More About the Jefferson Case

(See here) a Slate webzine article By Akhil Reed Amar that seems to argue there is nothing wrong with the Justice Department obtaining a search warrant and invading Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson's Capitol Hill office to sack it.

First let me state that the William Jefferson case is hard to defend. In my opinion, the man is a scoundrel, he evidently hid thousands of dollars of bribery money that was found in his home freezer. Ever heard of "cold cash"?

But what we are going to establish in the William Jefferson case is going to become precedent. Should EVERY Congressman be subjected to like invasions?

Perhaps Congress could still do its business if only miniscule percentages of the members were subjected to this. However what happens if a particularly powerful member of Congress is harassed with seizure of his "tools" for conducting business. Amongst the articles I understand seized from William Jefferson's office was the hard drive from his computer. Can it reasonably be expected that William Jefferson can continue to conduct his business when access to his hard drive is denied him?

I am making too much of too little? Well what happens if we subject the Executive Branch to these same rules. Let us say some Legislative Committee, or some special prosecutor, thinks it becomes necessary to seize the records of the President to pore over them. If every document and every hard drive the Executive Branch holds is subject to being seized, including all those contained in the Oval Office, just how could we expect the Executive Branch to function after all this documentation is seized and no longer in their possession? Isn't this reality also true of a member of Congress?

How can a constituent expect a Congressman to reply to his E-mail if the hard drive that contains the E-mail has been confiscated?

I am not trying to defend William Jefferson. From the evidence presented in the media, he is a guilty scoundrel. However I wish to protect future members of Congress that would be subjected to the precedence of what the Executive Branch was allowed to get away with in the William Jefferson case.

What is good for the goose is good for the gander. If the William Jefferson seizures are allowed to stand, then the Executive Branch must be subjected to the same standards. I do not think this would be a good development.

Is the Executive Branch willing to live with this and willing to stop hiding behind "Executive privilege"? If the Executive Branch seeks to castrate the Legislative Branch, they better be willing to be castrated themselves!


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