Years ago — before the John Edwards trial began — the former Senator from North Carolina came across as a likeable guy.
Despite his wealthy trial lawyer lifestyle, he seemed relatable. (His boyish good looks and Southern drawl probably helped). More importantly, Americans sympathized with John and Elizabeth Edwards as Elizabeth bravely battled cancer through two presidential campaign cycles.
Then we learned about Rielle Hunter.
Plenty of politicians cheat, so it's not shocking when the media exposes another philandering official. What made John Edwards' transgression so much worse in the public perception was that he cheated on his wife when the rest of the country was cheering for her to beat breast cancer.
Now, Edwards is on trial for conspiracy and violations of campaign finance laws, amid allegations that he directed an aide to claim paternity of an extramarital child, and used almost $1 million from two wealthy donors to hide his affair with Hunter, The New York Times reports.
So how does the John Edwards trial relate to the Supreme Court?
The prosecution rested its case against Edwards this week, painting Edwards as a career politician who improperly used campaign funds to preserve his political future, rather than a family man trying to protect his loved ones from a media storm. They even suggested that the Supreme Court played a role in the fiasco.
Thursday, Edwards' former senior economic adviser, Leo Hindery, testified, ""We talked about a more elaborate long-term goal of Mr. Edwards, which was to be a Supreme Court justice," Fox News reports.
Even if Edwards is acquitted in the trial, (arguably with a better defense than "My-Supreme-Court-dream-made-me-do-it"), it is unlikely that he will find his way to the Supreme Court bench. Due to the increasing partisan divide during federal judicial confirmations, a politician, (particularly a former vice-presidential candidate), would have trouble finding enough votes in the Senate to thwart a filibuster.
A prominent politician embroiled in a sex scandal would have no shot at all.
- Prosecution Rests in John Edwards Trial (The Associated Press)
- To Err is Human, to Correct is ... Highly Unusual (FindLaw's Supreme Court Blog)
- Filarsky Tells Delia to Read SCOTUS Opinion in Hell (FindLaw's Supreme Court Blog)