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Archive of entries posted on November 2008

Was the Renzi Wiretap Unconstitutional?

          Another critical Speech or Debate issue in the Renzi case involves the wiretap on a cellular phone used by Renzi.   The Arizona federal court authorized the wiretap for a 30-day period from late October to late November 2006.  The wiretap order required the monitor to stop listening when a conversation “relates directly to legislation [...]

House’s Speech or Debate Position in the Renzi Case

         The House brief in the Renzi case contends that the Department of Justice violated the Speech or Debate Clause when it questioned Renzi aides before the grand jury regarding protected legislative activities.  It also argues that the Department violated the Clause when it presented to the grand jury “significant numbers of internal House emails [...]

The House Files an Amicus Brief in the Renzi Case

        The House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (which consists of the Speaker, the Majority and Minority Leaders, and the Majority and Minority Whips) has filed an amicus brief in the Renzi case.   BLAG argues that the Department of Justice committed “clear violations of the Speech or Debate Clause” in connection with the wiretap of Congressman [...]

The Government Responds to Renzi’s Speech or Debate Motion

       The prosecution has responded to Congressman Renzi’s motion to dismiss the indictment based on the Speech or Debate Clause.  The most important question presented is whether Speech or Debate applies to Renzi’s communications with two outside groups—Resolution Copper and the Aries Group—regarding land exchange legislation the groups were seeking.  (There are also significant Speech [...]

A Roadmap for the Stevens Expulsion

Here is my proposal for a principled resolution of the Stevens matter.              1.  The first question that should be addressed is whether Stevens’s underlying conduct, independent of the fact of his conviction, warrants expulsion.  I suspect that the Senate’s answer to this question would be no.  In essence, the case against Stevens was that [...]

More on a Stevens Expulsion

          Much discussion continues on whether the Senate can or will expel Senator Stevens.  Several Senators, including Majority Leader Reid, have suggested that expulsion is a virtual certainty.  Minority Leader McConnell, on the other hand, has indicated that Stevens should be given a chance to pursue his appeal before expulsion, leaving open the question [...]

Senators Inouye and Reid Debate the Stevens Case

Roll Call reports the following debate between Senators Inouye and Reid:  In a statement released by the Stevens campaign, Inouye argues that his longtime friend will be seated as a Member of the Senate next year if re elected and that he believes the felony convictions will be overturned. “As the Senate has done in [...]

Washington Post Article on Speech or Debate

          The Washington Post has a front page article today, above the fold, today on the Speech or Debate clause, which the reporter explains, “is increasingly being used by lawmakers as a shield in public corruption investigations, frustrating investigators even as the FBI attempts to police wrongdoing at a pace not seen since the Watergate [...]