Magazine article The Nation

Bill, Paula, Ken & You

Magazine article The Nation

Bill, Paula, Ken & You

Article excerpt

This much we know: Justice John Paul Stevens was wrong when, this past May 27, speaking for the Supreme Court, he predicted that the case of Clinton v. Jones was "highly unlikely to occupy any substantial amount of petitioner's [the President's] time." The High Court thus allowed Paula Jones's civil suit of sexual misconduct to proceed rather than grant the delay until the end of his term that the President and his lawyers sought.

As the world now knows, one outgrowth of the Jones case was Linda Tripp's tapes and taps of Monica Lewinsky, and once they (or rather, selected portions of them) became public, Whitewater special prosecutor Kenneth Starr began subpoenaing everybody from Lewinsky's mom to former Washington Post and New Yorker reporter Sidney Blumenthal. As a consequence, the press, the country and the culture--Saddam Hussein and the Olympics notwithstanding--have been consumed with and are awash in allegations, speculation, leaks, charges and countercharges that collectively have made it impossible for the Jones case not to "occupy any substantial amount of petitioner's time."

In his new book, No Island of Sanity, Vincent Bughosi argues that the President's lawyers and the nation's press are to blame for mishandling and misrepresenting what is at stake. The issue before the Supreme Court was whether a sitting President could be forced to trial during his term of office to defend himself in a civil action arising out of alleged misconduct prior to his presidency. …

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