KABOOM!* Ethics Dunce: Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch Fame


While we are on the topic of ridiculous ideas that are a waste of energy, pixels, and hot air:

Here’s a headline from the web:…not from 2009, but from today:

“Could Barack Obama Be Deported Over Using a Fraudulent Birth Certificate? Yes, Says Former DOJ Attorney”

This is of a piece with such headlines as…

“Can World Hunger Be Solved with Edible Cotton? Yes, An Expert Believes”

“Was George Washington a Martian? It’s Possible, Historian Claims”

‘”I Am Marie Of Rumania!’ Virginia Ethicist Declares After Latest Judicial Watch Effort Causes His Head To Explode, Killing Three”

What is the matter with Larry Klayman? The former head of Judicial Watch, the conservative public interest law firm that has occasionally broken through partisan government stonewalling, has jumped the shark for all time by filing what he calls a “deportation petition” against President Barack Obama, asking authorities to begin the process of removing Obama from the country.

This is the equivalent of wearing an “I am a loony!” sign around one’s neck. It undermines the credibility of Judicial Watch (with which he is still associated  in the public mind—indeed until reader Ric Anderson corrected me, I still thought he was), and anyone who has ever cited the organization as authority for anything. It could well undermine objective judicial determinations of unrelated cases in the future. It embarrasses him, his former organization, conservatives, his family, and people named “Larry.”

The birther phenomenon is itself an embarrassment, and like failed predictions of Doomsday, becomes more ridiculous with the passing of time. Even if Obama wasn’t really born here, as a contemporary birth announcement that I’m pretty sure he didn’t forge in the womb asserts, he’s not getting deported. No court or agency will order that he be deported.  That train was never in the station, and yet it left long ago. The man has been President of the United States for six years! He’s been elected twice! At this point, it wouldn’t matter if he announced that his real name was Sinclair Blodget, that he was once female, has some lizard DNA, and grew up in a circus. So what? If he had been a terrific leader, nobody would care. He hasn’t, and such an announcement would still leave him with 95% support from African Americans.

Klayman’s grandstanding nonsense looks desperate, silly, racist and unserious, and it just hands ammunition to the President’s allies to use against more prudent, legitimate and realistic critics not comparing rentals on rubber rooms. Whatever the President has done or not done, he has earned the minimal respect not to be subjected to Mickey Mouse tactics like this.

Plus it made my head explode, and I was wearing a new shirt.

* “The Kaboom! is a special category reserved for cases that should require no ethics commentary from me, since the ethical breach is beyond obvious, but where the individual’s ethics alarms have proven so spectacularly useless that attention must be paid. The name of the award derives from the sound my head made as I read the story, because I don’t know how to spell the sound my brains made when they hit hit the ceiling and then slowly fell to the floor” ( November 14, 2013)


15 thoughts on “KABOOM!* Ethics Dunce: Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch Fame

  1. This annoys me no end, because as you note, Judicial Watch has, on occasion, done important and successful work.

    One could argue that jousting with windmills, believing them to be evil giants, is romantic. One could pose a better argument that it’s psychotic.

  2. I am beginning to wonder whether the Tea Party News Network is a fictional site created to portray the Tea Party as lunatics. The comments that follow the article are almost in lock step with the Birther perspective and reflect all the negative stereotypes associated with the Tea Party. This is not the first story carried here that was absolutely outrageous. There is no doubt that there are some in the Tea Party with ideas that border on being dangerous but I cannot believe that every comment would reflect such animus toward the President. For that reason I am somewhat suspicious of these pseudo-news blogs reflecting the opinion of the Tea Party. With that said, I cannot be absolutely sure that it is bogus when the leadership of the Tea Party do not disavow such opinions or seek legal action to block the use of the name Tea Party by malicious users seeking to discredit the political objectives of the group.

    When the Tea Party came into being some years ago I attended several rallies and found no evidence of this type of thinking. The principal goal was to challenge the expansion of government into our lives and the associated bloated costs of doing so in a grassroots movement. If the Tea Party has morphed into a group so removed from reality that it resorts to such insanity then I can no longer support such an agenda.

  3. It’s interesting that right wing militants/miscreants have the power to create the illusion that everyone ever associated with the Tea Party is a lunatic or a fanatic, but progressives who want big government can divorce themselves publically from the actions and attitudes of left wing militants/miscreants and portray themselves as reasonable.

    • The left-wing lunatics tend to not get elected to Congress and are relegated to pure punditry on cable TV. The tea party, however, is making up a growing percentage of Congress. That is the difference.

      • Really?

        Nancy Pelosi? Debbie Wasserman Schulz? Alan Grayson? Sheila Jackson Lee? Elijah Cummings? Elizabeth Warren? Henry Waxman? Maxine Waters? Eleanor Holmes Norton?

        • Don’t forget Cynthia McKinny and Bernie Sanders. I’m sure there are others both past and present, but those two are pretty fare out on the left. Cynthia is my go to example for people who think Michelle Bachman is some unique creation of the right wing.

          • Warren absolutely belongs on the list. And in addition to being crazy, she’s a liar many times over. She IS clever, I’ll grant you that.

            Oh, and Phlinn? Spot on about McKinney – though she’s been gone so long that it’s easy to overlook her. Were we to look at knaves and crazy bastards from the past, the list would be longer (I left a number of current members off, citing the current or still-yapping. Sanders is like the beloved crazy old uncle in the attic. As an escaped Vermont resident, I can tell you that he’s actually rather charming, in his own bizarre way.

  4. Jack,
    As I mentioned before, it’s not the “head exploding” analogy I find distasteful, but rather your increasingly vivid description of “brain shrapnel” and comments about needing a squeegee to clean up the resulting mess. As someone who has, quite literally, seen someone else’s head come apart, it’s gross and off-putting. “Kaboom” is a metaphor, “brain explosion” (complete with a helpful illustration for those of us who can’t read) is not.

    Then again, maybe I’m just overly sensitive — I’m just Jackie Onasis would have been far more appreciative of such subtle wit.

  5. Even more disconcerting, if you have contracted Ebola. 🙂

    I’ve crossed swords with the bat-guano birther crowd forever, pointing out that Occam’s Razor slices and dices their arguments. For it to be true, you have to believe that the very pregnant Ann Dunham and her husband flew half-way around the world at a time when it was exorbitantly expensive to fly, and that the airlines would have let her fly in the first place (labor can come at any time, and you’re a long way from the nearest hospital) to give birth in a Third World country with primitive health care facilities, just so he could escape the trappings of American citizenship under a quirk in the law? To state the case is to refute it.

    Besides, the legal remedy would be “President Joe Biden.”

    • Unless, of course, Biden were adjudged either insane or incompetent and remanded to the custody of professionals. Nor is Larry Klayman a dunce. If he’s doing this, there’s a purpose in mind. It just may not be the claimed one. I’m not taking sides on the issue of Obama’s birth, but there are a lot of things about his background that remain unknown. Maybe this is a means of finding out.

        • What scares me is that the question might BE valid. Can you imagine what would happen if Obama were actually proved to be ineligible for the Presidency… for ANY reason? After six years, everything he’s signed- good or bad- would be of dubious validity. With no precedent or constitutional guidelines for this, the result would likely be chaos and economic collapse, followed by civil war. That worries me!

    • I decline to reward presidents for choosing poor VP’s by holding them unaccountable. The systemic effect of letting that strategy work is worse than the effect of one or two bad replacements taking office.

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