Thursday, August 18, 2005

Names changed to protect ...

Jeff Berman writes So Let Me Get this Straight:
So a judge decides she's going to retire and wants to interview with a law firm to land a job that will set her up for the rest of her life. She talks to a firm with a case on her docket and neither recuses herself nor obtains a waiver from the opposing party. Sounds like a pretty big ethical violation. And, in fact, it is.

So [____________] had a case before him in which the President was a defendant and the case involved the limits on the President's power. The President calls and says, "Hey, [____], I'd like you to pop over to the White House and talk about a job that will set you up for the rest of your life." [_______] goes for the job interview but doesn't recuse himself from the Presidential power case nor does he obtain a waiver from the opposing party.

How does [____________] explain it? He hasn't. How does the White House explain it? They say there was "no conflict whatsoever." Three leading legal ethicists disagree.
Who is this mysterious ____________? Click through to find out.

I'm hiding the name to make a point. It's not about ____, it's about the principle. Maybe _______ voted his conscience, but maybe he was expressing the views of his "client," the usual defense that ____'s advocates trot out.

In another era, this question might have been unthinkable, but given the amount of political patronage that seems to be circulating in Republican circles, the question can't be avoided.