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March 25, 2005

Congressional impotence

When the House Government Reform Committee issued its subpoena last Friday, it was assumed it did so with full intent to use the power of Congress to prevent Terri Schiavo's murder. 

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., ominously reminded all parties that it is a federal crime for anyone to interfere with a person's testimony before Congress. (Allowing the chief witness, Terri Schiavo, to starve to death would, of course, be the most profound form of interference.) 

But an unimpressed Pinellas County Circuit Judge George W. Greer was dismissive of Congressional power, ruling out of hand as to the legitimacy of the subpoenas.

"I don't think legislative bodies or agencies have business in a court proceeding. The fact that you - your committee - decided to do something today doesn't create an emergency," he wrote.

Since then, not only has the Committee failed to enforce the subpoena, they have cancelled any meetings in which the decision to act could be made. They, in essence have displayed their lack of power and commitment. 

Inaction surprising in the face of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's pledge last week to hold Greer in contempt of Congress for ignoring a congressional subpoena for Terri Schiavo's testimony.

"No little judge sitting in a state district court in Florida is going to usurp the authority of Congress," DeLay said.

Indeed, Senator Majority Leader Sen. Bill Frist is on record, saying that subpoenas compelling Terri Schiavo to appear at a March 28 congressional hearing make it a crime to disconnect her feeding tube - and threatened anyone who interfered with her testimony with jai.

"Federal criminal law protects witnesses called before official Congressional committee proceedings from anyone who may obstruct or impede a witness' attendance or testimony," Frist said.

He continued: "More specifically the law protects a witness from anyone who - by threats, force, or by any threatening letter or communication - influences, obstructs, or impedes an inquiry or investigation by Congress. Anyone who violates this law is subject to criminal fines and imprisonment."

Yet, the Committee has failed to even begin the process of enforcing the subpoena. Why? Why even issue the subpoena when they haven't the integrity and courage to enforce it? What purpose does the committee serve if it will not enforce its actions.

For that matter the courts have flaunted their willingness to violate the clear meaning of legislation by ignoring the clear meaning of the recently passed law. Yet Congress does nothing. What purpose does it then serve if the judiciary may pick and choose which laws to obey? There was no ruling about the constitutionality of the law, just a defiant pretense that the law meant what it obviously did not mean.

Why is the judicial branch of the government being allowed to dictate law, in clear disregard of the Constitution?

Posted by Danny Carlton at March 25, 2005 08:38 AM

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What would Pilate do in this case? Look there, and you'll find your answer as to what these moral cowards are going to do.

Judge Greer will hand them the towel.

Posted by: Bud Brown at March 25, 2005 08:59 AM

Is it any surprise that the people who lie for votes... happened to lie for votes? We all saw this coming.

Posted by: Eric at March 25, 2005 10:43 AM

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