(The title of the post is a tad unfair to Obama, I know. But editing The Harvard Law Review is clearly no litmus test for purity of intellect or ethics.)
One thing is for sure, Spitzer did not forge his political and fiscal fortunes by means of voluntary exchanges on the free market. The Spitzer piranha didn’t give law teeth; but used bad law to bite business to the bone.
Daniel Gross of Slate had this to say back in 2004:
Spitzer made maximum hay out of the “New York State’s Martin Act. The 1921 legislation, as Nicholas Thompson noted in this Legal Affairs piece, gives extraordinary powers and discretion to an attorney general fighting financial fraud. He can ‘subpoena any document he wants from anyone doing business in the state,’ make investigations secret or public at his whim, and ‘choose between filing civil or criminal charges whenever he wants.’ Extraordinarily, Thompson notes, ‘people called in for questioning during Martin Act investigations do not have a right to counsel or a right against self-incrimination. Combined, the act’s powers exceed those given any regulator in any other state.’”
Spitzer embodied abuse of power. As a government goon, he was an extortionist extraordinaire. “He didn’t simply indict. He issued press releases. When Spitzer published a press release detailing a shocking betrayal of trust by” this or the other “of Wall Street’s most trusted names,” the company would lose billions in market value in a matter of days and would quickly settle with the thug.
I know I’ve defended the naturally licit actions of scum such as Scooter Libby against naturally illicit prosecutions. And yes, I support the decriminalization of prostitution (but not its moral elevation). Yes again: I believe Spitzer’s funds are his to move about, and that his transactions were perfectly licit. So call me inconsistent on this count, but this character is so evil, contemptible, and uncontrollable (and nauseatingly hypocritical), I consider it a mitzvah that he has been removed from office and taken DOWN, if by unjust means.
I want to see Spitzer’s name live on in infamy; he ought to ultimately die disgraced, and if we lived under a just legal system, be prosecuted—but for his crimes against innocent members of the business community. Unfortunately—and I guess I’m nothing if not consistent—I’m with Alan Dershowitz on the following count: Spitzer ought not to be prosecuted for his moral failings. Although I’m filled with schadenfreude at the spectacle of Spitzer, there is no case to be made for his prosecution in libertarian law.
More later on Spitzer’s ho—or rather on the manner in which media have infantilized the girl and turned her into a victim.