No "sanctuary for crime"
Tuesday, July 11, 2006 :::
It seems like ages ago, but remember when Denny Hastert and Nancy Pelosi joined forces to excoriate the justice Department and FBI for their raid on Rep. William "Cold Cash" Jefferson's office? The very foundations of constitutional government were at stake...separation of powers...speech and debate...dogs and cats, living together.
Well, now a federal judge has weighed-in on the matter. And it seems congresshumans may not be above the law after all:
"The Speech or Debate Clause does not make Members of Congress super-citizens, immune from criminal responsibility," Judge Hogan said. "Congressman Jefferson's interpretation of the Speech or Debate privilege would have the effect of converting every congressional office into a taxpayer-subsidized sanctuary for crime.
"Such a result is not supported by the Constitution or judicial precedent and will not be adopted here," the judge said. "The laws of this country allow no place of employment as a sanctuary for crime."
Mark Twain famously wrote that "It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native criminal class except Congress." For a time, the natives have one less safe haven to conduct their affairs. That is, until next year's appropriations committee meetings.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 7/11/2006