Elizabeth Warren does not approve of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in part because she does not approve of its investor-state dispute settlement provisions that let businesses sue governments over regulatory matters outside of the normal judicial process. In fact, Warren hates the way ISDS empowers corporations so much that 15 years ago she served as an expert witness for the US government when it was defending itself against a corporate complaint before an ISDS arbitration panel.
Except apparently some swaths of the Beltway media would like us to believe that it is hypocritical of Warren to have participated in an arbitration process that she opposes.
Elizabeth Warren was paid as much as $90k by US govt to be an expert witness in trade arbitration system she opposes http://t.co/80RYBkyBGq— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) May 22, 2015
This allegation of hypocrisy does not make any sense to me whatsoever.
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 her services as an expert in one situation even as her larger policy convictions might point her 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.