Clinton's Law License Woes Hurt Al and Hillary

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Here's another good reason for Hillary Clinton to stay in New York. An Arkansas Supreme Court-appointed panel has recommended that "attorney William Jefferson Clinton" be stripped of his state law license for "serious misconduct" — his oily-at-best testimony about Monica Lewinsky in the Paula Jones case. Most experts considered the move to disbar harsh, but considering half the panel recused themselves last week because of ties to Bill, a high-profile penalty is maybe not too surprising from the half that was left. Clinton was predictably aghast, and though such a busy president will let his lawyers handle the vigorous appeal to the circuit court, there's always time for Tom Brokaw. "It's not right," he told the NBC Nightly News anchor Monday. "My lawyers looked at all the precedents and they said there's no way in the world, if they just treat you like everybody else has been treated, that this is even close to that kind of case."

TIME legal reporter Alain Sanders doesn't think Clinton's flirtation with perjury for a frivolous lawsuit merits a full disbarment, and he wishes the Arkansas legal machinery could have left Americans with an undistracted President for the little time he's got left. "The conservatives are pushing this," he says. "But for what Clinton did, he deserves this process to go forward, and he does deserve to be reprimanded at least. It could wait, however, until he leaves office." Of course the right-wing Southeastern Legal Foundation knew exactly what it would get by initiating disbarment. The lawyer who'd strayed so publicly from the moral path would be further embarrassed, and the media would take a nice walk down memory lane past such impeachment signposts as "intentionally false and misleading," (Judge Susan Webber Wright) "technically accurate" (Clinton) and of course, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." (Now, wasn't that fun?) Nixon was disbarred, although not until 1976, after he'd resigned; Clinton will likely face the possibility this summer. Of course, book deals and the lecture circuit make it doubtful he'd need an Arkansas law license to pay the rent in Westchester, but hey — Hillary and Al need work too. One more summer of the humiliating Jones case isn't likely to help them.