It is your attitude that neither I nor anyone else here at FR is worthy of your lofty "precision," that offends me.
Thanks, ML/NJ, for explaining.I really didn’t mean it that way, but I can see now how my comment could be taken that way. I probably should have chosen better words. The writing in the memo is, indeed, good writing, on balance. Whether it is *outstanding* in the realm of legal writing is another question. I meant only to suggest that its legal quality may be quite pedestrian, though to us non-lawyers it may sound otherwise.
I’ve read a tremendous number of legal pleadings and legal analyses, and I think that when one employs the process of analysis that lawyers use, the product is quite frequently very impressive qua writing, but the legal thought may not necessarily be especially notable.
My sense is that in this case, without any authenticated writing of Obama against which to compare a text, it is impossible to tell the authorship of the memo.
That said, however, some people who are not able to extemporaneously speak well are indeed able to compose text, given enough time. I would not be surprised if this was authentically a text Obama wrote. Lawyers become practiced in preparing precisely these types of text, so whether this example is especially good or not, I think only a lawyer could adequately judge.
Does that clarify at all what I am thinking?
In other words, if he wrote this, I am not about to change my assessment of him. I have no doubt that he is capable of legal analysis, and think it highly likely that he has the ability, given enough time, to write coherently.
But maybe he didn’t write this. I don’t think there’s a way of finding out, unless someone comes forward with evidence of some kind. But as for its *quality,* I feel that I am incompetent to judge it other than to say what I’ve said above — it could be simple legal analysis rather than anything special. The memo itself indicates that there is a known body of applicable case law that was evidently studied in the class, so it’s also possible that the questions itself wasn’t even all that difficult to a law student who paid attention in class and did all the readings. Law is a lot like any other discipline, and it’s not really as esoteric as some would like to make out. In a sense it’s like science: You develop an argument and you test the evidence (precedent, etc.) to see if it supports your claim.
Anyway, sorry to be so longwinded. I almost went to law school and worked for lawyers for a good number of years.