Here are a couple of questions for any candidate for president, Republican OR Democrat: Would you pardon George Bush or Richard Cheney if you became president? Would you support congressional legislation that gave amnesty to Bush-Cheney or limited the scope of the judiciary in reviewing lawsuits naming Bush-Cheney as defendants?
Suppose that a future congressional investigation proves that there was deliberate and material misrepresentation of intelligence, and that the demonstrable intent of that misrepresentation was to secure war powers for the president. With the Democrats in charge of one house of Congress, the fallout would be enormous!
For one thing, Bush and Company would be subject to the provenance of the congress. That means that, at minimum, Feingold's censure Resolution will look better and better to the president's lawyers--they might work with congressional Republicans to support censure in exchange for some legislative amnesty. If congress becomes hostile, Bush & Cheney's lawyers will run to the Judicial Branch. They will argue that congress has a conflict of interest since it is allegedly a party of interest in the theory that they were mislead by the executive. They will plead that the doctrine of separation of powers reserves the arbitration between the legislative and the executive to the judicial branch of government. The conservative judicial plutocrats on the high court, like Antonin Scalia will love the utility of such an argument as it would support primacy to their institution.
Meanwhile, individual citizens will sue Bush and Company in the provenance of both the criminal and the civil courts. The material misrepresentation is a fiduciary violation of presidential and Vice-Presidential trust, and the damages arising from that criminal enterprise, will be immense. Both punative and material damages from loss of life, limb and treasure will be in the billions of dollars. If the courts become hostile to their clients, Bush & Cheney's lawyers will run to the legislative branch. Republicans and a few Democratic toadys will sponsore legilation to limit liability and the scope of judicial review.
The Search For Retribution and Accountability Will Not Stop At U.S. Borders.
Suppose the Bush-Cheney Lawyers keep the Courts and Congress fighting amongst themselves and successfully fend off review for, perhaps, years; the threat to Bush-Cheney is not abated. Determined Plaintiffs--and be assured that they will be very determined--will seek to sue in International Court. The International Criminal Court (ICC), established in 1998 in The Hague, The Netherlands, is the first ever permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to promote the rule of law and ensure that the gravest international crimes do not go unpunished.
The Lawyers for Bush-Cheney and the talking heads at Fox, CNN and MSNBC will remind everyone that the International Courts don't have jurisdiction, since Bush-Cheney withdrew from their jurisdiction. So, with a patriotic flourish, the Bush-Cheney legal team will tell their sympathetic masses that they only answer to American Courts.
But the game will be far from over for the determined Plaintiffs. They will pursue surrogate suites-signing on as co-plaintiffs under a multinational class of plaintiffs entering under the jurisdiction of a signatory nation to to the Internation Criminal Court including, for example, Venezuela, which signed on in 2000, and several European countries moving leftward, including France and Italy. U.S. Conservatives will get lots of domestic applause by beating their chests and refusing to recognize a "foreign jurisdiction". This will, in turn, precipitate potential sanctions against the United States by the EU and S.A.
ALL OF THIS was to explain my concern that democratic presidential and congressional condidates need to be thinking about how they will vote in such a scenario because something close to what I wrote the above will occur.
Nevertheless...I want to be assured that the next president does not plan to interfere with the working of domestic courts by providing a blanket pardon or support a statuatory "amnesty" for Bush, White House Staff, cabinet and sub-cabinet officials current or past.