I wanted to call attention to the Michael Horowitz letter in support of leniency for Libby. Horowitz issues a thinly-veiled threat to retaliate if Libby has to do jail time.
Disposition of the Libby case will have much to do with whether the country will further and gravely descend into “us v. them” feelings of bitterness and contention. As the Bork case led inexorably to the Clinton impeachment, so can the case before the Court profoundly criminalize and poison the country’s political process with calls for retribution on the part of many who will never believe–never–that Scooter merits criminal punishment or, God forbid, incarceration. It is an irony that Scooter would be the last to support such an embittering development, but the esteem in which he is held is such that any but the most Solomon-like disposition of his case could easily ensure this occurrence.
Horowitz’ linking of the Bork failure with the Clinton impeachment is no mere throwaway: Horowitz was tied to both events. He provided the inspiration for the Federalist Society.
The Society’s origins can be traced back to 1979–the year before Ronald Reagan�s victory–when a legal scholar named Michael Horowitz published a tract on the public-interest law movement, exhorting conservatives to overturn a half-century of liberal dominance of the legal establishment. This could be done, he wrote, by indoctrinating or winning over succeeding generations of law students, lawyers, and judges. By definition, the campaign had to be rooted in the fertile ground of law schools. To Horowitz’s good fortune, Reagan was elected in 1980, and his administration set to work filling the sails of the Federalist movement.
One purpose of the Federalist Society, of course, was to place people like Bork in lifetime appointments to the bench.
Horowitz’s concept was taken up with relish by senior members of the new Administration. They operated on two tracks–designed to insure that the Reagan Revolution would well outlast the Reagan Presidency. The first, to reclaim the Federal courts from liberals, swept an array of conservative scholars and judges from law schools and state courts onto the Federal bench: the likes of Robert Bork, Ralph Winter, Antonin Scalia, Richard Posner, Sandra Day O�Connor, and Anthony Kennedy.
And as to Clinton’s impeachment, Horowitz had his hand in that as one of the founders of the Arkansas Project.
Indeed, one of the initial meetings to set up the Arkansas Project was held at [Ted] Olson’s downtown Washington, D.C., office at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Mintz also was at the meeting. Among others in attendance were Ronald Burr, then the publisher of the American Spectator; Michael Horowitz, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank funded by Scaife; and Boynton and Henderson, who came to direct the day-to-day activities of the Arkansas Project.
The Arkansas Project hounded the Clintons until it could find something, anything–one measly blow job–with which it could justify impeachment.
So here is Michael Horowitz telling you, in a letter sent to a judge, that the impeachment he set out to accomplish “led inexorably” from the failure of the appointment he tried to accomplish. And while the term “inexorably” suggests the events followed naturally, as if by magic, we know they actually happened with the help and direction of Horowitz and Richard Mellon Scaife’s pocket book. For almost anyone else, the yoking of Bork’s failed nomination to Clinton’s penis might qualify as a twisted observation. But from Horowitz, who participated in the deliberations surrounding both events, it must be read as something more. Horowitz’ predictions of “calls for retribution” are no mere prediction, but a threat, precisely because he has carried out such “retribution” in the past.
What I don’t understand, though, is the target of his threat. Is Horowitz threatening to impeach the second President Clinton (or President Obama) because a staunchly independent prosecutor, appointed by a loyal Republican, prosecuted Libby for covering up Dick Cheney’s role in the outing of a CIA NOC? Is he threatening to attack Democrats because a hard-nosed Republican appointee followed court guidelines and treated Libby with the same sternness he treats African-American drug dealers?
Or is Horowitz threatening to retaliate against Judge Walton himself, who was appointed by George W Bush and recently named by Chief Justice Roberts to the FISA Court? These right wingers aren’t above threatening judges, after all, though it’s not usually the Republican appointees they target.