News & Politics

On Liberal Mobs and the Robin Hood Defense

Robin Hood Statue in front of Nottingham Castle in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England, UK.

In the 2014 case Chevron Corporation v. Donziger, the U.S. District Court held that “justice is not served by inflicting injustice.  The ends do not justify the means.”

Much has changed in our society in the four years since this ruling was issued.  However, what has not changed is that there is no “Robin Hood” defense to illegal and wrongful conduct.  This is an important lesson to all of us in 2018, as the deep state seeks to repeatedly justify breaking nearly every law and policy put into place by the Trump administration through a Robin Hood defense-style justification.

However, the fact remains, that justice is not served by inflicting injustice.

Take, for example, the recent statements by Maxine Waters (D-CA), who encouraged those who opposed Trump’s policies to harass his cabinet members at restaurants, gas stations, and other public places.  Despite the fact that the harassment Waters advocates for is blatantly illegal, she nonetheless doubled down on her remarks, stating that it was OK since those who work for President Trump “know what they are doing is wrong.”

Like Donziger, the lawyer purporting to represent the people of Ecuador against Chevron, the liberal mob, spurred on by its leaders like Waters, claim to have the upper hand because they are fighting for a noble cause — refugees, for example, against what they allege to be unjust policies.  However, what the liberal mob fails to recognize is that a law is not ‘unjust’ simply because they disagree with it or didn’t vote for the President who signed it.

The types of attacks advocated by Waters are also happening on the state level, evidencing just how penetrating the left’s desire to be in power, rather than to actually promote justice, truly is.  For example, in North Carolina, democratic governor Roy Cooper’s Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, Many Cohen, disliked the Republican-based leadership of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, so she decided that she’d take over the organization.  Cohen’s illegal takeover of Cardinal has resulted in several lawsuits.  The crux of these lawsuits was purportedly protecting taxpayer dollars and restoring the public trust.

However, if restoring public trust is the goal, turning to corporate lawyers is a surefire way to ensure failure in the achievement of that goal.  At Cohen’s direction, Cardinal Innovation’s began an intense love affair with various corporate law firms — most notably, an “independent” investigation into the severance payments made by the Cardinal Board to former executives, conducted by McGuireWoods.

One does not need to be Perry Mason to see that the issues raised in the press conference by McGuireWoods attorney Kurt Meyers were, at best, sensationalist, designed to advance a political agenda on behalf of Cooper and Cohen.  At worst, they are self-serving attorney misconduct – Rule 3.6 of the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct clearly provides that at attorney involved in an investigation is prohibited from making extrajudicial statements that would bias proceedings.

Litigation’s most guaranteed outcome, of course, is more litigation.  While Cooper and Cohen’s initial claim was that the Cardinal Board and CEO needed to be ousted in order to protect taxpayer dollars, those taxpayer dollars are now funding at least seven corporate law firms who are investigating, litigating, or otherwise engaged by Cardinal for its legal work.  These corporate law firms are in additional to Cardinal’s own internal legal team, which maintains 19 employees.

In other words, with regard to Cardinal and the chaos Cohen created, the ends do not justify the means.  Through partisan attacks and political meddling, Cardinal has become little more than a taxpayer funded piggybank for corporate lawyers.

Similar to the Chevron case, the facts involved in the various legal disputes involving the Trump administration’s immigration policies and Cardinal Innovations are complex, and the policy underlying those disputes is complicated.  Complicated facts and analysis do not make for good PR, so, like Donziger, members of the liberal mob such as Waters and the Cooper administration relied on a false, although superficially compelling, narrative to justify an otherwise illegal action.  And, like the lawyers in the Dozinger case, the statements made by the liberal mob are made solely to secure a victory in the eyes of the court of public opinion, rather than a court of law.

It’s important to note that accountability is a two-way street. Of course, those that violate the law should be held accountable.  But, claiming that the law was violated to justify an otherwise illegal action in the name of a noble cause misrepresents and hurts our judicial system.  And, unfortunately, what hurts our judicial system ultimately hurts all of us, because without an impartial judicial system to turn to, partisan politics will prevail.

It is important for all of us to remember that courts of law are very different than courts of public opinion.  Although a Robin Hood defense may succeed in the court of public opinion, it still has no place in a court of law.  Whereas, in the court of public opinion, caricature and hyperbole reign supreme and facts are irrelevant, courts of law exist to remind us that emotions, partisan power grabs and politics rarely make for good policy.  It is time for the liberal mob to face the facts, and for justice to be served.

Rory Riley Topping is an attorney and government relations consultant who splits her time between Washington DC and North Carolina.  She is a former federal appellate litigation associate and investigative counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives, where she tirelesly fought for justice against the US Government for our nation’s veterans.  She is also married to Richard Topping, the former CEO of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions, referenced above.