Supreme Lack of Ethics

Because a body of men, holding themselves accountable to nobody, ought not to be trusted by anybody.

Thomas Paine said that. In my Other Worldly novels, Paine turns out to be a very erudite alien, as in extraterrestrial. Because he was too astute, or shall we say “woke,” for humans in his day. Uncanny how his messages still resonate with stark and alarming reality.

That being said, it’s a crappy time to be a woman, especially a well-seasoned one in this era of rampant ageism. And it’s an awful time to be a writer, and an even more dismal time to be a lawyer—albeit a no longer practicing member of that profession.

As all three, I write about the latter in my Other Worldly novels, where over-fifty female writer Rowan Layne begins lamenting about an apparent dearth of ethics among lawyers and judges in the very first book, Alienable Rights:

There’s a big push to maintain the public’s positive perception of the integrity of the legal profession as described in the [ethics] rules I’d be tested on tomorrow via a series of multiple choice questions some deemed an exercise in choosing the best of four wrong answers.

Given the frequency of headlines about White House lawyers indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice, or judges convicted of extortion, or lawyers and judges committing acts of moral turpitude against women and children, it might be less about maintaining a positive image than obtaining one.

One difference: In my novels, the bad faith actors are held accountable, one way or another.

But, before I began authoring fiction, I published a tome in 2014 that warned about the Supreme Court being deliberately stacked with alt-right religious fanatics: Raising Questions: Daring to Denounce the Religious Right to Defend Our Civil Rights. In this nonfiction work, I repeatedly voiced concern about a lack of integrity from those who would subvert our democracy and lay waste to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

But I couldn’t begin to fathom the depths of depravity, the sheer blatant moneygrubbing grifting of men like Clarence Thomas and others of his dubious ilk serving as judges and justices in the judiciary branch of our government. Like Bill Barr—to name one particularly pernicious character whose self-serving actions and machinations on behalf of the previously corrupt administration continue to stink up the Justice Department (John Durham, anyone?)

And you know what? If it looks like bribes by a rightwing billionaire who suddenly becomes friends with a new SCOTUS justice, it just might be.

Meanwhile, fascist trolls on social media and unfortunately on mainstream media are frothing at the mouth about how Thomas is being “targeted” and it’s all a smear campaign or witch hunt (do ya think it’s ever dawned on them that actual witch hunts involved the brutally violent persecution of women by men?).

And then there’s the inevitable tired “whataboutism” with blowhards erroneously pointing out how surely liberals must be on the take too (is that an admission of Thomas’s grifts?).

As if, because they think “everybody is doing it,” this justifies having no rules of integrity for those who sit on the highest court in our nation making decisions about how the rest of us should live our lives. As if there isn’t already a code of judicial ethics or a code of professional conduct for lawyers.

As if you can’t blame Clarence Thomas because maybe at some point some other justice or any given progressive leader the rabid rightwing conservatives hate might have done or said something that could negate the utter vile corruption infesting the extreme alt-right pro-white-nationalism justices purchased by the Federalist Society with assistance from dubious characters like Bill Barr and Mitch McConnell who also appear to be in it merely for the money that power can bestow if you don’t have scruples.

All of their myriad wrongs exist regardless of what anyone else in the universe might have done at any given point since the dawn of time. These grifters should be held accountable, because it’s clear they won’t stop on their own, and they’re multiplying like cockroaches who just won’t die.

As Rowan Layne notes in Alienable Rights, perhaps legal ethics shouldn’t be a multiple-choice proposition. Especially for members of the effing Supreme Court.

It’s bad enough how many people attend law school solely because they think it’s a moneymaking endeavor. Those who become judges just so they can rake in the bucks for them and theirs at the expense of judicial branch integrity, at the expense of the entire legal profession, don’t belong on the bench. They belong in jail. Penniless and disgraced.

And then there’s yesterday’s breaking news of a civil lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani by a former female employee claiming sexual harassment and assault. Leave it to the most corrupt of lawyers bereft of ethics to seek to sell presidential pardons for a cool couple of million bucks. No biggie there. But, sure, one is innocent until proven guilty or liable, not that Giuliani let that pesky bit of judicial jurisprudence slow him down or pause for ethical consideration in his prosecutor years.

Why do so many of these vile slimeballs end up in positions of power? It’s a question I asked myself over and over while actually working as a federal government lawyer. One of the reasons I have no desire to do so ever again. But it gives me plenty of material for my Other Worldly novels.

In Altogether Alien released this spring, it’s quite gratifying to be able to have men reminiscent of Giuliani as well as particularly pernicious members of Congress and the former White House administration be revealed for their greed-mongering devious deeds.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *