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Reply #34: Cass Sunstein lifts the tent for the camel's nose [View All]

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bleever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-26-08 01:38 PM
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34. Cass Sunstein lifts the tent for the camel's nose
of lawlessness:

When I talk about a fear of criminalizing political disagreement, I don't mean to suggest that we shouldn't criminalize crimes. Crimes are against the law, and if there's been egregious wrongdoing in violation of the law, then it's not right to put a blind eye to that. So I guess I'm saying that emotions play an important role in thinking about what the legal system should be doing. But under our constitutional order, we go back and forth between the emotions and the legal requirements, and that's a way of guaranteeing fairness. And as I say, very important to have a degree of bipartisanship with respect to subsequent investigations.

In other words, enforcement of the law is a matter not just of statutes and procedures, but also of comity and consensus, even when it requires the consensus of people who may be implicated in the crimes, or political associates of those who are.

I expect that Obama has an understanding of the consequences of the failures to enforce the law in the cases of Watergate and Iran-Contra. But it also seems that there is a tremendous extra-legal factor that presidents have been unable to resist, which is the fear of losing control of the national conversation.

In the best case scenario, Sunstein is truly envisioning a process of investigating and prosecuting that skillfully manages to avoid polarizing the nation. My fear is that the Pelosi mind-set, which believes it's best to just get through this and rebuild later, will prevail. I would expect the same kind of consequences we saw from letting Watergate and Iran-Contra slide, which is further erosion of the Constitution.

But Obama is a very smart fellow, so I also believe we should remain optimistic and very vocal.
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