Senator Josh Hawley is becoming a first-class demagogue

Two things should be obvious here. First, that Bogren was acting as an attorney making the best legal argument he can on behalf of his client, which doesn’t necessarily represent his personal beliefs. Bogren may very well think that East Lansing should lay off Country Mill Farms and similarly-situated business, and it’s unreasonable to think that an attorney always agrees with the position he asserts on behalf of his client. It’s not proper to publicly ask an attorney to state that he personally disagrees with an argument made in court on behalf of a client, especially, as in this case, when the litigation is ongoing. Second, the argument Bogren made is the standard legal argument anyone would make in his position, and does not reflect any demonstrated hostility to Country Mill Farms’ owners’ religious beliefs.

I assume that as an attorney and former law professor, all this was obvious to Senator Hawley as well. Nevertheless, at Bogren’s confirmation hearing, Hawley chose to demagogue the issue, accusing Bogren of comparing traditional Catholic beliefs to those of the KKK, and more generally of exhibiting hostility toward Catholicism. There’s no excuse for (a) misrepresenting Bogren’s arguments; and (b) treating arguments made on behalf of a client in a brief as if they represent the attorney’s personal opinion.

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