While not giving much of a hoot about the civil liberties of the American public at large, the House has strong bi-partisan support to stop the Justice Department from treading on their own tradition of being able to keep anything they want in their own damn office. Even if it's a gazelle or an ounce of coke or a big old stack of cash like the one that led investigators to search Rep. William J. Jefferson's office.
House Judiciary chairman, F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. has announced that he will hold hearings next week on the constitutionality of the search, claiming that it violates the separation of powers. "Hey, buddy, you know what's in my office? I'll tell you what's in my office - the people's business. That's right, I said the people's business, and the people don't like nobody snooping in their business."
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, making a rare joint statement with Speaker Dennis Hastert, said there are many non-criminal reasons why many House members don't want their offices searched. "Working long hours, I keep a number of changes of clothes in my office so that I can go from the House floor to the dance floor without missing a beat. Nobody has any business in my congressional closet. President Bush, stay out of my underwear drawer!"
"And my liquor cabinet," added Hastert.
Attorney General Gonzales shook his head and chuckled at the indignant reactions. "I suppose it may be true that this is the first time a Congressional office has been searched, at least in the history of the Constitution, but this is an administration of many firsts. And you certainly can't call the action unconstitutional. Like the Washington Post says, this was a breach of the spirit, not the letter of the Constitution. Which means that it's perfectly all right. No member of Congress has anything to worry about if they haven't done something wrong."
"And tell Denny Hastert that we don't care about his liquor cabinet, although next time we stop by, it would be nice if he'd lay in a couple bottles of Jägermeister. Honestly, what does he think this administration might do? There's a war on terror going on... Does he honestly believe, say, that if he tries to block the President's immigration reform initiatives that we would just willy-nilly break into his office and snag all those documents tying him to Abramoff from the third drawer of his file cabinet in the folder labeled 'Farm Supports'? What a wild imagination."
©2006, Mark Hoback