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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Gingrich Defends Jefferson? A Late April Fool's Joke, Or Simple Foolishness?

Last November, the Republicans lost control of both Houses of Congress. Democrats claim that this was due mostly to the war, especially in Iraq, and that the voters sent a message we should get out while the getting was good. Thomas and I have written extensively on the election, and while the war was, indeed, a smajor issue in the election, it was more about the behavior of Republicans while in control. They inabaility to support the president, to pass comprehensive immigration reform and social security reform, and the corruption that was exposed was what led to the downfall of the GOP in Congress.

So, with all of that in mind, what in God's name are these doddering fools doing defending a congressman under investigation for corruption? (This come courtesy of Captain Ed.)

Embattled Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.), the target of a two-year public-corruption probe, is finding himself with strange bedfellows these days.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), former House minority leader Robert Michel (R-Ill.) and Scott Palmer, former chief of staff for Rep. J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), are among those who have filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, backing Jefferson's argument that the controversial FBI raid on his office last May was unconstitutional.

"These former leaders of the House had concerns about the integrity and independence of the institution, and therefore they decided to file this joint brief," said lawyer James Hamilton, who filed an amicus brief on behalf of Gingrich and Michel as well as former House speaker Thomas Foley (D-Wash.).

Concerns about the integrity and independence of the institution? Excuse me? William Jefferson is under investigation for taking bribes, and the former Speaker is filing a friend-of-the-court brief on his behalf? What is Newt thinking here? Jefferson has been under investigation since before Hurricane Katrina, and when feds found $90,000 in literal cold, hard cash in his freezer, he knew their investigation was going to be ramped up.

Enter the FBI executing a search warrant on his office on Capitol Hill. Nancy Pelosi and Dennis Hastert both lost their minds fussing and fuming that it was unconstitutional and inaaproprite for the search to have taken place, and they cited Article i, Section 6's Privilege from Arrest Clause.

But the Privilege from Arrest Clause only protects them when they are going to a vote, a committee meeting, etc.; namely official congressional business. It does not protect them in their office, nor does it prevent investigators from searching said office. In fact, in the The Heritage Guide To The Constitution, David F. Forte writes:

"The Privilege from arrest Clause provides a Member of Congress a privilege from civil arrest only, but not from other civil processes. Even the privilege from civil arrest would be valid only while Congress is in session ...

"The [Supreme] Court concluded that the Framers' use of the identical phrase, without any explanation, indicated that Congress's privilege was to have the same limitation regarding criminal actions as did the parliamentary privilege from which the language was borrowed, The clause, therefore, does not provide Congress with any immunity from criminal prosecution."

Indeed, William Jefferson can be called on to answer for crimes he may have committed. What is curious is why Newt Gingrich seems to be defending him. I say that it seems he is with his court brief, and the spin being offered by it. Congress does have immunities, but only when it is in session. That did not apply the day that the FBI executed a search warrant, and Mr. Gingrich would be wise to watch his step in this realm. This will not make conservatives happy to see him standing on the side of a corrupt congressman.



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