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Conyers to investigate the US Constitution
Posted by: Jon Henke on Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I have no particular opinion on the Scooter Libby commutation, but I'm pretty sure that conducting a Congressional investigation into it is absurd...
[House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (Mich.)] ... was expected to move swiftly to conduct hearings on the commutation, congressional sources said.

Rep. Conyers might begin his investigation by examining a copy of the US Constitution - Article II, Section 2 - which grants the President "Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States".

That should also conclude his investigation.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Well, what do you expect McQ?

It’s not like they get anything else done...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Conyers investigating anything is akin to Kennedy teaching how to drive over a bridge while intoxicated.
 
Written By: markm
URL: http://
I tend to agree, but don’t forget that there was a significant investigation into Bill Clinton’s pardons. The pardons that bothered me the most were the pardons of Bush the Elder at the end of his term which effectively ended the Iran-Contra investigation. But he had the constitutional power to do so.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Yeah, but there was signifigant evidence that Clinton was exchanging pardons for money, which I believe IS illegal. Just commuting a jail sentence without getting paid is slightly different, don’t you think?
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
AFTER JOHNNY C DOES HIS HOMEWORK ,THERE WILL BE A 5-QUESTION TRUE-OR-FALSE QUIZ
REGARDING PRESIDENTIAL PARDONS.
IF HE PASSES, HE CAN GO OUT AND PLAY FOR THE REST OF THE AFTERNOON.
 
Written By: d
URL: http://
Well, what do you expect McQ?
I don’t know what McQ expects, but I wrote this post!

I expect nothing more from them...but I am glad to see that a Democratic investigation may bring them into close contact with the Constitution. Perhaps they’ll follow it up with an investigation to discover the emanations and penumbras that they’ve assured us are somewhere in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
What?? This power wasn’t slipped in as an earmark during the last Congress?

On the bright side, maybe Conyers will try to subpoena Madison.
 
Written By: Rich Horton
URL: http://www.iconicmidwest.blogspot.com
You mean the penumbras embodied in the 9th and 10th Amendments as espoused by Madison and Mason? You can always tell the difference between a Republican/Conservative and someone who believe in freedom by whether or not they deride the notion that people have rights not explicitly spelled out in the Constitution. People who believe that George Allen was a classical liberal definitely do not like the 9th and 10th Amendments.
 
Written By: spongejoe
URL: http://
Oops. Sorry Jon.

You lot all look the same on the internet...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
On the bright side, maybe Conyers will try to subpoena Madison.
Why not? The D’s have had plenty of dead folks vote for them, why not get a few to testify, right?
 
Written By: Crusader
URL: http://www.coalitionoftheswilling.net/
Sponge: Funny, "republican/conservatives" also think there are non-explicitly-spelled-out rights, as far as I’ve ever seen (like free association, for instance).

They just don’t think they should be asserted to suddenly (ala Roe) fundamentally change the jurisprudence because some guys in robes decided that something nobody’d considered a right before then was one.

The point of the 9th and 10th amendments is to limit the power of the Federal government to decide things for the nation, not to allow rights to be invented willy-nilly as it seems useful to achieve the agenda of the moment.

(And I say this as someone who thinks abortion should be [generally] legal and isn’t a Republican or a Conservative, mind you. I just think that you confuse a subset of Republicans with the whole, and I don’t much like the idea that they don’t believe in "freedom" because they disagree with you on what natural rights there are.)
 
Written By: Sigivald
URL: http://
People can disagree about what rights pertain to humanity, but the argument deriding "emanations and penumbras" is not in any way cultured or erudite, nor is it persuasive. The phrase originates from a case involving the right to use contraception and there is certainly nothing laughable about the proposition that certain rights entail other rights. Indeed, far more laughable was the notion by the "reputed" scholar Robert Bork that he had no idea what the 9th Amendment meant and that therefore it had not merit in constitutional law. George Mason warned us that if we did not write down every single conceivable right then the Henke’s of the world would come along and ridicule us for believing that such rights were protected under the constitution. The 9th and 10th amendments were an attempt to accommodate this fear, but clearly didn’t work given the ridicule conservatives like Henke heap upon them.
 
Written By: sponge joe
URL: http://
Isn’t the goal obvious?

You investigate the pardon until a Republican contradicts themselves or someone else. Then you bring perjury charges.
 
Written By: Jody
URL: http://
Dear SpongeJoe, Penumbra’s and emanations are NOT constitutional law. Note the SCOTUS can not refer to ANY SPECIFIC provision of the Constitution to support their contention. The 9th and 10th Amendments are not open-ended grants of "rights" to be mined by the Judiciary. By the then-existing law, abortion would be ILLEGAL, as it was not considered a right in the 18th and 19th Century. The 9th and 10th guarantee us rights that would have reasonably been held as the "rights of an Englishmen" in the era of their creation. Finally, please note, again, that SCOTUS did NOT refer to the 9th or 10th in Griswold, which undermines your contention, doesn’t it? After all the Court did not adopt your reasoning, did it?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
You mean the penumbras embodied in the 9th and 10th Amendments as espoused by Madison and Mason?
I sincerely wish there was genuinely a "right to privacy" in the Bill of Rights, and I would lobby strenuously for a Constitutional amendment securing a genuine right to privacy. I’d love to see a right to privacy, but I don’t care for the selective arguments for it that the Left makes.

I will take Democratic arguments seriously when they both (a) start citing the 9th and 10th amendments in cases against their own political interests - which they don’t - and (b) extend the "right to privacy" to things other than the uterus.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
Who says they are not open-ended, Joe? They say what they say, just as the clause against cruel and unjust punishment clause says what it says. Scalia has been a huge advocate of holding statutes to their bare language and yet, he refuses to do this with respect to the constitution and Bill of Rights. I would have no problem with any judge overturning a drug prosecution based upon either the 9th or 10th Amendment, or the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause, especially since all of these substances were legal at the time of the Bill of Rights and the incorporation of the 14th Amendment.

While Poe may not have explicitly emphasized its grounding upon the 9th Amendment, it is noteworthy for being essentially the last time that the United States Supreme Court stated that people have rights simply by virtue of being human. The basic Republican argument since Roe has been that people only have the rights given to them by Congress, no more and no less, thus the ridiculing of the notion of "penumbras." If I have to choose between Locke, Madison, Jefferson, versus Bork, Scalia and Roberts, I feel more than comfortable standing with the former.
 
Written By: spongejoe
URL: http://
If you really want to go with the "they were leagal at the time", then I suggest we go back to hanging people by the neck until dead within days of a guilty verdict on muder charges.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Cruel and Unusual Punishment meant drawing and quarering SpongeJoe....and Roe is NOT based on the 9th, neither is Griswold...in neither case did SCOTUS cite SPECIFIC provisions of the Constitution. I think that is a telling point, don’t you? Just own up to you support abortion and you support legalized drugs, they are policy preferences, but certainly not CONSTITUTION preferences.

Don’t tart your desires up as Constituional mandates. UNLESS, we get to hang folks or shoot them really, really quickly after conviction...OK I’m agin’ that as a Cahtolic, but I don’t tart my opposition up as some Constituional Principle.

Lastly, I believe at the founding had a state cared to make opium or the like illegal and its use punishable by death that would have been OK, too. You willing to go that route TODAY? No FEDERAL War on Drugs, but Utah can execute drug dealers or abortionists?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"You can always tell the difference between a Republican/Conservative and someone who believe in freedom by whether or not they deride the notion that people have rights not explicitly spelled out in the Constitution"

There is a difference between justifying something by using a penumbra or emanation or whatever of the 1st amendment and justifying something by citing the 9th or 10th amendment. Using penumbras, etc. creates a rats nest, but to some it is better than admitting that the 9th and 10th exist. As Sigivald says, that would admit there are limits to federal power.

**************************
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Joe and timactual:

If one wanders over to Findlaw.com, and gets a password (they’re free), one can read Griswold. And one would then discover that the Court and the three concurring votes found the law to be unconstitutional under the Fourteenth, Fourth, Fifth AND Ninth Amendments.

From the opening paragraph of the concurrence:

I agree with the Court that Connecticut’s birth-control law unconstitutionally intrudes upon the right of marital privacy, and I join in its opinion and judgment. ... I do agree that the concept of liberty protects those personal rights that are fundamental, and is not confined to the specific terms of the Bill of Rights. My conclusion that the concept of liberty is not so restricted and that it embraces the right of marital privacy though that right is not mentioned explicitly in the Constitution is supported both by numerous decisions of this Court, referred to in the Court’s opinion, and by the language and history of the Ninth Amendment. In reaching the conclusion that the right of marital privacy is protected, as being within the protected penumbra of specific guarantees of the Bill of Rights, the Court refers to the Ninth Amendment. I add these words to emphasize the relevance of that Amendment to the Court’s holding.


 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
Francis, key word CONCURRING....agreed to an end, but not the majority opinion.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I’m pro-choice and when I took the political compass test to measure on social and economic grounds how libertarian I was, I was at -8.9 on social libertarianism, about the highest one could be. In general I would agree that anything expanding individual liberty at the expense of the state (federal or state level) is good. However, when it comes to the Constitution, it is a document that codifies the rules of the game. While all texts must be interpreted — there is no such thing as a text that stands alone with only one possible interpretation — investing so much power in nine people to overturn the democratic will of the nation, or of the individual states, is inherently problemmatic. Thus, even though politically I might agree with a lot of the court’s decisions, I find it troubling when either progressive or conservative political issues intervene on judicial analysis. I therefore tend to be very slow to read in interpretative elements. That gives me a more radical first amendment stance than most (’make no law’ means ’make no law’!) but on issues like a right to privacy and some of the more tortured opinions creating new legal reasoning I find myself siding with the so-called conservatives. This means that as someone very ardently pro-choice, I would have dissented on Roe v Wade. In general I take our judicial branch very seriously — that’s why I strenuously object to those who want to dismiss Libby’s (or Clinton’s) perjury to a grand jury as political, why I feel compelled to accept the OJ Simpson verdict (or the 2000 election verdict by the SC) and support what could be our most important branch of government.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You mean the penumbras embodied in the 9th and 10th Amendments as espoused by Madison and Mason? You can always tell the difference between a Republican/Conservative and someone who believe in freedom by whether or not they deride the notion that people have rights not explicitly spelled out in the Constitution. People who believe that George Allen was a classical liberal definitely do not like the 9th and 10th Amendments.

Written By: spongejoe
The depth of your argument’s superficiality knows no bounds.
 
Written By: mjs
URL: http://
I don’t know what that means mjs. I believe that people have rights by virtue of being human. That makes me both pro-life/anti-abortion and pro-drugs. Conservatives are embarrassed by the 9th Amendment and refuse to discuss the reason that it was put into the constitution. Liberals aren’t much better; they just have different axes to grind. Nevertheless, it seems to be the GOP and conservatives who are constantly harping about putting more people in prison and constantly increasing the war on drugs, which seems very strange coming from the party of limited government.
 
Written By: spongejoe
URL: http://
How many Jew haters will be testifying on this one for Conyers?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://

 
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