House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner announced he would hold hearings next week on serious constitutional questions. Concern for the Constitution being trampled have united Republican and Democratic leadership in the House, with House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Mniority Leader Nancy Pelosi making a rare joint statement. "We need to protect our Constitution," [Hastert] said. "It's important that the people's records are protected."
Is it warrantless wiretapping that has the House so exercised? Or broad data-mining of domestic phone records? Nope. It's not the phone records of citizens that Hastert is concerned about, nor is it the administration's disregard for the Fourth Amendment's requirement for warrants where the Constitution-trampling is seen. So what, then, has caused such bipartisan bristling? That most heinous offense is the FBI's search of the Congressional offices of Rep. William Jefferson, a search performed with a warrant issued for probable cause. (The Congressman's offices were searched pursuant to a bribery investigation, after the FBI obtained videotape of the Congressman receiving $100,000 in cash, and found most of that cash hidden in a freezer in Jefferson's residence.)
This shameless invocation of the Constitution by the House leadership of both parties is disgusting. And in the wake of the Congressional blind eye turned to recent real Constitutional questions, Capitol Hill reeks with the stench of hypocrisy. If this is the kind of "protection" for our Constitution provided by our own Congress, the republic is in trouble.