It’s NOT too late, and a wager

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It’s NOT too late for impeachment, it’s an imperative.  If you think it is too late for impeachment do you also think it is too late for the Constitution?  Here in New York we think impeachment is long overdue.  New Yorkers are actively lobbying House Judiciary Committee (HJC) members Rep. Anthony Weiner (NY CD-9) and Rep. Jerry Nadler (NY CD-8).  

One group met with Anthony Weiner’s district director on Friday and asked him to convey their message to Weiner that he stated back in December that he would sign onto Wexler’s letter to Conyers and they are still waiting for him to make good on his promise.  They hope to hear back in a few days and will keep you posted.

Another group has come together under the banner of AskNadler2Impeach.org to lobby Nadler to support impeachment.  AskNadler2Impeach.org is hosting a Town Hall Meeting/Impeachment Forum next Sunday, March 9th, from 4-6pm at Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, NYC. to address the question Is Impeachment Necessary to Protect the Constitution?  The Town Hall Meeting/Impeachment Forum will feature Constitutional scholar Bruce Fein, former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, Harper’s contributor Scott Horton, and John Nirenberg, who walked 458 miles from Boston to DC to raise the question of impeachment with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, as speakers.  

Holtzman and Horton have written recently about torture under the Bush/Cheney administration, addressing how it establishes that impeachment is imperative and incumbent upon Congress.  Holtzman concludes her article Crimes in High Places about Mukasey’s refusal to ensure that criminal law is enforced with regard to torture with the pronouncement:

Congress should not sit by. The attorney general must be requested by Congress to commence an investigation of the president and the top team, picking a special prosecutor to do so. I doubt that this will happen. What these events show is that the special prosecutor law must be reenacted by Congress, to avoid a repetition of this spectacle.

Criminal investigation and prosecution must commence under the next administration.

Impeachment must commence. This is the second approach. For too long the Congress has taken impeachment off the table, but the time has come to put it back on. Since impeachment doesn’t require violation of federal criminal law, it will not matter that the War Crimes Act has been retroactively nullified. Congress can impeach for the abuse of power inherent in the president’s knowing and deliberate effort to violate the War Crimes Act. Similarly, Congress can determine that water boarding is torture and impeach the president for holding himself above the law with respect to the anti-torture act.

Failure to act creates a culture of impunity around presidential misconduct of the most repugnant kind. It is imperative that those like President Bush who put themselves above the law be held accountable. That is the essence of what a democracy, in the end, is all about: the rule of law.

Horton is slightly more nuanced in How Hollywood Learned to Stop Worrying and to Love the (Ticking) Bomb.  In this article he does not directly address impeachment, although he has in the past.  Instead he talks about the role that the media is playing in shaping public perspective on torture and in taking a careful look at how torture is presented in the media, in particular, the Fox show “24”, even posits that “

the Administration has had tremendous impact on coverage of the issue. It was able to transform well-settled media views….

We should start with a frank question: has “24” been created with an overtly political agenda, namely, to create a more receptive public audience for the Bush Administration’s torture policies? I think the answer to that question is now very clear. The answer is “yes.” In “Whatever It Takes,” Jane Mayer has waded through the sheaf of contacts between the show’s producer, Joel Surnow, and Vice President Cheney and figures right around him. There is little ambiguity about this point, namely, if the torture system introduced after 9/11 can be traced back to a single person, it is Vice President Cheney. He pushed relentlessly for use of the tools of the “dark side,” and he ruthlessly took out everyone who stood in his way. He also worked feverishly to disguise or cloak his intimate involvement in the entire process. I take it as a given that Surnow is working to develop public attitudes which are more accepting of torture; to overturn centuries-old prejudices against torture. He is a torture-enabler.

Undoubtedly Horton, Holtzman, and Fein will have more to say about this issue and others confronting us and our Constitution when they speak next Sunday.

And now for the Wager.  

Representative Nadler has also been invited to speak but has yet to respond to the invitation. We hope he will join the roster of speakers and share his insights as to why, even as the Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, he does not share the view of Fein, Holtzman, and Horton that impeachment hearings in the HJC are long overdue and should commence immediately. However, just a week away from the event, the most asked question about it is “Is Nadler coming?”  What’s your wager?  The event is free, but where would you put your money – on Nadler coming or not?

This forum presents an excellent opportunity to learn more about impeachment and to bring a friend, neighbor, co-worker or family member who might benefit from hearing from the experts.  AskNadler2Impeach.org is pleased to be able to present these excellent speakers for free thanks to the generosity of individual contributors and support from the Village Independent Democrats, the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club, Democracy for NYC, and Progressive Democrats of New York CD 14 and CD 8.

Please help spread the word.  A pdf version of this notice, suitable for printing, can be downloaded at: asknadler2impeach.org.  Feel free one and all to post printed copies in your buildings and in stores around your neighborhood.  You can also link to AskNadler2Impeach.org in your emails where people can sign the petition and find out more about this group.  

For information call 212.340.9548 or email info at asknadler2impeach.org.

Most important, put the date on your calendar, and be sure to attend!  And, yep, for those outside of New York, it will be taped and possibly webcast.

AskNadler2Impeach.org has launched a website to host a petition asking Nadler to support Rep. Robert Wexler’s call for impeachment hearings in the HJC.  Please go here to sign the petition.

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13 comments

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  1. I am more than happy to know that you NY’rs are going after Nadler.  I signed the petition, as well.

    No, it’s NEVER too late for impeachment!  Shoulda’ happened yesterday already.

    Although the non-response of the Judiciary Committee thus far is disheartening, the heartening part of it is that there are so many States and Cities adopting resolutions for impeachment, etc.

    Keep us posted.

    P.S.  I did not vote, my wager would be “doubtful.”

    • sharon on March 3, 2008 at 2:09 am
      Author

    i thought the articles by horton and holtzman were well worth reading and why take the opportunity to plug the event one more time by connecting them.

    i also wanted to highlight the weiner meeting because a lot of people forget about him, but he is on the hjc and we need him to do what he said he would do.  

  2. Jerry Nadler…not so much.  Unfortunately, I’m no longer in NYC and “my” current rep is the to-the-right-of-Attila Joe Pitts.

    At least we finally voted Rick Scumtorum out of office.

    • sharon on March 3, 2008 at 3:46 pm
      Author

    From a comment made his is an excellent summary of where impeachment stands in the HJC wrt support needed to impact Conyers.

    *********

    According to Thomas, Kucinich plus 25 Democratic members of Congress have cosponsored H.Res. 333/799.  According to Wexler’s website, another 6 have signed on to Wexler’s letter calling for hearings.  So that’s 32 members of Congress total, all of them Democrats.

    According to house.gov, there are 40 members on the House Judiciary Committee, 23 of whom are Democrats.  8 of the Democrats are for impeachment (not counting Weiner who said he would sign Wexler’s letter back in December but still has not).

    Only 2 of 8 Democrats on the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the HJC have come out in favor of impeachment.

    So, it’s not accurate to say that “we only need two more Dems on the HJC to have a majority of the Dems in favor of impeachment hearings.”  Even assuming we have Weiner, you need three more to have a majority of the Dems on the HJC.  And a simple majority by itself is not likely to matter a whole lot if you don’t have your Chairman’s support (who also sits on the subcommittee) or your subcommittee Chairman’s support.  An overwhelming majority might make a difference, if it can sway the Chairmans’ views.   Thus, why so much attention has been focused on convincing Conyers as well as Nadler.  Focusing on others than the Chairs may also be a viable a strategy.

    Here’s the breakdown:

    H.RES.333

    Title: Impeaching Richard B. Cheney, Vice President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors.

    Sponsor: Rep Kucinich, Dennis J. [OH-10] (introduced 4/24/2007)      Cosponsors (25)

    Related Bills: H.RES.799

    Latest Major Action: 5/4/2007 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties.

    COSPONSORS(24), ALPHABETICAL [followed by Cosponsors withdrawn]:     (Sort: by date)

    Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2] – 8/1/2007

    Rep Boswell, Leonard L. [IA-3] – 2/14/2008

    Rep Brady, Robert A. [PA-1] – 7/24/2007

    Rep Clarke, Yvette D. [NY-11] – 6/6/2007

    Rep Clay, Wm. Lacy [MO-1] – 5/1/2007

    Rep Cohen, Steve [TN-9] – 8/4/2007

    Rep Davis, Danny K. [IL-7] – 11/5/2007

    Rep Ellison, Keith [MN-5] – 6/28/2007

    Rep Farr, Sam [CA-17] – 7/12/2007

    Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] – 7/12/2007

    Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] – 12/5/2007

    Rep Jackson-Lee, Sheila [TX-18] – 8/4/2007

    Rep Johnson, Henry C. “Hank,” Jr. [GA-4] – 6/28/2007

    Rep Kilpatrick, Carolyn C. [MI-13] – 9/7/2007

    Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] – 6/7/2007

    Rep McDermott, Jim [WA-7] – 7/10/2007

    Rep Moore, Gwen [WI-4] – 12/19/2007

    Rep Moran, James P. [VA-8] – 7/10/2007

    Rep Payne, Donald M. [NJ-10] – 8/1/2007

    Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-9] – 5/1/2007

    Rep Towns, Edolphus [NY-10] – 9/27/2007

    Rep Waters, Maxine [CA-35] – 6/12/2007

    Rep Watson, Diane E. [CA-33] – 10/16/2007

    Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6] – 6/7/2007

    Rep Wynn, Albert Russell [MD-4] – 5/10/2007

    Have signed Wexler’s letter (6 who did not co-sponsor H.Res. 333)

    Abercrombie, Neil, HI, 1st

    Baldwin, Tammy, WI, 2nd *

    Capuano, Michael E., MA, 8th

    Clarke, Yvette D., NY, 11th

    Clay, Wm. Lacy, MO, 1st

    Cohen, Steve, TN, 9th *

    DeFazio, Peter, OR, 4th

    Ellison, Keith, MN, 5th*

    Farr, Sam, CA, 17th

    Grijalva, Raúl M., AZ, 7th

    Gutierrez, Luis V., IL, 4th *

    Kucinich, Dennis J., OH, 10th

    Lee, Barbara, CA, 9th

    Moore, Gwen, WI, 4th

    Moran, James P., VA, 8th

    Thompson, Mike, CA, 1st

    Towns, Edolphus, NY, 10th

    Woolsey, Lynn, CA, 6th

    Wexler, Robert, FL, 19th *

    Wynn, Albert Russell, MD, 4th

    In total, 32 members of Congress are calling for impeachment.

    8 of 23 Democratic Members of the House Judiciary Committee support impeachment hearings

    Judiciary Committee Democrats

    Hon. John Conyers, Jr. (D) Michigan, 14th

    Hon. Berman (D) California, 28th

    Hon. Boucher (D) Virginia, 9th

    Hon. Nadler (D) New York, 8th

    Hon. Scott (D) Virginia, 3rd

    Hon. Watt (D) North Carolina, 12th

    Hon. Lofgren (D) California, 16th

    Hon. Jackson Lee (D) Texas, 18th

    Hon. Waters (D) California, 35th

    Hon. Delahunt (D) Massachusetts, 10th

    Hon. Wexler (D) Florida, 19th

    Hon. Sánchez (D) California, 39th

    Hon. Cohen (D) Tennessee, 9th

    Hon. Johnson (D) Georgia, 4th

    Hon. Sutton (D) Ohio, 13th

    Hon. Gutierrez (D) Illinois, 4th

    Hon. Sherman (D) California, 27

    Hon. Baldwin (D) Wisconsin, 2nd

    Hon. Weiner (D) New York, 9th -Says he will support

    Hon. Schiff (D) California, 29th

    Hon. Davis (D) Alabama , 7th

    Hon. Wasserman Schultz (D) Florida, 20th

    Hon. Ellison (D) Minnesota, 5th

    2 of 8 Democratic Members of the Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties support impeachment hearings

    Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

    Hon. Nadler Chairman (D) New York, 8th

    Hon. Davis (D) Alabama , 7th

    Hon. Wasserman Schultz (D) Florida, 20th

    Hon. Ellison (D) Minnesota, 5th

    Hon. Conyers Jr. (D) Michigan, 14th

    Hon. Scott (D) Virginia, 3rd

    Hon. Watt (D) North Carolina, 12th

    Hon. Cohen (D) Tennessee, 9th

  3. in the states and the grassroots Democratic party, there is political will and confusion as to why these crimes are not being addressed. At town halls all over OR, my senator Wyden, is asked why these criminals are not being impeached.

    I will call and sign but have my doubts that until the election is over this will occur. After, I hope so. Listening to the candidates however I hear little talk about the basic tenant of our government. The one that is quite simple “The Law is King”. They all seem to busy trying to crown the next Imperial President.      

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