Thursday, March 29, 2007

a rare musing

I don't ordinarily use this space to air thoughts on politics, but something in this morning's paper got me thinking. In an article about the firing of U.S. Attorneys, an aide to AG Gonzales indicated that for a U.S. Attorney to adhere to the policies of the President was a legitimate standard for evaluating performance. I had to take a moment to consider whether or not this was, in my view, a valid argument.

On the one hand, the "guy in charge" has a right to have priorities and seek to have them pursued. On the other hand, that same guy in charge was elected by the people to uphold and defend the constitution that was crafted on behalf of all of its citizens, and not the priorities of one individual. This is not a CEO, but an elected official, and the constitution of the United States is not a partisan document but a foundation for governing that is intended to serve a country made up of a diverse people with differing views and priorities.

Our laws are in place to order our common life, protect our rights and liberties, and serve justice, which we claim in this country as being blind to the usual forces of discrimination. Persons who work to uphold the law ought to have as their first allegiance the law, not the priorities of an individual.

I guess I've concluded that the argument isn't sufficiently valid after all, but I'm open to hearing other opinions.


tiggerrules said...

Interesting. And I totally agree although I need to think about why I agree. It could be because I just hate Bush so much, and I don't trust anything he says or does. I don't think I'd be as upset about it if it was anyone else in office. Or maybe I would. How's that for a clear cut answer?

Gail said...

I think you put that very well, Anne (as you always do), and I agree with your conclusion.

Pam in Moncton said...

Although we have a different system here in Canada, I would agree that the legal system has to be kept free from political influence to the greatest extent possible. The independence of the Supreme Court for example is paramount. They have been known to declare laws unconstitutional and send them back to Parliament for review and to be re-written. The day they can't do that would be a sorry day indeed. Well said Anne.

Kip said...

I agree. I think this has really opened some people's eyes to how gov't really works, which isn't always "legal"!


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