Professor Kimberly Wehle has been a sought-after commentator following the recent accusations of sexual misconduct by prominent men in Hollywood and Washington.
The general question for Wehle: Why have men in Hollywood been fired abruptly while men in Washington, or men in politics, have kept their jobs?
Her answer, in brief: Look to the Constitution.
“The private sector is worried about bottom-line numbers and shareholders, and about the kind of image a business wants to project,” Wehle told The Christian Science Monitor.
If a private company finds an allegation of misconduct credible, the company can fire the accused (though, the article notes, “fear of a lawsuit could serve as a check”).
But when dealing with elected officials, a larger authority is at play: the Constitution and the system of self-governance it establishes.
Said Wehle: “The boss is ‘We the People.’” We hire, we fire.
Wehle, the author of the forthcoming book The Outsourced Constitution: How Public Power in Private Hands Erodes Democracy, also addressed the Hollywood-Washington topic in several news segments, including:
Wehle also talked to Observer about the uproar over President Donald Trump’s appointment of White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Departing CFPB director Richard Cordray had named his chief of staff, Leandra English, to lead the bureau when he stepped down late last month.
“Once something like this happens where we tolerate the president picking and choosing which provisions of statutes give him more power, then that goes into the presidential toolbox,” Wehle told Observer. “Regardless of party, that’s a historical precedent that can be picked up later.”