Yale Deputy General Counsel Susan Carney is an uncontroversial nominee to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit who recently earned a lopsided 16-2 vote supporting her nomination in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Yet the right-wing Washington Times published a deeply misleading editorial this morning claiming that she is caught up in some kind of ethics scandal:
As the general counsel for Yale Law School, Ms. Carney played a key role in “Shin gate,” an incident in which a Korean university was so embarrassed by Yale’s ethical lapse that it filed a $50 million lawsuit against the prestigious Ivy League institution. Dongguk University had contacted Yale in 2005 to verify a prospective hire’s claim to a doctoral degree from the college. Yale falsely confirmed the doctorate, causing a great deal of harm to the Korean university’s prestige. Ms. Carney, who was in charge of ethics, covered up her school’s mistake. Dongguk’s president wrote that Ms. Carney’s “inaccurate information of July 10, 2007 has ruined our 100-year-long built reputation.”
The origin of this smear appears to be a statement by a radical group called Americans for Limited Government, which falsely claims that Carney showed a “lack of integrity during her tenure at Yale University as Deputy General Counsel.” There should be little doubt, however, why ALG is really interested in keeping Carney off the bench — Carney is unlikely to uphold its radical “tenther” vision of the Constitution if she is confirmed by the Senate.
ALG believes that the Affordable Care Act is the first stage of a liberal plot to bring back slavery and that all federal education programs violate the Constitution. Its Chairman, Howard Rich, sits on the board of the Cato Institute, a far-right think tank that believes that Medicare and Social Security are unconstitutional.
Lest there be any doubt, ALG’s defamatory suggestion that Carney engaged in some kind of cover up has absolutely no basis in reality. According to Dongguk’s legal complaint against Yale, Dongguk asked a mid-level Yale administrator to confirm whether a prospective hire earned a PhD from Yale. The administrator violated Yale’s procedures by sending an informal fax erroneously confirming that the prospective hire was a Yale PhD.
Nearly two years later, Dongguk’s president wrote Yale asking whether the administrator’s informal fax was accurate. Carney initially told Dongguk that the fax, which was not produced using Yale’s standard procedures, “is not authentic.” A few months later, when Yale discovered the administrator’s mistake, Carney wrote Dongguk again to inform them that the erroneous fax was “indeed authentic.” In other words, Carney’s alleged “cover up” of her colleague’s mistake ended after Carney herself told Dongguk that Yale had erred.
If ALG wants to argue that Carney should not be a judge because she won’t strike down Social Security or because she believes that health reform does not in any way resemble slavery, then they are free to do so. But its attempt to smear a good woman’s name because she won’t push their radical agenda is simply beneath contempt.