[Ads-l] back-forming again

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Jan 21 15:53:48 UTC 2016

Haven't encountered "to rabble-rouse" before, although I'm sure it's widely attested.  Here's an interesting one in the wild, though, from George Wallace's daughter, arguing that Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice  Roy Moore, who--after gaining fame some time ago by commissioning a monument of the Ten Commandments and posting it in the state judicial building, is now engaged in a crusade force Alabama probate judges to ignore the federal mandate on marriage equality (or, as he probably terms it, sin):

http://www.al.com/opinion/index.ssf/2016/01/wallaces_daughter_roy_moore_is.html <http://www.al.com/opinion/index.ssf/2016/01/wallaces_daughter_roy_moore_is.html>
Demagoguery is as much a part of the American political tradition as kissing babies. It is the engine that drives voters to kick the can down the road and into the voting booth. Politicians are encouraged, expected, and entitled to have their own opinions, freely expressed, to discredit their opponents, and rail against the government. That is, unless, they are members of the judiciary where their opinions should not count. And therein lies the distinction between Governor George Wallace and Chief Justice Roy Moore. 

George Wallace was able, by virtue of his office, to take political advantage by publicly promoting a theology of discrimination, but Roy Moore cannot. George Wallace was not confined by a code of ethics that restricted his right to rabble rouse, but Roy Moore is. And most importantly, George Wallace was not required to promote the notion of impartiality and fairness but Roy Moore must.  Justice Moore ran for Alabama's highest executive office twice and missed the mark. The black robes he wears daily for the job he was elected to do should remind him that his opinions cannot trump the law.

The politics of my father and Moore may be worthy of comparison on issues of their character and failure to commit to protecting the civil rights of all, but Moore is the more powerful of the two, for he and his brethren on the bench have the right to have the last word. [...]
In this case, no alternative reference to Wallace's "right to rouse rabble" seems possible.


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