Friday, January 02, 2009
It is a very murky question concerning the Senate's power to refuse to seat the nominee under the Article I Section 5 provision that each house shall be the judge of its own members. The Adam Clayton Powell case is informative and conclusive, but not absolutely controlling in my view, as it MAY be distinguishable on the facts.
For those not in their dotage like I am, ACP was a controversial House member from Harlem. He was embroiled in a scandal involving misuse of funds and payroll padding. He was, however, duly re-elected, and the House refused to seat him. The court basically held that the judging of its members clause does not allow the imposition of qualifications beyond those described in Article I (and Burris OBVIOUSLY meets those bare-bones requirements)
The plan of attack is to go under the same section, but not the qualification of the members. Rather, it is the part referring to the Senate judging the ELECTION. The argument would be that unlike Powell, whose ELECTION was not in doubt legally, the senate could argue that the SELECTION of Burris did not comply with the law because of the bribery scandal taint, i.e., we cannot determine if he was properly named pending the outcome of the investigation.
It's not a slam dunk, but it would at least tie things up a long time.
The Dem caucus and leadership could of course make his life miserable--give him a broom closet office, deny committee appointments and seniority, etc. but that would just make them look small and petty.
Burris is not a felon but he is a hack. One more embarrassing moment for Illinois.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Because HE CAN. Aside from the fact that this is a tainted appointment and that Roland Burris will never be seated by the U.S. Senate, while Burris may be personally "clean," he is 71 and is retired from elective politics after a long string of defeats (public repudiation, really). So, the inevitable perception is that Burris will be nothing more than a willing, or unwilling, placeholder for whoever is legitimately elected to Obama's vacated Senate seat. Which raises the LEGITIMACY issue all over again.
Bottom line: the appointment may be ILLEGITIMATE but it is CONSTITUTIONAL.
Accepting the appointment, Burris set himself up as the only person standing between economic chaos and peace and prosperity! Talk about hubris ...
Burris: "How much was it, $14,000? I gotta check my records (his law firm's), I didn't think we had that much to give to the governor."
Meanwhile, the Illinois legislature's impeachment proceedings, such as they are, have become a platform for Blago's competent lawyer, Ed Genson, to become the star of the show and cast aspersions on the entire process, as any counsel should do, with his "fighting shadows" and other media-friendly sound bites.
The Illinois impeachment committee look like a gathering of fools, sitting there with their paper name tags, while Genson holds court. There are no articles of impeachment, there are no witnesses called, there's no sense of direction, and U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald indicated that the legislature is interfering with his investigation.
What are they deliberating about? With each passing day they look more and more like a foolish kangaroo court. The legislature couldn't even move quickly enough to enact legislation removing the Senate appointment power from the governor. Perhaps the tittilating release of the actual tapes, dangled as a possibility by Fitzgerald, may save the legislature from further embarrassment.
Blagojevich said he acted after the legislature FAILED to act on a special election to have the people decide. How appropriate. Congressman Bobby Rush defended the Burris appointment, saying "my prayers have been answered" that the governor would appoint an African American to the U.S. Senate. "Separate, if you will, the appointee from the appointor." He said Jesse White, Sec. of State, acted "prematurely" in stating he would not certify the Senate appointment.
Is it just me, or do Illinois politics look more like something out of a banana republic, circa 1950s? Corruption, pay-offs, buy-outs, dictatorial executive, rubber stamp legislature, corruption, outrageous political maneuvers, corruption ... Panis et Circenses, or to put it more parochially, pass the popcorn.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
The U.N. Security Council held emergency consultations Saturday night and early Sunday and debated whether to adopt a statement urging Israel to halt its military operations "without delay."
Again, I have always supported Israel's right to exist and defend itself, but since the days of Sharon, they have acted as an outlaw state. The summer war against Lebanon was Bushian in its illegality and in its poor execution. What Americans miss so often is how important this issue is in the eyes of seemingly the rest of the world but us. This goes a long way toward explaining the radicalization of young Arabs and other Muslims.
The shoe thrower in Iraq and the Gaza debacle are the exclamation points on these years of Bush failure. He came into office, looked at the volatile mix of explosive forces that was the Middle East, and asked "Condi, what the hell does vola--vola-volltilititty mean--oh hell, I've got brush to clear."
Inaction would have been criminal, but inaction and indifference would have been a rosy dream compared to what he did do. The invasion of Iraq was not only an affront to human decency and the sensibilities of people throughout the region, but the not-even-veiled neocon rationale to "re-engineer" the region to make it more "Israel-friendly" could not have been more ill-conceived and damaging. In addition, our totally one-sided "whatever Israel wants to do is fine with us" approach has destroyed any hope of having credibility as an honest broker in the region. The blame is not all Israel's, but they have cooperated in the Bush network of failure and escalation.
[Editor's Note: To American Jews and supporters of Israel, the warm fuzzy embrace that the fundamentalist neocons give to Israel is part of their desire to see their twisted view of prophecy fulfilled to bring about the rapture and have the blasphemous Israelites who reject Jesus be tossed in the lake of fire. Have a nice day.]
Shoes, bombs, death and failure. THAT is the Bush legacy.