Friday, May 26, 2006

White House lawyer has Rep. Jefferson's files

So, with President Bush having arrived at his answer (as posted below) to the constitutional crisis now attending the FBI raid on the congressional offices of Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.), your blogstress humbly asks her devotees, "What's wrong with this picture?"

Bush's solution to his fracas with House Speaker Dennis Hastert over the Justice Department's transgression of the Constitution's separation of powers was to place the material seized from Jefferson's office under seal with U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement who, according to the president, is not involved in the Jefferson probe.

While that all may sound well and good, your cybertrix asks her readers to consider just what the solicitor general does (he argues the executive branch's cases before the Supreme Court) and to whom he reports (the attorney general of the United States, to whom the FBI director also reports). If you don't believe your Webwench (and why would you not?), do study, dear reader, this description of the solicitor's duties, straight from the Web site of the Office of Solicitor General:

The Solicitor General is of course an Executive Branch officer, reporting to the Attorney General, and ultimately to the President, in whom our Constitution vests all of the Executive power of the United States.
Add to this the fact that Clement has argued at least one case before the Supreme Court directly on behalf of the attorney general, Gonzales v. Raich, a medical marijuana case involving states' rights, and only an innocent would fail to question Mr. Clement's impartiality. Another of Clement's greatest hits? He also argued Rumsfeld v. Padilla, in which he defended the seizure and limitless detention -- without charge -- of a U.S. citizen in the purported "war on terror."

Thankfully, the justices threw that one out on a technicality, for if they had decided in Clement's favor, what little is left of the writ of habeas corpus would have gone out the window.

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