Congress Above the Law?
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Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) is once again in the spot light as Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan listened to the arguments of both sides regarding the FBI’s search on Jefferson’s office.
Judge Thomas F. Hogan’s view on the incident was clear as he sided with the Justice Department, and cast aside Jefferson’s attorney, Robert Trout’s, arguments that the Constitution’s speech or debate clause applied in this matter. Trout attempted to convince Hogan that only a lawmaker could make the decision as to whether a document is protected by the clause.
Kerry Kircher, deputy general council for the House of Representatives, sided with Hogan in regards to the speech or debate clause. “The reason that [protection] does not apply to the other members of society is that the Speech or Debate Clause does not apply to other members of society. That is a function of the decisions made by the Madisons, the Hamiltons, and the Franklins more than 200 years ago,” he said.
Currently the verdict is still out. Hogan will be making a ruling soon. Visit TPMmuckraker for more on this matter and for links to the legal briefs in the case.