Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fred Thompson Represented Terrorists?

Well sort of. He did provide some consultation to a fellow lawyer at the law firm that represented the Pan Am 103 bombing masterminds.

Andisheh at Fresh Loaf has some questions for the rabid Fred Thompson supporters here in Georgia.
My question for Georgia’s FredHeads: What’s conservative and/or Reaganesque about selling your legal services to terrorists who blew up a civilian passenger jet packed with innocent Americans? Sen. Ted Kennedy’s wife RESIGNED HER PARTNERSHIP at her law firm when it accepted Libya as a client. Aren’t conservative Republicans looking for a candidate who’s at least as principled and tough on terrorism as Ted Kennedy’s wife?

Saucy wouldn't you say? I'm not a big fan of digging into the minutae to find a gotcha moment, but it is a fair point that in this day and age of obsessing with candidate's haircuts and pantsuits, Thompson's toe-tapping with the lawyers of indicted terrorists is probably fair game as well.


Unknown said...

I'm a fan of digging.

If Thompsons thinks it's okay to provide legal counsel to accused terrorists, I can accept that.

But he has to be forced to square it with his policy positions and the positions of the administration.

I don't dislike Thompson, but this poses substantive questions about Thompson that he and his supporters have to acknowledge if they're honest.

Otherwise, I'll just assume they like him because he's a big guy with a drawling baritone.

griftdrift said...

Lot of toe tapping in Republican circles these days. As a person who spent a week using mostly public bathrooms I want to categorically state, I'm still not gay. NTTAWWI

Unknown said...

I won't believe you until I see the press conference.

By the way, didn't Scott Henry do an excellent job with my camera phone during my press conference? It was his idea to shoot it from the perspective of a man sitting on the toilet. He's the Cecil B. DeMille of camera phones.

Anonymous said...

I thought he hadn't formed his committies to determine what his policy positions are yet?

Does he support the continued witholding of counsel and suppression of suspected terrorists in Guantanamo? If so, that would be hypocritical, but hardly a campaign killer. After all, this is someone who is currently leading the Republican field because he plays a good President in the movies, so we're dealing with a different level of reality here.

Sara said...

I can see both sides. I mean I work in a huge law firm and I don't even know about what potentially objectionable entities we may represent. But having said that, if we were hired to represent Osama bin Laden I would have a huge problem with it, as I suspect most of the firm would. I would have to strongly consider whether I wanted to be associated with such people if efforts to get the firm to drop the representation were unsuccessful. (Now I have to I hope we don't secretly represent OBL!) And when you take it a step further and you are actually asked to *work* on the representation, that is something that any attorney could certainly reject if they had moral or ethical qualms about it.

But I do also see the argument that anyone accused of a crime in our court system deserves representation and a vigorous defense. Many well-known and well-respected attorneys have defended people who were almost certainly guilty of heinous crimes, because their calling to ensure that everyone who goes through our criminal justice system is treated fairly trumps their personal qualms about what the person probably did.

Most major law firms have, at some time or another, represented an individual, company or cause that was unpopular. When I first started out in Boston many of us researched and learned where our firms had come down in the contentious fight against school desegregation in the 70s and 80s, and most of the big firms in the city had been hired by people opposing the bussing plans. I wasn't entirely comfortable with it, but as long as I didn't have to work on the case and take a position that was antithetical to my own personal values, I got over it.

So that's basically a long-winded way of saying that I think the problem is that Thompson took on the representation, not that he merely worked somewhere that represented alleged terrorists.

For anyone who could ever be a candidate for high office, that is just a dumb move.

Unknown said...

Moral ambiguity? Shades of gray?

We're talking about a Republican presidential candidate.

I'm not arguing against Thompson's candidacy or his actions.

I'm just pointing out that Republicans who keep touting him as a "principaled conservative in the Reagan mold" are fooling themselves.

Anonymous said...

According to the NYT article, it was 3.3 hours of advice to a colleague who was in turn giving advice to the Libyan lawyer who was appointed by the country's bar association to represent the defendants. The advice was in regards to guidance on laws of where the trial should take place. That's a world apart from actually mounting their defense.

If there is an issue to take with Fred, it is that this "principaled conservative" has yet to really state how his principals translate into anything substantial. The fact that he "tested the waters" for so long yet still has no policy positions on any issue of substance should concern most of his supporters.

Unknown said...

A world apart?

I would say not doing the 3.3 hours of work on behalf of indicted terrorists would have been a "a world apart."

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I just don't see it. I think it's a reach, and I don't think it's going to faze the people who are supporting him based on his charisma rather than his substance.