Back in April, when I first explained “Why Steven Rattner is Above the Law“, I pointed out that if you or I were (per impossible) to try this pay-to-play gambit with a state pension fund, we’d have the law on us before you can say “Andrew Cuomo.” If you are Steven Rattner, Obama Czar, however, you get The New York Times to sniff that “There is no indication in the complaint that Mr. Rattner faces criminal or civil charges in connection with the inquiry.”...
The deeper question concerns what George Will identified as “the tincture of lawlessness” that hovers about the Obama administration. Will was thinking primarily of the way Chrysler’s supposedly secured bondholders were treated, but in fact that maculation affects many aspects of the Obama administration. I suspect that key officials in the administration — beginning, I fear, with the President himself — do not really understand what the rule of law is all about. The nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court is one evidence of that deficit. Senator Al Franken, reverting to his earlier career as a comedian, publicly stated that in his view Sotomayor was “the most experienced Supreme Court nominee in 100 years.” (Ha, ha: what a card!) Obama’s reliance on powerful lieutenants who proceed with little or no public vetting or oversight — a.k.a., “czars” like Steven Rattner — is another dramatic example of the administration’s impatience with the rule of law. According to one report, Obama has named at least 18 such czars — people who wield enormous power but who are appointed without Senatorial scrutiny and who proceed more or less without accountability, except to the President.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009