"I've got a question for you," said Collins. "Driving down the road, speed limit says 55, I'm doing 65. Have I broke the law?"This isn't the ordinary perspective of a prosecutor, who would stand up before a jury and tell them that they have proven a breach of the law if they have proven that you were going 65 in a 55. It's the perspective of a judge, even a Justice: until a court has issued its ruling, there is no fact of the matter about whether or not you are guilty of violating the law.
"You would have to ask the Highway Patrol," Lynch answered, as the chamber erupted in snickers. "He would likely write you a ticket," she added helpfully.
The dumbfounded Collins exclaimed, "I went to a small law school. We were taught the law!" He noted that he wasn't so sure about Harvard (Lynch's alma mater) though.
He repeated his question, "Did you break the law or not — 65 in a 55? My dad was a state trooper..."
"As I said before, you would get a ticket for that," Lynch answered.
"So you broke the law!" Collins exclaimed.
"You would be cited for that," Lynch offered. "That would be considered an offense."
Indeed, from this perspective, until the black robed Olympians have ruled, we cannot know what the law says -- or whether there is a law at all. The "real" law isn't the text passed by some legislature, but the set of precedents that fill out just how the law will actually be applied. Too, if the Supreme Court should rule that the law is void for some reason, the mere fact that some legislature and executive passed and signed a law means nothing whatsoever. No law has been broken if there was never a law to start with.
I think we know what Bill Clinton promised her on that plane.
UPDATE: FBI agents interviewed anonymously report that they believe there was a deal struck on that plane.
Well, probably there isn't anyone who doesn't believe it deep down. There are just some who feel obligated to deny it to soothe their own consciences about what they're going to do in November.