Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Rehnquist Says Arther Andersen Had a Right to Enron Coverup

Court Overturns Arthur Andersen Conviction - Yahoo! News

We have a conservative SCOTUS, and it's main job is protecting corporations. This is only another in a stream of examples where corporations not only have the same rights as citizens, they have more rights. Good ol' boy Renny says the corporation is legally entitled to forcing its employees to destroy documents might show it broke the law. Do you have any doubt that Renny would uphold your "right" to do this, if you destroyed your own documents for the same reason?

This Court has time and again upheld illegal search convictions and variations of the theme where cops violate the law to get evidence against you. Here the only law breaker was Arthur Andersen, shredding documents that they knew would show they and Enron were stealing investors blind. And Renny twists and contorts to somehow invent new law that says there is nothing wrong with that.

Make no mistake, this is just another bone thrown to his corporate masters.

"Government attorneys argued that Andersen should be held responsible for instructing its employees to 'undertake an unprecedented campaign of document destruction.' It said Andersen was guilty under an obstruction law that makes it a crime to 'corruptly persuade' others to destroy documents.

But in his opinion, Rehnquist noted that it is not necessarily wrong for companies to instruct employees to destroy documents, even if the intent is in part to keep information from the government.

Like a mother who advises a son to invoke his right against compelled self-incrimination out of fear he might be convicted, 'persuading' an employee to withhold information is not 'inherently malign,' Rehnquist wrote.

'The instructions also diluted the meaning of 'corruptly' so that it covered innocent conduct,' Rehnquist said."

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