A Federal Judge has ordered lawyers for the Department of Justice to take an ethics course.
Why? Because they baldfacedly lied to the court.
This is really astonishing. Lawyers in the popular imagination are all liars. And no one can deny that it is sometimes their job to dissemble on behalf of a client; a defense attorney who told a jury his client was in fact guilty of a crime would be a pretty lousy attorney indeed.
But actual lies are very rare. Any lawyer going to court will grill a client properly so that he or she knows the truth and can properly present it–or properly shade it or dance around it–to the court. Furthermore, lawyers for the government have a higher duty than lawyers for private parties. While private lawyers are free to advocate for their client by any ethical means and leave justice to the judge and jury, government lawyers have a duty to actively <i>seek</i> justice. The government as a client is different and that must be reflected in the approach the government lawyer takes.
Does this worry me? Very much. I don’t know that much about the case this happened in, but the Department of “Justice” is my primary opponent in my lawsuit against the Obama administration. And one of my claims is that the State Department is grossly overcharging registration fees imposed on a protected activity (commerce in firearms), resulting in an infringement of the Second Amendment. Proving that will rely on numbers from the State Department itself. What if they decide to lie?
I should be clear that I trust the lead counsel for the government, Eric Soskin. He’s actually a college classmate. I’ve known him for more than 20 years, and I know he would not lie. But he has no way to verify the information that State gives him, and he can be easily replaced with someone loyal to Obama if he balks. We’ve seen hard drives mysteriously fail, we’ve seen backup tapes get “lost,” and now we see lawyers intentionally deceiving a Federal judge. Apparently, Obama expects his lawyers and bureaucrats to lie for him, and apparently, he finds many who willing to do so.
That bodes ill for me, and for anyone who finds themselves opposed to the government.
It’s disgusting and I don’t know what to do about it. I hope the lawyers involved are disbarred. But considering they haven’t even been fired yet, that may be too much to hope for.