The Star of the Impeachment Show: Patrick Philbin

 

If you had an opportunity to watch the impeachment trial, you had to be tearing your hair out at the arrogance, lies and misinformation of the House Managers. They repeatedly insulted the President’s Defense Team. What they didn’t realize, in my opinion, is that they were also insulting the Senators who listened to them.

In contrast, the work of the Defense Team, in particular Patrick Philbin, was outstanding. Just watch even the first three minutes of this video and you’ll understand the reasons I’m celebrating him:

When you look at his credentials, nothing jumps out at you:

Philbin is a graduate of the Roxbury Latin School in Boston, Massachusetts He holds a B.A. in History from Yale University where he graduated summa cum laude in 1989 and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.[3] He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1992. In addition, he received a Diploma in Legal Studies from the University of Cambridge in 1995.

Following his clerkships, Philbin entered private practice in the Washington, DC office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

He was also engaged in some dustups when he worked for the government.

I am assuming that you, like me, are not impressed with people’s résumés, but rather what they actually do. The contrast between Mr. Philbin and the House Managers was dramatic.

Mr. Philbin’s presentations were polite and understated. He didn’t insult individuals. He didn’t make demands on the Senators. Although he looks like a mature gangly teenager, he demonstrated his arguments powerfully and directly. He relied on the facts, not lies or misinformation or personal attacks on the House Managers. Although his style was low key, his passion for his points and for his defense of the Constitution was admirable and gratifying.

For those who might be skeptical about attorneys as a group, they would have to hold up Mr. Philbin as a man to be respected and esteemed.

Thank you, Mr. Philbin, for defending our President and defending the Constitution.

There are 21 comments.

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  1. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    No one likes lawyers until they need one. Hey BTW another smart Irishman.

    • #1
  2. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    The fact that the DemocRATS were calling for impeachment the day after the 2016 election should be reason enough to throw out the charges in the first place.

    • #2
  3. Addiction Is A Choice Member
    Addiction Is A Choice
    @AddictionIsAChoice

    Susan Quinn: If you had an opportunity to watch the impeachment trial, you had to be tearing your hair out at the arrogance, lies and misinformation of the House Managers.

    I wanted to watch the House Managers, but Ricochet, in complete violation of all that is free and fair, linked only to the President’s Defense Team and not to the Democrat’s slam-dunk case for removal. I couldn’t decide which was worse: Ricochet’s obvious, heavy-handed favoritism or missing out on Adam Schiff’s dazzling erudition and eloquence. The whole affair left me so upset, I almost wrote a post about it  [sarc/]

    • #3
  4. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    His gifts and style is very different from the other members of the Presidents defense team, as are each member from the others. 

    This team was crafted to reach different personality types in the Senate and the audience at home. This team was pure genius. However, so was the crafting of it.  

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    His gifts and style is very different from the other members of the Presidents defense team, as are each member from the others.

    This team was crafted to reach different personality types in the Senate and the audience at home. This team was pure genius. However, so was the crafting of it.

    Excellent point, @kevinschulte. I hadn’t thought about there, but there was a style that would suit everyone. I think that added to the power of their presentation. Although Sekulow was a bit sarcastic at times, I liked him and thought that tone was also a good thing. Thanks.

    • #5
  6. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    His gifts and style is very different from the other members of the Presidents defense team, as are each member from the others.

    This team was crafted to reach different personality types in the Senate and the audience at home. This team was pure genius. However, so was the crafting of it.

    Excellent point, @kevinschulte. I hadn’t thought about there, but there was a style that would suit everyone. I think that added to the power of their presentation. Although Sekulow was a bit sarcastic at times, I liked him and thought that tone was also a good thing. Thanks.

    It was left to Philbin to make the most technical legal arguments. If you were not paying attention it was easy to dismiss as “droning” because he did not demonstrate the passion of a Sekulow, Cipollone, or Bondi. His approach was that of a lawyer arguing to the Supreme Court as opposed to a jury. And that highlights the unique role that the Senate plays in impeachment — it has the qualities of both. There is no further review of its judgment and the requirement that no other business be attended to during the “trying” of impeachment suggests that it not develop an independent fact record but rely on that created by the House, like a court of review does. And that is what they have done.

    • #6
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Rodin (View Comment):
    It was left to Philbin to make the most technical legal arguments. If you were not paying attention it was easy to dismiss as “droning” because he did not demonstrate the passion of a Sekulow, Cipollone, or Bondi

    I guess some might have interpreted his style that way, but I was glued to the screen when he spoke. He wasn’t dynamic, but I felt his intensity. I guess I just liked his direct manner, and I was learning so much!

    • #7
  8. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):
    It was left to Philbin to make the most technical legal arguments. If you were not paying attention it was easy to dismiss as “droning” because he did not demonstrate the passion of a Sekulow, Cipollone, or Bondi

    I guess some might have interpreted his style that way, but I was glued to the screen when he spoke. He wasn’t dynamic, but I felt his intensity. I guess I just liked his direct manner, and I was learning so much!

    I believe we are in agreement but I did not modulate my comment correctly. Philbin was great, but his target audience was different from the one that many of others were addressing. (Or more accurately in the case of the Senate, he was addressing a different role of the Senators (determiners of law) from that which others were addressing (determiners of fact).)

    The House managers made no compelling legal arguments — it was all about Orange Man Bad. It was an emotional argument resonating with their supporters in the electorate and hopeful of drawing others in on an emotional level. Sekulow, Cipollone, Herschmann and Bondi were fighting fire with fire. Attacking emotions from the other direction, seeking to hold their supporters firm and neutralizing the emotional claims to the undecided. 

    Philbin, Starr, Dershowitz and Ray were given the task of appealing to the mind. All but Philbin were outsiders to the process that the President had been involved in and were giving their rationales from an external standpoint — Starr as the Clinton prosecutor, Dershowitz as the Clinton defender, and Ray as the successor to Starr considering how best to address Clinton’s criminality as he was not removed from office. And so it was Philbin who explained in fine detail how President Trump was upholding the Constitution in the manner in which he engaged with the House proceeding. In effect, Philbin was saying, “Not only was President Trump not obstructing justice/Congress, but if anything it was me and others providing President Trump with legal guidance on what he should be doing to uphold the separation of powers and the rights and obligations of a Presidency that will continue beyond his term of office.” Philbin absolutely laid waste to the Democrat claims. 

    His arguments were detailed and meticulous. Because he was allowed the time, he actually spent more time making his arguments than he would have before the Supreme Court. But there he has the latitude of a basic understanding of the law on the part of the audience. He had the obligation in the Senate to present the information in a way persuasive to the lay person as well as the lawyers. I think he did well, although knowledge bias keeps me from knowing exactly how someone not familiar with the legal framework took in his presentation.

     

    • #8
  9. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I thought that Philbin was quite good, though a bit wooden in his presentation.  Cipollone and Dershowitz have significantly better rhetorical and speaking skills, in my estimation.

    Philbin comes across as a very good, erudite appellate lawyer.  He calmly argues technical details.  He is a good and careful speaker, but not eloquent, at least not in this presentation.

    Susan, I do have to disagree with you about the resume thing.  Philbin has a law degree from Harvard and a second legal-related degree, from Cambridge.  I don’t actually know what “Diploma in Legal Studies” means, but I assume that it’s something like an LL.M.

    That’s just about as impressive a resume as you can get.

    Well, almost.  His undergrad degree was summa cum laude, but no honors are mentioned in connection with his law degree, so presumably he did not graduate from Harvard Law with honors.

    The reference to his career at Kirkland & Ellis is also impressive, but probably not obviously so to non-lawyers.  K&E is one of the premier law firms in the country.  Philbin apparently works for their DC office.  I actually once did an expert witness deposition there, and I must confess that it was the ritziest law office I had ever seen.  The witness and I actually ran into a former Cabinet secretary in the hallway near the bathroom.  It was pretty weird for a country lawyer from the Arizona borderlands.

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Well, almost. His undergrad degree was summa cum laude, but no honors are mentioned in connection with his law degree, so presumably he did not graduate from Harvard Law with honors.

    My error in copy and pasting:

    He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1992, magna cum laude, where he was executive editor of the Harvard Law Review.

    • #10
  11. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Well, almost. His undergrad degree was summa cum laude, but no honors are mentioned in connection with his law degree, so presumably he did not graduate from Harvard Law with honors.

    My error in copy and pasting:

    He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1992, magna cum laude, where he was executive editor of the Harvard Law Review.

    Good for him. 

    • #11
  12. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Sadly it does not matter what the defense team did.  They are as corrupt as Trump and the senators that are raising him to dictatorship.  We now live in a post / alternate fact world.  All that matters is the Spin.  The Spin, the Narrative is the reality most believe.  What enters the public consciousness.  What will be written as history. 

    • #12
  13. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    Sadly it does not matter what the defense team did. They are as corrupt as Trump and the senators that are raising him to dictatorship. We now live in a post / alternate fact world. All that matters is the Spin. The Spin, the Narrative is the reality most believe. What enters the public consciousness. What will be written as history. 

    You should change your Ricochet handle to Pollyanna.

    • #13
  14. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    The nonsense about needing more evidence–after presenting the article of impeachment, the kabuki over bogus subpoenas for witnesses they did not really want to bother with, and the fact that the entire House Judiciary Committee was bypassed in a process that is specifically intended to take place there was all such a dog’s breakfast.  Philbin is stating the obvious.  One does not need to be first in the class at Harvard Law to notice how many bases were left untouched.

    When Peter Rodino was tasked with the impeachment of Richard Nixon, he was very respectful of the minority and insisted on transparency and non-partisan behavior by committee staff.  He took as much time as needed and ultimately even had several GOP committee member votes to bring the articles to the floor of the House.  He understood the gravitas of the impeachment process.  The GOP minority was not denied process nor a look at any document.

    In contrast, the low wattage of Jerry Nadler and his fellow Democrats on the Judiciary was enough to inspire the strange move of the matter to the Intelligence Committee apparently because Adam Schiff was smarter and even less principled than Nadler.  There was not even a pretense of bipartisanship in the project Schiff ran, not a scintilla of respect for process nor any acknowledgment of an obligation to transparency and good faith.

    It still enrages me that there was a demand by many that in the name of honor and national interest we should all encourage the Senate GOP to show deference and join in the pretense of due process in the face of this gross abuse, this stunt by the House.  To question the provenance and substance of the crapfest served up by Schiff et al. was called “partisan” and somehow less honorable than the behavior of those who conconcocted the farce at hand.

    It is one thing to dislike Donald Trump but to demand that the rest of us abandon good sense, fairness and respect for the constitutional order just to accommodate the hurt feelings of Never-Trumpers and Hillary supporters is grossly offensive. Get over yourselves.  

    • #14
  15. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    It still enrages me that there was a demand by many that in the name of honor and national interest we should all encourage the Senate GOP to show deference and join in the pretense of due process in the face of this gross abuse, this stunt by the House. To question the provenance and substance of the crapfest served up by Schiff et al. was called “partisan” and somehow less honorable than the behavior of those who conconcocted the farce at hand.

    Just so. The fact that the Senate could not vote immediately in December to dismiss the Article as publicly passed by the House is a reflection on the sad state of our fealty to the Constitution.

    • #15
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Get over yourselves.

    Indeed. Thanks, @oldbathos

    • #16
  17. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    In contrast, the low wattage of Jerry Nadler and his fellow Democrats on the Judiciary was enough to inspire the strange move of the matter to the Intelligence Committee apparently because Adam Schiff was smarter and even less principled than Nadler.

    Well, smarter anyway.

    • #17
  18. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    Sadly it does not matter what the defense team did. They are as corrupt as Trump and the senators that are raising him to dictatorship. We now live in a post / alternate fact world. All that matters is the Spin. The Spin, the Narrative is the reality most believe. What enters the public consciousness. What will be written as history. 

    This all may be a sideshow:

    BANNON: ..Michael Bloomberg, who really now you’re seeing an oligarch come in here, an oligarch that has committed $2 billion not to make himself president, $2 billion just to defeat Donald Trump.

    And here’s the thing.

    BARTIROMO:  You don’t think he wants to be president?

    BANNON:  He’s — he’s basically doing a leveraged buyout of the Democratic Party, is what he’s doing.

    He’s an LBO of the Democratic Party to control the Democratic Party to select who their candidate is going to be and use his capital, OK, and organization and technology to defeat Trump.

    And that’s why this is very dangerous. Now you are seeing an oligarch actually step over, has no chance at all to actually defeat Trump as a presidential candidate, do something that’s much more dangerous to this republic.

    That’s why it’s got to be followed. And it’s serious. Remember, he can apply and capital like nobody else. He’s worth 70 — over $70 billion now.

    BANNON:  Here’s — here’s the point about the actions.

    This is a striver’s economy built by Donald Trump with his tax cuts and particularly his deregulation. He’s now got the nation hitting on all cylinders in a troubled world economy, OK?

    And this is what — this is why Bloomberg, Nancy — remember, he wouldn’t never have been impeached if Bloomberg hadn’t given Nancy Pelosi $100 million for her candidates. (emphasis added)

    He’s taking — he’s taking $100 million of advertising during the impeachment just to hammer Trump.

    BARTIROMO:  So, the president tweeted last night: “Mini Mike is now negotiating both to get on the Democratic primary debate stage and to have the right to stand on boxes or a lift during the debates. This is something — sometimes done, but not fair.”

    Do you think that is why…

    BANNON:  I love the way that President Trump can get personal very quickly.

    BARTIROMO:  Do you think that’s why they changed the rules, because he gave $100 million to the DNC last year, and he’s pledging up to $2 billion?

    BANNON:  Absolutely….He’s doing a leveraged buyout of the Democratic Party.

    And the centrists, the Wall Street faction, the global corporatists, they understand Joe Biden. Joe Biden’s performance in Iowa has been pathetic….There’s no centrist candidate….

    BARTIROMO:  Are we going to see a brokered convention? Where is this going?

    Hillary Clinton said…

    BANNON:  Yes, Hillary Clinton.

    An American Oligarch trying to install an American… Putin?

    • #18
  19. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Very good.  I like him.  Basically what Schiff and the House Dems did was “if you can’t argue the facts, argue the process.”  

    • #19
  20. Sweezle Member
    Sweezle
    @Sweezle

    Philbin has been fantastic and the star. Cipolone and Sekolow have had their moments too.

    • #20
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Sweezle (View Comment):

    Philbin has been fantastic and the star. Cipolone and Sekolow have had their moments too.

    I caught some of Philbin today. He was even more passionate (well, for him) than before, more insistent about what a disaster the House case has been. I agree the whole team has been excellent, although Dershowitz could have been a bit more careful. . .

    • #21
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