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July 9, 2007

Mr. Blogger goes to Washington

This post at TPM Muckraker reports the witness list for Wednesday House Judiciary Committee's hearing on Bush's commutation of Libby's sentence.  As you will see, the eclectic list of five witnesses includes yours truly.  Needless to say, I'll be talking about sentencing issues.

July 9, 2007 at 06:22 PM | Permalink


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One day they will invite people who actually research pardons, eh? :-) Best of luck.

Posted by: PSRuckman | Jul 9, 2007 6:33:48 PM

Give 'em hell, Doc.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Jul 9, 2007 6:48:27 PM

Why hold a legislative hearing on the use of a discretionary power that the Constitution vests entirely in another branch of government and that the legislative branch can do nothing about?

Perhaps we should be grateful. If they were spending their time hearing matters that are actually within their authority, they would probably do more harm than good.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Jul 9, 2007 6:52:25 PM

Kent, wake up.

Law is politics, often dirty politics, as you well know and practice, and this will open doors to mandatory sentencing questions you guys fought for but never really believed in, as is now clear.

Congratulations, Professor.

Posted by: George | Jul 9, 2007 8:37:54 PM

Kent: Don't you think it is within the purview of Congress, with some guidance from Professor Doug, to identify the wisdom in the President's analysis of why federal snetences are frequently too harsh, to hear how those policies have unfairly affected sad sack defendants like Victor Rita, and then to make legislative changes in sentencing rules so everyone can have the benefit of Libby-style compassion at the time of sentencng, without having to burden the White House with an excessive number of clemency applications?

Posted by: Peter G | Jul 10, 2007 3:07:33 AM

Mr. Goldberger, if I thought Congress actually had such noble aims, then this hearing would be a good idea. Having watched C-SPAN a few times and having watched the progress of proposed legislation a few times, I suspect that this is just another grandstanding opportunity.

It is certainly within the purview of Congress to hear testimony from knowledgable people about how the laws might be reformed. It is not within their purview to do anything directly about the president's pardons, other than to wring their hands and waste the taxpayers' money. I suspect that they're more interested in the latter, but I hope that Prof. Berman has a different sort of experience and shares his impressions with us.

Posted by: | Jul 10, 2007 9:53:22 AM

Hmmm, and let me see, didn't Congress conduct hearings into Bill Clinton's pardon of Mark Rich? Does Congress have no interest in the obstruction of justice implications in George W. Bush's aberrational charity toward a man who happened to be in a position to reveal the degree to which this administration knowingly used discredited information to take us into a disastrous war on false pretenses? Shouldn't there have been congressional hearings into Pappa Bush's pardon of Casper Weinberger (in fact, were there?) which had the practical effect of pardoning himself from concealing his role in the exchange of weapons delivered to terrorists to obtain the release of hostages?

Posted by: nc | Jul 10, 2007 10:52:02 AM

Peter, I do think Congress should reexamine sentencing, but that should be the topic front and center, not the Libby case.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Jul 10, 2007 12:48:43 PM

Are you going to let us know if we can see you ranting on C-Span or something? Nonetheless, congrats.

Posted by: Jordan Winner | Jul 10, 2007 3:31:53 PM

I stand corrected. Prof. Berman is identified in today's National Review Online editorial as a "pardon expert!" Well then. See you in the bibliographies Prof!

Also, I am interested in what sort of drinks and snacks that provide for that gig in Washington. Is it a class act? or a BYOB affair?

Posted by: P.S. Ruckman, Jr. | Jul 11, 2007 11:10:17 AM

Two things I am disappointed by today:

1. As best I can tell, C-SPAN didn't broadcast this hearing.

2. The Judiciary Committee's live webcast confused the hell out of my poor computer.

Oh well, I guess I'll just have to settle for reading the testimony (which is available at http://judiciary.house.gov/oversight.aspx?ID=346).

Posted by: Leah | Jul 11, 2007 2:56:12 PM

I am with you. No C-SPAN here (just outside of Chicago) and the webcast thingy does not appear to be working either. This is unpardonable.

Posted by: P.S. Ruckman, Jr. | Jul 11, 2007 3:52:22 PM

Funny, Conyers fought for a murderer to get sanctuary (i.e., escape his punishment), yet gets worked up over Libby. Conyers has a soft spot for criminals except Republican ones.

Posted by: federalist | Jul 11, 2007 11:42:08 PM

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