Still wondering if having sex with one of your interns is bad enough
behavior to justify impeaching a president?
For all those congressmen and senators who are holding their fingers
in the wind, and hoping against hope that the independent counsel will
send them a Get Out of Jail Free card for the president, I would like to
pass along two points made by people who work with our military.
The first is from an article in Insight magazine written by James
Robbins, an associate professor of international relations at the Marine
Corps Command and Staff College in Quantico, Virginia. Mr. Robbins
charges that Mr. Clinton’s trysts with Monica may constitute sexual
harassment as defined in a videotape which is part of a mandatory
briefing for federal employees. The videotape is designed to teach
federal employees how to recognize and deal with this problem. It
offered four questions one should ask oneself to determine whether one’s
behavior is inappropriate: “Would you want your behavior to appear on
the evening news? Is there equal power between the two people involved?
Would you engage in this behavior with your spouse nearby? Is this the
sort of behavior you would want your spouse to engage in?”
While some may question whether or not the Clintons still have a
marriage, in the traditional sense, Robbins says that the most important
legal question, by far, was the one involving power. “A case could be
made under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that women employed
at the White House were exposed to a hostile work environment in which
sexual behavior was made central to career advancement for young women.
It is evident from stories told by Kathleen Willey and others that the
president was well-known as a man on the prowl.” The case of Meritor
Savings Bank vs. Vinson, which was cited in the video, points out that
even if the affair with Ms. Lewinsky was voluntary, it does not negate
claims under Title VII. Another conclusion reached by Robbins was that
“(O)ther interns who did not have sex with the president and were not
offered full-time jobs also might have a case.”
The second point worth considering is from a letter written by a
lawyer from within one branch of the U.S. military’s Judge Advocate
General’s (JAG) office, that was turned over to the Washington Times by
the congressman who received it. It was published in the “Inside the
Beltway” column. The names of the writer and the recipient were withheld
for obvious reasons.
The letter contains a list of offenses from the Uniform Code of
Military Justice that the president seems to have violated, along with
the maximum punishment set forth in the Manual for Courts-Martial.
- Perjury: 5 years
- Subordination of perjury: 5 years
- Obstruction of justice: 5 years
- False official statement: 5 years
- Oral sodomy: 5 years
- Adultery: 1 year
Incidentally, the Manual for Courts-Martial is authored by the
president. He is the one who sets the maximum punishment for the
offenses established by Congress. The commander-in-chief is not subject
to discipline by our military courts. That job falls to Congress.
While the Starr report may be important, if Congress fails to act on
the Monica incidents alone, it will be a serious dereliction of duty by
members of the House and Senate.