Chris Christie’s Own Lawyer Slams Christie-Led Organization’s Atrocious Campaign Ad

CREDIT: Mel Evans / Associated Press

Last week, the Republican Governors Association released an ad that we said “may be the most atrocious political ad of 2014.” The ad attacks South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s (R) Democratic opponent because he “defended violent criminals” as a criminal defense lawyer. As we wrote shortly after the ad was released, the ad casts doubt on the basic constitutional principle that “we do not lock people away in prisons in the United States until their guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Since then, this ad has been widely condemned. American Bar Association President James Silkenat sent a letter to RGA head and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) noting that “[t]he rule of law that governs our society delivers justice specifically because everyone has a right to competent representation,” and adding that “[t]his process is what distinguishes us from our darker history, when mobs decided guilt or innocence and punished those they deemed guilty.” The South Carolina Bar Association piled on, claiming that “[w]hat they’re attacking is the whole basis for the U.S. and the U.S. Constitution. According to them, I guess everyone accused of something is automatically guilty.”

Indeed, even Christie’s own lawyer called the ad a “disgrace.” Robert Luskin, a partner at the law firm Patton Boggs, represents Christie’s reelection campaign in the “Bridgegate” scandal that broke open earlier this year. According to Luskin, “[t]he people who talk incessantly about American exceptionalism ought to demonstrate some understanding — and some respect — for what makes our system truly admirable: that includes the willingness of lawyers to stand up for their clients no matter how ugly the allegation. But a lawyer is only, ever an advocate; he’s not a co conspirator or an enabler.”