C. Scott Shields is a defender of conservative causes by day, and Republican mayor of the tiny Delaware County borough of Rutledge by night. Last week, Shields was trashing his other calling in court.
"Politicians are the lowest form of life on earth," Shields proclaimed on Friday to a Philadelphia jury in closing arguments of a defamation suit against his client. Shields was quoting General George S. Patton Jr.; he did not mention to jurors that he has himself been a politician for the last 13 years.
Shields successfully defended Paul D. Corbett, 80, who showered church parking lots before the 2007 general election with leaflets proclaiming City Councilman Jack Kelly an ally of "the homosexual agenda which would promote sodomy to our youth." Corbett was irate with Kelly's May 2007 vote to end the Boy Scouts' rent-free lease on the building they built on city-owned property at 22nd and Winter streets in Philadelphia.
The jury found that Corbett had indeed misled readers of his pamphlets, and had hurt Kelly's reputation, but decided that he did not do so maliciously, handing Corbett a victory.
Shields spent a good amount of time over the five-day trial portraying Kelly (also a Republican,) as a greedy politician who "sicced his lawyer" on Corbett, rather than listening to his concerns.
Shields, 44, a self-described conservative, served on Rutledge Borough Council from 1997 through 2005, was elected mayor in 2006, and unsuccessfully ran for Court of Common Pleas Judge in 2007. Rutledge is a one-mile-square borough of 860 adjoining Swarthmore.
"That doesn't include me, because I'm Republican and conservative," Shields said Tuesday of Patton's appraisal of politicians. He happily pointed out the next line in Patton's quote: "Liberal Democrats are the lowest form of politicians."
Shields accused Kelly of being a typical politicians, pandering to anyone who would vote for him. On the stand, Kelly readily acknowledged that "I want everyone to be happy with me," Kelly said. "Do I try to please everyone? Yes, I do."
Shields said he doesn't try to please everyone, and that people know him for his conservative stances. "You can't be every man to everyone," said Shields, who doesn't collect the $2,500 salary reserved for the Rutledge Mayor's Office. "That's why people hate politicians."
The Media-based attorney is not related to the author of this blog post.
Click here for Philly.com's politics page.