The Meese Legacy

By Schwartz, Herman | The Nation, July 16, 1988 | Go to article overview
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The Meese Legacy


Schwartz, Herman, The Nation


Edwin Meese 3d was so bad an Attorney General that he probably did some good. The nation became so disgusted by his loose ethics, his misuse of his office, his excessive partisanship, that he became an enormous political liability, and even the unwavering support of his master couldn't save him from being forced to resign. It is a safe bet that no matter who is elected President in November, the next Attorney General will have at least some integrity.

The damage that Meese did to the cause of liberty, justice and good government will not be easily overcome, however. The Iran/contra investigations have been irreparably injured by his calculated casualness in making his investigation, the primary effect of which was to alert Oliver North that the jig was up and that the shredding party better start right away.

Meese's attacks on the Supreme Court and his intellectually bankrupt original intent doctrine, a shoddy and transparent effort to undermine long-established constitutional doctrines promoting individual liberty and social justice, have been dismissed with the scorn they deserve.

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