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Libby Loses Law License:

The Washington Post reports:

Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was disbarred today by a District of Columbia court that ruled that his convictions last year for perjury and obstructing justice in a White House leak investigation disqualify him from practicing law.

Under the ruling by the D.C. Court of Appeals, Libby will lose his license to practice or appear in court in Washington until at least 2012. As is standard custom, he also would lose any bar membership he might hold in any other states.

Although President Bush commuted Libby's sentence, Libby was nonetheless convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice, and such convictions make the loss of his law license virtually automatic.

erp:
Disgraceful!
3.20.2008 5:47pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):

So would a pardon have made a difference compared with the commutation he received?
3.20.2008 6:19pm
TheOneEyedMan (mail) (www):
What public interest is served by having character requirements for practicing law or any other sort of professional licensing?

I'm sure many people would rather have Libby as a lawyer than any number of people that retain the right to practice law, and so all those people are made worse off.

Is this just more rent seeking by licensees?
3.20.2008 6:24pm
ithaqua (mail):
The liberal left takes another scalp.

At least Liddy stands in good company, alongside heroes like G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North. Thank you for your service, sir; to be persecuted by such enemies as were yours is in itself a badge of honor.
3.20.2008 6:29pm
theobromophile (www):
I'm sure many people would rather have Libby as a lawyer than any number of people that retain the right to practice law, and so all those people are made worse off.

Like Marc Rich? (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
3.20.2008 6:30pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Is this just more rent seeking by licensees?"

No it's called deterrence. Someone sworn to uphold the law, and enjoys privileges should not break it. This kind of punishment might make some people think twice. At the very least it lets you tell someone, "no I won't do that, I have my license to protect."
3.20.2008 6:43pm
MarkField (mail):

At least Liddy stands in good company, alongside heroes like G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North. Thank you for your service, sir; to be persecuted by such enemies as were yours is in itself a badge of honor.


Satire is truly dead. Jonathan Swift -- nay, Juvenal himself -- can't compete with the self-parody rampant on the Right these days.
3.20.2008 6:46pm
Apodaca:
would a pardon have made a difference compared with the commutation he received?
Likely not, according to the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel:

an attorney charged with a criminal offense for which he or she is later pardoned by the President would be relieved of all consequences that attached solely by reason of his commission of the offense. However, the pardon would not necessarily prevent a local or state bar from disciplining the attorney, if it independently determined that the underlying conduct, or some portion of it, violated one of its canons of ethics. In those instances, the bar would not have based its decision to disbar or sanction the attorney on the fact that the attorney had violated the criminal laws of the United States, but rather would have conducted an inquiry into the conduct and determined that an ethical violation had occurred.
3.20.2008 6:48pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
At least Liddy stands in good company, alongside heroes like G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North. Thank you for your service, sir; to be persecuted by such enemies as were yours is in itself a badge of honor.
Is this regular parody or unintentional self-parody? I can't tell.
3.20.2008 6:49pm
taney71:
Does Clinton have his license back?
3.20.2008 6:50pm
Anderson (mail):
Mark, I thought he (?) was pulling our leg.

Mississippi recently adopted irrevocable lifetime disbarment for attorneys convicted of a felony, and today two of the guilty-pleaders in the Scruggs bribery case were duly disbarred.

I'm not sure what I think about the lifetime aspect -- are all felonies created equal? But I would think that perjury and obstruction of justice would qualify under any reasonable scheme.

What public interest is served by having character requirements for practicing law or any other sort of professional licensing?

The public interest served is that of the legal system, including all those people who might be adverse to Libby's clients.

Nonlawyers may not realize how much the legal system depends on lawyers' good faith. For instance, if my client possesses documents that will hurt its case, and the other side requests them in discovery, I have to turn them over, not lie about them. No court is policing my decision. Attorneys have to be able to trust each other for the system to work properly.

Someone who's convicted of perjury is on the public record as someone whose word *cannot* be trusted. Of course he shouldn't be a lawyer.
3.20.2008 6:52pm
taney71:
Oh, am I the only one who can't get Pastor Wright's comment about Bill Clinton and Monica Lenisky out of his head?: "He's riding dirty!!!" Wright even does the sexual act with his hand. I wish I never saw that video.
3.20.2008 6:54pm
onemorereason:
What public interest is served by having character requirements for practicing law or any other sort of professional licensing?

In addition to the reasons Anderson stated, lawyers in private practice are entrusted with the safekeeping of handle other people's money and may be faced with conflicts of interest known only to them.
3.20.2008 7:09pm
onemorereason:
An the other hand, license requirements are generally the manifestation of successful rent seeking by licensees in the guise of consumer protection.
3.20.2008 7:20pm
Mac (mail):
Anderson WROTE;


For instance, if my client possesses documents that will hurt its case, and the other side requests them in discovery, I have to turn them over, not lie about them.


Did you write this deliberately with Hillary in mind? Because, all I can think of is Hillary's law firm records suddenly appearing just a few weeks before the statute of limitations ran out. Or, doesn't it count if it's a lawyer with the records? Seriously.
3.20.2008 7:22pm
Bad (mail) (www):
"Although President Bush commuted Libby's sentence, Libby was nonetheless convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice, and such convictions make the loss of his law license virtually automatic."

Thankfully, a big-ticket position at some conservative think-tank is equally automatic.

"I'm sure many people would rather have Libby as a lawyer than any number of people that retain the right to practice law, and so all those people are made worse off."

I'm sure lots of people would like to have lawyers represent them that are willing to breach the ethics of their profession for their clients. That doesn't mean it's a good idea to tolerate such people practicing law.
3.20.2008 7:22pm
PC:
At least Liddy stands in good company, alongside heroes like G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North. Thank you for your service, sir; to be persecuted by such enemies as were yours is in itself a badge of honor.


Indeed. Facilitating the sale of arms to a country we've been at war with since 1979 (from what I've heard) is a noble and courageous act. Ledeen, I'm looking at you too. Although I'm not sure if selling arms to an avowed enemy is as noble as plotting acts of domestic terrorism in order to discredit a political opponent.
3.20.2008 7:29pm
r78:
Yet another True Patriot sacrifices himself.
3.20.2008 7:33pm
Randy R. (mail):
"I'm sure many people would rather have Libby as a lawyer than any number of people that retain the right to practice law, and so all those people are made worse off. "

Yeah, because Washington has a dearth of former administration officials making a buck off of their insider knowledge. What WILL the people do now?
3.20.2008 7:47pm
Smokey:
Good point about Bill Clinton's disbarment. Makes the lefties' holier-than-thou arm-waving over Libby pretty risible.
3.20.2008 7:47pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Clinton's suspension ended 1-19-06, but he has apparently made no move to get reinstated. Hillary's record says "CLESUSPEN" which I take to mean her license has lapsed for lack of continuing legal ed. You can check it out here.
3.20.2008 7:55pm
paidbytheword:
First Martha Stewart, then Stuart Libby. When will it end?!
3.20.2008 8:34pm
paidbythemistypedword:
Sorry, meant Scooter not Stuart.
3.20.2008 8:46pm
MarkField (mail):

Mark, I thought he (?) was pulling our leg.


In that case, it's my satire detector which is truly dead.
3.20.2008 9:12pm
Mac (mail):
Anderson WROTE;



For instance, if my client possesses documents that will hurt its case, and the other side requests them in discovery, I have to turn them over, not lie about them.



Anderson, I am probably fixating on this, but you may find this excerpt from an article from the AP today, interesting since discovery was won by Judicial Watch here.

JUDGE PERMITS QUESTIONING OF NATIONAL ARCHIVES ON CLINTON PHONE LOGS
by Associated Press
Thursday, March 20, 2008

...The archives wants to place Judicial Watch's lawsuit for the phone logs on hold for a year before the agency considers how soon to begin reviewing the telephone logs for possible release, a process the Justice Department lawyer estimated would take six to eight months.
At the start of a 20-minute court session, Robertson appeared prepared to rule in favor of the archives because no court precedent exists for Judicial Watch's request.
Judicial Watch, the judge observed, is trying to "jump to the head of the line" to get its request handled first. The judge said court papers filed by the private group are "hyperbolic" in tone.
When the lawyer for Judicial Watch noted that Wednesday's release of Clinton's appointment calendars had received widespread media attention, Robertson said, "Do we want to support that feeding frenzy?"
Then Justice Department lawyer Helen Hong described the archives' use of "rotating queues," "multirequest queues," and "queue structure" to handle requests.
When she finished, the judge looked at Judicial Watch lawyer Paul Orfanedes and announced, "You can have your discovery," the legal process by which one side gathers evidence through questions submitted to the other early in a court case.
3.20.2008 10:03pm
Mac (mail):
And this, from Wickpedia, shows when it's best to not fight for your law license.

On May 17, 2007, Berger relinquished his license to practice law as a result of the Justice Department investigation. Saying, "I have decided to voluntarily relinquish my license." He added that, "While I derived great satisfaction from years of practicing law, I have not done so for 15 years and do not envision returning to the profession. I am very sorry for what I did, and I deeply apologize." By giving up his license, Berger avoided cross-examinination by the Bar Counsel regarding details of his thefts.
3.20.2008 10:13pm
Michael B (mail):
"Satire is truly dead. Jonathan Swift -- nay, Juvenal himself -- can't compete with the self-parody rampant on the Right these days." MarkField

Harrumph. Rampant my arse. Firstly, a substantial argument can be forwarded that Libby wasn't guilty. A jury found him guilty according to the letter of the law, so be it. Though too, a couple members of that jury voiced the opinion that it was in fact the letter of the law and decidedly not the spirit of the law that had resulted in the verdict - and those members further suggested Libby should be fully pardoned, given the facts of the case. E.g., here.

Secondly, following is some material from the Left that fails to rise to the level of self-parody - it situates itself in the gutter - though it is definitive of a more genuinely rampant quality that in fact is endemic within a sizeable quarter among the Left: San Francisco Bigots Gleeful that Gop Activist and Wife beaten to death. Surprising? Not in the least. Enjoy your schadenfreude, but it's largely and perhaps entirely based upon a benighted moral sense and the type of glib hyperbole indulged via references to Juvenal and Swift.

Then there's Joseph Wilson's lies and Plame, now there's some self-parody personified, exhibit A. Or the lies oft repeated about the Pres's "16 words" in the SOTU address, that too belies the notion anyone is terribly concerned about lies in the first place.
3.20.2008 10:49pm
Asher Steinberg (mail):
Oh, am I the only one who can't get Pastor Wright's comment about Bill Clinton and Monica Lenisky out of his head?: "He's riding dirty!!!" Wright even does the sexual act with his hand. I wish I never saw that video.

Pretty hilarious if you ask me, though it's shameful that Barack, or anyone, takes their kids to that church. You'll notice he even threw in a little proviso in his race speech about how black churches often feature 'bawdy humor' that may be 'jarring to the untrained ear.'
3.21.2008 12:07am
Tony Tutins (mail):

it's shameful that Barack, or anyone, takes their kids to that church.

TUCC has two youth services every Sunday -- perhaps the Obamas attend one of those.
3.21.2008 12:56am
Libertarian1 (mail):
Anderson wrote: Nonlawyers may not realize how much the legal system depends on lawyers' good faith. For instance, if my client possesses documents that will hurt its case, and the other side requests them in discovery, I have to turn them over, not lie about them. No court is policing my decision. Attorneys have to be able to trust each other for the system to work properly.



IANAL. Wouldn't that mean if a client told a defense attorney he was guilty it would be incumbent on the attorney to tell that to the prosecution? Similarly the other way. Prosecutors turning over all documents hurting their case?
3.21.2008 2:29am
Elliot Reed (mail):
Libertarian1—in most circumstances, the attorney-client privilege prevents a court or other tribunal from forcing disclosure of the contents of communications between lawyer and client. If you're being accused of murder, attorney-client privilege would prevent the court from requiring your lawyer to testify about what you said to her in her law office. (Your lawyer would also be prohibited from doing so voluntarily because of the lawyer's ethical duty of confidentiality.)

So yes, a lawyer involved in litigation is required to turn over evidence requested by the other side, including evidence that hurts their case, through the discovery process. If you're being charged in an accounting fraud case and you have a bunch of internal memos regarding "Project Mislead Investors", your lawyer would be required to hand those over if the prosecution asked for them. But prosecutors actually have a special duty above and beyond what other lawyers have: a prosecutor is ethically required to hand over all potentially exculpatory evidence, even if the other side never thinks to ask for it. So yes, prosecutors are required to hand over evidence that hurts their case.
3.21.2008 4:22am
simple lawyer:
My vague recollection from Ethics class in law school is that a lawyer should not commit perjury or lie during a deposition. Seems pretty simple. Indeed, I suspect I learned that in general, failing to tell the truth to authorities was not a good idea much earlier. I think my Dad mentioned something about that to me when I first lied about taking his candy bar around age 5. Clinton, Libby and any other lawyer who lies under oath should be disbarred, right? Or, am I missing something?
3.21.2008 9:56am
Anderson (mail):
Wouldn't that mean if a client told a defense attorney he was guilty it would be incumbent on the attorney to tell that to the prosecution?

That runs into attorney-client privilege. However, if a client tells the attorney that he plans to perjure himself on the stand, the attorney has a duty to advise the court of the intent to commit perjury and to withdraw from the representation if possible.

Without defending Bill Clinton's statements under oath, I will note that some old-fashioned conservative types still recognize a difference between ALLEGEDLY COMMITTING a crime, and BEING CONVICTED of a crime. Libby was convicted

Firstly, a substantial argument can be forwarded that Libby wasn't guilty. A jury found him guilty according to the letter of the law, so be it.

Ah, Michael B evidently isn't one of those old-fashioned conservatives. Libby was guilty of perjury, which he committed in "letter" AND "spirit."

His motives for doing so may seem admirable to some, but I'm not really interested in whether the opposing counsel in my case is lying to me for noble reasons.
3.21.2008 11:17am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
If lawyers had all that good character and stuff, we wouldn't need rules requiring them to do the right thing.
3.21.2008 11:44am
Michael B (mail):
"His motives for doing so may seem admirable to some, but I'm not really interested in whether the opposing counsel in my case is lying to me for noble reasons." Anderson

Apparently you're not interested in several things that are highly germane to the case and overall situation, not least of which are Joseph Wilson's politically motivated deceits - that was one, though only one, of the points being made. Libby committed perjury, within a certain context but he committed perjury nonetheless so the law was upheld. I have no problem with that, properly and contextually understood, and in fact acknowledge the conviction was necessary, but there's no nobility involved in any of it. Likewise, the notion parody is involved, much less a parody on the order and scale of a Swift or a Juvenal, is risible.

Also, some Logic 101 for you to absorb while you're admiring your noble sentiments: to note an argument can be forwarded is not to deny the necessity of carrying out the letter of the law. I denied no such thing. The spirit of the law? Fine, but only narrowly conceived and within a highly debased political/ideological context.

I.e. while acknowledging legal necessity, my argument was broadly contextual and moral within that broader scope, not legal per se; in no way did I suggest the law should be usurped or denied its due.

And of course you tactfully avoided the related issues that were invoked.
3.21.2008 12:31pm
Anderson (mail):
--Back on the "lawyer's duty to disclose" bit, here is a train-wreck of a case from Mississippi: a lawyer told the trial judge, not just that his client was planning to perjure himself, but that his client had actually confessed to the crime. The appellate court, near as I can figure, does a careful sidestep to avoid pointing out that the lawyer had absolutely no right to tell the judge that.

--Michael B, I am trying to find anything in your comment that bears on any good reason why Libby should not have been disbarred, and I'm just not finding it.

"Other people lied first" is not a justification for anything, once one starts kindergarten.

As for your "a substantial argument can be forwarded," etc., lawyers know weasel words when we see them. There is no such substantial argument. Libby committed perjury and was guilty. It was not even a close case. Some jurors felt he was doing it from laudable motives, but it was perjury
3.21.2008 12:40pm
eyesay:
Michael B repeatedly assassinates the character of Joseph Wilson, without foundation or evidence. Facts: Joseph Wilson went to Africa to investigate the theory that Iraq was buying yellowcake uranium. He performed his investigation and found no support for the theory. He returned to the United States and submitted his report. He then wrote a piece for the New York Times. The report and more important the New York Times piece were damaging to the Bush administration, which had promoted the lie about the Iraq and yellowcake and used this lie to mobilize public and political support for invading Iraq. Certain members of the Bush administration retaliated against Wilson and dragged Mrs. Wilson into it, the facts about which I will not dwell on here. Michael B, Shame, Shame, Shame on you for assassinating the character of Joseph Wilson.
3.21.2008 2:28pm
Bob in SeaTac (mail):
eyesay,

Joseph Wilson's report when he returned indicated that Iraq HAD tried to purchase yellowcake. Then, his NY Times article contradicted his report.

You must also remember that Joseph Wilson continously referred to his wife as a CIA agent, and in fact he listed her as such in Who's Who.

Joseph Wilson is not one I would trust, nor should anyone.
3.21.2008 2:58pm
Michael B (mail):
Anderson, I didn't even suggest that, I explicitly acknowledged the necessity of what was done subsequent to the conviction. What I mocked was the notion that any nobility inheres to the process outside of the narrow legal necessity and given the broader and notable contexts.

eyesay, so you say, but there's little or no meaningful content in what you have to say. For example, Wilson went to Niger, he discovered Iraq had made (unrequited) overtures according to a Niger government official he talked with directly, but that aspect of what he discovered was omitted from his report - and from the subsequent reportage. The notion he "found no support" is simply not true. That's one example only.
3.21.2008 3:03pm
Uh_Clem (mail):
Joseph Wilson continously referred to his wife as a CIA agent, and in fact he listed her as such in Who's Who.

She was most certainly not listed as a CIA agent in Who's Who. Where do you get your "facts"?

Or is this another instance of fever-swamp parody?
3.21.2008 4:28pm
Smokey:
Thanks to Bob in SeaTac for pointing out some of Joseph Wilson's numerous lies.

It should be kept in mind why people like Wilson think it's fine to lie. They don't lie to protect themselves. They don't lie to steal their neighbors' goods. They certainly don't lie to protect others. They don't lie to get a promotion. People like Wilson lie for one reason: they are liars.

Joseph Wilson is a liar. No two ways about it.
3.21.2008 6:38pm
eyesay:
Bob in SeaTac: As I now understand it, and contrary to what I wrote before (from memory), I don't believe Joseph Wilson provided a written report on his return from Niger. He provided oral reports. Also, I don't think his New York Times piece states that Iraq made no effort of any kind to purchase yellowcake from Niger. It does state that there's no evidence that Iraq purchased yellowcake from Niger. So I don't think there's a contradiction, both because there was no written report to contradict, and because his NYT piece didn't contradict his oral statements.

Please provide a credible citation for "Joseph Wilson continously referred to his wife as a CIA agent, and in fact he listed her as such in Who's Who."

Smokey: Numerous? Please provide credible links for at least three material Joseph Wilson lies.

All: Which is all beside the point that Scooter Libby was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice; this is a very big deal, and many people who don't have the Bush Administration Cloak of Immunity™ have been jailed for lesser crimes.
3.21.2008 8:30pm
Michael B (mail):
No, it's not "all" beside the point, a sweeping statement that is ludicrous.

By the way, doesn't the mere fact that the CIA failed to require a written report from Wilson (especially so given the subject matter), that they additionally only paid for Wilson's expenses and not his services, that they didn't require a non-disclosure agreement with Wilson, that the CIA is known to house politically and ideologically motivated actors who use leaks and other tactics to counter administration initiatives (not to mention the State Dept and Armitage) - doesn't such prima facie evidence itself cause a red flag or two, at least a yellow flag, to be raised? Any curiosity at all there?

As far as Wilson's lies, you can google "it was highly unlikely that anything was going on" together with "Wilson" and Clarice Feldman at American Thinker is a good source, among others.
3.22.2008 2:06pm
Bob in SeaTac (mail):
eyesay,

In a google search, I found the Who's Who listing for Joseph Wilson IV. I misremembered how he listed his wife. It is just as Valery Plame.

Also, I found lots of assertations in a google search for Wilson introducing her as "my CIA wife" but they all seemed to point to various un-named sources. So, I'm not sure if that assertation is true or not. I found no direct disproval of such an introduction and no direct verification.

You win the first count, and probqalby the second.

I stand by my assertation to not trust him. Michael B exposes several of his many lies.
3.22.2008 5:21pm
markm (mail):
"Also, I don't think his New York Times piece states that Iraq made no effort of any kind to purchase yellowcake from Niger. It does state that there's no evidence that Iraq purchased yellowcake from Niger." And it also clearly implied that Bush was lying. Bush never said that Iraq had bought yellowcake from Niger, just that it had attempted to buy yellowcake from Africa. Perhaps Wilson avoided a direct lie, but he certainly intended to mislead anyone who didn't take his piece apart word by word.
3.22.2008 8:40pm