Commonwealth Court candidate Anne Covey is seen chatting it up with Karl Rove in this picture from a dinner in Franklin County. Rove, of course, is infamous for politicizing the justice system while serving as “Bush’s Brain.” While in the White House as President Bush’s political director he oversaw the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys because they weren’t using their prosecutorial powers to jail enough Democrats.
Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General at the time, was eventually forced out of office for implementing Karl Rove’s mandate to politicize the Department of Justice. Only “Loyal Bushies” such as Chris Christie, Tom Marino, Pat Meehan and Marybeth Buchanan kept their jobs and the Governor of Alabama was imprisoned on trumped up charges by Rove’s henchman.
Cozying up to the likes of Rove while running for one of our high courts doesn’t show very good judgment. Would Covey use him as an example for corrupting our justice system here in Pennsylvania? This picture scares the dickens out of me.
Arlen Specter again denied trading the seating of two extremists to the Supreme Court in return for Rick Santorum’s endorsement and his return as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee six years ago. This controversy is seriously damaging the Senator’s chances of winning the Democratic primary this month amidst continued Democratic animosity towards Santorum. He seems to have no reason to be lying about his allegation but Specter does. As I think about this I’m reminded that Arlen Specter puts separation of powers above checks and balances and so thought he was trading away little.
As the GonzalesGate scandal was just beginning due to Specter’s insertion of a clause in a conference committee bill I am thinking back to the conversation I had with his staffer at the Judicary Committee at the time (January 2007). She explained that Specter allowed the President to fire eight U.S. Attorneys and replace them without Senate confirmation because he believed the President should have the unfettered ability to appoint whomever he pleased. I saw it as a dangerous usurpation of checks and balances.
Go back six years when Arlen was on the verge of losing a Republican primary to Pat Toomey and desperately needed Santorum’s assistance. Rick was still the Junior Senator from Pennsylvania and had considerable sway with the right wing fringe. If Specter offered to unquestioningly support whomever George W. Bush nominated for the Supreme Court in his mind he was surrendering little. He already believed a President had the power to appoint whomever he wanted. In this context I cannot see believing Arlen Specter over Santorum about this back room deal to sell out the country. John Roberts became Chief Justice and Samuel Alito became one more vote to overturn Roe. Democrats should think very carefully before pushing that button for Arlen Specter.
Sean Gerlich, a young attorney rejected on political grounds for a Department of Justice honors program is suing the Administration for politicizing the law enforcement agency. This comes after a series of scandals exposing the extent to which our system of justice was perverted for political gain under George W. Bush.
Politicizing the law and its prosecution is a very dangerous game in a democracy. Look to Zimbabwe and what happened there during the “election” if you have any doubts. Using the long arm of the law with its power of arrest and detention for political purposes is anathema to a democratic society. A neutral, arbitrary practice of law and justice is critical to a free and open society.
This is what George W. Bush, Karl Rove (the architect of the politicization process) and Alberto Gonzales (and let’s not forget John Ashcroft here) did when they set out to insure that only “loyal Bushies” got and kept jobs at the DOJ. This is what happened when John Yoo was allowed to pervert the law writing extreme memos permitting the use of torture.
The prosecution of the law can never be allowed to be politicized, by anyone, anytime, anywhere. There isn’t much difference between what Robert Mugabe was able to do in Zimbabwe and what George W. Bush was beginning to be able to do here. Scary stuff for those who never “got” what this was all about.
Citing the critical importance of separation of powers NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice has filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief in support of Congress’ authority to subpoena Harriet Miers and Josh Bolton.
The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed both former White House officials in its investigation og GonzalesGate, the political manipulation of Justice by the Bush Administration. Miers and Bolten have refused to comply with the orders to appear and are claiming all White House officials are above the law.
The Brennan Center brief argues that if the Court dismisses the action, as requested by Bolten’s and Miers’ attorneys, it could deal a significant blow to the Constitution’s separation of powers and “would signal to future presidents that they could hide behind executive privilege regardless of whether their legal claim was weak or strong–or even baseless.”
pull quote “The Committee is investigating allegations that partisan operatives commandeered Congress’s criminal laws and the machinery of the Department of Justice for improper purposes,” said Emily Berman, the Katz Fellow in the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center and one of the co-authors of the brief. “Information supplied by federal officials has been riddled with gaps and inconsistencies, raising the possibility that the Committee and the public have been misled. Congress can obtain these missing facts only from executive officials allegedly implicated in misconduct.”
“This case raises questions of fundamental importance to our Constitution’s system of Separation of Powers,” said Berman. “Congress’s constitutional obligation to ensure that the Executive acts within the bounds of the law requires that it complete this important investigation. Should the court deny it the power to do so, Congress’s oversight authority will be compromised, and with it our constitutional balance of power.