So the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by John Conyers, D-Mich., will hold a hearing Friday on “Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations.” From the committee’s Web site:
“Over the last seven plus years, there have been numerous credible allegations of serious misconduct by officials in the Bush Administration,” said Conyers. “At the same time, the administration has adopted what many would describe as a radical view of its own powers and authorities. As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I believe it is imperative that we pursue a comprehensive review commensurate to this constitutionally dangerous combination of circumstances. Next Friday’s hearings will be an important part of that ongoing effort.”
The Committee is expected to examine a range of legal and legislative responses to allegations of administration misconduct and their expansion of executive branch power.
Among those called to testify will be Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, who earlier this month introduced an article of impeachment against President George W. Bush, based on “Deceiving Congress with Fabricated Threats of Iraq WMDs to Fraudulently Obtain Support for an Authorization of the Use of Military Force Against Iraq.” Impeachment advocates shouldn’t get all that excited: Kucinich will have a chance to talk about it, but House Democratic leaders have made that’s not the hearing’s main focus. Instead, the committee aims to generally review what it believes to be the president’s abuses of power. Still, even a discussion of impeachment is a milestone for Kucinich and this Congress.
Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader isn’t on the list of invited witnesses, and that sure does seem to starch his boxers, as evidenced by the letter he sent to Conyers today:
July 23, 2008
Chairman John Conyers
House Judiciary Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Chairman Conyers:
For years I have been urging you to initiate a resolution of impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for chronic, repeated violations of our Constitution and the many “high crimes and misdemeanors” they commit day after day. These two men are the worst recidivist impeachable occupiers of the Presidency and Vice Presidency in American history.
Since assuming power over both Houses, the Democratic leadership declared impeachment to be “off the table.”
During our 2004 Nader/Camejo independent campaign for the Presidency, we invited the American people to sign on in support of our demand for the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Many thousands of citizens signed.
We have had several conversations and two meetings where impeachment was discussed. On March 24, 2008, I wrote you a letter describing the various options open to you as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee (see enclosed.)
A few days ago, it was reported that your Committee will hold hearings this Friday July 25, 2008 on Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s article of impeachment referred to your jurisdiction.
You have invited four members of the House to testify including, of course, Congressman Kucinich and several observers of the subject, including the inestimable former mayor of Salt Lake City Rocky Anderson, Bruce Fein and John Dean. The Libertarian candidate for President, Bob Barr is also on the witness list, but I am not.
This is not the first time that I have been excluded from testifying on subjects both of us have been concerned about and have discussed. Remember your invitation to testify at your unofficial public hearing right after the 2004 elections regarding “irregularities” in Ohio? Within two days, your chief of staff, Perry Applebaum, persuaded you to disinvite me.
Applebaum has been a problem with my appearing before a Committee Chairman whom I have known, admired and worked with for nearly forty years. He has performed his exclusionary behavior on other occasions. It is time to make this public and to ascertain why he prevails again and again with his superior either not to invite or to deny requests to testify regarding subjects well within my knowledge, experience, and forthrightness.
P.O. Box 34103
Washington, D.C. 20043
But why should Nader be invited? What special viewpoint or knowledge would he bring to such a hearing that others can’t? Lots of people are “concerned” about it and I’m sure many people have “discussed” the matter with Conyers, but not everyone gets to testify.
This seems to me like yet another example of Nader’s indefatigable ego: It’s not good enough for him that impeachment is being discussed; HE must be invited to hold forth on it.
Uh, Ralph? It’s not all about you.