Nixonian moments?

Jeff Renz jr167163e at mail1.umt.edu
Tue Dec 20 13:44:37 PST 2005


Mark Scarberry's suggestion that Congressional or judicial silence makes something either lawful or consitutional does not persuade me in the least.  In my past, even in my current, life, I have represented many people who were victims of unlawful searches and unlawful seizures (and I speak here of innocent people.)  In the last 26 years, I cannot recall a single instance when the court referred one of these matters for criminal prosecution.  That includes the case where a defendant police officer admitted, under oath, that he had falsified his report in a material way.  He wasn't even disciplined.

This is neither a Nixonian moment nor a Runnymede moment.  It is a Charles I moment--an executive who, with the advice of his courtiers, seeks to increase his power, relative to the legislative branch, to prosecute a war.  I have no doubt that, as he was led to the block, Charles I asserted that he was doing no more than his duty to protect the safety of his English subjects.

I have heard rumblings about impeachment.  I don't think that the revelation of domestic spying alone warrants it.  I think, however, that the constant pressure to dis-empower Congress (which is, after all, the only popularly elected branch) and to increase the power of the executive through such high crimes and misdemeanors as unilaterally ignoring treaty obligations, and arbitrarily and unilaterally declaring his international and statutory obligations "archaic" and "outdated" does warrant the preparation of articles of impeachment.

Prof. Jeffrey T. Renz
School of Law
The University of Montana
Missoula, Montana  59812
1-406-243-5127
jeff.renz at umontana.edu
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