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The council, however, must surge forward.

On Friday, Mr. Graham had a day in court, where his attorneys unsuccessfully argued before D.C. Superior Court Judge Anthony C. Epstein that the ethics panel itself violated law by not allowing Mr. Graham to review and rebut documents from a Metro probe that it used during its own investigation.

Judge Epstein’s ruling against Mr. Graham effectively cleared the way for the council to vote Monday on whether to reprimand the popular lawmaker.

Each council member, including Mr. Graham, likely will be given the chance to address the why’s and why-nots of their anticipated vote — and they should do so as articulately and dispassionately as possible.

The purpose is to act both on the letter and intent of the laws and regulations of the District — and, of course, prove to the public that they have aligned themselves with a strict code of conduct.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at