Jonathan Turley using bogus science as a political bludgeon

Some lawyer named Jonathan Turley has published a bitter diatribe against Joe Biden. Ho hum, don’t care, I’ve got complaints about the guy myself — particularly his unthinking support for Israel — and anyone can write screeds and get them posted somewhere. However, this one tells me more about Turley than Biden. He’s going to turn the power of evolutionary theory against Biden, he thinks, except that he doesn’t understand it at all.

The Bidens have shown a legendary skill at evading legal accountability. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence, Biden family members often marshal political allies and media to kill investigations or cut sweetheart deals.

The Bidens swim in scandal with the ease and agility of a bottlenose dolphin. From his own plagiarism scandal to his brother’s role in killing a man to his son’s various federal crimes, Bidens have long been a wonder in Washington.

It turns out that it may be something of a family trait acquired through generations of natural selection.

A historian recently discovered that Joe Biden’s great-great-grandfather, Moses J. Robinette, was accused and found guilty of attempted murder. The case followed a strikingly familiar pattern.

I don’t consider Biden particularly scandal-ridden. The whole system is scandalous, putting politicians in the hands of lobbyists and moneyed special interest groups, but he’s not egregiously bad, especially compared to, for example, Clarence Thomas or anyone with the last name Trump. His son is a major sleaze, but Biden is not his son. Or is he?

Because Turley is clearly committed to the idea of familial criminality. Shades of the Jukes and Kallikaks! Turley is going further and claiming that Biden has inherited the sins of his great-great-grandfather.

The whole article is a recounting of the crime of Moses Robinette, committed in the civil war era, and that’s it. It tries to tar the great-great-grandson with one crime of one of his ancestors. It calls it a “family trait”. It’s pseudo-science. It’s irrelevant libel.

I eagerly await Turley’s next effort to demonstrate the unsuitability of Biden by a detailed phrenological analysis of the bumps and hollows of his skull. Or perhaps he’ll find a distant relative who is willing to submit to some cranial fondlings — that’s close enough, right?


  1. stuffin says

    Phrenology, the only true science that can predict what is ahead in one’s life. And to the contrary, I do not believe in it because of the cranial fondling.

  2. raven says

    My ancestors fought in the Reformation Wars against the Catholics.

    Some of those Catholics were my other distant ancestors, since our family is half Protestant and half Catholic.

  3. Walter Solomon says

    but Biden is not his son. Or is he?

    Brandon is decades past his 50s so he’s definitely not his son.

  4. muttpupdad says

    Most of the original colonies were founded as someplace to dump England’s trash and criminals, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that they have someone in the past who might not have been as good and holy as Mr. Turkey.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    From his own plagiarism scandal to his brother’s role in killing a man to his son’s various federal crimes, Bidens have long been a wonder in Washington.

    Whereas, as clearly proven here, the Turleys have wrought despair and wrath amongst the teachers and editors of grammar and syntax for aeons.

  6. says

    Once upon a time — about a quarter of a century ago — Turley was a fairly center-of-the-nascent-progressive-movement-with-centrist-libertarian-flavoring voice. His views have… evolved… since then. Personally, I think the problem is that the ancestry of the university and law school that he teaches at — the one-time National University — have asserted themselves in the genome of his public statements, as his skill at hunting the elusive law-journal publication credit has deteriorated with age to the point that he can only take down the old, the weak, and the sick. Unfortunately, he still has students, so he might be “reproducing”…

    Yes, that might well be the tip of my tongue all the way through my cheek, over an essentially unregulated internet, and into your monitor.

    All seriousness aside, Turley’s evolution toward cryptolibertarianism reflects one disturbing thread in legal academia. But that’s a long and involved conversation that would make the not-as-apocryphal-as-one-might-hope Professors Houseman (The Paper Chase) and Perini (1L) seem humane. And perhaps, just perhaps, Turley’s evolution parallels within the abstruse world of legal theory the problem with physicists commenting on evo-devo.

  7. says

    Is this the “secular-pro-life” Turley we’d heard from several years ago? If so, his grasp of science issues hasn’t improved at all. Or am I confusing him with a different dishonest clown named Turley?

  8. jeanmeslier says

    @9 secular pro life… what an oxymoron I have always thought. Religious pseudoethics will be just that , no matter how you phrase them , you cannot conceal where you borrowed them from.

  9. says

    @10: Yeah, he was hawking something that could be called “DNA essentialism” — which wasn’t that different from “soul-begins-at-conception” essentialism.

  10. gijoel says

    You could take everything he wrote there and replace Biden with Trump or Boebert.

    And now the media is making a big song and dance about Biden eating an ice cream, whilst a 77 year old toddler whines about being accountable for his criminal behaviour.

  11. acroyear says

    I just now got reminded of Turley last year:

    “By this rationale, they could have cracked down on the Civil Rights movement. They could have arrested Martin Luther King.” – Fox News legal analyst and PROFESSOR at GWU, Jonathan Turley

    I suppose King wrote Letter from a Birmingham Jail as a work of fiction to him?

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