"Whatever disagreement there may be as to the scope of the phrase ‘due process of law’ there can be no doubt that it embraces the fundamental conception of a fair trial, with opportunity to be heard."
- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Frank v Mangum, 237 U.S. 309, 347 (1915)
I don’t know if Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich did something wrong, and neither do you.
After the current Illinois Senate trial to remove him from office is over, we still won’t know. The proceeding is not just unfair, it’s third-world unfair.
We are a nation of laws, and that’s not a burden. Why do we set up procedural safeguards in criminal trials? One reason: To make sure the proceeding can find the truth.
Pundits are pointing out that this isn’t a criminal trial, so the Illinois Senate is free to set up rules that are less stringent than those in a criminal trial.
That’s like saying you don’t need a batting helmet during practice because it isn’t yet the big game. Sorry but the 90 mph fastball will still kill you if it hits your temple.
The right to call witnesses is not a burden we “have to put up with” in a criminal trial. It’s there because we can’t find truth without it.
The right to subpoena witnesses is not a burden we “have to put up with” in a criminal trial. It’s there because can’t find truth without it.
The right to access to all evidence is not a burden we “have to put up with” in a criminal trial. It’s there because we can’t find truth without it.
The right to cross-examine witnesses is not a burden we “have to put up with” in a criminal trial.
It’s there because we can’t find truth without it.
You can’t cross-examine an affidavit.
Why should we ever write rules of a hearing less stringent then these simple because we can? Do we not want to find truth?
Yet Governor Blagojevich is being denied all of those things in this Senate “trial.” The result will be about as trustworthy as when Saddam Hussein used to hold trials of his political enemies outside the legislative chamber with a pistol.
America is supposed to be better than this.
I don’t care if it isn’t a criminal trial. It’s still a trial, and it’s worthless if it isn’t fair.
I don’t think this trial is even legal under Illinois law, and if I were the Governor I’d appeal the procedure to the courts.
The Illinois Constitution has its very own Due Process Clause, which states in Article 1, Section II: No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law nor be denied the equal protection of the laws.
The Illinois Constitution does not limit that protection to just criminal trials.
Also, the wrong person seems to be in charge of this whole impeachment scheme. Under Illinois Constitution Article 4, Section 14, it states: The House of Representatives has the sole power to conduct legislative investigations to determine the existence of cause for impeachment…
If the legislature was to have sole power, they relinquished it to criminal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. They let him cherry pick the evidence and the witnesses that were allowed at the Impeachment hearing in the House.
In a criminal context, the Governor is being denied what is called Brady evidence – evidence that could tend to prove he isn’t guilty. Since this is not yet the criminal trial, Fitzgerald doesn’t have to show that it exists. That’s why it’s so unfair to even hold this hearing right now.
To make matters worse, the Senate has declared that the Impeachment Findings will be introduced into this trial, and the Governor is not allowed to challenge it. That basically means they finished the trial before it began.
I’ve never seen in this country such a disregard for a fair process.
Article 13 Section 1 of the Illinois Constitution says this about eligibility to hold office: A person convicted of a felony, bribery, perjury or other infamous crime shall be ineligible to hold an office created by this Constitution.
Governor Blagojevich has not been convicted of anything. All we have is one man, Patrick Fitzgerald, who says he is holding evidence he won’t show us that will one day convict him. Due Process does not mean removing a Governor from office because Patrick Fitzgerald says so.
I scoff at people who say Blagojevich’s media appearances are trying to sway the jury in a possible criminal case. No one is guiltier of that then Fitzgerald. It certainly would sway jurors if the Governor were given a fair trial in the Senate hearing and won.
Fitzgerald is manipulating the Senate trial because he knows it will help sway jurors on his favor if the Governor is removed. He’s not stupid. He just has better media than Blagojevich right now.
Let’s first get the easy one out of the way – “Blagojevich” rhymes with a curse word, as in, “You son-of-a-Blagojevich.”
Usually I’m at the ready to bang up Democrats when they do something wrong. They deserve it.
However I don’t ever want to be unfair like Democrats are when they make up criticisms that shouldn’t be (see, for instance, Sarah Palin’s clothes).
Over the past couple of days there has been puritan shock and horror over Illinois First Lady Patti Blagojevich’s use of the “F” word.
She was overheard in the background of a conversation her husband the Governor had on the phone.The topic was the Tribune Company looking for help selling Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.She said to her husband:
“Hold up that fu _ _ing Cubs sh _ _.Fu _ _them."
As if the Cubs don’t have enough troubles.
We need to add a bit of perspective.Patti may have been in her own home at the time, not in public.She thought she was talking only to her husband, not the rest of us.
No one should pretend that their own standards for behavior aren’t differnet in their home than in public.It’s supposed to be that way.If you act the same at home as in public, you’re either way too uptight in your house or you act and dress like a boor outside of it.
The taped conversation my have been at a campaign office.I will note that every place I’ve ever worked it was clear that women cuss worse than men.
If private cursing were really an offense Hillary Clinton would have faced a firing squad by now.More importantly, so would many of you have.
I do my best not to curse in or out of the house, especially around the kids.
There are two times though I really can’t stop cursing:When I’m stuck in traffic or I stub my bare toe walking full stride.I’m sure you have your own cursing indulgences.
I don’t know why, but sometimes nothing beats the catharsis of good cussword.I dare you to break your pinky toe and yell nothing but “Cheeseburger!”I couldn’t do it.
Now let’s get Biblical. There are some references in the Bible to allowable cursing, conceding however they used none of George Carlin’s 7 dirty words.
In the Old Testament, Genesis 3:14, God cursed the serpent.Noah cursed Canaan in Genesis 9:25.
In the New Testament, Matthew 25:41, Jesus is described as saying (interestingly enough to those described as being to the “left” of Him):“Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angles.”
I like that. I may use that the next time I’m talking to Democrats who are “left” of me.
So if a little cursing can come from God the Father, Noah and Jesus, who are we to not excuse Patti Blagojevich?
I’m betting that Fox Forum’s own Father Jonathan Morris can find us Biblical references against cursing and explain why we shouldn’t do it.I can’t find them myself because in 10 years of Catholic School they only let us read the catechism but never the Bible (maybe someday Fr. Morris can explain that to me too).
Even without the good Father’s help, I know enough of my Bible to tell the folks judging Patti Blagojevich to cast the first stone only if they’ve never uttered a bad word themselves.