Resisting the criminalization of politics


Rick Hasen notes an editorial by the conservative National Review against the federal prosecution of John Edwards is reminiscent of the Washington Post supporting Tom DeLay’s defense in his Texas criminal trial.

“It is no wonder then that liberals and conservatives have rallied around these politicians, despite the fact that most wouldn’t win any popularity contests… Each of these cases, which feature prosecutors relying on novel theories to criminally prosecute prominent political figures, raises two distinct dangers.”

“First, if the law is murky, prosecutors with a political agenda could use criminal prosecutions to take down their political enemies… Second, even if prosecutors are well-meaning and looking out solely for the public interest, there’s a fundamental unfairness in subjecting politicians to criminal liability for uncertain violations of campaign finance law. The threat of criminal liability can ruin a political career.”

By the way, as Edwards’ finance trial begins today, a new CBS News/New York Times poll finds that just 3% of registered voters hold a favorable view of him.

Via The Political Wire.