Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"Nothing going on there" and other constitutional fictions

Comes now former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (and this week's winner of the p3 "Wait – He's Still Alive?" Award) Rudy Giuliani, displaying his legendary ability to bring his thumb down on the scales in the delicate balance of civil liberties against the never ending battle for law and order:
"There's no minister, there's no rabbi in this city — nor are there some imams — that object to having police officers in their congregation," he argued. "In fact, they want them there, they want them to learn the message. It's enlightening for them." "So if you've got nothing going on there but a beautiful religious service, why in His name would you not want to have police officers there?" he asked.
(h/t to Charlie Pierce)

 There are those – cynical SOBs, the lot of you! – who might suggest that remarks like this are meant to signal Rudy's availability for the Donald Trump Vice Presidential Beauty Pageant and Scholarship Competition, but I say not so! This is simply the sort of thing Rudy ordinarily says into the bathroom mirror as he flosses every morning. Trump's campaign is just a coincidence. Nevertheless, he has returned to that old law and order warhorse: If you've got nothing to hide . . .

Which is another reason this shifty line of argument would be a bad fit for the campaign of the slo-mo exploding citrus, whose list of decredentialed news organizations is beginning to read like a Who's Who of political journalism.

 I defer to the legal expertise of Mr. Spade from San Francisco:
Spade glanced his way, chuckled, and asked Bryan: "Anything I say will be used against me?"

The District Attorney smiled. "That always holds good." He took his glasses off, looked through them, and set them on his nose again. He looked through them at Spade and asked: "Who killed Thursby?"

Spade said: "I don't know."

Bryan rubbed his black eyeglass-ribbon between thumb and fingers and said knowingly: "Perhaps you don't, but you certainly could make an excellent guess."

"Maybe, but I wouldn't."

The District Attorney raised his eyebrows.

"I wouldn't," Spade repeated. He was serene. "My guess might be excellent, or it might be crummy, but Mrs. Spade didn't raise any children dippy enough to make guesses in front of a district attorney, an assistant district attorney, and a stenographer."

"Why shouldn't you, if you've got nothing to conceal?"

"Everybody," Spade responded mildly, "has something to conceal."

"And you have – ?"

"My guesses, for one thing."

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