Monday, April 25, 2005

Arthur Andersen Argument in the Supreme Court This Wednesday

Arthur Andersen's appeal of its obstruction of justice conviction in the Supreme Court will be argued this week, and as discussed in this excellent post on the SCOTUS Blog (here), the first team will be speaking to the court: Maureen Mahoney from Latham & Watkins and Michael Dreeben from the Solicitor General's office.  SCOTUS Blog notes the rhetoric of the parties in their briefs:

At bottom, though, the rhetoric the parties employ tells the whole story. Andersen characterizes its conviction as an example of creative government lawyering that, if allowed to stand, will criminalize “common conduct undertaken without any consciousness of wrongdoing.” The government, in stark contrast, portrays Andersen’s response to Enron’s downfall as a unique and calculated attempt to convince its “employees to lay waste to vast troves of documents when a government investigation [was] viewed as highly probable.”

A good article from Legal Times, available on Law.Com (here), discusses the view of corporate counsel on the case.

My predictive abilities are worse than a coin toss, but I doubt there will be a unanimous opinion from the Court because the lower courts have struggled to explain "corruptly" in any coherent fashion.  It is a term that defies any easy definition, and often opinions discussing the term say little more than "corruptly means to act corruptly." (ph)

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