Political Assassination of Character Should be a Crime
©2018 CLIFFORD C. NICHOLS
In connection with the now-famous professor Christine Ford’s recent — not to mention, extremely belated — accusations of Judge Kavanaugh’s alleged abusive sexual behavior, former Governor Mike Huckabee sent out the following incredibly important, and timely, tweet:
“We all agree consequences are demanded when allegations of sexual impropriety are proven. But what should be the consequences if a person makes allegations that ruins another person's life and aren't true? It can't be "nothing." What should it be?”
Governor Huckabee is correct. Such political tactics should no longer be allowed to be just… “nothing.”
Imagine John Gotti thinking it best to avoid prison by silencing an innocent witness. Then imagine further that the man he sends to kill that witness fails to do so, but still, is able to leave the witness so crippled he is unable to testify.
Is that nothing?
Now, imagine a shameless politician who intentionally chooses to leverage the passions of the #MeToo Movement to promulgate false allegations of sexual misconduct about an otherwise innocent person of good character — only to prevent that person from posing a threat to whatever may be that immoral politician’s sacred cow — like say, Roe v. Wade.
Rather than “nothing,” this tactic is nothing less than a political hit job — à la Gotti.
And like Gotti, the consequences of the politician’s actions are more than merely intentional. They are knowingly causing injury to another with the same malice aforethought that is the mental state required in most jurisdictions for a finding of first-degree murder. And, like that crime, such conduct demonstrates the same “evil.”
It is the willful imposition of an irreparable stain on a person’s actual “character” by knowingly using fabricated allegations to adversely skew the public’s view of that character… that, in turn, is his or her “reputation.”
Unlike a person’s character that makes up a large part of who he or she is as a person, a person’s reputation is an animal that lives largely separate and apart from the individual and, in a sense, is designed by committee.
In the words of a noted physician on this subject:
“Your reputation lives a very real existence apart from you, representing the collective mental construct everyone but you shares about you, a construct based partially on your own actions but also on the perceptions others have about others' perceptions of your actions.” (emphasis added)
Alex Lickerman, M.D., Psychology Today, April, 2010
It is this fact that explains how a person of impeccable character — like, for instance, Judge Kavanaugh —might be wrongfully forced by others — like, for instance, professor Ford and Senator Feinstein — to live with a reputation that is intentionally made despicable in the minds of many by, the promulgation of sexually-charged “allegations,” if they are, in fact, false.
Last week, when Senator Feinstein made professor Ford’s “allegations” public, she also informed us all that she had forwarded the professor’s accusing letter to the FBI for “investigation.”
In doing so, Senator Feinstein was correct, but only in part.
Of course, such an investigation may enable the FBI to validate the accuracy of its six (6) prior background checks of Kavanaugh in which they had cleared him as a person of unblemished character.
And, if the investigation does establish the professor to be lying about Kavanaugh, it should also enable the Department of Justice to charge her, at the very least, with something like lying to a federal official in the course of an investigation pursuant to 18 USCA Section 1001 — kind of along the same vein as former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has been accused of doing.
But even these consequences of Senator Feinstein’s FBI referral would still fall short for the following reason.
Her referral seems to have conveniently overlooked any request that the FBI also investigate her involvement in this defamatory fraud scheme, if that’s what it turns out to be.
Wouldn’t inquiring minds like to know whether the Senator somehow participated wrongfully — or perhaps, even illegally — in helping to bring this circus to town?
After all, it’s not just by chance that the intentional disparagement of a person’s reputation is called “character assassination.”
And if Senator Feinstein is found to have been the professor’s accomplice in an attempt to commit such an “assassination,” why should she be treated any differently than Mr. Gotti would be for his participation in an attempt to assassinate a witness.
In short, should the FBI investigate only the “hit man,” without also investigating whether someone — like say, Senator Feinstein — was involved in ordering the “hit?”
And, if that is determined to be the case, perhaps Governor Huckabee said it best…
“That can’t be nothing.”
Which brings us to the question the Governor asked next…
“What should it be?”
The answer may be for all members of Congress to first acknowledge it to be the criminal conduct that it is.
It is a malicious political tactic that enables Gotti-like politicians on the Left — when it serves their purposes — to come as close to murdering innocent people as they can ever hope to get, without having to deal with any dead bodies.
Then, if that is not a crime already on the books, perhaps our elected officials should promptly take the legislative action necessary to make it so.
Perhaps this newly minted specific intent crime could be titled: Attempted Politically Motivated Assassination of Character.
And lest they forget, Congress should include in that legislation a sentencing range that reflects the fact that, in most cases of this type, such malignant political tactics can cause the life of an innocent person to remain crippled long after the political purpose for which it was done has come and gone.
In fact, in some cases, it can even inflict injuries that will continue to afflict innocent victims for what remains of their entire life.
Should this be doubted by anyone, perhaps they should ask either Judge Roy Moore or Justice Clarence Thomas.
In the best of all worlds, were such legislation ever enacted, when someone like Senator Feinstein calls upon the Supreme Court to rule on its constitutionality, one can only hope God will allow people like Judge Kavanaugh and Justice Thomas to be seated on the bench to hear her attorney’s arguments in support of their petition to overturn her conviction.
© CLIFFORD C. NICHOLS September 2018 — Clifford C. Nichols is an attorney licensed to practice law in both California and New Mexico. A former research associate of The Heritage Foundation, he graduated from UCLA, summa cum laude, with a degree in Economics and became a member of the Phi Beta Kappa society. He received his Juris Doctorate degree, cum laude, at Northwestern Pritzker University School of Law where he was a member of the Board of Editors of the Law Review. Comments regarding this editorial may be directed to email@example.com.