"Strongly Approve of Trump" Among My Students: Zero

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Just for fun, I do an anonymous internet survey of my Constitutional Law I class every year. The survey is voluntary, with a high but far from universal response rate. Some of the students were required to take my class, and others were required to take Constitutional Law I, but got to choose their professor. Here are some results from the past three years:

Out of 106 students:

20 Strong Democrats
27 Lean Democrats
32 Lean Republicans
16 Strong Republicans
11 Independent/Other

Approve of Trump: 19
Strongly Approve of Trump: 0 (yes, zero)

NEXT: Criminal Defendant Must Write and Post Essay on Respect for Judiciary, and Delete Any Negative Comments Posted on that Essay

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  1. Not terribly shocking. Nobody thinks the legal community have attitudes that are representative of the general population.

    1. The legal community in general, no, but “Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University”?

      1. Hence the 19 who approved of Trump, and approximately equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans.

        At your average law school, it would have been more like 1 or 2, and 5-10 Democrats for each Republican.

        1. Why focus on average schools, rather than on high-quality institutions?

          Oh, now I get it . . .

          1. Oh look, the Reverend of Enlightenment/BlahBlah/MentalRegurgitation still doesn’t understand simple words.

            Not much has changed in the past year.

          2. Fuck off, slaver.

    2. I agree with your assessment of the legal community, but nevertheless those numbers are pretty stark.

      1. That’s how unrepresentative the legal community has become, though. Basically all of academia, except for STEM, really.

        1. There is no doubt some truth in what you say, though I’d frame it more as elites generally.

          But it is rare for something to be explained solely by one thing – I’d wager Trump’s polarizing nature is driving the elites-populous disparity in this issue more than others.

          And also that Trump is indeed extraordinarily unpopular. Even those that are going to vote for him oftentimes don’t like him – as you yourself have said.

          All three are in the mix to explain these numbers.

          1. Is he really that polarizing, though? Or is the fact that most ‘elites’ dislike him resulting in a form of coverage that makes him polarizing?

            The guy has gotten unprecedentedly negative coverage, even during the campaign prior to his winning the election. Suppose the coverage were more balanced, closer to the general population’s distribution of opinions? I bet he’d be substantially more popular then, less polarizing.

            I said below that we can’t spare him, he fights. Well, guess who he fights? The ‘elites’. Of course they don’t like him!

            1. Well, yeah – his strongly approve/disapprove numbers are much higher than other modern Presidents.

              But the number that gets to me is that the approve/disprove nearly directly tracks ‘impeachment is illegitimate’/’Trump should be removed.’
              So if you like Trump, there should be no investigations at all. If you don’t, he should be thrown out of office. Hard to find more polarization than that.

              Your defense of him as being screwed by the media is quite silly, and seems to deny the existence of an objective truth.
              It’s not the media – Trump brings it on himself very much on purpose. FFS, look at his tweets.

              Fighting the elites is not a virtue any more than fighting the rabble/proles is.

              1. “So if you like Trump, there should be no investigations at all. If you don’t, he should be thrown out of office. Hard to find more polarization than that.”

                That’s exactly true: Support for impeachment has become a party identifier. If you’re a Republican you’re opposed, if you’re a Democrat you’re in favor. To be in either camp and NOT publicly hold the dominant view is to risk shunning.

                If the Democrats had a real case against him, you’d think they’d be able to persuade at least some people who didn’t already want rid of him. But, yeah, maybe Republicans are suddenly swept up in a cult of personality which mysteriously doesn’t result in people actually liking Trump, and it’s the Democrats responding to objective evidence.

                No way to tell in the heat of the battle.

                “Your defense of him as being screwed by the media is quite silly, and seems to deny the existence of an objective truth.”

                Oh, I think there IS such a thing as objective truth, though humans have limited access to it, mediated by our senses and our rather fallible reason. But most of the things he’s being excoriated over aren’t the stuff of objective truth, they’re the stuff of opinions, taste. Morality. Policy preferences. Manner.

                And when a country’s media have a radically different distribution of opinion from it’s general populace, I hold that there’s something broken. That is not a normal or healthy circumstance. It’s pathological.

                1. I agree the media has polarized opinions towards Trump. Take Trump’s attitude towards Obamacare as an example—Trump clearly secretly supports Obamacare because the Kushner family is heavily invested in the ACA Exchanges…but many Democrats believe he is trying to destroy Obamacare when all the evidence points to Obamacare being stronger than ever. Furthermore Trump strongest supporters in West Virginia support even the Obamacare Medicaid expansion while Cruz Republicans in Texas continue to oppose the Medicaid expansion.

                  1. SC,
                    Well, when you say that Trump *secretly* supports the ACA, while he was repeatedly and publicly screaming about repealing/ending it…you seem to think that it’s odd that Democrats believe that Trump does not like Obamacare. (I think the Republicans also agree–almost universally–that Trump does not like Obamacare, although that was not your main point. Liking Obamacare might be a partisan issue, but thinking Trump wanted to end it does not seem the least bit partisan.)

                    1. Obamacare is stronger than ever and the Kushner’s health insurance company created specifically to take advantage of the ACA subsidies is also growing and profitable after a rocky start under Obama…coincidence?? I think not. 😉

                  2. “when all the evidence points to Obamacare being stronger than ever. ”

                    Cancers do tend to get stronger with the passage of time. It’s the patient that gets weaker.

                  3. Come on! To help his family investments financially by strengthening ACA? Next thing you know someone will be accusing Dick Cheney of fomenting war in Iraq so his company Haliburton can take over logistical support so more troops are available for the front lines, for tens of billions of dollars in contracts.

                    And the Democrats will create the ADA so myriad lawyers can get $8000 for discovering minor violations of handicap stalls in small businesses, then redirect a portion back as donations.

                    This is all made up stuff!

                    1. The Kushner family company, Oscar Health, is a multi BILLION dollar company. Trump awarded his hotel the G7 meeting which is chump change compared to how much money is being funneled to Oscar Health by Trump’s executive orders. You need to wake up!

                2. We can debate impeachment elsewhere, but ‘the Republicans in Congress are not convinced’ is not really damming.

                  I disagree with you that the things Trump is excoriated for are merely opinions. Alternative facts are not real life.

                  Media’s party affiliation is not the same as media reporting. Same thing with judges. Same as with any professional.

                  1. Left wingers have a tendency to confuse their opinions with facts, that’s true.

                    “Media’s party affiliation is not the same as media reporting.”

                    Wow. You’re so deep in denial you must be getting nitrogen narcosis.

                    1. Or you take media bias as an article of faith because it doesn’t agree with your prejudices.

                    2. You are literally arguing that there is nothing unusual or unhealthy about 90-95% of the members of the news media belonging to one party in a democracy. That it won’t have any effect on their reporting, how they spin stories, what they decide is worthy of reporting on.

                      Because they’re impartial robots, not human beings?

                      Simply to state that is to refute it, your position on this is lunacy.

                    3. You’re arguing party affiliation means you cannot be a professional. That’s not an assumption that allows a democratic society to work.

                      Bias is a thing, but professional news outlets are on guard against it. There are protocols and layers of review to deal with it. Unlike, say blogs. Also unlike, as it turns out, FOX News, which has dismantled such safeguards for some reason.

                      I’m not saying media doesn’t have bias, but it’s generally more towards $$ than any partisan BS you’re talking about. And even then, it’s more muted in the professional outlets than the clickbatier side of the web like Brietbart or Slate or Salon.

                    4. For one person, party affiliation doesn’t mean you can’t be a professional. Some individuals rise above their biases, see them as something to fight against.

                      On an institutional level, when the institution is dominated by people who share a bias? Nope, doesn’t happen. You can’t expect everybody in an organization to be exceptional. And when somebody is surrounded by other people who share their opinions, they stop seeing those opinions as opinions, start thinking of them as just objective fact. After all, everybody around them agrees!

                      Worse, when basically everybody in a group agrees about something, those institutional safeguards you’re talking about are subverted, they function to prevent dissent and enforce orthodoxy, not safeguard against groupthink.

                      Protocols and layers of review end up preventing the orthodoxy from being challenged, not preventing it from taking over. Dissenters get expelled, and dominance becomes monoculture. How else did you think academia went from a modest majority of liberals to 20,30 to 1 ratios in some fields?

                      You’re asking us to pretend that everything we know about human behavior in groups simply doesn’t apply to Democrats.

                    5. Groupthink is a problem in any organization. I don’t see what you’re talking about as any different from that issue.

                      And, again, the bias towards $$ dominates any political bias. But you think partisanship dominates professionalism and capitalism across industry, education, government, and media.

                      That’s not human behavior, that’s a partisan seeing hostile partisanship everywhere.

                    6. This is silly. The “invisible hand” of market forces, while not necessarily promoting quality, does promote variety. Fox News exists to fill a version of events that appeals to non liberal views, so it all balances out, and Fox News, Brietbart, Drudge Report, etc… are proof of that. But Trump is not always favored by his favored networks, which is damning. Trump has damaged his reputation more in the past few years through ihis own bitching than the media ever could, and they tried hard. Remember Trump’s shit fit on Day 1 of his Presidency, “my election crowd was bigger than Obama?” What a whiner.

            2. Is he really that polarizing, though?


              Suppose the coverage were more balanced,

              Why should it be “balanced” rather than accurate? The guy is a disgusting excuse for a human being, a crook, deadbeat, compulsive liar, and in all likelihood a tax cheat and sex criminal.

              But hey, judges. Right, Brett?

              1. Are you talking about Obama, Clinton or Biden?

              2. After the first Democrat primary debate but before the Ukraine scandal I was prepared to vote for Trump. Trump was the best Republican the Democrats could dream of precisely because he is unethical. So the Kushner family is heavily invested in the ACA Exchanges so Trump has issued executive orders to strengthen Obamacare to enrich the Kushner family. The vile Cruz Republicans are the ones that continue to oppose the Medicaid expansion.

                1. Trump’s done nothing to strengthen the ACA, unless they were secret orders. He’s cut advertising completely. The ACA is getting stronger, but I don’t think you’ve made your causal case.

                  1. That is because you are gullible and don’t think for yourself. The Kushner family’s health insurance company is now worth over $3 billion thanks to Trump’s executive orders.

                    1. You haven’t made your causal case.

            3. I said below that we can’t spare him, he fights

              False. He’s a coward. He never fights.

          2. “extraordinarily unpopular”

            Per Gallup https://news.gallup.com/interactives/185273/presidential-job-approval-center.aspx

            Trump day 1028 43% approval
            Obama day 1020 43% approval

            1. Very well, extraordinarily unpopular given the economy.

              1. Just don’t be surprised when the popularity polls turn out to be non-voters and he pulls 25%+ of black votes. Clownworld will only get wackier from here on out, hope you’re ready for it.

                1. Could be – I have no idea which direction the election will go.

                  1. Is that you Professor Turdley??

              2. “Very well, extraordinarily unpopular given the economy.”

                Sure, but very popular given all the scandal surrounding him. Obama had barely any scandals at day 1020.

                1. I mean, you don’t get to factor out the circumstances surrounding his popularity.

                2. Nah, I heard that was all fake news.

                3. Obama had plenty of scandals, the media just generally refused to cover them.

                  1. From Benghazi to fancy mustard to Obama’s tan suit, no stone was left unturned by FOX and talk radio.

                    1. Right, and with a market penetration barely into the double digits, that means that most people either never heard of Obama’s scandals, or only heard the Democratic take on them.

                    2. Or maybe those were largely crap BS stories.

                      Most of the scandals y’all carp about were covered in the NYT/WaPo, they just didn’t get to the outrage you feel and died away shortly thereafter not because of a coverup but because the GOP was already on to some new tempest in a teapot.

              3. Given the 24/7/365 negative media blitz versus the same level of adoring cover for Obama, I’ll take it

    3. Or….they actually recognize Trump trampling over the constitution his very followers purport to love and see it for what it is.

      1. I haven’t seen a lot of constitutional trampling on his part, though, and to the extent he’s trampling it, it’s parts of the Constitution that have been beaten into the ground already. Where are his novel abuses?

        Mostly the complaints seem to be due to him doing the unthinkable: Governing as he ran!

        1. Mostly the complaints seem to be due to him doing the unthinkable: Governing as he ran!


          And why does governing as he ran make him less loathsome? Less corrupt?

        2. I haven’t seen a lot of constitutional trampling on his part, though,

          There are none so blind.

          1. Well, if I’m blind, try describing the constitutional abuses in text, then.

            1. Buh Biden

            2. Emoluments, foreign and domestic.

              1. No, I mean something that would have been viewed as a constitutional abuse if anybody did them. Not novel interpretation invented to make Trump guilty, that will go away as soon as a Democrat takes office.

                1. Yeah, the novel interpretation is that the foreign emoluments clause applies to the President.

        3. My complaints are that Trump is an asshat, but you are basically right. He hasn’t done all that much more, and you can argue it’s a logical progression of President’s exceeding their mandate going back to FDR. The power of the President has been too greatly increased over the years, and I don’t believe either mainstream party has any problem with that, as long as their guy is in charge. It is ironic to see the Trumpinista fan club in the comments board. Isn’t the point of Libertariansim to cheer on any decrease in government? Trump has done some deregulation, and tax reduction, so if people were cheering for that, I get it. But people love the dramarama. And complaining about Clinton or Obama. I don’t know they get the whole past vs present thing.

  2. You must be so disappointed…

    1. You’ve been commented here for like a decade, and still totally lack understanding.

      1. Martinned specializes in Euro sneers, not really trying to understand anything different from what he believes in …

      2. Randy Barnett has come around to a level of defense that implies pretty strong support.

        Randy Barnett
        7:34 AM · Dec 5, 2019·Twitter for iPhone

        “That loose impeachment talk began before inauguration—with several impeachment resolutions after—is a sign that this power is being exercised in bad faith, as any power can be. To be taken seriously, Dems had the burden to overcome this previous record of false & trivial charges.”

    2. It’s hard to imagine many people strongly approving of Trump, while I strongly support his reelection, it’s easy to see he’s got a lot of flaws that make it hard to give him whole hearted approval.

      But that said some of those flaws, like not having much of a filter, a mean streak, no introspection, vindictiveness, maybe be exactly the qualities a Republican needs to survive in the White House in this day and age. Having half the country against you politically isn’t out of the ordinary, but add to that 90% of the media, and 95% of academia, and >80% of the bureaucracy would break most politicians. He seems to be enjoying it.

      1. That kind of honesty in a comment is refreshing.

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever “strongly” approved of a politician.

    1. My reaction precisely. <i<Strongly approve? That has never happened. Ever.

      I think ‘barely tolerate’ would be much more appropos.

      Professor Bernstein, can you add ‘Barely Tolerate’ to next year’s anonymous survey? Pretty please? 🙂

    2. Exactly. I’m behind Trump as president, especially given the alternatives, but “strongly” is a strong word. If I could combine Trump’s pugnacity in politics with, say, GW Bush’s personal manners, I’d take that over Trump in a moment.

      1. By “personal manners” do you mean lying is into stupid wars in which thousands are killed and seriously injured??

        1. No, I think he meant being somewhat more circumspect, reserved and polished. This of course, is not possible with POTUS Trump, whose roots are being a billionaire NYC real estate developer and a reality show TV star.

        2. It would be so much better if he illegally bombed a country for no reason and paved the way for open air slave markets like Obama and Hillary, is that your preference?

          The Iraq lies of GWB were exactly the same lies peddled by every western leftist in power at the time.

          1. yawn

          2. Does being in the U.S. Senate qualify as, “in power?”

  4. What are the other questions on the survey?

  5. Fine, but there is no context. Ask which Democrat running for the nomination is preferable to Trump. Then ask again in four months when the press is forced to consider everything that candidate has said or done.
    Think Nixon-McGovern 1972.

    1. It’s not going to be Nixon-McGovern. The media were still somewhat balanced back then, most cities had a Republican and a Democratic paper. These days the media are all in for the Democrats and barely even bothering to pretend otherwise.

      It’s not a media headwind that Republicans face anymore, it’s a media hurricane.

      It’s their own fault, though; They knew they had a media problem, and spent decades not doing anything about it as the Democrats took over one outlet after another.

      1. It is interesting how many on the right assume I’ve already decided the election is going to go my side’s way, when they themselves have assumed the reverse.

        This election is very much up in the air.

        1. I agree. If it weren’t for the media environment, given the economy and the lack of Trump getting us into wars, it would be a Trump blowout. 95% hostile coverage just turns that into a competitive election.

          1. Whatever, Brett.

  6. This sounds right to me.

    Law School demographics, both age and sociological, aren’t the groups who form the Trumpistas, and unless that’s your group it’s essentially impossible to strongly support the president.

    But that’s because he’s a boar, which while hilarious on Twitter, is also what almost no one thinks is ideal in a President. So even if you strongly approve of his performance and policies you won’t strongly approve him overall in a survey like this.

    And that leaves aside the alternatives. One might find the President abhorrent in both personality and policy, and yet be terrified of some of the alternatives.

    1. The comment above is another good explanation of why I (and millions like me) voted for him and will vote for him in 2020.

      I do feel compelled, though, to point out that even when the GOP has smart-sounding, polite, and respectable candidates of proper breeding, he/she will still be branded a cloven-tongued racist boor and “stupid” by leftists and the mainstream press.

      1. I mean, you keep company with Steve King, you kinda get what you get. Or the one who wanted to lynch the Dem rep from Minnesota. Lie with dogs, wake up with fleas.

        1. Who is the “you” in your comment? Nobody really keeps company with Steve King, and voting for the guy is not even keeping company with him.

          1. Nobody keeps company with Steve King?

            1. Nice link. Thanks. The Rev does something other than vomit up garbage, yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus.

              However, in typical WaPo fashion, the article messes with the timeline. Trump says he liked King way back in 2014, then the article makes a slight of hand making it seem like he approved of the 2019 King white nationalism comments that got him stripped of his committee assignments. The rest of the article is fast and loose like that too.

              Still, if you point was to show that Steve King has fans, he does. Touche! But I was going for a more literal meaning of “keeping company” and that article makes all Republicans “keeping company”. I suppose we all guilty then.

              1. There’s no punishment like collective punishment!

        2. Ooh, the tolerant and inclusive crowd has shown up!

          Leftists and progressives are so concerned about racism because it thrives the most in their own midst:

          Portland ICE protesters spewed racist insults

          Federal officers policing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in Portland say they were subjected to a barrage of hateful and at times racially-charged invective during the monthlong demonstration at the facility.

          Email records obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive detail some of the insults and taunting that several nonwhite federal officers say they endured.

          In emails obtained by the newsroom, one African American officer reported to an administrator that protesters “began yelling racial slurs” at him, including the N-word. The officer said he was also called a “blood traitor” and an Uncle Tom, a derogatory term implying a black person is acting subservient to whites for money or prestige.

          “These racial slurs have been directed at me throughout the entire length of the deployment,” the officer wrote.

          Another officer, who is a woman of Hispanic and Native American descent, said she was called derogatory terms for Hispanic people and told she is “a weak female” and a “traitor.”

        3. “I mean, you keep company with Steve King, you kinda get what you get.”

          Sarcastro was just in another thread saying that it’s unfair to claim that the views of Pete Buttigieg were representative of Dems. I’m sure he’ll pop up here to say the same thing about Steve King in 3…2…1…

          1. Definitely, let’s wait for it. RAK, hold your breath while we wait for Sarcastro.

            1. He is on record here that he doesn’t criticize his tribe, even Kirkland.

              1. Sure, I’ll say RAK’s not being fair here in my estimation. Particularly with King, who the GOP has pretty strongly censured.

                I was talking about Beto anyhow, I thought.

      2. The left’s attacks on Ron Desantis, a double Ivy lawyer Navy SEAL JAG, is a good example.

      3. Oh I’m voting for him next year, because all of the bad risks from 2016 are baked in, and none of them came about (was he really anti-war? Was he really just a NYC Democrat is disguise? Was he a sexual predator?)

        But you’re right, there’s a hard pattern that the Republican running for office now is going to kill grandma, but when they’re no longer running and it’s the next guy they were a hallmark of integrity.

        Just look at Bush is worse than Hitler, compared to today. Or John McCain (who really was a bit of a jackass, as he’d have been the first to admit) who was covered as a fascistic war monger who wanted to repress women, and his choice in a female VP was somehow proof of that, compared to his accolades over the past few years.

        At least prominent female Republican candidates from Alaska have been consistently portrayed as gender-traitors.

    2. Heck, I don’t think he’s ideal, either. He’s kind of the Ulysses S. Grant of Presidents: We can’t spare this man, he fights.

      Doesn’t mean we have to like him.

      It could be an interesting inquiry as to why the GOP has so few federal level politicians of whom that could be said.

    3. Yes, this seems pretty much spot on. Bumbling Inspector Clouseau is a better candidate than evil Hannibal Lecter. Heck, Koko the signing gorilla would be more presidential material than pretty much anyone on stage for the Democrat debates.

      Trumps biggest draw is the absolute idiocy of his opposition.

    4. A boar is precisely what we need right now. I don’t know why some people still think leftist insanity deserves respectful replies. Sorry, but Marxism is the flat-earther conspiracy of economics. It’s counter-factual and ignorant. And I will always be dismissive of any politician peddling Marxism.

    5. True and that makes me sad.

  7. Do you have trends going further back? Is this a demographic that would ever “strongly approve” of any sitting president?

    1. Obama had plenty of smart and educated cult members.

      1. I’m sure Obama had ‘Strongly Approve’ numbers double or triple Trump’s.

        But right now less than a year before the election Trump’s overall approval numbers are virtually identical to Obama’s 8 years ago leading into his successful reelection campaign.

        1. He should tell them Obama made it more difficult for Cuban refugees to get legal status because they have a tendency to vote Republican. 😉

      2. True overall but also true for Trump. The question necessary to interpret the current poll is whether Obama had any in this demographic?

        To Kazinski’s comment below, double or triple zero is still zero.

  8. Professor, you left out crucial information. What was the total number of people surveyed?

    You need at least a 30% (generally speaking) response rate for the survey to be statistically valid.

    1. Why should his polling be any more statistically valid than polling conducted by professional polling firms? They’re down in the single digits for response rates on political polling these days.

      The whole profession is like Wile E. Coyote standing in mid air, before looking down: Totally lacking in any theoretical basis anymore, and just waiting on the disaster. But what are they supposed to do, shut down the whole industry?

      1. Yes, quantitative methods can be used in stupid ways, but when it’s a matter of simple statistics, we should expect something.

        Law professor training and teaching doesn’t really expose one to some of the quantitative methods of the social sciences. They are at separate tables in different cafeterias, but I know Bernstein is aware of these things, as he uses the topic of Bayesian modeling properly. Maybe he just didn’t think of it.

      2. Why should his polling be any more statistically valid than polling conducted by professional polling firms? They’re down in the single digits for response rates on political polling these days.

        The whole profession is like Wile E. Coyote standing in mid air, before looking down: Totally lacking in any theoretical basis anymore, and just waiting on the disaster. But what are they supposed to do, shut down the whole industry?

        Brett, you know nothing about this topic. Which makes it like every other topic.

        1. Response rates in telephone surveys have resumed their decline

          “After stabilizing briefly, response rates to telephone public opinion polls conducted by Pew Research Center have resumed their decline.

          In 2017 and 2018, typical telephone survey response rates fell to 7% and 6%, respectively, according to the Center’s latest data. Response rates had previously held steady around 9% for several years.

          While the Center’s telephone survey protocol is somewhat different from those used by other organizations, conversations with contractors and other pollsters confirm that the pattern reported here is being experienced more generally in the industry.”

          “While low response rates don’t render polls inaccurate on their own, they shouldn’t be completely ignored, either. A low response rate does signal that the risk of error is higher than it would be with higher participation. The key issue is whether the attitudes and other outcomes measured in the poll are related to people’s decisions about taking the survey. In some cases, there is a relationship, but it is corrected by standard weighting adjustment. In other cases, such as when polls attempt to measure volunteerism, standard weighting falls short, resulting in biased estimates.”

          I guess Pew knows nothing about the topic, either.

    2. This is an anonymous internet poll. It’s not being presented as a statistically valid anything. It’s as fun as the Catholics question earlier this week.

      That being said, I tend to agree with Brett on political polling. I haven’t dug into it much, but at first blush that ‘likely voters’ special sauce each of them has looks like subjectivity incarnate.

      Though for all that they are generally predictive in a ‘more likely than not’ sort of way.

      1. Sheesh, it’s not like I’m asking for much but the number of people who took the survey. It’s an assumption that the sample has a normal distribution, inherent to any survey research. If there were only 106 responses out 400 students over the 3 years, we can’t expect that the responses were normally distributed, thus the results are mostly meaningless. Coming from a former physics guy, I’d expect you to back me up on this math stuff.

        How big is this class usually? I didn’t go to law school, but from The Paper Chase these mandatory classes are big.

        1. I think you’re taking this poll for a lot more than what it’s being presented for, is all.

          In my law school classes were divided into 40 person sections, of about 200 in all. But this varies widely.

          1. No, I think Bernstein is taking this poll for a lot more that what it’s being presented for, especially if he doesn’t tell us how many people were offered the survey and declined to respond. It’s like saying he can’t understand how Nixon one because he doesn’t know anyone who voted for him.

            Based on what you say, then over three years, 600 people were sent the survey? He says there is a high response rate, but still….

      2. Well, yeah, they’re lacking in theoretical grounding anymore, at the current response rates. But it’s not going to bite them until an issue comes along where response is strongly correlated to the question being polled. So on a practical level they’re still usable, so long as you keep in mind that they MIGHT be wildly wrong, and that the error bars they report on sample sizes are more of a floor on their potential reliability, and they have all sorts of other possible sources of error they don’t bother talking about due to their not being neatly subject to a mathematical formula.

        1. I was as much for stats as I wanted to be in school, but yeah, how error bars are used in media is another one of my pet peeves.

    3. I wrote: “a high but far from universal response rate” I didn’t give specifics, because I don’t remember the total N from 2018 and 2017. This year the response rate was about 70%. I think it was higher in the past.

      1. Then there you go. Thanks for responding. As far as internet surveys go, 70% would be good, for such a small sample size.

        1. Agreed….I’d kill for a 70% response rate from proprietary internet panels.

    4. I don’t think so.

  9. I graduated law school in 2018, and I “strongly approved” of Trump during the entirety of 2017 and 2018. I was one of a few, but there were definitely a few of us who felt “strongly” about him.

    I don’t really understand the point of this post though. Seems petty and just an irritable mental gesture of someone who has strong antithetical feelings toward Trump as a person.

    1. It is interesting because I think many of us would argue that the 2020 election is still very far from decided. Trump has loyal a base, but many in it probably aren’t all that excited about his many and annoying flaws, And many are honest about their reservations, yet believe that the alternative is so much worse. Obviously law students are not a diverse set, nor does the author state that this is a statistically valid survey, but based on my own conversations with Trump supporters, with few exceptions, they fall into the category of not being super happy but greatly preferring Trump to the alternative. To say that the 2020 election is going to the Democrats would be reckless conclusion. I honestly feel it is 50/50. If Trump shuts down the government because he is being pissy about the Impeachment that will stall out in the Senate, he will damage himself greatly. If he holds it together and the economy hums along, and he makes no new major mistakes I’d predict that he will win, since the Democrats are sure to nominate somebody like Warren, that will turn off the swing voters more than Trump.

  10. I am not impressed by the comments here saying they actually don’t much like Trump, but the other side is that much worse.

    I suppose it’s nice that people are still worried that a post-Trump future won’t be too kind to this Administration, but I also don’t buy it I’ve seen countless the ways commenters here are willing to bend over backwards to explain away why things that on their face make Trump look bad are actually cool and good.

    Negative tribal affiliation is a helluva drug, not the least of which because it turns into positive tribal affiliation. And you can’t take that off and put it on so easily.

    1. You don’t have to be “impressed” by the truth. It’s still true that the “other side” *is*, in fact, “much worse.”

      1. That kind of ‘but look over there’ utilitarianism gives your own side complete license. Which is how you got into this unsavory bedfellow.

        Keep on with that, and I wonder how much worse it’s gonna get. You already got one commenter calling for an American Pinochet.

        1. “That kind of ‘but look over there’ utilitarianism gives your own side complete license. ”

          Yes, unprecedented that supporters of someone might choose utilitarianism.

          “I would be happy to give him a blowjob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their Presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.” Nina Burleigh [writer and “feminist”] on Clinton in 1997

          “Liberal New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg wrote a piece this week admitting that she believes Juanita Broaddrick’s claim that Bill Clinton raped her; Caitlin Flanagan in The Atlantic agrees: “[T]he women involved [in the Bill Clinton scandals] had far more credible evidence than many of the most notorious accusations that have come to light in the past five weeks.” https://www.thedailybeast.com/so-feminists-are-finally-admitting-it-bill-clinton-was-a-cad-or-worse

          You act like tribalism in politics is new.

          1. Yeah, that sucked too. Doesn’t mean you or I get to embrace it now.

            Besides, this isn’t even your debate – you’ve moved beyond utility to power for it’s own sake.

            1. I think his point is to prevent power for its own sake.

              If there were a budding Lenin running for election, wouldn’t it be a better outcome to take Pinochet?

              1. No. No, you don’t vote for a monster like Pinochet. Because that’s how you get Pinochet.

                What the hell is wrong with you?

                1. You prefer the Soviet Union to Chile?
                  Lenin killed 4 million civilians because they opposed his policies, with millions more tortured, imprisoned, and/or exiled.
                  Pinochet killed almost 3000, and had another 30,000 tortured, imprisoned, and/or exiled for opposing him.

                  Damn straight I’d take Pinochet over Lenin. The fact you would argue against that says something very dark about you. As you said, “What the hell is wrong with you?”

    2. Trump is rude and obnoxious, but does not want to put me in prison for the guns I already own, and take away my money and health care that I already work hard to provide for.

      Simple reasons, really.

      1. This is just the right’s flipside of ‘Trump loves Latin babies in cages, and wants me to die from global warming, so I’ll vote for a dead dog over him’

        When you demonize the other side beyond reason, you don’t get to claim ‘well I never liked my guy anyway’ to mitigate it blowing up in your face.

        1. Except that what KevinP wrote has the benefit of actually being true.

          1. Haha, nope.

            The talk radio version of reality has less and less to do with actual reality these days. Talk to an actual liberal sometime, maybe.

            You know, like me. I think there’s an individual right to bear arms, don’t want you in jail, and think middle class taxes should be lower, and health care that’s at a right to life level (vs. elective stuff) shouldn’t be something you gotta work hard for.

            1. That’s great Sarcastro, run for office and and start turning the Democrats to the right.

              But Kamala Harris said she was going to outlaw guns by executive order, Beto said he’d confiscate guns. Bernie at least comes from the state with the loosest gun laws, and happens to be the safest state too so he’s a little more practical. But you’ve got maybe 2 or 3 candidates on the Democratic side that wouldn’t either turn gun owners into criminals or socialize large chunks of the economy.

              It doesn’t leave voters a lot of alternatives and come November a reelected Trump will probably still have underwater approval ratimgs going into his second term.

              1. You’re really reaching for Harris. ‘Upon being elected, I will give the United States Congress 100 days to get their act together and have the courage to pass reasonable gun safety laws. And if they fail to do it, then I will take executive action.’

                And Beto was not some giant of the Democratic party.

                And so you’re left with paranoia. Like how Clinton, and then Obama came for your guns. How in the world did you get fooled again?

                Anyhow, judging a party’s governance by the rhetoric in their primaries is vintage nutpicking.

                1. Trumpy is putting women fleeing domestic violence in Latin America in cages. Julian Castro says Honduras has a shockingly high percentage of men that are RAPERS!

                  1. We should be doing everything we can to prevent women fleeing violence in Latin America from coming here. Experts in women’s issues say that the US is more dangerous for women than any country in the western hemisphere.

                    1. My thoughts exactly, some dumbass progressives were even fighting to keep a sick Cuban refugee in America!?! Cuba has much better health care than America!! Next Tlaib and Omar will want Palestinian rape victims to come here when some states are outlawing abortion. Palestine must have progressive abortion laws if they travelled there to fight on their behalf. 😉

              2. But you’ve got maybe 2 or 3 candidates on the Democratic side that wouldn’t either turn gun owners into criminals or socialize large chunks of the economy.

                I’ll have to beg pardon, but you see this claim about guns and socialism every election.

                You shouldn’t be surprised that people think y’all are just crying wolf.

                1. Are the Democratic candidates lying then? Because that’s what they are actually saying. If Bernie says that some of their gun control proposals are unconstitutional, who am I to argue.

                  1. No, you’re just misinterpreting them. As seen in your butchering of Harris’ position.

                  2. Are the Democratic candidates lying then?

                    Why shouldn’t you conclude that?

                    Republicans have been claiming that Democrats are “coming for our guns” for decades. During that time, Democrats have never done this. The only major federal legislation on guns that has passed was bipartisan, and can not be fairly described as Democrats coming for your guns.

                    So if (A) you believe they have made this claim for decades, and (B) you can see that they never make any serious effort to do so…

                    Why shouldn’t you conclude they’re lying?

                2. No one wants to ban or confiscate guns. Ever! It’s a crazy and paranoid idea!

                  Democratic Presidential Candidate Beto O’Rourke: ‘Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15’ – YouTube

                  At the Presidental Debate, Beto O’Rourke promised to confiscate guns, to wild applause from the Democratic audience. And NOT A SINGLE ONE of the other Presidential candidates challenged or questioned him.

                  1. To quote myself…

                    I’ll have to beg pardon, but you see this claim about guns and socialism every election.

                    Sooner or later, you need to catch a wolf if you want me to think there is one.

                    1. While you’re generally right at the national level, there’s plenty of actual wolves at the state level, and we still have missing limbs from prior wolves (albeit, bipartisan wolves).

                      Why else doesn’t the Hearing Protection Act have unanimous support?

        2. I’m sorry, which DNC candidate has a total policy platform spending less than 100 trillion in new spending? Which ones called the NGD insane? These are country, or at least prosperous country, destroying levels of spending.

      2. He also doesn’t want to put mentally ill men in girls’ locker rooms or put me in jail not baking a cake for a sexual deviant who thinks his unnatural sodomy is “love.”

        1. I mean, he puts himself in girls’ locker rooms, so ymmv.

          1. “I mean, he puts himself in girls’ locker rooms,”

            Our first trans president. Why do you guys hate progress?

    3. “I am not impressed by the comments here saying they actually don’t much like Trump, but the other side is that much worse.”

      Oh no. I was hoping you’d be so impressed…


      1. I’m just pointing out the bed you’re making, even as you try to avoid sleeping in it.

        1. It was one thing to say, sure, Clinton may have exposed himself to a few women, had sex with a few women when they didn’t want to, shoved a few cigars into a few interns, and lied to a few judges and grand juries, but at least he kept abortion legal. Many Dem’s did that with Clinton, just like people do with Trump.

          It’s quite a different matter when you have prominent feminists claiming that every woman in America should suck his dick, or writing op-eds in the NYT saying that it’s not sexual harassment for a Governor or President to grope or expose himself to his employees.

          1. No, it was bad when the Dems did it for Clinton as well. But that wasn’t nearly what Trump is up to.

            Good luck with that bed! I can’t help but notice you fell into defending that distasteful guy you held your nose for…again.

            1. “you fell into defending that distasteful guy you held your nose for…again”

              You keep thinking this is a slick burn.

              Its not. Supporting someone because he is the “lesser of two evils” has been going on since there has been voting.

              You can love Trump or merely like him and defend his actions. Or you can still defend them when you dislike him because you think the other side is worse.

              1. Supporting != defending.

                1. You are wrong. One defends what one supports.

                  1. That’s quite a telling thought of yours, Bob.

                    One can support someone and not think things they do are defensible. I support Obama, but won’t defend his not defending DOMA, his actions in Syria, or his drone policy.
                    As seems to be a constant source of surprise for even longtime commenters here, I support the Democratic Party, but hardly every plank in their agenda.

                    But Trump supporters? You defend everything he does. To the hilt. Every single time.

                    1. The topics here are seldom tariffs or the few other things I don’t like.

                      Overall, Trump has vastly exceeded my expectations.

                      Plus, he makes libs cry. Its enjoyable.

                    2. Enjoy your constant defense and support for your guy, then.

                      As I said, it’s your bed. Maybe it’ll go fine for you laying in it. I’m just pointing out that ‘I don’t approve, I just support and defend’ doesn’t make it any less your bed.

                      Which I know you don’t care about. But some here seem to be trying that maneuver.

            2. I supported Johnson anyway. Especially after he stole Sanders’ slogan, appropriating “Feel the Bern” into “Feel the Johnson”.

              But I do find myself in the anti-anti Trump camp a lot, because he makes people so angry they can’t tell the difference between reasoned criticism and spittle-flecked rage.

    4. They say they don’t like Trump but in fact they are thrilled by his racism, misogyny, ignorance of facts they don’t like, and belligerent juvenility, whether they realize it or not.

  11. I had a similar reaction to others: “strongly” is too strong, and so the “survey design” is already biased. Or at least the conclusion is uninteresting. Also like others, I’ve never “strongly” supported ANY politician, so not sure what this is supposed to show. If it’s that Trump is, at best, an imperfect president, do we need this survey?

  12. Trump was never very popular to begin with. He won an overwhelming majority of the voters who hated both candidates. Many people who voted for him did so because they felt that although both would try to do bad things, Hillary would be more successful. And that’s largely been true.

    1. Look at his approval, not the horse race, in November 2016. Under 40%

    2. Yeah, this nonsense only makes sense if you forget there was a primary.

      Before Trump had the chance to win against Clinton, he had to win against more then a dozen other Republicans.

      Republicans had many “not-Clinton” options. They chose Trump. Pretending that choice was forced on them by Clinton is idiocy.

      1. Correct, Trump won the Republican primary because conservatism is a bankrupt ideology. So in Trump’s best state of West Virginia Obamacare is very popular…they just are under the impression it is Byrdcare. 😉

        1. He won the Republican primary because Republican primary voters have figured out the Republican establishment aren’t conservative, and anybody they support is guaranteed not to try to implement conservatism. And after trying to fix things with the Tea Party and being beaten back, they were willing to elect a wrecking ball to just bust the whole thing up.

          You can’t understand the GOP without understanding that when they took Congress in ’94, the voters finally figured out they were the victims of a bait and switch, and that the people they’d been electing had been lying to them about what they’d do if they were in power. Which is why, for instance, when Trump took office with both chambers of Congress, the GOP didn’t have an Obamacare replacement bill ready to go on day one: They had been lying about wanting to get rid of Obamacare.

          Ever since then the GOP has been fighting a civil war for control of the party, between the conservatives who actually believe the ideology, and the establishment that just mouths it when they have to, but are determined that it never be actually tried. Trump is just the latest weapon in that war, and if he fails, the GOP is probably going to go bust as the voters just give up on trying to reform it, and jump ship.

          1. This kind of purity testing has been the drumbeat of party fringes since at least the time of President Grant.

            I could write the same thing about Sanders were I so inclined.

            Except the ‘real party versus the establishment’ narrative is and has always been bunk. ‘The Real Party properly hates illegal immigration, while the Establishment secretly loves it’ isn’t actually true.
            Talk to an employee of the Republican Party sometime and see how much they differ from you, and why.

            Maaaybe if you made it radicals versus incrementalists.

            1. 1/3 of the “real Party” hates illegal immigration. Do you think 1/3 of the “GOP Establishment” agrees?

              Reagan, both Bushes and McCain were all clearly pro-mass immigration. When people talk of the GOP Establisment, they mean the Bush/McCain type wing.

              1. I think both characterizations are facile and incorrect. Just like your ‘clearly pro-mass immigration’ bit. Clearly – often a tell.

                Y’all were just as huge defenders of Bush as well. I was here for that also.

                1. 1. Yes, we defended Bush because we supported him. The point I keep making.

                  2. Brett has been anti-immigration since he arrived. He probably supported Bush because of the options like John Kerry.

                  3. Easy to oppose Obama policies now. He is history. You defended him here when it mattered, don’t gaslight me.

                  I usually do try to avoid “clearly”, mea culpa. But you can’t deny Bush and McCain favored an immigration settlement opposed by the anti-immigration faction.

                  1. Cesar Chavez opposed illegal immigration so the Democrats current position is indefensible. Everyone should support what Trump is trying to do with refugees and immigrants and border security. My biggest problem with Trump is that because of his counterproductive rhetoric he has been ineffective on his campaign promises.

                  2. ” He probably supported Bush because of the options like John Kerry. ”

                    Nah, at that time I was still voting Libertarian. I’d gotten disillusioned with the LP by the second Browne run, but Badnarik was still acceptable as a protest vote.

                    By 2008 I’d given up on the LP entirely, but both Dole and McCain were a bridge too far, I loathed them. IIRC, I just left the top of the ballot empty.

                    I’d love to say I voted for Trump, I certainly meant to, but a favorite relative died the Friday before the election, and I spent election day out of state in a funeral home, without time to secure an absentee ballot. So nobody got my vote that year. I do plan to vote for him next year.

                    1. Dole?

      2. Yep, and I supported Ted Cruz, and most of what you’d be saying now about Trump you would be saying about Cruz too. Except he has a more deft hand at Twitter.

      3. “Republicans had many “not-Clinton” options. They chose Trump.”

        They made the rational choice, none of the others could have won the election. Trump picked up 2008-2012 Obama voters in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania and narrowly won each. GOPers last won Wisconsin in 1984, Michigan and Pennsylvania in 1988.

        1. They made the rational choice, assuming either:

          1) They like Trump’s policies more than every other option, or
          2) power for power’s sake is the goal.

          Neither is particularly flattering.

          1. Political parties exist to win the election before them and hence, get power. Punt on it, you may not get the next chance you might like better.

            1. I reject your premise. Power for power’s sake isn’t the purpose of political parties. Or it wasn’t. I remember when the GOP was about gaining power in service of small government.

              1. Man, you’re older than me, aren’t you?

                Maybe at one time, a very, very long time ago. Mostly in living memory they’ve been about talking about limited government in service of gaining power.

        2. “He was the best Republican candidate” is a very different argument then “Clinton was worse”.

          Republican-apologists keep trying to make Trump about Clinton, and keep refuting their own responsibility in choosing him.

    3. He took Wisconsin with a 35% approval rating, that’s up 12 points but still below 50.

      “In Wisconsin, the Marquette University Law School Poll offered good news for President Trump last week. His 47 percent favorability rating is the highest on record with the poll. Trump won Wisconsin in 2016 when his favorability was at 35 percent among likely voters, according to the final Marquette Poll of 2016.”

  13. There are probably no flat-earthers in your class either.

  14. I’d have to see what the other options were in the survey. If there was a “approves of some of the things Trump does and disapproves of other things Trump does” that probably would have been my choice. But in terms of who I’ll vote for next year, it depends on Trump’s opponent. If he’s running against any of the declared Democratic candidates, I’ll vote for Trump even if I don’t like him very much.

    1. I’m having a hard time imagining the Democrats nominating anybody I’d consider voting for, even as a late entry not currently running. The party has been heading leftwards so fast they’re leaving a vapor trail.

      Now, if Trump up and embraced gun control, or something similar, (I didn’t like the bump stock ban, but understood it after the NRA caved.) I might cast a protest vote, I’ve actually done that in most elections.

      But vote for the Democrat? Ain’t happening.

  15. 27 Lean Democrats


  16. I’ve always believed, with no real evidence except the election, that the number of people who actually approve of Trump is higher than polls find because of the incessant negative coverage of Trump.

    1. …how does that work?

      And even though I above agree that polls suck, nationwide polls were correct.

      1. I don’t think media coverage has anything to do with it. I suspect, with no hard data to support me, that in the pool of “people willing to spend 15 minutes answering this pollster’s questions,” the percent of Trump supporters is lower than in the general population.

  17. Of course they don’t “approve of Trump.” That means that you consort with a lesser crowd and are uncouth. They can’t approve of pandering to less educated people, blue collar people. They probably will still vote for him, but under protest because the other side hates them and wants to take all their money that they’ll need to pay loans. Their identities can’t handle association with the lesser classes when they so badly wish to join the lower-upper class. These are white-collar strivers, after all. Prospective eunuchs.

  18. Students that want to fail the class: Also Zero.

    1. Anonymous poll, Norman.

      1. And, I assume, blind grading.

        1. I assume that the “blind grading” is just as reliable as the “anonymous” organizational health surveys they send out at work and there is NO WAY they could every find out who gave what response if they really wanted to.

  19. Please also ask the correspondingly similar question of

    “How many or you are STRONGLY in favor of abortion?”

    1. You calling Trump an abortion?

  20. Not really that surprising. Most people, even relatively smart people don’t bother or have the time to really think for themselves enough so they derive a large part of their opinions from what the media directly pours into their heads. And with what is it? Like a 95%+ wall to wall negative coverage rate blaring at you from all directions about how Drumpf sacrifices orphans or whatever I’m a little surprised that approval rate is as high as it is.

    1. One day the GOP is going to have to contend with this insane anti-elitism they’ve been stoking for decades.

      1. Its not insane. We have the worst so called elites in modern US history, both sides.

      2. Trump is not my ideal President but I haven’t really seen anything yet that makes me think he is a ‘96% bad coverage’ level

        foxnews dot com slash media slash broadcast-news-trump-impeachment-inquiry-negative-coverage

        Frankly all it is is him saying rude things on Twatter and the msm’s dislike of him and their increasingly institutional dislike of anything right of Ayers.

        If you really dig down what has his Admin actually done? Socially; mostly just rolling back some Obama policy..annoying to progs I guess but its not like its the end of the world just because a college tribunal here and a transgender bathroom reg there is back to what it was a few years ago. Economically; mild protectionism which lets face it very few people really care about in and of itself. 90% of his critics probably didn’t know the meaning of the word until a couple years ago. Militarily; probably the least hawkish President in recent memory; which is supposedly what the Left was all about until 2016. I guess you can be angry that he is appointing some conservative judges, I mean yeah…thats kinda what some Republicans tend to do. Its not like I’m very happy with Ginsburg. And even here its sort of overblown since for the SC at least its more maintaining the status quo rather than any major shift. And its not like Kav or Gorsuch are unqualified biblethumpers.

        I dunno man, strip away the rhetoric and what do you have?..Seems kinda like a centrist Republican who in some ways is actually closer to a 90s Democrat. As I said, not my ideal President. You could make a strong argument with Obamacare, SSM, Dear Colleague witchhunts, the huge upsurge in militant SJWism et al there were far more massive shifts especially in the social front during the Obama years to annoy conservatives than the relatively minor changes today that libs are having petulant tantrums over.

        That is when they actually are frothing over policy. 90% of the time its just impotant rage over irrelevent stuff like golfing or orange jokes.

        1. Correct, and everyone supported a secure border 10 years ago so the progressive position on the border isn’t even mainstream. So Obama started making it harder for refugees to get legal status when he rescinded “wet foot dry foot” because, in Obama’s words, Cuban refugees were now mostly “economic” refugees. So Trump’s executive orders have been consistent with what Obama started. The other things that Democrats hate about Trump are things Jeb! would have done like appoint Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and cut taxes.

      3. Or the Democrats will have to deal with the insane ‘elite’ worship they’ve committed themselves to.

        1. I have never seen a group of people do a 180 as fast as Republicans when Trump stated unequivocally that Bush lied about WMDs and invading Iraq was dumb from day 1. Literally the next hour Deplorables were saying Iraq was Hillary’s war after lapping you everything Fox News fed them from 2003-2015.

  21. Interesting:
    37 Democrats
    48 Republicans
    That’s unusual these days on university campuses

    The better question is why are there only 11 Independents?

    1. 20 + 27 = 47, not 37.

  22. Context is everything. I disapprove of three day old bread if the alternative is a freshly baked loaf but I strong approve of it if the alternative is ten day old bread.

    Just asking people whether they approve of a politician invites them to compare that person to their ideal of a perfect human being. Instead, why not ask people if they think the US would be better or worse if Clinton had been elected instead of Trump?

    1. Well for one, the Second Amendment would be gone.

      1. And in your imagination it would have gone where? How?

        1. In our imagination Clinton would have replaced Scalia with a Sotomayor clone, and Heller would have been overturned. So the 2nd amendment would still be in the Constitution, but the courts wouldn’t be enforcing it to even the limited extent they do now.

          That’s what we mean by the 2nd amendment being “gone”. But you knew that.

          1. I have never known what you guys mean. I know enough about the left to know what you say makes no literal sense. Now you seem to be saying you mean there might be some new gun controls, and that would mean the 2A is “gone.” I don’t think you know what you mean either. I think you just say whatever sounds scariest at the moment.

            1. Cut the bullshit. The 4 liberals on the Supreme Court are on record saying that they believe Heller was wrongly decided. Heller was not about your “reasonable” and “common sense” restrictions, but about whether there was a right AT ALL to own a handgun. If you believe that it was wrongly decided, you’re saying that you don’t believe the 2nd Amendment protects such a right. Meaning that you believe the 2nd Amendment doesn’t protect anything at all.

              1. That’s right, there was no private ownership of handguns before Heller.

                1. Cut the bullshit. You know full well that the fact that the Constitution doesn’t protect something doesn’t mean that it’s automatically going to be banned.

              2. RWH, on its own terms—originalist terms—Heller was wrongly decided. Scalia blew the historical analysis big time, and got the conclusion backwards. Not surprising. Nothing in what Scalia wrote even hinted he had any understanding that there are actually standards for historical analysis. Not knowing, Scalia made it up, ignored accepted standards, and came to the conclusion he started with.

                The question of whether the 2A protects a right to own a handgun—and which handguns for what purposes—depends on historical analysis to show the role of handguns in militias. I doubt such an analysis would rule out handguns.

                Of course, the notion of a right to self-defense, and the closely-linked notion of a right to guns for self-defense, is not exclusively dependent on 2A protection. The fact that the founders did not seek to include those rights under federal constitutional protections does not mean they disparaged them. It only shows that the founders either chose not to do it, or, more likely, could not agree on uniform terms which could pass muster across all the states. Thus, they left the question of arms for self-defense to states’ discretion. In that respect, the right to guns for self-protection simply joins the boundless list of other things which the founders also did not address in the constitution, but which remain as factors in public life anyway.

          2. “In our imagination Clinton would have replaced Scalia with a Sotomayor clone, and Heller would have been overturned.”

            You don’t know that at all. Even when 5 Justices have a precedent in their crosshairs, they’re slow to pull the trigger. Stare decisis is a thing. But for the sake of argument let’s say you’re right.

            “So the 2nd amendment would still be in the Constitution, but the courts wouldn’t be enforcing it to even the limited extent they do now.”

            In other words, SA jurisprudence would diverge from your policy preferences. Considering, IIRC, you believe the SA should protect an individual right to own machine guns, that’s a low bar.

            ‘That’s what we mean by the 2nd amendment being “gone”.’

            To recap, what you mean by the SA being gone is that the SA wouldn’t be gone. Essentially it would be right where it’s always been, enshrining some, but far from all gun ownership rights as Constitutional entitlements, and leaving you sorely disappointed.

            “But you knew that.”

            That’s a neat trick the way you manage to more or less agree with me while implicitly accusing me of bad faith.

            1. By “would diverge from his policy preferences,” you mean “would be a practical nullity. Why can’t you liars be honest for one f*cking minute?

              1. No, I don’t mean “a practical nullity,” I mean what I said.

                “you liars”

                Any insult from you, even a fabrication like this one, is a badge of honor. So thanks, and keep them coming.

        2. The Second Amendment still hangs by a thread at the Supreme Court. All the liberals on the court voted against both Heller and McDonald, leaving them with bare 5-4 majorities. The Heller ruling struck down DC’s handgun ban but also DC’s ban on keeping any gun loaded for self-defense in your own home. And the four liberals on the court voted to uphold that effective ban on self-defense. Why do Hillary Clinton and four out of nine justices want to ban the use of guns for self-defense in the home?

          The lower federal courts have been generally hostile to the Second Amendment. They have already rubberstamped as permissible:
          * New York City’s $340 permit fee and one year process to get a permit to keep a handgun in your own home.
          * Discriminatory gun carry permitting in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, California and Hawaii, where only those who are wealthy and connected can get a license to carry a gun outside the home for self-defense.
          * A “safe storage” law in San Francisco that requires homeowners to keep guns on their person or locked up when they are sleeping or in the shower, directly contradicting the Heller ruling.
          * A complete ban on any gun possession by anyone who has a doctor’s prescription for medical marijuana.
          * Bans on firearms based upon cosmetic appearance. This is the most troubling because the bogus legal reasoning behind these bans leaves the door wide open to wide bans on entire classes of firearms, not just the so-called “assault weapons”.

          A Hillary Clinton Supreme Court would have voted to uphold all of these laws and more, including enabling the bankruptcy of gun makers by frivolous lawsuit. Our liberties dodged a bullet with her defeat.

          1. Guns are the evercrisis. The Second will never not be hanging by a thread. It has always been hanging by a thread. America has always been in existence, because it’s Second Amendment been hanging on by a thread since the beginning of time.

            You do know that not striking down a law doesn’t mean you think that law is awesome, right?

            The rest is just policy arguments dressed up as a rights argument with some very heavy question begging.

            That being said, best post in a while, Keven!

            1. You’re looking at a tug of war, people straining with all their might in opposing directions, and seeing peace, and wondering why the other side doesn’t just put down that rope, (It’s not moving, after all!) and find something else to do.

              Not a year goes by when we haven’t been beating back some assault on this right. That we beat them back doesn’t make them not have happened.

          2. The Second Amendment still hangs by a thread at the Supreme Court.

            Another claim Republicans have been making for decades.

            Y’all made the same claims about Obama, and Clinton, that they were going to be putting you into camps and other such nonsense. Why should anyone think you’ve got it right this time?

          3. That last bit, about the lawsuits? Did you know the SCOTUS gave the green light for a suit by Sandy Hook parents to proceed against Remington? It was reported in the NYT and on NPR about a month ago. I was surprised this blog never mentioned it.

  23. This is not surprising! There are more democrats as lawyers than republicans maybe for one reason being there are more democrats that sue. Nothing like protecting your income source.

    1. Party affiliation is right up there in the poll, dude.

      Your partisan litigiousness assumption needs support.

      For most litigation, people don’t choose their lawyer based on political parties.

    2. Well, Curly4, assuming all 19 “approves” came from the 48 Republicans, that’s only 40% approval, versus 74% of Republicans nationwide (per a recent WaPo/ABC News poll). And the 0% “strong” approval is versus 64% nationwide. So he definitely seems to be struggling with Republican/Republican-Leaning law students.

  24. Decent, productive people neither become lawyers nor politicians.

    1. So I’ll know where to find a decent, productive person should the need occur, what do you do for a living?

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