Abdul-Hakim Shabazz: Let’s remember Todd Rokita’s famous last words

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Abdul-Hakim Shabazz“Curtis Hill has put himself ahead of his elected office and our values because of his bad judgment, not just on one night, but in a long pattern of inappropriate behavior. Personal responsibility is saying you’re sorry when you fail others, taking ownership of mistakes. It is something to teach your children every day.”

Those are the words of Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita back in 2020. He was quoted in the July 6 edition of the IndyStar when he initially ran for the office.

During the campaign, when Hill was going through his controversy and being disciplined by the courts for inappropriate behavior, Rokita argued that Republican delegates could not renominate Hill because, if they did, Democrats would have a field day.

“This was no impeachment Pelosi clown show,” Rokita said. “This was the highest court in our state, five impartial conservative judges, condemning our attorney general’s behavior. This messaging against Hill will be so intense, we will not only lose the attorney general’s office but will lose other elections, including local races that we care about.”

Famous last words.

Rokita is in trouble, again, for guess what? I’ll take “running off at the mouth” for $500, Mr. Trebek. We all know the story. Rokita was publicly reprimanded for his televised comments about a doctor who oversaw a medication abortion for a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio. This turned into new Rokitaesque comments, which led to two more complaints, which led to the state’s Attorney Disciplinary Commission asking the Supreme Court to unseal the confidential agreement, which led to more Rokitaesque responses, which included the phrases “bowing to political pressure” and “aiding and abetting his political detractors.”

This can’t end well for Rokita.

The disciplinary commission will make its recommendation, which runs the gambit from a private reprimand to disbarment. My money is, he will likely be suspended, but will he automatically be reinstated at the end of the suspension? If the answer is that he is suspended without automatic reinstatement, that’s all, folks.

Why?

Because, under Indiana law, you must be a licensed attorney to be attorney general.

And unlike Hill—who was automatically reinstated after his suspension, so he was still a licensed attorney even though he couldn’t practice law—if Rokita isn’t automatically reinstated, as I said a few seconds ago, that’s all folks.

And there’s a good chance that could happen. Remember, the person who filed that complaint has a decade in the realm of professional responsibility, including two years as a staff attorney with the disciplinary commission. Did we mention that?

If Rokita has to step down, Gov. Eric Holcomb will have to replace him.

And don’t forget the State Republican Convention this summer. Rokita could face an opponent(s). Some are looking at running if Rokita is disbarred; others are looking at a straight-up challenge, using the same line of attack Rokita used against Hill at the 2020 Republican State Convention.

Now this is the part where Rokita’s troglodytes say we (the media/courts/establishment) are infringing on his rights to free speech and are interfering with an election. Where have I heard this before? My response to them is pretty simple: The law is clear. Only licensed attorneys can be attorney general, and if he loses his law license, he can’t hold the job. Second, if Rokita loses his law license, he will have no one to blame because all this could have been avoided if he had just kept his mouth shut.

This isn’t hard to do, folks. Well, it could be if your name is Theodore Rokita.•

__________

Shabazz is an attorney, radio talk show host and political commentator, college professor and stand-up comedian. Send comments to ibjedit@ibj.com.


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2 thoughts on “Abdul-Hakim Shabazz: Let’s remember Todd Rokita’s famous last words

  1. Spot on Abdul. The free speech defense has no merit. That’s been litigated. Lawyers have rules to follow. We’ll see if the Court believes that popping off like a Fox News guest is professional, or professional misconduct.

    I hope you, or another journalist, dig down on how Todd is paying for his defense this go round. His comments post discipline were in no way related to his office. He should be writing the checks to his lawyer, not the taxpayers.

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