Thursday, June 21, 2007

'It's a dangerous thing for a democracy to allow major transgressions of the constitutional rule of law to take place.' Jamie Raskin state senator

Thomas Nephew at Newsrack blog:

The Constitution was designed not in such a way that impeachment represented some kind of crisis; people say "you can't do impeachment, because that will cause a constitutional crisis." On the contrary! Impeachment is the tool we use to prevent a constitutional crisis because you've got a President who is drunk on his own power and has run away with the resources of the people.
Raskin also went over the history of impeachment in the U.S.: nine presidents have had articles of impeachment presented against them, with only two (Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton) actually being impeached -- i.e., the process leaving the House and reaching the Senate for trial. Raskin -- having enumerated charges of torture, lawless and warrantless wiretapping, the Iraq war, and criminal negligence in connection with Katrina and its aftermath, commented:
Some people's objections are "how can you say that anything impeachable has been going on?" And there we're just dealing with, you know, parallel universes... Nothing that anybody has ever been impeached for comes remotely close to the things that President Bush and Dick Cheney and this administration have done. Nothing even close.
Raskin made some of his most interesting points in rebutting the notion -- I'm paraphrasing here -- "Why not just wait for the presidential elections? Let's not mess up our chances in '08." Raskin: It's a dangerous thing for a democracy to allow major transgressions of the constitutional rule of law to take place.

You know, conservatives love this theory of crime called the "broken windows" theory, which James Wilson wrote about. The idea is there are small offenses like graffiti, or somebody breaks a window -- you've got to bring the full force of the law down very quickly because if you leave the graffiti up or the broken windows up, then that leads to people hopping the turnstile, shoplifting, armed robbery, and drug dealing and so on. And you know I think there's something to that, but surely we can apply the "broken windows" theory to the presidency of the United States.


Thomas Nephew said...

Thanks for the link! I'm a big fan of Jamie Raskin -- and a neighbor of his, too. And, of course, I think what he had to say was very correct and important. I'm glad more people will hear him.

ellroon said...

Thank you for telling us about Raskin. Good to see the up and coming politicians who know what the Constitution actually says and means.