Thursday, July 12, 2007

Shite Said Fred

Hoping to pull the wool over the eyes of the morons in the Republican Party, Fred Thompson and his pals, the Powerline Twits, attempt to justify Fred's pro-choice lobbying activities with this cynical bit of flackery:

A lawyer who is a candidate or a prospective candidate for office finds himself in an interesting position because of the nature of the legal profession and the practice of law. This is true when the practice was as varied as mine, and it's especially true when the office being considered is the Presidency of the United States.

The easiest and most generally used tactic when running against a lawyer is to trade off a general perception that most people dislike lawyers. Goodness knows that a lot of lawyers have earned disfavor but, as it turns out, folks understand our system better than a lot of politicians think they do. In my first run for the Senate, my opponent tried the old demagoguery route "He has even represented criminals!" to no avail.

A first cousin of this ploy is to associate the lawyer with the views of his client. Now-United States Chief Justice John Roberts addressed this notion during his confirmation hearings. "[I]t's a tradition of the American Bar that goes back before the founding of the country that lawyers are not identified with the positions of their clients. The most famous example probably was John Adams, who represented the British soldiers charged in the Boston Massacre."

Roberts pointed out that Adams was actually vindicating the rule of law. Every person, unpopular or not, is entitled to representation. He further said, "That principle that you don't identify the lawyer with the particular views of the client or the views that the lawyer advances on behalf of the client, is critical to the fair administration of justice."

That's just super, 'cept for one thing. Huckleberry Hound was acting as a lobbyist for pro-choice groups, not as their lawyer. Yes, he was working for a law firm when he conducted his lobbying activities. But that doesn't mean he was acting as a lawyer then, any more than he was acting as a lawyer for John Hughes when he appeared in "Curly Sue" and "Baby's Day Out."

It doesn't matter whether Huckleberry believed in reproductive rights when he was paid to advance that cause, any more than it matters whether Larry King really loves Ester-C and Welch's Grape Juice. The "best" you can say for Fred is that he hates abortion rights until someone pays him enough to love them. Or, more bluntly, that the only difference between Fred and Representative Bob Allen (R-FL) is the amount of the retainer.

And, as hard as it may be for chuzzlewits like John Hindraker and "Mister Ed" Morrisey to understand, an attorney representing a criminal defendant isn't supporting her client's "position" or "view" that murder, rape or robbery is a good thing. (Except in cases where the defendant is challenging the legality or the meaning of the law as written, the defendant's position ordinarily is that he didn't commit the crime.) The defense attorney is supporting the position that it a bad thing for a state to deprive someone of life or property without providing that person the legal process necessary to ensure, beyond reasonable doubt, that the state has a justification for imposing such a penalty.

When Fred says "Every person, unpopular or not, is entitled to representation," he surely doesn't mean that he has any obligation to provide representation for anyone who asks. Just show up at his next rally and demand that he lobby for your pet cause. Perhaps he'll represent the thugs who break your arm as they escort you from the hall.

Thompson's position on abortion rights is the same as Willard Romney's -- "What's in it for me?" And when Assrocket and Mister Ed stop pretending otherwise, maybe someone will take them seriously.

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