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The House is not in session today, but the big goings-on will be in the House Judiciary Committee.

Today's the day House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has set aside for a hearing granted in response to the demands of Dennis Kucinich for hearings on the impeachment resolutions he's introduced over the course of the past few months: H. Res. 333 and H. Res. 799, impeaching Dick Cheney, and H. Res. 1258 and H. Res. 1345, impeaching George W. Bush.

The hearing, scheduled for 10:00 A.M. in Room 2141 in the Rayburn House Office Building, is not styled as an impeachment hearing. That's something Conyers and his staff have studiously avoided. It is instead titled a hearing on, "Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations." As we'll see later, this designation could impose some real substantive limitations on the ability of Members and witnesses alike to discuss such critical matters as what constitutional provisions actually set the boundaries of executive power, and what Bush may have done to warrant their invocation. But other than that...

Chairman Conyers wasn't originally inclined to hold any kind of hearing related to Kucinich's resolutions, but a combination of factors eventually made that an untenable position -- though unfortunately none of those factors likely reflect any newfound interest among most Members of Congress in actually impeaching either Cheney or Bush. But with three of Kucinich's four resolutions all referred to Conyers' committee by actual roll call votes on the floor rather than by the usual process of designation by the Speaker in consultation with the parliamentarian, treating those referrals as mere pro forma designations and letting the bills die of neglect (as is the chairman's prerogative) became more difficult to do.

In addition, the cosponsorship of some of those resolutions by members of the Judiciary Committee (Tammy Baldwin, Robert Wexler, Luis Gutierrez, Steve Cohen, Keith Ellison, Shiela Jackson-Lee, Maxine Waters), and especially the explicit pressure for hearings by Wexler, Baldwin and Gutierrez, made it impossible to maintain the position that there was no interest among the membership in having those hearings.

Finally, there was the tactic eventually employed to greater effect by Kucinich, taking advantage of the rules permitting any Member of the House to bring a resolution directly proposing impeachment to the floor at any time as a highly privileged motion, and forcing the Speaker to designate a time within two days after the motion is noticed for its consideration. That gave Kucinich the ability to threaten, after his Cheney resolutions were ignored by the Judiciary Committee, to follow up his first Bush resolution with a second one if the Committee didn't act within 30 days. In theory, he could have threatened an even shorter timeline for the second one, or indeed to bring one every single day until he got what he was looking for. But with that being clear to everyone, granting the hearing (but refusing to call it an impeachment hearing) must certainly have seemed the simplest solution. Especially if you can schedule them for a Friday when there are no votes in the House, so that fewer people will want to stick around to participate or follow along.

So who are the witnesses at this non-impeachment hearing?

Witness List

Panel I:

Hon. Dennis Kucinich
U.S. House of Representatives
10th District, OH

Hon. Maurice Hinchey
U.S. House of Representatives
22nd District, NY

Hon. Walter Jones
U.S. House of Representatives
3rd District, NC

Hon. Brad Miller
U.S. House of Representatives
13th District, NC

Panel II:

Hon. Elizabeth Holtzman
Former U.S. House of Representatives
16th District, NY
Department of Justice

Hon. Bob Barr
Former U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
7th District, GA

Hon. Ross C. "Rocky" Anderson
Founder and President
High Roads for Human Rights

Stephen Presser
Raoul Berer Professor of Legal History
Northwestern University School of Law

Bruce Fein
Associate Deputy Attorney General, 1981-82
Chairman, American Freedom Agenda

Vincent Bugliosi
Author and Former Los Angeles County Prosecutor

Jeremy A. Rabkin
Professor of Law
George Mason University School of Law

Elliott Adams
President of the Board
Veterans for Peace

Frederick A. O. Schwarz, Jr.
Senior Counsel
Brennan Center for Jutice at NYU School of Law

Interesting. Jeremy A. Rabkin is a Constitutional Law professor who doesn't appear to have a law degree. It's by no means impossible to teach ConLaw without one. But I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. GMU Law. Gee, I wonder who suggested him?

Panel I looks interesting too. Walter Jones is a name I wouldn't have expected to see there, though I know he's been both rather remorseful about the Iraq war and outspoken about it, since his long ago "freedom fries" days. Hinchey has been very vocal in the past with questions about the process by which DOJ claims to have "authorized" the NSA's illegal domestic spying program. Kucinich, of course, is Kucinich. And Brad Miller will be there to discuss two pieces of legislation he's introducing to address the Bush "administration" power grabs: one to authorize the Congress to ask the courts to appoint a special prosecutor in cases when the DOJ refuses to press contempt of Congress charges, and one to require notice to Congress when the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) issues an opinion advising the executive that it may ignore statutory law (though I suppose we might wonder why they wouldn't ignore that law, too).

Finally, a note on what not to expect: the "L word." Many people watching the hearings will wonder at some point why no one is just coming out and saying Bush lied. There's extensive precedent in the House against "personal abuse, innuendo, or ridicule of the President."

Personal abuse, innuendo, or ridicule of the President, is not permitted. Under this standard it is not in order to call the President, or a presumptive major-party nominee for President, a "liar" or accuse him of "lying". Indeed, any suggestion of mendacity is out of order. For example, the following remarks have been held out of order: (1) suggesting that the President misrepresented the truth, attempted to obstruct justice, and encouraged others to perjure themselves; (2) accusing him of dishonesty, accusing him of making a "dishonest argument", charging him with intent to be intellectually dishonest, or stating that many were convinced he had "not been honest"; (3) accusing him of "raping" the truth, not telling the truth, or distorting the truth; (4) stating that he was not being "straight with us"; (5) accusing him of being deceptive, fabricating an issue, or intending to mislead the public; (6) accusing him of intentional mischaracterization, although mischaracterization without intent to deceive is not necessarily out of order. [Notes omitted]

And here's something that may cause a bit of trouble:

Although wide latitude is permitted in debate on a proposition to impeach the President, Members must abstain from language personally offensive; and Members must abstain from comparisons to the personal conduct of sitting Members of the House or Senate. Furthermore, Members may not refer to evidence of alleged impeachable offenses by the President contained in a communication from an independent counsel pending before a House committee, although they may refer to the communication, itself, within the confines of proper decorum in debate. [Notes omitted]

I'm not sure what kind of latitude is permitted in a hearing that's convened solely because of a pending proposition to impeach the president, but which purports not to be on that subject, but even the above rule doesn't appear to leave a lot of room for, you know, actually discussing what it is that people will be there to discuss.

All of these precedents, though intended to govern debate on the House floor, will likely be applied similarly to questioning and testimony in the Judiciary Committee. So you may have to get your fix of the "L word" from the press conferences afterward. And depending on what kind of stink, if any, Republicans raise and how Conyers deals with it, most of the other words you want to hear, too. Fair warning.

The hearings will be available via streaming video at the House Judiciary Committee website, and Pacifica Radio's coverage begins at 9:00 am EDT, and will be streamed live at and and on the air at KPFA (Berkeley), KPFK (Los Angeles), KPFT (Houston), WBAI (New York), and others TBD.

In the Senate, courtesy of the Office of the Majority Leader:

Convenes: 9:15am

9:15 am Immediately following the prayer and pledge, the Senate will proceed to up to 2 Roll Call Votes in relation to the following:

  • Motion to invoke cloture on S.3268
  • If cloture is not invoked on S.3268, motion to invoke cloture on the House message with respect to H.R.3221, the Housing legislation.

10:00am Filing deadline for all 2nd degree amendments [see this discussion of the different types of amendments] to S.3268, the Energy Speculation bill.

The Senate will likely stay in session over the weekend to finish any post-cloture debate on the above bills, and perhaps begin the process of getting the "Coburn Omnibus" (S. 3297) to the floor for next week.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 06:01 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for the rundown, Kagro X (7+ / 0-)

    Will you be attending or live blogging?

    •  Watching with the rest of you. (7+ / 0-)

      I understand there will be a diary-based liveblog.

      •  I Better Not Run the Risk (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        conchita, Floja Roja, ballerina X

        or watching or listening to this while at work. The stream of "blue" language coming from me may not be entirely appropriate in an "office setting."

        "The Use of Unnecessary Violence Has Been Approved." Keith Olbermann

        by CityLightsLover on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 06:36:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Do you know.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Floja Roja

        ... if the hearing will be on Channel 1 or Channel 3 on C-SPAN online?

        I'm having problems getting WMP to play, and the RealPlayer only works on the smallest on-screen picture.  I normally like WMP better because I can enlarge it to full screen and still usually get a clear resolution to the picture.


        by NonnyO on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 06:58:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting that you call out Mr. Rabkin and GMU. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hiro, lawman

        All of Mr. Rabkin's books, according to his GMU bio, are published by AEI (as in American Enterprise Institute).

        This is unsurprising, because George Mason U. is a haven for neoliberal orthodoxy (i.e. contemporary Libertarianism). My personal experience with it is through the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS), which puts on seminars to indoctrinate and subsume college students into a network of ideologically motivated social climbing. That is, they arrange career fast tracking for ideologically similar individuals -- injecting them into academia, government, etc. below the radar. The IHS is funded by infamous right-wing ideologues like the Koch brothers and the Scaife family.

        I know this because I attended one of these seminars, run by pseudo-intellectual professors who wouldn't have made it to their positions of prominence (full professorships at esteemed places like Duke U. and the U. of Virginia) were it not for the right-wing's ironic adoption of ideological affirmative action. This is probably part of the reason why Mr. Rabkin doesn't need a law degree, and look at him now: invited to speak before the House.

        Wikipedia has a remarkably accurate entry on the IHS.

        I always marvel at the ability of these folks to favor the economic side of their "liberal"-ness, rather than the social. For example, they'll support an economic supply-sider regardless of his opposition to gay rights or reproductive freedom, which are both tenets of the social half of neoliberalism.

        Who's side do you think he's on?

        •  I actually graduated from GMU law. (0+ / 0-)

          I know these dudes.

          •  Well, I went to Cornell ... (0+ / 0-)

            and Professor Rabkin had quite a record there, too. It would be interesting to know which Republican member chose him.

            So, who are Presser and Schwartz? And whose side will Barr be on?

            •  To be clear, Rabkin was after my time. (0+ / 0-)

              I don't know the other two. Barr will likely actually be in favor of placing limitations on executive power, though perhaps not explicitly pro-impeachment. At least today.

              •  Were the things (0+ / 0-)

                FedUpDan is saying above about GMU Law accurate, in your experience?  That is, did it have such a libertarian slant when you were there?

                I went to another law school with a distinct political slant, which I really appreciated, 'cause in a country where justice is blind and completely apolitical, there's nothing inappropriate about that or anything.  

                To be fair, maybe only I noticed because the slant there went against my personal politics.  But I don't think so.  I'd like to hope not.

            •  And who would choose (0+ / 0-)

              Vincent Bugliosi, who is just trying to sell his book, over Jonathan Turley or John Dean? Weren't the last two invited, or what? And I will bet Bugliosi volunteered to be there. Pffft.

              "That story is not worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

              by martyc35 on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 08:35:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  David Swanson is live-blogging at ADS (0+ / 0-)

        Join in!

        Vote Democrat. They meet expectations mostly.

        by dikyzr on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:50:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Clinton (7+ / 0-)

    During the "Monica" impeachment, didn't many Republicans violate the inuendo rule?  Methinks that rule is as strong as the committee chair wants it to be.

  •  the 35 articles were reduced to 1? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    i was happy to hear of the hearing being made, but was upset when i read only 1 article out of the 35 would be heard.

    --plays well with otters

    by jeepndesert on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 06:14:47 AM PDT

  •  Going nowhere...but needs to be said (11+ / 0-)

    This will be a long overdue attempt to state some of the Bush administration's most egregious hacks at the Cponstitution and the country's political system but the committee meeeting itself is ridiculous as laid out here. This is reminiscent of the days when we had to hold our meetings in the basement.

    Can't even include the Presdident lied? Gee, thats not what the repugs were doing in the 90s---how come they don't have to play by the rules and we do? I remember B1 Bob Dornan standing there and hacking at Clinton for hours.

    I've never understood the fear our Democratic leaders have towards the Bush administration---it was like th days when J Edgar Hoover had power. Bush must have the goods on pretty near everybody on our side for all the enthusiasm they show in taking it to him.

    Bless Kucinich for bring it up and sticking to it but the virtual lack of support from our "leaders" makes it a sideshow with no teeth.

    If Liberals really hated America we'd vote Republican

    by exlrrp on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 06:18:17 AM PDT

    •  ron paul's plane along with 5 other congressmen (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lysias, skyounkin

      did make an emergency landing due to air decompression yesterday.

      dennis kucinich is very brave in what he is doing.

      jfk was killed by the cia and has been recently leaked by e. howard hunt his deathbed.

      wasn't hoover the director of the fbi under jfk? who suddenly ceased investigations of the cia after jfk was assassinated?

      --plays well with otters

      by jeepndesert on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 06:28:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  . (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Floja Roja, jeepndesert

        Fight the stupid! Boycott BREAKING diaries!

        by VelvetElvis on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 06:38:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Damn it! How'd that cat get hold of my hat?!? (0+ / 0-)

          It's a conspiracy, that's what it is!

          •  Beams!!Don't look the cat directly in the eyes! (0+ / 0-)

            This is obviously a CIA trained cat - code named MAJIK.
            A real conspiracy theorist would note that when JFK tried to return US money to US Treasury control, issuing silver certificates, it was a matter of weeks until the treasonous grassy knoll episode, yes one where GWB was found in pictures with Howard Hunt.  

            And don't forget how soon after the UFO craze swept onto the scene, along with the Beetles, distracting millions of folks from the assassinations.  It was these CIA-trained cats with their big saucer eyes.  Millions were let loose on the unsuspecting public...and most of us looked into those big eyes, relinquishing control.  Stephen King figured it out,  tried to tell us, but was forced to alter the story.

            When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

            by antirove on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 10:55:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Going nowhere ... because Pelosi is complicit. (0+ / 0-)

      She bought into the intel and torture bullshit and now is protecting her butt from her complicity.  Cheney's got her bought and paid for.  And the National Democratic Party is on board with shielding Pelosi from this crime of abetting a war criminal.

      Any questions?

      Vote Democrat. They meet expectations mostly.

      by dikyzr on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 08:14:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Kucinich ought to hold a hearing in the basement (0+ / 0-)

      That would help demonstrate what "off the table" has done to our formerly representative government.

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 09:11:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  From everything I can see of what he's doing, (0+ / 0-)

        and the way he's going about it, and for all the attention the media (and everybody else) will give it, it might as well be in the basement.

        This is mostly not his fault, natch.  But I can't help but wonder why he isn't making a bit more ballyhoo about it.

  •  Frankly (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    conchita, NonnyO, CityLightsLover

    It's up to the Bosses, who Hire their representatives, You, Us, to DEMAND ACOUNTIBILITY!!

    And right now, and for a long time, we've been Witness to a Country with No Backbone and Running on Fear of itself!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    McCain Uses POW Status as Sword & Shield

    by jimstaro on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 06:20:24 AM PDT

    •  I'm not quite sure what you have in mind. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I haven't shut up on this subject for better than a year now, and I'll tell you, I've made demands on brick walls which were more responsive.  I've demanded away till I was blue in the face.  They don't give a shit.  They're not going to hold anybody accountable, period, end of story.

  •  intersting point.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    bob barr was part of the committee in favor to impeach clinton. now he is part of the committee in favor to impeach bush.

    i actively campaigned with the libertarian party against bob barr in 2002 for his anti-medical marijuana views. now he is a libertarian presidential candidate and is a lobbyist for the marijuana policy project, which supports medical marijuana legalization.

    his transformation is interesting.

    --plays well with otters

    by jeepndesert on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 06:20:58 AM PDT

  •  Thanks Kargo, but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify, CityLightsLover, GreenDog

    What does this mean?

    Members may not refer to evidence of alleged impeachable offenses by the President contained in a communication from an independent counsel pending before a House committee

    For instance?

    If the Coastal Republic had believed in the existence of virtue, it could at least have aspired to hypocrisy. - Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age

    by BehereBenow on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 06:31:22 AM PDT

  •  People would have a lot more respect for congress (5+ / 0-)

    if they would stand up and call Bush a liar.  

    I get that it's about decorum, but the inability to call a spade a spade makes them look complicit.

    Fight the stupid! Boycott BREAKING diaries!

    by VelvetElvis on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 06:33:03 AM PDT

  •  A way to get around the restrictive ground rules (4+ / 0-)

    Would be extreme effusiveness in praising Bush and Chaney for the wise choices they have made made in breaking certain laws and the many brave decisions that they were forced to make in secret in order to protect us from threats that didn't exist.  The statements that they have made which some would claim contradict the truth are, after all, a sign of their deep respect for the rule of law.  These men were motivated by their well-documented love of our constitution and the balance of powers between our branches of government.  By going overboard in praise of these giants of the executive branch -- whose equals have never been seen since our nation's founding -- perhaps the required points can be made without Conyers shutting down the meeting.

    This is an election ... not an auction.

    by CalbraithRodgers on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 06:33:47 AM PDT

  •  Go Dennis!! (4+ / 0-)

    Impeachment is the ONLY recourse!!

  •  Oh Condi... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Shopping lures Rice after office

    When Condoleezza Rice's term in office ends, she is looking forward to "getting back to shopping", she says.
    "It's a great pastime, shopping. I love it, even if I don't buy anything. I just love going to the stores to look."

    Maybe if another hurricane wreaks havoc this year she'll get her opportune chance to shop again.

    "Its a grave digger's song, Praising God and State. So the Nation can live, So we all can remain as cattle. They demand a sacrifice..." -Flipper

    by Skid on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 06:36:58 AM PDT

    •  Oops, this isn't the open thread! (0+ / 0-)

      I don't even know where I'm postin' anymore!!!

      "Its a grave digger's song, Praising God and State. So the Nation can live, So we all can remain as cattle. They demand a sacrifice..." -Flipper

      by Skid on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 06:38:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Kagro, I just want ... (6+ / 0-)

    ... you to know how much I appreciate what you do!
    Thank you!

  •  Bruce Fein (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    conchita, zett, BehereBenow

    ... should carry some kind of clout, I would think, given his past role in impeachment hearings.  He was quite good when he and John Nichols were interviewed by Bill Moyers about impeahment.

    And the Congress Critters can get as inventive with language as they want, but the truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth, is that Georgie, Dickie, Condisleazy, Rummy, et al., have LIED - repeatedly, for almost eight years - and then they LIED to cover up the original LIES.  When it comes to that gang of lying war criminals, there's no personal abuse issue; it's just a matter of telling the truth about them once and for all, which no one seems willing to do, least of all the miscreants in Lamestream Media.


    by NonnyO on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 06:42:36 AM PDT

  •  Wait, a law professor without a JD (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    At an ABA accredited law school? Is that even allowed under ABA rules?

    •  I didn't think so. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But I could be wrong.

      GMU Law, by the way, is known for two things:

      1. having a well respected program in patent law, and
      1. being a hotbed of Federalist Society douchebags.

      Patent law, or at least the procurement branch of patent law, is the one area of law where a non-J.D. can practice (the PTO will register anyone with an undergrad degree in an approved science who passes a test).  But no non-J.D. patent agent is going to teach con law.  So my guess is the guy is a Federalist Society douchebag.

      "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."-GWB

      by BTP on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:39:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The link to watch didn't work (0+ / 0-)

    Anyone else having a problem with the link?

    "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

    by JFinNe on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 06:56:33 AM PDT

  •  OOoopps? (0+ / 0-)

    The what is more important than the where. Shopping is what Americans do best these days. Whether for votes, weapons, countries, or the K-Mart blue light special we can out shop the world. Dennis wants to take away Bush's credit card. This won't be pretty.
     It will be interesting but short and brutal.

    Everybody eats, nobody hits.

    by upperleftedge on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 06:57:31 AM PDT

  •  Its going to be shown on CSpan, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    since the House is not in session.

    by Alizaryn on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 06:59:16 AM PDT

  •  Dennis's distraction (0+ / 0-)

    Yeah, Bush should be impeached. He should be convicted in the Senate. He should be tossed out of office and then--I agree with Bugliosi-- prosecuted for murder. And so what? Guns should be banned, too, but we tossed that one for now because the people aren't buying it.  

    We have an election to win. It is not a slam dunk. A two-front war is distracting. It's bad politics and bad strategy, and self-indulgent. Nothing would make me happier than to see Bush behind bars where he belongs, except one thing: The inauguration of Barack Obama. First things first.

  •  I think it safe to say that (0+ / 0-)

    the Conyers hearings are nothing more than appeasement, that there will be no substantive action by the House to come afterwards as a result of that hearing.  The bottom line is, no matter how it is sliced and spun, the House (especially the leadership) has already reached a (political) decision that Bushco will get a pass, no matter how vile the offense.

    If that is the case, as I believe it to be, holding these hearings will not only fail as a vehicle for revelation, they are simply a waste of taxpayer time and money... there will be no accountatility, no discovery of the mendacities of this administration, no serious consideration that might result in modification/rollback of legislation that has enabled this 'imperial administration'.  So, why even bother?

    OMO.  Cheers:)

    Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

    by wgard on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:01:08 AM PDT

    •  Give us an accounting. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Floja Roja

      It's always the fall-back position that these things are a "waste of taxpayer time and money."

      So, how much?

      Given that the House is not in session today, how much time is being "wasted" with this hearing, as opposed to any other?

      •  I will give you an 'accounting'. (0+ / 0-)

        Since the 'outcome' is pretty much certain, even $1 is too much!  And I guess the use of lighting would at least come to that.

        IF the outcome is different than I foresee, then I will gladly apoligize to Rep Conyers, you, and all on dKos.  Otherwise, even $0.01 is too much, for not only is it a waste of money, it is an exercise in deflating the expectations of those who have hope that the results might have substance.  (If I am wrong, I will apologize to those, too... and I desparately hope I am wrong.  But, I think both history and reality are on my side in this one.)

        Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

        by wgard on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:22:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Really? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rlochow, JG in MD

          Brad Miller has two bills in the hopper that need a hearing before the Judiciary Committee in order to move forward: one that would authorize the Congress to ask the courts to provide a special prosecutor when the DOJ refuses to prosecute contempt of Congress charges, and one that would require the OLC to report to Congress when it issues an opinion advising the White House that statutory law may be ignored under the president's "inherent powers."

          Which one of these two bills is a waste of even one cent, please?

          Is it possible that what you think has to be the outcome might not really be it?

          •  Nice. (0+ / 0-)

            What chances do you give for either being made into law?  Especially with this administration?

            You are especially knowledgeable of the operations of the Congress.  So, I ask... the courts to provide a special prosecutor?  The courts are not in the business of prosecution or defense; that is not their role.  And the Congress in the role of prosecutor?  No, not the role of the Congress, either.  Prosecution is an executive function... executive meaning one who executes the law.

            Now, I think the idea of the OLC reporting to the Congress is probably a good one, and that it may stand a chance of becoming law, albeit a very slim chance, and certainly not with this administration.  But it raises significant issues, as well, most notably in the separation of powers, IMO.

            Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

            by wgard on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:52:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Miller is aiming at the next Congress. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Because this president would likely veto such bills. But why wait to have the hearings, when there's this opening? And why not pass this and let Bush veto it before the election?

              Congress can, of course, act as its own prosecutor, despite what you think its role is. That's well settled. Inherent contempt has a long history in this country, stretching back nearly to the founding. In fact, the modern statutory contempt of Congress procedure was an adaptation that sought to save the Congress the trouble of acting as its own prosecutor, which authority it had exercised numerous times throughout its history.

              And special prosecutor laws, too, are also well within the bounds of the law. The courts wouldn't be doing the prosecuting in the case of the assignment of a special prosecutor any more than they were in any of the previous special prosecutor or independent counsel cases. That's just a nonsensical objection.

              •  You may think it nonsensical. (0+ / 0-)

                And it may prove to be.  On the other hand, I suggest you just wait a bit and see how this all plays out, yes?  Then we will both know what was nonsensical and what actually took place.


                Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

                by wgard on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 08:00:01 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No need to wait. (0+ / 0-)

                  The objection that having a court assign a special prosecutor is out of bounds is a settled question.

                  •  I do not think it a settled (0+ / 0-)

                    at all.  I think it is a question that had not been fully addressed, not to date fully challenged, not an issue that has been directly addressed before the SCOTUS.  If you have information otherwise, that clearly shows it as a settled question, I would appreciate the citations.  (I always entertain the notion that I may be wrong, and if I am, will willingly eat humble pie.)

                    Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

                    by wgard on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 08:20:28 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Other than Morrison v. Olson, you mean? (0+ / 0-)
                      •  I have read Morrison et. al. (0+ / 0-)

                        And I have noted that the dissent, by Justice Scalia, was very critical as to it's effects on the Separation of Powers.

                        I would also submit that there has been an erosion of support for that decision since it was made, both politically and judicially.

                        I ask you, if that case were to present to the present SCOTUS, absent stare decisis, how do you think the ruling would go?

                        I would also submit that SCOTUS rulings are not sacrosanct.  There have been numerous 'reversals', though disguised in the eloquence of legal language, but reversals nontheless.

                        Nor have SCOTUS rulings always been in agreement with the plain language reading of the Constitution.  One of the most recent examples, IMO, is in Kelo vs New Loundon, which ultimately, I think will not be allowed to stand... whether the erosion be by legislative action or court decisions that chip at it.  (I happen to agree with Justice Thomas' dissent, though it is almost never that I find myself in agreement with him... amazing that court rulings do indeed make strange bedfellows!)

                        As one final point, SCOTUS rulings have, historically, had varying degrees of compliance/effect.  After all, the SCOTUS ruled agains line item vetoes during the Clinton adminstration, but it has been silent at to GWB.  (Only because there has been no case presented to the courts and elevated to SCOTUS level, I think).

                        Some SCOTUS rulings have in effect been rendered moot by the changing social fabric and changes in law, and after, the SCOTUS has had cases ruling in favor of the latter public sentiment and law versus what might be expected simply on the basis of stare decisis.

                        I would add, there has been serious dissent with the Morrison vs Olsen decision, both political and legislative.  Frankly, I do not expect that decision to stand unmodified, if seriously challanged... and especially not with the court as currently configured.

                        As a practical matter, the Morrison decision has already been rendered moot.  The issues revolved around the powers and autonomy of independent prosecutors; since the Independent Counsel Act has expired, and since this AG refuses to appoint any special prosecutor, where is the arguement?  

                        Nothing is going to happen, period.  Status quo with lots of smoke and mirrors (and perhaps rhetoric)... but nothing more.  Conyers knows that at the outset, and so does the House leadership.  I am sure the leadership is orchestrating this whole drill, which will amount to nothing.  But it still has a cost, both a dollar cost and a cost in faith in government.

                        Again, I may be wrong.  I suppose we will both see in the next few days, yes?

                        OMO, mind you.  Cheers:)    

                        Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

                        by wgard on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 09:00:38 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  It was a 7-1 decision. (0+ / 0-)

                          And Scooter Libby just tried to argue what you argued, and lost, the court citing Morrison.

                          •  And... (0+ / 0-)

                            Scooter Libby wasn't in a position to dispute the Independent Counsel law, which had expired. He was prosecuted by a special prosecutor, straight up. The court still cited Morrison, because the legal reasoning is still directly applicable.

                            Can Supreme Court precedents be overturned? Sure. But until they are, they're considered settled law. Which is what I said it was.

                            Because it is.

                          •  Do you just love it . . . (0+ / 0-)

                            When the answer is "read the dissent"?

                            Not a lawyer, just the loving daughter-in-law of one.

                            Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living~~Mother Jones

                            by ttmiskovsky on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 09:23:21 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Always interesting. (0+ / 0-)

                            There's another term I use for dissents: "not the law."

                          •  Only when convenient (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            JG in MD

                            On another topic, I think that the rise of corporate power, in the Gen. Butler War is a Racket vein, is possibly behind some of the worst of what is going on now. Read any arguments that the 1886 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company (118 U.S. 394) did not actually grant corporate person hood, and that this doctrine derives from a mistaken interpretation of a Supreme Court clerk's notes?

                            It give them free speech rights and therefore political contribution rights. I know, otherwise the income tax would not apply. So raise capital gains rates. This court does not seem to hold that Marbury v. Madison is settled law.

                            Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living~~Mother Jones

                            by ttmiskovsky on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 12:03:34 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  I might add, (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          Conyers' hearings, et. al., are all political theater, nothing more.

                          Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

                          by wgard on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 09:03:16 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  You already said that. (0+ / 0-)

                            And then I asked you about the airing for the Miller legislation. Then you argued that that was theater too, because Scalia had once written a lone dissent in the controlling case establishing the legal basis of Miller's bill.

                            I understand where you're going, but it's not working out. The fact that the Supreme Court could one day change its mind and overrule a 7-1 decision on a fundamental point of constitutional order isn't really a very good reason not to legislate under the current and controlling order.

                          •  Oh, I agree with the need to legislate. (0+ / 0-)

                            There is no guarantee that such legislation will be upheld, either in practice or in any challenge to it that rises to the SCOTUS.  

                            But, I also am a proponent of the Separation of Powers as embodied within the Constitution, and I am not sure that Congressional action, even with legislation, will ultimately meet the test against that benchmark.  So, in that sense, I have reluctance as to legislation, unless very carefully crafted so as not to introduce conflict between the roles of the three branches of government.

                            Those reservations aside, the kabuki theater of the 'hearing' of the Conyers committee will, IMO, do absolutely nothing to further the case for accountability of the Exectutive, either legally or in practical terms.  That is why I deem them a waste of time and money... and to what end?  Will there be impeachment?... no.  Will there be criminal prosecutions?... no.  Will there be accountability in any form?... not likely.  So, what purpose do they serve?

                            Look at the witness list you, yourself, posted... mostly just opinion and meaningless.  How could there be a true investigation, true accountability with a witness list so constrained, so little evidentiary material presented?  Would you compare this with the investigation of the Church Committee, where although there was not an issue of accountability, the was an in-depth effort to reign in an out-of-control executive?  I think not, and further, I doubt there will be any legislative actions to come from it, as well.  Of course, I could be wrong.

                            Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

                            by wgard on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 09:28:56 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It's not an investigatory hearing. (0+ / 0-)

                            Why would you hold it to that standard?

                            It's not even an impeachment hearing. I'd bet this hearing falls far short of the mark of literally millions of objectives that it also does not share.

                            As for separation of powers jurisprudence, there's a significant body of law settled at the nexus where the three branches overlap. It's that overlap that actually constitutes the system of checks and balances we're all so fond of.

                            Really, the idea that this is such an egregious waste of time and money that it deserves to be shut down on that basis is ridiculous. Nobody's getting paid overtime here. It's Friday. (And they wouldn't be paid overtime even if it was Saturday, by the way.)

                            Miller's legislation needs a hearing, and it should get one. Now it has. And it's gotten some context, too.

                            If you're going to start going back over other hearings in other committees and asking for your money back on hearings on legislation that didn't pass, well, I guess that'd be interesting. But not a particularly useful constraint on the legislative prerogative. Nor one particularly attuned to its traditional breadth.

                          •  You are absolutely correct. (0+ / 0-)

                            Conyers' hearing is not truly investigatory.  And it will not support impeachment.  And, looking at the witness list proposed, it is not even objectively 'fact finding'.  Nor will it result in any legislation.  So, I will turn the question back to you, what is the point?  Perhaps you can tell me.  (I personally think it generates false hopes of possible accountability, at taxpayer expense, with not identifiable outcome as even a goal.  And as for 'overtime', etc., I personally would prefer the time being spent on matters where there might be a difference being made, not tilting at windmills.)

                            Late here, so I will likely exit.  But thank you, Kargo, for a lively exchange on this.  I mean that sincerely.  It does serve a purpose, this honest exchange of views, if not for you, for me... as it forces me to clarify my own views and bliefs, and to (perhaps) discard those which in the face of logic and argument are not tenable.

                            Good exchange (from my POV, maybe not yours). I would personally like to seem more of this kind of give and take on dKos, to really see some delving into issues, rather than just opionion, but again, only my preference.  (I suspect there would be little following, as it seems people have opinions but are not willing to either think or consider different views.)


                            Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

                            by wgard on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 09:55:33 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I think Miller's bills are likely to move. (0+ / 0-)

                            The leadership has tapped him for work on the contempt issues in the past, and he likely will have the ear of Administrative and Constitutional Law subcommittee chair Linda Sanchez on this, as they've worked on this and other issues together in the recent past.

                            But the underlying point of the hearing was described in the main story: Kucinich demanded a hearing or else he'd continue bringing impeachment resolutions on the floor and disrupting proceedings there. So they gave him a hearing.

                            In that sense, the hearing would actually very neatly address your initial objection about time and money. It's surely more costly to spend floor time on these resolutions than hearing time.

                          •  Perhaps you are correct on all counts. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            And I do admire and respect your mastery of the rules and workings that are employed by the elected politicians to control the agendas of the House and Senate, whether directly or obliquely.  Kudos for your diligence in that.

                            We may have disagreement on various points, but I think it clear that we share a goal... the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution.  So long as people accept those as the foundation, then any dissention or argument as to how to attain/maintain those fundamental goals is only a means of defining/sharpening the means of achievement/support.

                            I thank you for challenging me, my thoughts.  I wish more did so, in a respectful and civil manner, or course.  It is only through debate, honest debate, that the best can be attained... but all sides to it must commit to the basic premises, that is, objectivity, honesty, and an open mind.  (My mind... i.e., opinion... has been changed/modified many times, here, by the evidence and arguments presented by others.)

                            Thanks for the exchange, Kargo!  (Though in this case, you did not win me over.  I still think Conyers' 'hearings' kabuki with no value.:)

                            Personally, I appreciate your expertise, your writing, and your work.  (And I do not disagree with your views often, either:)

                            Take care.  Keep up the good work.  Cheers:)  

                            Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

                            by wgard on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 10:19:20 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

            •  I should add, (0+ / 0-)

              the Congress has one and only one role as a prosecutor... one that has 'not been on the table'.  Otherwise, the Constitution, nor stare decisis, give the Congress any prosecutorial role whatsoever... except to pass orders or contempt... which obviously the executive (this executive) is free to ignore.  As for inherent contempt, that is a whole different can of worms which the Congress (rightfully) seems loath to address, as it would place the Congress in a position that is clearly and directly adversarial to the Executive.  Having a particular right does not necessarily make it wise to exercise it.  The price of confrontation might simply be too high.

              Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

              by wgard on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:57:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No one's passing on the wisdom. (0+ / 0-)

                I'm passing on your assertion that the Congress has no powers to prosecute on its own initiative, and that's just flat wrong.

                It's a simple historical fact.

                It's not a "whole different can of worms" in the least. It's the identical can, whether Congress is loathe to make use of it or not.

    •  Conyers is no fool... (0+ / 0-)

      An serious attempt to impeach both Bush and Cheney at the same time would be politically disastrous.

      Next in line for the job would be Nancy Pelosi.  There is simply no way to go after both without making it look like a coup attempt.

      Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

      by dinotrac on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:16:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The title of your comment is debatable. (0+ / 0-)

        What is not debatable is that Conyers is first and foremost a politician!

        Frankly, I have little faith in him, other than as a politician.  As a 'champion of the Constitition'?  Give me a break!

        Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

        by wgard on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:25:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was only referring to the politician, (0+ / 0-)

          not as a Constitutional expert.

          Kucinich is a lot of things, but politically astute does not seem to be one of them.

          Being seen as trying to stage a palace coup in the months leading up to elections is not a smart move, especially from folks when Constitutional abuses by the current administration is one of the issues.

          Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

          by dinotrac on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:29:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  He's politically astute enough... (0+ / 0-)

            to have found himself a perch in Congress from which to do and say all the things that other Democrats fear are too dangerous.

            There's that.

            You disagree with him. Fine. I disagree with him on an awful lot of things, including an awful lot of what's fallen under the umbrella of impeachment.

            But he's got a seat in Congress and you and I don't. And he keeps it year after year despite being viewed as not being "politically astute."

            We might be wrong, at least about how we're defining that.

            •  If that's how you want to define it... (0+ / 0-)

              But politics is not the art of talking big, it's the art of getting things done.

              How much has Kucinich accomplished from that perch?

              I, by the way, have never claimed to be politically astute.

              OTH, it doesn't take a political rocket scientist to see that it's politically idiotic to make an effort to remove the top two elected officials of the other party in order for your own party to claim the White House (which, ahem, is how it would be portrayed) -- especially with an election coming up that you are going to win.

              Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

              by dinotrac on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 08:37:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Yes. (0+ / 0-)

            I certainly agree that Kucinich's move is almost two years too late.  And it is not politically astutue.  Which makes me wonder why this whole matter is being brought up at this late date?

            That said, even though a couple of years ago Conyers was all 'fire and brimstone', I have come to realize that he is simply nothing more than one more worthless politician, dispite his posing as a champion of the rule of law.

            Notice, there are some members of the Congress who I believe (at least to this point) do actually support the rule of law.  But, they seem to be in the minority.

            OMO.  Cheers:)

            Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

            by wgard on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:45:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  ruin McCain and the party (0+ / 0-)

        at this point in time the desired goal should be to hold hearings and ruin McCain's chances of getting elected and destroy the Republican party for the coming election.

        •  Impeachment hearings of both bush and (0+ / 0-)

          Cheney would not have that effect.

          It would be painfully easy to turn that back around on the Democrats and have it resonate with voters.

          Might not be enough to cost Obama the election, but why be so stupid as to take the risk?

          As things stand now, Obama is going to win.  He's probably going to win big. Stupid, self-defeating theatrics make no sense at all.

          Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

          by dinotrac on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 08:28:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Live on C-SPAN1 (0+ / 0-)

    The hearing is live right now on C-SPAN1 in Brooklyn on TimeWarner Cable channel 147.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:02:36 AM PDT

  •  for listening and intelligent comments (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    To listen online and get intelligent comments from progressives go to
    listen live

  •  I Believe Kucinich (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, North Coast Ohioan

    In England this week, Apollo 14 astronaut Dr Edgar Mitchell divulged that aliens and UFOs are real, that they're known to "the military and intelligence circles":

    It's been well covered up by all our governments for the last 60 years or so, but slowly it's leaked out and some of us have been privileged to have been briefed on some of it.

    Dennis Kucinich, vindicated by independent experts.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:11:03 AM PDT

  •  Watching Wexler (0+ / 0-)

    I'll be watching Robert Wexler (D-FL). Wexler has been almost as activist as Kucinich in driving for the impeachment of Bush/Cheney. Let's see what he looks like when we do it live.

    Wexler turned in a star session leading Obama's argument for the disposition of Florida's primary delegates this year. He was rigorous, clear and passionate, and the DNC R&B committee voted to accept his allocation - even as it cut his home state's delegation's power in half (while seating all of them).

    Wexler's been my tentative pick for VP, largely on his commitment to burn down the Cheney Bunker he'd get the keys to if he got the job. Let's see whether he's part of the solution today, or whether it's all easy handwaving to satisfy the "Constitution huggers" while his Party burns it for fuel on their way to the power monopoly trifecta in 2009.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:17:03 AM PDT

  •  Best commentator (Pacifica radio) said: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Pacifica radio will broadcast as long as the Committee meets today.

    The Committee's rules will make it hard to condense the material.

    Nobody's sure whether this event is aimed to do anything towards any action other than appeasing people who have been clammoring for it.

    I'm listening on the radio in NYC on 99.5FM (WBAI).

    Best Diary of the Year?

    by LNK on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:19:02 AM PDT

  •  "Greatest calamity...unlimited powers" (0+ / 0-)

    Founding Fathers quoted by Conyers....

    Having to submit to unlimited powers would be the greatest calamity.......

    Independent courts as protectors of our precious rights and liberties....

    Conyers says he has grave concerns........

    The politicization of the Dept. of Justice....misuse of signing statements, etc.

    Best Diary of the Year?

    by LNK on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:20:55 AM PDT

  •  Who is Kucinich's "mystery" guest? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I believe he mentioned some important foreign official.


  •  "I Believe the Evidence is Both Credible ..." (0+ / 0-)

    I believe the evidence is both credible and substantial - Conyers

    And that the most senior Bush officials must be compelled to answer directly for it (close paraphrase).

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:23:09 AM PDT

  •  Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party (3+ / 0-)

    We are about to watch the hardcore, pipe-hittin' Democrats who actually represent all of those most urgent reasons Americans voted their Party the majority now nearly 2 years ago.

    These are the Democrats who will be the only people resembling a check or balance on the Democrats' overwhelming majorities in House, Senate and White House starting next January.

    Watch them to see if they're really exercising all their powers within the majority, or if they're just for show: a bird in a gilded cage which sings for crumbs, knowing it'll never spread its wings.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:26:09 AM PDT

  •  Rabkin is a ringer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    He's the stereotype of the neocon Straussian, and was Ann Coulter's mentor at Cornell.
    •  Overton Troll (0+ / 0-)

      Coulter is an Overton Troll. Her career is designed to force the window of acceptable positions on public policy hard to the right, including previously unacceptable rightwing positions as "moderate" that now look "sane" in comparison to the new extreme established by Coulter. Nice work if you can get it.

      So I expect that Rabkin's job in this hearing is to drag the Overton Window further to his crazy outpost.

      Which means the way to destroy him and his Republican sponsors is to force them together, to either repudiate or to embrace each other. Either way, the troll has failed, and tainted the Republicans whose window he's dragging open.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:42:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So you can't call the prez a liar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlochow, GreenDog

    and general all-around low life?  How 'bout saying, "While others have accused the prez of being a liar and an all-around low life, I would not do that.  But we need to investigate these charges!"

    In an insane society, the sane man would appear insane

    by TampaCPA on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:35:50 AM PDT

  •  I just want to observe that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify, North Coast Ohioan

    when one party stands for liberty and another stands for authority, being non-partisan is not a virtue.  

    That's a point I would make to Dan Lundgren.

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:49:21 AM PDT

  •  Dan Lungren is correct.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DocGonzo, jeepndesert, Klick2con10ue

    if they have evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors, then start the freaking impeachment hearings.. not these stupid "impeachment light" hearings designed to impeach Bush in the press only.

    It's no wonder Congress has a 9% approval rating.

    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

    by Skeptical Bastard on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:52:03 AM PDT

    •  And whoe do you expect to provide the evidence? (0+ / 0-)


      Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living~~Mother Jones

      by ttmiskovsky on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 08:10:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ha! (0+ / 0-)

        If you are waiting for Rove, et al to come out an expose Bush (and themselves) then wtf kind of case do they have?

        "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

        by Skeptical Bastard on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 10:51:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Which is the point of Miller's legislation? (0+ / 0-)

          Contempt was DOJ to enforce since the 19th century as was testified. Documents withheld may be informative. Look at Boxer at EPW and EPA.

          There seems to be a circular argument going on that since there is no evidence of high crimes then Congress can not have an impeachment inquiry into whether there were high crimes.

          We mathematicians call that a Moebeus strip. Logicians site the All flying pigs speak Chinese paradox as being something that can be neither proven true or false.

          Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living~~Mother Jones

          by ttmiskovsky on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 11:51:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  God, we are so polarized (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Democrats: Bush is the worst president EVER, subverted the Constitution, lied, murdered.

    Republicans: Bush is a hero, has never lied about anything.

    •  *Some* Democrats (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Some Democrats say that.

      The "moderates" are those in the "middle": Bush is OK, we can live with him.

      That's precisely why Republicans stake out the extreme opposite position: to drag the "middle" further closer to theirs. To create a fake "middle" that's more Republican simply by lurching twice as far to the right, pumping the average to float it closer to where they are at home.

      Democrats have failed to counter that, and have let Republicans divide and polarize their own party. Into the outraged minority amidst the apathetic (and complicit) majority.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:58:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  James Madison Quotation for the moment: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify, DocGonzo

    Speech in Congress on Presidential Removal Power

    June 16, 1789

    The danger then consists merely in this: the president can displace from office a man whose merits require that he should be continued in it. What will be the motives which the president can feel for such abuse of his power, and the restraints that operate to prevent it? In the first place, he will be im-peachable by this house, before the senate, for such an act of mal-administration; for I contend that the wanton removal of meritorious officers would subject him to impeachment and removal from his own high trust. But what can be his motives for displacing a worthy man? It must be that he may fill the place with an unworthy creature of his own.

    Emphasis is mine.

    Best Diary of the Year?

    by LNK on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:53:31 AM PDT

  •  This Thread is NOT THE KUCINICH LIVEBLOG (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LNK, Batensmack

    The liveblog for this Kucinich hearing is in another thread, "Live Blog; Mothership; House Non-impeachment Impeachment Hearing.

    Please go to that thread. It's already got more than twice the comments as this one, and this one has comments on the other Congressional business that's not this hearing.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 08:02:34 AM PDT

  •  The Entertaining Hubris of Attorneys (0+ / 0-)

    There's a well respected professor in our History department who teaches several graduate courses in Classical Greek and Roman History.  His knowledge on the legal systems of those cultures make him a favorite among local attorneys and the university's Law School.

    But to imply someone needs a JD to speak with absolute authority on the American Constitution is patently ridiculous. There are a legion of professional academics who could read you chapter and verse on the particulars of Constitution, in far more detail than your average attorney could claim.

    Isn't John Yoo an attorney and teaches at Berkley? And what a glowing expamle of legal wisdom he is.

    •  That's why I didn't imply it. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I simply didn't recommend it. I made explicit that it wasn't necessarily a requirement.

      Also, most Constitutional Law professors who have JDs aren't what you'd ordinarily describe as "your average attorney," are they?

      You could probably teach a reasonably comprehensive Constitutional Law class from an entirely historical perspective, and even pick up the legal nuances along the way simply by making a close reading of the cases.

      But most law schools and law students probably find that it helps to actually also be trained as an attorney, so that the history is also read in a certain procedural and analytical context. It's not that you can't learn that context by coming to it from outside a system of formal training. But then, that's why I made that observation explicit in the post.

      •  Thank you for the clarification. (0+ / 0-)

        I appreciate your taking the time to respond.

        Of course I don't know you other than seeing your name on diaries, but from your comments it sounds like you must have the experience to reasonably make that kind of comparison; which I would assume entail an advanced degree beyond a regular JD (LLM; PhD; SJD; whatever alphabet soup you feel comfortable with).

        Is this the case?

        Of course I'm not trying to imply that by not having these credentials that your opinion isn't a valid one.

        Thanks in advance.

  •  Is anybody watching right now? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My computer's picture is so small I can't see who that joker was that just spoke...who was that idiot???

    •  Lamar Smith, Steven King, Trent Franks? (0+ / 0-)

      idiots all.

      David Swanson is blogging at for those who "have a bad view of the proceedings."

      Names are being named.....

      Vote Democrat. They meet expectations mostly.

      by dikyzr on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 08:22:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am sure this will be great theatre (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jeepndesert, Batensmack

    an appetiser what some diehards still hope will be the full banquet.  I think I'll just read the Cliff notes, seems too trivial an excercise to waste my Friday on.

    Don't get me wrong, I am not at all against impeachment, just know it's not going to happen and is just another opportunity for these incredibly boring bloviating wind bags to drone on and on.

    I do however feel and understand its importance in at least getting the proceedings into the Congressional record for posterity.  Something else for Bush's post presidential library. Probably the only thing he will have in common with Bill Clinton.  The reasons for the proceedings couldn't be starker!  and it will be an interesting subject for study three hundred years in the future to see how a stain on a blue dress was proof enough to bring actual impeachment against a sitting president, while torture, unprovoked war, war crimes, disregard and outright flouting of the Constitution is not considered sufficient grounds by this lily livered Congress.


    •  There will be some important bills discussed. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      soccergrandmom, Batensmack

      Brad Miller will be on hand to discuss something he's, you know, actually thinking of trying to do about some of this stuff.

      And you're not curious what a sitting Republican Member of the House who asked to come as a witness would say? Walter Jones, who's been so remorseful about the war and his vote for it?

    •  This is sooo f------ typical (0+ / 0-)

      thanks for sharing your apathy and defeatism!

      What kind of world are you leaving those Grandkids of yours?

      Elect a Democrat and everything will be sorta better...

      Vote Democrat. They meet expectations mostly.

      by dikyzr on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 08:19:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that is totally uncalled for and i (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cassidy3, Batensmack

        object strenuously. Keep my grandkids out of this discussion arsehole. You know absolutely nothing about me, my work, my energy in the election, so leave me be.

        If you cannot read a comment intended to be moidly amusing without being personally offensive and insulting then I'm gone. I don't belong here anyway. Not because i don't care, not because I don't vote as do my entire family Democratic but because there are people here, like you, who feel it necessaary to get personal and dictate to me how I should express myself.

        I have as much right as anyone else to express my feelings about the proceedings. I am not a sheep or a lemmiing following the leader over the cliff.

        As i said, i have better things to do than watch the hearings on television today. I also said i was fully for impeachment.

  •  Franks...equates Iran THE COUNTRY as terrorist. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leo in NJ, jeepndesert

    just my observation.

    MAKE TRADE FAIR DAMMIT! And! (1 mill+ names already)

    by siamesewonka on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 08:07:48 AM PDT

  •  I have one too, Ms. Lee! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Rep. Barbara Lee just held up her copy of the Constitution before her as she spoke. I have the same pocket copy sent to me by Sen. Byrd. I made a point to read it on the Fourth of July.

    Anybody else?

    Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living~~Mother Jones

    by ttmiskovsky on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 08:13:28 AM PDT

    •  i think i have a couple of copies (0+ / 0-)

      somewhere. i got it when i donated to the cato institute from my libertarian days.

      i use to keep it on my side table next to the antique statue of liberty clock/light.

      it's now in storage.

      --plays well with otters

      by jeepndesert on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 02:22:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Shall Any Man Be Above Justice? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    siamesewonka, jeepndesert

    "No point is of more importance than that the right of impeachment should be continued. Shall any man be above justice?"  George Mason, July 21, 1787

    Mason argued during the Federal Convention in 1787 that  "maladministration" should be included as an impeachable offense.  However, James Madison argued that this was too ambiguous and it was agreed that "maladministration" would be replaced with "high crimes and misdemeanors." Ironic, considering that nobody has any idea what this really means and the records from the convention show no real discussion of it.  British origins of the term are also not very explanatory.  

    Regardless, Mason and likely others as well, intended "high crimes and misdemeanors" to include political crimes and abuses of power.  Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist 65, mentioned in passing that he believed that impeachable offenses are "political" and that they constitute "injuries done immediately to the society itself" or "violations of the public trust."

    I think the founders would be shocked it has taken this long to start the impeachment process of George. W. Bush and saddened by the fact that it probably won't go anywhere.  Bit by bit the constitution is being eroded by the very people sworn to protect it.

  •  this administration must be impeached.. (3+ / 0-)

    keep bringing it guys.  this is extremely troublesome to me as a citizen..that this administration has violated so many of my rights.

    MAKE TRADE FAIR DAMMIT! And! (1 mill+ names already)

    by siamesewonka on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 08:20:48 AM PDT

  •  Hooray! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm glad to see attention to the impeachment hearings.  I think there needs to be some serious looking into's done and I thought there would just be a big unspoken movement to not say anything about it like too many other issues.  I even saw an article about this on FOX, f'ing FOX.  Thanks Kagro, happy to see this on the front of DailyKos.

  •  Actually, a hard core (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Republican I know indicated that he was impressed with Kuchinich - that the dude seemed to believe in what he was doing.

  •  Teaching ConLaw with or without JD (0+ / 0-)

    Interesting. Jeremy A. Rabkin is a Constitutional Law professor who doesn't appear to have a law degree. It's by no means impossible to teach ConLaw without one. But I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. GMU Law. Gee, I wonder who suggested him?

    Actually, a lot of ConLaw instructors are professors with PhDs in polisci.  ConLaw courses, the ones of which I know at least, explore the dynamics of decisions and their impact upon the polity, and not necessarily the legal and philosophical rationale.  Unless you're talking ConLaw courses in a Law School...but that's a whole different ball of wax.

    •  I am. (0+ / 0-)

      Talking ConLaw in Law School, that is. The George Mason University School of Law, in particular.

      •  RE: GMU LAW (0+ / 0-)

        Rabkin doesn't actually teach the Constitutional Law course that many are probably thinking of when they think about Con law in law schools.  That required course is taught by other professors at the school who do hold JDs.  Rabkin teaches International Law, War and  Law and a course called Founder's Constitution which is more of a historical look at the drafting of the constitution, federalist papers and such.  

        So he isn't teaching nuts and bolts constitutional law which as a recent law school graduate I would say should require a professor who has studied the law and read the case law.  He teaches more of history type classes (international law doesn't really have any body of "case law" so to speak and founder's constitution is clearly just a historical analysis course).  

        •  Is that right? (0+ / 0-)

          I was going by his bio page at GMU, which states flatly that he teaches Constitutional Law.

          But I suppose there's wiggle room there. He could teach in the general subject area, but not actually teach LAW 121 or 158, as GMUSL designates its traditional ConLaw classes.

          •  Its general (0+ / 0-)

            Yeah its just a general "topic".  While he does teach a class called "Founder's Constitution" it doesn't cover any constitutional case law (Madison v. Marbury, Roe v. Wade etc. etc.) and just does a historical analysis of the federal convention and federalist papers to try and analyze the ideas that went into the drafting and ratification of the constitution which a PhD in Government would certainly qualify him for.  

            The label is definitely misleading but he does not teach any law course which involves extensive case law analysis which would require a law background.  

            •  How much you want to bet... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              he doesn't do much to make that clear today?

              He'll likely be introduced in such a way that leaves viewers with the impression that he's "Constitutional Law" professor at GMUSL, which most people will probably take just the way I did.

              •  probably right (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                It will be interesting to see how he is introduced and I'm sure he won't make that distinction himself. Being a constitutional law professor holds a lot more sway then being a professor of history/government which is exactly what he is, just at a law school.

                That being said, if he is just arguing what impeachment meant to the founders he has just as much a basis as anyone with a JD.  There is not much case law on the subject of impeachment obviously and what is in the constitution itself and the founder's notes pretty much is the extent of the information on it.  

                Sadly, impeachment is rarely used.

              •  "Renowned Scholar in International Law" (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                No mention of Constitutional law cred.  Damn, should have taken that bet? Ha.

                Wow - he just said that if we think it was a premeditated attempt to take us to war in Iraq then we shouldn't be worried about all the other constitutional violations of the administration (i.e. FISA).  Wow.

  •  Elizabeth Holtzman (0+ / 0-)

    The full interview is at

    Go down the table to "Peter B Collins 7/22/08 H1" to download it.

    Elizabeth Holtzman, former member of House of Representatives who served on the Nixon impeachment panel, will be testifying Friday, July 25, when the House Judiciary Committee considers Dennis Kucinich's bill with a single Article of Impeachment charging George W. Bush invaded Iraq under false pretenses.

    We need an army of ten million grassroot active-ists ... We Can Solve - Al Gore

    by pollwatch on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 09:08:40 AM PDT

  •  Dennis Kucinich needs a Prayer not America. (0+ / 0-)

    Dennis Kucinich is a loony.

    As defined below:

    loon·y  /ˈluni/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[loo-nee] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation adjective, loon·i·er, loon·i·est, noun, plural loon·ies. Informal.
    –adjective 1. lunatic; insane.  

    1. extremely or senselessly foolish.  

    –noun 3. a lunatic.  

    You could add toon to it and it would paint a better picture of how to waste our tax dollars and time.

    The House Leadership is not much better for letting this go on, makes the Leadership look bad.

    Hell, not even any coverage on CNN's political web page! What does that say about

    •  3 & 4 (0+ / 0-)
      1. The loons are the size of a large duck or small goose, which they somewhat resembles in shape when swimming. Their plumage is largely black-and-white, with grey on the head and neck in some species, and a white belly, and all species have a spear-shaped bill.
      1. Loonie is the name Canadians gave the gold-coloured, bronze-plated, one-dollar coin shortly after its introduction in 1987. It bears images of a common loon, a well-known Canadian bird, on the reverse, and of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse.

      Oh, wait that is spelled wrong. Colour I mean.

      Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living~~Mother Jones

      by ttmiskovsky on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 01:36:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  in times of deceit (0+ / 0-)

      telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

      CNN's lack of coverage is proof that our media and system is corrupt beyond a reasonable doubt.

      imho, kucinich is a hero.

      --plays well with otters

      by jeepndesert on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 02:19:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't disagree with Impeach Both (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        But I do think that of his original 35 articles. IPCRESS seemed a troll so the last post was snark.

        Kucinich picked the wrong one in the second resolution, imho. What we know now about now some things is enough to go forward, I think I remember Fein saying at the end of the hearing.

        I. propaganda
        V. misspending funds
        VI. invading
        VII. invading
        VIII. invading
        XVII. detention
        XVIII. torture
        XXIII. posse comitatus
        XXIV. violating fisa

        Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living~~Mother Jones

        by ttmiskovsky on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 02:43:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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