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I'm here in beautiful Colorado Springs (aka Jay Fawcett country) for the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals' biannual Bench and Bar Conference.  I didn't have high hopes for the afternoon session on "Law Blogging:  The New Legal Journalism" because of the absence of a liberal voice on the panel, which included Professor Eugene Volokh of The Volokh Conspiracy, journalist Lyle Denniston of Scotusblog, and John Hinderaker of Power Line.  (Note:  I am not criticizing the Tenth Circuit for not having a liberal on this panel, not only because it is never a good idea for a lawyer to publicly criticize the administration of a court in front of which he practices, but also because I would not be surprised if they tried to get someone from the left like Colorado's own TalkLeft but couldn't.)  But as a Kossack I was more than pleasantly surprised when Dennison dissed Hinderaker to his face, right in front of a few hundred Tenth Circuit lawyers and federal judges.

The panel, hosted by Blain Myhre of Colorado Appeals Blog (a good guy) had the three panelists each give little talks about their blogging.  Professor Volokh gave an interesting talk about the development of law blogs and their legal status, kind of a "What are Blogs?" overview for beginners.  I'm biased because Hinderaker is on the other side from me politically, but I thought his talk was largely self-congratulation about what he perceives as Power Line's achievements.

Lyle Denniston is a 75-year old career legal journalist who has been blogging at Scotusblog for a couple of years now.  The theme of his talk was how there are honorable blogs that promote communication and understanding, but also "ignoble" blogs that drag down the level of discourse by encouraging shallow and overly partisan interpretations of legal issues and personal attacks on judges.  While Denniston was careful to say that there are examples of these bad blogs on both the left and right, I thought Hinderaker was uncomfortably looking straight ahead when Dennison criticized right wing blog attacks on Judge Anna Diggs Taylor for her decision in the ACLU v. NSA case.  Sure enough, I see Power Line knocked Judge Taylor here and here.

But it didn't stop there.  Denniston gave as an example of bad blogging a post that described Senators McCain and Graham as being part of the "terrorist rights wing of the Republican Party", then turned to Hinderaker and said "And I just have to say, John, Shame."

Hinderaker spluttered and said "I don't know anything about that" or some words to that effect.  (Out of fairness, I will point out that he didn't author that particular post, but it was a front page post on his blog today.)  I'm thinking Hinderaker wasn't expecting to get criticized in public by an old school legal journalist in front of a bunch of lawyers in Colorado Springs, but it happened and I was glad to be there.

This isn't earth shaking news but I thought it was worth sharing with the dKos community.

Originally posted to Colorado Luis on Thu Sep 07, 2006 at 05:22 PM PDT.

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