"It's Halloween! What better time for a good ETHICS SCARE in ERIC HOLDER'S JUSTICE DEPARTMENT!!! Come along, children! Don't be afraid!"
Welcome, visitors, to SCARY Ethics Theater on this All Hallow’s Eve!
Tonight we ask the scary question, “When is it ethical to be unethical?“ For the chilling answer, we must enter the mysterious lair of Eric Holder’s Justice Department!!! Bwahahahahahahaha!!!
Come inside! Don’t be frightened!
The Holder-Obama Justice Department has proposed a regulation that would allow federal law enforcement agencies to tell people seeking information under the Freedom of Information Act that the government has no records on a certain subject, when it really does. That is, the regulation will officially sanction legal lying in response to FOIA requests by citizens. Continue reading
The White House says this isn't "hostilities." Right.
I detest it when Presidents and their administration play self-evident language games to assert intellectually dishonest positions, whether it is Bill Clinton’s minions claiming blow-jobs aren’t “sex with that woman,” or Dick Cheney arguing that torturing prisoners by water-boarding technically isn’t torture. Such deceit and mendacity by the representative of the Chief Executive or the President himself vastly increases public cynicism about our government and diminishes our democracy’s most precious and endangered asset, trust.
The Obama administration, despite its leader’s stirring words in the 2008 campaign, has already shown itself capable of outrageous misrepresentations, as when it reported “jobs saved” by the stimulus package using fictional Congressional districts and counting single jobs as multiple jobs “saved.” So we shouldn’t be surprise, only nauseated, when it tells Congress, as it did this week, that U.S. participation in the Libyan uprising doesn’t fall under War Powers Resolution. Continue reading
Cornell law professor Michael Dorf makes my heart leap in admiration by bucking the popular trend—especially among Democrats and soft-hearted media types who 1) only like seeing Republicans and conservatives get in trouble for sex scandals and 2) think Edwards “has suffered enough” —of arguing that the prosecution of John Edwards for campaign fundraising violations is based on a weak legal case. On his blog, Prof. Dorf argues persuasively to the contrary:
“At its core, the indictment alleges that Edwards knowingly: 1) in violation of federal campaign finance law, accepted money well in excess of the individual campaign contribution limits; 2) spent that money to hide his extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter; and 3) in violation of federal campaign finance law, failed to disclose either the donations or the expenditures….
“…The real question with respect to the government’s point number 1) is whether the hundreds of thousands of dollars were given to Edwards ” for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office.” Subject to a whole lot of irrelevant exceptions, that’s the statutory definition of a “campaign contribution.” It is nearly inconceivable that the money for hiding the Hunter affair was not “for the purpose of influencing” the 2008 Presidential primary. What other possible purpose could it have served? Continue reading
John Edwards agrees with Chris Matthews
Journalist Joe Klein has been a candidate for an Ethics Dunce award for a long time, because he has been ethically suspect or worse for a long time. His defining integrity moment came when he lied about his authorship of the Bill Clinton roman-a-clef, “Primary Colors.” Since that time, Klein has gradually evolved into a shamelessly biased and ethically muddled political commentator from the left. Too bad. He’s a perceptive guy and a wonderful writer, but he makes his living now shooting from the hip, so we seldom get the benefit of his best qualities.
It was inevitable that the Chris Matthews Show would allow Klein’s ethical blindness to reach full flower. Matthews has been on his own journey of self-diminishment since MSNBC decided to become the anti-Fox; where once he could be counted on to treat the issues of the day fairly and avoid partisan cheerleading, the Obama years have seen him abandon any effort at objectivity or even-handedness. Matthews’ Sunday morning panel show now eschews ideological balance and has Matthews posing questions to a rotating group of reliable conservative-bashers, with an occasional straight journalist mixed in who at least pretends to be neutral. On Sunday, Matthews asked his panel about the appropriateness of the Justice Department’s prosecution of uber-cad John Edwards for violations of the federal election laws. It’s not a bad question, and reasonable people can disagree about the answer. The charges against Edwards stem from solicitation of large cash gifts from two long-time friends and supporters while he was simultaneously running for president and trying to cover up the existence of his love-child with Rielle Hunter and the adulterous affair that spawned her. The money was given directly to Hunter, raising a legal question as to whether it was really a campaign contribution at all. Continue reading
In August 2008, nine months after starting her job as a middle school math teacher in Berkeley, Ill., Safoorah Khan asked her school to give her three weeks off in December for a pilgrimage to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. Though a Muslim is supposed to make the pilgrimage, called a hajj, once in a lifetime and Khan was under 30, she insisted that this was the time for her to go, and believed that the school’s refusal—it argued that having to replace her for that length of time in the middle of the school year was unfair to the students and a burden on the school’s budget—was discriminatory. She quit, made her pilgrimage, and thus infused with the wisdom of Allah is suing the pants off of her former employers. Her lawsuit alleges that by refusing to make a “reasonable accommodation” to her request, it was discriminating against her on the basis of her religion.
Meanwhile, Eric Holder’s Justice Department is joining the case on her side. Continue reading
President Obama finally pardoned somebody who wasn’t a turkey last week, but not before he became slowest Democratic president in U.S. history to use Article II of the Constitution to right a judicial wrong or just exercise his power to demonstrate the ethical virtue of mercy. His choices for pardons could not have been more tepid, however, prompting a withering blog post by Prof. P.S. Ruckman, who champions the pardon power, and keeps meticulous score.
Ruckman had predicted that Obama would end the pardon drought as soon as December hit, noting that recent presidents used the Christmas holidays as a convenient pardon prop. But he is outraged at the small number of pardons, writing,
“Can President Obama say “no?” Yes, he can! Continue reading
Terrorist and mass murderer Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was acquitted this week of 284 counts of murder , deaths that he unquestionably engineered, planned, a brought about in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in East Africa. He was convicted of just one count: conspiracy to destroy U.S. property and buildings. Since one logically cannot conspire to destroy buildings with people in them and not be guilty of murder, the verdicts make no sense. There was indeed plenty of evidence presented to prove Ghailani guilty of all the murder counts beyond a reasonable doubt, but this was just a bad jury, or to be more precise, a jury with a bad juror. We now know that one women held out against the rest, insisting on acquittal for the murder charges for reasons known only to her. Maybe she thought he was Ghailani. Maybe she wanted to make the Obama Administration, and specifically the Department of Justice, look inept, though it hardly needs any assistance. Maybe she’s a fan of terrorism. Maybe she’s just a dolt….who knows? The bottom line is that a terrorist got away with murder. Continue reading
As of last Wednesday, President Obama has pardoned more turkeys than human beings. He has continued the cutesy presidential tradition of bestowing a presidential pardon on a turkey destined for the Thanksgiving table each November of his two years in office, but is approaching a presidential record for the most days in office before finding a U.S. citizen equally worthy of mercy and forgiveness.
There are reasons for this, but no excuse….not from a President who loaded up his White House with Czars overseeing every conceivable White House priority (Why no Pardons Czar?), not from a President who has criticized the disparate, unfair and racially-tinged penalties for crack cocaine over the powdered variety favored by the white middle class, not when are so many worthy candidates for mercy, most with families whose lives could be infinitely enhanced by the ten seconds it takes for Barack Obama to sign his name. Continue reading
“U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald failed to convict Blagojevich on 23 of 24 multiple counts. But not to worry. Fitzgerald succeeded in convicting Blagojevich, and destroying his reputation and career, three years ago with a vicious press conference — and without having to bother himself with due process and trial by jury.”
—Prof. Monroe Freedman, blogging at The Legal Ethics Forum.
In his press conference announcing the charges against the then-Illinois governor, Fitzpatrick memorably said that Blagojevich’s conduct had Abe Lincoln “rolling in his grave.” He also said: Continue reading
The Holder-Obama Justice Department’s efforts to impose racial bias on its enforcement of the voting rights laws are no longer in the shadows, protected by the “blue line” of liberal leaning news media. Finally, after a week of ignoring a story that should have been reported immediately, the media’s efforts to confine the accusations of former Justice Department Civil Rights attorney J. Christian Adams to conservative blogs and Fox began to crack. Today the New York Times and CNN reported the story, and will have a little easier time explaining away their tardiness as something other than naked political bias than the Washington Post, the major networks, and others.
But not much easier. Continue reading