Front Page















The Alternative -
J u s t i c e D e p a r t m e n t

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.

Amidst the cacophony of opinions concerning the Monica Lewinsky scandal, a debate has ensued over whether or not perjury in a civil case is the legal equivalent of perjury in a criminal matter. According to many self-proclaimed experts, the gravity of the issue of perjury is somehow diminished when considered within the realm of civil law as opposed to criminal law.

In most cases, civil law involves lawsuits or causes of action brought by a private party rather than a government agency. Some of the most famous cases in modern times involving constitutional rights have, in fact, been civil cases.

In today's legal landscape, no one has demonstrated the significance and power of civil law better than Larry Klayman, the Chairman and General Counsel for an organization called Judicial Watch. As scandal after scandal surrounded the current administration, a sleepy Justice Department failed to properly respond, and it appeared as though some tremendously weighty issues were going to be quietly swept under the White House rug. Utilizing the constitutional right to initiate civil lawsuits, Larry Klayman and his organization courageously stepped forward to perform an invaluable service for all Americans.

Too few people realize that without the energy and efforts of Mr. Klayman, we would know very little about some of the most egregious matters that have so disturbed the concerned citizens of our nation. For instance, Judicial Watch was responsible for acquiring essential information regarding illicit campaign financing and foreign influence that took place in 1996.

Additionally, with unprecedented support from Kweisi Mfume of the NAACP and Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Judicial Watch petitioned the United States Court of Appeals to order a reopening and expansion of Independent Counsel Daniel Pearson's investigation to include facts surrounding the death of former Secretary of Commerce, Ron Brown. Klayman and his colleagues also filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain all the data on the Brown crash.

In a related matter, Ron Brown's son, Michael Brown, entered into an extremely suspicious plea bargain agreement with the Justice Department. Michael Brown received several hundred thousand dollars in legal fees prior to being licensed as an attorney and before even passing the bar exam. This money was paid by Norma and Gene Lum in an alleged payoff for favors granted by Michael's father. Michael Brown was allowed to plea to a misdemeanor while the felony charges remained uninvestigated. Once again, the American people's defacto justice department, Judicial Watch, was alert and prepared, and expeditiously filed court documents opposing this plea bargain agreement.

In yet another example of exceptional civic duty, Judicial Watch has a lawsuit involving the 900 FBI files that so grossly invaded the privacy rights of unsuspecting citizens. And if their plate is not yet full enough, active cases are still being pursued involving the death of Vince Foster, State Farm's unlawful payment of Clinton's legal fees and the Justice Department itself for its handling of Waco, Ruby Ridge and the Olympic bombing incidents.

Mr. Klayman has demonstrated that he is not going to surrender or retreat. The Clinton administration held out a carrot of two million dollars in legal fees if he would only cease and desist. This is clearly something that Judicial Watch is not going to do. Larry Klayman's actions prove that when elected officials fail to fulfill their duties, individual Americans are empowered to act and responsible members of the public take up the cause. Using civil procedures, Klayman has employed both subpoena and deposition power to investigate those circumstances that elected and appointed officials either refuse or do not wish to pursue. Klayman personifies the spirit that created this grand experiment in democracy. He deserves our enthusiastic support as well as our fervent prayers for his unflagging courage.

Judicial Watch is located on the web at

Copyright © 1999 -
James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.

All Rights Reserved