THE POLITICS OF BELIEVING: IN WASHINGTON AND HOLLYWOOD, ETHICS IS STRICTLY A MATTER OF TIMING

225px-Bill_ClintonJudge_Roy_MooreBelow is my column in the Hill newspaper on the ever-increasing list of politicians and celebrities accused of sexual assault or harassment.  The latest news cycle has brought more instances of strategic belief or non-belief.  When Clinton was accused in his first term, many of us wondered how Democrats would ever be able to regain their credibility on future sexual harassment cases. The solution is simple. You delay your believing until it no longer costs you politically or personally.

President Donald Trump indicated that it was better to elect Roy Moore over a liberal to guarantee a majority in the Senate.   Trump’s advisor KellyAnne Conway also made highly controversial comments that appeared to dismiss the allegations against Moore as less relevant than the loss of his vote on the tax bill.  It is one thing to say that you simply do not believe the allegations and quite another to want to secure this vote at any moral cost.  As I have previously stated, I found the allegations of these women (who are largely Republican, Trump voters with no partisan axe to grind) to be highly credible.  It is not enough to simply dismiss the allegations as “unproven” or (as noted by President Trump) denied by the accused.  Even if the statute of limitations had not run, there would be no time for a trial before the election.  Voters have to reach their own conclusions based on the credibility of women and their allegations.  That is what many voters (and President Trump) did in finding the accusers of Clinton credible despite Clinton’s denials.  Many struggle to ignore the large number of women alleging a pattern of abuse by Moore — accounts supported by an array of neighbors and former colleagues (including a police veteran who came forward yesterday to say that she was told to keep Moore away from teenage cheerleaders).  It is still an inconvenient time to believe alleged victims despite the different standard applied to Clinton’s controversies.

What is striking is that some do believe these women but still insist that the need to secure a GOP vote takes priority over the concerns that Moore is a possible pedophile or even a rapist.  These people are selling their ethics (and the ethics of Republican Party) quite cheaply.  It is not everyday that one is able to establish your specific price on ethics. In this case, it is a vote on a tax bill.  For others, there is no choice but to draw a line in the sand . . .with Moore on the other side.  Indeed, when so many politicians are standing on principle in Washington, you know that there is no real alternative.  If you find these women credible, there is no principled way to vote for Roy Moore. I find them quite credible.

Here is the column:

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RES IPSA HITS 33,000,000

Audience_Frontier_FiestaWe have hit another milestone today with over 33,000,000 views. We are also expected to reach 35,000 followers on Twitter.  That hardly makes us competition for the largest sites but it is still an impressive collection of people seeking a place for civil but passionate discourse on legal and policy issues  of our time (and perhaps a few wacky stories).  We often use these milestones to look at the current profile of the blog and its supporters around the world.

As always, I want to offer special thanks for our weekend contributors: Mike Appleton, Larry Rafferty, Darren Smith, Kimberly Dienes, and Cara Gallagher (particularly Darren who continues help up with periodic technical problems etc).

I particularly want to thank our regular commentators and readers.  We try to keep this blog as an open forum with as little interference or monitoring of the comments as possible.  Given our free speech orientation, we try not to delete comments and, for that reason, we are deeply appreciative of how most people avoid personal or offensive comments in debating these issues.  We have had to delete a handful of comments with personal attacks or profanity but the number remains quite low for a blog of this size.  The success of this blog is due to the fact that we offer something more than the all-too-common troll-driven, angry, and insulting commentary of the Internet.  Thank you for voluntarily assuming restraint over the tenor and content of your comments. Continue reading

From Exclusion to Expulsion to Acceptance: There Are No Good Options In Dealing With Senator Roy Moore

senate_large_sealJudge_Roy_MooreBelow is my column in USA Today on the plan to bar Roy Moore from taking his Senate seat, if he is elected in Alabama.  For once in his checkered career, Moore would actually have the constitution on his side in challenging such efforts.  Like the KüblerRoss model of the stages of grief, the Senate may have to move from exclusion to expulsion to acceptance of a Senator Moore.

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Time for Congress to end the abusive ‘blue slipping’ process

Blue_slip_Hardwick_Whipple_US_CongressBelow is my column in the Hill Newspaper on the need to end “blue slipping” in the United States Senate.  I have long criticized the “courtesy” allowing a single senator to block a nominee as inimical to our constitutional system. I have maintained this position throughout both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Here is the column:

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A Senator’s Privilege: How Menendez Declared His Own Conduct To Be Corrupt In A 2010 Senate Trial

220px-Robert_Menendez,_official_Senate_photoBelow is my column in the Hill newspaper on the ongoing jury deliberations over the alleged crimes of Senator Robert Menendez (D, N.J.).  An alternate juror has said that she would have voted to acquit.  It is a surprising result given the significant gifts showered on Menendez.  The best witness against Menendez might have been Menendez himself.

Here is the column:

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“The Laws All Being Flat”: Clinton Supporters Search For Legal Shelter After Months Of Lowering Standards To Target Trump

Hillary_Clinton_Testimony_to_House_Select_Committee_on_BenghaziBelow is my column in the Hill Newspaper on the allegations against Hillary Clinton and her campaign.  Yesterday, the controversy surrounding the Russian dossier deepened after it was disclosed that the co-founder of Fusion GPS (the company hired by the Clinton campaign to do the dossier) met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya before she met with Donald Trump Jr. Indeed, she met with the Fusion officials shortly before and shortly after she met with Trump Jr. in Trump Tower.  Just hours before on June 9, 2016, Fusion co-founder and ex-Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson was with Veselnitskaya in a Manhattan federal courtroom.  Simpson and Fusion GPS were hired by BakerHostetler, which represented Russian firm Prevezon through Veselnitskaya.

Here is the column:

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