Jewish World Review May 30, 2000 / 25 Iyar, 5760
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- IT'S NOT JUDGMENT DAY YET, but Linda Tripp is off the hook, and President Clinton is facing disbarment. The Committee on Professional Conduct of the Arkansas Supreme Court has recommended that Clinton be disbarred, and the final sanction will now be determined by one of five circuit court judges. Just for the record, every single one of the judges is a registered Democrat, according to The New York Times.
I don't know about you, but the president's disbarment would really perk me up. The history books would then be able to record that the U.S. Senate found a man who is too corrupt to be an Arkansas lawyer perfectly fit to be president. Indeed, in the end it may turn out that the only tribunal to consider Clinton's conduct and refuse to impose a penalty will have been the U.S. Senate.
The history books can already record that Clinton is the first sitting president ever to face disbarment proceedings. He's really rounding out his list of "firsts": the first president to have his semen analyzed by the FBI, the first president to have his capacity to induce orgasm described on national TV, the first president to use White House sinks as sexual aids, the first president to be accused of rape within two weeks of being acquitted in an impeachment trial, and, well, the list goes on.
The usual assortment of criminal defense lawyers have been making the rounds insisting that the president's conduct does not "rise to the level" of disbarment. Moreover, everybody lies, molests the staff, gives false testimony, importunes his secretary to perjure herself, and bombs foreign countries to distract from his personal problems.
Most winning on the crucial everybody-does-it point was F. Lee Bailey, who claimed on CNN's "Larry King Live" that if "all the lawyers who have lied about the fact they had a little affair on the side should turn in their licenses" then "Shakespeare will have won. We will have killed all the lawyers." I wondered how his wife was enjoying that part of the show.
The members of the Disciplinary Committee that recommended disbarment have come under the usual attacks -- they are partisan Clinton-haters, probably tobacco lawyers, and may have once had a DWI. Larry Flynt will be on the case soon. (Another 50 pounds, and Clinton will be Larry Flynt soon.)
The New York Times' editorial brief for the president explained that "Judge Wright ultimately dismissed the Jones case and ruled that Mr. Clinton's disputed testimony was not germane, so it is hard to argue that his false testimony harmed anyone."
No, but see: The only reason Clinton's sworn lies didn't "harm anyone," and Paula Jones got her reputation back, was that Linda Tripp kept tapes that exposed his lies. But for Linda Tripp, the president's perjury and subornation of perjury most certainly would have hurt Paula. (Which reminds me -- the members of the Arkansas Disciplinary Committee that recommended disbarment have not yet been accused of living in trailer parks. F. Lee Bailey should get right on that.)
Moreover, it takes an unbelievable amount of gall to cite Judge Susan Webber Wright for the proposition that Clinton's lies didn't "harm anyone" and were not "germane" -- and therefore should not lead to disbarment. It was Judge Wright who referred Clinton's case to the Disciplinary Committee for action. It was Judge Wright who held the president in "contempt" for giving "intentionally false" testimony about "material" facts -- as she herself wrote.
So the claim that the president's perjury was not legally "germane" has gone the way of his denial of an affair with Gennifer Flowers. Someone ought to pull the Times editors aside and tell them to stay on message: Members of the Disciplinary Committee are "right-wing Republicans" and "trailer park trash."
Indeed, Judge Wright held the president in contempt for only some of his many, many perjuries. Among other whoppers, she cited "the president's deposition testimony regarding whether he had ever been alone with Ms. Lewinsky" and "his statements regarding whether he had ever engaged in sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky" as "intentionally false." But when she referred Clinton's case to the Disciplinary Committee, she also noted -- "this court is fully aware that the president may have engaged in other contumacious conduct warranting the imposition of sanctions."
I'm not sure how it works, but I'm really looking forward to the disbarment proceeding. I
bet Al Gore is, too. If I were the judge, when Clinton's lawyers raise that "legally accurate"
thing again, I would demand testimony from Monica Lewinsky on how "legally accurate" she
thought Clinton was. The little minx would just be getting to the "irony" of her having the
"first orgasm of the relationship" (as she says in "Monica's Story") about the time of the
JWR contributor Ann Coulter is the author of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton.
05/26/00: Choose liberalism