Carol Platt Liebau: Above the Law?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Above the Law?

It's a bit tiresome to hear Congress express "separation of powers" concerns in the wake of a raid on a Congressman's office.

I can imagine situations where the Constitution would, in fact, be implicated. But not here. Rarely has there been clearer evidence of wrongdoing -- there's a videotape, reportedly, of Congressman Jefferson (D-LA) actually taking bribes.

Refraining from following standard law enforcement procedures in such a clear cut case would, effectively, constitute setting a different standard for the treatment of congressmen from the treatment of those they govern.

Update: Jack Kelly has more. This has got to be one of the dumbest political moves for Republican politicians ever. Is there a political equivalent of the Darwin Awards?

3 Comments:

Blogger Poison Pero said...

Looks to me like Congressmen are looking to protect their own backside......You know there are many of these SOB's who have much to hide. And it comes from both parties.

12:31 AM  
Blogger rwlambert said...

Maybe I haven't been paying attention, but I'm surprised that no one has connected this with the Cynthia McKinney and Kennedy incidents.

6:20 AM  
Blogger wile e coyote said...

I have to respectfully disagree with Carol here.

In a couple of places (privilege of arrest while traveling to Congress, privilege from defamation charges for words spoken in session), Members of Congress are placed beyond the reach of legal process , if not "above the law".

We all know that Congress leaks like a sieve to the press. What has rattled the Hill is the possibility of leak investigations leading to widespread searches of communications.

Congress is right to guard its institutional privileges. Compromise should be possible, however. For example, the Justice Department might agree to obtain the prior approval of a select Congressional committee before executing a search warrant, or to have the search carried out by the Sergeant at Arms of the Congress in the presence of Justice Department members (or vice versa).

A political compromise will result in a more nuanced and flexible process than if the matter is decided one way or the other by the Supreme Court. Of course, under Chief Justice Roberts, the Court might refuse to decide by holding the matter to be a political question.

9:12 AM  

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