The Caroline Of The Catskills

January 28th, 2009 at 9:46 pm | 27 Comments |

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From the moment Caroline Kennedy let it be known that she was interested in Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat, she was barraged with media queries. Her tax returns – her nanny – her marriage: all were made the subject of speculation. Harsher critics wondered whether anybody would take her seriously if not for her famous name. But few have been quite as willing to look as deeply into the narrative of Hillary Clinton’s successor, Kirsten Gillibrand. Few questions have been raised about the large Democratic machine that backed her rise to political power. At the press conference announcing her appointment, Gillibrand acknowledged: “Over these next two years you will get to know me …” One thing New Yorkers may decide after getting to know Gillibrand: Their new senator is as much or more a beneficiary of patronage and favoritism as her defeated Kennedy rival.

Kirsten Gillibrand grew up as Tina Rutnik on a sprawling estate in Albany, New York. Located just off New York’s I-87, her childhood home was built on a lane that bore the name of her grandmother, Polly Noonan. Much of Gillibrand’s political achievement can be traced to her grandmother’s involvement in Albany politics and the three-generation political dynasty that she would set in motion.

Noonan had been a close confidante to eleven-term Albany Mayor Erastus Corning. Indeed, their relationship was so strong that when Corning passed away, he bequeathed his successful insurance business not to his own children, but to those of Noonan’s. As local Albany paper the Times Union put it in 2001, Noonan “handled patronage and political campaigns, handing out jobs that were the lifeblood of the old Democratic machine”. A state investigation commission would call Corning’s and Noonan’s Albany “the worst-run county in America”.

Both of Gillibrand’s parents followed in Noonan’s footsteps, and became powerful political figures within Albany’s sphere of influence. Gillibrand’s mother once sought the Democratic Party’s endorsement for a state senate seat, and was considered a strong candidate for an appointment to Albany’s City Court. Gillibrand’s father became an influential lobbyist in the state’s capital, taking advantage of his mother-in-law’s “sophisticated brand of machine politics”. In turn, Gillibrand’s parents’ connections may have helped launch her own career.

Gillibrand’s supporters make much of her seemingly impressive academic background. After graduating from Dartmouth in 1988, Kirsten Gillibrand went straight to UCLA Law School, graduating in 1991. From there, she acquired an extremely prestigious clerkship with Judge Roger Miner at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

This clerkship was the first in a series of impressive promotions for Gillibrand. She was appointed a special counsel to HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo in the Clinton administration. Later she would become a partner in the law firm of David Boies, the litigator who represented Al Gore before the Supreme Court in 2001. She invested with Joseph Bruno, the now-indicted former leader of the New York Senate.

Yet there was something curious about the clerkship that set Gillibrand on her way.

Clerkships in a court of appeals are notoriously difficult to attain, especially without prior work experience in lower courts. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals counts within its jurisdiction New York, Connecticut and Vermont, and is counted among the most competitive of clerkships. Second Circuit clerkships typically go to students of top-fourteen law schools that have graduated at the top of their class, are members of their law review, and have clerked at a district level first.

While there is no way to investigate what Gillibrand’s law school grades were, there is evidence that she was not a top student at UCLA. This is because UCLA law students who graduate from the top 10% of their class are inducted into the Order of the Coif, an elite legal society. A recently obtained list containing Order of the Coif members from Gillibrand’s graduating year doesn’t include the name Tina Rutnik, or any other variation of that name. It is unlikely that Senator Gillibrand declined to join the Order. Lolly Gasaway, Secretary-Treasurer of the National Order of the Coif, writes in an email to NewMajority that she “has never heard of anyone turning it down”.

Further, Gillibrand’s biography does not indicate that she graduated from UCLA with any sort of academic honors, nor does it suggest that she was a member of the UCLA Law Review. How do you get a clerkship without high grades? Politics can play a part. Judge Miner was a Reagan appointee. But Tina Rutnik had interned in college in the offices of Republican Senator Alfonse D’Amato. Village Voice columnist Wayne Barrett observes that Gillibrand’s

father, Doug Rutnik, was so close to D’Amato that, while still married to Gillibrand’s mother, he covertly double-dated with the then single senator, squiring a D’Amato press aide on a two-week Caribbean tryst to celebrate the senator’s re-election in 1992.

D’Amato was standing on the platform throughout Gillibrand’s press conference – and of all the dignitaries present, it was D’Amato who received her most effusive greeting.

It seems that Governor Paterson’s politically-loaded search for a Senate appointment has led him from one entitled family to the next. Under pressure from those who saw Caroline Kennedy as inarticulate and inexperienced, Paterson passed over the heir to the Kennedy dynasty for the scion to the Noonan Democratic machine. Upon her appointment to the Senate, President Obama praised Kirsten Gillibrand as a “strong voice for transparency in government”. Perhaps she could start by clearing up how she got the coveted clerkship that set her on her way.

Recent Posts by Tim Mak



27 Comments so far ↓

  • 24AheadDotCom

    That’s certainly interesting, but let me suggest that keeping her from being corrupted is much more important:

    http://24ahead.com/corruptible-sen-gillibrand-edges-closer-immigration-reform-w

  • ericna

    I thought this is the kind of tripe that NewMajority was supposed to get away from. This belongs in NRO.

  • suey

    Why has this site already dropped into the politics of division and destruction, I thought it was supposed to be an ideas factory not yet another RW attack machine, there are way too many of those. Write positive articles of what you would do, what policy you would bring to the table. Your solutions to the problem not this sort of rubbish. No wonder the only articles that gain any discussion here are Palin ones. Count the articles with zero or just one or two comments.

  • gblittle

    Suey, I have read most of your posts. How can you say this site has “dropped into the politics of division and destruction”? Have you read your comments? And if you think “Palin” is the only subject of importance here with the most comments all I can say is that you have “tunnel vision” — look around. It’s good to have a good open discussion about topics, but some of your posts remind me of a LW attack machine.

  • suey

    I am not a commentator on the site. I am just observing the reality from the rhetoric. I didn’t say Palin was important. I have an opposite view to that I don’t think she is important. I said Palin articles are the only ones that generate a lot of comment, there are a couple of exceptions though even in those there is a lot of Palin.

  • suey

    You can have your echo chamber if you wish. I see my input here as the grit in the oyster that makes the pearl. It’s in my countries interest that the Conservative movement that emerges from the ashes of 2008 is nothing like the one that gave us Bush 2. I don’t ever wish that on my country again. I am surprised I have not been banned already quite frankly though I have tried to be respectful to those that avoid the kool aid drivel.

  • jamesluath

    Dear Mr. Mak–

    I would say that your request that Ms. Gillibrand “clear[] up how she got the coveted clerkship that set her on her way” is making a mountain out of a molehill, but the modest molehill of that hoary phrase would exaggerate the import of the non-story here. It is, at best, more analogous to that tiny accumulation of earth that follows an earthworm’s burrowing.

    Ms. Gillibrand might have got a job because of a positive recommendation from a previous employer (Sen. D’Amato) who might have personally known her next employer (Judge Minor)? That’s not news; that’s how people get jobs.

    Moreover, you wildly overstate the difficulty of obtaining a federal appellate clerkship. It is simply not the case that most appellate clerks have clerked for lower district courts. In fact, it would be extremely rare for a federal appellate clerk to have done so. Having clerked myself and knowing many scores of former clerks and numerous federal judges, I know of only two clerks who followed that path. Appellate clerkships (unlike Supreme Court clerkships, which almost invariably require a previous clerkship–usually at the federal appellate level) typically go to well-qualified graduates of top-20 law schools directly after graduation. UCLA is a very good law school — the third best by statistical rankings in the western United States. Very good (if not outstanding) grades from UCLA, coupled with a glowing recommendation from someone of Senator D’Amato’s reputation, would make one a very competitive candidate for a Second Circuit clerkship.

    Like employers in any other field, judges have different criteria for hiring. Some favor certain law or undergraduate schools, some are almost solely driven by grades/law review membership, and some rely heavily on personal recommendations from trusted faculty or other friends. I’ve seen this last factor give marginal candidates the edge over outstanding candidates from much more highly-ranked schools on numerous occasions. I repeat, this simply is not news; its life. Are we now going to scrutinize how every politician got his or her first job as a staffer to a home-state congressman? Caddying at daddys country club? Interning at a friend of mommys magazine?

    The main point of this post seems to be to recycle finger-sniffing gossip about Ms. Gillibrand’s father, who has not just been appointed to the Senate. Unless you are prepared to allege that Ms. Gillibrand engaged in actual nefarious activity to secure her clerkship–a bribe, blackmail, corruption–I would politely suggest pursuing less trivial and pointless inquiries.

    Kind regards,

    jamesluath

  • ireign

    Jamessluath, as a recent graduate of a top-five law school, I can tell you that the law is a very elitist profession. Anyone, who has visited legal blogs such as http://www.abovethelaw.com knows that there is a big difference between T-14 law schools and others. The number 2 person at my law school who was on law review had to clerk for a district judge in the southern district prior to obtaining a clerkship in the DC Circuit. Ditto for another person graduating order of the coif who was on and published on law review.

    UCLA did not place a single graduate this year in a second circuit clerkship. Not a one. Nor does UCLA have a particularly good record at getting student’s clerkships. http://lawclerkaddict2009.blogspot.com/2009/01/top-31-law-school-chart.html

    Jamessluath, it is a big deal. Without that clerkship, she would not have gotten offers from Davis Polk and Boies Schiller. Moreover, judges can only take a finite number of clerks. Thus, her getting that clerkship precluded other students from doing likewise.

    Jamesluath, please name me someone who didn’t graduate order of the coif and that did not go to Harvard, Yale, or Stanford who got a second circuit clerkship straight out of law school.

  • senorlechero

    Hey, why was jamesluath able to post such a long comment? Everytime I try to post more that 20 lines or so I get an error message and have to break up the comment? Anyone else notice that, or is it only me?

  • ireign

    Actually the second circuit clerkship list I was referring to was from last year http://lawclerkaddict2009.blogspot.com/2008/05/clerks-by-school.html I believe one or two people got one this year but it was still very rare. UCLA typically places their very top students in the 9th Circuit as UCLA Law’s reputation and connections tend to be the better on the west coast just as NYU and CLS do better in the 2nd Circuit and UVA does better in DC and the 4th Circuit.

  • jamesluath

    Dear ireign, I have no desire to quibble with you over exact numbers of clerks placed where by whom. You obviously are well-informed about the clerkship process, as am I, as an east-coast law grad who clerked in the CA9. The fact remains, the overwhelming majority of federal appellate clerks go straight from law school to clerking. Those that clerk for a trial or state appellate court first are the small exception. Mr. Mak’s story is simply wrong on this point, as I noted. He would do well to talk to some appellate clerks and correct this error, which he repeatedly cites in support of his flimsy thesis. But these are minor disagreements. My main point was that, even if one concedes that it would be unusual for a UCLA law grad to secure a clerkship with Judge Minor (and that would require ignoring that this candidate was from NY, not California, and had an impressive and attractive employment history and background), you are left with an allegation that a child of privilege got a job through her family’s connections. Again, this is dog bites man. It is neither unusual nor wrong. And it is a waste of time for Mr. Mak to rub error, innuendo and speculation together in the hope of generating smoke so that one can shout fire.

    If you disagree, I would be interested in hearing why.

    Best regards,
    Jamesluath

  • ireign

    Jamesluath, your point may be true regarding federal clerkships in general (most people I know with fifth Circuit clerkships received them after graduation) but not at either the 2nd Circuit or DC Circuit where I only know of one person to clerk for the 2nd Circuit without first clerking at the District level. That person became a Supreme Court clerk.

    I would also disagree that this issue is a minor point. I know a number of friends and colleagues from CLS, NYU, and Michigan with B+ averages who were not able to even obtain a magistrate level clerkship in the Southern District or had to clerk in White Plains or Newark at the District level. I know of a Harvard Law Review student who worked at Wachtell Lipton who was not able to get a Second Circuit clerkship.

    If Senator Gillibrand was say order of the coif and law review and got a slight edge based on connections, you would be correct, as that would not be a huge deal. Happens all the time. However, if she got the position based solely on connections that is a big deal and is indicative of a pattern. Moreover, it would be both wrong and unusual. That clerkship led to several selective jobs that might of otherwise been unobtainable. As you are of course aware, Boies Schiller is extremely grade conscious and selective in hiring.

    As to her attractive employment history and background, perhaps you can be more specific. There are a plenty of people at prestigious law schools who graduated with honors from Dartmouth and other Ivy League schools. In fact, they may even be the majority. Senator Gillibrand did not have an employment history other than internships. I had an internship with a US Senator. Other than perhaps being a point of discussion at interviews, it wasn’t considered a big deal.

    Mr. Mak at least raises the inference that something might be a little off here. It is at least worth asking questions, especially considering how little vetting there was of Senator Gillibrand prior to her appointment as to how she got to the top, especially in light of allegations that someone from the Pataki administration leaked material about her opponent one week before the election in 2006. The whole thing might be completely legit but it seems to at least raise an inference of heavy favoritism. At the very least, we should not take each politicians narrative at face value.

  • sinz54

    SenorLechero: The same thing happens to me. It’s some kind of bizarre time-out thing–after a long enough period, you are prevented from posting long posts. And then, after another long period, you are prevented from posting anything without logging in again. Those cryptic error messages don’t explain any of this.

  • AMeek

    In response to suey’s drive-by attacks, I think these stories are worthwhile in that they remind us of the “business as usual” that takes place on the left as much as the left perceives it taking place on the right. Where is the “change” we were promised? I appreciate suey’s suggestion that this site be devoted more to substance than rhetoric, but substance begins with examples of what the conservative movement should not be.

  • suey

    AMeek, I didn’t drive by, I am parked here.

  • jamesluath

    Dear ireign,

    You are clearly closer to the data than I am (I am traveling and commenting via blackberry), so perhaps you can look up the actual numbers, but as we are swapping anecdotes, I know at least a dozen people who clerked for either the CADC or CA2 without previous clerking experience. And none that had clerked before. I don’t know what the case was in the circuit you clerked in, but I would be shocked if even a quarter of CADC or CA2 clerks were not first-time clerks. And the numbers would be much lower for feeder judges. So, for Mr. Mak to suggest the opposite — that a federal clerkship without prior experience is the exception rather than the norm–is simply false. While I’m at it, another anecdote germane to this discussion: I even have a friend who clerked for a prestigious CADC judge straight from a school not in the US News top-30. How? He had a connection. It’s how rich people get jobs. And, with due respect and contra your ipse dixit, exploiting family connections is not unusual or immoral, except perhaps in a Rawlsian (or Jacobin) sense. Fair? Hardly. But surely someone told you along the way that life’s not fair. The old-boy-network is not illegal. I know several federal judges whose clerkships are highly-sought after by law students who have on several occasions hired atypical clerks, usually on the recommendation of a trusted friend. And the clerks usually worked out just fine. Which is why I find it something less than incredible or newsworthy that an extremelywell-connected Republican Senator, or a very well-connected parent may have helped secure a qualified (there can hardly be an argumemt she was unqualified, even if there were more qualified candidates) law student one of several hundred federal clerkship openings that year. If Mr. Mak had any evidence of any actual wrongdoing–bribery, blackmail, etc.–that would be a story. But baseless speculation is not journalism; it’s gossip. And it makes it easy to dismiss legitimate Republican criticisms when some on the right engage in the sort of fevered Is-Palin–Trig’s-mother-we-demand-DNA-evidence rumormongering that we so deplored when it came from the other side. If there is a story here, it should be investigated and substantiated before it is reported, not the other way round. But I think I’ve made my point at more-than-adequate length, so I’ll let you have the last word, if you would like it. Best regards, James Luath

  • Jane2

    She was elected…that’s a quantifiable difference.

  • ireign

    Thanks for the last word. I don’t believe he suggested, “that a federal clerkship without prior experience is the exception rather than the norm.” He stated that Court of Appeals clerkship at the 2nd Circuit level without a district clerkship would be difficult to obtain. This is especially true given that she did not go to Harvard, Yale, or Stanford and was not on law review at her school.

    Exploiting family connections to get a court of appeals clerkship without the credentials is fairly unusual. If this were a clerkship with a state or district judge it would be a different story. Just as someone with a 3.2 from Cornell who gets a job offer at say Ropes & Gray because of some preferential treatment would not be especially egregious, however, if that same student got an offer from Wachtell Lipton it would be. We are talking degrees of favoritism here and this one looks fairly high. It is a very cynical view that you take that this is just business as usual.

    As for your claim of at least a dozen people, it is hard to disagree or disagree given that I do not know you and I do not know where you went to school. I would guess though that if what you are saying is in fact accurate that you went to Harvard or Yale. Harvard, Yale, and Stanford are not comparable to UCLA (or even CLS, Chicago, or NYU for that matter) for clerkship purposes. They have far superior clerkship placement records than elsewhere. If you are talking about NYU, CLS, or any other eastern school, I am guessing the dozen people you know is probably an exaggeration and that those people were all order of the coif, law review, or both. Unless you were a law professor or work at a firm such as Munger Tolles, it is unlikely that you know at least a dozen people who clerked at the CADC or CA2.

    We will have to agree to disagree on this. I think we can both agree that the blackberry is one of the worst inventions for associates, ever.

  • buzzricksons

    James is right. The author appears to be confusing Appellate clerkships with Supreme Court clerkships, which require a year of clerking in a lower court. Appellate courts do not, not even for UCLA Law students. Anyway, is Gillibrand’s life story really that much different than most of her colleagues in the Senate, particularly from up New England way? Didn’t think so.

  • suey

    So is this story true or a false smear. Are the facts correct or not. If the facts are wrong then the story needs to be removed as it would be a smear. I don’t really understand the legal stuff from the comments, perhaps one of you legal beagles could just let us know true or false.

  • Tim Mak

    At no point does the article claim that clerking in a lower level court is necessary to become a clerk in an appellate clerk.

    Clerks in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals usually have at least some of the following qualifications:
    1. Graduated at or very near the top of their class, at a top law school.
    2. Been selected for Law Review
    3. Work experience at lower level court

    Gillibrand had none of the above. This makes how she got the clerkship suspect.

  • jond

    1. Article is newsworthy. A politician’s narrative that reflects on how they obtained the position is newsworthy.

    2. I am glad someone mentioned Munger Tolles since so many of their attorneys are former federal clerks. http://www.mto.com/lawyers/home.cfm

    3. Many people clerk at the district level prior to clerking at the appellate level. Especially at the 2nd Circuit. http://www.mto.com/lawyers/bio.cfm?attorneyID=109

    4. Take a look at these bios: http://www.mto.com/lawyers/bio.cfm?attorneyID=228 Dartmouth with honors, USC order of the coif, and disadvantaged group yet obtains district court clerkship.

    http://www.mto.com/lawyers/bio.cfm?attorneyID=355
    University of Penn Law Review and Order of the Coif, Dartmouth Magnam Laude, yet once again less prestigious clerkship

    Notice a pattern

    5. Gillibrand’s qualifications for a clerkship were not up to par. Not only that but a clerkship with her judge was especially coveted as he was on George H.W. Bush’s Supreme Court short list.

    6. Gillibrand obtained summer associate positions both during her first and second year of law school at New York City law firms. How many people who have no connection to New York City and don’t have amazing grades in a bad economy get bigfirm jobs in their first year?

  • jond

    Did I mention that she spent nine years at Davis Polk but did not make partner but somehow managed to snag a job with HUD and go straight from that to a coveted partnership position with Boies Schiller? You guys seem to think that is normal. In all my years in biglaw, I have never heard of someone not making partner at one firm and then becoming a partner IMMEDIATELY at another.

  • pencequince

    What utter nonsense. Kirsten Gillibrand got where she is through relentless hard work, a keen intellect, fierce determination, and a great ability to listen to and to empathize with people. She won re-election in a Republican district with 62% of the vote against a self-funded multi-millionaire who spent over $5 million against her. Family may have given her some good political genes and even opened some doors for her in the beginning, but election and re-election is something that has to be earned. When New Yorkers learn what a hard worker she is for Jobs and the Economy, she will earn a resounding election to the US Senate, on her own merit. She did it herself, and she’ll do it again.

  • jamesluath

    Quick follow up to the last five posts:

    1. TimM writes: “At no point does the article claim that clerking in a lower level court is necessary to become a clerk in an appellate clerk.” First, I did say that you said that a prior clerkship was necessary, I said that it is rare–the exception, rather than the norm. (Me: “It is simply not the case that most appellate clerks have clerked for lower district courts. In fact, it would be extremely rare for a federal appellate clerk to have done so.”) And you stated the opposite–that prior lower court clerkships are the norm, rather than the exception: “Clerkships in a court of appeals are notoriously difficult to attain, especially without prior work experience in lower courts.” This is incorrect; they are not notoriously difficult to attain . . . without prior work experience in lower courts. They are relatively difficult to obtain, with or without such experience, but lower court work does not play much of a role in the hiring process. Think about it: if you werent qualified to clerk straight out of law school, why would a court of appeals judge hire you, with the same qualifications plus a year of trial court clerking, over a student from the next law school class year who is better qualified than you ever were? All I was pointing out is that your repeated references to Ms. Gillibrands lack of trial court clerking experience is a red herring.

    2. ireign wrote: Unless you were a law professor or work at a firm such as Munger Tolles, it is unlikely that you know at least a dozen people who clerked at the CADC or CA2. As my experience and knowledge of many, many former federal court of appeal clerks is the basis for my (admittedly unscientificbut I await any statistics that anyone can find) evidence that prior clerkships are the exception, even for clerks on the CA2, let me provide a little more information. I clerked for a judge who is listed as one of the 12 most prestigious federal court of appeals judges on a website that was previously unknown to me, but linked to by ireign in an earlier post (http://lawclerkaddict2009.blogspot.com). At least a dozen of my friends from law school, form my year and the year ahead of me, clerked on either the CA2, CA9 or CADC. At least a dozen of my friends at my law firm in Washington, DC (no Munger Tolles) clerked for court of appeals judges, about half of them for the CADC or CA9. I also obviously know more than 20 of my judges former clerks, about a third of who clerked for the SCOTUS. Since moving to Washington, I have met friends of my colleagues and co-clerks who clerked for court of appeals judges. While clerking, I met many clerks from other judges on the circuit. So the universe of federal court of appeals clerks whose work and school experience I base my information on numbers well over 50 and, as I wrote, includes well over a dozen people who clerked on the CADC or CA2. I provide this information only to counter ireigns suggestion that my anecdotal evidence is exaggerated.

    TBC

  • jamesluath

    Cont”d …

    3. All posters, including TimM, make the mistake of treating current judicial hiring practices as a proxy for the hiring practices almost 20 years ago, when Ms. Gillibrand obtained her clerkship. This is important because the clerkship hiring process has changed considerably, particularly in the last five years. Until recently, clerks were hired based solely on two semesters of law school grades. Law firm hiring operated (and still largely operates) the same way. Consequently, it was quite possible to do very well in ones first semesters, snag a plum clerkship and a lucrative 2L summer associate job, and then ride the generous curve for two years, which would not result in a particularly impressive graduating GPA or membership in the Order of the Coif. Equally importantly, with less objective information available to them, judges would rely even more heavily on recommendations from friends and law professors. Going back even further, many prestigious clerkships and court of appeals clerkships were handed out without application: an eminent professor would approach one of his top students and offer a clerkship directly. No application, no GPA and resume analysis. Several professors I know even received their SCOTUS clerkships this way. So it would be nave to assume that the internet-driven frenzied application process of today is the same process that Ms. Gillibrand went through two decades ago. There is still much play in the joints (as my previous posts noted), but there was even more back then. This is especially true when one admits that one does not know what her first year grades werewhich is all that would have mattered in applying for her clerkship.

    4. One poster queried what I meant by Ms. Gillibrand having an impressive work history. I was referring to her connections with Senator DAmato. If Senator DAmato, who was presumably very familiar with both Ms. Gillibrands family and with the Republican-appointed Judge Minor, had picked up the phone and given a personal recommendation to the judge, it would not be surprising in the least if that were sufficient to give Ms. Gillibrand the boost she needed. This is not corruption. It is standard operating procedure in political circles, particularly in insular political communities like New York Republican politics.

  • jamesluath

    Cont’d …

    5. Several posters made the point that, without the Miner clerkship, Ms. Gillibrand would not have landed a lucrative partnership at Boies Schiller. This is a strange assumption. She made partner at Boies Schiller after serving as a special counsel to HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo. If Ms. Gillibrand was well-connected enough through her powerful New York political family to get a clerkship, dont you think those connections could have also been used to get a high-profile counsel position with the son of another prominent New York political family? And there is nothing unusual about someone with political connections and political experience (at HUD) making partner at a law firm that values its political connections (and what firm doesnt?).

    6. All of this ignores my main point. What is Tim suggesting? Does he have any actual evidence of wrongdoing? I cant even imagine what that wrongdoing would be. Is he suggesting she slept her way to the top? Bribed her way? The former would be a heinous and despicable insinuation, so I presume it is not intended, and there is not even a whiff of evidence of the latter. Unless she did something actually wrong (as opposed to milking family connections and influence), wheres the story? If family influence is a problem, where are the inquisitions of Evan Bayh, Mayor Daley, the Bush children, Al Gore (a middling St. Albans student) and all the assorted Kennedys? America is dynastic because society is, by nature, dynastic. This is not news. Yet, without further evidence, that is all that can be gleaned from this story.