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Corbett's lawsuit: A frivolous filing

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Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, 12:38 p.m.

P.U., what's that smell? If you answered the bizarre, counterintuitive and politically buffoonish federal antitrust lawsuit filed against the NCAA for its sanctions against Penn State University by Gov. Tom Corbett, go to the head of the critical thinking class.

Six months ago, the governor supported the “serious penalties imposed” by the National Collegiate Athletic Association in the aftermath of Jerry Sandusky's horrid serial child molestations as “part of the corrective process.” Remember it was Mr. Corbett who, as state attorney general, began the Sandusky probe.

But on Wednesday, he reversed course, bypassing his hand-picked, soon-to-depart Republican attorney general and the incoming Democrat AG to hire crony counsel to prosecute a case in which the commonwealth has no standing.

Worse, the lawsuit announcement looked like one of those icky Barack Obama staged press events with nearly three dozen people props standing behind him.

Indeed, Pennsylvania taxpayers give millions of dollars in annual subsidies to PSU. But as legal scholar and former judge Andrew Napolitano notes (and he's far from alone), the only entity with legal standing is PSU itself and its trustees, the university's legal controlling authority. PSU officials accepted the NCAA sanctions. Corbett, himself a PSU trustee, should know better.

Just because you don't like something does not give you legal standing to sue, Judge Napolitano said on Fox News.

So, what's going on here? Populist pandering in pursuit of higher approval ratings that have been sagging? Political gamesmanship to blunt the promised investigation into the handling of the Sandusky case by an incoming AG of another party?

No matter what the case, here's to the court dismissing this exercise in extra-legal frivolity.

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