In the recent fallout over the President’s commuting I. Scooter Libby’s sentence, I am not sure which is a more illegitimate appeal: the President’s claim that the sentence is excessive, or the Democrat’s founding their outrage on a sudden concern for the “rule of law.”
I. Scooter Libby was rightfully convicted by a jury. There may be plenty that stinks about this case–Libby may have been the ‘fall guy’, there was no conviction for the crime under investigation by the special counsel, etc–but Libby was wrong to have lied to Patrick Fitzgerald, which he did, and was justly convicted for.
The sentence was not excessive. The Supreme Court just last week ruled in the case of Victor Rita, convicted, like Libby, of perjury and obstruction of justice, that despite Rita’s past military experience, the conviction of 33 months in prison (3 more than Libby) was ‘presumably reasonable.’ Perjury is a serious offense whose prosecution is integral to the justice system. Patrick Fitzgerald is right when he says,
. . . The President termed the sentence imposed by the judge as ‘excessive.’ The sentence in this case was imposed pursuant to the laws governing sentencings which occur every day throughout this country. In this case, an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws. It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals. That principle guided the judge during both the trial and the sentencing.
But, having said all this, since when are the Democrats concerned with the rule of law?