Friday, January 05, 2007
Stonewall leading to impeachment
I certainly do not believe this particular memo will lead to the downfall of the Bush administration. I do believe this type of activity is instructive of a classic cause for legal difficulty on behalf of parties who try to play too cute with the law. Now take what follows with a brick of salt grains... I certainly am not a lawyer nor do I play one on t.v.. However...
It seems to me that if the administration believes that it can simply sign memo's in order to void judicial review of the administration, that could be construed as an obstruction of justice. The memo comes to light not because it was entered into the federal registry where it could be appropriately studied and noted by the interested parties. This was a secret memo which was revealed during a legal proceeding in an attempt to quell an investigation which needed the records.
Frankly the intent of the White house in drawing up this memo was clear. To throw in another legal loop hole, drawing out further appeals, basically stone walling the investigation which was looking for the records. The legality of the document in question is an open issue that now must be resolved. By the time this process wends it's way through the courts for final adjudication by the Supreme Court, this administration will have been replaced.
I think the White house has obstructed justice in this case in particular. I do not claim this will lead to impeachment. But I do believe this example, if repeated often enough when the administration faces Congressional hearings will lead to impeachable offenses, as the White house tries to stonewall the Congress... Heres my logic in making that claim.
The third article in the impeachment of Richard Nixon was a charge detailing Nixon's contempt of Congress, specifically relating to Nixon's refusal to give "subpoenaed papers and things" to the committee considering impeachment. Who amongst us believes that President Bush is going to be fully forthcoming with the papers and things this Congress requests?
I fully expect a massive stonewall effort on the administrations part going forward, and beleive this effort of itself may lead to the impeachment of the President. If Congress were to not hold him accountable for this, it would be an error that may have lasting consequences on the very foundations that form our system of government. The lesson for future Presidents is that it is ok to stonewall. The effect, should this be allowed, on the Congress's ability to fullfill its constitutional obligations would be very harmful. This precedent should not be allowed to go forward unchallenged.
Then again, maybe I'm all wrong and the administration will be fully forthcoming with everything requested by the Democratically controlled Congress. I do hope you were not drinking anything when you read that last sentence, as I would hate to be the cause of a spit take ruining your computer monitor.
When it comes to impeachment, there are many many items that must not be allowed to go forward unchallenged. Future Presidents must be provided the lesson that they are not allowed to torture detainees, lie to the public and Congress in a drive to needless war, imprison American citizens with no process of law, write their own legislation which he then signs as law, or any of about a half dozen other aggregious unconstitutional offenses. If the constitution provides the remedy of impeachment for a purpose, the purpose simply must be applicable to this administration in particular. If these activities by this administration do not warrant impeachment, impeachment will never warranted. The drive for impeachment ought to be framed as a constitutional imperative. We must take the ultimate constitutional remedy provided now, or forever decline to do so going forward.
So let the President stonewall Congress. It will simply be another mark against him in the inevitable accounting he must answer, by either history and/or during the impeachment hearings.
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