State Senator Jason Schultz has a strange view of treachery

State Senator Jason Schultz weighed in last night on the controversy over Confederate flag displays: "I'm now convinced the whole Confederate flag issue is simply about progressives teaching the establishment R's how to jump through hoops."

During our ensuing dialogue, Schultz revealed the level of nuanced thinking and temperate choice of words one would expect from a Ted Cruz endorser.  

Schultz didn't appreciate my suggestion that he lacks an understanding of U.S. history.

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I was seeking to clarify which Republican reaction had upset Schultz: Iowa GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann's blistering comments about local activists who displayed the Stars and Bars during a July 4 parade, or U.S. House leaders getting tripped up over the issue during debate over an appropriations bill this week.

Schultz indicated that he resents Republican leaders begging for forgiveness from fools like me, for whom the flag represents slavery, racial oppression, and white supremacy.

To be clear, no one owes me an apology for displaying the Confederate flag. That symbol insults not me but the millions of Americans who suffered oppression and violence under those who waved that banner, as well as those who lost lives or limbs fighting to save the Union during the Civil War.

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At that point, our conversation took a new turn.

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I was referring to the bill Schultz introduced as a member of the Iowa House in 2010, which stipulated that judges "shall not use judicial precedent, case law, penumbras, or international law as a basis for rulings."

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Note the irony: Schultz called me a "traitor" twice because I believe it's legitimate for judges to cite precedent in their rulings. Whereas in his mind, a flag representing those who literally seceded from the United States, then fought and died to break the Union apart, is just a symbol of "resistance."

In dialogue with another commenter, Schultz elaborated on his views about the "travesty" of precedent and how it is "anti-American" to believe judges should be able to cite case law.

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Shortly after our exchange, Schultz asked on his Facebook feed,

Is it me, or does legal precedent only get declared when progressives get à opinion to go their way. New precedent only means the progressives reversed what always has been. I want America back!!!

It's just you, Senator. Whatever their ideology, all judges routinely cite precedent in their opinions. For a recent example, see the conservative dissents from the U.S. Supreme Court's majority ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, the marriage equality case. According to attorney Ryan Koopmans, who blogs about appellate law, 7th Circuit U.S. Appeals Court Judge Richard Posner is "the only judge I know of who, on occassion, writes an opinion with no citations to case law."

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread.

  • "A traitor...

    is everyone who does not agree with me." - George III

  • English Common Law

    It has been decades since I last fully read A HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH SPEAKING PEOPLES Vol 1 by Winston Churchill, so my memory is rather clouded about what he wrote.

    That said, I am fairly certain that he devoted a good portion of a chapter to explaining the origin of Common Law and that it is quite dependant on precedent. Our system while much more codified than the British, nonetheless also is pretty well grounded in precedent.

    I must disclaim the usual; that I am not a lawyer nor do I watch them on TV (not, at least since Denny Crane retired) so I am open to courteous correction if warranted.

    And by golly, now that I am retired and thankfully enjoy a still-very-curious mind it may be time to dust off those four volumes of Churchill.

    • my impression

      is that conservatives have generally valued the common law more than progressives.  

      • democracy is dangerous

        Sure, the conservatives prefer common law to legislated law and go to pains to claim we are not really a democracy.

        Common law is "what has always been" and it changes s-l-o-w-l-y.  Much safer to be guided by common law (as determined by old lawyers and judges) than to permit upheaval via legislated law (such as may happen in a democracy).  That's the irony of Senator Schultz's position--he thinks the courts are against him!

  • Republican Fireworks Week, July 5-12

    First Senator Johnson making clear he wants to undermine public schools; now Senator Schultz making clear he has never read a judicial opinion, decrying precedent while nonetheless arguing for "what has always been".

    • And it won't mean squat at election time

      These men are from districts where my old friend C. Ment Block would get elected, as long as there is an R behind the name.  

      • Unfortunately..

        ...your friend Mr. C.M. Block has been in residence for awhile now.

        tip 'o the hat to DMdem for inducing this political upchuck. Great job.  


      • What they are really voting for

        You are doubtless correct, but I have to wonder how many Republican voters understand what they are really voting for.  

        They intend to vote against abortion or gay rights or for low taxes.  But do they realize their state senators want to dismantle public schools or the legal system?  How many traditional Repub voters support that agenda?

        Repub officials have to keep their real agenda hidden and hope guys like Johnson can keep quiet most of the time.

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