Do Americans hold higher standards for their football coaches than they do for their judges?
It looks that way from here.
Consider the case of Rush Propst, head football coach at Alabama's Hoover High School (of MTV and "Two A Days" fame). Propst has stepped in some deep doo-doo over alleged academic, financial, and personal transgressions.
The story has been big news in Birmingham. Today's Birmingham News devotes 30 to 40 column inches to the story, which starts on the front page. City councilman Gene Smith says Propst should immediately be put on administrative leave. Also, the Hoover School Board announced that assistant principal Carol Martin, who was alleged to have had an affair with Propst, was resigning.
News columnists have jumped in on the action. John Archibald gave Propst a merciless pounding earlier this week. I don't recall Archibald ever thrashing a public figure quite the way he thrashed Propst.
Now consider another story that surfaced earlier this week. A widely respected national publication, Harper's.org, broke the news about an affidavit leveling charges of criminal conduct against Alabama federal judge Mark Fuller.
This is the same Judge Fuller who oversaw the trial and conviction of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. So Fuller, who handled a high-profile corruption trial, now faces charges that he is corrupt himself.
And the charges against Fuller hardly come from a yokel. They come from Missouri attorney Paul Benton Weeks, who earned his law degree at the University of Virginia and has worked with one of the nation's leading experts on white-collar crime. Perhaps most impressively, Weeks earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Missouri (the Legal Schnauzer's alma mater) and is based in Springfield, Missouri (the Legal Schnauzer's hometown). Small world.
Here's the scoop: A national publication publishes a story, based on a highly credible source, about gross misconduct by a federal judge in Alabama--the same judge who oversaw the trial that placed a former Alabama governor in federal prison.
Big story, right? The Birmingham News is all over it, right? Well, not exactly.
In fact, if the "Pravda of the South" has printed a word about the story, I've missed it. If any Alabama paper has printed a word about it, I've missed it.
And this is not unusual for Alabama newspapers. Several of them have received extensive evidence of wrongdoing by GOP state judges in my case, what we've come to call the Legal Schnauzer case. This involves clear corrupt and/or criminal behavior by Shelby County judges J. Michael Joiner, G. Dan Reeves, and Ron Jackson. It involves similar behavior by GOP judges on Alabama's appellate courts, wrongfully upholding the trial court's unlawful findings.
Have the papers done anything on that case. Nope. Has John Archibald expressed any outrage about that case? Nope.
But you will read all about here at Legal Schnauzer.
So to borrow phrasing from an earlier President Bush, here's what you have: Rush Propst, football coach? Bad, bad. Mark Fuller and other assorted corrupt judges? Good, good.