Good Morning, Pacific Time Zone!
I’m heading to San Diego tomorrow to talk about “Five Looming Ethics Issues for Lawyers and Their Corporate Clients” to a group of over 600 lawyers. THEY don’t think my analyses of ethics issues violate community standards…okay. I admit it, I’m getting paranoid. Despite a lot of, I humbly believe, useful, timely and well-presented content, the weekend traffic was terrible, and comments were sparse, if excellent. This year, so far, is lagging behind last year, which seriously trailed the year before. What’s going on here? Has Google secretly joined Facebook in its efforts to keep the posts here from reaching an audience? Of could it be that I just suck? Maybe Donald Trump really has killed all belief in ethics…that’s the ticket! Blame the President!
1. Pettiness and vindictiveness vanquished. Good. The Judicial Council of the 10th U.S. Court of Appeals has affirmed its December decision to reject 83 ethics complaints against Justice Brett Kavanaugh, all filed by bitter partisans who are determined to hurt the newest Justice because the Democrats’ slimy and unethical ambush tactics failed, as they should have. In a 6-1 decision, the judicial council affirmed its earlier finding that the federal law governing misconduct complaints against federal judges does not apply to justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. Many of the complaints filed against Kavanaugh argued he had made false statements under oath during hearings on his nominations to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2004 and 2006 and to the U.S. Supreme Court last year—you know, like having an innocent recollection of what “boof” meant in his completely irrelevant high school year book. Other complaints accused Kavanaugh of making inappropriate partisan statements in his inappropriately partisan hearings, or claimed he treated members of the Senate Judiciary Committee with disrespect, or as I would put it, the disrespect they deserved for attempting to smear his good name and reputation through demagoguery and calls to reject the presumption of innocence.
Let me remind everyone that Ruth Bader Ginsberg, in her confirmation hearings, stated under oath that she had no pre-formed opinions that would affect her objectivity in abortion cases. Nobody filed any ethics complaints.
2. Fox News does the right thing; the President doesn’t understand. Fox News suspended host Jeanine Pirro following comments she made earlier this month about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Pirro’s show, “Justice with Jeanine,” did not air Saturday evening. During her March 9 show, the former New York politician suggested that Omar’s religious beliefs were at odds with the U.S. Constitution. “Omar wears a hijab, which, according to the Quran 33:59, tells women to cover so they won’t get molested.” Pirro said. “Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?” Said the network in a statement,
“We strongly condemn Jeanine Pirro’s comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar. They do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly.”
That’s exactly right: professional news organizations should not tolerate outright religious slurs and unsubstantiated accusations against elected officials, or anyone. If only CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS and NBC understood this basic principle of ethical journalism. (Pirro, by the way, is awful: strident, unprofessional, doctrinaire.)
Someone else who doesn’t understand the basic ethical principle: President Trump, who tweeted,
“Bring back @JudgeJeanine Pirro. The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country.”
It’s an abuse of power and position for the President of the United States to issue demands to news networks, if that’s what this stupid tweet is. If it’s just an expression of fandom, then the tweet is degrading, reducing the President to the level of a teary teenybopper who begs for a favorite character on “The Waking Dead” to be resurrected.
3. College admission scandal update! I LOVE this! Rejected college applicants have filed a class action lawsuit demanding the return of their admission fees to the eight colleges involved in the cheating scandal. The suit was filed the day after federal prosecutors announced charges against 50 people in the bribery scheme, including coaches and 33 parents accused of paying the bribes. The ringleader, William “Rick” Singer, has already pleaded guilty.
The lawsuit argues that if students known admissions at the defendant schools were an “unfair, rigged process,” they would not have applied to Georgetown, Stanford, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of San Diego, the University of Southern California, the University of Texas at Austin, Wake Forest and Yale.
4. Or, they could sue because they were not aware that higher education itself is a scam. Sarah Lawrence College students calling themselves ” the Diaspora Coalition” issued a list of demands, including scholarships that white students would be ineligible to receive, firing a member of the faculty because the group doesn’t like his opinions, special benefits for “first-generation students,” mandatory training sessions for all students on “intellectual elitism and classism,” and demands for free food, free laundry detergent, free student storage, and “at least three more courses offered in African diasporic studies taught by Black professors.”
Any administration response other than “these demands demonstrate a disturbing lack of comprehension of the Bill of Rights and academic freedom, as well as immature and dangerous arrogance, bias and ignorance that this institution is obligated to attempt to address” will be incompetent, and enable hate, bigotry, racism, and the totalitarian drift of the far left. Knowing Sarah Lawrence as I do, however, I assume the chances of a responsible response is nil.
5. From the Ethics Alarms flat learning curve files: Left-wing website Paste Magazine thinks a good approach to defeating Beto O’Rourke in his quest to be the Democratic nominee for President is the one that worked so well for Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump. Following this logic, it has published a rant called “Beto O’Rourke Is the Candidate For Vapid Morons.”
Not that he might not be right, but calling the supporters of any candidate nasty names is both uncivil and unpersuasive. He makes a good case that there is no there there with Beto, but that’s too easy. He also demonstrates that his political analytical skills are wanting, claiming that Beto could win. No, no white male can possibly get the nomination without splitting the Democratic Party, and if one does by some miracle, he’s toast. The Democrats have painted themselves into a corner this time. I doubt they can safely nominate a male, and the New York Times seems to be betting that Kamala Harris is a lock because they can’t nominate a non-person of color, either. Read the article though. It’s fun.
In other Democratic Presidential candidate news, Former Vice President told attendees at the Delaware Democratic Party dinner that he has the “most progressive record of anybody running,” then quickly said, “anybody who would run” …I didn’t mean it.”
Perfect! Biden enters the race with a verbal gaffe, which is his career trademark, after a lie. Joe is a centrist, and if he has the”most progressive record of anybody running,” it’s because he’s older than dirt, and the candidates to the left of him haven’t had time to out-progressive him. (When Trump says things like this, he is immediately fact-checked.) This is deceit, if one doesn’t consider Bernie Sanders, and an outright lie if one doesn’t. Given the well-established state of Biden’s brain, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he forgot about Bernie.