Third Party & Independents Archives

Martha and Bill and Obstructing Justice

Today, Martha Stewart was sentenced to 5 months in jail, along with 5 months of home confinement, for “obstructing justice, conspiracy and making false statements”. It is interesting to remember that the same crimes that have been deemed severe enough by our nation to deprive Stewart of her freedom for a minimum of 5 months were seen by the Senate and the overwhelming majority of the American people as not serious enough to warrant the removal of our president just a couple of years ago.

While most believe that Clinton was impeached “just for sex” while Stewart was convicted because of insider trading, the truth is that the charges against both of these dishonest people were virtually identical- lying to and obstructing our system of justice. After all, few seriously doubt that Clinton did not obstruct justice and perjure himself- the argument was that his crimes did not rise to the level of severity that calls for removal from office (although they were apparently serious enough to get Clinton disbarred).

I realize the Clinton point is a bit dated, but I still stand in amazement that our nation’s citizens looked so careless upon perjury and obstruction of justice from the top executive in our federal government. In comparison, these same people now meet with glee the sentencing of a woman who committed virtually the same crimes. The difference, of course, is that Bill Clinton was a popular president while Martha Stewart is a rich person whom many people are very glad to see fall from grace. I am not excusing what Stewart did, in fact, I am very glad she is being punished. But we should take this opportunity to recall that we ought to be holding our highest elected leaders at least to the same standards we hold private citizens. All of our leaders, not just the ones from the party we oppose.

On a somewhat related point, we currently have an investigation about possible leaks from our White House of the identity of a CIA operative. I should hope that everyone who is questioned by the prosecutor understands that despite the Clinton aberration, our nation takes perjury and obstruction of justice very seriously. Isn’t that right, Ms. Stewart?

Posted by Misha Tseytlin at July 16, 2004 6:40 PM