Dover Bitch

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Dahlia Lithwick nails it again. DB has said it before... Lithwick and Fred Kaplan are the only reasons Slate is still bookmarked in my browser.

It's easy to be distracted, even slightly amused, by the banal office shenanigans that make up the day-to-day coverage of the scandal. Increasingly, the Justice Department is revealed in all its wacky Dunder Mifflin glory. Alberto Gonzales is unmasked as The Office's Michael Scott—in so far over his head that he has no idea what his youthful employees are up to. With our daily focus on who was e-mailing whom and who was spending what on their fancy investitures, it's tempting to dismiss senior Justice Department staff ranking U.S. attorneys for their "loyalty" to the president as sophomoric. The Duke case is a useful reminder that the little plastic game cards being shuffled around and swapped by Kyle Sampson and Monica Goodling were, in fact, loaded weapons.

Federal prosecutors, like state district attorneys, have tremendous power and almost limitless discretion to launch investigations, to subpoena, to file charges, to question witnesses, and to drop charges when the facts don't bear them out. And if the Duke case reminds us of anything, it's that the innocent targets of such investigations and indictments have only one power: to wait it all out and hope for the best.

While Tucker spent his time on the air today shouting "I was right!!!" about the Duke case like a five-year-old, Lithwick shows how a thoughtful person responds to a serious problem with our legal system.

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