Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
In the wake of the bingo indictments in Alabama, many citizens probably have forgotten what led to the arrests: a series of highly questionable decisions by the Alabama Supreme Court.
In fact, the decisions were so questionable that they prompted an investigation into allegations that outside forces influenced the court's bingo-related rulings. Many Alabamians probably believe that a real inquiry ensued. After all, former Supreme Court justice Gorman Houston said recently that he spent more than 100 hours investigating the issue and found no evidence of wrongdoing .
But we would suggest that Houston almost certainly was not looking for anything, at least not in a serious fashion.
This was a classic case of a lawyer overseeing other lawyers, and the truth almost always is obscured when that takes place. In fact, the law is the only truly self-regulating profession in America, and that's the No. 1 reason our justice system is such a wreck.
Anyone who wants to believe that Gorman Houston conducted a real inquiry is free to cling to those thoughts. But you might as well also believe in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, and Lindsay Lohan's sobriety.
The legal profession has snookered Americans now for decades, giving the appearance that it is capable of monitoring itself. But in truth, it has failed miserably. And Gorman Houston's handiwork probably is just the latest example of that.
How absurd is this whole scenario? Consider the setup: The central question was, "Did Governor Bob Riley, or someone close to him, attempt to influence the Supreme Court's finding that the governor's anti-gambling task force could raid the Victoryland casino near Shorter?" Tuscaloosa businessman Stan Pate alleged that someone connected to the governor had tried to move the case from one justice to another.
Houston did find some apparent wrongdoing, but not on the central question. Reports Associated Press:
Houston said in his report that he was "reasonably convinced" that confidential information about the case was "leaked" to the public before the court's ruling was formally released. But he said he could not determine the source of that release and he would be unable to determine the source if he investigated further.
Houston seems to be admitting that a cover up was going on regarding the leak. But we are supposed to believe his overall finding was based on legitimate information?
Want more evidence that Houston's findings probably were bogus? The Birmingham News agreed with it . In fact, our sorry excuse for a local newspaper called the allegations against Riley "outlandish." This is the same newspaper that seems to automatically buy into any allegations against a Democrat, especially one with dark skin. Wrote our august journal:
Only the folks obsessed with black helicopters and grassy knolls put a whole lot of stock into stories starring Riley as the puppeteer who got the court to issue a decision that put VictoryLand's casino out of business. Why, according to the conspiracy theorists, Riley's control even extended to deciding which justice would write the opinion.