Tweet of the day: Laurence Tribe on IRS ideological targeting

Yesterday Harvard law professor Larry Tribe sent out a tweet brusquely dismissing the IRS targeting episode as a debunked non-scandal. I and others promptly took issue with him, and pointed him toward the August 5 D.C. Circuit opinion laying out the scandal’s genuineness. (I also referenced my Ricochet article summarizing the decision and citing the Inspector General report from Treasury.)

Within an hour or two Prof. Tribe sent this tweet very graciously conceding error, along with several similar.

I have on occasion had my differences with Prof. Tribe’s views, but what an honorable example he sets here. May all of us prove equally ready to re-examine our own views when challenged.


  • There are some that truly believe that a governmental agency can do no wrong, especially in view of a (preposterous to them) allegation that the IRS is giving extra scrutiny to non-profits with ideological interests adverse to the current administration.

    Larry Tribe is a legal powerhouse, and I am truly surprised that he was fooled by the “debunkers” into actually publishing to the world, albeit by tweet, that the IRS targeting was a non-scandal. He should have been more careful since many respect his writings and consider his statements sacrosanct.

    Luckily, jurors are instructed to not come into the case with any preconceived notions, and not to formulate an opinion until they retire to the jury room, after they are given the the jury instructions at the end of the case. As evidence is put before them on the balance of justice, the pans may may tip from side to side. But, only until the pans settle to their final position, may a jury make a conclusion as to the facts.

    Unfortunately, many people are not versed in the scientific method and the rigors of logic, and are unduly influenced by logical fallacies (e.g.. it must be true because Larry Tribe said so).. A person of Mr.Tribe’s stature should therefore be careful when expressing himself.

    Although I do not agree with his philosophy on Constitutional interpretation, I respect the man, The immediate concession of his error says a lot!

  • Either that or he merely conceded the obvious. I have a hard time believing that said evidence was new to him.

  • His first tweet was to give the Press a “respected” source for saying there was no IRS targeting scandal.

    “The world will little note, nor long remember” the retraction, so for Tribe, mission accomplished.

    As ras noted, he either issued the first claim without doing any – simple, perfunctory – research. Which indicates he is careless on a Hillary level; or despite his knowledge to the contrary, which makes him a liar, again on a Hillary level.

    • g.u. — In your first two sentences, you accuse Prof. Tribe of deviousness and ulterior motives based on no evidence that I can see, and in the face of considerable evidence to the contrary. To begin with, he has deleted his first tweet, which in my recollection came as a response to someone else’s comment. Neither its origins nor its later deletion offer any obvious indication of its being some considered scheme to “give the Press a… source.”

      On being shown contrary evidence, Tribe then proceeded not just to retract but to spread the retraction by way of several tweets to conversation participants, some of whom, like me, have platforms that reach many readers. Were he seeking to bury a retraction while making sure the original statement lived on in further discussion, it seems to me he would have done the exact reverse of what he in fact did do.

  • Tribe is totally insincere.

    He is only angling/preparing to be the next nominee to the Supreme Court in a Clinton Dictatorship, oops I meant Presidency.

    • That’s the darndest theory I’ve heard yet. Why on earth would it improve Tribe’s chances of being picked by a Democratic president for SCOTUS to say something that many partisan Democrats are going to find most unwelcome?

  • The above tweet seems to have been removed from Tribe’s twitter feed. Hmmm…..

    • The original tweet, which had dismissed the scandal, he took down as mentioned above. The “I confess error” tweet continues to stand.

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