The Right Coast

November 10, 2005
No relation
By Tom Smith

Neither Smith being considered for the 9th circuit is any relation to yours truly. It's always nice when the suggestion of your being nominated to a federal circuit court is itself a joke. Thanks, Glenn. You're a riot.

Curiously, one of the Smith's, one Randy Smith, is a state district judge in Idaho, as was my father, also a Smith, before he retired. However, none of we Smith's are Mormons, as I gather Judge Randy Smith probably is, having gone to BYU. The California Smith, Milan Smith, also went to BYU, and may also be LDS, which is fine with me, but calls himself "a conservative with a heart," a term I find objectionable. As presumably a liberal would find "a liberal with a brain" objectionable. Or a communist would find "a communist with a conscience," objectionable, in which case you would be shot. I fear "having a heart" for a judge means not letting the law get in the way of promoting some disastrous, but well-meaning social policy dreamnt up by some badly educated person in the 1920's and reworked many times since. (My nomination chances being nil, I might as well be frank.) One senses the hand of Senator Hatch in these potential picks. Has the White House just given up on trying to get right-thinking sorts on the 9th Circuit, or is the idea that anyone who went to BYU law school automatically right-thinking? It may be so, the same way you assume someone who went to Yale thinks diversity jurisdiction has to do with civil rights.

Years ago I thought about applying for a job teaching at BYU law school, and even had sort of an interview with some BYU alums. I skipped the usual beer with lunch. I read some materials about the place and inferred I would not be able to keep my beard and neither to drink spirits. If I shaved my beard my lovely wife Jeanne would kill me, and if I could not drink, I would kill myself, so it was out. All that being said, I am overall pro-Mormon. However, after Hariett Miers, I am not willing to take religion as proof of judicial reliability.