In an odd opinion piece, Ryan Goodman, a professor of law at NYU, tried to make some legal points about the word “collusion.” (Note that the interesting essay by Renato Mariotti, from which Mr. Goodman quotes, is published in the blog Just Security, for which Mr. Goodman is editor-in-chief. Just Security seems to have some philosophical relationship to the blog Lawfare, edited by my cousin, Ben Wittes.)
Mr. Trump and his inner circle have benefited enormously from this coalescing around the word “collusion” — a term with a legalistic feel but with close to “no legal meaning whatsoever” said Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor and now a defense lawyer…
What might the term “collusion” actually mean? Mr. Mariotti and I may disagree on a small technicality; it does have some legal meaning. It is found in one place in the federal code, in the area of antitrust law, concerning practices such as price-fixing. But that’s no help. To transpose the antitrust framework onto issues of election interference would require metaphor gymnastics.
Well, here I am, not a lawyer, reading the Times op-eds while drinking my morning coffee and I’m unwilling and unable to send my brain into any sort of gymnastics, metaphoric or not.
So, pretty bewildered by the statement that there’s “no legal meaning whatsoever” to the term collusion, I reached my right arm out to my bookshelf and pulled out my Black’s Law Dictionary, Pocket Edition. My mental gymnastics did stretch to thinking, gee, if Black’s Pocket Edition had a legal definition of collusion, then maybe Messrs. Goodman and Mariotti (always an intelligent and eloquent guest expert on MSNBC) were not quite…right?
collusion (k[upsidedown “e”]loo-zh[another upsidedown “e”]n), n. An agreement to defraud another or to do or obtain something forbidden by law. — collude, vb. — collusive, adj. — colluder, n.
collusive action. See ACTION.
collusive joinder. See JOINDER
–Black’s Law Dictionary, Third Pocket Edition, Bryan A. Garner, Editor in Chief
Oh, you can go look up ACTION and JOINDER if you must. Just trying to locate an upside “e” on my “special character” chart has exhausted my AM capacities and since it’s now afternoon, I’m going back to reading the opinions in the Times, rather than offering you any more of mine.
My opinion: Collusion seems to be a legal thing.