Sunday, July 16, 2006

On Eliot Spitzer

From today's NY Times:

Spitzerism, as the author details, came to mean leaking information about pending cases, using the threat of public humiliation to cajole defendants into settling, and never seeming to actually win a case at trial.

Rather than fostering cooperation with the S.E.C., on whose turf he was encroaching, Mr. Spitzer childishly hogged the spotlight. His outburst against S.E.C. lawyers — he said they were unfit to handle a “house closing” — was not, one thinks, the sort of manners they teach at Princeton.

More troubling was his tactic of litigating “reforms” that went beyond the abuses in question. For instance, convinced that mutual fund fees were excessive — an opinion that the Legislature could have acted on had it chosen to — Mr. Spitzer pressured a fund organization to settle an unrelated charge by reducing its fees.

FYI, Spitzer was one year behind me at Princeton and in my class at Harvard Law School. (I don't recall meeting him at the time, but we once met briefly since then.) As far as I can remember, neither school offered a course in manners.