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When a “fake” Legal Scholar (Senator Dillon) Meets a “Real” Legal Scholar: An Analysis of Counselor Reeves’ Senate Confirmation Hearing

Monrovia, July 11, 2020 – Confirmation hearings in developed and underdeveloped countries are similar in two areas – they are highly contentious and not for the faint of heart.

In developed nations, confirmation hearings tend to move beyond extreme partisanships and into a careful analysis of a candidate’s competence and judgment. Whereas, in underdeveloped countries void of an educated class, confirmation hearings usually turn into a circus riddled with showiness.

During the confirmation hearing of Counselor Teplah Reeves, Senator Abraham Dillon’s vain attempt to make a name for himself as a legal scholar took a wrong turn when he placed subjectivism at the forefront of his inquiries.

Was it because Senator Dillon, who dropped out of his legal affairs studies at Strayer University in the United States, Was unable to match his legal acumen against a strong Liberian female and Georgetown University Law graduate in areas of Liberian election laws?

While many recognize and appreciate Senator Dillon for being an unabashed whistleblower at the Liberian Senate, there are instances where his “light” show and theatrics tend to get the better of him.

His failed attempt to grandstand against the character of Counselor Teplah Reeves and his ensuing rumbustious social media postings raises questions whether the Senator is representing the interests of the Liberian people or engaging in self-promotion?

Why Education Matters

Senator Dillon cunningly side-stepped objectivities on credentials, competence, and judgment by saying, “I don’t have academic credentials, so I don’t run behind people for that.” Well, Senator Dillon does have academic credentials, but they are from institutions that lack credibility – there is a difference.

In a country where a lack of competent doctors, nurses, educators, and technocrats is a work-in-progress, Liberians should not subscribe to ignorance and statements like “I don’t have academic credentials, as the norm and a substitute to competence.

Let us expand on Dillon’s remark to understand why he ducked confronting Counselor Reeves on legal matters. First, on August 12, 2014, Dillon staunchly advocated for Robert Sirleaf when the National Elections Commission dismissed a case by a civil society group who challenged the president’s son on his U.S. Citizenship – back then, it appears that integrity did not matter.

Counselor P. Teplah Reeves is a verifiable lawyer by training, a strong advocate with a record for women’s advocacy, social justice, and equality. She holds a Master of Law in International Legal Studies (LL.M.) from the prestigious Georgetown University in the United States. The school where former U.S. President William Jefferson Clinton and the current U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell attended.

Georgetown University Law is consistently recognized as one of the top ten law schools in the United States.

By his admission, in 2006, Senator Dillon completed what appears to be a 3-4 week international certificate program in India. On October 11, 2012, Senator Dillon began his legal studies at Strayer University in the United States. Strayer University is recognized as one of the Top Ten Useless universities in the United States of America with no integrity when it comes to higher education. 

Dillon at Strayer University studying legal affairs

 According to College Factual, Strayer University is ranked 1,455 out of 1,727 colleges in the United States – was Dillon jealous of a strong Liberian woman who holds every legal credential he wishes he had? Rather than give her the earned respect she deserves, he decides to prove himself competent and proficient in areas where he lacks credibility.

Cllr. Reeves also holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) degree from Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law. Additionally, Cllr P. Teplah Reeves earned an Associate of Arts Degree in International Relations and Development from the Institute of Social Studies, situated in The Hague, Netherland.

She is a member of several professional bodies, including the Liberia National Bar Association, Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia, and Farmers Union Network of Liberia. In contrast, Senator Dillon holds membership with Strayer University’s National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

Again, Senator Dillon’s cunningness and selective discrimination against a strong, well-educated Liberian woman raises serious questions on his integrity, which he seems so adamant at making a focal point.

Integrity and Courage Matters

The Liberian Senate is not a beacon or home to individuals with strong leadership qualities and integrity. Hence, most Liberians will fall for anyone who offers a scant of reliability.

During the confirmation hearing, Senator Dillon asked, “In knowing your former political connection. I want a guarantee that your integrity and courage will cause you not to be allowed to be influenced by the political intrusion.” 

Dillon went to say, “What guarantee can you give this body that we should not deny you or anybody similar situated because of political alignment? Is this the same Dillon from a party headed by the former lawyer of a president who ushered in one of the most corrupt regimes in West Africa?

Senator Dillon seems lost when it comes to distinguishing between what is legal and what is ethical – a moral blind spot. Although legal, it is highly unethical for Dillon to accept USD 6,500 to pass President Weah’s COVID-19 stimulus package when the country needs investment in healthcare – especially following the deaths of several Liberian legislators. To anyone with an iota of common sense – it was a form of bribe. Some of Dillon’s staunchest supporters agree and question his ability to discern what is lawful versus what is ethical.

Globe Afrique understands Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf or the Government of Liberia supported Dillon’s certificate program in India. In 2014, Dillon accused Senator Varney Sherman of spreading “lies” about his tuition at Strayer University, citing it was not paid by Robert Sirleaf or via NOCAL’s rigged scholarship program – a quid pro quo for his support of Robert Sirleaf. Today, Globe Afrique calls the “light” to uphold his integrity and tell us who paid his tuition at Strayer University?

When the “fake” legal scholar met a “Real” Liberian female scholar – he ends up frustrated at the confirmation hearing claiming, “the woman says I’m asking her hypothetical question…” It appears that Senator Dillon was living in a world of the hypothetical – void of any legal understanding.

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Blama G. Konuwah

Blama G. Konuwah resides in Vancouver, Canada. He is a public issues analyst and senior contributor to Globe Afrique.
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