"A Senate legal counsel refused to explain why he advised the senators toErnest, inappropriately named by the way, might be loath to talk, but his ducking this issue is loathsome. This quote below is either taunting someone about the essentially corrupt advice he gave legislators on how to protect their own asses by watering down the Open Government bill, damn the people and keep your checks coming, or he is slyly saying to keep pushing because it is so wrong -- kind of like a conflicted Watergate source confessing to Bob Woodward. Ernest is definitely providing political cover because the politicans will just say that "counsel advised it." For that alone, he should hang his head in shame.
substitute a watered down version of the bill that would have applied the Open
Government Act to the Legislature. Mike Ernest told citizens advocate Tina Sablan
to discuss the matter with her elected representatives or get a copy of the
Senate journal — once it has been transcribed. “As an attorney, I am loath to
discuss client matters with non-clients and there are established rules which
govern those discussions,” he told Sablan. “I am prohibited by Rules of the
Commonwealth Supreme Court from discussing information obtained by the course of representing clients without their permission.”
He might be aghast morally at what he just did, but rationalizing is what lawyers, and people like Richard A. Pierce, do. I wasn't there, so I can't read his body language.
"Ernest said the “only rule of law of which I am aware that would permit such aIt's one thing for criminal lawyers to use technicalities to service their private clients, but it is a different and altogether more horrible thing for public lawyers on public money hired to act in the public interest only to act in the politicians' interest, as Ernest seems to be doing here. Corrupt, partisan, career oriented legal advice might be good for you personally, look at the disgrace who got the top legal job in Washington, D.C., but it is still wrong. Right and wrong don't seem to matter much to a lot of lawyers. These kinds of tactics are why respect for government could not be lower among people who pay close attention to its workings.
disclosure is the Open Government Act, made applicable to the Legislative
Bureau, of which I am an employee.”
This whole story is Exhibit A on how corrupt, secretive and disgusting our government is. This is exactly something the Bush Administration would do because they could create enough confusion to get away with it. This is a complicated issue, and even someone as interested in government as I am, haven't taken enough time to sort it all out. Tina Sablan is doing a good job holding the legislature's feet to the fire on this issue. She's probably going to lose this one, but at least someone is finally putting up a fight. Well done Tina. As for Mike Ernest. Why don't you go work in private practice in the mainland. At least there you can at least sell out for a six figure salary and be a classy escort, not the streetwalker type on wages the typical CNMI government lawyer gets -- that old $500,000 MPLA lawyer definitely excepted.