Thursday, October 04, 2007

Supreme Court Rules Politicians Have Right to Lie

It shouldn't surprise, given the state of the law, our courts and our politicians, and, in fact, it actually makes sense, but still, it's a bit… disconcerting.

The Supreme Court of the State of Washington ruled today in a 5-4 decision that candidates for political office have a constitutionally protected right to be free from prosecution for lying in their pursuit of office.

It is sobering to consider the responsibilities that courts have taken from the shoulders of common men and women and to contrast them with those that remain, including the duty on the part of each individual to provide protection against politicians who lie, given that government cannot be charged with that duty.

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh, for whom I have enormous respect, comes to a different conclusion and sides with the minority. He also thinks that a case such as this will eventually make it to the U. S. Supreme Court, but, like me, doubts this will be the one.

So, let's see. You can be prosecuted for lying on an application for a pilot's license. You can go to jail for lying when buying a gun, or filling out the form needed to arrange a post office box. You can be fired for lying on your resume, but if politics is your career choice, it's "Get Out of Jail Free."

5 comments:

Brazentide said...

If I understand this correctly, it only applies to the state of Washington. If it can be appealed, it would go to the ninth circus court of appeals, and I think we can be relatively certain which side they would come down on.

Bob Leibowitz said...

You're correct on both counts. It is unlikely to be appealed, what with the current political situation in Washington.
The court's reasoning is basically correct: Who's to watch the politicians? Other politicians? But, it is disconcerting that we've fallen so far.

Thanks for your comment.

jess said...

like there would be any repercussions if this did pass anyway. talk about corrupt.

Bob Leibowitz said...

"Corrupt" is Washington's middle name, unfortunately.

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