By Molly, Brynn, Jennifer

 and Daniel TC Molloy

We are writing to express our disappointment and voice our concerns over the comments that Congressman Rehberg recently made at a joint session of the Montana Legislature. Although Congressman Rehberg didn’t identify by name U.S. District Judge Don Molloy — our dad — it was clear to whom he referred.

For the benefit of those not there, here is what was said: When referring to a recent federal court decision about wolves and the Endangered Species Act, Rehberg stated, “When I first heard his decision, like many of you I wanted to take action immediately. I asked: ‘How can we put some of these judicial activists on the endangered species list.’ I am still working on that!”

We, too, are still trying to figure out exactly how he thought it appropriate or responsible to make these comments, especially in light of recent events in Tucson.

We fully recognize that the wolf issue has become a polarizing, politicized issue. Through the years, we have come to understand that the press and public will often critique court decisions without a full understanding of the law or facts. Many cases, like the one involving wolf delisting, are complicated. Politicians like Congressman Rehberg have every right to comment, and like the rest of the public, they have the right to do so on an uninformed basis. But a line is crossed when language such as that used by Congressman Rehberg is spoken. It is not acceptable or appropriate to make veiled or outright threats of harm toward anyone, including a judge who is performing a constitutional responsibility to interpret and apply the laws that Congress enacts, based on the facts and law presented in the court room, and not on public opinion.

This is a personal issue for us, and not only because of these comments about Judge Molloy. We are proud Montanans. In fact, we are fourth-generation Montanans and our parents raised us to respect other people, even people with whom we may disagree. We grew up in a Montana where threats and jeers were unwelcome on a school playground and unheard of in political discourse.

It is our firm belief that we must hold our elected officials to a standard of conduct that is representative of Montanans and how we wish to be known. The respect and civility that we call upon Congressman Rehberg to demonstrate are qualities that we see every day in our fellow Montanans. Each of us can and should rise above the divisive and shallow rhetoric that is becoming so common in public discourse. Each of us can commit to showing through our own words and actions how we can debate the issues with respect, thoughtfulness and vigor.

It is our hope that the image of Montana and its citizens that we have grown up holding tightly to remains — that we are strong in our willingness to stand up and behave responsibly and respectfully to all. For all Montanans, and on behalf of our family, we ask Congressman Rehberg to remember that words matter, and inflammatory words inflame.

Molly, Brynn, Jennifer and Daniel TC Molloy are the children of U.S. District Judge Don Molloy of Missoula.

(24) comments

meanogremom
meanogremom

I congratulate your dad on having courageous, well-spoken children. You make excellent points and must now brace yourselves for an onslaught of criticism. Your own words, however carefully chosen, are going to inflame a large number of people because you singled out a prime conservative, Rehberg, for criticism and compared it to an event that has become emotionally charged on the right. That said, I totally agree with your call to civil discourse. In my mind that means stating your opinion as opinion, describing the facts you used to reach that opinion, without name-calling, threatening or otherwise attacking those who disagree with you. There is nothing in asking for that type of responsible adult communication that implies any sort of limitations on freedom of speech--only that responsible people choose their words carefully and communicate clearly. BTW, the representative from Montana was out of line though I expect he was trying to be funny in a Washington Beltway sort of way.

RationalThought
RationalThought

When a judge makes controversial poor decisions, he nor his family can expect people to sit on their hands. Rehberg was merely stating a fact. Now I do not care for Rehberg but you cannot expect the man to censor himself when he has an opinion. Molloy also made controversial poor decisions when it came to marijuana cases. I don't think anyone will feel sorry for the man after reading a letter written by his kids. It comes with the territory.

RationalThought
RationalThought

Here is one example. Molloy showed a total disrespect for the law. Read what he said in sentencing.

http://ftp.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F3/425/425.F3d.634.04-30202.html

flopwich
flopwich

"Racist," "Bigot," "homophobe," "sexist," "hate crime," "chauvinist," and so on. Phrasing an argument on the facts of the case at hand can be a difficult way to win, but as we've seen demonstrated, oh, so many times for decades now, it's a lot easier to win if you just keep screaming epithets at your opponents. The harder they try to be logical, the louder you scream and the more epithets you use, especially if the other guy is scoring points.

The Molloy family's letter to the editor is just more of the same. Rehberg didn't call for anything to happen to Judge Molloy. I know it, the IR's editors know it, you know it, even the authors of this letter know it. He used a mere figure of speech to say that he'd like to see fewer left-wing, activist judges. Hardly a crime there, but we're off and running now, with the claim that in some bizarre way his expression of a simple idea is calling for an attack on a judge. Ridiculous, but as we've seen before and will again, very effective.

By the way, I, too, have the impression that Judge Molloy's rulings, especially on environmental issues, all went in one direction. I assume that's why his jurisdiction has been so popular with environmental pressure groups over the years for filing their lawsuits.

countrydoc
countrydoc

there were three "editorials" in the IR today bashing Rehberg's comment that somehow making the judge "endangered" was a threat like what supposedly caused the shooting spree in Tucson.
First, it is obvious that the shooting had zero to do with political rhetoric
Second, the left is using this as an excuse to stifle righteous criticism from the right (as it is here)
third; it is clear that Rehberg was referring to ending the Judge's term on the bench. no violent rhetoric was there except to those who want to imagine it for political gain
fourth; harsh rhetoric has defined American politics from the beginning. Research the shockingly vile vitriol sent Jefferson's way in the press. And in case ya'll on the left have a super short memory, try remembering the equally vile hate filled messaging sent GW Bush's way.
fifth; so using the logic from points one through four......... stop this embarrassingly transparent and ineffective ploy to silence the critics of the left.

Limber
Limber

[quote]meanogremom said: "I congratulate your dad on having courageous, well-spoken children. You make excellent points and must now brace yourselves for an onslaught of criticism. Your own words, however carefully chosen, are going to inflame a large number of people because you singled out a prime conservative, Rehberg, for criticism and compared it to an event that has become emotionally charged on the right. That said, I totally agree with your call to civil discourse. In my mind that means stating your opinion as opinion, describing the facts you used to reach that opinion, without name-calling, threatening or otherwise attacking those who disagree with you. There is nothing in asking for that type of responsible adult communication that implies any sort of limitations on freedom of speech--only that responsible people choose their words carefully and communicate clearly. BTW, the representative from Montana was out of line though I expect he was trying to be funny in a Washington Beltway sort of way."[/quote]

Rehberg has made it worse. Not for what he said, but for what he has neglected to say now. It was a tasteless joke (with probably unintended overtones). The legislators laughed like a bunch of locker room jocks. Rehberg got national publicity on cable channels and blogs for what he said. I don't believe he meant the insult. I son't believe he is mean spirited enough to intentionally do that. I actually believe it was a classless mistake. I would gladly have forgiven the error had he humbly and publicly apologized. Instead, he had a staffer make up some lame excuse (typical). 2 years ago, when David Letterman's joke insulted Sarah Palin, she assaulted him on the airwaves mercilessly on the airwaves, getting tons of publicity. Letterman apologized sincerely and publicly. For a man whose job is to make crude jokes, I thought that showed a lot of class. Rehberg has no class. I am proud to be a Montanan, but I this is the third time in the past year that Rehberg has generated embarrassing publicity for our state. I want to be proud of my representative, not embarrassed by and/or for him/her.

Scuttlebutt
Scuttlebutt

This was a very thoughtful letter and well written. I can't find any fault with what it says. The fact is Denny Rehberg is less than thoughtful. He speaks without regard or forethought. His judgement is flawed, as his drunken ride on a boat bringing along young aides clearly demonstrated. He's a poor choice to represent Montanans.

Rehberg is the 14th richest Representative in the entire 435 member House of Representatives. He represents very few Montanans in any respect. He is not like us, but he thinks acting like a baffoon will make us feel comfortable with him for some reason.

Bobbiemt406
Bobbiemt406

As I wrote in my printed comment, I do not believe that Congressman Rehberg intended physical harm to Judge Molloy. Nonetheless, the comment belies a certain classless ignorance and arrogance that I cannot abide, especially as a lawyer and a Montanan. We simply do not joke about endangering federal judges, paricularly only a month after one was assasinated. We more expect more from our representatives. Again, it's not a question of intent, but rather of effect. It was a comment that demonstrates, not mailicious aforethought, but no forethought whatsoever. I simply do not want this kind of ignorance displayed to the nation, indeed the world on my behalf - does anyone?

MtMadeMan
MtMadeMan

Limber wrote: "2 years ago, when David Letterman's joke insulted Sarah Palin, she assaulted him on the airwaves mercilessly on the airwaves, getting tons of publicity. Letterman apologized sincerely and publicly."

Excuse me. Letterman insulted Willow, Palin's 14-year-old daughter. Palin was justly upset when he attacked her underage daughter. I don't recall Rehberg insulting Molloy's underage children, just his decisions.

But great try to rewrite history and frame it as you would like it to be and add a little hate to fuel the rhetoric.

By the way would you say Malloy and his children are mercilessly attacking Rehberg for tons of publicity?

MtMadeMan
MtMadeMan

Scuttlebutt wrote: "Rehberg is the 14th richest Representative in the entire 435 member House of Representatives."

Sounds like class envy to me. Making money is again a crime in the eyes of progressives.

How does being succesful disqualify a person for a job?

Limber
Limber

[quote]MtMadeMan said: "Limber wrote: "2 years ago, when David Letterman's joke insulted Sarah Palin, she assaulted him on the airwaves mercilessly on the airwaves, getting tons of publicity. Letterman apologized sincerely and publicly."Excuse me. Letterman insulted Willow, Palin's 14-year-old daughter. Palin was justly upset when he attacked her underage daughter. I don't recall Rehberg insulting Molloy's underage children, just his decisions.But great try to rewrite history and frame it as you would like it to be and add a little hate to fuel the rhetoric. By the way would you say Malloy and his children are mercilessly attacking Rehberg for tons of publicity?"[/quote]

Nice try, MtMadeMan. The insult to Willow was assumed. Letterman simply said, "daughter." It was carefully scripted to avoid legal ramifications, which is what a production like that has to do. The entire point is that it was comedy! If Rehberg were auditioning for Satruday night live, it would still be a joke more tasteless than Letterman's. But more to the point, Letterman actually apologized. And he didn't have to. He is not beholding to a voting public. I have a right to expect, and demand an apology from Rehberg. It comes in the form of actively campaigning for his defeat from office so that he will not continue to embarrass the good name of Montana citizens.

Limber
Limber

MtMadeMan (see previous) By the way, it would have been classy for Sarah Palin to acknowledge and accept Letterman's apology, which she did not. She continued to stir the controversy for several days, until Letterman finally made a joke, saying< "We've made up! I've been invited to Sarah Palin's for 'moose stew.'" As far as I am concerned, Letterman is a much better Montana citizen that Rehberg. He lives only 100 miles away, and I'm glad to have him in the neighborhood.

MtMadeMan
MtMadeMan

Limber wrote: "Nice try, MtMadeMan. The insult to Willow was assumed. Letterman simply said, "daughter." It was carefully scripted to avoid legal ramifications, which is what a production like that has to do."

He commented on Palin and her daughter at a Yankees game. Palin was only with the one daughter. That would be the 14-year-old. Nice try but that is like saying Palin and her husband, but you were not talking about Todd.

And how would you know if it was carefuly scripted. Are you part of the legal team working for Letterman?

You forget that public figures have much fewer rights when it comes to the media.

Letterman is a left wing snide comedian. He has not attacked Obama's children. Don't recall him attacking Clinton's either. But then attacking Palin is considered fun sport on the left. Not suprised you like him for a neighbor.

But that does not make him a citizen of MT. Unless you know something different about him voting in this state. He is one of the rich elite who ones a vacation home in this state. He is just a left wing hack in my opinion.

And since Letterman is not a citizen of this state your whole statement about Letterman and Rehberg as citizens was a non sequitur and deflection.

You are just trying to justifiy hate speech from the left.

Limber
Limber

[quote]MtMadeMan said: "Limber wrote: "Nice try, MtMadeMan. The insult to Willow was assumed. Letterman simply said, "daughter." It was carefully scripted to avoid legal ramifications, which is what a production like that has to do."He commented on Palin and her daughter at a Yankees game. Palin was only with the one daughter. That would be the 14-year-old. Nice try but that is like saying Palin and her husband, but you were not talking about Todd.And how would you know if it was carefuly scripted. Are you part of the legal team working for Letterman?You forget that public figures have much fewer rights when it comes to the media. Letterman is a left wing snide comedian. He has not attacked Obama's children. Don't recall him attacking Clinton's either. But then attacking Palin is considered fun sport on the left. Not suprised you like him for a neighbor. But that does not make him a citizen of MT. Unless you know something different about him voting in this state. He is one of the rich elite who ones a vacation home in this state. He is just a left wing hack in my opinion. And since Letterman is not a citizen of this state your whole statement about Letterman and Rehberg as citizens was a non sequitur and deflection.You are just trying to justifiy hate speech from the left."[/quote]

It's not that complicated, Man. Left, right, hate speech, who cares. Letterman made a bad joke on a late night comedy, Rehberg made an obscene joke in the house chambers of my statehouse. I'll stay here stoking this Rehberg controversy for as long as it's open. Letterman will be fine. My hope is that this one will be firmly planted in the minds of voters right up until election day. Thanks for the help.

Ken T
Ken T

Denny ran his first race for Congress as Montana's Dad. Remember the ads? He has spent his time in DC learning his way around the far-right dinner circuit and fundraisers. In those venues, this maybe what counts for humor. But, when you come to address the State House and Senate, you are supposed to bring your A-game.

Denny instead dredged up the old Conrad Burns play book, divvy up the spoils and deny your hand is in the till, inflame the folks on hot button issues and dither over what is really important.

MtMadeMan
MtMadeMan

Limber wrote: "It's not that complicated, Man. Left, right, hate speech, who cares. Letterman made a bad joke on a late night comedy, Rehberg made an obscene joke in the house chambers of my statehouse."

Bad joke as compared to obscene joke. Your unmitigated bias is so evident it might as well be tattooed on your head. It is ok to joke about the children of your opponent as long as it helps your left cause. It is ok to demean the other side as long as it helps your left cause. It does not matter, "who cares" in your moral desert. The ends justify the means.

Keep going. You are exposing the hate and bias of the left. Thanks.

By the way,... it is our statehouse not yours.

lulzysoslow
lulzysoslow

"Your unmitigated bias is so evident it might as well be tattooed on your head."

This can be said for some one else posting in this article...

thedukeofhelena
thedukeofhelena

Excellent letter! Very well said and written. I have often wondered what has happened to Montana myself. I'm 4th generation as well and this Montana is not the same one I grew up in. Too many transplants I think, perhaps. I'm not sure what Rehberg thought he was doing, but it's pretty typical of him and his affiliates. He doesn't represent the good old Montanans I know and grew up with, that's for sure.

MtMadeMan
MtMadeMan

lulzysoslow wrote: "This can be said for some one else posting in this article..."

Looked in the mirror lately?

I know I am conservative. I laugh at those who are liberal and claim to be centrists.

We lie to ourselves best of all.

bhallinan
bhallinan

My observation of Rep. Rehberg is based on writing him about four times a year on issues I care about. Over the years, he has not once represented my point of view. I don't consider him as having represented even 50% of the people 50% of the time. It doesn't surprise me he panders to a crowd. I know it is just a dirty liberal rag, so take this for what it is worth. Note: the New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded, and continuously published in New York City, since 1851. The New York Times has won 104 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization. Its website is the most popular American online newspaper website, receiving more than 30 million unique visitors per month. 30 million people got to read this today: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/16/opinion/16wed2.html?_r=1. No, Representative Rehberg does not represent me, and I am not, nor have been, proud of his accomplishments. In fact, I can not think of any accomplishments. Perhaps someone could be kind enough to list his independent accomplishments for me and tell me whom in Montana benefited directly? a Representative

bhallinan
bhallinan

@RationalThought (February 13, 2011, 10:37 am). Please tell me how the contents of your link show total disrepect for the law? I do not read it that way; I think justice was served. The case was sent back to the district court for resentencing.

lulzysoslow
lulzysoslow

[quote]MtMadeMan said: "lulzysoslow wrote: "This can be said for some one else posting in this article..."Looked in the mirror lately?I know I am conservative. I laugh at those who are liberal and claim to be centrists.We lie to ourselves best of all. "[/quote]

I know I am a democrat. Always have been.

I see no where that Limber claims to be centralist. Maybe in other posts? I just see some one who wants his Rep to ask decent, maybe not to crack bad jokes when they are representing us(sorry if that is not what you meant Limber)

PS You said "Looked in the mirror lately?" I was wondering why my 5 year old was crying when he came home. It seems you have stolen his come backs. He would like them back.

helenros
helenros

[quote]bhallinan said: "My observation of Rep. Rehberg is based on writing him about four times a year on issues I care about. Over the years, he has not once represented my point of view. I don't consider him as having represented even 50% of the people 50% of the time. It doesn't surprise me he panders to a crowd. I know it is just a dirty liberal rag, so take this for what it is worth. Note: the New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded, and continuously published in New York City, since 1851. The New York Times has won 104 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization. Its website is the most popular American online newspaper website, receiving more than 30 million unique visitors per month. 30 million people got to read this today: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/16/opinion/16wed2.html?_r=1. No, Representative Rehberg does not represent me, and I am not, nor have been, proud of his accomplishments. In fact, I can not think of any accomplishments. Perhaps someone could be kind enough to list his independent accomplishments for me and tell me whom in Montana benefited directly? a Representative"[/quote]

Me too! I've written to Rehberg at least 40 times over the last decade, and never once has he (or his staff) responded in agreement. Not even once. I have political vews which are all over the spectrum; you'd think maybe once or twice I'd strike lucky. But Rehberg is non-responsive to those of us who aren't actively lining his pockets.

BruiserND
BruiserND

Before becoming a judge in 1996, Molloy was working a case for Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, or TLPJ. TLPJ’s website brags it was “founded in 1982 at Ralph Nader's urging [no kidding]” to pursue litigation that would, as Nader biographer David Boller wrote, “forge new public policy in the process.” To translate, TLPJ’s lawyers don’t practice law, they re-write it in court.

Bluntly put, Sen. Max Baucus’s nomination of a smart activist lawyer working for a Naderite activist group stuck Montana with a smart activist judge. Molloy is smart enough to realize that public outrage over his relisting decree in case 77 finally woke Congress from its coma.

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