The Associated Press story covering the Supreme Court hearing on requested release of Vincent Foster crime-scene photos read as follows: “Five government investigations concluded that White House attorney Vincent Foster’s death in 1993 was a suicide.”
There haven’t been five government investigations. In fact, there hasn’t been even one real government investigation. Instead, there have been five cover-ups, all using the same tainted evidence and the same tainted investigators.
Attorney Allan Favish believes the public may learn something from 10 unreleased police photos of Foster and has taken the issue all the way to the Supreme Court.
I believe he’s right.
Color me a “conspiracy theorist” if you wish. But I go where the facts lead me. And the facts in the Foster case have never led to the conclusion of suicide in Fort Marcy Park. No matter how many government rubber stamps are placed on that theory, it will never hold water.
The Justice Department is fighting a lower-court order to release four of the photos under the Freedom of Information Act. The law allows the media and individuals to receive unclassified records the government would not normally release. Its “personal privacy” exemption does not cover surviving family members. Nevertheless, the government is still covering its behind – not wishing the public to find out it was sold a bill of goods a decade ago.
“I can think of no higher public interest than what’s being argued here,” said Favish. “I think the government can no longer be trusted to filter the raw evidence to the public in this case.”
Favish said the government made numerous mistakes in its handling of Foster’s death, and he believes the withheld photos will help prove his conspiracy theory.
Last week, a seemingly skeptical Supreme Court grilled Favish, suggesting the public is no closer to finding out the truth about what became of Bill Clinton’s lawyer in 1993.
“There is a long-standing tradition of respect for the dead, for the survivors,” said Justice Stephen Breyer. “It is something so deep in human nature.”
In other words, it’s not a matter of what the law actually says – but there’s this “tradition …”
Justice David Souter said there is a fundamental “right to be left alone.” He indicated the Foster family’s interest falls under the concept of privacy, and that they should not have to be “assaulted by having these photographs published.”
The old right-to-privacy … found nowhere in the Constitution.
Favish rightly pointed out it is up to Congress, not the courts, to give surviving family members specific privacy rights.
Justice Anthony Kennedy disputed the suggestion that the Supreme Court had endorsed the narrower definition of privacy in a 1989 decision protecting the confidentiality of criminal “rap sheets.” Noting that the court in that case had said that traditional understandings of privacy “encompass the individual’s control of information concerning his or her person,” Kennedy told Favish that it was an “unfair reading” to equate “encompasses” with “consists of.”
In other words, it all depends on what the word “is” means.
Even the usually reliable Antonin Scalia seemed to cave to political correctness on this issue. Scalia, who seemed to favor Favish’s definition of the scope of privacy under the Freedom of Information Act, nevertheless was critical of the attorney’s campaign to get the Foster death photos, at one point calling him a “conspiracy theorist” about the case.
“You have relatives here who are going to be very much harmed,” Scalia said. “What is the interest on the other side? You’ve demonstrated some footfaults in the investigations, a mistake here and there, but who cares? Do you really think this is of significant moment for the country?”
Favish does. So do I. And no amount of name-calling by people who refuse to look at the facts is going to change that.
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