Elizabeth Warren is trying to kill President Barack Obama's trade agenda by raising the specter that foreign companies could use an investor-friendly arbitration system to circumvent the U.S. court system. But she hasn't discussed her own role 15 years ago in the arbitration system she opposes -- as a paid expert witness earning as much as $90,000 from the U.S. government.
Imagine that we were debating drug legalization, and one Senator is running around talking about how it's appalling that we are sending people to trial over possession of drugs. Now someone writes a story saying Senator X didn't seem to think drug trials were so appalling back when he was working as a defense lawyer for people accused of drug possession. Nobody would write that, of course, because it doesn't make any sense. Even if Warren had been on the pro-business, anti-government side of that old case I wouldn't see much hypocrisy here. We all live in the legal system that actually exists and it's not unreasonable for someone to offer their services as an expert in one situation even as their larger policy convictions might point them in another direction. But that's not even what Warren did. She worked to help the government try to beat back an ISDS claim, and now she wants to make new ISDS claims impossible. It's the very model of consistency.