Two positive developments pertaining to January 6

More than eleven months have elapsed since the events at the Capitol, January 6, 2021 — and many people arrested in connection with that physical intrusion into the Capitol building are still held in pre-trial confinement.  Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has published a report on her visit to the D.C. jail, with Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) on November 4.

The Greene Report points out that the tour was hastily arranged by the office of the mayor after previous attempts by the representatives to visit the January 6 detainees — held for months without trial — had been denied.

On November 4, Representatives Greene and Gohmert were invited to join the tour of members of the D.C. City Council, a tour scheduled after the U.S. Marshals' Service found that the jail did not meet minimum standards for confinement and had arranged for the transfer of 400 detainees to a prison in Pennsylvania.  The finding by the Marshals' Service is appended to the Greene Report.  And even on the evening of November 4, after visiting other areas of the facility, it took a threat of seeking a court order before Reps. Gohmert and Greene ware permitted into the area of the jail, where some 40 January 6 detainees were confined, restricted to their cells for 19 hours a day, one detainee held since last February 4.

The following is taken from the Conclusion to the Greene Report: "pre-trial inmates related to January 6 are treated more harshly than other inmates in the D.C. jail, even though they have yet to be convicted of any crime."  The Greene Report suggested that four members, Reps. Gaetz and Gosar, in addition to Ms. Greene and Mr. Gohmert, have expressed interest in the well-being of the January 6 detainees. Where, one wonders, are the other members of the House Republican Conference?  And where are the social organizations concerned about the treatment of prison inmates?  Ms. Greene noted in her conclusion that there is a "two-track justice system in the United States, but it is based on politics, not race."  One cannot help but believe that if the detainees were members of Antifa and BLM, The New York Times would be screaming from the top of its building at 62 Eighth Avenue for the immediate release of leftist radicals held for nearly a year in pre-trial confinement.  Although with respect to the January 6 detainees, one cannot dismiss the thought that such indefinite and harsh pre-trial confinement for Trump supporters is what the Times had in mind when it suggested, in an August 2016 editorial, that after Hillary Clinton wins the presidential election, "The toxic effects of Trumpism will have to be addressed."

The New York Times, to no one's surprise, ignored the Greene Report.  The paper did print news that Mark Meadows, former chief of staff to President Trump, was suing to quash the subpoena issued to him by the House Select Committee on January 6, 2021.  But the Times account, December 9, by Luke Broadwater gave no information whatsoever as to the substance of the complaint.

As to the substance of the complaint brought by Mr. Meadows, against Speaker Pelosi, the individual members of her puppet panel, and the committee as a whole, well, the complaint expresses what, I believe, all House GOP members, save two, should have protested when the speaker refused the House Republican leader's nominees to the panel.  And, as it happens, Pelosi's refusal to permit House minority leader Kevin McCarthy's nominees to sit on the select committee provided Mr. Meadows with the grounds to challenge the committee's existence.

The Meadows complaint alleges that the subpoenas issued against him, and Verizon, his cell phone carrier, are invalid because Pelosi violated the terms of House Resolution 503, which provided, among other things, that the minority members would be appointed in consultation with the minority leader.  The complaint cited a judicial opinion holding that Congress cannot violate its own rules.  The Meadows complaint also points out that the select committee itself has no legislative purpose; rather, it is acting more like an investigative law enforcement body, and a partisan one at that.  House committees must have a legislative purpose.  The resolution establishing the select committee prejudges the people who invaded the Capitol on January 6 as "domestic terrorists."  Isn't this "Queen of Hearts" justice?

Media reports that I have seen online make more of the executive privilege issue raised in the complaint, but I see a more essential decision throwing out the committee and its subpoenas — as a landmark case — on the nature of our tripartite government. A correct decision, holding that a congressional committee cannot function absent legitimate legislative purpose and must abide by the terms of the resolution authorizing its existence, would be a dagger in the heart of the unconstitutional attempt to transform congressional committees into inquisitorial bodies, which could only lead to tyrannical government.

Why didn't Republican congressmen raise a hue and cry once Pelosi turned the inquisitorial corner?  I can't say.  They don't return my emails or phone calls.  Maybe I should lie and say I'm with The New York Times or The Washington Post?

The Meadows complaint seeks injunctive relief.  If granted, and it should be, that would mean the subpoena against him (and all others served by this irregular, unconstitutional select committee?) would be quashed, with the select committee itself left to...what?  Utter incantations against Trump and Trumpism?  Mr. Meadows also seeks reasonable costs and attorneys' fees — and he richly deserves such compensation, even if the sums would be derived from the taxpayers, as the committee members are sued only in their official capacities.  (But if, as alleged, they acted in an ultra vires manner, they ought to pay costs and fees out of their personal pockets — or, if permissible, their PACs?)

Seems to this observer that all individuals plagued by the Pelosi puppet panel should join the Meadows lawsuit against Pelosi —and, finally, the House GOP conference ousting the vice chair of the Pelosi cabal, plus the member who plans to resign with the expiration of his current term — if for no other reason than to deny Pelosi the change to yell, "But Meadows is a liar!  I did appoint minority members to my select committee!"

By the way, she can't get around the fact that while her select panel has a vice chair, it lacks a ranking member — and House Res. 503 also called for a ranking member.  How do you like them apples, Ms. Cheney?

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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