites are, including and especially favorites who have an eye on the bench. 

Ed writes:

In doing research for my post on Pamela Karlan's textual hallucinations, I was surprised to discover that the hyperlinks on this American Constitution Society page to Karlan's "insightful--and witty--reflections" at the ACS's 2006 convention and to the video of her remarks both led nowhere (or, more precisely, to "Page Not Found"). A Google search of the site fared no better.

As it happens, I had learned some months ago that ACS had removed from its website a recording of an event in which D.C. Circuit nominee Cornelia Pillard took part--an event that Pillard, in her Senate questionnaire response, says she has no record of.

I also now see that ACS has eliminated public access to two controversial transcripts (linked to, in links that are no longer operative, in these two posts of mine) that presented problems for defeated Ninth Circuit nominee Goodwin Liu.

I had thought that Stalinist airbrushing had fallen out of fashion on the Left, but I think that it's fair to ask whether ACS, in order to advance the prospects of individuals whom it would like to see nominated and confirmed to judicial office, has decided that it's useful to hide aspects of their records from the Senate Judiciary Committee and the public. I'd also be interested to know whether Pillard inquired of ACS whether it could provide her its recording of her event and, if so, the nature of the conversation that ensued.


I wouldn't jump too quickly from "404 Page Not Found" to "Stalinist airbrushing." It's fair to ask if ACS has pulled the video to avoid embarrassing the nominee, but it is also fair to ask if this is coincidental and whether they will provide it or repost. If the answer to the latter is "no" or, equivalently, no response, that will be a smoking gun.

Ed has a follow-up post here.

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