First Draft Potpourri: The Legal Merry-Go-Round

I originally considered giving this post the sub-head, The Legal Docket. But given that it’s partially Trump related, I think Merry-Go-Round is more suitable. Trump’s legal woes do make me dizzy, and when I contemplate Stormy/Stephanie spanking him with a magazine with his face on the cover, I feel like puking. Somebody  pass the barf bag. Please.

Let’s start with the funniest legal story of the week thus far.

The di Genova Fiasco: So Trumpy decided to hire Fox News legal big mouth, Joseph di Genova after seeing him on teevee. He *thought* he liked the cut of his jib, not that the Insult Comedian knows what a jib is. What could possibly go wrong? Everything.

The announcement was made *before* the president* met di Genova in person. What could possibly go wrong? Everything.

It turned out that Trump didn’t like di Genova and his wife/law partner Victoria Toensing as much IRL as on cable news:

The senior administration official said the couple also looked disheveled when they came to meet with the president on Thursday, which helped convince Trump they weren’t the right fit for the team.

That trumped their obvious conflicts of interest. It’s always appearances with the Kaiser of Chaos. He hired Tillerson because he looked distinguished and Mattis because of his nickname, Mad Dog. The good news is that , unlike his boss, the general isn’t one.

So, Trump’s teeevee watching cost him his lead lawyer, John Dowd, and he’s still scrambling to find a decent replacement. We’ve come to a weird moment: no reputable lawyer wants to represent the Current Occupant. The reasons are manifold:

  • He’s known to stiff people who work for him.
  • Taking him on as a client would piss-off female partners at large law firms and hurt efforts to recruit women associates.
  • There’s an excellent chance that Trump would ask them to do something unethical and/or illegal in defending him. Who the hell wants to be disbarred because of an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head?
  • Life’s too short to have a raging, gaping asshole as a client.

No wonder nobody wants to work for him, not even tribal GOPers like Ted Olson. Maybe Michael Cohen can help, uh, fix the Trump defense team. If they settle the Stormy/Stephanie case, maybe Michael Avenatti can rescue Trump’s leaky legal ship.  #sarcasm

The Stevens Bombshell: You’ve all read or heard about retired Supreme John Paul Stevens’ op-ed piece in the Failing New York Times. Justice Stevens advocates repealing the Second Amendment. I’m certain that Stevens knows how difficult it is to repeal an amendment. I think he dropped this bombshell to get our attention and make us focus on the lunacy of the NRA/GOP’s absolutist position on guns in the post District Of Columbia vs. Heller world.

Stevens also wanted to remind us of conservative/Nixon appointed former Chief Justice Warren Burger’s view of the Second Amendment:

During the years when Warren Burger was our chief justice, from 1969 to 1986, no judge, federal or state, as far as I am aware, expressed any doubt as to the limited coverage of that amendment. When organizations like the National Rifle Association disagreed with that position and began their campaign claiming that federal regulation of firearms curtailed Second Amendment rights, Chief Justice Burger publicly characterized the N.R.A. as perpetrating “one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

I’m glad Stevens has lobbed a hand grenade into the gun control/safety conversation. It’s also an excellent time to revisit his scathing dissent to Scalia’s fakakta majority opinion in Heller.

Let’s move on to another legal eagle op-ed in the FNYT. This piece comes from Duke Law Professor and former Clinton administration Solicitor General, Walter Dellinger.

Indict The Fucker Now, Try Him Later: Dellinger, of course didn’t refer to the president* as a fucker but I like to be direct. Dellinger was the lead government lawyer on the Clinton-Paula Jones case when the Justices ruled that a sitting president *could* be sued. He believes that the logic of the case applies to Trump:

In Clinton v. Jones the entire court agreed that the fact that a federal court’s exercising of its constitutional power to hear a case “may significantly burden the time and attention of the chief executive is not sufficient to establish a violation of the Constitution.” Mere indictment of a president would not meet the stringent standard in Clinton v. Jones for presidential immunity from ordinary legal processes.

Read the whole thing. It’s clear that current DOJ guidelines *only* bar trying a president while in office. An indictment is a whole ‘nother thing.

Repeat after me: Indict The Fucker Now, Try Him Later.

That concludes this brief ride aboard the Legal Merry-Go-Round, which is a term I prefer to carousel since it’s infinitely more evocative.

The last word goes to the Waterboys whose song, Room To Roam, has a merry-go-round feel to it. I hope it doesn’t make you dizzy.

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