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Many have condemned the Bush administration for its contempt for the Constitution.  Bush at best paid lip service to the Constitution, and when it inconvenienced him he simply ignored it.  And he did this while pursuing a dangerously partisan approach to governing.

And, many on this site have gazed into Bush's abyss such that it has gazed into them.

The hypocrisy exposed, below the fold.

The #1 diary on the Rec List suggests criminal prosecutions for two Republican Senators for holding up Eric Holder's nomination for Attorney General over the issue of torture prosecutions.  The two Republican Senators, Arlen Specter (R-Fear of Primary Challenge) and John Cornyn (R-Box Turtles) want to secure from him some kind of (non-legally binding) commitment to not prosecute Bush administration officials who waterboarded terrorism suspects.

Now, let me state the obvious:  Those two Senators are engaging in irresponsible, inappropriate, outrageous, reprehensible, and obnoxious behavior.  It is bad public policy and worse public morality.

And that has no bearing on their criminal culpability.  If we truly believe in the rule of law and reject Bushism, we have to adhere to that principle.  

Now, on to the actual 'reasoning' for a prosecution of two U.S. Senators.

Applying the Law to the Facts

It appears to me that Senator Arlen Specter and Senator John Cornyn have directly -- most assuredly indirectly -- offered or promised Eric Holder their support for (and/or ceasing their opposition to) his confirmation to the Office of U.S. Attorney General in an attempt to influence Mr. Holder to refrain from carrying out what would be his official acts and duties as Attorney General(4).

Questions

I believe it is the Responsibility of the American Press (and their respective constituencies, and the American citizenry-at-large) to ask directly -- and relentlessly, if necessary -- Senators Specter and Cornyn whether:

 1.  they are trying to influence or induce Attorney General Designate Holder to do or omit doing an official act/duty should he become Attorney General.  

 2.  they are offering or promising to support, or at least offering or promising to withdraw their opposition to, Mr. Holder's nomination in exchange for his pledging to omit doing what he would otherwise consider an official act/duty as Attorney General.  

I believe that these questions have already been answered and warrant an investigation of at least these two Senators, but going ahead and confronting them, "point blank", with these questions will either seal the deal, or have Senators Specter and Cornyn backpeddling as they each "lawyer-up" for the investigations, and perhaps indictments, that I believe are warranted.

The diary indeed goes to great pains to point out the first-year law school exercise of stating the facts, stating the law, and applying the law to the facts.

However, there is a small problem in the diarist's proposal:

The Constitution expressly forbids such a prosecution.

So, what does the diarist do?  Incredibly, he chooses to not include The United States Constitution as part of 'the law.'

Instead, we get this stunning and irresponsible statement as an allusion to the Constitution:

An additional note:  "immunity" from prosecution (or liability in a civil case) is, indeed, a defense.  Such defense may be raised and argued by the defendant in a criminal or civil case.  It is up to the Court to decide on a case-by-case basis whether an immunity defense applies.  It is not for the prosecutor to say, "Well, the defendant may plead immunity as a defense to an act of malfeasance, so I suppose I'll just not bother bringing the case."

Yes,   the diarist states that a prosecutor should bring a case, regardless of whether he believes there's a valid defense or privilege.  Indeed, it's the opposite.  Prosecutors take a pledge to uphold the Constitution of the United States, not ignore it.  Prosecutors abuse their office when they bring prosecutions when they believe the defendant is not legally culpable.

But, you ask, is the Constitution really this clear.

Yes, it is.

Section 6: The Senators and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United States. They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.

To put it another way:  Senators may not be prosecuted for anything they say or do in carrying out their duties as members of Congress.  This means they cannot be sued or imprisoned for what they say on the floor, how they vote, or why they vote.

Just to point out how crystal clear this is:  A member of Congress may not be prosecuted for making a speech because he was bribed to make it!

The essence of such a charge in this context is that the Congressman's conduct was improperly motivated, and, as will appear, that is precisely what the Speech or Debate Clause generally forecloses from executive and judicial inquiry.

U.S. v. Johnson, 383 U.S. 169, 180 (1966)

(Of course, he can be indicted for accepting a bribe, which the staute defines as "something of value" i.e. an asset of some monetary value)

Just to be clear:  Cornyn and Specter are seeking policy commitments from the nominee for Attorney General regarding how he would exercise his duties in office.  This is what confirmation hearings are about--getting the nominees on the record regarding how they will exercise discretion.  It is not bribery unless they personally receive some kind of personal financial benefit.  See this definition from the Third Court of Appeals:

The improper benefit may consist of money, property, services, or any other act which advances the official's personal or business interests, including a loan. See United States v. Kemp, 500 F.3d 257 (3d Cir. 2007).

 

http://www.ca3.uscourts.gov/...

Asking a nominee to make such commitments is commonplace.  As Adam B points out, Democrats sought commitments to refrain from prosecutions from Michael Mukasey during his hearings.

Now, that request is meritorious and the Cornyn/Specter is not.  But, that is a policy disagreement, and policy agreements can't be criminalized in a democracy.

Hastily added postscript:Republicans are seeking to delegitimize inquiries into the criminal and extra-Constitutional abuses under Bush as 'criminalizing politics.'  There is no better way to help their cause than to explicitly call for criminalizing politics.  If we can't draw the line, no one will.

Second hastily added postscriptTitle adjusted in light of relative positions on the Rec List.

Originally posted to Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:19 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Prosecuting members of Congress because (315+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Serephin, C S McCrum, Aexia, Ducktape, Chi, itsbenj, Odysseus, taylormattd, ben masel, Jackson L Haveck, Marie, AaronInSanDiego, houndcat, peggy, Dump Terry McAuliffe, kellogg, RunawayRose, cici414, bread and roses, Yoshimi, scrutinizer, Sherri in TX, ChurchofBruce, rhubarb, John Campanelli, bsmcneil, ThirstyGator, fightcentristbias, zenbowl, Zach in Phoenix, dhl, jalapeno, Gustogirl, sbwoodside, concernedamerican, missLotus, litho, profmatt, SamSinister, sarahnity, mikidee, ksh01, buckhorn okie, LeftofArizona, sberel, skertso, Larry Bailey, Miss Blue, MadEye, dmsilev, Boris Godunov, Cardinal96, asterlil, mayan, psnyder, Moody Loner, Lynwaz, Barth, BleacherBum153, wordene, thesunshinestateisdark, grannyhelen, electionlawyer, yet another liberal, JimWilson, catfood, Penny Century, mcfly, umasslefty, dufffbeer, Pohjola, dkmich, walkshills, count, ChiGirl88, Wife of Bath, The Gryffin, Josiah Bartlett, pat208, sebastianguy99, Limelite, cohe, rapala, vcmvo2, Danjuma, Bluesee, marina, radarlady, capelza, freakofsociety, tomhodukavich, clammyc, Simplify, Brooke In Seattle, Dobber, Bouwerie Boy, Heartcutter, jenesq, aaraujo, Inland, jeff in nyc, FunkyEntropy, cerulean, mph2005, FindingMyVoice, Pluto, jilikins, JanL, ZinZen, roubs, Matt in AA, Sister Havana, Jennifer Clare, trashablanca, Clytemnestra, Naranjadia, mr crabby, borkitekt, darthstar, smokeymonkey, Scientician, Im with Rosey, Wary, Albatross, tecampbell, nonnie9999, dedmonds, DJShay, imabluemerkin, max stirner, ER Doc, soccergrandmom, doinaheckuvanutjob, MBNYC, profh, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, blueintheface, DBunn, subav8r, J Royce, marykk, A Mad Mad World, dmh44, Must Have Been The Roses, Tork, gtghawaii, moosely2006, psychodrew, jds1978, Van Buren, Vincenzo Giambatista, LillithMc, buzzermaster, wildweasels, kath25, Matt Z, Jimdotz, jayden, crose, Moderation, MaskedKat, electric meatball, rg6, willb48, rogerdaddy, KingGeorgetheTurd, AJsMom, Justus, Shahryar, I, MikePhoenix, Johnny Nucleo, fromdabak, eamonsean, skohayes, Laughing Vergil, lineatus, Akonitum, beltane, Happy Days, royce, Cassandra Waites, evora, icebergslim, Jeff Y, tamasher, bflaff, envwq, temptxan, noddem, kyril, LCA, SpamNunn, echatwa, joy sinha, xysea, DixieDishrag, nklein, Athenocles, PLCOT, Grass, In her own Voice, ludwig van brickoven, rhutcheson, papicek, jay w, mdprogressive, prettygirlxoxoxo, 1BQ, danoland, arainsb123, Fonsia, Neon Vincent, Texanomaly, bushondrugs, classico, Clarknt67, BigAlinWashSt, Always Learning, letinstar, Stranded Wind, jodygirl, tnproud2b, SciVo, mrchumchum, mkor7, Mro, rini6, The Fonging, Daily Activist, Mercuriousss, delillo2000, obscuresportsquarterly, aaronlev14, sanglug, allep10, kevinpdx, beth2008, IDrankWhat, notquitedelilah, TheChop, babeuf, P Mikkelsen, Dragon5616, NoisyWithdrawal, Leftcandid, RinaX, Choom Gang Vets for Truth, Lazar, Norbrook, CalGal47, sulthernao, Sand in Florida, ratmandu, LaughingPlanet, The Jester, TheWesternSun, on board 47, Big Danny, Capostrophe, Dave1955, ATFILLINOIS, Eddie L, mtnlvr, ahyums, GayIthacan, Anne933, cee4, aggregatescience, rfall, halef, nickrud, bushwhacked, Floande, josebrwn, sidious666, jeanma, anaxiamander, 3rdshifter, Onomastic, stella0710, dmet, renbear, Relevant Rhino, Colorado is the Shiznit, kerflooey, heart of a quince, DParker, Hayduke Lives, Plox, LordRobin, msazdem, Sapphire1, Korinthios, nicethugbert, Olon, badaspie, Fickle, bookgirl, Coilette, kevin k, sallym, tresgatos, Nebraska68847Dem, two moms in Az, eppa, Wheever, athena47, HappyTexan, sjr1, ArmedLiberal, blunami, IL JimP, ilovecheese, pensivelady
    Hidden by:
    Uberbah

    we disagree with them is un-American.

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:20:09 PM PST

        •  His posture, attitude... (14+ / 0-)

          was definitely in that direction....

          •  The argument in the ref'd diary was political (69+ / 0-)

            It raised the possibility that there was a conspiracy to obstruct justice. Obviously, no one is prosecuting anyone based on a Kos diary.

            That diary was about raising arguments against Specter delaying Holder's nomination based on his apparent attempts to obstruct justice.

            Specter's speech on the Senate floor is protected speech. No one is suggesting that he be prosecuted for his speech.

            Look at the case made against Don Siegelman to see how Republicans have abused the DoJ. I am not suggesting that Democrats do the same.

            I am suggesting that we prosecute based on the rule of law and the Constitution. The DoJ needs to be independent of partisan politics.

            The diary being trashed here was making a political point, not actually suggesting a rush to political prosecution so the criticism is without merit.

            "It's the planet, stupid."

            by FishOutofWater on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:53:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, the diary (30+ / 0-)

              claimed what the Senators were doing could be prosecuted under a specific statute.

              The diary is flat out false. The conduct isn't criminal, it doesn't fit under the statute, and moreover, the senators' conduct is protected by the Speech and Debate clause.

              The diary is complete and utter crap. It is false and misleading. It is embarrassing to have something like that on the rec list. It should be unrecommended.

              •  Good point about the (7+ / 0-)

                speech and debate clause. But I rather like the other stuff that Ben Goshi brings up--seems to me he could amend the diary with that clause, explain the diary overall as a rhetorical response to the Republicans obstructionism and leave it at that.

                A simple hypothetical with the necessary caveat that it's still crappy law.

                DelicateMonster a slightly left of center reading experience

                by DelicateMonster on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:00:11 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  See, that is one of the problems I have (26+ / 0-)

                  with Ben Goshi.

                  First, he made zero attempt to research whether any courts had interpreted that statute. None.

                  Second, when confronted with case law regarding (1) the interpretation of the statute; and (2) the speech and debate clause in a case like this, he refused to answer posts, he ignored questions, he fabricated false distinctions, waived folks off as "spamming", and he tried to claim he was correct based on the number of people recommending his diary.

                  As if the number of non-lawyers who didn't understand his incorrect and shoddy reasoning is the proper measure of whether a legal interpretation is correct.

                  It was, from beginning to end one of the worst shams I've ever seen on the rec list, largely because it dissemiates so much disinformation.

                •  I don't get it (9+ / 0-)

                  "We will accuse you of criminal conduct (which, not incidentally we know to be false) if you do not relent"?

                  That tactic seems to absolutely demonstrate this diary's title.

                  Don't be so quick to count the GOP out: alligators have avoided both evolution and extinction for tens of millions of years.

                  by Scott Wooledge on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:06:13 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  As I said upstream (7+ / 0-)

                    I don't think he intended to make it a 'prosecutable case'; but there's certainly a rhetorical/political case to be made for suggesting there's something mighty smelly in how Cornyn, et al, are basically  threatening to withhold confirmation unless he tells them he won't prosecute the Bushies for what is a flagrant violation of not just our national law, but international law, as well.

                    Yeah, it's not a crime, but it stinks to high heaven--especially when this is not about a political litmus test, per se, but about something which is pretty blatantly illegal--torture. So why the hell not explain that to people using an analogy they can understand? It's just like extortion, isn't it? Or a bribe? Cornyn, et al, want a get out of jail free card. And Holder shoudn't give it to them.

                    Just cause it's legal or "politics as usual" doesn't mean you can't say it doesn't stink.

                    DelicateMonster a slightly left of center reading experience

                    by DelicateMonster on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:22:03 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Then just say "It stinks!" (6+ / 0-)

                      Don't introduce all this nonsense about their tactics being possibly criminal.

                      Don't be so quick to count the GOP out: alligators have avoided both evolution and extinction for tens of millions of years.

                      by Scott Wooledge on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:34:35 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Yeah, but 'it stinks' (6+ / 0-)

                        isn't nearly as effective as saying

                        it's stinks like a pack of capos playing at extortion.

                        DelicateMonster a slightly left of center reading experience

                        by DelicateMonster on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:40:06 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  The Constitution does leave open a (13+ / 0-)

                        felony charge as cause to prosecute a Congress critter.

                        They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.

                        Ben Goshi's argument I guess is that they are using their positions of power to try and obstruct justice?

                        It should perhaps be presented that way to the distinguished Senators.

                        In fact it should be thrown right in their f**king faces.

                        I am a liberal - I question authority, ALL authority.

                        by Pescadero Bill on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:55:47 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  It also leaves open the Senate Ethics Committee (4+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Pescadero Bill, Cedwyn, Lindy, Uberbah

                          for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.

                          Emphasis mine.

                          If the criminal conduct was "speech and debate", it makes no difference for purposes of the Senate Ethics Committee.  They still attempted to deprive the public of honest services, attempted to get a public servant to promise to violate his oath of office as a condition for letting him take it.  It's still a crime.

                          And the Senate has full power to investigate that crime and punish it by expulsion.  The Senate is not "any other place".  The Senate Ethics Committee exists to investigate such crimes.

                          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                          by neroden on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 08:59:08 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  Exactly clark, thank you! n/t (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Clarknt67, IL JimP
                      •  Making it appear as a "criminal" case is the (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        DelicateMonster

                        political aspect being pushed, though.

                        In the public eye, it's a serious notion being wielded and can place public/media pressure on the Republicans in question to respond with the reasons WHY they continue to push their nonsensical, dishonest deal-like points with Holder . . . or, at least be pressed into taking time in the media with responding to questions on the topic.

                        Thus, such a tactic could actually create enough noise to drown out their line of attack - which itself, is purely political posturing against both Holder's legitimacy and Obama's policies.

                        It's fine to criticize the accuracy of law surrounding Ben Goshi's imaginative point, but placing it in context should be considered before attacking he and his diary, as well.

                        "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

                        by wader on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 11:47:34 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I do see the context very well, thanks (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          AaronInSanDiego

                          And since Dec 17th, I and many other GBLT people were told to "STFU" over Rick Warren in the name of ushering a new era of civility and bipartisan cooperation.

                          And now THIS is a popular idea? The Democratic version of Ken Starr's investigation?

                          Don't be so quick to count the GOP out: alligators have avoided both evolution and extinction for tens of millions of years.

                          by Scott Wooledge on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 06:42:38 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Ken Starr was attempting to remove a President (3+ / 0-)

                            through any means possible.

                            Rick Warren has said and supported bad things related to people who happen to be GBLT, but Obama wanted to attempt seeing what would happen to his supporters and Warren himself by magnamimously including this person in the inaugural, apparently.  Anyone who said to STFU wasn't being fair because it was better to make the public appearance provide a context which might actually shame Warren and/or his supporters in mainstream eyes - at the same time, people who missed the point of Obama's calculated gesture to slowly bring Warren-types into the more enlightened fold of society sometimes claimed far more insidious motives and possible results related to the choice, I feel.

                            Ben Goshi was trying to figure out a way to defang the current Republicans from their currently immoral line of attack on Holder's principles and the Obama policies, with simplistic legal pondering.  There were problems with the details, but the intent was obvious: shut them up by making them realize their control over how law is prosecuted isn't their domain and actually creates a conflict of interest with their jobs.

                            You're equating political counterpunching in the public eye with people who sincerely want to and do perform evil at any cost against others.

                            Further, your point above must assume that we would seriously want to prosecute Cornyn et al for what Ben Goshi offered.  It was my original point that such an attempt would not make sense, but the political redirection might be something to consider as a tactic to get them thinking.  Whether we take Ben Goshi's actual point literally or not seems irrelevant: smacking them publicly with a media narrative that shames them from their current path is the issue.

                            You claim to see the context, just apparently don't accept it.

                            "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

                            by wader on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 12:01:05 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I only rec'd you because I agree on the Rick (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            wader, MKSinSA

                            Warren thing. There were people on here trying to accuse him of besmirching MLK Jr's name when he was invited to the church by his children! In fact, some of those diaries distorted reality in the same vein that Ben Goshi's did. Rick Warren is an asshole but those poorly researched diaries about him also made this site look dumb, and if I wanted to talk about Rick Warren I'd go into a Rick Warren diary, so please do not bring him up here, some of us are just tired of hearing about it, not because we want the gays to STFU, because it's over and done with now!

                          •  Recommended for your (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            freakofsociety, MKSinSA

                            sharing of meaningful context.

                            "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

                            by wader on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 05:51:28 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes I'm not biased (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            wader

                            I point out when a diary is badly researched regardless and Clark is wrong to allow it on the Warren stuff but not in BG's diary. I wasn't going to say anything about it but he just couldn't resist bringing Warren's name up in order to make someone feel guilty instead of actually backing up what he was saying. There was no point in bringing Warren up here at all!

                          •  Please provide an example of where someone told (0+ / 0-)

                            you to shut the fuck up about Rick Warren? Because I don't remember anyone doing that. Do not start that here please.

                •  Thank you. (11+ / 0-)

                  .

                  And my problems I have with Geekesque and Taylormattd include:

                   1.  They throw up the Red Herring that I made "no attempt to research", when, if one bothers to read my diary can see that that is untrue.

                  2.   T'mattd throws up the Red Herring that because I didn't do a Brief worthy of submission to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (or some Federal Court) that his an G'esques hissy-fits are warranted and justified, not realize that this is a Blog, not a U.S. District or Appellate Court.

                   3. G'esque and T'mattd do the exact thing they accuse me of doing:  throwing up spurious legal arguments.  Between them they've cited many a case, none being on-point relevant to the argument(s) I make or position I take.  However, they seem to think that if they throw enough cited cases into a blog or comments, that ought to do the trick of impressing the socks off the gentle lay-reader.

                   4. They cite defenses (an immunity for speech clause in the Constitution, e.g.) as a -- again spurious -- reason that even suggesting possible criminal culpability for a sitting Senator is worthy of embolisms and heart-attacks (or, at the least, hissy-fits in the comment section of my Diary).  Of course, I never advocated the possibility of Specter's or Cornyn's running afoul of the law based on their speech, but, rather that there words were evidence of their actions and that, of course, their actions speak for themselves.  

                  etc.

                  bg
                  __________________________________________

                  "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of Giants." -- Newton

                  by BenGoshi on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:48:37 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You admit you didn't research any case law (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mbc, AaronInSanDiego, dmh44, IL JimP

                    right in your damn diary. Jesus Christ.

                    A grossly simplified case for prosecution below, without benefit of caselaw.

                    You are being deliberately disingenuous. You know very well that I have been talking about the appellate court interpretation of the statute, yet you pretend not to get this point in your comment. Pathetic.

                    •  your case law (0+ / 0-)

                      Third Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over:

                         * District of Delaware
                         * District of New Jersey
                         * Eastern District of Pennsylvania
                         * Middle District of Pennsylvania
                         * Western District of Pennsylvania

                      So not only is this appeals court decision not the law of the land (since it wasn't SCOTUS), but it's not even law for the District of Columbia.

                      •  I see (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        freakofsociety, aggregatescience

                        So BenGoshi does zero research and that is perfectly fine.

                        He ignores people that point out he should do some research.

                        He tells them he doesn't need to do any research.

                        One of his commenters does a non-comprehensive search and comes up with a case on point.

                        BenGoshi completely ignores the case and claims, over and over again, that nobody has addressed his theory substantively.

                        And now you are complaining because a commenter trying to do a quick and dirty google search posted only a case from the Third Circuit?

                        Even though the commenter did more than the diarist, who is the one making a ludicrous argument? Even though it is the diarist's burden, and he did zero research?

                        That's ridiculous.

                        Also, just because Geek cited a Third Circuit case, do you think that somehow means there is no other case law out there? We wouldn't know, because the diarist did nothing.

                        And even if that Third Circuit case was the only available case, it is obviously persuasive authority, to which courts in other circuits would look.

                        The bottom line is that BenGoshi made a fairly crazy argument, he didn't bother to even try to see if it was accurate, and he dismissed any and all criticism of his theory and methods from the beginning.

                        And by the way, BenGoshi didn't even try to address the Speech and debate clause case, which is from the United States Supreme Court.

                        •  you're at a 10, you need to be at a 2 (0+ / 0-)

                          As long as you are wound up like a shrew on crack, you're turning people off.  If the case against Ben's argument is so good - then go ahead and make it.  But with yours, and Geek's, and Adams over-the-top attacks on Ben, you're not only looking like 5 year olds, you're making it real hard to take you seriously.

                          Calm the hell down.

                  •  I'm only going to address point 4... (7+ / 0-)

                    if a person has a legal defense to an act, they are not criminally culpable in any way.  If all you heard of a case was that a person shot and killed a woman, you are going to think of that person as a murderer.  Leaving out a critical fact like the person was defending themselves against an armed robber, completely decimates any argument of criminal culpability.  

                    Ignoring defenses is poor legal work.

                    We did it! Now it's time to really change the world!

                    by nklein on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:04:00 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Breaking my rule not to post here any more. (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Uberbah, dewley notid, cjaznik45

                      .
                      If you read my diary (did you?) you will see that I note that there are, indeed, defenses.

                      What's "sloppy" (and rather incredulous) is intentionally distorting the other person's position (not talking about you, but, rather the author of this little horror of a diary).  I responded a seeming bijillion times to his obsessive objections; and, yet, he didn't want to discuss or even debate:  he was on a mission to just clog-up my Diary with drek.

                      Unless a Defendant pleads "nolo", there are defenses to every case.  Lawyers know that as a "given".  So, it's a Red Herring of this Diarist to scream "but there are defenses!!!"  Yeh, right.  Noted.

                      Of course, the main defenses of Constitutional Immunity for Members of Congress   does.  not.  apply.  to acts of corruption such as those I argue have occurred or which are close to having occurred.  Of course, some defenses win.  And some defenses don't carry the day.  

                      But going into all that plays right into the "rabbit trail" that this Diarist is happy for us to all go a'arguin' down, rather than looking at The Main Point of my diary:  a corrupt quid-pro-quo appears (to me, at least) to be in the attempt stage.  Does it violate the letter of 18 U.S.C.§201, et seq?  Appears to me that an argument could be made that it does.  Does it at least violate that spirit of that statute?  I certainly think it does.  Republican Senator Lindsey Graham seems to be rather (shall we say) uncomfortable with his colleagues' position.  He says effectively says so.  It's in my diary.

                      And, finally, at the end of my diary I pose 2 Questions.  I believe that if those questions, along with about 3-dozen related ones, were answered by Cornyn and Specter, we'd have a much clearer picture of the whole thing.

                       

                      "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of Giants." -- Newton

                      by BenGoshi on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:16:44 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You still don't understand the Immunity Issue. (6+ / 0-)

                        Let me be clear about this:

                        They can't be prosecuted for what they say about their prospective vote for Holder unless they solicit a bribe for themselves.  They can vote however they want and they can vote that way for whatever reason they want and they can state it in plain English.

                        If you cannot comprehend that, you should excuse yourself from discussing anything implicating Constitutional Law.

                        "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                        by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:22:38 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You're beyond redemption. (5+ / 0-)

                          .
                               

                          ". . .  Remember yesterday you were asking about the horse?"

                              "About what horse?" Ivan had not understood.

                              "About the horse in general, why it doesn't turn into a human being."

                              "Aaahhh."  Ivan recalled that indeed there had been some sort of conversation like that the day before.

                              "Here's the point," said Gladishev proudly.  "I have understood why the horse does not turned into a human being.  It dos not turn into a human being because it doesn't have any fingers."

                              "Aw, you surprise me," said Chonkin.  "I knew since I was a little kid horses don't have fingers."

                              "That's not the point.  I'm not telling you they don't have fingers, I'm telling you they don't turn into human beings because they don't have fingers."

                              "And I'm telling you that everybody knows horses don't have fingers."

                              At that point they began quarreling in the way people often quarrel, each trying to prove something quite different to the other and neither attempting to understand what the other is saying.  The quarrel was just about to turn nasty when . . .

                          Vladimir Voinovich
                          The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin

                          "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of Giants." -- Newton

                          by BenGoshi on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:34:07 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  You don't understand the immunity issue either! (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Uberbah

                          I will lay it out for you.  The Speech & Debate clause is jurisdictional.  Cornyn and Specter cannot be prosecuted in ordinary courts for their crimes.  They can be prosecuted by the Senate.  Punishments include explusion.

                          The crimes documented by BenGoshi are sufficient to report Cornyn and Specter to the Senate Ethics Committee for possible expulsion.

                          Now, I know that's not the most effective body in the world -- but it is the body charged with expelling Senators for committing crimes covered by the Speech and Debate clause.

                          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                          by neroden on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 08:52:23 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  Here's what you're missing (8+ / 0-)

                        Because all the operative facts are all legislative acts, there is no prosecution at all.  You cannot use them.  This gets immediately dismissed.  The Founders did not want the Executive Branch messing with the Legislature while it was trying to do its job.

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

                          Better than a recipe:

                           

                          ". . .  Remember yesterday you were asking about the horse?"

                                 "About what horse?" Ivan had not understood.

                                 "About the horse in general, why it doesn't turn into a human being."

                                 "Aaahhh."  Ivan recalled that indeed there had been some sort of conversation like that the day before.

                                 "Here's the point," said Gladishev proudly.  "I have understood why the horse does not turned into a human being.  It dos not turn into a human being because it doesn't have any fingers."

                                 "Aw, you surprise me," said Chonkin.  "I knew since I was a little kid horses don't have fingers."

                                 "That's not the point.  I'm not telling you they don't have fingers, I'm telling you they don't turn into human beings because they don't have fingers."

                                 "And I'm telling you that everybody knows horses don't have fingers."

                                 At that point they began quarreling in the way people often quarrel, each trying to prove something quite different to the other and neither attempting to understand what the other is saying.  The quarrel was just about to turn nasty when . . .

                          Vladimir Voinovich
                          The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin

                          "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of Giants." -- Newton

                          by BenGoshi on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:35:18 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm sorry you regard the Constitution as trolling (7+ / 0-)

                            I will quote the Brewster decision, which you refuse to read:

                            The immunities of the Speech or Debate Clause were not written into the Constitution simply for the personal or private benefit of Members of Congress, but to protect the integrity of the legislative process by insuring the independence of individual legislators. The genesis of the Clause at common law is well known. In his opinion for the Court in United States v. Johnson, 383 U.S. 169 (1966), Mr. Justice Harlan canvassed the history of the Clause and concluded that it

                            was the culmination of a long struggle for parliamentary supremacy. Behind these simple phrases lies a history of conflict between the Commons and the Tudor and Stuart monarchs during which successive monarchs utilized the criminal and civil law to suppress and intimidate critical legislators.  Since the Glorious Revolution in Britain, and throughout United States history, the privilege has been recognized as an important protection of the independence and integrity of the legislature.

                            Id. at 178 (footnote omitted).

                          •  C'mon, ben, don't do that. (0+ / 0-)

                            I was leaning toward your side of the debate until...

                          •  You were only leaning toward it because you (3+ / 0-)

                            liked the conclusion; it couldn't possibly be due to superior logic or facts.

                          •  Logic? (0+ / 0-)

                            Often logic and the law are incompatible.  I understand the legalistic reasoning behind the rule, if that's what you mean.

                            But to have a scenario like this, with something being perfectly legal on the Senate floor and illegal in every other instance is certainly situational ethics, and at worst situational law.  

                            If this is allowed then it isn't far fetched to imagine an amendment stating that Senators have the right not to be prosecuted for any reason in order to "protect the integrity of the legislative process by insuring the independence of individual legislators."  But of course we wouldn't want to bully our Senators into being ethical and moral guardians who uphold all laws not just those of the Constitution.  How absurd.

                      •  could you at least update your diary with ... (4+ / 0-)

                        ...counter arguments?

                        Forget about the legal issues. Plain old common sense says that politicians must be able to make political deals. Without that, what have we got? No negotiation, and thus a system that would instantly break down.

                        You have an opportunity to rise above what you see as the low level of Geekesque and taylormattd in your own diary and your comments. Whatever their attitude may be, you have the choice to determine your own.

                    •  Criminal culpability determined by trier of fact (0+ / 0-)
                      And not before a trial.  Just because someone says they have a defense doesn't mean they won't be legally and legitimately and appropriately found guilty.  They have to correctly raise the defense procedurally, if it is an affirmative defense, and they have to prove the defense forensically.

                      The trier of fact has to believe the defendant and obey any instructions made by the Court, behavior which is unpredictable.

                      Having a defense theory isn't the same as innocence, and it isn't a bar to prosecution.  To say a defendant isn't "criminally culpable in any way" because they have a defense theory is incorrect, prior to a verdict.

                      Sorry, I don't date Republicans.

                      by wiseacre on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 10:43:02 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Not true at all. (3+ / 0-)
                        1.  Prosecutors act unethically if they bring cases against defendants whom they believe to be not culpable under the law.  If the prosecutor thinks they defense is valid, he shouldn't bring the suit.
                        1.  If the defense is so obvious on its face to be true, it does not get to a jury.  A judge may rule as a matter of law that there is immunity before a single witness is heard.  In this case, a judge would toss the case out and sanction the prosecutors before a jury was even seated.

                        "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                        by Geekesque on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 11:08:03 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Not sure you got my point (0+ / 0-)
                          It's true that prosecutors take an oath to seek justice, not convictions.  They are not supposed to prosecute cases unless they genuinely believe in the guilt of the defendant.  Where I lose you is where you apparently see a defense theory and assume that it is unassailable, or should be convincing enough to a prosecutor to override the prosecutor's evidence of and/or genuine belief in the guilt of the accused.  

                          Just because a defendant has a defense, even a good one, doesn't mean a prosecutor can't genuinely believe in the defendant's guilt, and prove it.  For instance, the self-defense argument used previously - suppose all the witnesses are members of the defendant's family and therefore probably biased?  Suppose the victim owed the defendant money?  Suppose the defendant had had several of these unfortunate mishaps in the past?

                          In the case we are talking about, you are saying the call for criminal investigations of members of Congress is irresponsible because of they may have a defense in the Constitution.  First of all, we don't know any facts yet, so we don't know all the case theories and defenses.  Investigations aren't prosecutions - they may exonerate the subjects of the investigations.  The defenses have conditions which may not be met.  Etc.

                          Why wouldn't you want to know if there are improper, or even criminal, reasons behind Specter's actions, which seem to be kind of desperate at this point.  I still can't figure out why a Republican would want to bring up Marc Rich - all his unsavory ties to BCCI, Iran-Contra, and Scooter Libby might be revealed.  On the other hand, maybe we could finally get an Iran-Contra investigation after all these years.

                          Sorry, I don't date Republicans.

                          by wiseacre on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 02:54:35 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  There is no 'maybe' about their defense here. (0+ / 0-)

                            The only people who think there is a potentially valid criminal case are angry liberal bloggers.

                            "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                            by Geekesque on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 08:05:02 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Angry liberal bloggers and the DOJ (0+ / 0-)
                            "Angry liberal bloggers" - interesting characterization to post on a liberal blog.  I'll get to that point in a minute.

                            Regarding the subject of this diary, the DOJ Criminal Resource Manual, located at

                            www.usdoj.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title9/crm02046.htm

                            says the following:

                            "PRACTICE TIP: The Public Integrity Section of Criminal Division has significant expertise in addressing and overcoming Speech and Debate issues. Prosecutors are encouraged to contact Public Integrity when the official acts of an elected Member of the Legislative Branch become the focus of a criminal inquiry."

                            The Manual also states that bona fide requests [to the Clerk of the House or the Secretary of the Senate] for information bearing on ongoing criminal inquiries have rarely been refused in the past.  

                            Based on the DOJ, and not my personal opinion, it appears these investigations happen often enough that the DOJ has gained expertise in their prosecution, and the Legislative Branch has a history of cooperation with them.  

                            Therefore, it appears that, despite your apparent opinion that the S&D clause provides absolute immunity in all cases that involve all acts issuing from the Legislative Branch, there ARE maybes out there and MAYBE they should be considered before preemptively writing off any investigation of this Committee.

                            You can review US v Helstoski or US v Brewer as well as other Supreme Court cases and law review articles for more exceptions, including CRIMINAL CONDUCT, corrupt agreements promising to perform future acts, assisting constituents, direct communications with the public, speeches outside Congress, newsletters, press releases, private book publishing, or other acts that can be fairly characterized as "political" or "representational" and not "legislative" in nature.  

                            Just for kicks, let's look a little deeper at this topic. Holder is a former member of the DOJ Public Integrity Section.  MAYBE he knows how to overcome some of these S&D defenses because he likely has past experience doing just that.  MAYBE his expertise with the S&D clause is alarming to various members of House and Senate, and to their various apologists and provocateurs as well.  MAYBE that's one of the real issues here.

                            Going even deeper, while Holder was a prosecutor with the Public Integrity Section, he prosecuted two interesting Pennsylvania cases, one involving a corrupt judge, and one involving organized crime. For the record, I doubt that Senator Spector has any relationship whatesovever to these cases, but I can't help but wonder.  Call me jaded, I won't deny it.

                            My personal, jaded impression is that Spector is way too concerned about Holder for there not to be something else going on besides Marc Rich, who is potentially a far more damaging issue to Republicans, handled correctly, than to Democrats.  Given Spector's behavior, it's reasonable to want to look closely at any other motives that could explain his puzzling distress, even to those who aren't quite as jaded as I.

                            Now, about those "angry liberal bloggers":

                            At first I thought you were a lawyer.  But most practicing lawyers know better than to give legal opinions using absolute language.  There are very few absolutes in law.  All the lawyers I know use conditional language, or otherwise make allowances for the fact that they could be wrong, or that there are cases and theories they don't know about.

                            Another thing my prosecutor friends have told me:  when the subject of an investigation starts protesting a bit too much about a certain issue, you don't back off. That anger is a "tell", a signal to dig deeper; not to be intimidated or distracted by bluster, but instead to scrutinize even harder.

                            So, Spector et al's actions, and those who want to protect them, are appearing to morph into a "tell".  Not quite yet, but the edges are starting to blur.  A tell of exectly what, though, remains to be seen; that is, if we aren't discouraged from investigating.

                            I don't know any liberal or centrist who isn't legitimately angry about the last 8 years.  Many conservatives are as well, now that they see the outcome.  Anyone who uses "angry" as an attempt to shame, marginalize, or minimize these valid feelings, in this forum, makes me wonder about their real motives.  Call me jaded again, it's ok.

                            Although your post seems fairly angry, the anger seems misplaced. If you're not an angry liberal blogger, who are you?

                            The bottom line:  your assertion about there being "no maybe about their defense" under the S&D clause appears to be in error.  So far.

                            Sorry, I don't date Republicans.

                            by wiseacre on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 11:39:36 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  This prosecution will be considered by the DOJ (0+ / 0-)

                            in Fantasyworld.  There will be no criminal investigation into Specter and Cornyn.  It won't even be considered.  It won't even be mentioned at the DOJ as a possibility.  It won't even cross the mind of any attorney there.

                            To quote your own source:

                            The Speech and Debate Clause provides the "legislative acts" of a Senator or a Representative "shall not be questioned in any place." It applies in criminal as well as civil litigation involving the Senator or Representative, and provides absolute immunity to United States Senators and Representatives while they are engaged in legislative acts.

                            The Clause broadly protects members of Congress "against inquiry into acts that occur in the regular course of the legislative process and into the motivation for those acts," United States v. Brewster, 408 U.S. 501, 525 (1972), and "precludes any showing of how [a member of Congress], acted, voted, or decided."

                            The Supreme Court has declared that "past legislative acts of a Member cannot be admitted without undermining the values protected by the Clause," including speeches in committee as well as those on the Floor of the Chamber, the Senator or Representative's votes, and his or her explanations for them.

                            There is a right answer, and a wrong answer regarding this issue.  There is no gray, there is no 'maybe.'  

                            "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                            by Geekesque on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 12:41:13 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes BG. Why must they litigate this here? (7+ / 0-)

                    This is very strange behavior by your opponents here, BG. It's inconceivable to me that they couldn't make their points and move on in your diary.

                    What is their vehemence and vitriol about? From one of our own?

                    I just don't get it. Kos himself says the idea is to defeat the opposition party and "break their backs." I don't see how some aggressive assertions about the law are some kind of cardinal sin.

                    And it's what may be going on BEHIND the scenes that is most troubling. These folks here want to suggest that senators have absolute immunity. They do not.

                    And corrupt senators certainly have no immunity in the eyes of Americans. This matters most.

                    What's wrong with some of these people around here? Jeebus with comrades like these...

                  •  All the facts and actions are legislative. (4+ / 0-)

                    That ends this entirely under the Speech and Debate clause.  There's not a single operative fact that doesn't require an inquiry into legislative activities.  

                •  I agree with this assessment. (13+ / 0-)

                   Senators might have all kinds of authority to behave badly, but that doesn't mean their actions and motives shouldn't be called into question as in a case like this one, or in the case of Sen. Joe McCarthy, who quite legally held Witch Hunts in 20th Century America.
                   Even if the (original) diarist is wrong in his assessment, it remains an interesting discussion. If the discussion ends in the conclusion that the Senators behavior is legal, but reprehensible and outrageous, it still supports the contention that these two Bozos need to stop what they're doing, and that they are indeed Bozos.

                  "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

                  by elwior on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:31:00 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  I saw it as a rhetorical argument (11+ / 0-)

                I didn't take it so literally.

                "It's the planet, stupid."

                by FishOutofWater on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:02:29 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  There is literally no (10+ / 0-)

                  rhetorical argument to make. The courts have already said he is flat wrong.

                  It isn't much different from people pretending evolution is just a theory.

                •  What is the tactic of the rhetoric? (5+ / 0-)

                  Because it seems to me it's: Paint them as criminals when we know they are not.

                  Sleazy, and beneath the standard of behavior for statesmen.

                  Don't be so quick to count the GOP out: alligators have avoided both evolution and extinction for tens of millions of years.

                  by Scott Wooledge on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:11:41 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Then, it's good thing that we're not 'statesman.' (0+ / 0-)

                    Most of us don't work for Senators.

                    Hell, I'm not ever sure they work for us.

                    BG is advocating an idea.

                    Whether it's a good idea or a bad one, I don't think anyone in Washington, being back-slapping greedheads that they are, would take his idea seriously at all.

                    Therefore, this diary is just so much childish over-the-top, hypocritical Chicken Little bullshit.

                    It's amazing how much energy and vitriol Geekesque has defending Republican Senators strong-arming Obama's choice as the nation's lawyer.

                    Geekesque and the other pro-authoritarian Dems can never seem to muster this much passion supporting any real accountability in Congress.

                    I'm just sayin'.

                    The pro-authoritarian Dems need to over themselves, already.

                    They don't pay me enough to save, and they don't pay me enough to spend. So let 'em bail their own asses out and stop blaming me. -Joy Busey

                    by James Kresnik on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 08:24:50 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Assholes like you need to "over themselves" (2+ / 0-)

                      already. Geekeseque has not defended Republican Senators, you fucking hypocritical jackass.

                    •  Please provide an example (0+ / 0-)

                      of where anyone defended the actions of Cornyn and Specter. Pointing out that what they did is not illegal is not saying that they shouldn't be held accountable for what they did in some way. You are obviously too delusional to understand how politics works and that we can not change what the rules are to suit our needs. I really hope you don't speak for the majority of democrats.

                      And do you not realize that Leahy, Obama and Holder are also attorneys? Do you not think that they would have done something if Specter and Cornyn were breaking the law? I mean if they had broken the law, don't you think someone such as Keith Olbermann or Maddow even, would have pointed this out if those people hadn't? What makes you think that Ben Goshi is some brilliant legal mind that found something none of those other people could find? You are really too hilarious. It's not Geek's fault that you are clueless, so please don't take it out on him.

                      •  Point out where I said, or even implied (0+ / 0-)

                        that anyone defended the actions of Cornyn and Specter. Here is the conclusion, in case you miss it again.

                        BG is advocating an idea.

                        Whether it's a good idea or a bad one, I don't think anyone in Washington, being back-slapping greedheads that they are, would take his idea seriously at all.

                        Therefore, this diary is just so much childish over-the-top, hypocritical Chicken Little bullshit.

                        Lesson One: Stop spazzing out and read what I actually wrote.

                        Lesson Two: Don't bother putting extra words in my post. I don't need a ghost writer.

                        Lesson Three: Don't bother posting cheap-shot reply more than a day after the post ended. I do watch these things.

                        They don't pay me enough to save, and they don't pay me enough to spend. So let 'em bail their own asses out and stop blaming me. -Joy Busey

                        by James Kresnik on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 06:23:05 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                •  That's like seeing day as night. (0+ / 0-)

                  It's quite some feat to take an explicitly and thoroughly legal argument as not being a legal argument.

              •  "Flat out false" (8+ / 0-)

                .
                You distort my diary, too.

                Geekesque highjacked and "diary-stalked" me, along with you.  On top of that you swore and used other gratuitous nasty comments the likes of which I will not do here.

                He and you totally, utterly mischaracterize my diary.  

                A thorough read of my diary show the degree to which he does.

                I do not, and have never advocated "prosecuting members of Congress because we disagree (with them)."

                bg

                "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of Giants." -- Newton

                by BenGoshi on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:33:17 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes (10+ / 0-)

                  that is what you are doing.

                  You cited a statute. You claimed the statute permits prosecution of two senators simply because they tried to extract from Holder a promise not to prosecute Bush Administration officials.

                  The U.S. Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals say you are wrong.

                  Not that anyone would know that from your diary, because you didn't even attempt to research the statute.

                  •  No, it's not. (3+ / 0-)

                    .

                    And your and G'esque's OCD on this doesn't make it so.

                    You, on the other hand:

                    1.  You throw up the Red Herring that I made "no attempt to research", when, if one bothers to read my diary can see that that is untrue.
                    1.   You throw up the Red Herring that because I didn't do a Brief worthy of submission to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (or some Federal Court) that your and G'esque's hissy-fits are warranted and justified, not realize that this is a Blog, not a U.S. District or Appellate Court.
                    1. You and your buddy do the exact thing they accuse me of doing:  throwing up spurious legal arguments.  Between you you've cited many a case, none being on-point relevant to the argument(s) I make or position I take.  However, you seem to think that if you throw enough cited cases into a blog or comments, that ought to do the trick of impressing the socks off the gentle lay-reader.
                    1. You cite defenses (an immunity for speech clause in the Constitution, e.g.) as a -- again spurious -- reason that even suggesting possible criminal culpability for a sitting Senator is worthy of embolisms and heart-attacks (or, at the least, hissy-fits in the comment section of my Diary).  Of course, I never advocated the possibility of Specter's or Cornyn's running afoul of the law based on their speech, but, rather that there words were evidence of their actions and that, of course, their actions speak for themselves.  You won't let go your false-flag, though.

                    &etc.

                    bg

                    "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of Giants." -- Newton

                    by BenGoshi on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:52:24 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  That's not an attempt to obstruct justice? (10+ / 0-)

                    ..they tried to extract from Holder a promise not to prosecute Bush Administration officials.

                    Don't bite my head off, I'm just askin'

                    I am a liberal - I question authority, ALL authority.

                    by Pescadero Bill on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:21:35 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Sure looks that way to me. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      TX Unmuzzled, Cedwyn

                      "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

                      by elwior on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:34:22 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  If you have an (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Pescadero Bill, freakofsociety

                      obstruction of justice statute you think that violates, I'd be interested in seeing (1) the language of the statute; and (2) whether any appellate courts say the behavior of a senator during a confirmation hearing fits under that statute.

                      Additionally, even if there was such a statute that applied, the senators would still have immunity under the speech and debate clause of the Constitution.

                      In this case, BenGoshi quoted and was talking about a specific statute. He claimed those senators could be prosecuted under the state. He was wrong according to the U.S. Supreme Court and at least on circuit of the Court of Appeals.

                      Sadly, he never even made an attempt to look and see whether any case law existed on the topic, and when he was shown the case law, he ignored the comments and their importance.

                    •  It's scary that people are that stupid and/or (3+ / 0-)

                      ignorant. Who is conducting the investigation that they are obstructing? Not Holder, obviously.

                      What you're suggesting is that, if I vote for the corrupt police chief rather than the honest one, then I am committing a crime of obstruction of justice. Or if Joe the Plumber had told Obama that he would only vote for him if he promised not to prosecute Bush for war crimes, that JtP would have committed a crime of obstruction of justice. Do you really have, not only so little understanding of what constitutes obstruction of justice, but so little regard for freedom of speech and freedom of democratic choice? Legally, Arlen Specter can vote for or against anyone he wants, for whatever reason he wants, and heaven help us if that ever changes.

                    •  Of course it is. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      freakofsociety, aggregatescience

                      But it's protected by the Speech or Debate clause.  And since nothing "of value" has changed hands, it's not bribery.  It sucks, but it's legal.

                    •  No it isn't (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      aggregatescience, blunami

                      if from their point of view they see prosecuting Bush Administration officials as purely political.

                      -3.88, -6.36
                      Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who - This is supposed to be a happy occasion!

                      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 07:29:49 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  sorry about the overzealousness (3+ / 0-)

                      of some of these replies. they've been arguing with someone intent on willfully ignoring, y'know, the actual law.

                      it certainly seems like spectre is intent on fucking with justice, but "obstruction of justice" has a very specific meaning defined by statute. in this case it is title 18 chapter 73 of the us code. the list of headings on the top of that page give an idea of the kind of things that are considered obstructing justice (ie. assault on a process server, tampering with a jury, destroying federal audit records, etc.)

                  •  Am I missing something here? (6+ / 0-)

                    You said BenGoshi...

                    claimed the statute permits prosecution of two senators simply because they tried to extract from Holder a promise not to prosecute Bush Administration officials.

                    I know politicians make deals with, even threaten each other all the time. "If you don't do this, I won't support you on that," etc. But I think BenGoshi is saying this thing with Specter/Cornyn is different. By adding a few words to the end of your comment, I'll show you what I mean. I think BenGoshi's point is that he believes...

                    the statute permits prosecution of two senators because they tried to extract from Holder a promise not to prosecute Bush Administration officials, thereby, in effect, trying to coerce Holder to directly violate his oath to uphold the Constitution and prosecute or not prosecute based solely on where the evidence leads.

                    So I think that Specter/Cornyn are attempting to force Holder to do something ILLEGAL, or at a minimum unethical. If so, I see that as something far different than your average "political gamesmanship" of threat/counterthreat, promise/counterpromise.

                    "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

                    by ratmach on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 05:12:03 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  What oath? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      freakofsociety

                      Holder hasn't sworn any oath because he hasn't been confirmed. If Holder were to be confirmed and then violate his oath of office, the legal breach would be his and no one else's.

                      So I think that Specter/Cornyn are attempting to force Holder to do something ILLEGAL, or at a minimum unethical.

                      How can they possibly force that? Holder can simply decline to make any such promise (or use some weasel words in an attempt to get their approval and then prosecute anyway once he's confirmed). If, as a consequence, Specter and Cornyn refuse to vote for him, that's their legal right. Don't you have any grasp of the notion that the right to vote entails complete freedom of choice? And that, if the only way to get someone's vote is to do X, no way no how are you being forced to do X? You seem to have the view Holder is bound to do anything -- even if it is illegal or unethical -- in order to secure his confirmation. That is a far more morally corrupt outlook than even that of Specter and Cornyn.

                      •  Holder is an officer of the court (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        ratmach

                        as a member of the bar.  He has sworn an oath to uphold the law.  After reading your rather assaulting commentary in this thread, I am surprised that you don't know that important fact.  It really doesn't matter whether or not he is AG or not.  He like ever lawyer is compelled to act on knowledge of crimes.  Asking him to promise not to do so in and of itself might not be a crime, but if he agreed to such a deal it would throw his judgment and perhaps even law license into question.  I would not be at all surprised to find out that that is exactly why Specter put forth such a ridiculous deal.  They've failed to sully Holder's reputation with the Marc Rich pardon, so why not basically get his to answer a question in such a way that he compromises himself.

                        •  Thanks for responding to the guy... (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          inclusiveheart

                          ... so I didn't have to. I didn't wanna get in a shouting match over something like this... something that shouldn't even be in debate since it's so obvious what Specter and Cornyn are doing is DEAD WRONG (even if not technically illegal).

                          "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

                          by ratmach on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 10:17:49 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  No one is saying its not messed up (0+ / 0-)

                            That's been clarified about 1,000 times. The point is it is isn't a crime and they can't be convicted, therefore BG's diary was just plain wrong and he shouldn't have posted it and led people believe that it was something that could happen. He wasn't discussing it being a scummy thing to do. He was discussing prosecuting them and presenting it as a legal case. Our opinion of it does not change the fact that it's in their legal right to do it. Please don't suggest people are saying that which they aren't.

                          •  Did you even bother to read the post that I (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            ratmach

                            responded to?  The poster insists that Holder has sworn no oath which is actually totally false.  The further goes on to suggest that Holder use "some weasel words" - which could actually be considered lying to Congress in some circles - to gain the Senators' favor on this matter.  For someone who has arrogantly posted assaults throughout this thread claiming to know the law, he or she doesn't even understand two basic facts - lying to Congress is a crime and lawyers just because they are lawyers do take an important oath even when they are not confirmed Attorneys General.

                •  Oh, and by the way (8+ / 0-)

                  your ridiculous term "diary stalked" and "hijacked" are nothing more than pathetic attempts to prevent anyone from pointing out the errors in your diary.

              •  The conduct is criminal, and the Senate Ethics... (0+ / 0-)

                Committee has the power to charge them with said crimes; and if the Senate finds them guilty, expel them.

                The Speech and Debate clause is not a "get out of jail free" card.  It's jurisdictional.  Crimes committed on the Senate floor by Senators can only be prosecuted by the Senate -- but they can and must be prosecuted by the Senate.

                -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                by neroden on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 08:55:24 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Thank you. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TX Unmuzzled, FishOutofWater, elwior

              .
              Geekesque highjacked and "diary-stalked" me.  And, now is still obsessing on me.  It's weird.  

              So, I'm going to post a few comments here (nothing to the seemingly 2 trillion he did in mine) to say:

              He totally, utterly mischaracterizes my diary.  

              A thorough read of my diary show the degree to which he does.

              I do not, and have never advocated "prosecuting members of Congress because we disagree (with them)."

              bg
              ________________________________________

              "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of Giants." -- Newton

              by BenGoshi on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:31:08 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I don't think I read the article (5+ / 0-)

              but when we start shredding diary as if it is a legal brief look extreme to me. I totally disagree with the title. Most of us here are not from the legal field. Equating us to republican's 8 years trashing of the constitution base on one or two diaries destroy the base of you argument.

            •  Then he needed to change the title (0+ / 0-)

              The title led people to believe otherwise. Someone could just come on here and look at that title and assume we wanted to prosecute Specter and Cronyn.

            •  A political argument (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              aggregatescience

              should not be made with legal statutes.

            •  The tone of this diary should be prosecuted (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mbc

              this diary presents such an interesting counter argument - yet, the tone sucked, and it was difficult to enjoy the argument once i got the feeling of disparagement towards the rec'd diary being trashed.
              and FOOW i completely agree!

              •  The tone? (0+ / 0-)

                Perhaps his tone is that of annoyance because BG left up a diary that called to prosecute someone when what he suggested prosecuting them for was not something that they could be prosecuted for! Thus leading to more than one lawyer to tell him to correct his diary, which he refused and refused and refused. Which is why this diary was put up with such a nasty tone. If several people have objections to your diary because part of it is false or misleading you are supposed to change it, unless you can back up what you are saying, which he didn't. It's one of the rules about posting here. He shouldn't have posted the diary if he couldn't handle that.

            •  Yes, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FishOutofWater

              the diarist was essentially suggesting a response that could be made by Holder or by others on his behalf.  The response would be to question the motives of Specter/Cornyn and brand their line of questioning as what it really is.  This is a far distance from suggesting an actual criminal prosecution.

          •  Yeah, but I read it as more a hypothetical (9+ / 0-)

            then a real urge to prosecute.

            Could be I'm missing this, but my sense was it was a bit of a rhetorical flourish. Not necessarily advancing a serious case.

            DelicateMonster a slightly left of center reading experience

            by DelicateMonster on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:54:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  "In that direction" (4+ / 0-)

            .
            I made a simple, plain-on-its face, case -- as it appeared to me (I emphasized "as it appears to me").

            Geekesque highjacked my diary.  He and one of his buddies here.  

            He totally, utterly mischaracterizes my diary.  Never seen anything as weird as this in 4 1/2 years at D Kos.  

            A thorough read of my diary show the degree to which he does.

            I do not, and have never advocated "prosecuting members of Congress because we disagree (with them) or just prosecuting a Senator based on Speech.

            A read of my Diary and my Comments bears me out.

            bg

            "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of Giants." -- Newton

            by BenGoshi on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:39:18 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry Ben (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              taylormattd, Adam B, bflaff, kerflooey

              Your diary advocates prosecuting members of Congress for things they can't, and shouldn't, be prosecuted for.

              If the intent of your diary was not to advocate prosecutions, you worded it very badly.

              A revolution is coming... whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability. -- Robert F. Kennedy

              by Anton Sirius on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 05:27:11 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Ben, don't go on the defensive. (0+ / 0-)

              You don't need to go on the defensive, here. Going on the defensive plays right into their wildly exaggerated claims.

              They don't pay me enough to save, and they don't pay me enough to spend. So let 'em bail their own asses out and stop blaming me. -Joy Busey

              by James Kresnik on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 08:30:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Ben No One Hijacked Your Diary (3+ / 0-)

              People pointed out why they disagree with you. That is what we do here. That is what you are doing in this diary. No one is calling you out for hijacking no matter how they see your comments fitting to the content of this diary.

              There is no mischaracterization of your diary. There is a clear breaking down of where your analysis went wrong. Because you admitted that it was a quickly written diary, maybe you can admit to the fact that the legal angle you were pushing for was quite a generous stretch.

              A thorough read of your diary shows that the legal arguments you have made are superficial.

          •  But he didn't do it. (0+ / 0-)

            A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The USA for an amount of "up to and including my life." - unknown

            by AJsMom on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:44:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, he did... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          freakofsociety, bartman

          ask Don Siegelman.  He'll tell you how Rove advocated for his prosecution.

          We did it! Now it's time to really change the world!

          by nklein on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:52:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well that one guy in the justice department would (0+ / 0-)

          not hire people because they were liberals.

        •  His diary title suggests so and then his (0+ / 0-)

          substance of the argument attempts to defend the title.

      •  Even Bush didn't try that one. (22+ / 0-)

        Nixon was the last, going after Mike Gravel in the Pentagon Papers case.



        This is a Test of the Emergency Free Speech System. This is only a Test. In an actual Free Speech Emergency, I'll be locked up.

        by ben masel on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:32:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Just like prosecuting Governor Siegleman (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bartman, sam storm, nklein

        Well-OK-somewhat similar to the Karl Rove orchestrated prosecution. By the diarist's definition of bribery, getting a policy you like is a bribe. That is the same kind of crap that convicted Governor Siegelman.

      •  "Disagree?" (4+ / 0-)

        Since the bush years we now "disagree" with war criminals?

        These people are breaking the law, and abusing their public duty in order to hide from prosecution some of the worst crinimals since pol pot.

        Leave it to a special prosecutor to decide how and what for to charge them. I bet there is like 10 different parts of the book they can throw at them, even if the constitution says that they can't be prosecuted for how they vote.

        •  Could we nail the with the Supremacy Clause? (0+ / 0-)

          Any treaties signed by the US are the supreme law of the land, so if they were trying to protect torturers by blocking Holders nomination or trying to extract a promise from him to protect themselves, could we get them with that?

          I don't know how Treaties vs Constitution battles get resolved, so I'm just throwing this out there for the greater legal eagles among us to answer.

          The true measure of a man's character lies not in how he treats his friends, but in how he treats his enemies.

          by FunkyEntropy on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:09:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nope. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FunkyEntropy, aggregatescience

            Nothing they say as part of their legislative role can be the basis of a prosecution. Period. Full stop.

            •  Wroong. It's not part of their 'legislative (0+ / 0-)

              role' if it's done pursuant to criminal involvement like racketeering. You would have to prove that, but you always have to prove guilt. This has come up before. You may not get a conviction, but a hell of a lot of legal trouble for the defendants.

            •  So where do treaties fall in the legal heirarchy? (0+ / 0-)

              Constitution>treaties>US law>State law?

              The true measure of a man's character lies not in how he treats his friends, but in how he treats his enemies.

              by FunkyEntropy on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 09:58:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  it's part of the supreme law ... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                freakofsociety, Geekesque

                ... but what treaty obligates us to prosecute every possible torture case?

                •  Article 7 of the Convention against Torture? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mbc

                  Article 7

                  1. The State Party in territory under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found, shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him, submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.
                  1. These authorities shall take their decision in the same manner as in the case of any ordinary offence of a serious nature under the law of that State. In the cases referred to in article 5, paragraph 2, the standards of evidence required for prosecution and conviction shall in no way be less stringent than those which apply in the cases referred to in article 5, paragraph 1.

                  My understanding from reading Glennzilla's article was that we don't have any choice but to prosecute.  Did I misunderstand his argument?

                  The true measure of a man's character lies not in how he treats his friends, but in how he treats his enemies.

                  by FunkyEntropy on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 09:44:54 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It's a tricky area, but the answer is that (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Adam B

                    US governmental officials don't have--under US law--an affirmative legal duty to comply with our international obligations in all instances.

                    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                    by Geekesque on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 10:57:10 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  the complete (0+ / 0-)

                  treaty is here

                  the United States must prosecute.

      •  Geekeseque distorts my diary. (4+ / 0-)

        .
        Utterly. Totally.

        If you would read my entire diary you would see the degree to which he does.

        I do not, and have never advocated "prosecuting members of Congress because we disagree (with them)."

        bg
        ________________________________________

        "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of Giants." -- Newton

        by BenGoshi on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:27:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I would rec this 100 times, if I could. (36+ / 0-)

      Good for you, Geek.  Let's concentrate on the real issues.  It's not about punishment for having an opposite opinion or even for being an a-hole. It's about the law.  

      Having credibility when making an argument is the straightest path to persuasion.

      by SpamNunn on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:31:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  One of those real issues should be (8+ / 0-)

        a full accounting of Bush-era misdeeds in the areas of torture, renditions and FISA.

        I don't think we need to arrest former presidents but I'd like a full accounting of what happened.

        •  There should be some investigations. (4+ / 0-)

          Part of the problem is that Bush was so secretive that we just don't know.

          "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

          by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:55:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Even if he broke the law? (10+ / 0-)

          Someone really needs to explain two things to me.

          One, why investigating and if warranted prosecuting high officials, up to and including former presidents, is wrong, because of who they are, EVEN IF they committed crimes.

          And two, what actual harm could and would come of this, as opposed to someone getting the vapors because something that's never happened before happened.

          Why should presidents be treated an IOTA differently from anyone else? Vague references to all sorts of horrible things that would happen don't cut it. That's lazy.

          I'm guessing that most people who say this, say it because it just FEELS right, not because they can state any rational reason for why it IS right. So conditioned have we become to the notion that presidents are somehow better than the rest of us and deserve special privilege and consideration. They do not.

          We don't have monarchs here, actual or virtual. Period.

          The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

          by kovie on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:14:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  My first thought (0+ / 0-)

        about the law, on reading the mentioned diary, was that there would also be a very strong argument for the facts not fitting the crime if one were to examine (and other lawyers will know I'm not kidding here) the meaning of "any money or thing of value" which is part of, in the diarist's analysis, the relevant statutes.

        Was it the intent of the legislation to be limited to money or other tangibles (not considering the intangibility of money); did the makers of the legislation understand it as "money or things of value" or as "(1)money or (2)things of value"?  If the latter, I would be compelled to ask "doesn't money have value?" or  "would it be a crime to receive money that's worthless, currency no longer legal or such?" Or is money simply assumed or understood to have value?

        If the former, I'd wonder: did the use of the words "money or things" mean to make clear that although somebody out there might argue that money is not a "thing" but a symbol of a thing, it was indeed to be included with "things." Surely this wouldn't be necessary unless the drafter were trying to clear up any doubt about money, like things, being tangible.  And only if those tangibles had value would there be a crime.  

        I haven't the time for such research at the moment, nor easy access to FindLaw, but it would be necessary to research case law in this regard, and information on the history of the legislation and the definitions given to "money or things of value."

        Many a long night has been spent in the splitting of such hairs.
        Karen in Austin

        Something for nothing. It never loses its charm. - Michael Lewis

        by Wife of Bath on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:32:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Good clarification of the law/Constitution... (21+ / 0-)

      We must apply our values consistently with friend and foe.

      Cornyn and Spechter may be assholes, but they did not break the law.

      Some people fight fire with fire. Professionals use water.

      by Happy Days on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:33:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  BAD clarification -- Speech & Debate Clause (0+ / 0-)

        is jurisdictional.  Maybe nobody else can prosecute Cornyn and Specter for their attempted obstruction of justice -- but the Senate itself can, through the Senate Ethics Committee.

        Geekesque has completely missed this point.  To be fair, I think BenGoshi missed it too.

        -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

        by neroden on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 09:01:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I applaud your comment, but... (9+ / 0-)

      ...I hate to call anything "unAmerican."  It's so jingoistic.

    •  Not prosecuting members of Congress because (7+ / 0-)

      they are protecting themselves or their friends is abstraction of justice especially as it is evident that they are seeking policy commitments from the nominee for Attorney General regarding how he would exercise his duties in office. Whether there is commitment or not, the AG's responsibility is to the LAW while Specter and Cornyn are asking for the AG to put a blind eye on the matter. That I call CRIMINAL!

    •  thanks for actually (12+ / 0-)

      citing some case law. Something the other diarist, who claims to be a lawyer, shockingly chose not to do. Something a first year law student learns is necessary when attempting to write a memo about the meaning of a statute.

    •  Even really creepy members of Congress? (11+ / 0-)

      Damn.

      Takes a lot of the fun out of controlling the Justice Department.

      "It looks like things are gonna change now." -- Bob Dylan 11/4/08

      by houndcat on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:45:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Didn't we have a collective freak out here when (12+ / 0-)

      Michelle Backmann suggested such similar acts?

      ... the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred.

      by Tirge Caps on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:52:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is just as bad as Michelle Bachman... (19+ / 0-)

      and wanting to investigate member of congress, because "they may" not be American enough.  We voted all that shit out on November 4th.  Just because we have the upper hand, at this time, don't mean we need to resolve to dumb ass thinking.

      JMHO.

    •  Sue everyone! Prosecute them all! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      freakofsociety, MsGrin

      Do an inquiry!
      Call a commission!
      Start an investigation!
      Get the media to uncover what's at the bottom of the viper pit!
      Pass me my meds....

      People know what they do; they frequently know why they do what they do; but what they don't know is what what they do does. -Michel Foucault

      by eamonsean on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:59:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent diary Geekesque. (4+ / 0-)

      You've made your point clearly, coherently and convincingly. A point with which I whole heartedly agree.

      The Shape Of Things "Beware the terrible simplifiers" Jacob Burckhardt, Historian

      by notquitedelilah on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:59:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Obstruction of justice is still a crime... no? (9+ / 0-)

      cheers,

      Mitch Gore

      January 20, 2009... the end of an error.

      by Lestatdelc on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:11:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  tipped and recc'ed for blind justice (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      freakofsociety

      "The earthly paradise had been discredited at exactly the moment when it became realizable." -from 1984 by George Orwell {-8.12, -7.44}

      by dmet on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:32:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  BRAVO! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IL JimP

      Well said.  We don't need that kind of  witch hunt on our heads as we're moving into a new era.  Let's let that kind of talk of prosecutions for not liking how someone else thinks in the past where it belongs.

      •  i compare it to ford (0+ / 0-)
        pardoning nixon.  With all the problems right now, the last thing the country needs is to be swept back into divisive hate between the parties.  and i don't even mean the politicians but the 47% who voted for mccain and the republicans who voted for Obama partly because of his dedication to bipartisanship.

        It may make us happy but the work that needs to be done will be stalled through filibuster after filibuster, time taken by congress on the circus, all posturing for their constituents.  I want to see bush gone never to rear his head again and a new era take over.  Yes i agree with many of the arguments for war crimes trials but it is not the reality.

        The problem is i cannot ask that any underling be arrested and tried because the orders were supposedly legal and went through both the justice department and some through congress unless bush and cheney are tried.

        Since not only will that not happen but you get into equally strong constitutional arguments (yes i only see one that is right doesn't mean another does hold water) and it will be a mess.

        Just like the people were mad at ford pardoning nixon, but its now generally accepted it was the right thing to do to bring the country back together i think this is another such time.

        Plus...i suspect if pushed to the brink that Obam would pardon both just to stop the above circus and divisive scenario.  Rather not push it and see what happens once the economy gets on its feet.  The time for an investigation is 4 or 8 years from now

        Powell on palin: I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president.

        by vc2 on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:59:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  LOL. (0+ / 0-)

          A whole hell of a lot of the jokers in the Bush Administration probably would not have been allowed to work in government were it not for Ford's pardons.  You should really look at your history of that fiasco a little more closely.  BTW, most Americans were not happy at the time - all this praise for that decision is pr generated bullshit.

          The lawlessness will never stop if the law is never applied.

    •  The "immunity clause" fails to protect . . . (8+ / 0-)

      felonies such as bribery.

      To review the "Immunity Clause";

      Section 6: The Senators and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United States. They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.

      So, is trying to influence Holder in the performance of his job in exchange for a confirmation vote bribery?   I'd argue that it does.

      18 U.S.C. 201 is the controlling law. To quote in part:

         (b) Whoever--
             (1) directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers or promises
         anything of value to any public official or person who has been
         selected to be a public official, or offers or promises any public
         official or any person who has been selected to be a public official
         to give anything of value to any other person or entity, with
         intent--
                 (A) to influence any official act; or
                 (B) to influence such public official or person who has been
             selected to be a public official to commit or aid in committing,
             or collude in, or allow, any fraud, or make opportunity for the
             commission of any fraud, on the United States; or
                 (C) to induce such public official or such person who has
             been selected to be a public official to do or omit to do any
             act in violation of the lawful duty of such official or person;

      Now if Specter and Cornyn committed bribery during the confirmation hearings; did they commit a felony which would not be exempt under the Immunity Clause?

      (c) Whoever--
             (1) otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge
         of official duty--
                 (A) directly or indirectly gives, offers, or promises
             anything of value to any public official, former public
             official, or person selected to be a public official, for or
             because of any official act performed or to be performed by such
             public official, former public official, or person selected to
             be a public official;
      ...

      shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than two years, or both.

      A two year sentence is generally recognized to be severe enough to be classified as a felony or "high crime".  Indeed, all convictions that I've seen of 18 U.S.C. 201 have been referred to as "felony convictions".

      So, to sum up, it seems that Specter and Cornyn committed felonies and should be investigated with prosecution in mind.

      They attempted to influence Holder:

      "to induce such public official or such person who has been selected to be a public official to do or omit to do any act in violation of the lawful duty of such official or person."

      With something of value . . . a vote in Congress:

      "directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers or promises anything of value to any public official or person who has been selected to be a public official."

      Which can be punished as a felony.

      "shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than two years, or both."

      They are toast.

      •  It sounds like a bribe both ways (5+ / 0-)

        The allegedly proposed deal seemed to involve two senators swapping their acquiescence in Holder's nomination in exchange for his not prosecuting certain people.  Holder would be bribing the senators by not prosecuting; the senators would be bribing him by greasing the skids for his confirmation to a cabinet position.  

        Legislator do this all the time with "I'll vote for your bill if you'll vote for mine," but I think that's different because they don't have a sworn duty to vote for or against any bill.  An Attorney General has a sworn duty to uphold the law; IANAL but I'd think that should make it illegal to offer to buy or sell an exception to the performance of that duty.

        We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

        by david78209 on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:22:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  that's not why we propose prosecuting. (0+ / 0-)

      Accepting human beings from all walks of life since 1963.

      by jj24 on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:14:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry Geekesque, You're Wrong on This (10+ / 0-)

      This is Not Merely "because we disagree with them."  You do a huge disservice to the investigation and prosecution of actual corruption in our Government when you equate this to a Michelle Bachmann-esque gaff.

      I spent a lot of time researching the speech or debate clause.  You seem to get it partially when you talk about bribery vs. the bribed speech, but this is much bigger than that.  If Congressman are conspiring outside of legitimate legislative activities (e.g. speeches on the floor) to protect political buddies from the law, that ain't protected.  You can investigate that.  They can vote and make speeches on the floor of the House and Senate, but conspiring against the foundation of our rule of law?  That ain't protected when its done outside those walls.  AND it is NOT PROTECTED when they communicate with people in other branches of the Gov't, or OUTSIDE of legitimate reporting of Congressional activity to NON-Gov't folks (e.g. recently retired executive branch crooks.)  

      You can get the "tip" from their behavior in Congress that they are committing a crime.  A Congressman can't go onto the floor of the house and say, "I just killed a hooker and left her in my hotel room" and not expect someone to go search the hotel room and charge them for doing it.  You perhaps can't use their statement on the floor, but you sure as hell can believe it probable there is other evidence in that case, AND IN THE CASE OF THESE CORRUPT A.G. blockers that there is MORE EVIDENCE.  Meetings outside of Congress.  Phone calls.  Promises made.  Whatever.  It deserves investigation.

      I know Constitional Law is hard, and I'm just a law student who researched this for a Seminar, but the last thing this country needs right now is blanket immunity for real crimes that are not part of the legitimate legislative process.

      Start by looking for any communiation these Senators have had with Executive branch officials -- stuff outside Speech and Debate clause -- and build the case from there.  

      Let's quit playing fucking softball with corruption in our Governemnt.  And let's quit expanding immunities that were created during the English civil wars hundreds of years ago BEYOND THEIR MOORINGS and to the destruction of our own system.  Cripes.  Sorry I'm grumpy I have a big project due tomorrow.

      •  Nicely done, Data Pimp! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CTPatriot, James Kresnik

         And I partularly like this one:

         

        Let's quit playing fucking softball with corruption in our Governemnt.  And let's quit expanding immunities that were created during the English civil wars hundreds of years ago BEYOND THEIR MOORINGS and to the destruction of our own system.

          There are times when we screw ourselves over with attempts at attaining purity.

        "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

        by elwior on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:50:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sam storm

        Geekesque disagrees with you.  He or she is only addressing the specific questions posed by Cornyn and Specter to Holder in the hearing.  I don't think Geekesque said anything with respect to what other crimes or evidence of wrongdoing that their comments might allude to.  If the investigation you recommend was wildly successful, Cornyn and Specter might indeed be prosecuted for all sorts of crimes, but not for asking Holder to not prosecute Bush in the committee hearing.

        What's clear under the law is that the substance of what was said in the hearing itself is not subject to prosecution, both because of immunity and because there is no statute that specifically criminalizes making such a request.

        "Even if we cannot hope to complete the task, we are not allowed to shirk it." - Jewish Saying

        by rameyko on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 05:12:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Coloring outside the lines!! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        James Kresnik

        but the last thing this country needs right now is blanket immunity for real crimes that are not part of the legitimate legislative process.

        Uhhhhh... me thinks you may be... thinking outside the box a little, no?

        Me not sure we likes the thinking of box outside around here......

    •  See, this is why I like DKos and the net-roots. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sam storm, IL JimP

      We're ultimately self-correcting through individual members of the community.

      The best part of being a liberal?
      We don't do lockstep.  Cramps our style.

      The true measure of a man's character lies not in how he treats his friends, but in how he treats his enemies.

      by FunkyEntropy on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 05:17:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  On the other hand (0+ / 0-)
      Members of Congress walk the talk with regard to upholding the same laws that they pass, so they would have no problems with having every tiny aspect of their lives monitored and investigated 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by law enforcement, would they?

      --
      You want money, DSCC? Get it from Lieberman^W Detroit.

      by DemCurious on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 05:51:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  A freaking men geek (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sberel, bflaff, aggregatescience

      +1000 if I could.

      Neither fire nor wind, birth nor death can erase our good deeds. Buddha

      by zenbowl on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 07:07:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah. That's not what BenGoshi proposed. (0+ / 0-)

      Frankly, your entire diary should be hidden.  Please rethink and delete.

      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

      by neroden on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 08:33:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Specter is protected, but Holder isn't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      judyneric

      at least not by Article I.  So, if Holder were to accept the offer, he might someday face prosecution for not faithfully executing the duties of his office, but Specter would not.  That seems to me to be an inherrently unreasonable demand to make upon Holder or anyone else.

    •  agreeing with them has 0 to do with it (0+ / 0-)

      it does however have a great deal with their attempt to obstruct justice..which you know is a felony, and as such really shouldn't fall into the caveat about not being prosecuted for doing their job duties unless felony commission IS part of their job.

      Their asking for any kind of commitment whether legally binding or not IS an attempt to obstruct justice.

      That's the problem, that's what they get nailed to the wall for.

      Not being republicans, not holding a view similar to my own.. no, they get nailed for being douche nozzles that are attempting to subvert justice.

      And if you can show any coordination between the two of them in it, you can slap on a nice conspiracy charge to boot.. unless you would like to argue that conspiracy is also part of their required job duties........ which you may have a leg to stand on politics being what it is.

    •  ... or because their political techniques (0+ / 0-)

      are getting in our way.  I think sometimes people forget that prosecution can be wielded like a blunt instrument, and that in those cases it is an act of force, not democracy.

      I'm much more in favor of simply taking lawmakers to task in the court of public opinion whenever they pull this kind of crap.  Exposure and shaming are under-utilized tools in the realm of RELEVANT ethics enforcement (ie., NON blowjob-related "offenses").  A retroactive voting-out of office would be a more appropriate penalty for this type of move (that Specter and Cornyn appear to be making), but voters won't know to exercise this check if we don't keep them continuously educated and informed regarding the context and implications of their legislators' actions.

      "I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." -Thomas Jefferson

      by delillo2000 on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 12:03:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  with all due respect (0+ / 0-)

      I do the abyss gazing around here

      Whoever fights monsters should see to it that he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss gazes back into you. Nietzsche

      by snewp on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 06:51:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  violating diary guidelines left & right (0+ / 0-)

      Diary guidlines:

      1. Diaries which are deliberately designed to inflame are prohibited.
      1. Deliberately inflammatory titles, or titles which contain attacks, are prohibited.
      1. "Calling out" other site users by name in diary titles is prohibited. Diaries which "call out" another by name tend to needlessly inflame. If you feel compelled to address another user's comments or diaries in a diary of your own, please do so cautiously. Avoid ad hominems and stick with substantive, constructive criticism only.

      There seem to be about 4 people attacking Goshi that need to light up a big fatty and calm the **** down.  Go ahead and make your legal arguments disagreeing with his premise, but this diary (and a lot of the commentors here and there) are just over the top.

    •  Why are you defending Cornyn and Specter ? (0+ / 0-)

      Cornyn  and Specter definitely want assurances from Holder that he will not prosecute and investigate criminals from the Bush Era. Whether advocating aiding abetting Bush Inc criminals and traitors is illegal for a Senator or not by Constructional law is not clear or possible according to you. But the Senate can certainly take action against them for serrious ethical violation.

      But I guess a few of you folks like this Republican, Democrat dog fight and pony show while the same forces continue their misrule by backing both parties with revolving door politics and bureaucrats. Me I’m sick of this contrived lets you and he fight while we rob you and sell your country down the road. Just start prosecuting the Bush politicos for felonies and treasonous activates and you will get to the real problems in short order, these soft-handed felons will squeal like pigs on who is and has been involved with them to avoid long prison terms.

      Not wanting investigations and prosecution of what damned near everybody paying attention knows are crimes is IMO a dead give away of what special intrests one represents. It's time to clean the house not fight with Republicans to the point of distraction.

      I have more in common with Republicans in my family, neighborhood, and in my home town in terms of what we suffer from or stand to lose than nienty-five percent of the Democrats and Republicans in Washington. When these professional politicians don’t want to enforce the laws or effect change that will reverse the horrible shift of wealth we have had since Reagan, yes including Clinton, then they are not my friends or friends of my family and hometown folks Democrat or Republican...with a couple of exceptions they are the real enemy. Anyone that wants to make excuses why we should not investigate criminal behavior fostered by special intrests is also my and IMO this countries enemy.  I’m sick of mealy-mouthed excuses for not doing what ninety percent of the citizenry know needs doing. All that is going on is  an inane blame game about who is not doing what needs doing and why...that just is not good enough!

      There is noting to recommend these two Senators, Specter IMO helped cover up the killing of JFK, our government has steadily been going down hill since until we are now in real trouble and democracy has vanished. It is time to jail and prosecute war criminals, traitors, high level thieves and oath breakers in place of letting them keep running important elements of both parties and the government...or if the law is too compromised to do that legally then its time for a serrious political revolution with state instituted constitutional conventions to write the oligarchy out of our government by amendments on campaign finance, lobbying and the revolving door between government and special intrests also a lot of market regulation needs to be instituted by amendment so people like Newt, Delay, Gramm and Clinton can’t manage to rewrite the laws governing the matter.

      I don't want to hear whining and excuse making as to why we can't prosecute scum that have stolen more than all our violent criminals since the country began and killed more people in illegal wars and invasions than the murders we have in prison in the last century.

      The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

      by Bobjack23 on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 12:57:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Criminal Prosecution for Politics as Usual? (9+ / 0-)

    Not one's better angel.

    "Give me but one firm spot to stand, and I will move the earth." -- Archimedes

    by Limelite on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:28:14 PM PST

  •  Excellent diary (23+ / 0-)

    Wouldn't this be a violation of the Senate ethics rules?  

    I agree with you - I do not see how this can possibly a violation of law.  

    "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine 4220+ dead Americans. Bring them home.

    by Miss Blue on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:28:54 PM PST

  •  Thanks for posting (11+ / 0-)

    It is always important to follow logic when making arguments.  Your point is taken.

    Nature's laws are the invisible government of the earth - Alfred Montapert

    by whoknu on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:29:10 PM PST

  •  That other diary makes the argument (23+ / 0-)

    for prosecuting Bush weaker.  It makes it seem like more of a political thing than what it really is - an effort to preserve (or restore) the rule of law.

    Thanks for this insightful diary.

  •  More caselaw: US v Gravel (23+ / 0-)

    http://laws.findlaw.com/...

    The Speech or Debate Clause was designed to assure a co-equal branch of the government wide freedom of speech, debate, and deliberation without intimidation or threats from the Executive Branch. It thus protects Members against prosecutions that directly impinge upon or threaten the legislative process. We have no doubt that Senator Gravel may not be made to answer - either in terms of questions or in terms of defending himself from prosecution - for the events that occurred at the subcommittee meeting. Our decision is made easier by the fact that the United States appears to have abandoned whatever position it took to the contrary in the lower courts.



    This is a Test of the Emergency Free Speech System. This is only a Test. In an actual Free Speech Emergency, I'll be locked up.

    by ben masel on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:30:22 PM PST

  •  Yeah... (15+ / 0-)

    ...I was waiting for someone to point out those icky little constitutional provisions. And even if that were all chaff, based on what statute would anyone prosecute?

    They're horrible people, no question. So throw them out of office.

    The future is this moment, and not someplace out there.

    by MBNYC on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:31:20 PM PST

    •  Throw them out of office... (10+ / 0-)

      at the ballot box....after going through George W. Bush, the constitution should be adhered to.

    •  The suggestion that Holder's DOJ should prosecute (15+ / 0-)

      Senators for trying to get policy concessions from  . . . Eric Holder strikes me as crossing about 100 lines of propriety.

      "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

      by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:33:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "policy concessions"?? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Uberbah, elwior, dewley notid, Johnny Q

        What you guys are really saying is that it is ok for members of congress to do things that would normally, in any court of law, be recognized as criminal behavior because they are exempted from being convicted of criminal behavior. Perhaps you guys would like to work on bushs' defense team. You seem to have a handle on it.

        Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Mark Twain

        by Klick2con10ue on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:55:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If you threaten to vote against Obama in 2012 (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          freakofsociety, kerflooey

          unless he prosecutes Bush administration officials, are you guilty of a crime?

          If someone threatens to vote against him if he does prosecute, is that a crime?

          Policy-based rationales for voting are not a crime.

          "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

          by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 11:25:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If you view deals to over-look crimes (0+ / 0-)

            made between some Senators and an Attorney General as a "policy decision" then all you're advocating here is more of the Bush Administration's "policy" of ignoring the law - and encouraging lawlessness.

            I do not think that this situation is the same as asking a Sec. of Agriculture to promise not to pursue policy on biologically engineered seeds.

            If Holder becomes aware of crimes - torture or something else especially aggregious - committed by the Bush Administration or anyone else - he cannot just simply ignore them and pretend that they never happened.

            Generally, when a "policy" is set by an Administration not to go after certain crimes what happens is that they do not investigate allegations so they don't get into the problematic position of knowing about crimes and not doing anything about them.  

            I find it curious that Specter did not request that Holder not "pursue" or "investigate" these crimes instead of asking for a promise not to prosecute.  Specter is smart about his choice of words so I think it is worth noting that he is putting Holder in an untenable position that might comprimise his integrity were he to answer either positively or negatively to the deal they've offered.

            In any case, were it to come to light that either Specter or Cornyn would have something to lose in the event that there were prosecutions or that they might be candidates themselves for prosecution as a result of this torture program, I do not think that the Speech & Debate clause would protect them ultimately.  Based on my reading of the sources citing the Senators' proposal, it is not even clear where, how and when this offer to Holder was made by Specter and Cornyn.  

            What no one knows right now - not you - not BG - is why Specter and Cornyn are so motivated to prevent prosecutions.  I think that there is a lot to unravel about the Bush Administrations' crimes and antics that it is impossible for any of us to say at this point that anyone can or cannot be prosecuted for anything at the moment.

            I think you have to go back to the Saturday Night Massacre to look at the issues raised when Nixon fired the AG for investigating.  I am hoping that you are not going to tell me that now under an Obama Administration we might not have a President who is above the law, but we now instead have a whole Senate who can ignore law rather than re-writing it as is their lawful right.

            •  They are motivated because they are (0+ / 0-)

              partisan hacks.

              And nothing they say when conducting the affairs of the Senate is a crime.  No need to read any further.

              "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

              by Geekesque on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 08:07:05 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Just a comment (23+ / 0-)

    for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.

    Any other place than the House of Congress in question.  If they do violate the rules of decorum and propriety, or act in ways that are unethical, immoral, or illegal in terms of their conduct on the floor of their House, they may indeed be questioned for it by their peers in that house, and, if appropriate, sanctioned for it -- e.g. by losing committee assignments, being censured, or being expelled.

    Of course, it may be necessary to point out that this law has never been held to prohibit the public or the press from questioning or holding accountable a Congressperson for his or her speeches or votes, in a political -- not a criminal -- sense.

  •  Cornyn and Specter - You can't twist my arm into (20+ / 0-)

    not following the constitution, bullies! It is day 4 1/2 and my President is Black, his father was a goat herder and your asses are in deep shit!  I will be confirmed weather you like it or not so piss off!

  •  Thanks Geekesque-- (8+ / 0-)

    my head was spinning over there-- yeah it sounded like a great idea, until that pesky legal stuff came in to the picture.  I appreciated you (and the others) keeping the dialogue going.

  •  So, what it the real scare that the republicans (13+ / 0-)

    have against Eric Holder?  It is unprecendented that members of congress ask a potential AG to state what he "will" prosecute and what he "won't" prosecute.  The AG of this country is to be INDEPENDENT.  Even Clinton did not agree with Janet Reno all of the time, in fact she was a pain in his ass much of the time, but he understood she was independent of his office.  Is it that Holder wants to bring back the stature of what that office is suppose to be, after Gonzales destroyed it?  Thoughts Geek, thanks.

  •  I agree with you here, Geek (18+ / 0-)

    there's very little difference between, say, Cornyn and Specter saying, "no confirmation vote for you unless I hear that you won't prosecute" and "I won't vote for you unless you say you won't seek to overturn Roe."

    Such a promise, written or otherwise, from Holder wouldn't be legally binding and there's no gain or promise of public office involved (given that this is a confirmation, not an appointment), so the idea of prosecution is a stretch at best.

    oops. I hope the gate wasn't too expensive.

    My blog. Come visit.

    by Dante Atkins on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:42:13 PM PST

    •  Moreover, this is kinda what Senators (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      taylormattd, kath25, I, bflaff

      are supposed to do--try to get Cabinet nominees nailed down on policy issues.

      The torture apologia, of course, not being part of what they're supposed to do.

      "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

      by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:55:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  there has to be a HUGE difference between (7+ / 0-)

      taking a stance on an issue as AG, and

      promising to not prosecute an individual, regardless of facts, as AG.

      don't you think therein lies the dishonesty in the argument?

      this isn't about political points of view.  this is about demanding that the AG promise to not engage in the prosecution of individuals.  

      "As Attorney General, do you support prosecuting criminal activity?"

      that is not a political point of view.

      Accepting human beings from all walks of life since 1963.

      by jj24 on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:58:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Stop talking in the abstract. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Boris Godunov, mcfly, Geekesque, LynneK

        The diarist quoted a specific statute and claimed the Senators' conduct violated that statute. hekebelos is correct; if Specter can be prosecuted under that statute, so could democratic senators.

      •  The issue is torture, waterboarding, the MCA, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        taylormattd, freakofsociety, blunami

        etc etc.  That's all fair game, as is the policy question of what effect such prosecutions would have on our intelligence services.

        They are allowed to raise those issues and disagree with us on them.

        "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

        by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:03:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  that isn't the issue. (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TX Unmuzzled, Uberbah, LynneK, Johnny Q, MsGrin

          the issue is cornyn and specter wanting holder to say he won't prosecute individuals.  regardless of the crime.

          furthermore, is torture not a crime? is that a political stance now, just because a rogue administration decided it was for their purposes, politicizing the opposing view?

          if the administration is over, so is the bullshit precepts it operated under.  we aren't under any obligation to legitimize, after the fact, their alternate reality positions.

          Accepting human beings from all walks of life since 1963.

          by jj24 on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:10:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That isn't a crime!! (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            freakofsociety, Geekesque, nklein

            How many times do we have to say it? It doesn't violate the statute according to the court of appeals.

            Moreover, that speech is protected under the speech and debate clause!

          •  Most prosecutions the DOJ takes are policy-based (4+ / 0-)

            decisions.  They have very limited resources and are very selective about the kinds of cases they pursue and weigh heavily the public policy implications of such prosecutions.

            "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

            by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:12:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  again - you're putting the cart before the horse. (4+ / 0-)

              holder is not yet in his job, which would need to be in order for him to say which prosecutions would take priority.  

              besides, cornyn and specter don't seem to be asking the prosecutorial discretion question in the first place.

              Accepting human beings from all walks of life since 1963.

              by jj24 on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:17:15 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I agree it's unwise and inappropriate for them (6+ / 0-)

                to seek such a promise.

                But it is not a criminal act under any reasonable understanding.

                "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:18:26 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  i'm not convinced. (8+ / 0-)

                  and, given your "reasonableness" in the other diary, why would i believe that you hold the reasonable understanding?  furthermore, why aren't you fighting to find a way to obstruct the obstructors, instead of trying to take down those who are looking for a way to do it?

                  that's the bottom line.

                  the doubt lies mainly due to your conflation between a political opinion on issues, v. demanding that holder not prosecute real crime if certain individuals are guilty, and constantly bringing up the prosecutorial discretion argument.  neither of these points are relevant to cornyn and specter's stance.

                  going with what is relevant, if there is any legal justification to assert obstruction of justice, i really hope that you, as an attorney on the left, are trying to find it.

                  Accepting human beings from all walks of life since 1963.

                  by jj24 on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:31:11 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  To be blunt, I find the idea of prosecuting (5+ / 0-)

                    members of Congress for this kind of stuff to be abhorrent and anti-progressive.

                    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                    by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:39:17 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  so - the disagreement isn't legal after all - (10+ / 0-)

                      and your argument is based on your ideology.  i'm surprised.

                      frankly, i find demanding our AG to not prosecute criminals because __________ (put reason there) is abhorrent and anti-progressive.  i wonder what drives you to differ with such a seemingly universal moral view - that criminals should pay for their crimes, and that those who try to stop that from happening are guilty as well.

                      Accepting human beings from all walks of life since 1963.

                      by jj24 on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:50:32 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Thanks jj24 for cutting to the bottom of this. (4+ / 0-)

                        Why can't we get just ONE "Rec x1000" button option to use per week? Or per month?

                        Great work here, jj24. I am struggling to understand what the diarist and his friends are trying to accomplish here today.

                        •  wow - thanks! (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          TX Unmuzzled, Uberbah

                          but just like you, after all of this, we are still struggling to understand what they're trying to accomplish; and if my latest post is answered, i can bet it won't be direct - i.e., why they disagree with the premise.  it will probably be some shout-down or put-down.  either way - after all the arrogance in two separate diaries, i finally got to somewhat of a confession.

                          Accepting human beings from all walks of life since 1963.

                          by jj24 on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 05:55:33 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  no, it's constitutional (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        freakofsociety, Geekesque, kerflooey

                        Nothing that Specter or Cornyn say during these hearings can be the basis of a criminal prosecution.

                        •  What Specter and Cornyn did deserves EXPULSION (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          judyneric, jj24, Uberbah

                          And they are NOT exempt from that.  The Speech & Debate clause simply transfers jurisdiction from the courts to the Senate Ethics Committee, who should investigate them for the serious crimes they're committing.

                          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                          by neroden on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 09:03:07 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Okay (0+ / 0-)

                            they're scumbags.  You got that right.  But, doesn't the Senate need to find a legal way to get rid of them?  The argument I'm reading on these threads is about the rule of law as written, not whether the two senators are justified or moral in what they're doing.

                            Maybe a better approach would be for constituents to contact their own senators to let them know how pissed off they are about this and that they want them taken off the committees and whatever position they're into to be able to obstruct this way?

                            Oh, and that Bush and co should be prosecuted for torture.

                            Go Holder!

                            :)

                          •  what rule are they breaking? nt (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            freakofsociety, aggregatescience
                      •  Prosecuting people for political disagreements (2+ / 1-)
                        Recommended by:
                        freakofsociety, sam storm
                        Hidden by:
                        Uberbah

                        is what I would expect from Vladimir Putin.

                        I am offended by totalitarian measures that you are advocating.

                        "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                        by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 05:56:00 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  misrepresenting the circumstances again, i see. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Uberbah

                          i'm done with you.

                          Accepting human beings from all walks of life since 1963.

                          by jj24 on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 05:59:59 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Torture is not a political disagreement (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          jj24

                          its a crime and no different (in the sense of its legality) than murder. If Bush had murdered someone (not an abstract murder like in iraq, but a murder in the sense of stabity-stab with a knife) and a senator would say to the AG "don't prosecute Bush" than that would obstruction of Justice, at least to my (not professional) understanding. The point is, that its not about a policy disagreement, but about making the AG promise not to prosecute a crime.  

                          •  If it's not a politcal disagreement, why (0+ / 0-)

                            are Democrats and Republians debating it in Congress?

                            "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                            by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 07:33:06 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  LOL. (0+ / 0-)

                            I don't think that abortion rights are a political issue because I don't believe that the government has any right to play around with womens' wombs, but that doesn't mean they refrain from making the issue political.

                            Rather than trying to make an Attorney General nominee to promise not to follow the law, Specter and Cronyn should be introducing their legislation to change it - they have every right to try to make torture legal through the traditional legislative process - but they can't just tell someone that he can't have a job if he follows the law and opts not to break however many international treaties - also as it happens laws recognized in the body of the Constitution.  

                            Furthermore, they also have no right to designate particular individuals such as "Bush Administration officials" as being above the law - nor does Holder have the right to make such a promise to them for their votes.  So Holder finds out that an Obama Administration official has broken the law on the torture front and that person can be prosecuted, but the Bush official he or she worked with in the transition cannot?  That's malarkey.

                          •  All issues about what the government (0+ / 0-)

                            can or should do are political.

                            but they can't just tell someone that he can't have a job if he follows the law and opts not to break however many international treaties - also as it happens laws recognized in the body of the Constitution.  

                            Sure they can.  Speech or Debate Clause says they can.

                            "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                            by Geekesque on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 09:37:51 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes they can, but they can't. (0+ / 0-)

                            There is a line - they may not have crossed it in this instance - but there is a line.  They do not enjoy complete immunity from the law.

                          •  No, there isn't. (0+ / 0-)

                            The Constitution grants them absolute immunity for anything they do while carrying out the business of Congress.  

                            They could tell Holder at a hearing that they wouldn't vote for him unless he got a sex-change operation and converted to Waabism.  

                            If they say it in Congress, it's not a crime.

                            "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                            by Geekesque on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 12:33:46 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I understand that. (0+ / 0-)

                            But if they offered this deal in another venue, they might not be quite so protected.

                            I haven't seen any specific detailing of when, where and how this offer to Holder was made in the accounts that I have read.  The Post article did not make it clear that this was said in a hearing or on the floor or if it was sent in a letter for that matter.

                            In any case, they're asking Holder to do something that I think could easily be viewed as completely unethical on Holder's part were he to agree to their deal.

                          •  They were explaining to the press why (0+ / 0-)

                            they weren't ready to agree to a vote on his nomination.  

                            You'd have to show that they as Senators solicited a bribe for themselves.  What they're doing is scummy, but it isn't illegal.

                            "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                            by Geekesque on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 12:43:13 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  he didn't say anything of the kind (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          jj24

                          this:

                          so - the disagreement isn't legal after all and your argument is based on your ideology.  i'm surprised.

                          frankly, i find demanding our AG to not prosecute criminals because ________ (put reason there) is abhorrent and anti-progressive.  i wonder what drives you to differ with such a seemingly universal moral view - that criminals should pay for their crimes, and that those who try to stop that from happening are guilty as well.

                          In no way equals

                          I am offended by totalitarian measures that you are advocating.

                          "advocating totalitarian measures".  Calm.  Down.

                      •  His argument is based on ideology!? lol (0+ / 0-)

                        No, his argument is based on the fact that he understands our justice system. While wanting to prosecute Specter and Cronyn for this is probably based on the fact that your ideology is different from theirs!!!

                        •  that whole "dark is light, night is day" shit (4+ / 0-)

                          was over on 1/20/09.

                          he's not the only lawyer on this site; and not the only view in town.  he calls the concept of supporting prosecuting criminals a political matter of policy.  do you?  is that even passable as a real argument?  since when is the prosecution of crime an elective exercise?

                          wanting to see justice done toward those who bribe those who would carry out the rule of law, is not exactly a partisan issue or "ideological difference," either.  you'd be pretty hard-pressed to find those who were against that concept - but here we are, with geekesque representin'.

                          Accepting human beings from all walks of life since 1963.

                          by jj24 on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:05:43 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  It's not a crime (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            kerflooey

                            That's the point of his diary. You can't change the rules just because they are republicans and you don't like what they are doing. Nobody here likes what they are doing, but they are allowed to do it. You are the one who is hung up on ideology.

                          •  JJ I understand what you are stating (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            aggregatescience, kerflooey

                            for the principle of your argument. Yes, of course, all crimes should be prosecuted on principle. However, the AG exercises his/her discretion on what s/he will prosecute for various political and pragmatic reasons. Alberto Gonzalez obviously got in trouble for how closely aligned he was in terms of politically pursuing and persecuting people against the Bush agenda. But the issue here is not whether people who do wrong should be punished or not. The issue here is how should they be punished and who is authorized to do so "legally." As many pointed out here that the authority is with Senate Ethics Committee to oust them but there can be no criminal charges brought up against them with what is known up until this point. I think the diarist wanted to make sure that the interpretation of the law was not that loose after the last 8 years even when we are dealing with people with whom we disagree.  

                          •  It is really important going forward that (0+ / 0-)

                            people understand that Gonzales got into trouble because he was making shit up - not because of political prosecutions.  If his witch hunt had had merit, if the cases they pursued were impeccable, he would never have had to step down.

                  •  do you mean to suggest (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    freakofsociety, Geekesque, nklein

                    that specter and cornyn can do more than delay holder's confirmation by little more than 1 week?

                    also, "if there is any legal justification to assert obstruction of justice, i really hope that you, as an attorney on the left, are trying to find it."

                    article 1 section 6 of the united states constitution is very clear, there is no legal basis for prosecuting specter and cornyn for asking questions of a nominee. an attorney, left or right, shouldn't try to subvert the constitution. that's largely what got us into this mess.

                    •  "asking questions"? (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      jj24, Uberbah, elwior

                      They were not asking questions they were asking that the AG nominee to not do his job in the instance that someone was found to be guilty of a criminal act. Big difference.

                      Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Mark Twain

                      by Klick2con10ue on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:18:20 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  How could they be "found guilty" (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        freakofsociety

                        Prior to an actual prosecution?

                        I finally put in a signature!

                        by Boris Godunov on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:37:30 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Obstruction of justice (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Uberbah

                          Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Mark Twain

                          by Klick2con10ue on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:47:49 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Can people stop sheepishly repeating the phrase (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Boris Godunov

                            obstruction of justice and actually read the diary they are commenting under?

                          •  Well i am in good company (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            jj24, Uberbah

                            It makes no sense to ask Holder to not prosecute someone who has not been charged.

                            Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Mark Twain

                            by Klick2con10ue on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:20:57 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Actually that wasn't sheepish (0+ / 0-)

                            it was more casually dismissive. My bad.

                            Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Mark Twain

                            by Klick2con10ue on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:25:19 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That makes zero sense (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            freakofsociety

                            In context.

                            Here's what you said:

                            They were not asking questions they were asking that the AG nominee to not do his job in the instance that someone was found to be guilty of a criminal act.

                            No one can be found guilty prior to an actual, you know, prosecution...

                            I finally put in a signature!

                            by Boris Godunov on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:15:33 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  My Bad (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            jj24, Uberbah

                            Thank you for catching my mistake. Here is what I should have said.

                            They (Cornyn/Specter) are not merely asking questions regarding policy. They are in fact asking the AG nominee (Holder) to say he will not prosecute any alleged crimes the Bush/administration might be charged with. Of course, to make this request they (Cornyn/Specter) would have to assume there might be actual acts regarded as crimes that the Bush cabal are guilty of as it is difficult to prosecute crimes that did not occur. Therefore they are asking Holder to be an impediment to justice.

                            Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Mark Twain

                            by Klick2con10ue on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:43:58 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Better, but logic still doesn't hold. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            bflaff

                            Of course, to make this request they (Cornyn/Specter) would have to assume there might be actual acts regarded as crimes that the Bush cabal are guilty of as it is difficult to prosecute crimes that did not occur.

                            This is not a valid assumption.  They could also believe that the Bush cabal did nothing wrong and that any prosecution attempts would amount to using the justice department for a political vendetta (yes, the irony is rich).  Unless it's clear that both know for a fact that the Bushies were guilty of crimes, claiming obstruction is a real stretch.

                            Of course, it's a 100% moot point, because as has been shown in this diary countless times, legislators can't be prosecuted for anything they say in the course of their legislative duties.  The legal precedents are quite clear on this.

                            I finally put in a signature!

                            by Boris Godunov on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:48:37 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh shit i have to rebutt (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            jj24, Uberbah

                            They could also believe that the Bush cabal did nothing wrong and that any prosecution attempts would amount to using the justice department for a political vendetta (yes, the irony is rich).

                            .
                            They could believe that. (bullshit). Any school kid that has paid attention could deduce Bush/Cheney have broken the law. The question beyond that is can it be proved in a court of law.

                            Of course, it's a 100% moot point, because as has been shown in this diary countless times,

                            Absolutes in law? Please.

                            Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Mark Twain

                            by Klick2con10ue on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:58:32 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  In this case (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            kerflooey

                            Yes, it is absolute based on the Constitution that you can't prosecute legislators for whatever they say in the course of their legislative duties.  Abundant precedent has been cited for this.

                            Do you have ANY legal precedent of a legislator being successfully prosecuted for things they've said in Congress?

                            I finally put in a signature!

                            by Boris Godunov on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 07:13:21 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Perhaps we could set a precedent (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Uberbah, dewley notid

                            Or perhaps we could maneuver within the realm of law to bring irrefutable truth to the otherwise undiscerning eye.
                            I hesitate to yield to those who would sequester their principles, and the truth as well, with regard to a  point of law, no matter how entrenched.

                            Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Mark Twain

                            by Klick2con10ue on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 07:47:10 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That's a "no." (0+ / 0-)

                            The precedent has been set, the Constitution is clear.  As Adam B would say, End.

                            I finally put in a signature!

                            by Boris Godunov on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 07:53:21 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh? Okay. If you say so.... (0+ / 0-)

                            where'd I put my beer....uh dude...you gotta light??

                            Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Mark Twain

                            by Klick2con10ue on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 08:53:19 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  We could set all manner of terrible precedents (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Adam B, freakofsociety

                            Doesn't mean it's a good idea, or that it should be entertained beyond a simple, "Um... no."

                            Empowering DOJ to bring charges against Congress members, based on an interpretation of their political statements, is an amazingly destructive idea. You do not want to give the Executive branch the power to harrass and intimidate the Congress in this way. Period. There really should be no grey areas to explore.

                          •  Maybe congress could then learn (0+ / 0-)

                            to ignore the legislative branch in the same manner the legislative ignores congress...maybe some good could come of it.

                            Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Mark Twain

                            by Klick2con10ue on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 04:26:24 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  Not to mention prior to an actual vote on (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Boris Godunov

                          Holder's confirmation.

                      •  Huh? (6+ / 0-)

                        The point of the Speech or Debate Clause is that the Executive Branch can't prosecute the Legislative Branch to determine whether they're legislating properly.

                      •  Actually they weren't (0+ / 0-)

                        they were asking in him to clarify under which circumstances he would convict for torture. And since they haven't voted yet we can not accuse them of stopping Holder from doing his job either. I told people to stop bringing up this torture business before Holder was confirmed!!! Now we have to deal with the delay in his confirmation process because there is nothing we can do to stop it! Perhaps people should have listened to me and others who were saying the same thing instead of calling us stupid.

        •  It is not a policy difference. (5+ / 0-)

          The law has been broken and they are attempting to obstruct justice.

          Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Mark Twain

          by Klick2con10ue on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:11:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I appears to me that there is (0+ / 0-)

      significant difference between agreeing not to prosecute someone one of a crime and not voting for someone on the basis of abortion.

      Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Mark Twain

      by Klick2con10ue on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:06:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just a general question... (6+ / 0-)

    ...because I honestly don't know.

    Would a Truth and Reconciliation Commission fall under the auspices of the DOJ, or could it be conducted separately by Congress?

    Like I said, just a question...

    "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

    by grannyhelen on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:44:54 PM PST

  •  Enlighten me..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, aggregatescience

    ....does the Speech or Debate Clause apply when they are screaming on the Capitol steps?

    Tonight I'm going to party like it's 1929.

    by Bensdad on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:45:50 PM PST

  •  Great diary (10+ / 0-)

    love this quote:

    Now, let me state the obvious:  Those two Senators are engaging in irresponsible, inappropriate, outrageous, reprehensible, and obnoxious behavior.  It is bad public policy and worse public morality.

    And that has no bearing on their criminal culpability.  If we truly believe in the rule of law and reject Bushism, we have to adhere to that principle.  

    Tipped and rec'd

  •  asdf (7+ / 0-)

    Bravo, geek!!!!!

    So many Kossacks talk right out of their asses - displaying an ignorance of both politics AND law that puts even some right wing fruitcakes to shame.

    Thank you for a reasoned and informed voice of sanity amid a chorus of know-nothing lefties apparently too drunk on the 'new freedom' to do much reading of the source documents.

    I don't have "issues". I have a full subscription!

    by GayIthacan on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:49:52 PM PST

  •  You see stuff like this all over DU... (10+ / 0-)

    ...where there's a suggested treason prosecution in every tenth thread or so.
    Really, people, we can do better.

    "The country we carry in our hearts is waiting." Bruce Springsteen

    by Davis X Machina on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:51:39 PM PST

  •  Terrible diary. Terrible argument. (13+ / 0-)

    This means they cannot be sued or imprisoned for what they say on the floor, how they vote, or why they vote? That's your claim. That's what your entire diary is about. And then you go on to backtrack on it.

    You argue that a Senator can't be charged with anything because someone pays them for their vote but then you change the wording of your argument to talk about a bribe for making a speech, not making a vote.

    Then you backtrack and say that the Senators can't be charged with bribery (which you lied about earlier and said they couldn't be charged with no matter what) unless they personally benefit financially. And even that's not true because it's not just financial benefit, it's property and services too... or any other act which advances a person's "personal interests."

    You've made a terribly insincere and poorly constructed argument.

    Every single Republican "benefits personally" from Bush not being prosecuted. It's 100% about personal job security for Republicans.

    Terrible argument. All I can imagine is that you tried to argue it in the other diary and got so far up on your high horse that there was no way down.

    I hope you're not supposed to be a lawyer.

  •  The bigger issue about acting like (6+ / 0-)

    Republicans and Faux News junkies needs to be addressed as well.  (And I say this as someone who initially flipped the fuck out over the new NY Senator's position on lgbt issues because I didn't take the time to do my homework on her.)  ((And, yes, I know there are other issues.))

    People know what they do; they frequently know why they do what they do; but what they don't know is what what they do does. -Michel Foucault

    by eamonsean on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:56:42 PM PST

  •  This hardly means dailykos fails. nt (5+ / 0-)

    "Justice is indivisible." - MLK

    by Bob Love on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:59:11 PM PST

  •  As for Specter, (4+ / 0-)

    you'd have to catch him first anyway, which would be a problem because most invertebrates are pretty slimy.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:59:30 PM PST

  •  "Daily Kos" Doesn't Fail (5+ / 0-)

    I almost entirely agreed with you in that diary discussion, and mostly disagreed with the diary. But "Daily Kos" didn't fail to be better and smarter than Republicans. Some posters did, including the diarist in the comments in that diary, when making frivolous attacks on rebuttals to their points. When ignoring facts and logic, when making ad hominem and other fallacious charges on those who disagreed with them.

    But "Daily Kos" didn't fail. Despite the whines of those insisting on their position, they couldn't stop others from disagreeing in public. They didn't advance their argument, but rather showed their argument's shallowness and fatal flaws when pressed. And now here's your own diary, with its own recommended prominence, further arguing the rebuttal.

    Republicans, OTOH, routinely were worse and stupider than that on their blogs (and in their posts to DKos). Shouting down opponents, piling on with censorship demands so often met, drumming nonconformists out of their communities and Party... stupider and worse than DKos.

    You are right in this argument about prosecuting senators who pursue their own political defense in opposing Holder's confirmation. But you are wrong when you go too far and score Daily Kos itself as a failure.

    Since you don't even argue a case that supports that exaggerated and inflammatory title, I suggest you change the title. Then I can return to my strong agreement with you.

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

    by DocGonzo on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 02:59:40 PM PST

  •  Thanks. That diary was one (12+ / 0-)

    of the most appalling things I've read here. And that's saying something.

  •  Here's a question (6+ / 0-)

    Which democrats plan to run for Cornyn and Specter's seats and where and when can we vote for and support those democrats to insure the above scumbags are replaced by them?

    Second question:

    Who can we write to or call to support Holder's appointment?  Is there a senator on the fence?

    That's how I like my participative democracy applied.  

    :)

    •  For Specter's seat: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      freakofsociety, nklein

      I believe the two most famous people thinking of running are US Reps Patrick Murphy and Allyson Schwartz (she's from the 13th district).  Neither are too progressive, although I think Murphy might be a Blue Dog.  He was also the first Iraq vet elected to Congress.  In '06 I went to see him, Obama, Rendell, and a few others at a campaign event.

      Specter will be very hard to defeat if he doesn't plan on retiring.  He has extremely strong Jewish support, even among some loyal Democrats.

      •  I've seen interviews with Murphy (4+ / 0-)

        I was impressed but he was talking up Obama, so it was a good topic :)

        I can't imagine any loyal Democrats, no matter what their demographic, could be happy about Spector's antics this time.  Too many clips that will be perfect for commercials, which is why I will donate to whoever has the best chance against him.  

    •  Texan, here (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aggregatescience

      Cornyn just got re-elected, so he's in for a while.

      My only hope is that he becomes the (obstructionist) face of the Republican party and as such helps to make the argument for Dems in other seats more convincing.

      Support the troops (for real)! write to any soldier

      by sberel on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:14:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Cornyn just skated in 2008. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sberel, aggregatescience

      We've been spared the prospect of Chris Matthews running against Specter in 2010.  I dunno who will step up to the plate.

      "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

      by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:15:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  i'm glad that you wrote an arrogant and (5+ / 0-)

    offensive piece of your own, insulting the idea that the obstruction by cornyn and specter could be targeted and prosecuted.

    perhaps now you can stop spamming the other diary with your insults.

    Accepting human beings from all walks of life since 1963.

    by jj24 on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:01:16 PM PST

  •  Your title is a joke right? (7+ / 0-)

    Or does someone have to get a rec list diary going to teach you simple statistics about how 1 diarist and a few hundred recommenders does not equal DKos as a whole.

    The #1 diary on the rec list you mention is full of disagreement. Much of it yours. You make some good points in your diary but the tone is quite rude. Comparing this attempt to anything Bush/Rove has done is a laugh. I commend BG for his creativity and DailyKos as a whole for completing the scientific process of review. I recommended it at first and then read the comments and revoked that rec. The process works. Your title=FAIL.

    [http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/1/4/23455/99659/388/679987 Let Rick Warren Raise Money for LGBT Equality at Obama's Inauguration]

    by CornSyrupAwareness on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:06:40 PM PST

  •  If they asked for no prosecution of themselves? (9+ / 0-)

    Then there would be clear personal benefit.  Probably the same if they asked for 'Get out of prosecution free cards' for their immediate families.  How about for friends?  I assume they have friends in the Bush administration.

    On a slightly different tack, there's a significant chance that by blocking prosecution of Bush administration figures they're stopping investigations that might lead to themselves.

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:07:19 PM PST

    •  Also, where did Cornyn and Specter make the offer (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TX Unmuzzled, neroden

      If it was in committee hearings, I gather it would be protected speech the same as if it were on the Senate floor.  If it was something they said (if either of them said such a thing at all) over dinner at a restaurant, would it still be 'protected speech'?  If so, does that mean a Senator can make book on the floor of the Senate?  And can a "Congressmadam" run a prostitution ring from the House chamber?  Maybe.  Maybe the only thing stopping that is the ethics procedures of the House and Senate.
      (I'm kind of proud of that term, "Congressmadam;" I think I just coined it myself.  Has anyone seen it used before?)

      We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

      by david78209 on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:22:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yup, David, you got it (5+ / 0-)

      I was just attempting to make this argument up thread.

      Impeachment in the New Year, please.

      by MsGrin on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:45:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's possible that Specter and Cornyn have (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      david78209

      staff members or family members who stand to profit from torture. Maybe they own stock in HAL CACI and Blackwater.

      Art 1 Sec 6 provides Specter and Cornyn protection.
      Period.

      Short of treason, there is very little one can go after them for. Those 535 people serving in the United States Government in congress have a Protected Status.

      Even the asshats and the jerk Republicans.

  •  Other diarist saying bribing, not bribed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leonard145b, LynneK

    BIG difference.

    Impeachment in the New Year, please.

    by MsGrin on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:10:07 PM PST

  •  I agree--thx for posting this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mary Julia, bflaff, IL JimP

    position.

    Find your own voice--the personal is political.

    by In her own Voice on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:11:44 PM PST

    •  Let me second that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bflaff, In her own Voice

      when I see titles like that I usually don't even read it because it is ridiculous on its face and I don't want to get into a debate where I probably am going to defend politicians who I deplore.  Thank you for taking the time to go through this and offer a rational place to follow the rule of law.

  •  If you can add a logical fallacy... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Naranjadia, bubbanomics

    then you can blend two recommended diaries into one.  

    When we got into office, the thing that surprised me most was to find that things were just as bad as we'd been saying they were. -JFK

    by optimusprime on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:12:07 PM PST

  •  Fortunately it doesn't matter (6+ / 0-)

    what a few offhand kossacks may say.  The reality is that there are no crimes too awful that members of our political ruling class, particularly members of the just past administration, for the Democratic leadership in DC not to give them a pass.  Torture?  No big whoop?  War crimes.  Who cares?  Illegal spying on American citizens?  No big whoop.  Given that reality, why on earth do you think anyone would be prosecuted for what you cite here?

  •  You know (13+ / 0-)

    Sometimes people like to talk about things because it's fun, even if there's no chance it'll ever happen. No harm, no foul, IMO.

  •  Good point about the abyss. But this isn't the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynneK, dewley notid

    only thing at play here.

    First, I can't bring myself to give 2 sh*ts about those 2 sh*ts.

    Second, even if they couldn't be prosecuted for voting a certain way or another, they can be prosecuted for selling their vote, and for using their office to abet criminal activity. Failing that, the 2 turds can be censored or expelled by the senate for palling around with terrorists and war criminal. Failing even that, or additionally, they can be handed over to the ICC or another court in a position to render judgment on war crimes.

    Third, beyond all this crap, the fact of the matter is that the Constitution is irreparably broken, and that's is a problem. You can't have the president and the whole cabinet abuse it in every conceivable way for 8 years, with the legislative looking the other way, and then go back to the status quo. You can't.

    •  Irony much? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mary Julia, Geekesque, bflaff, stella0710

      Paling around with terrorist?

      You can't repair the constitution by tossing it out the window in an effort to get back at people who you believe tossed it out the window when they were in power.

      •  And you can't repair the constitution. You never (0+ / 0-)

        repair a constitution. You have to start over, with more safeguards, and fewer monarchic 18-th century anachronisms.

        No, don't irony much, irony just a little, a light touch. Maybe I should have been less subtle: the irony is that the repubsh*ts are going to find wrapped around their necks the frivolous accusations that they tossed at democrats, only now they are going to be damn serious. Irony enough now?

    •  Sarah Palin never said anything so (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      taylormattd, Deicide

      stupid.

      "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

      by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 05:59:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just what we needed, a defense of Palin... (0+ / 0-)

        Next you will presume to tell the senators how they should vote in this matter?

        I haven't forgotten that a couple of years ago you .
        were categorically sure that there was 'zero' chance that bush could be prosecuted.

        In these matters, you can tell stupid only after a few years, I'm afraid.

  •  Whether they can be prosecuted or not (11+ / 0-)

    is, to me, a moot point. For now, Cornyn and Specter need to just STFU because, quite simply, no one should be above the law - or an investigation into whether a law was broken. To interfere with this process is absurd and just makes it look like they have plenty to hide.

    Their objection certainly can't be used anywhere else. "No officer you can't search my car for a body even if I did leave a severed arm back at the last intersection. If you do, my daddy's the mayor and I'll have your job!"

    Yes, the press should ask Cornyn and Specter what they fear but instead what we'll get from the MSM is talk about a "Democratic Party witch-hunt" and countering that inevitable meme will be difficult but we need to gird our loins on that, so to speak.

    (As if Bill Clinton couldn't tell you about the Republican variety that in every sense of the word(s) was, in fact, a purely partisan "with hunt" over lying about sex and probably revenge for Nixon mixed in...)

    I think that, even if prosecution of Cornyn and Specter was feasible that might (rightly or wrongly) be perceived as a witch hunt in and of itself. They should, however, be reminded of just what it is they're asking for and politely and succinctly told "Sorry. No deal."

    They could and should be reminded of Alberto Gonazales's stonewalling, loss of memory and bullshit slinging that we had to endure. This time, we won; they lost. Evaluate a nominee based on his or her qualifications -- you can't deny his nomination based on  whether you think he might come get you and your buddies.

    Have they no sense of shame? I know... stupid question.

    This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around!

    by Snud on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:22:41 PM PST

    •  Thank you. (7+ / 0-)

      .

      Geekesque highjacked and "diary-stalked" me.  And, now is still obsessing on me.  It's weird.  

      I'm posting a few comments here (nothing to the seemingly 2 trillion he did in mine) to say:

      He totally, utterly mischaracterizes my diary.  

      A thorough read of my diary show the degree to which he does.  I do not, and have never advocated "prosecuting members of Congress because we disagree (with them)."

      bg

      "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of Giants." -- Newton

      by BenGoshi on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:36:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What is happening is that this splinter (0+ / 0-)

      of Republicans is holding Holder hostage.

      'holding Holder Hostage'  - lol

      The Republicans had their chance to immunize people committing torture by using legislation. They didn't do it. The sudden apparent love affair people like Specter and Cornyn have with torture is politically very damaging to the Republican Party and serves to marginalize and break up an already fractured and weak coalition.

      In the unlikely envent that Eric Holder were to acquiesce to the demands of Cornyn, and promise not to prosecute Obama should [and would] pull his name from nomination.

      The only people with something to lose here are the Republicans. Let them continue the "Holder hold".

      Let's get America discussing whether or not Abu Gonzales tried to get Ashcroft's signature again - all of this acts as a wake up call to Americans that criminal actions were taken by the Bush Administration.

  •  Your "Hastily Added Postscript" was my thought (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geekesque, dewley notid, MsGrin

    in the first instance: who really wants to criminalize someone asking or even demanding that a prosecutor not prosecute in an open, political discussion?  

    "The first Republican who cries "Wolverines!" on the House or Senate floor has to be considered the front-runner for the 2012 Iowa caucus." JF on TPM

    by Inland on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:28:48 PM PST

  •  We can still SAY they are obstructing justice (9+ / 0-)

    and we can say it loud and clear, because they are.
    It may not be prosecutable, but we can say it.

  •  Off with their heads! (0+ / 0-)

    Impeach 'em, convict 'em, torture 'em, kill 'em, put their heads on spikes for all the world to see.

    Just make sure "'em" ain't you and all will be fine.

    See the losers in the best bars, meet the winners in the dives -Neil Young

    by danoland on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:30:27 PM PST

  •  Once they turned their heads away from the (6+ / 0-)

    violations of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments committed by the Bush-Cheney gang, the oligarchs in Congress lost their little sanctuary of privilege behind which they can commit crimes and generally undermine the laws, principles, and values of the country.

  •  you call it 'seeking policy committments' (6+ / 0-)

    others could call it 'aiding and abetting'
    I would call it 'influencing' questioning, about the prosecution of alleged crimes, that can't be known until investigation of the alleged deeds.
    And influence is part of RICO.
    Let the sun shine in. Questions and counter questions.
    Are you telling me not to investigate/prosecute a crime if I think it warrants investigating/prosecuting?
    Are you telling me that they shouldn't be asked that question? Lets let them clarify their questions.

  •  Darn and I was hoping an "Obstruction of Justice" (0+ / 0-)

    case could be made against them .. which I think is a felony

    Republicans heart big business & the rich and hate everyone else. Need Proof? Bush and his administration's scorched earth policy for the last days in offic

    by Clytemnestra on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:40:49 PM PST

  •  "Aiding and Abetting" a felony is okay? n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BenGoshi, MsGrin

    Republicans heart big business & the rich and hate everyone else. Need Proof? Bush and his administration's scorched earth policy for the last days in offic

    by Clytemnestra on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:42:00 PM PST

  •  Question on my phantom memory. (4+ / 0-)

    *****First let me preface my question with, this is my memory, I am not inserting it as fact, I can't find the necessary back up.  But, I have a decent memory for details like this that stick out to me.  I remember my suspicion at the time was, they needed to involve the Head of the Senate Judiciary Committee as a safeguard against investigation.  So, treat this as rumor until I can dig up the background.

    I have a memory of when the Comey/NSA/Card/Gonzo story broke.  It is driving me crazy, I can't locate any information on the contents of the envelope and it origination.

    But, I remember it being stated that the statement in the envelope that needed 'authorization' had been drawn up in Senator Specter's office.  I remember him being furious about it and denying any knowledge of it.

    If, my phantom memory is correct, and his office was involved in the drawing up of the papers, should Senator Specter take himself out of this process?  Is there a conflict?

    I understand three journalist are able to focus in on a date of when they were spied on, based on the actions taken by the Bush Administration March 10, 2004. (Gonzo-Card moving in on the sick Ashcroft)
    As I understand it their ability to pin-point a date gives hope to bringing a case.

    PS does anyone else recall this part of the Comey-Hospital Bedside story?

  •  maybe some DK users are confusing confirmation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catfood, Geekesque

    hearings with the hide rating privilege at this blog site?

  •  Just playing devils advocate here (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mary Julia, catfood, Geekesque

    And I tend to do this a lot on DK and honestly I agree with the majority of stuff here but I'm the kind of guy that doesn't speak up normally when I'm in agreement with something. So sometimes I come off as a bit at odds with the place but whatever...

    Let's look at this a different way.

    In Specter and Conyrn's public mind George W. Bush committed no crime. Them asking Holder if he would prosecute or not is a question of "Are you going to prosecute this man for doing something that was not criminal?" It's not AIDING AND ABETTING. They are simply clarifying Holder's views and interpretations of things. They aren't protecting him from prosecution as much as they are protecting him from what they see as political persecution.

    It's a reasonable enough platform for these guys to stand on. Obviously I don't agree with it and it pisses me off that these conservative asses have used the ability of laws to be interpreted liberally to break them but that is the rule of law. The entire concept of the justice system is that we'd rather see a hundred guilty men go free than to imprison one innocent man and that is still applicable and even more so after the past 8 years. It chafes that in this case the entire Bush Administration is that 100 men but that's the way it works.

    In short this is exactly the type of shit the speech and debate clause was meant for and anyone clamoring for prosecution of Specter and Conyrn because they have aided and abetted the crimes of this administration is as silly as freepers who are saying Obama should be tried for murder if a released Gitmo inmate kills someone. The constitution will not be restored by bending it in the name of justice, or retaliation or in its defense. It will be restored by adhering to it strictly.

  •  Geekesque horribly twists and distorts my Diary. (11+ / 0-)

    .

     Geekesque highjacked and "diary-stalked" me.  And, now is still obsessing on me.  It's weird.  

    I'm posting a few comments here (nothing to the seemingly 2 trillion he did in mine) to say:

    A thorough read of my diary show the degree to which he distorts what I wrote.

    I do not, and have never advocated "prosecuting members of Congress because we disagree (with them)."

    I do not, and have never advocated prosecuting Senators for "speech".

    What I wrote was that in my view it appeared that Specter and Cornyn could have, perhaps have, gone right up to, or are dangerously close to going over, the line of corruption by their actions in trying to get AG Nominee Holder to promise not to investigate or prosecute any torture-related cases in exchange for their dropping opposition to his nomination.

    Read my diary, if you have any questions about how I came to see this thing in this way.

    Additionally (and as noted above), Geekesque and a joined-at-the-hip blogging ally of his (also making the rounds on this thread throwing out all sorts of nasties at and about me):

    1.  Throw up the Red Herring that I made "no attempt to research", when, if one bothers to read my diary can see that that is untrue.

    2.   Throw up the Red Herring that because I didn't do a Brief worthy of submission to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (or some Federal Court) that his an G'esques hissy-fits are warranted and justified, not realize that this is a Blog, not a U.S. District or Appellate Court.

    3.  Do the very thing they accuse me of doing:  throwing up spurious legal arguments.  Between them they've cited many a case, none being on-point relevant to the argument(s) I make or position I take.  However, they seem to think that if they throw enough cited cases into a blog or comments, that ought to do the trick of impressing the socks off the gentle lay-reader.

    4. Cite defenses (an immunity for speech clause in the Constitution, e.g.) as a -- again spurious -- reason that even suggesting possible criminal culpability for a sitting Senator is worthy of embolisms and heart-attacks (or, at the least, hissy-fits in the comment section of my Diary).  Of course, I never advocated the possibility of Specter's or Cornyn's running afoul of the law based on their speech, but, rather that there words were evidence of their actions and that, of course, their actions speak for themselves.  

     Lastly, I never call Geekesque or his BFF here "stupid" or saying this diary's "bullshit" or say, "who the fuck cares what they (other Daily Kos commenters) have to say about it (my diary)".

     That was part of the language and tone of Geekesque and his BFF on my diary.  It's not my tone here.

     This is my 10th and last comment on this diary.  I cannot begin to count the multiples (and multiples and multiples of 10) of antagonist, baiting comments G'esque and his Friend here sullied-up my diary with.

    A shame.
     

    bg

    "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of Giants." -- Newton

    by BenGoshi on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:13:41 PM PST

    •  Fundamentally misunderstand corruption (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      freakofsociety

      Conyrn and Specter are going to receive nothing for this. Unless you've got tapes where Bush or Cheney promise the Senators a cooshy job for their wives, freezers full of money or hotel rooms full of whores what you have is not bribery and corruption but political negotiation. Unless you're prepared to bring every member of Congress and Obama up on charges of corruption then you've got nothing. Making the other side negotiate for your support of a vote is not corruption. Asking a nominee how he interprets the acts of a prior President and refusing to vote for him unless he gives you an interpretation you agree with is not somehow obstructing justice.

    •  Well. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      freakofsociety

      by their actions in trying to get AG Nominee Holder to promise not to investigate or prosecute any torture-related cases in exchange for their dropping opposition to his nomination.

      a) Is that a violation of statute in your view?

      b) Do you favor prosecution regardless?

      I thought the answer to both of these is "yes" in your diary.

      "The first Republican who cries "Wolverines!" on the House or Senate floor has to be considered the front-runner for the 2012 Iowa caucus." JF on TPM

      by Inland on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:24:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent and fully (3+ / 0-)

      justified response to what was basically message board thuggery.

    •  Yes, this diary is crap and misstates the law (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TX Unmuzzled, BenGoshi

      ... in my opinion, but in the end, it's just an armchair analyst and the real attorneys in the DOJ will do real work and go after corrupt congress critters, whether Geekesque thinks he understand the Speech or Debate clause or not.

      •  If you are correct, then shortly we'll have news (0+ / 0-)

        items about Specter and Cornyn being put under investigation. I will shocked and amazed to see it happen. I will be surprised to see a Jonathan Turley or any other Constitutional expert endorsing that action, either.

        I'm just as angry, but Article 1 Section 6 gives broad powers of immunity, and for good reason based in English Common Law.

      •  I am an attorney, and there is no doubt (3+ / 0-)

        amongst rational people that I am right here.

        The Angry Mob crowd such as yourself are not worthy of respect when it comes to debating the Rule of Law.

        "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

        by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:11:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Legitimate legislative activity? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CTPatriot, bigchin, dewley notid

          You understand that the Court has been clear that only legitimate legislative activity is covered.  See e.g. Gravel v. U.S.  

          Making a speech, voting, investigations, etc.  ... that's legitimate legislative activity.

          You are now saying that holding up an Attorney General's nomination on the express grounds that he promise not to investigate crimes of political allies is legitimate legislative activity?

          The act here is the subversion of our very rule of law.  The polution and corruption of our system of Government.  You would expand precedent into a caricature of the policies that brought the speech/debate clause out of the English Civil Wars and into our constitution, so that the people of this nation have no recourse save internal Senate procedure and a six year election?  

          Surely using your skills as an attorney you can see the holes in the precedent and argue against permitting these Senator's perversion of their role, or perhaps you'd prefer one less check and balance in our system, so this corrupt senate can hide behind pronouncements of blanket immunity?

          I'm sure you've read many cases and scholarly articles on the Speech or Debate clause before throwing in the towel and proclaiming that Senators are free to subterfuge our system of Government so long as they do it on the Senate floor?  

          I take no stance on the issue of bribery -- I disagree with the other diarist there.  

          But christ, take a moment and use your analytical forces for the forces of good here before you throw in the towel.  

          •  The standard is not 'legitimate.' (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            taylormattd, Adam B, freakofsociety

            Per the SCOTUS:

            It is beyond doubt that the Speech or Debate Clause protects against inquiry into acts that occur in the regular course of the legislative process, and into the motivation for those acts.

            http://supreme.justia.com/...

            This includes confirmation hearings, statements regarding hearings, scheduling of hearings, and votes in hearings.

            Here is the crucial point:  No one in the Executive or Judicial Branch is allowed to judge whether a legislator is engaging in 'legitimate' behavior in how he carries out his tasks in the Senate.  

            "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

            by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 07:16:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No. Legitimate is not surplusage (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              CTPatriot, neroden, bigchin, dewley notid

              The word "legitimate" is no more surplusage here than it is any other time the court uses it [e.g. "let the ends be legitimate"].  It's the catch-all for the rule of law.  Demanding the nominated attorney general promise not to uphold the law is not legitimate.  

              Again, the legitimate legislative actvity, not "legislative activity" is the test.  Gravel and Eastman cases both stood for this.

              A "Speech or Debate" is any action within the "sphere of legitimate legislative activity." Eastland v. United States Serviceman's Fund, 421 U.S. 491, 503, 95 S.Ct. 1813, 1821, 44 L.Ed.2d 324 (1975); Gravel v. U. S., 408 U.S. 606, 616, 92 S.Ct. 2614, 2622, 33 L.Ed.2d 583 (1972).

              U. S. v. Peoples Temple of the Disciples of Christ 515 F.Supp. 246 (1981)

              Or do mean that whatever Congress decides is legitimate legislative activity is legitimate legislative activity?

              Come on, Geekesque, you have a point that we shouldn't follow Republican's blind abuse of the law, but you're not even lifting a pinky to try to argue against what these corrupt Senators are doing.  

              You could argue the difference between what is speech and what is act in a 1A context, but you can't do it here?

              •  Except ... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Geekesque

                "Legitimate" regards the legislative context, not the specific actions within that context.  Read Eastland (internal cites omitted):

                In determining whether particular activities other than literal speech or debate fall within the "legitimate legislative sphere" we look to see whether the activities took place "in a session of the House by one of its members in relation to the business before it." More specifically, we must determine whether the activities are

                     

                "an integral part of the deliberative and communicative processes by which Members participate in committee and House proceedings with respect to the consideration and passage or rejection of proposed legislation or with respect to other matters which the Constitution places within the jurisdiction of either House."

                The power to investigate and to do so through compulsory process plainly falls within that definition. This Court has often noted that the power to investigate is inherent in the power to make laws because "[a] legislative body cannot legislate wisely or effectively in the absence of information respecting the conditions which the legislation is intended to affect or change." Issuance of subpoenas such as the one in question here has long been held to be a legitimate use by Congress of its power to investigate. ...

                The particular investigation at issue here is related to and in furtherance of a legitimate task of Congress.  On this record the pleadings show that the actions of the Members and the Chief Counsel fall within the "sphere of legitimate legislative activity." The Subcommittee was acting under an unambiguous resolution from the Senate authorizing it to make a complete study of the "administration, operation, and enforcement of the Internal Security Act of 1950 . . . ." ...

                A confirmation hearing is undoubtedly legitimate, and once that's determined, the inquiry basically ends.

                The propriety of making USSF a subject of the investigation and subpoena is a subject on which the scope of our inquiry is narrow. "The courts should not go beyond the narrow confines of determining that a committee's inquiry may fairly be deemed within its province."

                •  The act here is not by the committee like in (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  dewley notid

                  Eastland.  It's by a couple of senators.  So the legitimacy of the act arguably does not encompass just the nomination process itself.  But really, this is getting to the heart of it -- I do not see the type of deal the senators are trying to strike as integral to this nomination process, in particular because the deal itself is illegal.  It is an inducement on the A.G. to violate his oath and break the law.

                  Again, take a moment Adam and ask yourself if you were called to argue the other way whether you'd just go home and not draft a brief, or whether you could muster an argument to the contrary.  Then look at the stakes involved here -- the corruption of our government -- and ask if it is worth it.

                  •  Well, if a client's paying by the hour ... (4+ / 0-)

                    .... I'll keep researching. :)

                    If the S&D Clause becomes something other than an easy-to-apply bright line test about "is this a function which Congress can do," then it loses its meaning, because being forced to go into detail like this in a discovery/motion process means that legislators functionally aren't protected at all from such inquiries, even if they ultimately win.  You give huge leeway for the Executive Branch to harass critical legislators by forcing them to prove whether each action within a legitimate setting was itself legitimate.

                    •  While I disagree with you, I appreciate that (0+ / 0-)

                      ... you have a good argument for why absolute immunity is valuable.  

                      Fundamentally I don't think "speech or debate" is occurring with these senator's actions, as I believe they are performing an extra-legislative act in the quid pro quo they are negotiating with the nominee of a coordinate branch.  That it happens under the umbrella of a nomination process doesn't inoculate it, in my opinion.

                      Still we know there wouldn't be 5 votes agreeing with me on the supreme court.

                •  ...all irrelevant to the Senate Ethics Committee (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Geekesque

                  When a criminal act cannot be investigated in the courts due to the Speech and Debate clause, the duty falls to the Senate or House Ethics Committee, which is not limited by the Speech and Debate clause in any way.

                  I'm shocked that I am the first person to realize this, which is why I've been spamming both diaries.  :-)

                  -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                  by neroden on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 09:07:59 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I'll add that Eastland is later decision than the (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bigchin, dewley notid

              ... one you cite.

              http://www.oyez.org/...

              •  Burger was referring to whether something (0+ / 0-)

                was a legitimate action or power of Congress itself--in Eastland that was the issuance of a subpoena.

                Here, that issue would be holding a confirmation hearing for the DOJ nominee.

                "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 09:12:22 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Or arguably (0+ / 0-)

                  Burger was referring to what was a legitimate action within its ontological context, that is:  a committee subpoenas, Senators speak, and congresscritters send mail with the franking privilege.  The classes of the actors match the methods invoked, if you're an object-oriented programmer.

                  But as to whether a couple of Senators can offer an agreement to a nominated attorney general that they violate their oath ...

                  I see that as being an action not inherently tied to being a Senator; quite unlike sending a subpoena is inherently tied to a committee.

                  Yes, it may reduce to a superclass of "Speech", but the class of the act itself, which I see as either a bribe or extortion, lends itself to its own liability.  Liability that Congress clearly consented to when it passed bribery or extortion laws without specifically exempting itself.

        •  Are you sure U.S. v. Kemp and the 3Cir control? (0+ / 0-)

          First U.S. v. Kemp, that is discussing Penn. law, yes?  

          And the 3rd Circuit is not the Supreme Court, yes?

          Can you update your diary for more clear evidence that bribery requires a personal financial gain?  That is a key point of your argument, isn't it?

          •  "Anything of value" defined by SCOTUS: (0+ / 0-)

            Neither does the statute limit the type of bribe offered. It prohibits accepting or agreeing to accept "anything of value." §666(a)(1)(B). The phrase encompasses all transfers of personal property or other valuable consideration in exchange for the influence or reward. It includes, then, the personal property given to Salinas in exchange for the favorable treatment Beltran secured for himself.

            Salinas v. United States, 522 US 52

            http://www.law.cornell.edu/...

            "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

            by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 07:29:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Anything of Value would thus include (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dewley notid

              a vote on an appointment, would it not?  Is that not valuable consideration?

              Why don't you update your diary to reflect this revelation?  You can still argue the speech or debate limit.

              •  It is not property being transferred. (0+ / 0-)

                Moreover, let's step back and use common sense.

                Specter and Cornyn are not setting up a meeting in a dive bar with Holder where they promise to vote for him if he does something illegal.

                They're asking him to be as specific as possible on the question of prosecuting interrogators before they agree to vote for him or schedule a vote.  

                If you take things as far as BG did, then virtually every campaign promise could be taken as an attempt to bribe voters.

                "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 07:38:45 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  You've misread Speech & Debate clause (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CTPatriot

          Yes, it makes them exempt from criminal prosecution in the courts.

          However, their actions are still crimes; they can and should be investigated by the Senate Ethics Committee, and the Senate has the power to expel Cornyn and Specter for this.

          The Speech and Debate clause specifically says they shall not be questioned in "any other place".  The Senate itself can question them, and its ethics rules prohibit committing crimes such as BenGoshi has documented.

          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

          by neroden on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 09:05:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  So are you a lawyer? (0+ / 0-)

        Telling a slew of actual lawyers that they don't know the law and YOU do is beyond arrogant.  It's utterly assinine.

        I finally put in a signature!

        by Boris Godunov on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:22:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'll apologize on this ... (0+ / 0-)

        I'm confident Geekesque honestly believes he or she is right, and has good policy arguments for it.

        But I think the precedent is open enough for a strong argument that these Senator's behavior isn't protected by the constitution.  As to whether this supreme court is ready for it... I'd tip the hand to Geekesque that the case would be barred.

        However, the A.G. is also free to evaluate the Constitution and the law, and to decide whether to investigate wholly independent of anything encompassed within the speech or debate clause.

    •  I agree it was an ugly display of rudeness, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TX Unmuzzled, BenGoshi

      mostly not on the part Geekesque, but a couple of other posters. I found the tone obnoxious and unproductive as well.

      And I'm sticking with my recommendation of your diary, even though I don't believe you have a legal case to stand on.

      There are times that the discussion is worth the recommendation. Your diary is one of those times.

      •  Well I think people were rude (0+ / 0-)

        because that diary could have gotten this site in trouble. KOS could have gotten sued for libel and they could have taken this site down for attempting to get people to do something unconstitutional. People were ready to call their senators and write to their newspapers about Specter and Cronyn being guilty of bribery and obstruction of justice!  Ben didn't get the severity of that, and it was on the rec list for a while and freepers could have just seen the title and called Mr. Specter or Mr. Cronyn about it. Liberals have gotten in trouble for lesser things. I'm sorry but I don't blame people for being rude at all.

        I mean this isn't Ben's personal blog. He and others who have posted similar things that were badly researched need to realize that it's not just themselves who would suffer as a result of it.

    •  The Constitution forbids prosecution. (5+ / 0-)

      Period.  That is the end of the debate.

      Senators may not be prosecuted for saying "I will vote for the nominee if he says X, and will vote against him if he says Y."

      You choose to ignore the Constitution because it is an inconvenience to your desired outcome.

      You are every bit as bad as Bush--and maybe worse--when it comes to respecting the United States Constitution.

      "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

      by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:10:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Only if legitimate legislative activity (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dewley notid

        You didn't shortcut your analysis like this back on law school exams did you?

        •  No you are wrong (0+ / 0-)

          Please don't pretend to be smarter than the lawyer who has cases cited to back himself up. Don't pretend like you didn't read it either.

          •  Go away troll (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BentLiberal, dewley notid

            A "Speech or Debate" is any action within the "sphere of legitimate legislative activity." Eastland v. United States Serviceman's Fund, 421 U.S. 491, 503, 95 S.Ct. 1813, 1821, 44 L.Ed.2d 324 (1975); Gravel v. U. S., 408 U.S. 606, 616, 92 S.Ct. 2614, 2622, 33 L.Ed.2d 583 (1972).

            U. S. v. Peoples Temple of the Disciples of Christ 515 F.Supp. 246 (1981)

            •  And in this case ... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Boris Godunov, Geekesque, kerflooey

              ... the legislative activity is a confirmation hearing.  That's legitimate.  End.  

              •  If what is challenged is the hearing yes (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dewley notid

                But the action being challenged is the offer, at the hearing, that the reward of a vote for an Attorney General will only be given if the nominee agrees to not uphold the law of the land.

                Consider that for a minute.  Not the hearing.  Not the words the senators are saying.  But the deal they are looking to strike.  The future actions that they are looking to tie up, that would occur outside of the chamber.

                What is striking here is not that someone can come to the conclusion that you do, but rather your reluctance to find an argument to the contrary.  Do you really want Congresspersons able to do what they are doing?  Do you think that is what the founder's intended?  Is this an area you think there is the need for complete immunity?

                Because I see this as over the line, and there must be a line somewhere.

            •  Excuse me? (0+ / 0-)

              I'm a troll for disagreeing with you? Don't get mad at me because you have no idea what you are talking about! You know when people start tossing out insults they don't have any argument left?

        •  You threw the insults out first (0+ / 0-)

          so you really shouldn't be calling me a troll here. You appear to be a bit of a hypocrite!

    •  Ben Why do You (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      freakofsociety, kerflooey

      Make arguments about hijack when people disagree with what you are stating substantively. The title of your diary is about prosecuting these senators, and the substance of your diary is a flawed legal analysis. Therefore, many here and in your diary pointed out to you what those flaws are and stated very relevant examples to prove some errors in your post. You may choose to not see those errors but what is the point of you coming here and posting how many number of times you have posted here or they have posted there and who said bullshit and stupid or fuck to whom? Really, does that matter? We are all adults here. A few cuss words on a blog is not that big of a deal.

    •  Shame on you Ben (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      freakofsociety, Geekesque

      for keeping an atrocious diary up that purports to have the law on your side when it has been made abundantly clear that Specter/Cornyn's actions here are not a crime.  

      You may have done some cursory "research" on Google, but what your diary is most lacking is common sense when it comes to the law.  

      A) Precedent is not on your side.
      B) Case law is not on your side--in fact, it's on the opposite side.
      C) 99%+ of lawyers, law professors, judges, and prosecutors are not on your side.  You might honestly be the only one.

      A + B + C = A shame indeed.

  •  Get a rope! And use it to .... (0+ / 0-)

    have something for Republicans to exercise their irrelevant jaw boning on.

  •  From your opinion - (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TX Unmuzzled, Klick2con10ue, Johnny Q

    Now, let me state the obvious:  Those two Senators are engaging in irresponsible, inappropriate, outrageous, reprehensible, and obnoxious behavior.  It is bad public policy and worse public morality

    Wrong.

    A quid pro quo like this is Obstruction of Justice... plain and simple.

    •  What quid pro quo? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vcmvo2, dedmonds

      There was no quid pro quo in this instance! Please do not state that there was a quid pro quo when you have no evidence of that. People need to cut this out. There is no proof they were doing anything that was punishable by law. Either provide the proof, or don't say that. Do you even know what quid pro quo means? Can you go in a time machine and see how these senators are going to vote on this? Being a republican senator does not make one not worthy of equal protection under the law. I am very disturbed that people on here are casually accusing them of that.

  •  This is a HORRIBLY argued diary. (8+ / 0-)

    First:

    The Constitution expressly forbids such a prosecution.

    The original diarist was discussing a possible conspiracy to obstruct justice. Obstruction of justice is a crime, conspiring to do so is a crime. Hand-waving at the Constitution is not a good argument. If you think there's section that says Senators are allowed to obstruct justice, please quote it.

    Second:

    Asking a nominee to make such commitments is commonplace.  As Adam B points out, Democrats sought commitments to refrain from prosecutions from Michael Mukasey during his hearings.

    This a complete misrepresentation of what Leahy asked during those hearings. In the link, Leahy asked Mukasey to adhere to a pre-existing standard regarding timing of prosections. Namely to time prosecutions so they don't interfere with elections. Leahy did not ask for prosecutions to be suppressed.

    Contrasted that to what Specter & Cornyn asked Holder, which was specifically to commit to not prosecute a particular class of potential criminals.

    These are completely different things.

    Asking a nominee to make such commitments is commonplace.

    Asking nominees to commit to not do their job is commonplace? That's just ridiculous.

    "Dear Mr Holder, will you commit to treating torturers the same as law-abiding citizens?"

    "Dear Mrs. Clinton, will you commit to negotiating with genocidal dictators in the same manner as peaceful governments?"

    "Dear Mr. Bush, will you solemnly swear to not protect the Constitution?"

    Yeah, its reasonable to insist someone not do his job ... we can see where that got us.

    ----------

    If you think the original diarist was doing conspiracy theory, fine. Attack that. But don't tell me that asking someone to not do his job is reasonable.

    Member, The Angry Left.

    by nosleep4u on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:23:36 PM PST

    •  And let me add (5+ / 0-)

      Hastily added postscript:Republicans are seeking to delegitimize inquiries into the criminal and extra-Constitutional abuses under Bush as 'criminalizing politics.'

      This is Village-speak.

      Torture is not politics. Torture is against the law. Period. Prosecuting torturers is upholding the law.

      What you're asking is to place politics above the law, and that is wrong.

      Member, The Angry Left.

      by nosleep4u on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:26:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Please provide proof that they were obstructing (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronInSanDiego, Geekesque, kerflooey

      justice. Don't say that unless you've got some damn good facts to back it up with! It's not a casual thing to be thrown around. I don't remember Holder being asked any of those questions you provided either. Your argument might be worthwhile if there was actually proof that Specter and Cronyn were trying to obstruct justice. You can't prosecute them for asking whether he would prosecute for torture in specific cases. That is ridiculous and they have every right to do it. Do you mean to tell me that Leahy wouldn't have stopped them if what they were doing was against the rules and punishable by law? He was pretty pissed off about it. Leahy even said it was unfortunate that Specter and Cronyn were acting that way but that they had a right to do so!

      You know very well that that diary would never have been posted if it were democrats doing that to a  republican AG.

      •  Whether or not there is proof is not (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TX Unmuzzled, CTPatriot, dewley notid

        what I was writing about. I specifically said "If you think the original diarist was doing conspiracy theory, fine. Attack that."

        What I am saying is that attacking the original diarist by claiming that Specter's demands are reasonable -- that asking an AG nominee to not do his job is reasonable -- is a very very bad way to attack the first diarist. And that using clearly bad facts & comparisons is also a bad way to attack it. (It was the deliberate misrepresentation of Leahy that ticked me off.)

        Is there actually a conspiracy? Meh. Even if there is, there's probably no demonstrable proof. But again, that wasn't the point of my comments.

        Member, The Angry Left.

        by nosleep4u on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 05:20:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Article 1 Section 6 gives tremendous latitude (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adam B, Geekesque

      for Senators and Congresspeople - it prohibits arrest and prosecution for virtually anything they do in the course of the fulfilling of their functions as Officers of the State.

      It was intended [I believe] to prevent the Executive Branch from arresting, intimidating or threatening members of the Legislative Branch.

      Section 6. The Senators and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United States.

      They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.

    •  They cannot be prosecuted for how they vote (4+ / 0-)

      and their stated reasons for that vote.

      Period.

      Anyone who disagrees has no idea what they hell they are talking about, and should be laughed out of the room the next time they pontificate about the rule of law.

      "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

      by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:04:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes and the quid pro quo argument doesn't work (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Geekesque

        anyway because they haven't even voted! lol

      •  WRONG. The SENATE can prosecute them. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Geekesque, bigchin

        Sorry to catch a lawyer out in Constitutional ignorance, but you've missed the key point of the Speech and Debate clause.  Nobody but the Senate can prosecute them.  The Senate itself can prosecute them, and if it finds them guilty, expel them from the Senate.  

        They may be able to punish him in additional ways -- the exact limits of their self-regulating ability are unclear to me, since cases come up so rarely.

        If you disagree, you don't have any idea what the hell you are talking about, and you should be laughed out of the room.

        However, I suspect that you know I'm right.  And, like most lawyers, you just didn't do your damn research.

        -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

        by neroden on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 09:12:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Read (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      taylormattd, freakofsociety

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      You. Are. Wrong.

      I finally put in a signature!

      by Boris Godunov on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:27:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You haven't refuted Geekesque's point (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Geekesque, kerflooey

      nor actually validated BenGoshi's original point, which was NOT an obstruction of justice argument as you say--but instead an allegation of corruption/graft laws under a specific statute--18 201.  

      It has been corroborated over and over that political support, legally speaking, does not fall into the category of "something of (monetary) value" that would constitute a bribe.  What Specter and Cornyn did here was not illegal.  Rinse, lather, repeat.  If it were illegal and did fall into the quid pro quo category, then the Democrats too would be guilty by the exact same standard referenced by BenGoshi--even IF we rely on your interpretation that "Leahy asked Mukasey to adhere to a pre-existing standard regarding timing of prosections."  Under BenGoshi's "legal analysis", this would still be 'something of value' to be exchanged for a vote for or against confirmation.  

      But let's clarify here: whether the two GOP Senators were reasonable is another discussion.  This discussion is about criminality, pure and simple.

  •  I comend you for writing this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Boris Godunov, dedmonds

    I can not believe that the diary you are talking about was recd 3 hundred and something times! Obama is right, this childish partisan bickering needs to stop. I don't care who started it, someone needs to put an end to it. I'm sick of being at war with the republicans and condemning people for being more conservative. Thank god Obama is a grownup and understands this.

  •  Yeah but we're at war so the Constitution doesn't (0+ / 0-)

    apply...

  •  There is a large part of me... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    freakofsociety, Geekesque

    that hears the GOP's call for bipartisanship and inclusion, their obstructionist tactics and I think "Where was this discussion 4-6 years ago?" That same part has zero tolerance for their whining .
     Having said that, oddly possibly, that is also the same voice that says we must be better than Bush and his ilk. Is the obstructionist tactic frustrating? Most definitely. Should we hold them to account their next election? Oh, most certainly. I agree completely though that we cannot ignore the Constitution or make threats of criminal payback for this position. But, I do think AG-designate Holder and the Obama administration need to hold their ground and refuse to answer "litmus-test" questions.

    Bigotry is the disease of ignorance...Education & free discussion are the antidotes of both. Thomas Jefferson

    by RiverCityMadman on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:57:04 PM PST

  •  I think one point a lot of folks are missing (8+ / 0-)

    is what Geekesque is advocating in this diary.  He (She) is not saying that Cornyn and Specter SHOULD be immune, or that torture is lovely, or that Cornyn's definition of torture is correct, or that Bush is an innocent lamb.  The argument is rather about what the law IS (not what it should or ought to be), and the problematic implications of attempting to circumvent or misapply that law in an attempt to achieve supposedly desirable goals.

    The rule of law is like that.  Sometimes it protects good people, and sometimes it benefits awful, terrible, immoral people.  But we apply it fairly and equally so that the good people are better protected when there are unscrupulous or overzealous folks in charge.

    "Even if we cannot hope to complete the task, we are not allowed to shirk it." - Jewish Saying

    by rameyko on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:59:07 PM PST

  •  What a combination of good sense and hooey! (5+ / 0-)

    It's hard to separate it out. First, I am not convinced that what Specter and Cronyn are doing amounts to criminal behavior.  But I think it's a good question.

    For just one example, the comparison between Leahy's request and Specter's is absurdly misleading.  Leahy was asking for a pledge from Mukasey that he would return to prosecutorial conduct which is prescribed by law, i.e., not to pursue certain prosecutions within a certain timeframe before elections.  What the two sleazy senators are asking for is an agreement not to prosecute gross violations of domestic law, international law, and all accepted codes of conduct of civilized nations.  The two are not even close to the same ball park.  Even if they were, what Leahy was asking was for adherence to conduct accepted by Republican and Democratic demonstrations in protection of our election process.

    Your argument is so well made in places, then you throw in something like this which is close to intellectually dishonest.  Ironically, just as you argue so sensibly for us progressives not to undermine ourselves by criminalizing politics, you undermine your argument with such false comparisons.

    In my opinion, what Cronyn and Specter are doing goes beyond "seeking policy commitments from the nominee for Attorney General regarding how he would exercise his duties in office."  It amounts to asking for a pledge from the prospective AG to hedge on his commitment to his oath of office.  Do you really think prosecutorial discretion goes so far that it would be perfectly legal for a prospective AG to say, before confirmation and before any investigation, "Due to political realities, our DOJ will not pursue any prosecutions for bribery"?  or how about "prostitution"?  or any class of crimes you choose.  This diary is a strange mix of strong, sensible argument and dangerously muddled reasoning.

    Two irrelevant questions: Is slavery profitable? Is torture effective?

    by geomoo on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 05:04:17 PM PST

    •  Oh they are being ridiculous, (7+ / 0-)

      the problem was that the diary was titled Prosecute Holder and Cronyn. If it had been a diary about holding them accountable, which I agree with and will do (I'm a PA resident) than I wouldn't have had a problem with it. It wasn't, It was about how they could be considered guilty of bribery and about how they were breaking the rules, which they aren't doing.

      Trust me I will not forget the way Specter is acting nor will I let anyone else here forget it.

    •  What they are seeking is outrageous. (5+ / 0-)

      But it is also plainly not criminal.

      "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

      by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:01:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have a hypothetical question (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        freakofsociety

        (although it is conceivable it would apply in this case).  In your opinion, would it be illegal for a senator to seek assurances that his own crimes would not be prosecuted in exchange for his confirmation vote?

        (I also would appreciate if you would withdraw your absurd comparison between Leahy's request for a return to accepted practice and Specter's request for blanket immunity for an obscene departure from all standards of civilized behavior.)

        Two irrelevant questions: Is slavery profitable? Is torture effective?

        by geomoo on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:31:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  1. He could do so on the floor of the Senate (4+ / 0-)

          and there isn't a damn thing the DOJ could do.

          The Senate could expel his ass for that, of course.

          1.  The analogy was one for legal purposes, not for comparing the validity of the policies under discussion.  Leahy was right, and Specter is wrong.  But, in terms of criminal culpability, they're both absolutely privileged.

          "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

          by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:50:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank God there are people like you on here Geek (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Geekesque

            n/t

          •  OK, that's a better answer! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Geekesque, geomoo

            You're right that the DOJ could do nothing.

            So why aren't we talking about reporting the man to the SENATE ETHICS COMMITTEE?

            -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

            by neroden on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 09:13:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Okay, that's clear and seems right. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Geekesque

            as to the question of behavior on the floor of the Senate.

            I do have more trouble with the comparison than simply that I happen to agree with Leahy.  The two are different in kind.  I accept that both are privileged, but there is no reason to even wonder whether Leahy's request should be privileged, since Leahy is seeking assurance that the DOJ be run in accordance with generally accepted practice; in other words, precisely the sort of question one would expect of the Senate.  Specter, otoh, is asking for a special exception to be made, and rather a dramatic one, one with international ramifications.

            In fact, in writing that, it occurs to me that Specter and Cronyn may have exposure under international law, which requires the prosecution of war crimes.  Do you have any thoughts concerning culpability of senators when their behavior on the floor of the Senate has obstructed the prosecution of war criminals?  I know the lawyers who wrote briefs justifying torture, including Yoo and Addington, are absolutely liable for their briefs and are almost certainly guilty of war crimes.

            Two irrelevant questions: Is slavery profitable? Is torture effective?

            by geomoo on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 09:42:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's worldwide practice to grant immunity (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              freakofsociety, geomoo

              to legislators for what they do in their role as lawmakers.  In France, it's known as, fittingly, 'irresponsibility.'

              "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

              by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 10:05:51 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I take it that answers my question below. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Geekesque

                I'm having a hard time getting my head around the notion that any legislative body the world over can behave in any way they like with no fear of prosecution.  Surely if the Senate passed a law creating a system of slavery, there would be some recourse under international law.  If you can grant that, then the question becomes where do you draw the line.  If you can't even grant that, then I want to become a Senator.  I would do all my dope smoking on the Senate floor.

                Two irrelevant questions: Is slavery profitable? Is torture effective?

                by geomoo on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 10:12:36 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The line really has to be drawn that (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  freakofsociety, bflaff, kerflooey

                  votes can never be criminalized.  Even ex post Nazi Germany, no one was prosecuted for voting for the Enabling Act or the Nuremberg Laws.

                  If you don't draw that line, the exceptions can quickly swallow the rule.  

                  "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                  by Geekesque on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 10:16:47 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  So you think that, when the SCOTUS finds (0+ / 0-)

                  a law unconstitutional, they should also have the legislators who voted for it thrown in the hoosegow?

                  I would do all my dope smoking on the Senate floor.

                  Don't be an idiot. Dope smoking isn't legislating.

                  •  Stop with the self-righteous arrogance already. (0+ / 0-)

                    It's a throw-away line.

                    This practice of taking a statement, twisting it to mean something extreme, then shouting it down with a sneer...well, it doesn't really contribute to understanding or discussion.  Even though I believe them to have been right about their essential point, all the sneering, creation of straw men, conflation of their own point with the many things they have been wrong about--this has turned what should have been a straightforward debate into a pissing contest.

                    To answer directly, no I don't think Senators should be thrown into jail for passing unconstitutional laws.
                    And no, I'm never going to be a senator.
                    And no, even if I were, I would not from smoke dope on the Senate floor.
                    I hope that clears some things up.

                    And for the record, legal or not, the behavior of our two senators goes beyond passing unconstitutional laws.  They are asking the prospective AG to pledge to violate his obligations under international law.  Our new AG will not enjoy the much vaunted prosecutorial discretion in the case of war crimes.  Our country has an obligation under treaties and our own laws to investigate war crimes committed by our citizens.

                    Two irrelevant questions: Is slavery profitable? Is torture effective?

                    by geomoo on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 06:18:36 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  International law enters into this question (0+ / 0-)

              Leaving behind the question of bribery or graft, concerning which you have convinced me the conduct is protected, there remains the issue of our international obligations.  Senators Specter and Cornyn are asking Holder to pledge not to carry out his obligations under international law.  Now I'm looking for some indication of the stance of international law toward members of legislative bodies who cause their country to fail to live up to their obligations to prosecute war crimes.  It is not so clear to me that there is no criminality here.

              From wikipedia:

              Shortly before the end of President Bush's second term newsmedia in other countries started opining that under the United Nations Convention Against Torture the US is obligated to hold those responsible for prisoner abuse to account under criminal law. This view was corroborated when United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment--Professor Manfred Nowak--on January 20, 2008 remarked on German television that, following the inauguration of Barack Obama as new President, George W. Bush had lost his head of state immunity and under international law the U.S. would now be mandated to start criminal proceedings against all those involved in these violations of the UN Convention Against Torture. Law professor Dietmar Herz explained Novak's comments by saying that under U.S. and international law former President Bush is criminally responsible for adopting torture as interrogation tool.

              Two irrelevant questions: Is slavery profitable? Is torture effective?

              by geomoo on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 10:08:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think it's limited to the floor of the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Geekesque

            Senate. If I tell a candidate for police chief that I will only vote for him if he promises not to ever arrest me, I am not breaking the law. (That he's breaking the law if he actually makes the promise is another matter.)

  •  C'mon, do I have to do everything? (0+ / 0-)

    Cornyn (R - BoxJellyfish)

    Poisonous tentacles killing people for no apparent reason for the last 50 years. Some as big as a thumbnail.

    These old white guys need to get on board or get splattered by the train.

    I'm an old white guy and even I can see that.

    Senility or Alzheimers? Why should I give a flying fuck?

    Mongo only pawn in Game of Life.

    by SecondComing on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 05:19:13 PM PST

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

      Are you seriously suggesting that they be prosecuted for something when it would violate the constitution to do so? I don't care what these men did, to prosecute them for what they are doing here would be unconstitutional, and it is extremely unethical to suggest that we should do it just to get them out of the senate. I am appalled to see people suggesting that Geek is lying about the law because he wants to have mercy on these men! Are you friggin kidding me here? There is nothing we can do about this besides calling them and asking them to stop and voting them out when the time comes. We are just stuck with it. You will NOT convince me that it is okay to do something unconstitutional!

  •  You're making Republican arguments. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CTPatriot, aquarius2001

    criminalizing politics.

    That's what you're accusing us of if we think Cornyn went over the line and did things beyond just what is entailed wrt his legislative duties.

    That's a Republican argument.

    But the argument isn't about whether we're criminalizing Cornyn's politics as you claim, but whether he was in fact acting within his duties as a legislator. You assume a priori that he is. I say he went beyond those duties into bribery. It's whether he went beyond those duties and promised Holder his nomination in return for the protection of his personal interests as a Republican.

    You're merely spreading Republican propaganda by claiming that anything Republicans do in Congress must be part of their duty because it's done in Congress when you know for a fact that much of what Republicans do in Congress lies well outside of their legislative duties.

    And you're already aware of that argument, so your addition of your side of it at the bottom of your diary after the fact basically just makes you a propagandist... because you know full well that you're making false assumptions in order to protect your weak argument.

  •  OH i just love diary wars n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  Not much insight from me, but... (7+ / 0-)

    ...this is a good-ass diary.

  •  Obstruction of Justice.... (0+ / 0-)

    ...extortion, and bribery.

    So the correct response from Holder should be, unless you have any further specific inquiries of me, I suggest you move on with your legislative business.

    Otherwise, any further attempts to coerse certain favors for your political cronies from me in exchange for a confirmation vote would clearly be a felony and I assure you, one promise I will make in advance right here and now is... I WILL prosecute you for it once confirmed.

    Now, move along.

  •  This is why I told people to stop it with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geekesque

    the torture prosecution talk before Holder had been confirmed, and now we just have to deal with the fact that Specter and Cronyn are doing what they have every right to do under the law. I believe I remember people being ridiculed for posting diaries telling others to stop screaming about this torture business before Holder had been confirmed. It seems it would have been wise to listen to them now!

    •  If only DK would have STFU, the whole world (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Kresnik

      being "havin' a Coke, and livin' in perfect harmony."

      Whoo - hoo!
      Sing with me!

      (I don't think what we do here has much effect on the rest of the world.)  

      •  Oh really? (0+ / 0-)

        Because Olbermann posts here, and he was talking about it on his show, and I don't care what kind of power we have or not, blabbing about it before Holder's confirmation was not going to do any good, and calling our senators and telling them to ask Holder if he would prosecute for waterboarding was what people were talking about on here as well, it was all over the liberal blogosphere!  

        And if we don't have any influence then I want people to quit patting themselves on the back on here for "our" victories. It would appear KOS himself would disagree with you about the kind of influence we have. Time for you to put your foot back in your mouth!

        •  Calm down. I hope you have your BP checked (3+ / 0-)

          regularly.

          Better get after 90% of the liberal lawyers who have gone on all the networks asking the same questions, while you are at it.

          I've heard Nina Totenberg, Jonathan Turley and at least one or two other lawyers ask the same questions on various radio and TV shows. Read the NYT fer chrissakes.

          You'd think this place was Mt Olympus and Markos was Zeus. Give it a rest.

          •  You now it appears (0+ / 0-)

            that I am annoyed because people like you are on here insisting that there is nothing wrong with the fact that Ben had a diary up telling people to push something that was against the constitution. Geez I really don't know why I would be annoyed about a silly little thing like the constitution! I really should just demand those senators be removed from their seats kicking and screaming just because it would be fun to see them angry. Isn't that what you want? A big display so that you can see them get really mad? I do believe you said that in a different comment.

            I don't understand why you don't get that there is seriously something messed up about reccing a diary that suggests that people should be prosecuted when they haven't done anything against the law. I'm really sorry that I am so outraged because I thought people on here understood the importance of following the laws of the fucking constitution. You are correct, I only want everyone on DKOS to shut up!

            And I don't think Kos is any kind of god actually. I am really pretty peeved at him right now if you want to know the truth.

            •  Assholes and opinions. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              shpilk, dewley notid, aquarius2001

              I am annoyed because people like you are on here insisting that there is nothing wrong with the fact that Ben had a diary up telling people to push something that was against the constitution.

              I suppose that is your opinion, and I don't see much empirical, logical or statutory structure to back it up.

              Color me unimpressed.

              You are correct, I only want everyone on DKOS to shut up!

              I'm guessing it is only the ones you don't agree with, but that is only my opinion.

              Speaking of opinions, hyperventilating an opinion is not proof of its validity.

              Get a paper bag and get over it.

              They don't pay me enough to save, and they don't pay me enough to spend. So let 'em bail their own asses out and stop blaming me. -Joy Busey

              by James Kresnik on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 08:06:50 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  There have been many posts here (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                freakofsociety, kerflooey

                and in Ben's diary where people offered empirical evidence and logical analysis of why Ben's title of his diary as well as the content of his diary was legally flawed.

                •  you don't get it .. (0+ / 0-)

                  NOT talking about that!

                  My reply was about this.

                  It's not a discussion of BG's title, except in the delusional mind of this ranting fool.  

                  http://www.dailykos.com/...

                  This is why I told people to stop it with the torture prosecution talk before Holder had been confirmed, and now we just have to deal with the fact that Specter and Cronyn are doing what they have every right to do under the law. I believe I remember people being ridiculed for posting diaries telling others to stop screaming about this torture business before Holder had been confirmed. It seems it would have been wise to listen to them now!

                  He's a crackpot who has gone off the deep end.

                  •  I already answered your reply to (0+ / 0-)

                    that and I'm not doing it again. Stop pretending like you didn't read what you read and stop repeating things! I'm not a he, and I haven't gone off the deep end, I'm just annoyed at how you continue to act like you haven't read what you read and it's perfectly fine and decent to go around writing that we prosecute people who have done nothing prosecutable!!! You know shpilk! You know all about why people are annoyed and stop acting like you don't. Do not play dumb please!

                  •  She wasn't even answering you! (0+ / 0-)

                    She was answering James! Do you even know the layout on here?

                •  Thank you (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  aggregatescience, kerflooey

                  It's not just my opinion! Geez louise! People are still arguing about whether or not it can be done when the constitution says it can't. That's the bottom line. We can't do something unconstitutional just because we don't like Specter and Cornyn.

          •  And what lawyers have gone on TV talking (0+ / 0-)

            about prosecuting Specter and Cronyn for this? I mean really!!! Don't be obtuse! You know that none have. If they have I suggest you provide proof!

  •  thank you thank you thank you (9+ / 0-)

    i cringed when I saw that diary on the rec list...

    •  I know (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sberel, kerflooey

      I thought everyone on here had lost their minds. DKOS could have been taken down because of that and I find it astounding that people don't get that!

      •  based upon what? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        James Kresnik, OnlyWords

        "DKOS could have been taken down"

        That is absurd. A few posters were calling for pitchforks, so what. We get that all the time, they are even here in this diary.

        •  Do you not realize (0+ / 0-)

          that people can sue for libel and that the other diarist was suggesting that people do something unconstitutional?  Are you really that dense? I'm sure the freepers would love to find a way to get DKOS taken down. How naive are you? Why am I even talking to you? Liberals have gotten in trouble for lesser things and you know that!

          •  Fearmongering (4+ / 0-)

            That diary would not hold up to the standard of libel of a public figure. I guess we can be generous and assume that your statement is some kind of snark.

            They don't pay me enough to save, and they don't pay me enough to spend. So let 'em bail their own asses out and stop blaming me. -Joy Busey

            by James Kresnik on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 08:00:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  How do you know? (0+ / 0-)

              Are you an expert on these matters or a lawyer? I wasn't fear mongering thank you very much. I'd like to hear from a lawyer that it couldn't be taken down and not someone who conveniently ignores the truth of this diary such as yourself.

          •  You need to relax .. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OnlyWords

            Wow .. do you need to relax.

          •  A politician of the stature of ... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Geekesque, BentLiberal

            ...the two in question have a devil of a time proving libel.

            Americans do not like to think of themselves as aggressors, but raw aggression is what took place in Iraq. - John Prados

            by Meteor Blades on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 11:18:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  What, there's not already... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            freakofsociety

            ...sufficient evidence in all the diaries for a freeper to present a compelling argument for anything, and I do mean anything? If anybody with half a brain could not find enough material on this site to support both sides of, hmm, pretty much any argument I can think of, I would be genuinely surprised.

            We're pretty diverse, ya know, and not always polite. I see that as an advantage.

            There is no difference but a difference of degree between no difference and a difference of degree

            by sjohntucson on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 11:19:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, I was meaning that one of those senators (0+ / 0-)

              could sue us, and I was probably being a bit paranoid. But it's something that the writer needed to think about before he posted a diary telling people to prosecute Cornyn and Specter. He got a bunch of people riled up.

          •  Huh? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OnlyWords

            Only governments and their agents can do things that are unconstitutional. Calling for an unconstitutional prosecution is not itself illegal nor is it grounds for libel.

            •  WTF? (0+ / 0-)

              The diary was grounds for libel because it called for the prosecution of Cornyn and Specter when they didn't do anything that we could have prosecuted them for, and it didn't provide a compelling case. It accused them of bribery and extortion without proof. The diarist should have been more careful. And anyone can do anything unconstitutional. It's not just the government and its agents who have to follow the rules of the constitution. What are you talking about?

              I was probably being paranoid but it's something the diarist needed to think about before writing what he did.

        •  I think you misundestand (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          freakofsociety, aggregatescience

          Not that the site would literally be taken down - just that the site would be dragged down, and its reputation impugned.

          Besides it's not just a few posters -- if it's on the rec list there are dozens of recs, maybe several hundred.

          Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

          by FischFry on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 10:48:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  not really (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        freakofsociety, Geekesque

        you can say whatever you want on a website.

        •  You can say whatever you want (0+ / 0-)

          but you can still get sued. I'm not convinced there couldn't be a lawsuit over that diary. Regardless it was still a stupid and careless thing to write. He got a bunch of people worked up over something when they couldn't really do what he was telling them could be done. It was misleading and messed up. I may be a bit paranoid about this, but people do have do need to research before they post something like that which gets everybody worked up. This is the 5th time something like that has happened this week. I'm not putting it all on Ben Goshi. There are other people who have done similar things.

  •  I have a question. I'm not sure about this. (0+ / 0-)

    Who wants to weigh in on it ..

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/...

    Applying in the criminal context the distinction developed in the civil cases between protected ''legislative activity'' and unprotected conduct prior to or subsequent to engaging in ''legislative activity,'' the Court inGravel v. United States, 403  held that a grand jury could validly inquire into the processes by which the Member obtained classified government documents and into the arrangements for subsequent private republication of these documents, since neither action involved protected conduct.

    [ahh good old Mike Gravel with the Pentagon Papers]

    ---------------------------------------------

    .. it's this part for the question, though ..

    ''While the Speech or Debate Clause recognizes speech, voting and other legislative acts as exempt from liability that might otherwise attach, it does not privilege either Senator or aide to violate an otherwise valid criminal law in preparing for or implementing legislative acts.'' 404

    This might prove to be yet another interesting discussion. The United States Senate has signed International Treaties against torture.

    Is voting for a nominee to be Attorney General is a 'legislative act'?

    Are Treaties considered to be 'valid criminal law'?

    If, by asking Holder not to uphold investigation into torture, is this not a violation of a signed Treaty?

    Is threatening to use their vote to influence that decision to investigate extortion?

    Just a citizen. I claim not be an expert on Constitutional Law, just looking for opinions.

    Can I get some people to respond with case law, precedence or just common sense, rather than the obnoxious hectoring that seems to flood this place lately?

    Thanks.

    •  The way I read this, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Kresnik

      the voting for a nominee is considered to be a 'legislative action', while it's not 'law making', it's a duty of the Senate.

      International Treaties signed by the Senate .. not sure if they are considered 'laws' under the Constitution.

      In any case, they must have something which binds them to enforcement, and the Attorney General is responsible for enforcement of all laws in the land, as he sees fit, I would presume.

      Is what Cornyn asking an act to "violate an otherwise valid criminal law"? By threatening to withhold his vote and place a privileged hold on Holder on this, is it illegal .. a form of extortion?

      Just looking for answers, not abuse. Thanks.

    •  I don't see how voting for an AG could violate (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      freakofsociety, Geekesque

      any treaty.  There isn't anything actionable by appointing someone to fill an office.  

    •  votes are never tools of extortion and it (5+ / 0-)

      is extremely dangerous to democracy to consider treating them as such. In 2004, millions of people voted for someone who had raped and pillaged the Constitution and every principle on which this nation is based. They can be held morally accountable for those votes, but heaven help us if we hold them legally accountable.

  •  Specter man of Title above law (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Kresnik

    not. Based upon common law which follows British law as i recall is intended to be based upon "common sense" I see the following.

    I believe it is the Responsibility of the American Press (and their respective constituencies, and the American citizenry-at-large) to ask directly --

    We are those "respective constituents".

    But, you ask, is the Constitution really this clear.

    Yes, it is.

    Section 6: The Senators and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United States. They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.

    Protecting a GOP party official named George W. Bush from prosecution of high crimes and misdemeanors by attempting to run out the statute of limitations. Is that enough?

    Now to my point.
    If the current mindset in Washington is what McCain and Hillary Clinton have defined as so corrupt and mired in partisanship, and "we the people" demand that our representatives be brought before us in a court of law let them argue their standing. As a jury we have the right to find them any way we wish..any way we wish. Based upon the common sense upon which our laws were written, we as the common man can interpret this "obstruction" exactly how we see it. The million dollar Monopoly question to Specter and Cornyn.

    Do you want to place a bet on how a jury of the American people see your position?

    I'm ready to send their asses to jail along with anyone else who road into town in 2009 on the coattails of the GOP. We only need to observe habeaus corpus and give them a fair trial which includes them facing their accusers, having legal representation and putting their fate into the hands of their peers. In this case, their bosses. Unless of course you think there exists a man of title who is above the law?

    •  The issue is that they can't be prosecuted (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kerflooey

      for what was described within the diary in question. Nobody is saying they are above the law. Geez louise. Either you support the constitution, or you don't. It's really that simple and that's what the purpose of this diary is, to make people aware of why Ben Goshi's diary was flawed under the laws of the constitution.

      •  have a beer (0+ / 0-)

        it will make more sense...a traditional Sunday brunch begins with bloody marys, then read the newspaper, then blog reading.

        Remember, the Rovian GOP blueprint establishes reality as they describe it to us. Reading the papers have the analysis referring to Obama grading his progressive/liberal supporting base satisfaction. The questions of Specter  running interference for Bushcos will be soon asked publicly. Of course, the MSM will say "it is the blogosphere asking these questions, not us". Gotta play the game. I'm thinking 68% of Americans would send these guys to jail.

  •  Man, what a train wreck. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AaronInSanDiego

    Stop rubbernecking and move on to things that might actually matter.

    •  It DOES MATTER (0+ / 0-)

      The diary in question created an angry mob and this is at least the 4th time this week (well last week actually) that there has been a diary that made it to the rec list and got people all worked up and then turned out not to be fully true or misleading. I don't think it's exactly productive to have people get all worked up about something that is misleading and/or untrue. I'm sorry but it's becoming a problem and it needed to be addressed.

      •  All you're doing by "addressing" it is ensuring (0+ / 0-)

        that it continues.

        •  huh? (0+ / 0-)

          Ummm no. He had to address so that people saw Ben Goshi's diary was bull shit. BG's diary kept getting rec'd and wouldn't go away. Somebody had to do something because he wouldn't edit it himself and it wasn't leaving the rec list any time soon. And discussing it was never the issue. The problem was that BG's diary was full of falsehoods presented as legal fact that people weren't bothering to look up! Do you get it now?

          •  I get it. I got it the first time. But not (0+ / 0-)

            everyone here is a lawyer and able to distinguish who is correct.  What I read  in the comments in Ben's diary (and I read many but not every comment) was not at all civil rebuttal.  I an not a lawyer, so when ad homonym attacks fly I do not give much credit to those who say them.  And again, it would have fallen off the rec list if the conversation had been civil from the get go.  

            It almost seems that now that Obama's in office that everyone doesn't have enough repugs to scream about so we're going after each other.  Seriously, I know this site can be and has been effective, but I agree with Kos, people seriously over-estimate the impact a single diary on this site may have.

  •  Speech&Debate clause ONLY applies in Senate (0+ / 0-)
    (or House).

    Cornyn's statements in the hearing are privileged.

    If Cornyn makes statements similar to the ones he made in the hearing outside official Senate hearings, to the media for instance, they're not subject to the Speech and Debate Clause.

    -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

    by neroden on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 08:28:29 PM PST

    •  What statements? (0+ / 0-)

      Because asking someone a question still does not equal bribery. I'm sorry but all that we have proof of them doing is asking questions regardless. I didn't agree that Specter and Cornyn shoud be prosecuted for it even before I read what Geekesque said.

  •  Thank you. I could not get past (6+ / 0-)

    the first few lines of that diary before realizing it was another post filled with drivel masquerading as analysis. There seems to be quite a bit of that going around lately.

  •  After reading both diaries and comments (4+ / 0-)

    Some things have become clear to me even though I am not a lawyer.

    1. BenGoshi made a hasty, poorly thought out entry from a legal perspective which became immediately palatable to many who didn't care for careful legal analysis.
    1. Some people repeatedly pointed out to BenGoshi that his analysis was incomplete, inadequate, incorrect, and that the conclusions he made are fallacious in various ways.
    1. BenGoshi ignored all reasonable corrections to his claims and analysis and kept complaining that people are hijacking his diary and having hissy-fits. This notion to marginalize dissent has gotten us where we are now and it seems to me that BenGoshi both in his diary and in his remarks to those who disagreed with him wants to silence dissent if it comes from people who he does not consider all that honorable, likable, etc.

    4.Geek posted his own diary, detailing the flaws of BenGoshi's diary and his remarks on this thread are the same as the other added with the accusation that anyone who has disagreed with him here must be doing so without clearly reading or comprehending his diary.

    It would have been easier if BenGoshi would just admit that his hastily written diary had multiple holes and even though he had approached this exercise as a lose reflection of his current thoughts, his use of the Diary title and subsequent citation of statute and interpretation may have suggested otherwise.

    Without being a lawyer, it is clear to me that the issue of these two senators, however reprehensible, is not a legal crime, although it is possible to show clearly what they are trying to get Holder to do through media reports, blogs etc. People criticized BenGoshi because he was trying to make a legal point.

  •  I followed the other diary and even made a few (4+ / 0-)

    comments when it became clear BenGoshi wasn't able to defend his legal arguement and resorted to being defensive.  I understand people invest a lot in their diary's.  Hard work and their intellect is on the line.  It hurts when you are attacked and naturally fight back.  He tried to make a legal case and couldn't.  I applaud his sense of outrage but to call for legal action where clearly none is called for and then not restate his arguement as political is disingenious. To compound it by continuing to fight back with no real position led to personal atta