Gorsuch and the plagiarism smear

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Gorsuch and the plagiarism smear

First the WaPo looked for dirt on Mike Pence, and all they could come up with was that fif­teen years ago - in 2002 — he said he won’t have din­ner alone with any woman other than his wife.

Now Buz­zFeed and Politico both are accus­ing SCO­TUS nom­i­nee judge Neil Gor­such of plagiarism.

Politico says,

Supreme Court nom­i­nee Neil Gor­such copied the struc­ture and lan­guage used by sev­eral authors and failed to cite source mate­r­ial in his book and an aca­d­e­mic arti­cle, accord­ing to doc­u­ments pro­vided to POLITICO.

Pro­vided by whom?, you may ask, since they clearly state “POLITICO did not con­duct a full exam­i­na­tion of the fed­eral judge’s writings.”

Jay Caruso notices that, in the pas­sage that Politico posted with rainbow-​colored highlights,

Politico is crit­i­ciz­ing Gor­such for using source mate­r­ial — the same source mate­r­ial Kuzma used — and not attribut­ing it to Kuzma. Do you know who found the pla­gia­rism accu­sa­tion unper­sua­sive? Abi­gail Kuzma

Kuzma spells it out,

I have reviewed both pas­sages and do not see an issue here, even though the lan­guage is sim­i­lar. These pas­sages are fac­tual, not ana­lyt­i­cal in nature, fram­ing both the tech­ni­cal legal and med­ical cir­cum­stances of the “Baby/​Infant Doe” case that occurred in 1982. Given that these pas­sages both describe the basic facts of the case, it would have been awk­ward and dif­fi­cult for Judge Gor­such to have used dif­fer­ent language.”

And why is that? Because Gor­such went to Kuzma’s source — which defined,

Esophageal atre­sia with tra­cheoe­sophageal fis­tula means that the esophageal pas­sage from the mouth to the stom­ach ends in a pouch, with an abnor­mal con­nec­tion between the tra­chea and the esophagus.

Try chang­ing that lan­guage with­out chang­ing the def­i­n­i­tion of a med­ical condition.

Buz­zFeed head­lines, A Short Sec­tion In Neil Gorsuch’s 2006 Book Appears To Be Copied From A Law Review Arti­cle, with the fol­low­ing lede (empha­sis added)

The sec­tion is just two para­graphs and accom­pa­ny­ing foot­notes, but it repeats lan­guage and sourc­ing from another work, a 1984 law review article.

The cita­tions in ques­tion are from mate­r­ial pub­lished twenty years ago, and from Gorsuch’s 2006 book, The Future of Assisted Sui­cide and Euthana­sia, based on his Oxford dissertation.

Ed Whe­lan quotes,

George­town pro­fes­sor John Keown, one of the out­side exam­in­ers of Gorsuch’s Oxford dis­ser­ta­tion on which the book was based, calls the alle­ga­tions of pla­gia­rism “unsub­stan­ti­ated” and praises the book as “metic­u­lous in its cita­tion of pri­mary sources.” Fur­ther: “The alle­ga­tion that the book is guilty of pla­gia­rism because it does not cite sec­ondary sources which draw on those same pri­mary sources is very wide of the mark.”

Gor­such was approved to the 10th Cir­cuit Court of Appeals by a voice vote in 2006. Now the Dems are gin­ning up a pla­gia­rism smear to jus­tify fil­i­bus­ter­ing his nomination.

They would be pathetic if they were not so dishonorable.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz posts on U.S. and Latin Amer­ica at Fausta’s blog

First the WaPo looked for dirt on Mike Pence, and all they could come up with was that fifteen years ago – in 2002 – he said he won’t have dinner alone with any woman other than his wife.

Now BuzzFeed and Politico both are accusing SCOTUS nominee judge Neil Gorsuch of plagiarism.

Politico says,

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch copied the structure and language used by several authors and failed to cite source material in his book and an academic article, according to documents provided to POLITICO.

Provided by whom?, you may ask, since they clearly state “POLITICO did not conduct a full examination of the federal judge’s writings.”

Jay Caruso notices that, in the passage that Politico posted with rainbow-colored highlights,

Politico is criticizing Gorsuch for using source material — the same source material Kuzma used — and not attributing it to Kuzma. Do you know who found the plagiarism accusation unpersuasive? Abigail Kuzma

Kuzma spells it out,

“I have reviewed both passages and do not see an issue here, even though the language is similar. These passages are factual, not analytical in nature, framing both the technical legal and medical circumstances of the “Baby/Infant Doe” case that occurred in 1982. Given that these passages both describe the basic facts of the case, it would have been awkward and difficult for Judge Gorsuch to have used different language.”

And why is that? Because Gorsuch went to Kuzma’s source – which defined,

Esophageal atresia with tracheoesophageal fistula means that the esophageal passage from the mouth to the stomach ends in a pouch, with an abnormal connection between the trachea and the esophagus.

Try changing that language without changing the definition of a medical condition.

BuzzFeed headlines, A Short Section In Neil Gorsuch’s 2006 Book Appears To Be Copied From A Law Review Article, with the following lede (emphasis added)

The section is just two paragraphs and accompanying footnotes, but it repeats language and sourcing from another work, a 1984 law review article.

The citations in question are from material published twenty years ago, and from Gorsuch’s 2006 book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, based on his Oxford dissertation.

Ed Whelan quotes,

Georgetown professor John Keown, one of the outside examiners of Gorsuch’s Oxford dissertation on which the book was based, calls the allegations of plagiarism “unsubstantiated” and praises the book as “meticulous in its citation of primary sources.” Further: “The allegation that the book is guilty of plagiarism because it does not cite secondary sources which draw on those same primary sources is very wide of the mark.”

Gorsuch was approved to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals by a voice vote in 2006. Now the Dems are ginning up a plagiarism smear to justify filibustering his nomination.

They would be pathetic if they were not so dishonorable.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz posts on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog