Constant's pations

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

SCPI: Standing Commission on Presidential Impeachment

There needs to be a standing commission on Presidential impeachment.

The Standing Commission on Presidential Impeachment [SCPI] needs to be given serious consideration.

Our current impeachment mechanisms have failed. The current problem is that the system relies on the voluntary assertion of power per 5 USC 3331.

What's needed is an institutionalized trigger mechanism like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Government Accountability Office (GAO), and the Bankruptcy Court.

The lesson of the Federal Election Commission, Intelligence Committtees, and House/Senate Ethics are clear: The SCPI needs to have real teeth, real support, and not something that is a show-forum like the current failed Congressional "oversight" of the Intelligence Community.

We need to apply the lessons of the failure to enforce 5 USC 3331, and do something that mandates this standard of conduct be met, not simply given lip service. It's one thing for Members of Congress to bemoan the failed oversight system; its quite another for them to devise a system that actually works.

The way forward is to discuss solutions to better equip American citizens to quickly rally evidence, and present the charges against any President and Vice President.

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The current problems with the existing "oversight" mechanisms rely on voluntary assertion of power, a Presidential assent to be investigated, yet a failure to ensure that evidence is compared to the statute.

For purposes of litigation, discovery, and indictments the current system relies on Congress voluntarily asserting power, requesting the President or Attorney General do or not do something.

Under the current rules of "standing," a party may only bring a claim when they have standing -- they have been damaged or are the victim. But when there is a crime, there is no "victim," there is only the defendant -- the President -- and the State.

The current system is discretionary, where it should be assertive: To constantly check the Executive early when teh abuses are small, not years after the abuses become entrenched business practices the world is expected to endure. This state of affairs warrants the UN General Assembly action, but the US leadership now threatens to defy more traties to compel other nations to assent to the spreading cancer.

What's needed is a way to remove the option of the President to suppress evidence related to criminal activity, and permit citizens to provide their evidence and information to this independent body, the SCPI.

The proposed SCPI system would be similar to the Grand Jury Process. The key is that this would be an ongoing process, not something that is ad hoc, or subject to the shifting political winds.

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Impeachments are supposed to be difficult, but not impossible. This Congress refuses to assert its 5 USC 3331 obligations.

Perhaps within the bowels of government or a grand jury there is a standing body already doing this. The problem is that the President continues with abuses while this "possible body" does or does not get around to reviewing this matter.

There has to be a solution. We need a timely mechanism. We need a sense that the system is working. We need a formalized process that acts in parallel with what is an ineffective Congress. In cases as we have today where Senator Specter openly admits Congress is worthless in oversight, Specter does nothing to provide an alternative.

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What I see is a system that is ongoing like the SEC, in that it continuously monitors the political landscape; like the GAO or Congressional Research Service in that it is independent and non-partisan; and like the Bankruptcy Court in that it puts the priority on one thing: The Constitution, not just the Estate of America.

Attorneys need to be able to work independently behind the scenes, without fear of being fired as they are in the Inspector General Process or old Special Counsel Process.

There needs to be a system that rises above the political parties, and moves when the system -- as it has now -- fails to assert or enforce 5 USC 3331.

It really doesn't matter why we are where we are, or what is really broken. The way forward is to simply accept that the system is not working, and devise something that will simply do what must always be done: Protect the Constitution.

* * *

The delays are unacceptable. These abuses started more than five years ago. Despite that abuse of power and violation of rights -- clearly highly impeachable crimes -- the nation has continued to arguably fund illegal wars and further destroy the Constitution.

This is outrageous. The public should not have to wait if Congress "feels like writing a letter"; or whether Congress "feels like asserting their 5 USC 3331 obligation"; or whether the President "feels like" not firing someone or cooperating.

Rather, there needs to be something that simply does what all American officials should always be doing: Asserting their oath; protecting the Constitution; and gathering evidence.

This ongoing, nonpartisan, independent, and formalized process will ensure the domestic threats to the Constitution are well known, and put in jail, not re-elected to office to further support criminal attacks on our Constitution.

The issue is whether the Federal Government wants to entertain this idea, or whether this approach -- or something like it -- is imposed on the Federal Government by the States with a New Constitution.

The current disaster is one that the Federal Government has helped create through malfeasance. The solutions is simple. The question is whether this nation has leaders who take their 5 USC 3331 oath seriously, or whether their loyalty lies to something other than the Constitution.

To date, it is clear many defy their oath, yet still want to be re-elected. Clearly, when they take their oath as a Member of Congress they have no real intention of asserting that oath. If they did, we wouldn't have this disaster: High crimes, illegal war, and unlawful expenditure of funds for activities which clearly violate the Constitution.

There need to be better, visible enforcement mechanisms. Those who fail to rise above their party loyalty, and assert their oath as is required under 5 USC 3331 need to be put in jail, not rewarded with overseas assignments, or protected from fact finding through secrecy laws.

The Constitution allows the House to make and enforce rules; but the Constitution also does not permit the "lack of enforcement" to destroy that very document.

This government uses "state secrets" to hide violations of the law. This is a non-starter and unacceptable.

This criminal enterprise we call "government" has no credible secrets to protect. It has many criminals who deserve to be publicly outed in an open trial with formal charges.

We got it wrong with the Secret Trials in Guantanamo. It's time to have some public trials with open evidence: These aren't state secrets, these are matters of criminal law and should be well known by all Americans, just as Hitler's Holocaust was well publicized after WWII.

Our creed needs to be: "Never again."

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Added: 17 May 2006

There are some interseting questions related to a different approach.

Contrast the above discussion with the questions raised, and you may see that the above approach addresses the the concerns with a Civilian Review Board: [Katharine/TPM Click ]