Loretta Lynch's low bar to clear: better than Holder....
To see how horrific A-G Eric Holder has been, read in full John Fund's NRO article on an especially egregious case of prosecutorial & regulatory abuse--at both the federal and state (CA) levels.
It is a revolting tale of regulators both corrupt & ideologically motivated, falsely finding a major timber company guilty of a fire despite massive contrary evidence. This was compounded by prosecutors who deliberately suppressed exculpatory evidence and, in conjunction with regulators, intimidated whistleblowers who protested, and vindictively pursued those who came forward.
Here is a sampler:
The misconduct was so egregious that California Superior Court judge Leslie Nichols threw out the state’s case. Last year, he further ruled that the government’s case was “corrupt and tainted. Cal Fire failed to comply with discovery obligations, and its repeated failure was willful.” The judge charged that the state hid key photographs and tried to “steamroll the truth” in order to pin the fire on the company. Investigators lied under oath about what they knew, and federal prosecutors allegedly knew about their perjury and did nothing.” When Sierra Pacific lawyers questioned the bulldozer driver, he denied making a statement about the blaze’s origins, and he couldn’t have properly signed a document given to him by prosecutors because he can’t read. The U.S. Forest Service had evidence that one of its fire spotters may have been high on pot and missed the fire’s start. His supervisor wanted to fire him, but the supervisor’s superiors covered it all up by insisting the spotter get a satisfactory performance rating and stay on the job.
“The misconduct in this case is so pervasive,” Judge Nichols wrote, “that it would serve no purpose to attempt to recite it all here.”
Nichols also didn’t spare the office of California Attorney General Kamala Harris, now a candidate for Barbara Boxer’s U.S. Senate seat and a national Democratic star. Nichols wrote that he can recall “no instance in experience over 47 years as an advocate and a judge, in which the conduct of the Attorney General so thoroughly departed from the high standard it represents, and, in every other instance has exemplified.” Judge Nichols then ordered the state to pay Sierra Pacific a whopping $32 million in damages and expenses. Cal Fire denies any wrongdoing, while the offices of Harris and Governor Jerry Brown aren’t talking.
Fund then turns to the feds and their misconduct. the company sued for its settlement money and the feds have stonewalled. even asking a federal judge to remove an attorney from the case who had even seen a whistleblower's documentation establishing the fraud.
On a second, also hopeful front, the WSJ editors report on how Harvard law professors, long servitors of the president, pushed back against the administration's heavy-handed blackmail--threatening institutions with losing federal funding if they fail to adopt sexual-misconduct rules that eviscerate due process for the accused:
Most institutions yield to OCR’s pressure without significant dissent. But at Harvard, 28 law professors—including liberal luminaries Elizabeth Bartholet, Alan Dershowitz, Nancy Gertner, Janet Halley, Duncan Kennedy and Charles Ogletree —signed an open letter, published in the Boston Globe, in which they described the new policies and procedures as “inconsistent with many of the most basic principles we teach.”
Among their complaints: “the absence of any adequate opportunity to discover the facts charged and to confront witnesses and present a defense”; the designation of a Title IX compliance officer, “rather than an entity that could be considered structurally impartial,” as investigator, prosecutor and judge; “the failure to ensure adequate representation for the accused,” especially for lower-income students.
The professors also faulted the university for having “apparently decided simply to defer to the demands of certain federal administrative officials,” and law-school administrators listened. They adopted new procedures, independent of the university’s and far friendlier to due process.
The WSJ editors note that her spine thus stiffened, the HLS dean got the feds to back off; students will now have due process rights in legal proceedings. But the profs did not get the university to back off on its administrative policies. These go far beyond federal sexual harassment definitional scope. Still, one small step for the professoriat....
Bottom Line. Beware of regulators & prosecutors run amok. The Framers understood that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
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