In response to last week’s column on Rep. William Jefferson and the bipartisan congressional outrage surrounding the court--approved search of his office, many of you expressed the same sentiment as did Mitch Mularz of Aberdeen, Wash.:
“What else have all those public servants got in their offices?”
Pam Monnier writes:
“Since this business started during Hurricane Katrina and Jefferson diverted rescue vehicles to his house to get a box, I have been paying attention. Our elected class has an inflated opinion of their standing and power and we have allowed them to continue with their political gamesmanship because we just want to live out lives and raise out children and be left alone. I believe the lion has been awakened and more people are paying attention.”
SRE: Great point, Pam. Let’s hope so and see on Election Day.
Bob Riedle writes:
“I’m glad you are there voicing your opinion because we need good people like you ‘holding the conservatives’ feet to the fire.’ I am saddened to see the Republican congresspersons react because I tend to be conservative in my political thinking. But, as you so well expressed, ‘it comes down to whose ox is being gored.’”
SRE: Holding this representative accountable has certainly stirred up a fire! Thanks for writing and let’s see how long the unification lasts.
Ronald Thorn writes:
“This has nothing to do with liberal or conservative nor Republican nor Democrat. It is whether a member of congress has betrayed the office he holds. To deny our policy agencies, that are in place to protect us from criminals, the means to prove that a member of congress is a common criminal, is absurd.
I would hope that the citizens of our nation would become incensed enough to write their senators and congressmen expressing their outrage over this.”
SRE: I’m glad to see many of you think so.
R. Hensch writes:
“This is just another example of the ‘politics of preservation’ which pervades the majority of the members of Congress.”
S. Hugh High writes:
What if Congress, in furtherance of its powers to investigate so as to legislate, thought that one of the Justices of the Supreme Court had been taking bribes, and, fearful that evidence would be destroyed, invaded their homes or offices. Or, that the judiciary determined that members of the Executive were showing contempt for a ruling and, summarily, had a court officer arrest the Secretary of the Treasury, or went into their offices and raided their files.
There was a vastly simpler way to have approached the Jefferson problem: the Executive could have approached the Capitol Police and had them execute the warrant, or otherwise conferred with them.
SRE: Was a warrant signed by a federal judge not enough?
The outrage demonstrated by Congress is, I believe, merely a cloak of fear. It is a fear that the laws may truly apply to them and their previously untouchable behavior -- behavior that would land you and I in jail.
Thank you for your statement of facts. Regardless of political views, we are all in the same ‘boat’ and if we don’t all start working together to patch the leaks, the whole boat goes under. How many of us can swim well enough then?”
SRE: Great point Deb!
And many of you thought this:
“Thank you for an excellent article. I only wish every citizen of the United States could read it and remember it until Election Day.” (Donald C. Oien)
“Thank you, Susan, for your outrage. We need term limits.” (Nita Larson, Belleville, WI)
“I cannot remember a time in my life when I would unequivocally support congressional term limits. Since it would seem there is no urge to self-police, and with election regulations and mechanisms highly stacked in the incumbents favor, it would seem the logical road to reverse the trend and limit exposure just as we do the president.” (David J. Keith)
No matter what side of the aisle FOX viewers stand, it seems we have a consensus on this one: congressional accountability and public action at the polls.
Susan Estrich is currently the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Southern California and a member of the Board of Contributors of USA Today. She writes the "Portia" column for American Lawyer Media and is a contributing editor of The Los Angeles Times. She was appointed by the president to serve on the National Holocaust Council and by the mayor of the City of Los Angeles to serve on that city's Ethics Commission.
A woman of firsts, she was the first woman president of the Harvard Law Review and the first woman to head a national presidential campaign (Dukakis). Estrich is committed to paving the way for women to assume positions of leadership.
Books by Estrich include "Real Rape," "Getting Away with Murder: How Politics is Destroying the Criminal Justice System" and "Dealing with Dangerous Offenders." Her book "Making the Case for Yourself: A Diet Book for Smart Women," is a departure from her other works, encouraging women to take care of themselves by engaging the mind to fight for a healthy body. Her latest book, The Los Angeles Times bestseller, "Sex & Power," takes an impassioned look at the division of power between men and women in the American workforce, proving that the idea of gender equality is still just an idea.