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January 23, 2020

Note: Justice Talking's grant funding expired in 2008 and the project has been closed. This website is an archive of the entire run of Justice Talking shows through June 30, 2008.
It is no longer being maintained. We apologize for any stale or broken links.
Featured Program

Special Prosecutors:
Watch Dogs or Witch Hunts?

Last Featured: 11/28/2005

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Note: Justice Talking ceased production on June 30 of 2008. Link information on this site is not maintained and is provided for historical interest only. Although correct when posted, The Annenberg Public Policy Center makes no claim as the the accuracy or continued availability of any third party web links found on this site.

Scholars, journalists and pundits across the political spectrum have called the special prosecutor law "politically corrosive" and "profoundly unwise." The uproar following Clinton's impeachment quelled any interest in Congress for extending the law beyond its 1999 expiration. But new allegations of abuse in government - from prison abuse to secret meetings with lobbyists to disclosure that the Department of Education is paying commentators to support their positions - raise important questions about how we handle allegations of governmental graft and overreaching. Do special prosecutors raise the potential for political witch hunts or are they necessary when conflicts of interest and partisan tampering with an investigation challenge the credibility of our justice system?

Kenneth W. Starr , a constitutional scholar and a partner with the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis, P.C., was appointed Dean of the Law School at Pepperdine University in 2004. His appointment as Independent Counsel for five investigations, including Whitewater, from August 1994 to October 1999 made Ken Starr a household name. He has also served as Solicitor General of the United States from 1989 to January 1993, Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 1983 to 1989 and Deputy Attorney General under Attorney General William French Smith from 1981 to 1983. His first book: First Among Equals: The Supreme Court in American Life was published in 2002.

John Dean is currently a visiting scholar at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. He served as Counsel to the President of the United States during the Nixon Administration and prior to that as Chief Minority Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee. His service as Richard Nixon's White House lawyer for a thousand days during Watergate is recounted in two books, "Blind Ambition" and "Lost Honor." His other books include "The Rehnquist Choice," "Unmasking Deep Throat," and "Warren G. Harding." He writes a biweekly column for FindLaw's "Writ."

Closing Quote
"One should never make one’s debut with a scandal. One should reserve that to give an interest to one’s old age."

— Oscar Wilde

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Special Announcements
Justice Talking’s last broadcast & podcast was June 30, 2008.
28 U.S.C. Section 591 Portion of federal statute that covers independent prosecutors (expired in 1999).
National Archives Research Room
Federalist Society
The Brookings Institution
The American Prospect
Ethics, Politics, and the Independent Counsel
by Terry Eastland
Historical Encyclopedia of U.S. Independent Counsel Investigations
by Gerald S. Greenberg (Editor)
The Special Prosecutor in American Politics: Second Edition, Revised
by Katy J. Harriger
The Right to a Jury Trial
Bail Bondsmen, Bounty Hunters and Private Prisons
Innovations in Policing