WASHINGTON, DC – In choosing to adjudicate the case from Ohio Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, the United States Supreme Court is set to weigh in on whether a politician has the right to lie or if lying will be a crime.
The underlying question, no doubt, will be what constitutes a lie? In the cases of George W. Bush (“Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction) and Barack Obama (“if you like your plan, you can keep your plan”), are those actually lies, or questionable uses of information. In other words, using a criminal standard, is there proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Bush and Obama made statements that they knew at the time to be false?
Contrast those statements with, say, Bill Clinton’s “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” about which there can be little doubt that he knew, at the time he made that statement, whether or not it was true.
Nonetheless, even the nature of Clinton’s statement – which was of a personal nature (regarding an extramarital affair) rather than a political one – will be evaluated as whether that type of lie could fall under criminal purview.