Monday, September 19, 2005

The Real Ken Starr

This past weekend, I had the privilege of emceeing a fundraising banquet for a local group that assists young women encountering crisis pregnancies ... both before and after. And the assistance, although given from a pro-life perspective, is offered to all regardless of their choice. It was indeed a moving evening.

The keynote speaker was Judge Ken Starr. He remarks were fabulous. But the man himself is more impressive.

Here is my intro of the judge:
Our speaker this evening is from Vernon, Texas, where he was born in 1946. After graduation from Duke law school, Judge Starr went on to clerk for Chief Justice Warren Burger. Later, he served on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, widely regarded as the second most powerful court in the land, as well as a prime launching pad for future Supreme Court justices. Then, in 1989 the first Pres. Bush asked Judge Starr to be the U.S. Solicitor General. The S.G. is the nation’s advocate before the Supreme Court, and it is regarded as the top practicing lawyer job in the nation.

This career path may sound familiar. In fact, it sounds a lot like that of soon-to-be Chief Justice John Roberts. Indeed, Judge Roberts worked for Judge Starr at the Solicitor General’s office. So, the heir-apparent as our next chief justice once called Judge Starr, our speaker tonight … “boss”.

What most people know about Judge Starr, though, is his most famous job, which was, of course, his service as Independent counsel for 5 years during the Clinton Administration. Life is funny that way. Sometimes we are quote “known” and defined by things that really do not tell the whole story. For the truth is that, but for Judge Starr’s most famous assignment, he would certainly be on a short list to have a job with much more notoriety … as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. He is clearly one of our nation’s preeminent legal minds.

Since 2004, Judge Starr has served as the dean of Pepperdine University Law School … suffering for Jesus in Malibu, California.

Judge, I wanted to interview some witnesses … at least one … at Pepperdine to find out about the real you. So, I spoke with Ryan, your assistant, and she gave me the low down.

Judge Starr likes to sing, like in the office sing. She told me about a trip she was taking to Chicago, and this apparently brought on an impromptu serenade involving some Chicago song by Sinatra? She says the judge is pretty good, too.

But more importantly, I wanted to know what kind of man and boss he is. She expressed regret that she had not worked for the judge longer, and simply said, “He is a wonderful man.” She went on to say that he is revered and respected by all who work with him and for him. He treats every one with dignity and respect.

This is I already knew, but I went to get the evidence to present to you. So, it is now my privilege to introduce to you … a great lawyer, a great American, a great man … Judge Ken Starr.
I watched the judge interact with people throughout the evening. I watched him patiently pose for pictures, answer questions, take time with each person. He makes each person around feel like they have dignity. Because they do to Judge Starr. Each person is worthy of dignity and respect. Oh, that all judges would behave that way.

He is an amazing guy. I supported his work as the Independent Counsel, but I must say I think it is a shame that people know him primarily for this role. And his considerable achievements, too, only tell a fraction of the story. He is a great man, and it was a treat to get to meet him. I am richer for it.