Thursday, May 25, 2006

Is Our Congress Learning?

Let's face it. Congress is not populated with the most intelligent examples of American citizens. Of course, there will be the occasional Daniel Patrick Moynihan or Everett McKinley Dirksen, to choose two from my lifetime. But they will be greatly outnumbered by the "less mentally gifted" like Edward Moore Kennedy or Earl Fredrick Landgrebe.

In the here and now though, it seems they are all falling into the latter category. The current crop, and even the President, are expressing dismay at the actions of the FBI during an investigation of bribery of one of their own. it seems the FBI caught a congressman (in a rather red-handed way) accepting a bribe. Said Congressman did not do a Duke Cunningham and resign. Instead he maintains his innocence in the face of video taped evidence and $90,000 in flash frozen marked cash found in his freezer.

What did the FBI do that has aroused the ire of your Congressman? They had the audacity to execute a court issued search warrant on the congressman's office. The bastards! Your home and office (and mine, and William Jefferson's) are protected from unreasonable searches by the various Law Enforcement agencies. But the argument about unreasonableness ends with the issuance of a search warrant by the Judicial branch. Go back three sentences and you will see that a valid search warrant was issued.

Now, let's go back to my initial statement regarding the relative intelligence of our Congress. The Constitution does provide members of Congress with some immunity from arrest and other such inconveniences. But these are designed to prevent an "arrest of convenience" of a member in order to circumvent a vote. During a session of Congress a Congressman (or woman) may not be detained for anything other than a felony. The Constitution is silent on the subject of searches. As we all know, if the Constitution does not mention it, it is not a protected right (well, except for that "penumbra' that provides for the "right to an abortion"). Mr. Jefferson was not arrested. His office was searched, and apparently some evidence was obtained. President Bush has decided that this evidence should be sealed for 45 days. That may or may not be a good decision, but it is hardly a Constitutional decision.

Under similar circumstances my office would be searched. Your office would be searched. All God's Chillun's offices would be searched. But we get this from the leaders we've elected to serve us.

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