Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Political Party Truce

Have you heard about the nation's political parties' ethics truce? Democrat and Republican parties have for several years had an unwritten understanding to keep quiet about each other’s unethical little doings. 

House of Representatives Republican John Doolittle made a statement after Chris Bell, a Democrat, said he would send a complaint about Tom DeLay (R) to the House ethics committee. Doolittle said "you kill my dog, I'll kill your cat." You can read the story at Mother Earth, titled Justice DeLayed

It seems oversights committees are more interested in appearing to be ethical, than they are in actually policing unethical behavior. They create committees to ensure what they call "public confidence."

In an article "Watchdogs on Short Leashes: Electorate: the ultimate judge," published on the eve of 2002 on the website of the Center For Public Integrity, there was information regarding the Maine Ethics Commission. Apparently, the Commission’s own executive director had doubts about the legislative oversights Commission:

Bill Hain, executive director of the Maine Commission on Governmental and Election Practices, said the legislature created his commission to placate the public rather than to have meaningful oversight of the legislature. (Vogel and Rush, 2001).

Pitiful Pitegoff

“How dare you teach classes like Constitutional Law, Ethics, and Appellate Practice?” I told Cabanne Howard over the phone in November. He’s the executive secretary for the Committee on Judicial Responsibility and Disability... he advises the Committee. Howard is also a Law Professor at the Maine School of Law in Portland. 

According to Committee rules, all complaints must be investigated, unless they're frivolous. Since the Committee, however, only publicizes those complaints which get investigated... they can hide behind this curtain of "confidentiality."

Peter Pitegoff is Dean of the University of Maine School of Law where “Cab,” Howard teaches. 
I sent Pitegoff a duplicate of my request to the committee for an investigation; but didn't get any response from him. 

The University of Maine System is made up of seven universities throughout the state. I attended at Southern Maine in the 1980’s, and in Fort Kent in the 1990’s and in 2006/2007. I have to admit that I felt a little “beat” that my tuition dollars were supporting a university system whose dean would not confront Professor Cabanne Howard about the dismissals of valid complaints of judicial misconduct.

There are only two law schools in New England; the other one is located in Boston Massachusetts.