Monday, March 31, 2008

Privilege 1, Justice 0

Well, I'm home and sick as a dog after this past weekend's business trip.

I'm not much up to blogging on stuff today, but I really do have to mention the Supreme Court's refusal to hear the case regarding the FBI search of Rep. William Jefferson's Congressional office.

Rep. Jefferson (D-LA) is currently under indictment on bribery and corruption charges. The New Orleans representative commandeered a helicopter during the Hurricane Katrina relief effort, ordered the pilot to fly him over his home, and then ordered the chopper directly back to base, doing nothing whatever to help his constituents who were still stranded in the flooded area. Later, an FBI investigation found evidence that he had accepted over $500,000 in bribes, including $90,000 they found in a warranted search of his home.

The court case involves a search, with warrant, of his Washington, D. C. office. This office is paid for by the federal government. According to lawyers for Rep. Jefferson and Congress, the search was unConstitutional under the clause that prohibits any prosecution or penalty for anything said during debate on the floor of Congress.

The Supreme Court's dodge of the case means that the appeals court ruling stands- namely, that no search may be made of Congressional offices for any purpose without prior notice to and approval of Congress. In effect, Congresspeople would be able to conduct illegal business in their tax-funded offices, keep incriminating documents there, etc. and be able to stop any effort from outside to get access, even with a warrant.

Obviously Republicans are not the only party who believe that responsibility and accountability are only for the little people... and, sadly, the Supreme Court seems inclined to agree.

(P. S. Obama's magic superdelegate number, as of today, is 109. I'm making no adjustments yet for the second round of Texas caucusing, but after a weekend of up-and-down for Obama, my five-source average superdelegate estimate is Clinton 249, Obama 215.)

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