Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Making the right call...

Like baseball managers and umpires, judges tend to get talked about when they screw up. There's a lot of heat generated whenever the Supreme Court screws something up, whenever a judge passes an absurdly lenient sentence, whenever something "wrong" is legal or "right" is illegal. But, on the whole, like baseball managers and umpires, the judiciary probably does a better job than they get credit for. Today, we've got another example of good judgement from the judiciary branch.

About a month ago, the FBI raided the Capitol Hill office of US Representative William Jefferson (D-LA) in the midst of a corruption probe. When this happened, the leaders of Congress for both parties went up in arms about "separation of powers." And the President himself offered a sort of backhanded reprimand to the Justice Department. And there was a lot of hysterical and ridiculous fulminating like this in various corners of the web.

But allegations of executive abuse and overstep are nonsense. The tri-une nature of the Federal Government is supposed to allow for checks and balances. A member of the legislative branch was allegedly using his office to hide evidence of corruption. The Executive branch went to the Judicial branch and got a search warrant. Nothing abusive about that whatsoever. The only way you can consider that an abuse of power is if you subscribe to the theory that the legislative branch, and the individual members, are uncheckable by the other branches, that their space is sovereign and not subject to the laws of the nation. That's clearly nonsense.

And it is recognized as such by Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan. Who, in rejecting requests from lawmakers that the material seized in the raid be returned, said:
the lawmakers' "sweeping" theory of legislative privilege "would have the effect of converting every congressional office into a taxpayer-subsidized sanctuary for crime."

Amen. Sing it, brother...


Update: The Baseball Crank has read the decision, and pulled some more excerpts. It is common-sense obvious, a no-brainer.

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