The remedy for improperly pardoning one's own convicted subordinates to cover up one's own ongoing criminal conspiracies is already in the Constitution. We do not need a new amendment. The remedy is impeachment and conviction. The House of Representatives should impeach both George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for their role in this entire conspiracy to obstruct justice. A simple majority in the House of Representatives would be sufficient for that. The Senate poses a somewhat more difficult problem, because it can be expected that the Republicans (either as parties to, or in furtherance of, the same conspiracy to obstruct justice) will not vote to convict. The remedy for this is also in the Constitution; it is Article I, Section 5.And to anyone who suggests this is a stretch, even an elaboration of the original intent of I:5, well, is your objection that our leaders shouldn't creatively interpret the law for their own purposes? Is your solution, then, to Presidential and Vice Presidential "creativity" to look the other way, or to find a more legitimate way of holding the executive accountable? My question for you is: If impeachment proceedings should not begin now, what, precisely and exactly please, should happen? If nothing can happen...is the admission that there's nothing we can do about it an admission that the system is broken?
The Senate is perfectly free to determine the "Qualifications of its own Members," and the Democrats could thus refuse to seat the Republicans if they refused to convict. (The Republican Senators could be re-seated after conviction, if they agreed to be bound by its result.) President Pelosi would then presumably direct the Justice Department to initiate ordinary criminal prosecution of both Bush and Cheney, for their roles in the conspiracy. Think it's radical? It is--but not unprecedented. Our Constitution's guarantee of the "equal protection of the laws," the Fourteenth Amendment, was ratified 139 years ago this Monday, in exactly that
fashion. Some things are worth fighting for, and the rule of law is one of them. I doubt very much that Congressional Democrats will do these things, but I don't doubt whether they should.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
What can congress do? Something crazy!
They won't, but what could they do when a president improperly grants relief to a convicted subordinate? Ian Samuel suggests this solution, admitting of its implausibility in the current system: