From The Sally Yates Misinformation Files: Senator Diane Feinstein, Ethics Dunce And Incompetent Elected Official Of the Month

Biased, hypocritical and ignorant is no way to go through life, Senator...

Biased, hypocritical and ignorant is no way to go through life, Senator…

Adding to the ignorance and misinformation drowning ethics comprehension regarding the Sally Yates affair, Sen. Feinstein used her questioning of Attorney General designate Jeff Sessions this morning to misrepresent the ethical duty of that office. (I don’t have a link yet, since I just watched it on C-Span.)

First, Democratic Senator Feinstein set some kind of modern political record for gall by asking Sessions for assurances that he would objectively and independently represent the justice system and the people, and not be a “political arm of the White House.” A political arm of the White House (and the Democratic Party) is exactly what Eric Holder’s and Loretta Lynch’s Justice Department were, and the Senator knows it and never raised her voice in opposition to it for eight years! The question is a fair one, but she is estopped from asking it. Indeed, for any Democratic Senator to ask that question is tantamount to deceit, suggesting that the previous Justice Department met the standard Feinstein is demanding that Sessions acknowledge.

This is the unethical double standard mindset that Democrats have been displaying since November 8.

Following that master class in hypocrisy, Feinstein lauded the justly fired Sally Yates for embodying that ideal. Feinstein is ignorant of what lawyers do and the ethical principles their profession obligates them to follow, apparently. That isn’t surprising, and if she were not falsely representing what Yates’ ethical duties were to a credulous public, I could excuse it. After all, she’s not a lawyer, and never was. She didn’t go to law school. I would bet my head (did you know that Edgar Allan Poe wrote a short story called “Never Bet the Devil Your Head”?) that the Senator has never read the Rules of Professional Conduct guiding lawyer ethics. After all, most lawyers haven’t read them for years, if at all.

No, Senator, Yates isn’t an example of anything laudable. She betrayed her client by serving as a political arm of the previous administration while supposedly representing the current one. She is exactly the kind of lawyer one does not want as Attorney General, or in any position of authority at all.

I wouldn’t trust Yates to fulfill any legal representation whatsoever, and I plan on making that case in a formal complaint to the District of Columbia Bar Association.

 

33 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Research and Scholarship

33 responses to “From The Sally Yates Misinformation Files: Senator Diane Feinstein, Ethics Dunce And Incompetent Elected Official Of the Month

  1. dragin_dragon

    Good for you, Jack. I’d think about it, myself, but I doubt I have any legal standing to do so, living in Texas. “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” You’re a good man and you are doing something.

  2. E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

    More of the same. And who gets the press coverage? Charlatans, ideologues, and morons. Someone, some lawyer, should be on the national news to disabuse the public of this particularly egregious piece of disinformation. But then again, who wants to broadcast truth?

    The ‘bumpy ride’ I predicted is going to be much worse than that. The losers are dogs with a bone, and they will do anything, anything, to discredit anything this administration does. Rightly or wrongly. Unfortunately, we’ll never be able to tell which is which.

    Feinstein may not be a lawyer, but that’s no excuse. She will grandstand at every opportunity, and she gets coverage. Total embarassment.

  3. Wayne

    Well this is pretty predicable. A long time political hack, she never went to law school.

  4. Inquiring Mind

    I’m not surprised. This is the Senator who spent $40 million to put out a half-baked batch of lies on the CIA’s Interrogation Program, and then pushed through a law based on those lies that has tied the hands of the intelligence community.

    If she said ti was raining, I’d look outside the window before believing her.

    • Chris

      On what basis are you declaring the torture report “lies?”

      More importantly, on what basis do you believe not being allowed to use torture “ties the hands of the intelligence community?”

  5. Christopher Henley

    Where in the Constitution, or anywhere else, does it say that a Congressperson shall lose any power or privilege of office if deemed to be hypocritical by a right-leaning, media-loathing, self-appointed ethics watchdog? I can’t find that passage. Sen Feinstein was elected, too, you know. (In fact, she actually gets more votes than her opponents.) She gets to ask whatever question she bloody well wants to ask. Funny that it’s always Dems who you find so appalling that their powers should somehow be circumscribed, but when it comes to Trump, hey, he won (the Electoral College) — so give him a chance or you’re an ethical dunce.

    • Christopher,

      With all due respect and none should be inferred, that is a dumb comment. Address what Jack wrote with real argument and not some snarky, juvenile, and uninformed retort.

      jvb

    • Glenn Logan

      Where in the Constitution, or anywhere else, does it say that a Congressperson shall lose any power or privilege of office if deemed to be hypocritical by a right-leaning, media-loathing, self-appointed ethics watchdog?

      Where, in the Constitution, does it say that it’s okay for incompetent ideologues, apparently incapable of distinguishing an ethics argument from a constitutional one, to assail reason without consequences on a private blog which requires a modicum of decorum?

      I can’t find that passage either.

      Yours is an unutterably stupid remark. One must usually go to a large gathering of hipster pre-teens to find comments of this quality. I hope Jack takes up the question and shows you the door. Better, why don’t you take the hint and show yourself the door?

      • Christopher Henley

        Calling my post “snarky” is fair. I own that it was on the snark side of the scale. Asking for decorum under a post that calls an elected leader admired by many a “dunce” (and I won’t list the names I’ve been called on this site, by Jack and by others, it’s s long list) is rich. I’ve been called names, but no one has made a case that the idea that accusation of hypocrisy should keep an elected official from participating in a hearing is unsupportable. There wouldn’t be a quorum.

        • Chris

          no one has made a case that the idea that accusation of hypocrisy should keep an elected official from participating in a hearing is unsupportable.

          I really don’t think that’s what Jack was arguing, Christopher. He was saying it is hypocritical of Feinstein to ask this particular question. Nowhere did he say anyone should stop her from doing so, other than herself.

          The argument in her defense would be to explain why it was not hypocritical for her to ask this question. I’d be interested in that argument, and I might agree with it.

          • Christopher Henley

            Maybe I over-reacted to, or misunderstood, Jack’s statement, but, it seems to me, telling her she should self-censor questions because Jack Marshall thinks she’s a hypocrite is equally silly. This implication that she — and “any Democratic Senator” — is precluded from their advise and consent function because of perceived hypocracy is 1) a new, and extra-Constitutional, standard, and 2) is, in this case, being employed based on a political judgement about the last Administration that is not universally shared, and that was never successfully tested by any legal challenge, even from a hostile Congress that wasn’t at all shy about investigating Cabinet members.

            • She is a hypocrite. I don’t expect hypocrites and purveyors of cynical double standards to stop being hypocrites, because that’ what makes them so. But I do apply ethics estoppel. If, for example, Donald Trump were to lecture us on civil discourse, I would feel the same way. The Democrats crying foul about the use of reconciliation. Bill Cosby telling Africal Americans that they need to instill values in black youth.

              Half the equation is that the message has validity irrespective of the messenger. The other half is, “How dare you, of all people, pose as someone who supports these values? Shut up. I’ll listen to that from someone who has shown that they believe it and live by it when it isn’t to their benefit, thanks.” Such gall insults our intelligence, and plays us for fools.

            • We have too many Chrisses. I think you need to change your name to “Binky.”

              • Christopher Henley

                Fair enough, Jack; I appreciate your civil reply. I think, however, you commingle consensus examples — I don’t think many Trump partisans would make a case for his civility — with more narrowly-held, dare I say partisan, judgements, as you make against the wildly-admired Senator who, at one point, at least, held a record for most votes in a Senate election. You are entitled to your opinion, but not entitled to expect it to be universally shared or considered unassailable. I dare say, over long careers, whether in government or in theatre, it is the rare person who has never had to retract something said in error, or taken a position that can be said to be hypocritical to an earlier position. It reveals our partisan leanings when we tend to be outraged more by the failings of one side than the other — as I am tonight, treated to the spectacle of the second-place vote-winner choosing his predecessor’s Court seat. Serious question: I haven’t read your blog exhaustively, but I’ve never seen you rail against Republicans or Conservatives as a group in the manner i have seen you rail against Democrats and Progressives (not to mention the left-leaning media), including in the above, with its implication that no Demcratic Senator has any standing to hold a Trump appointee to any ethical standard. Isn’t it fair to conclude that you tend to ally with a right-of-center perspective? Isn’t it fair to expect a blog that calls itself non-partisan to demonstrate a more even-handed attitude? Are you afraid that the admission of your partisan leaning will compromise the perception of your ethical judgement? I’m sorry, but I feel as if a truly non-partisan arbiter wouldn’t be so ruthlessly judgemental about one side, and so lienient toward the other, to the degree that it now feels as if this blog is normalizing some extremely troubling precedents being set by a very abnormal Executive branch. You seem much more engaged in policing Chuck Todd’s pronouncements than you do in considering the implications of a politicized, anti-professional Nat’l Security Council.

                PS There are a lot of Chris’s, which is why I am to most Christopher, to many Chrissy-Boy.

                • Christopher Henley

                  Case in point. You implied that you agreed that the “no Court confirmation during an election year” gambit was bogus. Is McConnell now a hypocrite for asking of the opposition deference to a Presidential appointment? Is he “estopped” from now — or ever — invoking respct for Executive Desiree staffing? A partisan case can be made against him as easily as one agsagainst Sen F. Are you on board? Drop the “H” bomb, Jack! The richly deserved “H” bomb.

                  • Huh? This isn’t an election year.
                    That said, Mitch McConnell has no more moral or ethical authority or credibility than Harry Reid, which is to say, none.

                    I think in the main you are right. McConnell is a hypocrite, and that assertion, coming from him, is laughable or infuriating.

                    He’s still right, just like Feinstein was. But when the right thing comes out of hypocrite mouths, it is stained.

        • Glenn Logan

          Calling my post “snarky” is fair. I own that it was on the snark side of the scale. Asking for decorum under a post that calls an elected leader admired by many a “dunce” (and I won’t list the names I’ve been called on this site, by Jack and by others, it’s s long list) is rich.

          If she’s admired by many for what she said in this hearing, they are all as much of a dunce as she is, at least in the ethics sense. Admiration is no substitute for rationality.

          I’ve been called names, but no one has made a case that the idea that accusation of hypocrisy should keep an elected official from participating in a hearing is unsupportable.

          Show me where Jack suggested that Feinstein shouldn’t participate. You can’t because he didn’t. His point was that her participation was needlessly unethical, and that it was wrong of her to engage in a hypocritical gotcha and ethically insane defense of Yates’ conduct.

          The fact that he could’ve made the same point about a dozen other senators doesn’t invalidate or even challenge his point. You’re apparently just upset because of the example he chose, and he chose Feinstein because her offense was so over-the-top outrageous.

          And it was outrageous. It was an offense not only against consistency, but against reason and ethical legal professionalism and responsibility. “She’s not the only one” and “some people admire her” are rationalizations, not defenses.

          Did you fail to note the links under “Rule Book” above on the top left sidebar? I recommend them to you.

          • Christopher Henley

            There’s a lot of things for people to get upset about in this world. You go on and flip out over Sen Feinstein. I’m more worried about a National Security Council that’s dropped Armed Forces/Intelligence perspectives in favor of alt-right perspectives. I’m counting on the Sen Feinstein’s of the world to keep the next four years from being a total cluster-fill-in-the-blank. And the idea of Sessions as Att’y Gen is repulsive to me, and to the majority of the country, which is why this election result has been greeted with unprecedented resistance. The country does not want to go there.

            • Glenn Logan

              And the idea of Sessions as Att’y Gen is repulsive to me, and to the majority of the country, which is why this election result has been greeted with unprecedented resistance.

              This is such nonsense. There’s no evidence at all that Sessions is “repulsive” to the majority of the country. It may even be that the majority supports him, as they appear to support Trump’s recent suspension of the entry of aliens from certain countries.

              The bottom line is that you have no defensible position here. Your feelz are of course your own, but your hyperbolic angst is not convincing. The country wants to, and has, gone there — at least for now.

              • Session has been smeared with Racist, the left’s favorite word the past 8 years.

                This man prosecuted the KKK in the South, for crying out loud!

                No support for charges of racism can be found.

                I predict the Republicans will force Sessions through, just like the Democrats did Obama’s nominees, using the unethical method the Democrats used.

                • Chrissy-Boy

                  You should watch the Sen Franken Q&A with Sessions. It’s embarrassing. Civil rights is not his agenda. Don’t play games.

              • Chrissy-Boy

                Nothing you, or him, or anyone else can ever say will erase the fact that almost 3 million more Americans voted for HRC than for did for him. It doesn’t mean that he didn’t become President by the rules. It does mean that he doesn’t have a mandate for the sort of fundamental changes he is seeking, and it certainly doesn’t obviate the obvious fact that he is the least popular President in memory, who has occasioned the most quickly vociferous opposition in living memory. The question before the house is, will we get through this intact, or will this authoritarian (who has run against the sort of checks and balances that ensure democracy) do permanent damage.

                • I am mighty tired of the silly popular vote argument, the last refuge of a desperate rationalizer. Trump is quite right that he would have run the campaign differently had the winner just needed more votes, and we know that Hillary worked at running up the popular vote in strongholds because she assumed the electoral victory was in the bag. That doesn’t mean that Trump could have won the popular vote, just that it isn’t meaningful, nor does it convey any sense of the nation.

                  Presumably you would think that a candidate who won every single vote in California, lost all the other 50 jurisdictions by at least 100,000 votes but still had the most popular votes had “won” the election. The Founders thought the opposite, seeking a national rather than a regional leader. Of all the popular vote anomalies, this one was the one in which the founders’ concept worked the best. Trump won the vote in 2,626 counties nationwide, while Clinton won the vote in just 487 counties, the lowest total of any popular vote winner. That’s a mandate too. But any winning President has a mandate. The only way to lead is to lead, and a leader’s best efforts at doing what he believes is in the best interests of the nation are the same regardless of whether he prevails by a landslide, one vote, a technicality or a coup. And good leaders build their mandate, regardless of where it begins. Trump has more of a mandate now than he did on November 8, despite all the anti-democratic conduct from the left.

            • National Security Council that’s dropped Armed Forces/Intelligence perspectives in favor of alt-right perspectives.

              What? Like Obama did in favor of hyper-left perspectives? How did that work out? Are we safer, better respected? Is the world a better place due to Obama’s foreign policy and limp-wristed whining? Pu-leez! Can you say ‘Red Line?’

              • Chrissy-Boy

                Obama didn’t expel the Joint Chiefs and the DCI from the Nat’l Security Council, which was my point. My family survived and thrived under Obama. Now, I lose sleep.

  6. Glenn Logan

    Do you think there is any chance at all that the D.C. Bar Association will take your complaint with more than a grain of salt?

    I’d be interested to know. I’m cynical, I know, and perhaps I shouldn’t be, but I doubt they’ll even trouble to read past the first paragraph.

  7. Spartan

    Don’t you have half a dozen rules about how past bad conduct doesn’t excuse future bad conduct?

  8. Al Veerhoff

    It was unethical, and a breach of responsibility, for Yates not to tell Trump she considered the order unconstitutional and/or not to resign.
    It was Machiavellian of Yates to put out a belay order that would postpone preparation of responses to the lawsuits filed so far. The administration will have to ask for extension of the injunctions because it has not completed its paper work.

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