Targeting Power Line: The Left cooks up new incentives against thinking

At Power Line, the estimable blog journal of two conservative Minnesota attorneys and now others, a strange act came flying at them from the left:

Some leftwing lawyer, claiming she had the permission of the Hawaii judge hearing her case on President Trump's ban on travel from terrorist nations, sent a creepy letter to Power Line attorney Scott Johnson telling him he better keep all his reporter notes for her sake. Creepier still, she wanted him to acknowledge this like he was signing off on some probation letter and return the acknowledgement to her.

What?

Johnson described the experience in City Journal:

On June 10, I was served with a letter and draft subpoena from Tana Lin of the Keller Rohrback law firm’s Seattle office alerting me to my “document preservation obligations with respect to documents that are relevant or potentially relevant to this litigation.” Lin represents plaintiffs in Doe v. Trump, venued before Judge James Robart in the federal district court for the Western District of Washington.

Though the lawsuit had been stayed, pending a recently issued ruling from the Ninth Circuit in the parallel Hawaii v. Trump “travel ban” case, Judge Robart authorized Lin to notify me of the lawsuit and seek my confirmation by June 15 that I would preserve potentially relevant documents until such time as she sends me a formal subpoena or the lawsuit is formally resolved. Surely you jest, I thought hopefully to myself.

Now, I'm not a lawyer and I know just about nothing about law. But I do know that to be dragged into a case, a person has to have 'standing' or a stake in the outcome of the case.

Johnson is just a ... blogger - and not writing anything for the sake of either party in the case. He just went into a party with some Trump supporters in Washington, heard President Trump address the crowd and took some notes to aid in his blogging.

Now this leftist comes and demands that he "preserve" his notes as if they were was some pivotal evidence upon which justice itself rests.

Or else.

No tearing those up! You can't even take notes without some leftist making a claim on them for whatever boutique obstructionist purpose this junk lawsuit might have in mind. Why did they pick Scott instead of get a tape? The guy was a bystander!

Johnson thinks the purpose was blogger harassment and he may well be right.

But I see some thought-control implications here, too. Apparently, if any note you write, coming out of your own head, or your imagination or what you see in front of you, is subject to legal control. Any leftwing lawyer intent on shutting you down has a claim on your notes. Don't like it, don't write notes. You can see the disincentive for taking notes right now. 

If that isn't silencing thought and putting it under 'control' what is?

Johnson is a gutsy attorney and knew how to react, telling the ambitious, intrusive leftist to pound sand because he wasn't going to be signing any permission slip for her:

I find your letter deeply offensive. You seem to think I might have left some Trump bombshell buried in my notes. As you know, the purpose of my posts was reportorial. The premise of your subpoena seems to me like glorified harassment.

The lawsuit itself is junk because the law already says that the president shall set immigration policy. But it goes to show that even a junk lawsuit the plaintiff knows he or she could lose could very well be a vehicle for more mischief. It certainly looks the case with this one. Read the whole thing, here.

At Power Line, the estimable blog journal of two conservative Minnesota attorneys and now others, a strange act came flying at them from the left:

Some leftwing lawyer, claiming she had the permission of the Hawaii judge hearing her case on President Trump's ban on travel from terrorist nations, sent a creepy letter to Power Line attorney Scott Johnson telling him he better keep all his reporter notes for her sake. Creepier still, she wanted him to acknowledge this like he was signing off on some probation letter and return the acknowledgement to her.

What?

Johnson described the experience in City Journal:

On June 10, I was served with a letter and draft subpoena from Tana Lin of the Keller Rohrback law firm’s Seattle office alerting me to my “document preservation obligations with respect to documents that are relevant or potentially relevant to this litigation.” Lin represents plaintiffs in Doe v. Trump, venued before Judge James Robart in the federal district court for the Western District of Washington.

Though the lawsuit had been stayed, pending a recently issued ruling from the Ninth Circuit in the parallel Hawaii v. Trump “travel ban” case, Judge Robart authorized Lin to notify me of the lawsuit and seek my confirmation by June 15 that I would preserve potentially relevant documents until such time as she sends me a formal subpoena or the lawsuit is formally resolved. Surely you jest, I thought hopefully to myself.

Now, I'm not a lawyer and I know just about nothing about law. But I do know that to be dragged into a case, a person has to have 'standing' or a stake in the outcome of the case.

Johnson is just a ... blogger - and not writing anything for the sake of either party in the case. He just went into a party with some Trump supporters in Washington, heard President Trump address the crowd and took some notes to aid in his blogging.

Now this leftist comes and demands that he "preserve" his notes as if they were was some pivotal evidence upon which justice itself rests.

Or else.

No tearing those up! You can't even take notes without some leftist making a claim on them for whatever boutique obstructionist purpose this junk lawsuit might have in mind. Why did they pick Scott instead of get a tape? The guy was a bystander!

Johnson thinks the purpose was blogger harassment and he may well be right.

But I see some thought-control implications here, too. Apparently, if any note you write, coming out of your own head, or your imagination or what you see in front of you, is subject to legal control. Any leftwing lawyer intent on shutting you down has a claim on your notes. Don't like it, don't write notes. You can see the disincentive for taking notes right now. 

If that isn't silencing thought and putting it under 'control' what is?

Johnson is a gutsy attorney and knew how to react, telling the ambitious, intrusive leftist to pound sand because he wasn't going to be signing any permission slip for her:

I find your letter deeply offensive. You seem to think I might have left some Trump bombshell buried in my notes. As you know, the purpose of my posts was reportorial. The premise of your subpoena seems to me like glorified harassment.

The lawsuit itself is junk because the law already says that the president shall set immigration policy. But it goes to show that even a junk lawsuit the plaintiff knows he or she could lose could very well be a vehicle for more mischief. It certainly looks the case with this one. Read the whole thing, here.

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