Deplorable Rokita

Hillary Clinton’s characterization of Trump supporters as “deplorable” wasn’t a politically savvy move, but in the aftermath of the 2016 election, Republican officeholders have done their best to illustrate its accuracy.

Here in Indiana, where our last Attorney General was sanctioned by the Disciplinary Commission for groping female legislative staffers, the current occupant of that office is evidently campaigning for the title of most disgusting officeholder–and that’s the only campaign he should actually win.

I’ve previously posted about Rokita–several times, in fact. In 2013, when he was in Congress, I explained why he was more embarrassing than then-Governor Mike Pence. In 2014, I explained why he was dangerous and anti-American. (Also in 2014, I highlighted his comparison of himself to Earl Landgrebe, whose most famous quote, “Don’t confuse me with the facts. I’ve got a closed mind” was perhaps more telling than he had intended.) When he was elected AG, I posted a compendium of Rokita’s positions and suggested that Indiana had once again elected a guaranteed embarrassment to the position of Attorney General.

You can find links to those posts in “Speaking of Blowhards and Scoundrels”

I also commented on disclosures that Rokita had retained his position with the health benefits firm he’d worked for prior to the  election, even after he assumed his current, presumably full-time “day job”  as Indiana’s Attorney General. A day job that coincidentally gave him investigative jurisdiction over that “other” job…(The publicity led to a resignation–but not to any evident recognition of why it was a problem…)

Most recently, I posted about Rokita’s despicable and unprofessional attacks on the Ob-Gyn who performed an abortion on the ten-year-old rape victim who traveled to Indiana because–after Dobbs— she could not legally obtain an abortion in Ohio.

I was gratified when the doctor’s lawyer served Rokita with a “cease and desist” letter, and followed it with a tort claim notice–a legal precursor to a defamation lawsuit. But I was especially pleased when Lauren Robel (a former dean of IU’s law school, former Bloomington provost and former Executive Vice President of Indiana University) filed a complaint with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission against Rokita, accusing him of “recklessly” making claims that weren’t backed by fact.

Unlike Rokita, Robel is widely respected and admired. She readily admits that this is the only time in her 40 years as a lawyer and law professor that she has ever lodged a disciplinary complaint.

In Robel’s complaint, she argued Rokita failed to perform due diligence before making accusations about Bernard.

“What General Rokita did, in essence, was identify a private citizen whose political views he disagrees with and suggest repeatedly, on national television, and on the Attorney General’s official website, that she had broken the law, with no evidence to support those claims,” Robel wrote. “If he can throw the entire weight of his office without consequence to attack Dr. Bernard, he can do so to target any private citizen with whom he disagrees. This is the opposite of the rule of law.”

“It was also about as clear as it could be that he went after this doctor who was performing a legal medical procedure in Indiana because he opposes abortion, not because he had evidence against her of any sort,” Robel said. “The deputy for Stalin was reported to have said, ‘Show me the man and I’ll find the crime.’ That’s just not the way we do things in the United States.”

Robel’s request for an investigation came on the same day fourteen Indiana law professors sent a letter to Rokita, demanding he walk back his previous statements and issue a public apology to the doctor.

“You maintain the false statements, uncorrected even today, on your Webpage and on Twitter,” the law professors from Indiana University and University of Notre Dame wrote. “Your actions are inconsistent with your responsibilities as a lawyer and a prosecutor.”

Rokita’s office has responded that it has no plans to back down or correct the AG’s previous statements.

This isn’t about abortion. It is about attorney ethics–a subject that Rokita rather obviously has never encountered (and probably can’t spell). It is about respect for evidence and truth. It is about the abuse of power, and contempt for the most basic rules of legal practice that we expect an Attorney General to uphold.

Deplorable is the nicest description of Todd Rokita available. My own description would involve more profanity than is appropriate to include on this platform. He has zero redeeming characteristics.

He’s a disservice to the profession–and a blot on humanity.


  1. Clearly this man is the kind of jack ass that leads the Republicans today. Now, can the BAR or ??? DO anything to get his law license pulled? Did some of the crazy Trump lawyers loose their license for Trumpy behavior (filing false claims etc)? Can this buffoon loose his license and thus be disqualified to fill his current position? Can anything really be done?

  2. Okay. Why are we still reaffirming that Hillary Clinton’s depiction of Trumpists as “deplorable” as politically unsavvy? Why are we once again buying into right-wing messaging? Why do we once again fail to stand firmly on a message that is true?

    Rokita is a blot on humanity: Deplorable. Stop mincing words.

    And by the way, Hillary Clinton was the best qualified presidential candidate since Eisenhauer. Terrible loss for America at the hands of right-wing collaborators: Deplorables.

  3. Rokita is the latest–and arguably worst–example of a systemic problem. He’s a vicious politician with a law license masquerading as a lawyer. Don’t think he ever practiced law a day in his life. Most AGs see themselves as the next governor. Heck, their organization the National Association of Attorneys General (acronym “NAAG,” right?) is derisively called the “National Association of Aspiring Governors.” A succession of governors haven’t trusted the AG–AG Pearson actually ran against Evan Bayh in 1992–and thus have hired lawyers throughout state agencies to perform work that should be done by the AG’s office. Think of the money we’d save if the Governor appointed the AG.

  4. @Bill Moreau – think of the money we’d save if the AG actually worked for the people of the State, instead of bringing frivolous cases that wasted taxpayer dollars, in his (always his) effort to raise his profile with his deplorable base.

  5. Today is the anniversary of the decision made in the “Monkey Trial” in Tennessee in 1925.
    It has always reminded me that tomorrow, being PI Day, the Indiana Gen. Ass. really led the way in making a state look foolish in 1897 when the state House of Representatives passed a bill making PI simply 3.2. A Purdue professor happened to be in Indy that day, heard about it, and lobbied the state Senate to not take it up, and by a narrow margin, it decided not to.
    Now, as a further disgrace, the Indiana Attorney General, a man with no medical credentials of any kind, purports to tell a trained obstetrician how a 10 year old child who has been raped multiple times, should be required to give birth.
    In sum, there are two things at work in Indiana – one is an overwhelming ignorance of matters dealing with common sense in the sciences and higher mathematics.
    The other? Uhm, er, it MUST that many of us are descended from people from Tennessee. No? Then we just have to blame it on the hot weather in the month of July when Hoosiers are inhaling too much pollen as the corn tassels.

  6. Will someone please explain to me why Hillary Clinton was forced into the position of apologizing to the entire Republican party and this country for calling Trump and supporters “deplorable”. The Republican party Trumped her by forcing an unwarranted apology for being too kind to the deplorable actions being carried out by Trump and his supporters. It made her appear weak in her well deserved position of being the highest qualified presidential nominee we have see in decades. And I do not like her personality, she had too much baggage which was repeatedly and unfairly made public even after it was proven she had done nothing wrong. Yes; I gritted my teeth and voted for her. I have needed to get that off my chest since 2016 so thank you.

    This may be the first time Lauren Robel has filed a disciplinary complaint but is it the first time a disciplinary complaint has been filed against Rokita during his law career? Years ago I worked in the Indiana Bar Association office under Mary Place Godsey; lifetime files are maintained on all who are licensed as attorneys in this state. This information is available to the public; maybe it is time to dig deeper than AG Rokita’s current law career, it is doubtful this is his first egregious error. But; this is Indiana and our previous AG was proven in court to be a woman groper at parties, like Trump’s 19 known sex abuse charges, not reason enough to oust either of them.

    “He’s a disservice to the profession–and a blot on humanity.”

  7. Well, whenever Rokita opens his mouth he reduces the level of intelligence in the room.
    To call Rokita a piece of sh*t is an insult to pieces of sh*t.

  8. If only a righteous public official posturing as champion of “right to life” invested as much energy and forethought to craft public policy to support “right to living”! A good read to make the case this morning:

  9. Based on what I’ve seen, I am very reluctant t to want the Disciplinary Commission to get involved in determining the ethics of political commentary, no matter how stupid or possibly defamatory. That’s a slippery slope.

    My experience with the current director of the DC, Adrienne L. Meiring, has been much more favorable, but the two Directors before her used the Commission in highly dubious ways which appeared to be more like settling scores. Decades ago, I reported a magistrate for misconduct. I was immediately hit with a DC notice of investigation filed by the Director saying I lied in the magistrate complaint. I challenged the DC to produce evidence to back up the claim. Crickets. I then told the Director that if I lied in the Magistrate complaint, that I committed perjury and should be prosecuted. The Director responded by sending the DC file to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office. I talked to the person in the Prosecutor’s Office handling the grand jury. He said the DC had no evidence to back up its naked allegation. The Prosecutor’s Office refused to send it to the grand jury. Do you know the DC left that notice of investigation pending against me for like 12 years or more? I only learned of the (supposed) dismissal when I filed an original action with the IN SCT to get the more than decade old allegation dismissed from my record. I to this day have never received any documentation that the request for investigation was dismissed as the Director claimed to the Supreme Court.

    After Witte took over the DC, I wrote a blog post criticizing the Commission for targeting small firm attorneys and sole practitioners while rarely going after attorneys who work at the big politically connected law firms. I had researched the previous 3 years or so and found that like 397 of 400 actions (going off memory) were against small firm attorneys and sole practitioners. In particular, we had the most politically connected law firm in town constantly engaging in unethical practices including serious, non-waivable conflicts of interest and the DC would never do anything. Shortly after writing that blog article, Director Witte filed a request for investigation against me based on a letter a judge had sent to the Commission several months earlier complaining because I had criticized his handling of an estate case in a private email I had sent to another attorney. The Commission followed through with that one, filing a formal complaint against me and tried to get me suspended for a year.

    This is why I’m against the DC getting involved in these sorts of matters. The DC has been off track for a long time. I think it needs to get back to its central mission and further needs more supervision from our Supreme Court. Hopefully, Executive Director Meiring is cleaning up the Commission’s practices. But there is no doubt still a lot of bad apples there.

  10. So Paul; does the Disciplinary Commission no longer have a division to weed out “frivolous” law suits? Or at the other end of the spectrum to investigate those who are protected by “big politically connected law firms”? We are currently trying to survive the lack of formerly promised judicial protection regarding “no one is above the law”; the entire active Republican party is proof that they ARE above Rule of Law and the Constitution. Rokita is proof in this state that they ARE above local, state and federal Rule of Law and the Constitution. Georgia appears to be the only state attempting to prove they believe in that promise.

  11. Paul – I am genuinely surprised that you believe the Indiana Supreme Court, guardian and administrator of the practice of law in Indiana, should give a free pass to lawyers based on the position of power the lawyer holds — the higher the position, and the greater their megaphone, the less the role of the Court to hold them accountable for clear and obvious violations of their legal/ethical duties.

    Anytime any lawyer — particularly those wielding the greatest megaphone and platform — abuses his/her position as lawyer and violates clear ethical guidelines, it is the duty of the Supreme Court to act — and to act more quickly — to address the violation.

    This isn’t a “close” call, and there is no “slippery slope” other than the one we’ve seen play out time and again, where those in power get to avoid the consequences of their unethical conduct simply because they are in positions of power.

  12. “My own description would involve more profanity than is appropriate to include on this platform.” ❤❤❤

  13. Just to set the record straight, Hillary only called half of the tRump supporters despicables. It’s unclear what she thought the rest were.

  14. I think it may have been Justice Hugo Black who said that if something doesn’t have socially redeeming qualities, it can be classified as pornographic.

    Rokita and the rest of the Republican-based cabal in Indiana and elsewhere do what the RNC and their corporate/banking sponsors and paymasters tell them to do: Scream, yell, accuse and enflame. Then, sit back and wait the several years for the courts to sort it out…if those courts aren’t Republican dominated too. If they are, Paul’s comments are more likely to occur. Take Texas’ AG Ken Paxton (PLEASE) for example. He was indicted for criminally misusing campaign funds for personal use. Trial? Not yet. No trial date has been set. Why? Texas has a judiciary of all Republican-appointed members.

    Call Rokita a scumbag. It’s true. Call Paxton a criminal who walks among us. That’s true too. These jackasses are what the corporate/banking money men are willing to afford to do their bidding. It’s that simple. They don’t want democracy and the rule of law to work for the people and be consistent. What they want is an oligarchy. It’s what runaway capitalism has ALWAYS wanted. Marx warned us of that almost 200 years ago. And here we are.

    Rokita and Paxton are merely symptoms of the rot infecting all Republican-operated governments. Deplorable? By any other name…

  15. Embarrassingly Red state of South Duhkota recently impeached their sitting AG (first time in the state’s history) who struck and killed a pedestrian at night while driving on the shoulder of the highway, and telling various versions of what happoened.

    He showed no remorse at anytime and refused to step down, which seems to be an inbred trait in magats.

  16. Hillary was right. Hillary has always been right.
    Remember when she said years ago that there was a right wing conspiracy to take down democracy? It sounded paranoid at the time but look where we are now. Is there a war against women? Is there any doubt?

    She has faced decades of misogyny, discrimination, slander, and libel. Mainstream media is as guilty as the Republicans because they enabled them. It’s a miracle that an out-spoken, uppity woman like her made it as far as she did. One thing is certain: probably the most qualified person in many decades ran for President of the United States and lost to the most deplorable person who ever ran. All because the perpetual Republican drumbeat fouled people’s opinion of her so badly that all people know is that they don’t like her.

    “But the emails…” Is that all they’ve got?

    Do I sound pissed? Yes, I am pissed. Elections have consequences and here we are. We lost Roe and thanks to the Trump Court, we are on the verge of losing losing many other rights. The far right is hell-bent on turning this into a 19th century theocracy run by robber barons and I am not sure that I will live long enough to see it turn around.

  17. Sorry, I went off-topic but if she had been elected, we wouldn’t be talking about Rokita’s deplorable comments.

  18. Bill, Hillary’s call became ammo for the Trump team. Not that she was wrong, but it was a political blunder.
    If she’d have not apologized, but told them to look in the mirror, look at their bigotry, maybe she’d have scored
    some points, and won the election.
    Rokita, on the other hand, does need to apologize…for being the deplorable he is!

  19. One of the ways to report fraud in Indiana state government is to file a complaint on the state’s AG website. I have, in the past, reported the waste of tax payer dollars as the AG expends energy to support petitions and false claims in various culture war issues. I worry at times the AG could turn around and file a complaint against the complainer, but I have in good conscious still submitted the complaints knowing that in a court of law, I would be in the right.

    As you can expect, nothing has ever happened and no action of even acknowledgement of my complaints has ever been given.

    Hooray for Lauren Robel. Maybe somebody will get the AG’s attention and explain to him what his job really might be.

  20. its time to point the finger,(what ever one you choose) at who elects these asswipes. maybe some reality checks on the ones who dont understand their own stand,is making democracy a shrivel up and die,im talkin about face to face, in their face..backbone required…. lookin at the AGS rehetoric past and present sends a message to anyone,both sides, he could care less if you live or die as long as his regime supports his sorry ass,along with his whole band of fools.
    ask him ,,,what is your end game? get it now, get it public..its obvious, the right wing regime is soo close to taking it all finally,they dont care about ethics or the flack, neither should we..
    make it happen or watch it disappear…

  21. Many of you seem to be offended by Sheila’s statement: “Hillary Clinton’s characterization of Trump supporters as “deplorable” wasn’t a politically savvy move…” Coming from the logician’s point of view, it was absolutely spot on. Hillary may be one of the smartest people ever to be a candidate for the highest office in the land, and she is clearly a policy wonk, however she is and always was an inartful politician. She is incapable of recounting funny stories and she too often leads with what is right, rather than what is politic. We missed an opportunity to have our first Methodist Grandmother President.

  22. Is there any branch or sub branch of the Federal Gov that dump hasn’t infected? And yes, anything to rid our AG out of our state…..TX may want him.

  23. Rokita is trying to be as bombastic as Rush Limbaugh, tucker Carlson, and Shaun Hannity are! That’s all that nonsense is.

    Hurrah for the complaint from IU. There must be consequences for this bombastic chatter! We must stop these deplorables from getting away with degrading that doctor’s reputation. Shut him up!

  24. I believe the AGs role is to identify and investigate wrongdoing. And I don’t believe that’s limited to political issues. How about death threats? Dr. Bernard has received several death threats, which likely would not have come about without Rokita’s actions. Who are these perpetrators? Shouldn’t the AGs office be investigating them and bring them to justice? Many anti-Trumpers have received death threats and some of them have been granted extra police protection paid for by our taxes.

  25. I think it’s pretty obvious that Rokita jumps on issues as quickly as possible for the sake of headlines. Truth is irrelevant. Democrats are appalled that he gets away with it, and Republicans are glad he gets away with it. He really is deplorable.

  26. The man’s only desire is for publicity of any kind. He’s crude and ignorant and a total waste of breath. I really believe he doesn’t care who he hurts or insults as long as he thinks he’s the big man.

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