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Doroshow's Huffington Puffery

As noted yesterday, Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the pro-trial-lawyer Center for Justice and Democracy (CJD), wrote a column in last Wednesday's Huffington Post that took aim at the Manhattan Institute's new Trial Lawyers, Inc.: K Street report. I published a lengthy rebuttal, pointing out just how deceptive Doroshow's hit piece was, and last night Doroshow went back on Huffington to reply, with a new column entitled (appropriately enough) "Huff and Puff."

What does Doroshow say? She makes no effort to resuscitate any of the arguments in her earlier piece that my rebuttal had exposed. (Draw your own conclusions.) Instead, Doroshow's odd reply boils down to one essential defense: "I was joking." (I kid not; take a look at her piece if you think I'm exaggerating.)

Joanne's reaction isn't surprising, I suppose: here at Point of Law, we've long known that Doroshow and her organization were anything but serious. I just hope the word gets out to the mainstream media the next time they uncritically report on one of the CJD's "studies."

Note, however, that Doroshow couldn't help but throw out a couple more deceptive nuggets -- which I'll take the trouble to correct for those interested:

  1. Notwithstanding my detailed explanations of why the Jamie Leigh Jones case is only tangentially related (at best) to Al Franken's defense appropriations amendment, Doroshow can't get away from invoking the case in deceptive fashion:
    One [sic] the one hand, some of their response (like their initial study) seems kinda creepy, like when they go in extreme detail arguing that it's just fine when women who have been drugged and raped by co-workers for a military contractor, or are victims of other violations, have no access to the civil courts.
    But were we actually doing that? In my piece yesterday, I explicitly stated:
    Given how Mr. Franken characterized his proposal, it was hardly objectionable; as the federal court had reasonably determined, rape falls outside what anyone would normally consider activity related to employment.
    The problem, as I noted, is that "Franken's amendment was not, as he claimed, 'narrowly targeted,' " but rather precludes essentially any employment arbitration agreement for any defense contractor. So, the "victims of other violations" that Doroshow casually throws out there aren't cases analogous to drugging and rape, but rather constitute a very broad group of alleged grievances.
    Doroshow's saying the equivalent of something like this: "They think it's just fine when men who rape women, or commit other violations, get out of jail in only two years" -- if "they" were to defend a Senator who voted against a bill imposing a mandatory 25-month sentence for not just rape but offenses including jaywalking, skipping school, and illegal parking. Obviously, the Senator wasn't objecting to the minimum sentence for rape, but rather that for the lesser offenses. Because I don't think Doroshow is stupid, I can only conclude she's disingenuous.
  2. Doroshow still can't resist the temptation to make misleading allegations about the Manhattan Institute (my employer, and the sponsor of this website). In this iteration, she tries to paint herself as a tiny David fighting the good fight against our massive Goliath. She writes: "The Manhattan Institute, an organization with a budget about 18, 20 times the size of ours, talks about us a lot."
    While it's true that the overall budget of the Manhattan Institute ($12,374,909 in 2007 functional expenses, according to our publicly available Form 990) is a bit over 15 times as large as the same-year budget for the Center for Justice and Democracy ($796,660 in 2007 functional expenses, according to their publicly available 990), that difference is highly deceptive. Why? Because unlike the Center for Justice and Democracy -- which exists exclusively to preserve open-ended litigation in our courts -- the Manhattan Institute works on a lot of other issues.
    You see, we agree with Joanne that unemployment and health care and the like are very important in society (though we'd probably disagree on the appropriate policy responses); and unlike the Center for Justice and Democracy, the Manhattan Institute actually does work on those issues, too. In addition to our Center for Legal Policy (CLP), we have centers devoted to health care, energy and the environment, urban issues, higher education, and New York-specific policy, in addition to a quarterly in-house magazine, City Journal. And since I've been at MI, we've also sponsored centers that looked at telecommunications policy, zoning issues, local police response to terrorism, immigration and other "race and ethnicity" issues, and even how Latin American cities could incorporate the public safety ideas that transformed New York City. (Believe it or not, MI's former office in Santiago, Chile had little relevance to the CLP's mission.)
    Fortunately, for comparative purposes, our publicly available 990 discloses that for the same 2007 year, the Center for Legal Policy's budget was $666,566. (990s for non-profits are available for public inspection at this website.) Now, I'm certainly not arguing that the fact that the Center for Justice and Democracy's 2007 budget was over $130,000 larger than the CLP's indicates that Joanne's efforts have appreciably more funding than ours. Our figures don't include all the overhead that we borrow from the broader Manhattan Institute. And unlike Joanne, we don't spend any of our money "lobbying."
    But Joanne's insinuation that her center is some David vs. the CLP's Goliath is -- typically, for her -- extremely misleading.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.