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March 2nd, 2008

The Bright Line…I Am It.

Via Box Turtle Bulletin…  More on Texas District Attorney (former) Chuck (moral standards) Rosenthal

"I think what — what I’m saying is — and I had not gotten into the equal protection argument, Texas has the right to set moral standards and can set bright line moral standards for its people. And in the setting of those moral standards, I believe that they can say that certain kinds of activity can exist and certain kinds of activity cannot exist."  -Charles A. Rosenthal.

I hadn’t known the details of how Rosenthal’s incriminating emails were discovered…only that they’d seen the light of day via some sort of legal proceedings against him.  Apparently it began with a Houston drug raid.  Some neighbors took photos of the raid and were later harassed and arrested by the police for it.  At trial they were exonerated, and they sued.  During discovery proceedings, they subpoenaed Rosenthal’s emails and that’s when the whole shit pile that is Rosenthal’s inner nature came tumbling out…the racist jokes, the pornography, the love notes to his secretary…  But wait…it gets Even Better

But the thing that took Rosenthal down was not his adulterous affair. Nor was it his racism.

Rosenthal scorned the judge’s orders and did not turn over all of his email. Instead, he deleted over 2,500 email just days after being ordered to remit it. This got him in a heap of trouble.

So Rosenthal, Mr. Bright Line Moral Standards, destroyed evidence in a case against him.  Attorney At Law much?   And as it turns out…there’s more to Rosenthal’s gutter then this even

 A grand jury indicted a Texas Supreme Court justice Thursday [January 17, 2008] on arson-related charges. But on Friday the district attorney’s office that brought the case to the grand jury in the first place dropped the charges, angering members of the panel and drawing allegations of political backscratching.

Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal, who is himself embroiled in a scandal involving inappropriate e-mails found on his office computer, said there was insufficient evidence to support the charges against Justice David Medina, a fellow Republican.

Rosenthal by all appearances, was trying hard to scuttle the case developing against Texas Supreme Court justice David Medina, a fellow republican (surprise, surprise) for torching his own house due to financial troubles.  Here’s how the Dallas Morning News reported it

AUSTIN – A Harris County grand jury indicted Texas Supreme Court Justice David Medina and his wife Thursday in connection with a June fire at their home in Spring, north of Houston.

But within hours of the indictments – Francisca Medina on an arson accusation, Mr. Medina on an evidence-tampering charge – Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal said his office didn’t think there was enough proof to charge either of them with a crime.

"We don’t feel like there’s sufficient evidence to proceed," Mr. Rosenthal said. "We will be asking the court to dismiss those [indictments] so we can proceed with further investigations."

The district attorney’s decision not to prosecute was the only good news of the day for Mr. Medina, a 49-year-old former district judge who was appointed to the Supreme Court by Gov. Rick Perry in 2004, and for his wife, defense attorney Terry Yates said.

They’ve "done nothing wrong," Mr. Yates said, "and will continue to fight this thing vigorously."

But legal experts say Mr. Rosenthal’s announcement – and in particular, its timing – are unusual.


Harris County fire officials believe the June blaze, which destroyed the Medina home and a neighbor’s house and did nearly $1 million in damage, was intentionally set. Their initial investigation focused on six people close to the justice, and was fueled by a trail of financial troubles for Mr. Medina’s family.

In 2004, the Medinas failed to pay nearly $10,000 in county and school district taxes, resulting in a lien on their home. A year later, a mortgage company attempted to seize the couple’s home, claiming they had not made a payment in four months. The suit was resolved out of court.

The Medinas’ home insurance policy had lapsed because of unpaid premiums.

Mr. Medina, a former general counsel to Mr. Perry who makes $150,000 a year as a state Supreme Court justice, has called the financial problems "miscommunications with the bank."

The June fire wasn’t the Medinas’ first. A decade ago, the family’s garage went up in flames.

When Mr. Medina was called before a grand jury last fall, he told reporters he was sure he wasn’t suspected in the fire. He said he had some ideas about who might have started it, and said Mr. Rosenthal had assured him he was only a witness.

On Thursday, Mr. Rosenthal acknowledged that’s what he told Mr. Medina – "at the time."

"Whether anything else came up that would make him a target, I don’t know I can say that," Mr. Rosenthal said.

In an interview with the Quorum Report, Jeffrey Dorrell, the assistant foreman of the grand jury, accused Mr. Rosenthal of playing politics to protect Mr. Medina.

"Rosenthal resisted these indictments with a vigor I have never seen or heard before," Mr. Dorrell told the online newsletter. "The [district attorney’s] office called my office last week and said we should not meet, the case was not viable and we should not indict. Obviously, that came from the top." 

Now…consider this:  Rosenthal was the second state attorney to argue in defense of the sodomy laws before the U.S. Supreme Court since the Stonewall Riots announced the beginning of the modern gay rights movement.  The other guy?  Michael Bowers.  And Bowers, you may recall, later endured his own episodes of political scandal and cheating on his wife.

It may seem odd…surreal even…that these self appointed moral authorities on the right would keep turning out, time and time again, to have the inner moral character of a gang of crooks.  But that’s only if you look no further then the surface fealty to the moral code they claim to embrace.  Look deeper.  Look at the moral code itself.  Where does it come from? 

The Bible?  No.  They pick and choose from the bible like customers in a cafeteria, sliding their trays down the rails…now and then finding a tasty treat to their liking, ignoring the rest.  These people, for all their bellyaching about their deeply held religious values, have religious values that are skin deep and no more.

The flag?  No.  For all their super duper true red white and blue American super patriotism, these people have utterly no commitment at all to the basic values of liberty and justice for all.  None.  If anything, they find it anathema.  Their vision of the American Dream, is one that enriches their own lives, only and to the degree that it kicks into the gutter everyone they personally despise.  The American Dream is money in their pocket, so long as it came out of yours.  Freedom isn’t a rising tide that lifts all boats, but a ladder with them at the top and the rest of us down at the bottom, holding them up.   The American Way, is their way. 

Look at the values these people hold, not the ones they profess.  Really look at them.   All their moral values, all their deeply held religious beliefs, all their breathless reverence for America, amount to one thing only: themselves.  They are worshiping a mirror, and calling it Jesus.   They are saluting a flag with their face on it, and stripes made of line items in their personal prosperity check list, and calling it America.  And that is how the man, the lawyer, could stand before the U.S. Supreme Court and argue that the only justification the sodomy laws needed was that they reflected the moral values of the people.  Whether or not they embodied or conflicted with the values this nation was founded upon were irrelevant.  If the people believe it is moral to imprison homosexuals said Rosenthal, then that makes it right.  It was a statement of his innermost moral character: if he believes it is moral, then it is moral.  Or more specifically, if he does it, it must be moral because he did it.

And that is why the man, the lawyer, who stood before the U.S. Supreme Court and said that Texas could draw a bright line of morality for its citizens, could cheat on his wife, use his office to protect a fellow republican from criminal prosecution, and destroy incriminating evidence against himself.  Never doubt that in each and every step of the way down that path, in each and every moment of the walking of it, Rosenthal knew beyond any doubt or misgiving, that he was acting morally.  It isn’t that he wouldn’t have done it if he didn’t think it was immoral by his standards.  He was the standard.  His life, his needs, his desires, his behavior.  Because he did it, it Was moral.

That’s how these people think.  It’s how they measure right from wrong.  Jesus is the image in the mirror that nods approvingly back at  them.  The American way is the shape of their daily lives.  Family values, is whatever goes on under their own roofs.  Morality, is the stamp of approval they give to their own behavior from one moment to the next.  That his how both Rosenthal and Bowers could condemn gay rights as a threat to marriage and family life, and cheat on their wives and still tell the world that they were moral men.   Yes, they really believed it.

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