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March 31, 2008
SCOTUS Gives Congressional Criminals a Boost
The Supreme Court refused to intervene in a case involving a Congressmen indicted for bribery whose offices were illegally searched by the FBI according to a lower court ruling:
The court declined to review an appeals court ruling that the FBI reviewed legislative documents in the office of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., in violation of the Constitution. To be fair to the Supremes, they have shown for more than 200 years to be reluctant to rule on these internecine squabbles between the executive and congressional branches of government. They believe that the separation of powers trumps any issue that may come before it. They may have a point in that setting the Supreme Court up as the usual arbiter between Congress and the executive branch would make them more powerful than they already are.
Jefferson has pleaded not guilty to charges of soliciting more than $500,000 in bribes while using his office to broker business deals in Africa. His trial has been delayed indefinitely.
While the Bush administration asked the Supreme Court to intervene, Attorney General Michael Mukasey said last month that he would prefer Congress and the Justice Department reach agreement about any future searches.
The ruling "is jeopardizing ongoing public corruption investigations," the Justice Department said in urging the justices to accept its appeal. If allowed to stand, the ruling also would essentially prevent investigators from searching lawmakers' offices because it requires the FBI to give the lawmakers advance notice, the department said.
Meanwhile, Jefferson, who was indicted for the discovery of $90,000 in cash in his home freezer has a chance of walking because supporting evidence found by the FBI in his office has now been disallowed.
Sends a great signal to other Criminals on Capitol Hill, doesn't it?