Republicans are suing Obama over Obamacare. Politicians suing politicians!? Can they do that?
I suppose the couple of hundred lawyers that we have in Congress should know. But we didn’t see their academic transcripts when they applied for the job – last-in-class doesn’t sell well in the job market, but on the campaign trail ethics and knowledge of the law are real draw backs. What is the old saying… “Those who can’t litigate, legislate” (or in this case, the opposite).
Surely, if politicians could sue other politicians, they’d always be in court. My suspicion is that politicians (i.e., failed lawyers) and lawyers (i.e., future politicians) have cut a deal. Time in court would put a severe crimp in their fundraising activities.
But I do wonder why politicians don’t sue each other for slander and libel so I took a quick law lesson (and here) and was surprised to find a case before the Supreme Court – and that at least one state still insists on truth-in-advertising. I’ve long assumed that everything said in political campaigns is a lie. I didn’t realize Right-To-Lie was being debated – a small spark of hope (that could lead to the forest fire of misanthropy).
I understand there is a difference between slander and stating an opinion or debating a point. I’m just not certain if politicians know the difference (quick transcript check: failed Introduction to Slander & Libel). Both sides are just as bad as each other. Maybe that’s the point – if both sides are lying equally about the other, the lies balance out. I think my mother taught me something about two wrongs not making a right, but what does she know – she’s not a lawyer.
Maybe I’m thinking about this all wrong. Big Pharm can’t spin whoppers in their TV ads because of truth-in-advertising laws. These are enforced by the Federal Trade Commission which says:
“When consumers see or hear an advertisement… that ad must be truthful, not misleading, and, when appropriate, backed by scientific evidence….”
Misleading voters on where a politician stands on an issue seems to fall under this description, so does misstating the opponent’s position. Outright lying about issues also seems to apply.
So, it looks like it’s up to me, the average voter and the recipient of these ads to complain to the FTC about the last election. I’d better get cracking; it’ll take me some time to lodge all of the complaints. Call 500 of your closest friends, I’m going to need some help.
Granted, if politicians could sue other politicians for lies told during the campaigns, we’d need to open a whole new court system. The Supreme Court would need to annex the Capital Building – just change the sign. But after the initial wave of litigation, we – the voters – might actually be able to believe the ads showered upon us during the campaigns. Admittedly, Congress would grind to a halt while they fought the law suits – wait, that’s already happened – so we won’t notice any difference.
On second thought, I’m not sure the Republicans should open this particular Pandora’s Box.
I’m Jae and I’m running for Blog-President and wouldn’t believe a word of this message.