Attorney General Holder vs Congress: render unto Caesar or be Held in Contempt of Congress.
A values voter verdict on the looming battle between President Obama and Attorney General Holder versus the Congress, now that a panel has voted Holder in Contempt of Congress, is rather one sided against the Administration, once a few stipulations are noted. The President today invoked “Executive Privilege” but undeterred, a Congressional Committee led by Rep. Darrell Issa, courageously voted to hold him “in contempt of Congress” and the vote comes to a vote of the full House next week.
Conservatives are fairly united on this issue. What special perspective can I offer from the “values voter” perspective? First, we have to note the “weakness” of this group in the realm of Constitutional law, even as we praise their faith and overarching interest always, to do that which is moral and right.
They do not care as much about the Constitutional precedent when they see a baby being killed so much as they care about what must needs be done to save those babies and who will stand with them and how quickly can we do this? It is not that they don’t care about the Constitution, as they are so often maligned. It is that their first priority is to “render unto God, what is God’s,” which so often appears to infuriate the secular-left.
While those who place importance on the constitutional precedent of each action by President, Congress and the Courts do not appreciate how easily they do that – place the Constitution as “less” of a priority than moral right, on the other hand, may I remind my friends “across the aisle” that lawyers are held in very low esteem precisely because their valuing “process” over substance so often leaves them arguing for wrong, to defend that process.
And so an ACLU lawyer will argue for despicable terrorists because, they will explain, the process requires a good defense of even such, and most critical, that we do not wish to allow a bad case to establish a bad precedent which will then be used against us all and to undermine the Constitution, for years to come.
Similarly, in our haste to catch terrorists, some argue (persuasively I must add) that we must cut some corners we’d ordinarily never wish to do, so we can preserve the union.
Often, that is a very persuasive argument except if one is simply not listening or caring about anything except “but we must save the babies” or “we must catch the terrorists.” My purpose here is to simply note – respectfully – that there are compelling moral arguments on each side of this divide between “to Caeser what is Caesar’s” versus respect for the process (ie. The Constitution).
While I tend to side with the Constitutionalists most of the time, I am nonetheless moved by the “Dirty Harry” argument that some simply do not CARE how you catch the bad guys – lets just do it, lets just save the babies, etc. And judging by the popularity of movies such as the Dirty Harry series and others, I’m not alone in that observation of how popular that is (though I dissent from this idea that we should simply ignore the 4th amendment to catch more bad guys).
And this brings us to President Obama whose supporters can say – and they are – that even President Reagan invoked “Executive Privilege” on three occasions in the past and that is all President Obama did today to defend the confidentiality of the advise given to him by his Attorney General.
After all, who wishes to attack the “separation of powers” established by the Constitution and attack conservative President Ronald Reagan?
Let us examine the critical issue here. The President today invoked the privilege so that his attorney general will not be required to provide documents or answer to Congress in their probe of the “Fast and Furious” operation which saw the federal government approve guns being sold to known Mexican gang leaders on U.S. soil. The guns have been used to kill Mexican nationals and one U.S. border agent.
The President himself has advised in the past, in a video interview available to all, that he did not know anything about this topic, and that his Attorney General did not know anything about this.
In other words, the President already answered the query, who approved the sale of guns to Mexican gangs without any method of even tracking them after the sale? He was asked. He gave his answer. It is on videotape. The President said: not me, not my Attorney General. And more: we never discussed this.
And yet. The President today said “executive privilege,” meaning what?
Those who advise the President – whether it is staff at the White House or the Attorney General, are given a privilege to do so in confidence, not much different than an attorney-client privilege that any of us enjoys if accused of a crime. Who would argue that they ought not to have such a privilege?
Assuming no argument on that quarter, before we say “case closed,” a moment please:
Did the President not say he and the Attorney General did not approve this decision, did not discuss it, and did know a thing about it?
Then, how can there be Executive Privilege?
The President claims that his advisers should be exempted from discussion or from revealing deliberations between himself and them, because of this doctrine which is difficult to argue against. And yet, he also claims he never had any such discussion.
Hence, when President Barack Obama is asked “to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” – he should do so.
“You should not hide behind Executive Privilege every time something shaky has been going on, but should come clean.”
That is exactly what former Senator Barack Obama said when President George Bush invoked Executive Privilege to not reveal what he and his Attorney General had discussed regarding the dismissal of some U.S. Attorneys – which was his right to do, with or without cause, and with or without public explanation. That view was echoed at the time, by Democrat leader Harry Reid, now Majority Leader.
If the Congress is to continue in the future as a co-equal branch of government, while being respectful of the doctrine of Executive Privilege, then it must go forward next week and approve the action of the Congressional committee led by Rep. Darrel Issa, and vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Court.
Congress has the power to independently monitor and “check” (ie. checks and balances; aka gridlock: good!) the Executive Branch. It should go forward and do so and defend both the rightness of the quest for information about “Fast and Furious” as well as the process.
The Attorney General should be held “In Contempt of Congress” next week by a vote of the Full House, per the recommendation of its committee.
And with that done next week, why not continue to defend both the process – three branches of government with co-equal powers – and the righteousness of this cause – many dead Mexican nationals and a dead American law enforcement officer cry out for this justice – by filing a motion to impeach the Attorney General for refusing to obey the law and come clean with the facts and the truth?
For the same Administration which has flooded America’s news media with national security leaks for months on end to boost the reelection prospects of Barack Obama to suddenly pivot now and demand respect for the process of Constitutional government, restraint on the power of Congress and silence in the face of the national security interests of the United States in “Operation Fast and Furious” is a joke.
In fact, this past Sunday one of the President’s top aides even admitted that his White House has broken the law because the President did not first “declassify” the critical national security leaks BEFORE they did the leaking.
They have the power but, whether out of sloppiness or to give the President “deniability” they did not use their power and so, the White House stands evidently guilty of violating the law no different than Wikkileaks’ Julian Assange.
Render unto the House Committee investigating Attorney General Holder, that which is their due, or else I pray the full Congress will back up their committee, hold the Attorney General “In Contempt of Congress” and follow through with a motion for Impeachment.
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