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Will Harriet Miers vote to overturn Bush's conspiracy conviction?
ZNet | Criminal Justice System
By Harvey Wasserman
An angry groundswell has risen against the appointment of George W. Bush's personal attorney to the US Supreme Court. One key question must be asked: as a Justice, would she soon be asked to rule on a conspiracy conviction against her present boss?
In light of the new indictments against former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, the question may not be so far fetched.
DeLay was originally indicted on charges of violating campaign finance law. His lawyers have quickly raised serious technical challenges.
But now two additional charges have been filed by a second grand jury. Conspiracy is involved, taking things to a whole other level, including the possibility of jail time. The prospect of "The Hammer" duck-walking in orange polyester to a Texas prison cell may warm progressive hearts everywhere. But there's a much deeper message here about the case of Valerie Plame.
At some point, "someone" in the Bush White House made the decision to retaliate against Joseph Wilson. Wilson exposed as utter nonsense the Bush claim that Saddam Hussein was shopping for uranium in Africa. Wilson's op ed in the New York Times blew an unfillable in the neocon case for an attack on Iraq. To punish Wilson, Team Bush decided to out his wife Valerie Plame, by now the least covert operative in CIA history. The legal gravity of this crime is up for grabs. Chicago-based prosecutor Peter Fitzgerald's mandate to investigate it runs out at the end of this month. He says he was awaiting testimony from Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter who just emerged from jail.
Nobody knows what Fitzgerald will do. Many speculate that an indictment of Karl Rove or "Scooter" Libby might be hard to make stick. That particular case might depend on the depth of Plame's cover and other arcane considerations. Indeed, the labyrinthian complications of the Plame case multiply the odds overshadowing any simple case against any single individual from the White House. But conspiracy would be a different story. It would seem patently obvious that outing Plame had to have been discussed in some form by the very top of the Bush junta.
That Bush himself knew Plame was a CIA agent has long since been established. That Libby, Rove and Cheney knew is also beyond doubt. So how the knowledge of Plame's status somehow leapt to the ears of columnist Robert Novak and the likes of Judith Miller may be more important than the outing itself. If Bush, Cheney, Rove and Libby did discuss such a retaliation, and then found a way to make it happen, we are suddenly out of the playoffs and into the World Series.
In Watergate, the coverup became the crime of importance. In Iran-Contra, it was who knew what when. In the Plame case, it could well be who discussed what with whom when. Whatever the call, this case is certain to end at the US Supreme Court. And here we may or may not find Harriet Miers.
George W. Bush took the White House with the most blatant case of cronyism in US judicial history. The infamous Bush v. Gore decision that stopped the Florida 2000 recount was absolutely baseless in law. The use of the Fourteenth Amendment's "Equal Protection" clause was such an obvious non-sequitur that even the Justices who wrote the opinion held their noses and urged history to disregard it as precedent.
The five judges who rendered that heinous decision did so for strictly partisan reasons. William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Anthony Kennedy and Sandra O'Conner had one agenda item: put George W. Bush in the White House. Scalia and Thomas had blatant and obvious conflicts of interest involving employment of their offspring, among other things. But it did not phase them. Honor, propriety and the law demanded they recuse themselves. But they simply refused. They held themselves and their partisan interest and that of the Republican Party above all else.
Congress must now ask: what would Harriet Miers do? She is known only to be fiercely loyal to the persona of George W. Bush and the Republican Party. As David Sirota and others have pointed out, her sole qualification for the Supreme Court seems to be her position as a "de facto member of Bush's immediate family." That may be sufficient for many now in Congress. But what happens when a case involving the Bush family comes to her?
Given Bush v. Gore and all else we know about this administration, the answer is obvious: regardless of the law, regardless of two hundreds years of precedent, regardless of what is moral and right, Harriet Miers will do what suits the short-term interests of George W. Bush. As Rehnquist, Thomas, Scalia, Kennedy and O'Connor showed in Bush v. Gore, American jurisprudence at its highest level is now defined by the immediate demands of the Republican Party. Today we hear much hype about how little we know of Harriet Miers's personal beliefs. But if ever there were a Supreme Court nominee who is a sure bet to put personal and partisan loyalty above the law, it is Harriet Miers. If ever George W. Bush comes in front of her with a case concerning conspiracy or some other violation of the law, we all know how she will vote.
That's why Bush chose her. That's why the Senate must reject her.
HARVEY WASSERMAN'S HISTORY OF THE US is at www.harveywasserman.com, as is HOW THE GOP STOLE AMERICA'S 2004 ELECTION & IS RIGGING 2008, which he co-wrote with Bob Fitrakis.