One obstacle to Mike Nifong’s efforts to retain his law license is his difficulty in offering consistent defenses for his actions. He or his attorneys have provided no fewer than 11 different explanations for his decision to intentionally enter into an agreement with Dr. Brian Meehan to withhold exculpatory DNA evidence.
He and his attorneys also have struggled to come up with a consistent line to explain his improper public statements. In a July 28 press conference, he described the “first message” of his pre-primary publicity barrage as affirming that “the community was in good hands with respect to this case, and they did not need to worry about it.” Nifong never explained why this role could not have been fulfilled by people not covered by the Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct, such as the mayor, or town manager, or the Police Department, as occurs in every other case.
Anyhow, Rule 3.8 of the Code of Conduct contains no “good hands” waiver, and this line of defense has now vanished from the Nifong repertoire. In his “Today” show appearance, David Freedman, Nifong’s attorney, relied on what the Bar has termed Nifong’s “hair-splitting” strategy, rationalizing the statements on the grounds that they “didn’t go particularly to any of the defendants themselves.” In his July 28 defense of his statements, Nifong didn’t raise this line of argument at all. If, in fact, the new rationalization explained Nifong's motivations all along, I wonder why the DA forgot to mention it on July 28?
An important post from John in
how did it happen that Duke faculty in 15 departments and programs didn't know they were being listed on a full-page Chronicle ad that thanked people who harassed and endangered Duke students by, among other odious acts, cheering a “CASTRATE” banner and distributing “Vigilante” posters within sight of Duke President Richard H. Brodhead’s office?
JinC closes with some provocative questions:
Who paid for the ad?
Did individual faculty members pay for it with their personal funds?All questions that deserve responses.
Or were department funds used?
And if department funds were used, which department or departments paid out the money? Who authorized departmental payout(s)?
Or did the money come from one of the many “discretionary funds” which various Duke administrators and senior faculty can access?
If that’s the case, who was the administrator or faculty member accessing a fund and which discretionary fund was accessed?
Amanda Marcotte, John Edwards’ former campaign blogger, continues her efforts at revising the past. In mid-February, she described her departure from the campaign as sending a message “to young feminist women . . . that campaigning for Democratic candidates, and particularly doing so in positions that would help the candidate connect with young feminist communities like the one that thrives in the blogosphere, is a scary, risky prospect” and representing “just the first sign that the established media and political circles will not be letting the blog-writing rabble into the circle without a fight.”
Of course, some might have attributed Marcotte’s departure to the difficulties of a presidential campaign keeping on staff a figure who regularly employed vile language and who had presumed guilt in a high-profile state from his home state.
Last week, Marcotte went even further, remembering “the railroading of me and Melissa off Edwards’ staff.” “Railroading”? Is Marcotte now claiming that she didn’t write the posts that caused so much controversy, or that people misquoted her?
An amusing cartoon speculating on why City Manager Patrick Baker might actually like all the negative press attention that Mike Nifong has received.
The issue, however, attracted quite different national media attention than did the Duke case. The AP story did not mention the race of either the accuser or the accused. No jeremiads from Selena Roberts or Harvey Araton are likely to appear. University officials have given no inclination that they plan to cancel the team’s season or even cancel one spring practice. And those awaiting the
Another sign of Mike Nifong’s diminished power came last week, when
The victim has died, and Parker remains in jail, even though under current
Liestoppers also observes that having a disgraced DA makes it difficult to negotiate with the state legislature to obtain increased funding. The post notes that Nifong appears to be double dipping in his appeals, asking for more state funds on the grounds that he can't rely on county support and requesting more county support on the grounds he can't rely on state support.
More generally: how, possibly, could a state legislator vote more funds for an office headed by a figure that the state Bar has contended violated three North Carolina laws and the U.S. Constitution?
Group of 88 leader Karla Holloway penned a column last week for the Chronicle on the shortcomings of current Duke “diversity” efforts. Apparently reacting to comments from student critics of the Campus Culture Initiative, Holloway argued that “institutionally produced, racially assigned programming does not quite match the vision of inclusiveness we broadcast as our desire,” and therefore the administration should avoid student-led racially restrictive recruitment efforts. Instead, she argued, the administration should aim to be more inclusive in all such initiatives, seeking to bring people together rather than segregate them by race or ethnicity.
Economics professor E. Roy Weintraub appropriately responded, “Karla Holloway’s thoughtful and cogent message encourages us all to move away from the past's strategies to foster diversity at our university, and to recognize new ways that Duke may again show leadership in developing a more inclusive university community. Her intervention in this discussion is most appreciated.” Michael Gustafson agreed,
To me, this article speaks to what valuing diversity really should mean for the university as opposed to our merely claiming a diversity in metrics. Involving a broader base of students as well as of staff and faculty in the recruiting experiences will both demonstrate Duke's commitment to engaging difference and in the process will serve to open the lines of communication whence inclusive communities come. Examining how the criteria of various scholarship programs may lead to a greater diversity metric for the university, but with a catastrophic side-effect of more highly segregated sub-communities of scholars, is an important task for a university that desires a greater breadth of experiences to form the intellectual “collision spaces” our programs provide.
Holloway’s column is a further, welcome indication that the ultra-politically correct recommendations of the Campus Culture Initiative (of which she served as race subgroup chair) have little chance of adoption. Hopefully, the column also represents an indication that Duke might reconsider its “diversity” agenda in faculty hiring as well.
Hat tips: J.M., A.A., K.E.