Monday, April 11, 2005


We Have The Trifecta

First Chris Shays, then Rick Santorum, now Lindsey Graham. Wow. From last week's Washington Post via AmericaBlog:

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) says Democrats suffered major setbacks in the 1990s when an ethics-challenged leader -- House Speaker Jim Wright (D-Tex.), who resigned in 1989 -- became a larger symbol of his party than its platform issues. "That's a cocktail for disaster," Graham said. If a political leader's personal problems are coupled with "some policy decisions that are disconnected to the public, then you've got an opening" for trouble, he said. "If we don't watch it, it could happen to us."
Graham is rewriting history -- Jim Wright was forced out by Newt Gingrich's hectoring over a $55,000 book deal, which is ironic because at the very same time, Newt himself was negotiating a $4.5 million-plus book deal with Rupert Murdoch in exchange for pushing through law changes that made FOX News possible in the US -- but you get the drift. (Update: Charles in the comments reminds me that Wright actually got shoved out well before Newt cut his deal with Murdoch. But the larger point still stands.) The Beat-On-DeLay Bandwagon is growing much faster than I thought it would. DeLay really, really effed up when he dared order these guys to interrupt their Easter recess just so he could try to use Terri Schiavo as a human shield. It looks like Lindsey Graham is duking it out with Rick "Frothy Mix" Santorum over who will take over Tom DeLay's job as Money Conduit for the Christian Right. This actually helps DeLay -- he can leak stuff about Frothy Mix and make it look like it came from Graham's camp.

Newt ran Jim Wright off in 1988. Newt's book deal was seven years later.

So, it wasn't at the same time. Newt had had seven years to think on it before he pulled this piece of hypocrisy.

What's ironic about Wright's case is that there was no evidence that the book deal was corrupt. As usual, the media states facts not in evidence. If you read the Scheer quote, Gingrich applied a higher standard than is applied to House members in order to harass Wright, claiming the Speaker must be as pure as Calpurnia.

It will be a huge disappointment if there is no God. Newt really does deserve to roast over a slow fire for this stunt.
Lindsey Graham's reference to Jim Wright makes me think that the Republicans view Tom DeLay's scandals as merely an excuse to remind people of old Democratic scandals. How long before somebody says if Clinton didn't see any need to resign, what with all the crimes *he* committed, why should Tom DeLay resign over a few peccadillos?
I've gotten a lot of response to my post Tom DeLay, Go Home, in which people seem to think I am anti-DeLay. Nothing could be further from the truth. I certainly don't agree with his politics, but that has nothing to do with my stance on him as a Representative. He was voted in by Texans, and if they like his politics, that is their business not mine. I am simply attempting to show some logical inconsistencies in DeLay's remarks on the judiciary. I do respect, however, his ability to be honest about his opinions rather than proclaiming a popular opinion without acting on it. I don't have to agree with DeLay to respect his mastery of this lost art.

The Boston Globe has this news story about how Tom DeLay has apologized for his rash remarks on the judiciary:

“House majority leader Tom DeLay apologized yesterday for saying federal
judges are 'responsible" for the death of Terri Schiavo. But he added that he
has asked the House Judiciary Committee to investigate the judges who declined
to order that a life-sustaining feeding tube be reinserted for the brain-damaged
Florida woman, as part of a broader review of “judicial activism" that he
suggested should extend to the Supreme Court.”

“At the news conference, DeLay said he wanted to clarify his previous
statements by restating that he thinks the country should have an 'independent
judiciary." He also apologized for saying that judges who reviewed the Schiavo
case will soon 'answer for their behavior" after ruling against her parents,
who wanted her feeding tube replaced.”

Unfortunately, DeLay still believes that:

“At a news conference yesterday, DeLay said Congress retains oversight of
the federal courts and should use it to hold judges accountable. He said the
Schiavo case, in which federal courts refused to intervene despite extraordinary
efforts by Congress and President Bush, warrants particular scrutiny.”

It seems that DeLay still doesn't understand what happened in the Schiavo case. The federal courts DID intervene; they just decided that DeLay and the other members of Congress that supported the bill had incorrectly interpreted the law.

For some legal background, here is a great article by John Dean that deals with some of the issues involved in a judicial impeachment, including:

“Toward this end, once confirmed by the Senate, a federal judge is effectively
tenured for life, or as Article
III of the Constitution sets forth, they "hold their offices during good
behavior." In addition, also under Article III, judges' compensation cannot be
reduced while they are on the bench. Good behavior, as Hamilton made clear, is
"to secure a steady, upright, and impartial administration of the laws.””

“Judges can only be removed because of their "Treason, Bribery or other
high Crimes and Misdemeanors." Only a handful of federal judges have ever been
impeached under this high standard. And Congress's failure to impeach and
convict Chief Justice Samuel Chase made clear that mere disagreement with a
judge's decisions, or judicial philosophy, is not grounds for removal.”

So, what are the ground of impeachment? There are none, DeLay is simply wrong, honestly wrong, but wrong none-the-less.
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