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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Laws Apply to Everyone, Not Just People You Don't Like

Kay Bailey Hutchinson, the new poster girl for "laws only apply when they are convenient for the GOP," said on today's Meet the Press:
I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn’t indict on the crime so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation were not a waste of time and dollars.
(Hat tip to ThinkProgress for the exact quote. I was sputtering too much to get it down on paper.)

May I call you, Kay?

Kay, dear, the law is the law whether or not it sends your cronies to jail. And I didn't see you making the rounds on all the talk shows during the Clinton Impeachment proceedings disagreeing with the notion that perjury and obstruction of justice were serious crimes against the rule of law.

In fact, one of your colleagues, Henry Hyde, had this to say at that time:

"The question before this House is rather simple," said Hyde, an Illinois Republican. "It's not about sex ... The matter before the House is lying under oath. This is called perjury."

Hyde said perjury and obstruction of justice "cannot be reconciled with the office of the president of the United States ... The people's trust has been betrayed."

He accused Clinton of a "premeditated, deliberate corruption of the nation's system of justice."
It's amazing how a little thing like the internet can be so helpful in exposing hypocrisy, isn't it? Perjury was a corruption of nation's system of justice back then -- but an inconsequential technicality now? Wow, that was quick.

Oh, and Kay, apparently that "technicality" of lying to investigators, destroying evidence, obstructing the special prosecutor and just being an all-around bunch of skeezeballs when it came to telling the truth about this mess
reared it's ugly head within a few weeks of Patrick Fitzgerald coming on the job.
Weeks after he took over the investigation 22 months ago into the unauthorized disclosure of a CIA operative's identity, special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald got authority from the Justice Department to expand his inquiry to include any criminal attempts to interfere with his probe, according to a letter posted Friday on Fitzgerald's new Web site.
Gosh, sure sounds like just a little technicality, doesn't it? I mean, federal investigators given the authority to look into a matter of violation of national security rules and the outing of a CIA NOC would have no real need for people to be honest with them when they asked their serious questions, now would they? And all those criminals currently serving penitentiary time for lying under oath or obstructing justice by, say, killing off a witness to their crime or threatening a juror, well they should just be released right out onto the streets again. By all means, let's just issue blanket pardons and big old apologies.

Are you daft?!?

But, what do people who are experts in dealing with these sorts of messes say. I mean, criminal defense attornies make a living calling prosecutors overzealous and stuff, don't they, and saying things like "my client is being overzealously pursued on a technicality by a vindictive prosecutor" (cue the DeLay attorneys) -- what would one of those sorts of attornies say, rather than just taking my former prosecutor word for things:
"The fact that he [Fitzgerald] asked for authority that he probably already had, but wanted spelled out, makes it arguable that he had run into something rather quickly," Washington lawyer Plato Cacheris said yesterday.
Hope you are prepared for your remarks that perjury is a technicality to appear in every habeas brief coming down the pike for the next coupla years, Kay. A Senator ought to know better.

Oh yeah. No big deal. Nothing to see here.

UPDATE: Kay, your Petard. Petard, Kay. In your own words, all the way back on Feb. 12, 1999:
I was reminded as well, however, that the laws of our Country are applicable to us all, including the President, and they must be obeyed. The concept of equal justice under law and the importance of absolute truth in legal proceedings is the foundation of our justice system in the courts.
Whew, it must be painful, twisting yourself in all those ethical knots. Then, you said this:
The Supreme Court of the United States has observed that there is an occasional misunderstanding to the effect that the crime of 'perjury' is somehow distinct from 'obstruction of justice.' United States v. Norris, 300 U.S. 564, 574 (1937). They are not. While different elements make up each crime, each is calculated to prevent a court and the public from discovering the truth and achieving justice in our judicial system. Moreover, it is obvious that 'witness tampering' is simply another means employed to obstruct justice.
Hmmmm...calculated to prevent the court and the public from discovering the truth, eh? Amazing how that doesn't sound so inconsequential coming from your own mouth, isn't it, Kay? Gee, then you said:
Lying is a moral wrong. Perjury is a lie told under oath that is legally wrong....Willful, corrupt, and false sworn testimony before a Federal grand jury is a separate and distinct crime under applicable law and is material and perjurious if it is 'capable' of influencing the grand jury in any matter before it, including any collateral matters that it may consider. See, Title 18, Section 1623, U.S. Code, and Federal court cases interpreting that Section.

The President's testimony before the Federal grand jury was fully capable of influencing the grand jury's investigation and was clearly perjurious.
Interesting how perjury seemed so important to the rule of law back then, isn't it?

But my favorite part of your statement was your conclusion:
A hundred years from now, when history looks back to this moment, we can hope for a conclusion that our Constitution has been applied fairly and survives, that we have come to principled judgments about matters of national importance, and that the rule of law in American has been sustained.
How proud are you of yourself today, Kay? I'm thinking putting party hack loyalty ahead of principle is an awfully bitter pill to swallow, unless you care only about maintaining power and nothing for the rule of law and the citizens who actually try to live by it in their daily lives. Shame on you, and every apologist out there trying to make a violation of the law look like nothing, after dancing on Bill Clinton's grave before you even had him buried.

Law and order party, my ass.

(Huge hat tip to reader Clonecone for this.)

UPDATE #2: Crooks and Liars has the video. Watch at your own blood pressure peril.