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Jewish World Review Apr. 16, 1999 /30 Nissan 5759

Cal Thomas

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Bubba’s contemptible behavior

(JWR) ---- (
PRESIDENT CLINTON HAS SAID he feels no shame over his impeachment and trial in Congress. He blames those proceedings on Republican partisanship. He will have more difficulty spinning the public and historians over Judge Susan Webber Wright's contempt citation, the first sanction of a sitting president for disobeying a court order.

Judge Wright said the president is in contempt of her court "for his willful failure to obey this Court's discovery orders'' in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case. She hinted that she could have found the president in criminal contempt, but withheld pursuing such a judgment "in order to prevent any potential double jeopardy issues from arising'' in connection with Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's investigation of the president. She said she waited until after the impeachment and trial before deciding in favor of civil contempt so as not to influence the impeachment proceedings. But by withholding her decision, it can be argued that she, in fact, did influence those proceedings. An earlier ruling might have provided additional weight to the impeachment articles, which included lying under oath.

Judge Wright's decision could result in the president's disbarment.

Contempt is not just a legal term. Its definition gets to the heart of the character of the person who demonstrates contemptuousness toward the law and the courts: "the state of mind of one who despises; disdain; lack of respect; willful disobedience to or open disrespect of a court, judge or legislative body.'' This president has performed the hat trick, demonstrating disrespect for all three -- a court, a judge and the federal legislature.

President Clinton's Houdini-like twists and turns to escape the clutches of legal accountability in the Paula Jones case date back to 1994. On Aug. 10 of that year, three months after Jones filed her sexual harassment complaint, the president's attorneys moved to dismiss it on grounds of immunity. The claim was denied by Judge Wright. The president's attorneys next claimed he couldn't be sued while in office. The Supreme Court unanimously rejected that contention.

In August 1997, the court dismissed Jones' defamation claim, along with a number of other assertions, but concluded her remaining claims allowed for completion of discovery and the filing of motions. It was at a hearing in Washington on Jan. 12, 1998, that the Court first heard the name of Monica Lewinsky. And it was at that hearing that the president lied under oath when he contended he was never alone with Lewinsky and that he did not have a sexual relationship with the White House intern.

The president may appeal the order. Press reports say his legal advisors believe he should not. Because Judge Wright's contempt citation was civil and not criminal, Kenneth Starr is still free to pursue a criminal contempt charge after the president leaves office, if Starr chooses to do so.

William and Mary law professor Michael Gerhardt told the Washington Post: "This is an unfortunate mark against Clinton as a person, because this is a taint on his integrity.'' The questions related to Clinton as a person and his already tainted integrity were settled long ago. This is not an honorable man, which is why he is having trouble leading the military and the nation in Kosovo.

Judge Wright addressed this administration's view that anything goes in pursuit of its own interests when she wrote: "Certainly the President's aggravation with what he considered a `politically inspired lawsuit' may well have been justified, although the Court makes no findings in that regard .... (But) the President never challenged the legitimacy of plaintiff's lawsuit ... and it simply is not acceptable to employ deceptions and falsehoods in an attempt to obstruct the judicial process ....''

So that's two strikes against the president for the historians to consider: strike 1, he is only the second president to impeached; strike 2, he is the first sitting president to be found in contempt of court. He lied under oath, something that ought not to be tolerated for any citizen.

President Clinton is guilty not only of contempt of court. He is guilty of contempt of country.


04/14/99:Elizabeth Dole's choice
04/09/99: The taxman cometh
03/30/99: Human-rights terror in China
03/25/99: Yasser Arafat:
bad cop, worse cop
03/23/99: Bubba’s multiplied lies
03/18/99: Reinventing AlGore
03/16/99:Americans get bull while China shops
03/12/99: Bill Lan Lee: Flouting the law
03/09/99: Don't worry about your child, be happy
03/08/99:The ‘lady' is a tramp
03/04/99: Proving myself to President Clinton
02/24/99: New slaves to a new slavery
02/22/99: Character-plus
02/19/99: GOP losers tell winner how to win
02/17/99: The Clinton legacy
02/10/99: More a man, less a president
02/08/99: Mr. President: Tear down this wall
02/03/99: Guess who's coming to breakfast
02/01/99: NBC gets the message;is CBS missing it?
01/25/99: Let's not make this deal
01/25/99: Gov. George Bush's 'responsibility era'
01/19/99: Prophets without honor
01/12/99: The Senate's predicament and opportunity
01/08/99: ‘Compassionate conservatism’ is redundant
01/06/99: Don't give my regards to 'Narroway'
01/04/99: In culture war, a parking space trumps sex
12/28/98: Until we've learned our lesson
12/24/98: Peace in Bethlehem!? Something to think about during Xmas
12/22/98: The slime machine brings Apocalypse Now
12/15/98: The 'moving finger'
12/11/98: This sorry president
12/09/98: The eclipse of principle
12/03/98: Destroying Jewry on the installment plan
12/07/98: Before the Age of Clinton
12/01/98: Apathy and ignorance
11/19/98: Ken Starr's moment of truth
11/19/98: The fall of journalism's empire
11/17/98: Republicans drift while conservatives float
11/13/98: Supreme Courtupholds freedom of school-choice
11/10/98: The revolting Republican 'revolution'
11/06/98: Hulk Hogan for president?
11/03/98: Clinton's greatest peril isn't Monica
10/30/98: Mother Teresa was right about killing
10/27/98: Clinton to Netanyahu: 'You're despicable'
10/21/98: A 'peace' agreement: Wye not?
10/19/98: Vanity Fair snubs some of the greatest women 'leaders'
10/14/98:The mean machine
10/09/98: Impeachment: an outside perspective
10/07/98: The corruption of the Secret Service
10/02/98: Land erosion in Israel
10/01/98: The race panel: lies in black and white
9/18/98: The Clinton strategy and the Clinton legacy
9/18/98: Stopping him before he sins again
9/15/98: Repenting when the end is near
9/11/98: Faithfully executing: Congress vs. the President
9/10/98: The degrees of separation between Dan Burton and Bill Clinton
9/08/98: Joe Lieberman and the Democrats' conscience
9/04/98: Clinton vs. Reagan and the struggle for power
9/02/98: If only Bubba had been a Boy Scout
8/31/98: Liberal clergy and the Lewinsky affair
8/27/98: Combating the terrorists among us
8/25/98: The president as 'Chicken Little'
8/20/98: That was no apology
8/18/98: Big government's crab grab
8/14/98:Untruths, half-truths and anything but the truth
8/12/98: Lying under oath: past and present impeachable offenses
8/10/98: Endangered species
8/04/98: In search of an unstained president
7/31/98: The UK is ahead of US in one area...
7/28/98: Murder near and far
7/21/98: Telling the truth about
homosexual behavior
7/17/98: One Nation? Indivisible?
7/14/98: Who cares about killing when the 'good times' are rolling?
7/10/98: George W. Bush: a different 'boomer'
7/08/98: My lunch with Roy Rogers
7/06/98: News unfit to print (or broadcast)
6/30/98: Smoke gets in their eyes
6/25/98: Sugar and Spice Girls
6/19/98: William Perry opposed
technology transfers to China
6/19/98: The Clinton hare vs.the Starr tortoise
6/17/98: The President's rocky road to China
6/15/98: Let the children go
6/9/98: Oregon: the new killing fields
6/5/98: Speaking plainly: the cover-up continues
6/2/98: Barry Goldwater: in our hearts
5/28/98:The Speaker's insightful remarks
5/26/98: As bad as it gets
5/25/98:Union dues and don'ts
5/21/98: Connecting those Chinese campaign contribution dots
5/19/98: Clinton on the couch
5/13/98: John Ashcroft: another Jimmy Carter?
5/8/98: Terms of dismemberment
5/5/98: Clinton's tangled Webb
4/30/98: Return of the Jedi
4/28/98: Desparately seeking Susan
4/23/98: RICO's threat to free-speech and expression
4/21/98: Educating children v. preserving an institution
4/19/98: Analyzing the birth of a possible new nation
4/14/98: What's fair about our tax system?
4/10/98: CBS: 'Touched by a perv'
4/8/98: Judge Wright's wrong reasoning on sexual harassment
4/2/98: How about helping American cities before African?
3/31/98:Revenge of the children
3/29/98: The Clinton strategy: delay, deceive, deny, and destroy
3/26/98: Moralist Gary Hart
3/23/98: CNN's century of (liberal) women
3/17/98: Dandy Dan
3/15/98: An imposed 'settlement' settles nothing
3/13/98: David Brock's Turnabout

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