As the year 2008 winds down and President Bush’s days in office draw to a close, liberals all over the world are celebrating the Iraq shoe-throwing incident. But this only illustrates that the Bush’s efforts in Iraq have proved a tremendous success, given that a member of the Iraqi press has managed to outdo even Western media types who, despite their best efforts, have never laid a glove on W.
However, just in time for the holidays, the liberal media have received a Fitzmas present, though not of the sort for which they wished. No, after years of beating the Bushes for a chance to take down the 43rd president of the United States, they find themselves in the position of having to defend one of their own, via the Blagojevich pay-for-play scandal and the incoming Obama administration’s alleged involvement therein.
And in a seemingly unrelated matter, we have learned that the “office” of President-elect has swelled its crimson tide by tapping Harvard chum Thomas Perrelli for its Justice Department transition team. Now, what does the Blago flap have to do with Perrelli’s presence on the Obama team?
For those who remember the Terri Schiavo case, Mr. Perrelli was one of a team of lawyers representing Michael Schiavo’s efforts to end the life of that defenseless woman. Mr. Perrelli’s firm, Jenner & Block, honored him for his work which allowed the state of Florida to take the life of an innocent woman whose official cause of death was tragicomically listed as “undetermined.”
Also lauded by his firm were those lawyers who made “exceptional pro bono contributions on behalf of Death Row prisoners.” Yes, such is the state of the legal profession in this country that supporters of innocent life have reason to fear it, while convicted killers can depend on it for a rigorous defense.
We know what Shakespeare said about lawyers; it only seems more appropriate when applied to recent presidents. Is it any coincidence that neither Ronald Reagan nor the Bushes had law degrees and managed for the most part to elude liberal prosecution? Or that the last elected Republican president who was a lawyer was also “a crook”?
Yet Richard Nixon’s sins seem penny-ante in comparison to the goings on of our most recent lawyerly president; but not to hear the media tell it. A two-bit burglary by the Watergate bunglers was treated as a capital crime, while the reprehensible offenses — both illegal and immoral — committed by Bill Clinton were pooh-poohed as mere randy behavior by the Teflon one.
The sad part of all of this is that we have a right to expect that a United States president — the chief executor of the law of the land as laid out in our Constitution — should have at least a working grasp of those laws and the moral strictures behind them. And this should be even more true of those who are lawyers; which brings us back to Obama and his advisors. In a presidential debate in February, he was asked about his part in the congressional intervention to save the life of Terri Schiavo; a life Perrelli fought so hard to snuff. The Big O’s answer was most illuminating:
It wasn’t something I was comfortable with, but it was not something that I stood on the floor and stopped. And I think that was a mistake, and I think the American people understood that that was a mistake. And as a constitutional law professor, I knew better.
It’s hard to say what’s more disturbing here: knowing that the next leader of the free world is so wedded to popular opinion that he will ignore what he perceives to be the law, or that he was allowed to pass his ignorance of the U.S. Constitution on to others in the guise of teaching.
Either way, it appears that the makeup of his administration and the way in which it seeks to suppress information before it is even installed recalls that of his fellow law professor from Arkansas. And both of these legal scholars would be better served had they sought to know better the wording of U.S. Code Title 18, Section 4, which reads:
Misprision of a Felony: Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
Now maybe Mr. Perrelli, a former counsel to Janet Reno — whose rein of terror included the Waco Massacre and the midnight raid on Elian Gonzalez — together with Greg Craig, Clinton’s Impeachment trial mouthpiece and brave defender of John Hinckley, Jr. and Fidel Castro’s interests in the Gonzalez case, can help Obama out with the legal and ethical implications of all of this. After all, these are the legal eagles who gave us the most ethical administration in history, right?
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