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Jewish World Review March 19, 2001 / 24 Adar, 5761

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Consumer Reports


Celebrating disbarment


http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- WHAT does it say about our culture when a prestigious law school chooses a disbarred former president of the United States to be the recipient of its "International Advocate for Peace" award?

Clinton will receive the award from Benjamin Cardozo Law School, having been chosen by two of the school's student groups, The Cardozo Online Journal of Conflict Resolution and the International Law Students Association.

In their press statement announcing the award, the groups said, "President Clinton is being honored for his efforts in promoting peace throughout the world."

Granted, this is an award for peace efforts, not for law enforcement or respect for the Constitution and rule of law. But is that truly all it is? How can a law school honor someone who has just been disbarred for five years by his state bar association? Were there no candidates for the peace award who had not been disbarred or otherwise disgraced? If not, then the award isn't worth much.

But of course there are any number of law-abiding people who would have been deserving of the award. So, why Clinton? I suppose the students' answer would be that Clinton is the most deserving because of his peace efforts in Ireland and the Middle East; maybe even Korea or Serbia. Don't get me started on the subject of whether he would have merited the award if he hadn't committed crimes and disbarrable offenses. That's another column. Besides, that question is moot because Bill Clinton did commit multiple crimes and disbarrable offenses. Even many of Clinton's friends believe he committed gross improprieties during his last weeks in office, including the pardons.

One has to assume that the students saw nothing improper in their law school bestowing a peace prize on an otherwise unsavory individual. How can that be?

I can think of a few possible explanations. One is that the students disagree with this negative assessment of Clinton's character, which would call into question their collective and individual judgment. Another is that they don't believe that an award candidate's respect for the law is relevant for such an award. If that's the case, aren't they making a statement that the law itself is less worthy of respect? Without question.

This is analogous to the principle that Dr. Alan Keyes articulated during the impeachment ordeal with respect to Clinton's alleged private behavior. The president of the United States is president 24 hours a day, argued Keyes. As such, he cannot act in a private capacity. Every act he takes is a reflection on the institution of the presidency. The private/public distinction is specious. Similarly, our nation's law schools are representatives of the law itself, and every action they take is necessarily taken in that capacity.

If respect for the law is to mean anything in this country, then the institutions that teach the law must encourage a reverence for it. My law school commencement speaker -- who happened to be one of our law school professors -- told us that as lawyers we would be in a unique position in society. We could use our legal expertise to bring honor to the profession and benefit society or we could use our special knowledge to cut corners, prey on others and benefit ourselves.

Having heard that message by someone we respected did not ensure that we would all take the honorable path. But it certainly reinforced the values most of us had been taught at home, instead of the moral relativism that infects so many of our academic institutions.

It is immensely troubling that these Cardozo law students can so facilely ignore Clinton's contempt for the law in choosing him for the award. But it's not surprising, in that they have been bombarded for the past eight years with Clintonized ethics.

These ethics teach that perjury, subornation of perjury and obstruction of justice are not crimes if committed for the purpose of concealing marital infidelity. They teach that phone sex on a line vulnerable to tapping by foreign agents ready to blackmail a United States president is nothing more than phone sex. They teach that it is OK for the most powerful man on the planet to victimize little people who get in his way, provided he holds himself out as a champion of the little people.

On the brighter side, we now have a president who respects the law -- and that can't help but make a difference in our society.



David Limbaugh, a columnist and attorney apracticing in Cape Girardeau, Mo., is the author of the just-released exposť about corruption in the Clinton-Reno Justice Department, "Absolute Power." Send your comments to him by clicking here.

Up

03/14/01: Campaign cold feet and Democratic hypocrisy
03/12/01: Missiles, berets, morale and diplomacy
03/07/01: The GOP and race revisited
03/05/01: Dems and the ghost of 2002
02/28/01: Common threads in Clinton pardons
02/26/01: Clinton defenders should apologize
02/22/01: Clinton woos media as Bush governs
02/20/01: Liberal idealism: Where have all the flowers gone?
02/14/01: The Clintons and selective media outrage
02/12/01: Bush's tax cut challenge: A historical view
02/07/01: Democrats' Dubya dilemma
02/05/01: Dubya is confounding the media
01/29/01: The Teamsters, the DNC and the reformers
01/29/01: The Old Limey
01/25/01: Clintonís disgraceful departure
01/22/01: Ashcroft: Principle above self
01/17/01: Justice for Riady?
01/15/01: Ashcroft: A hill to die on
01/10/01: Returning to the supply side
01/08/01: Reasons for optimism
01/03/01: Bush's daunting challenges
12/28/00: Ashcroft: A triumph for the rule of law
12/26/00: A tinge of revenge?
12/20/00: GOP: Breaking the race barrier
12/18/00: Civility doesn't require surrender
12/13/00: Al Gore: Innocent victimizer
12/11/00: Judicial restraint and ordered liberty
12/06/00: The four years war
12/04/00: Debunking Gore myths
11/29/00: Defending the smaller principles
11/27/00: Albert O'Gore and the little people
11/22/00: Doing 'anything to win'
11/15/00: Enough is enough, Mr. Gore
11/13/00: Al Gore: Thy country or thyself?
11/08/00: Bill and Al: Your time is up
11/06/00:The impending Bush mandate
11/01/00: Can't stop thinkin' 'bout tomorrow
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10/25/00: Mr. Gore: A few more questions
10/23/00: It's the big government, stupid
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10/16/00: We're fresh out of new Al Gores
10/11/00: Gore: Fuzzy math = dirty politics
10/10/00:Gore: Renaissance man or unbalanced?
10/04/00: Where have you been, Albert Jr.?
10/02/00: Clintonís fragmented presidency
09/27/00: Liberal media doth protest too much
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09/20/00: Something fishy's going on
09/18/00: It's the liberalism, stupid
09/13/00: An open letter to open-minded cynics
09/11/00: The virtues of going negative
09/06/00: On a mission for marriage
09/04/00: Al Gore's 'Trivial Pursuits'
08/30/00: Lieberman and the paradox of liberal 'tolerance'
08/28/00: A campaign divided against itself
08/23/00: Al Gore's trickle-down populism
08/21/00: Prosperity without a clue
08/16/00: AlGore can run but he can't hide
08/14/00: When hate speech is OK
08/09/00: Bush: The pundits' enigma
08/07/00: GOP convention: Live or Memorex?
08/02/00: The first attack dog
07/31/00: The Cheney taint?
07/26/00: The anti-gun bogeyman
07/24/00: The raging culture war
07/19/00: Is Hillary 'Good for the Jews'?
07/17/00: How dare you, George?
07/12/00: Jacoby's raw deal
07/10/00: The perplexities of liberalism
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07/03/00: Partial-birth and total death
06/28/00: Some questions for you, Mr. Gore
06/26/00: Supreme Court assaults religious freedom
06/21/00: Waco: We are the jury
06/19/00: "Outrage" just doesn't quite cut it anymore!
06/14/00: Al Gore: Government's best friend
06/12/00: Say goodbye to medical privacy
06/07/00: Elian: Whose hands were tied?
06/05/00: Who, which, what is the real Al Gore?
06/01/00: Legacy-building idea for Clinton
05/30/00: Clinton: Above the law or not?
05/24/00: Not so fast, Hillary
05/22/00: Gore's risky, fear-mongering schemes
05/17/00: Can Bush risk pro-choice running mate?
05/15/00: Right to privacy, Clinton-style
05/10/00: Patrick Kennedy and his suit-happy fiddlers
05/08/00: Don't shoot Eddie Eagle
05/03/00: Congress caves to Clinton, again?
05/01/00: The resurrection of outrage
04/28/00: A picture of Bill Clinton's America
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04/17/00: Elian, Marx and parental rights
04/12/00: Elian, freedom deserve a hearing
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03/20/00: Stop the insanity
03/15/00: OK Al Gore: Let's go negative
03/13/00: Deifying of the center
03/08/00: The media, the establishment and the people
03/01/00: McCain's coalition-busting daggers in GOP's heart
02/28/00: Bush's silver lining in McMichigan
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02/16/00: Substance trumps process
02/14/00: The campaign finance reform mirage
02/09/00: President McCain: End of the GOP as we know it?
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01/31/00: Veep gores Bradley
01/26/00: The issues gap
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01/20/00: Nationalizing congressional elections
01/18/00: Do voters really prefer straight talk?
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01/05/00: Just one more year of Clintonian politics
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12/27/99: Al Gore: Bullish on government
12/22/99: Bradley's full-court press
12/20/99: Bush: Rendering unto Caesar
12/15/99: Beltway media bias
12/13/99: White House ambulance chasing
12/08/99: Clinton's labor pains
12/06/99:The lust for power
12/01/99: In defense of liberty
11/29/99: Are Republicans obsolete?
11/24/99: Say you're sorry, Mr. President
11/22/99: Architects of victory
11/17/99: Trump's tax on freedom
11/15/99: GOP caves again
11/10/99: Triangulation and 'The Third Way'
11/08/99: Sticks and stones
11/03/99: Keyes vs. media lapdogs
11/01/99: Signs of the times
10/27/99: The false charge of isolationism
10/25/99: A matter of freedom
10/20/99: Clinton's mini-meltdown
10/18/99: Senate GOP shows statesmanship
10/13/99: Senate must reject nuclear treaty
10/11/99: Bush bites feeding hand
10/06/99: Jesse accidentally opens door for Pat
10/04/99: Clinton and his media enablers
09/29/99: Reagan: Big-tent conservatism
09/27/99: The Clinton/Gore taint?
09/22/99: Have gun (tragedy), will travel
09/20/99: Hillary's blunders and bloopers
09/15/99: GOP must remain conservative
09/13/99:Time for Bush to take charge, please
09/10/99: Bush's education plan: Dubya confounds again
09/07/99: Pat, savior or spoiler?
09/02/99: Character doesn't matter?
08/30/99: Should we judge?
08/25/99: Dubyah's drug question: Not a hill to die on
08/23/99: Should Dubyah start buying soap ... for all that mud?
08/16/99: 'W' stands for 'winner'
08/11/99: The truth about tax cuts
08/09/99: Hillary: Threading the needle
08/04/99: What would you do?
08/02/99: No appeasement for China
07/30/99: Hate Crimes Bill: Cynical Symbolism
07/26/99: Itís the 'moderates', stupid
07/21/99: JFK Jr. and Diana: the pain of privilege
07/19/99: Smith, Bush and the GOP
07/14/99: GOP must be a party of ideas
07/12/99: Gore's gender gap
07/08/99: Clintonís faustian bargain: our justice
07/06/99: The key to Bush's $36 million
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06/16/99: Compassionate conservatism: face-lift or body transplant?
06/10/99: Victory in Kosovo? Now What?

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