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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Judge: It's Not Illegal for Rob McKenna to Lie to Voters

Posted by on Wed, May 30, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Yesterday, King County Superior Court Judge Sharon Armstrong declined to issue an emergency injunction ordering Washington state attorney general and wannabe governor Rob McKenna to revise his filings in the lawsuit seeking to toss out the Affordable Care Act, largely on the grounds that the court did not have the authority to tell the AG how to do his job. Okay.

But read between the lines and you'll find that in issuing her ruling Judge Armstrong basically affirmed the plaintiff's major claim—that McKenna has misled the public about the intent of his lawsuit. Armstrong ruled that in court, McKenna has held a "consistent legal position" that the entire ACA should be tossed out, while dismissing McKenna's many public statements that he was only seeking to overturn the individual mandate as mere "political statements."

No shit, Sherlock. As I wrote over a 15 months ago:

In the court of public opinion, McKenna has repeatedly argued that he's only challenging two unconstitutional provisions of the health care act, that the more popular components of the health care act are "not affected" at all by his lawsuit. Yet in a court of law—you know, the court that really matters—McKenna argues that these two provisions cannot be severed from the act as a whole and thus asks the judge to toss out the entire package. Yes, even the provisions regarding 26-year-olds and preexisting conditions.

How lawyerly of him. No, how totally fucking dishonest.

It very well may be perfectly legal for McKenna to be totally fucking dishonest. I dunno. I'm not an attorney. But having a court affirm that isn't exactly what I would call a victory.


Comments (12) RSS

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Quite a stretch to call him dishonest since severability is key. This is a desperate attempt to discredit McKenna.
Posted by wildstraw on May 30, 2012 at 11:26 AM · Report this
Goldy 2
@1: Not a stretch at all. He's lied to the public and lied to reporters about his intentions. He's claimed that "it is inconceivable that one lawsuit could bring down the entire measure," while repeatedly petitioning the court to do exactly that.

That is dishonest.
Posted by Goldy on May 30, 2012 at 11:37 AM · Report this
It's still dishonest because of the way he frames it to the public. Instead of saying "I'm attempting to overturn the whole thing because of these problems," he says "I'm attempting to overturn these things." Is he lying? Enh. Is it dishonest. Hell yes.
Posted by tired and true on May 30, 2012 at 11:40 AM · Report this
This has actually been affirmed time and time again. It is not illegal for someone to lie unless they are legally obligated to tell the truth. (ie. in court after being sworn in) Even if this person is a public servant and the lie was told to the public, it is up to the people (and was implied to be the role of the media) to be able to discern fact from fiction and to hold liars accountable.
Posted by Aprotosis on May 30, 2012 at 11:47 AM · Report this
Years ago, I remember a Fox affiliate in Fla that took their ex-reporter to court. He did a report on how local car dealerships screw people and they decided on to show it. So he took the story else were and Fox sued. The court ruled that the station was within their rights to not show information that would hurt their bottom line of dealership ads.
4 gives a great legal explanation why it's allowed. Sadly, the media has no legal reason to tell us all of the facts either.
Posted by Large Hardon Colluder on May 30, 2012 at 12:11 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 6
It's totally legal to lie in politics, even about your opponent, since they're a public figure.

Doesn't make it right, mind you.
Posted by Will in Seattle on May 30, 2012 at 12:21 PM · Report this
I would call it a victory for McKenna. It's not as if the Judge's finding regarding what was in the publicly filed briefs was a disputed finding. The ACA briefs say what they say, we've known that for months, and McKenna's lawyers were not arguing otherwise. All the Judge did was acknowledge what was already accepted public fact: that the ACA briefs sought the complete invalidation of the law, not just the individual mandate.

If you're McKenna, it would certainly be a loss if the Judge had granted the injunction. But that was a long shot. It would also have been a loss if the Judge went through and parsed the public statements, evaluated them, and determined that while they were misleading in isolation, or maybe somewhat misleading, they did not rise to the level of a violation. That would have been bad too -- a technical "win" but with the Judge criticizing his statements.

However, what the Judge did here was GREAT for McKenna. The Court basically held that no matter what McKenna says in public, no matter how false, a court cannot evaluate it at all and he is free to say whatever he wants without judicial oversight. If I'm McKenna, I'm pretty happy with that ruling. More thoughts here:…
Posted by David Ziff on May 30, 2012 at 12:25 PM · Report this
Having sat on the jury in several criminal trials, I can assure you: prosecution and defense lawyers are NOT under oath and are completely free to lie their fucking asses off in open court. McKenna is a lawyer, and he is prosecuting a case.

It doesn't take a Mensan to realize that he is lying his fucking ass off.
Posted by TechBear on May 30, 2012 at 12:38 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 9
Agreed @7, he wins Dick of the Week award.
Posted by Will in Seattle on May 30, 2012 at 12:41 PM · Report this
Sir Vic 11
@8 Same policy holds for House & Senate hearings. Witnesses are (often) under oath, but the folks who took an Oath of Office can lie all day long. That's what makes Al Franken stand out.

It's great that Goldy is keeping McKenna's feet to fire on this, but should Jay Inslee be shouting about it too? WTF else does he have to do with his time these days?
Posted by Sir Vic on May 30, 2012 at 12:52 PM · Report this
Daddy Love 12
It may not be illegal for him to lie. Still, it DOES make him a lying sack of shit.
Posted by Daddy Love on May 30, 2012 at 4:31 PM · Report this
Daddy Love 13
*laughs at @1*

"severability is key." Thank you, Perry Mason. However, your average voter doesn't know severability from a hole in the ground, and when McKenna tells them that he's not going after the popular provisions in the law such as assuring insurability for those with pre-existing conditions (have you ever been turned down for that? Get ready for your later life), they just might believe him instead of realizing that he's just a lying sack of shit. So when Goldy tries to explain to the median voter that he's a lying sack of shit, it's not an attempt to dishonestly discredit him; its voter education.
Posted by Daddy Love on May 30, 2012 at 4:47 PM · Report this

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