Wednesday, May 24, 2006

So, illegal wire-tapping's ok but...

All I can say is, well, finally.

After quietly accepting, when not actively abetting BushCorp™'s assault on all rights not there own, Congress is finally saying enough already.

Sure it took an FBI raid on the offices of one of its own, and sure it's, no doubt, triggered by fear that further investigation will further expose the corruption that lies at the very heart of the GOP dominated Congress.

None the less, if you can't defend a right being excersized by your adversaries, what good is that right at all? (By the way, Jonathan at Past Peak yesterday posted an essay on Justice as Fairness that seems on point).


It seems that "allegedly" corrupt Democratic Congresscritter William Jefferson has done his nation a service: waking a Congress that has here-to-for been asleep at its Constitutional wheel. From The Nation:

To their credit, Republican leaders of the House have reacted with appropriate fury.

Speculating about "whether people at the Justice Department have looked at the Constitution" lately, House Majority Leader Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, declared that "Congress will clearly speak to the issue of the Justice Department invasion of the legislative branch." In explaining the character of that defense, Boehner said, "I've got to believe at the end of the day it's going to end up across the street at the Supreme Court. I don't see anything short of that." Hastert left no doubt that he saw the need to address the issues raised by the raid as essential to the maintenance of the provisions of the Constitution written to protect the independence of the Congress.

"The Founding Fathers were very careful to establish in the Constitution a Separation of Powers to protect Americans against the tyranny of any one branch of government. They were particularly concerned about limiting the power of the Executive Branch," explained the speaker. "Every Congressional Office contains certain Legislative Branch documents that are protected by the Constitution. This protection-as the Supreme Court has repeatedly held-is essential to guarantee the independence of the Legislative Branch. No matter how routine and non-controversial any individual Legislative Branch document might be, the principles of Separation of Powers, the independence of the Legislative Branch, and the protections afforded by the Speech or Debate clause of the Constitution must be respected in order to prevent overreaching and abuse of power by the Executive Branch."

Hastert needs to wage this battle. And he ought not be mocked for the seriousness with which he has approached it.

Now I realize that it is VERY tempting to mock speaker Hastert for being so late to recognize the Constitutional abuse BushCorp™ has wreaked on this country. And one wonders whether this is simply a calculated way for Congress to distance itself from a wildly unpopular president.

None-the-less, I believe the House leadership is on the right side of this particular outrage.

And my hope (likely vain I realize) is that this incident will draw more attention to the abuses this administration has heaped on all of us.

[Update: It now appears that the FBI is indeed investigating Hastert in relation to the Abramoff case.

And to think that I entertained any thought that the GOP's outrage over the Jefferson search warrant was actually principled.

Just what I deserve for abandoning cynicism, even momentarily. Well, to quote our Dear Leader: "Fool me twice, won't get fooled again".]

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