I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

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Judge Davidson: Scruggs brief writer’s word “substitution… is not innocuous.”

Judge Davidson has ruled on Dickie Scruggs’s motion for a judgment on the pleadings, in which Scruggs asserted his conduct with regard to Judge DeLaughter was protected by the First Amendment.

He also rules that there will be an evidentiary hearing about Scruggs’s alleged innocence.

In doing so, Judge Davidson tosses a nice dart at Scruggs’s lawyer, noting their selective editing of quotations.  They argued that quid pro quo involves the exchange of money, and, since Judge DeLaughter didn’t get any money, Scruggs is necessarily innocent.  Judge Davidson swats down as misleading their ellipses in one quote:

Petitioner twice cites Let’s Help Florida as stating: “[T]he sole Governmental interest that the Supreme court recognized as a justification for restricting [speech] was the prevention of quid corruption between a contributor and a candidate.” Pet’r’s Reply Mem. in Support of J. Pleadings [151] at 4; Pet’r’s Mem. in Support of Mot. to Vacate [126] at 29. The actual quote from Let’s Help Florida is as follows: “The sole governmental interest that the Supreme Court recognized as a justification for restricting contributions was the prevention of quid pro quo corruption between a contributor and a candidate.” 621 F.2d at 199 (emphasis added). Petitioner’s substitution ofthe word “speech” in a decision that only addresses campaign contributions is not innocuous.

The understatement there is appealing, and I’m going to have to remember it for future use.

More about this in a bit.

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