RESPECT FOR THE RULE OF LAW
By: Selwyn Duke
The House has voted
overwhelmingly to hold Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for withholding documents on
the Fast and Furious scandal, but where do we go from here?
Not surprisingly, the Justice Department wont prosecute Holder on the
charge, and Barack Obama would only take action if the attorney general became a personal
liability (and right now cutting him loose might be a liability). Yet there is a way for Congress to put bite in its
turns out that the House could encourage immediate cooperation by arresting Holder. Such a move would be based upon something called
inherent contempt, a process that, writes
The Washington Times, is well-established
by precedent, has been confirmed by multiple Supreme Court rulings, and is available to
any Congress willing to force such a confrontation.
It was also recently alluded to by none other than Nancy Pelosi when she
addressed what she considered Karl Roves contempt of Congress and said,
I could have arrested Karl Rove on any given day.
Im not kidding. Theres
a prison here in the Capitol
. If we had
spotted him in the Capitol, we could have arrested him.
problem, however, is that our Congress is just not that confrontational. As Constitution Project fellow Mort Rosenberg said,
while inherent contempt is constitutional, [t]he House is scared to death to use the
inherent contempt power.
scared to death because the courts have said
the way the contempt power is used is
unseemly, reports the Times.
Unseemly. Thats an interesting word. If you or I were held in contempt, would anyone bay
the gendarmes and claim that shackling us would be unseemly? Actually, it would be downright humiliating. This is why people generally hide their faces from
cameras when doing that ignominious walk to a squad car: it is, as its supposed to
be, a bad experience. But it appears it is one
that is only part of the common mans experience.
one in America is supposed to be above the law, yet so-called elites are held
to a lower standard. If anything, however,
they should be held to a higher one. Remember
that the damage caused by malfeasance is generally proportional to the loftiness of the
office. When Bill Clinton informed us that sex
isnt necessarily sex just as is may not mean is, he did
infinitely more to define deviancy downwards than any 1000 anonymous John Q. Publics who
consider marriage vows situational. It usually
takes great power to commit great crimes.
for being unseemly, what is so is Holders behavior.
Whats unseemly is a system in which there is one standard for lowly me
and another for lofty thee. Eric Holder should
be arrested for one simple reason: he is currently one of the worst criminals I know of. To use a variation on a slogan the left once so
loved, Holder lied and people died.
there is the death of the rule of law. One
reason we have as much bad behavior as we do among pseudo-elites is the same reason why
child misbehavior is now rampant: there is little fear of consequences. And this is because the consequences are
inconsequential. But high profiles should come
with high risk. If powerful public officials
knew they could be marched away in handcuffs to a fetid jail cell, perhaps theyd
take their oaths of office more seriously.
Of course, I dont
believe there has ever been a civilization that treated those with clout exactly the same
as those without; there is no Purgatory on Earth. But
the size of the gap between the two types of treatment will always be inversely
proportional to the health of the civilization in question.
I once had a Mexican tell me that Mexico was a good place to be rich because
the wealthy can largely do as they please there. And,
in fact, in that nation you can buy your way out of a fatal hit-and-run for $450 or, for
the right sum, get the cops to take care of somebody for you. Do you want an America where you have to pay a
bribe to get a drivers or business license? Do
you want to see a day when the police stop you for imaginary infractions that can be
adjudicated on the spot for some not-so-imaginary cash? Then keep tolerating corruption in high places. For not only does it reflect corruption in low
onesmost notably, the hearts and minds of the votersbut its also
contagious. Lower level officials see it in
higher ones, and they want a piece of the pie, too. And
the citizenry will figure likewise. Everyone
is doing it; why shouldnt I? Its
a trickle-down theory at work.
anyone think me naïve, I realize there are many reasons why Holder wont be
arrested. For one thing, such a move would be
demonized by the media and might redound negatively upon Republicans in the fall. Another is that few members of the ruling class
want to animate a hangman that could be used (perhaps wrongly) against them in the future;
once the mutual get-out-of-jail-free card is gone, its gone. Also remember that conservatives are
defenders of the status quo, not bold revolutionaries who overturn and improve it. Yet all this is saying is that people, being just
people, will often subordinate transcendent but seemingly remote principles to more
ordinary but immediate concerns. But what does
this beget? It begets a Justice John Roberts,
wholikely motivated by concern for the U.S. Extreme Courts reputation, his
own, or bothvisited a blatantly unconstitutional and disastrous piece of legislation
upon all of us.
that is the face of expediency. Its like
the Machiavellian leper character in the film Braveheart,
who claimed that the ability to compromiseeven with great principles at
stakemakes a man noble. But it does not,
and creating de facto nobility existing above the law makes a nation quite ignoble. Respect for station is no substitute for respect
for rule of law.
Duke is a writer, columnist and public speaker whose work has been published widely online
and in print, on both the local and national levels. He has been featured on the Rush
Limbaugh Show and has been a regular guest on the award-winning Michael Savage Show. His
work has appeared in Pat Buchanan's magazine The American Conservative and he writes
regularly for The New American and Christian Music Perspective. He is a regular
contributor to Ether Zone.
"Published originally at EtherZone.com :
republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."
Selwyn Duke can be reached at: SelwynDuke@optonline.net
the July 8, 2012 issue of
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