The Court rejects petitioner's contention that this case - as well as the potential additional litigation that an affirmance of the Eighth Circuit's judgment might spawn - may place unacceptable burdens on the President that will hamper the performance of his official duties... The Court is not persuaded of the seriousness of the alleged risks that this decision will generate a large volume of politically motivated harassing and frivolous litigation and that national security concerns might prevent the President from explaining a legitimate need for a continuance, and has confidence in the ability of federal judges to deal with both concerns... In the more than 200-year history of the Republic, only three sitting presidents have been subjected to suits for their private actions, If the past is any indicator, it seems unlikely that a deluge of such litigation will ever engulf the presidency.
- Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the Court, Clinton v. Jones, May 27, 1997
The above presumption - that allowing Paula Jones’ lawsuit against President Bill Clinton would not unduly occupy his time - ultimately was proven to be ... ah ... less than prescient. More relevant to our current moment, Justice Stevens plainly failed to anticipate that, one day, the country would elect a career grifter and deadbeat who, upon taking office, still would be the defendant in at least 75 of the 4,000 lawsuits that had been lodged against him and his various businesses, at least according to reporting done by USA Today. And he certainly didn’t anticipate a supporting role for a porn star named Stormy Daniels, but here we are. From The New York Times:
The suit, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, alleges that Mr. Trump “purposely did not sign the agreement so he could later, if need be, publicly disavow any knowledge of the Hush Agreement and Ms. Clifford.” Despite not having a nondisclosure agreement in place, the lawsuit says Mr. Cohen proceeded to wire $130,000 to a trust account held by a lawyer for Ms. Clifford. The court documents filed on Tuesday do not make clear when that payment was made.
In this, Ms. Daniels - a.k.a. Stephanie Clifford - is standing in for all the contractors, craftsfolk, tradespeople, and artisans who have been stiffed by this president* and his businesses over the past four decades. She is standing in for all those people on whom the president* sicced his lawyers in order to get out of paying them full price for their work. (As Fortune pointed out before the election, not only did the president* stiff the people who did work for him, but he also got a nice tax break for doing so.) She’s standing in for all the people who provided services to this giant of American business and then found that he would dive through whatever loophole, however small, to keep from being responsible for anything he’s done.
In a sense, she’s also standing in for all the people who fell for the con in November of 2016, who believed that the president* was up to the job, or that he had their interests at heart, or that he gave the tiniest of damns about them whatsoever. In a small way, she’s even standing in for Gary Cohn, the now-departed economic adviser, who leaves the administration as one of biggest suckers on God’s green earth.
Stormy Daniels is now the symbol of a very specific America, the ultimate mark on the president*s endless list of them. And, thanks to Justice Stevens, it will not be considered an undue burden to depose a president* on the topic of whether or not he tried to finagle his way out of the responsibility of having canoodled with a porn star shortly after the birth of his youngest child.
Go for it, Stormy. Do it for your country.
Get it while you can.
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