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Friday, January 05, 2007

Obstruction of Justice

Our Constitution works; Our Great Republic is a government of laws, not of men. Here, the people rule.
Pres. Gerald R. Ford, 1973, Speech announcing the Pardon of Richard Nixon.

Former Speaker Thomas Finneran has cut a deal and is now a convicted felon. His fine is a mere $25,000, and he will serve no jail time but will instead serve an unsupervised probation, and must not run for public office for five years (presumambly, the Boston City Council is now safe). Porcupine admits that he hopes the deal with WRKO Radio proves fruitful, as Finnenran is a worthy successor to David Brudnoy, felon or not. He might need the money if being a convicted felon is a bar to serving as a Registered Lobbyist in Massachusetts! Still, after his protestations of innocence, his conviction for Obstruction of Justice rather than the Perjury which he was charged with (see
HERE and HERE) is a minor victory. He managed to plead after Mitt Romney had left office, and his pension seems safe, unlike that of a brother legislator.

The other bookend of the State House from the '90's, former Senate President William Bulger, is also facing perjury charges. Porcupine has written about the Bulger Brothers before (
HERE) , but this is a major development. James Bulger, former Clerk Magistrate, actually lost his state pension upon his perjury conviction, and if Billy is convicted, his milion dollar annual bonanza can be re-taken by the Commonwealth as well. Indeed, after his victory in his court case to enhance his munificant pension, it would be he height of irony if he were to lose his pension rights, while the Bulger court precedent continues to wreak havoc throughout the fiscal stability of the state Pension System.

Porcupine wrote almost two years ago, "I have a quick memo for the Democrat Party in general on this issue. You can mis-speak, obfuscate, omit and outright lie to your family, friends, supporters, Party and even the media – but when you enter the courtroom and put your hand on the Book, all that goes by the board. After the misadventures of your President Clinton on this issue, you would think that would be graven in stone for them by now – but it isn’t. Already, former colleagues of the Speakah are springing to his defense, asserting that he didn’t mean to say anything wrong, and because his intentions were not evil, no crime was committed. Tell that to Martha Stewart! This follows the reasoning that because Clinton lied about sex, it didn’t really count. Yes, it does. And it is called perjury. None of us gets to decide what truths are comfortable for us to tell – judges do that. Lying or misremembering when instructed to answer is, in fact, the proverbial Federal case. It isn’t the crime, it’s the cover-up. It isn’t the lie, it’s the Oath."

Some of our Democrat legislators are also having trouble grappling with this. A vote was taken on the same sex marriage petition (SSM), based on a Supreme Judicial Court ruling and a threat of disbarment for lawyer-legislators. Truculantly, they voted as the Constitution requires they do on that particular petition - but with their next vote they collectively abrogate their Oath by refusing to vote upon the equally valid health care petition (HCA), which was also covered by the SJC ruling! Porcupine realizes that legislators more accustomed to being driven like cattle into shambles than exercising independent judgement might have difficulty in decoding the mixed messages from the Leaderhip Lords and Masters. But Porcupine would have expected their understanding of the issue of being faithful to a freely sworn OATH to last longer than ten minutes!

The Federal Court case may be withdrawn, and in Porcupine's mind this would be a huge mistake. The Health Care Amendment people took a lot of heat for submitting an amicus brief for the Same Sex Marriage amendment case, which argued that the illegal procedural vote of the Legislataure costituted a First and Fourteenth Amendment violation of the Rights of the Massachusetts electorate. Now, the SSM people should aid their HCA brethern, both as a matter of principle and as an investment in getting a vote in this forthcoming legislative Session. A link to the Roll of Shame - the Legislators who took the ilegal vote - is HERE. On Cape, the only legislators to do so are Reps. Atsalis and Turkington.

It cannot be said often enough - an oath, be it in a Courtroom or in a Chamber, is a sacred thing. Our political establishment must come to terms with the idea that their personal moral and spiritual convictions are not the same as the process and safeguards of the Rule of Law, which treats all equally. Obedience to the Law is Liberty.


Blogger Lonnie said...

I nom'd you for best political blog...
I have my students rooting for you as well...


Lon from China

1:01 AM  
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