Article I, Section 6. Larry Craig's favorite new clause.

Could Larry Craig be off the hook?

Check it out.

Article I. Section 6. The Senators and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United States. They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.

Discuss. (Hat tip to Preemptive Karma.)

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Ummmm... isn't disorderly conduct breach of the peace?

  • LiberalIncarnate (unverified)
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    Perhaps he'd would have been off the hook if he had claimed this exemption at the time of his arrest. He did not. He also plead guilty as we all know now.

    This is going to be very difficult to reverse once it has already been done.

    Of course, Bush could overcome this conviction for Craig, if he were so inclined. Since this is Idaho we are talking about were the vast majority are likely to vote Republican to their graves, even this is not likely.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    i read somewhere, i think on dailykos, that there was some reason that this clause didn't apply to craig at the time of the incident. something to do with the fact that he was travelling en route and not actually in session, or something like that.

  • Randy2 (unverified)
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    Rescinding his resignation... sort of like a dead fish in your living room. Over time it smells worse and worse.

    Kind of gives the lie to those Republican claims of "honor" from the debate this week.

  • Stephen Holland (unverified)
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    If only it were so easy for Sen. Craig. The speech and debate clause has been narrowed my more recent court decisions that try to limit what is defined as official business within the session. I don't think many judges would consider disruptive behavior in a Minnesota airport official business, even if it was on a layover. The intent of the law is to protect the legislative branch from being unfairly prosecuted and having business obstructed by the executive branch. This isn't that. Much like police being able to arrest members of congress for taking bribes, they can still arrest them for disturbing the peace.

    Other than that, the man pleaded guilty to this crime. Legally, he admitted to doing it. He was warned in writing that he should not be pleading guilty if he did not commit the crime.

    As a side note, this crime is hardly grounds for resignation or removal from committee positions according to precedent set by both parties. Remember Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI)? Just over a year ago he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of prescription medication, and he's in congress, with no complaints.

    What is happening here is a huge episode of GOP hypocrisy. Several members of congress have pleaded guilty to other misdemeanors and not been called on to resign. The fact is that the GOP leadership wants to get rid of this because it's a public sex scandal, but even more than that, a homosexual public sex scandal. (Not to mention the seat is also in safe Republican hands if he resigns.) I don't want to justify Sen. Craig's actions, especially because he has been such an advocate for anti-gay laws. But in all fairness guys, his actions are hardly extraordinary.

  • Unrepentant Liberal (unverified)
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    Last time I checked, our Capitol was in Washington D.C. and not Minnesota. So it was be a very 'wide stance' to apply Article 1, Section 6 to looking for a 'quickie' in an airport's mens room.

    Sorry Larry, they still want you to go.............But by all means keep fighting. It just enhances the destruction of conservatism and the republican party. Go Larry go!

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    Oh, Jack Roberts, come out come out wherever you are. Remember how you told me the Vitter and Stephens cases were Oh So Different? Well, looks like Republican Simpson, ID, agrees with me:

    Simpson pointed a finger at Craig’s leaders for staying mum on the legal and personal jeopardy facing other GOP senators, including Alaskan Ted Stevens, now under federal investigations, and Louisianan David Vitter, who has admitted contacting an escort service.

    “They have people over there [in the Senate Republican Conference] in far worse trouble that they haven’t said a thing about,” Simpson said.

    http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/lashing-out-at-mcconnell-2007-09-07.html

    heh

    And I'm surprised how long it took blue oregon to notice this law. Commenters at other sites realized this on day 1.

  • (Show?)

    UL & Trishka,

    Read Section 6 again. It included going to and from.

    That said... this has got to be killing Rove's ulcers. Tom DeLay had faded from public attention and along come Larry Craig to serve as the poster child for power-grubbing Republicans just as we swing into important elections.

  • (Show?)

    Why isn't this offense = breach of the peace? (above and beyone whether the S&D clause applies at all, which is not at all clear but I would lean against it)

  • jamie (unverified)
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    RE: As a side note, this crime is hardly grounds for resignation or removal from committee positions according to precedent set by both parties.

    He wasn't thrown under the bus, and pressured to resign for any crime he committed. It was because he was revealed to be homosexual, in spite of his protestations to the contrary. Being queer to the repugs is far worse than the lesser sin of having committed multiple felonies, something that has been ignored for many of their clan. (klan?)

  • trollbot9000 (unverified)
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    Ah, the hypocrisy. Not only do you have the so-called "family values" conservatives getting caught doing the very things they often rail against, but you also have the "progressive" types attempting to make great hay bashing them for the kind of behavior that would be acceptable were it exhibited by one of their own. The hypocrisy of it all.

  • (Show?)

    Nice try trollbot.... the progressives are not railing against Craig and forcing him to resign, that would be his bigoted GOP brethren. We progressives are pointing out (laughing at) the utter hypocrisy that is Larry Craig.

  • trollbot9000 (unverified)
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    My point exactly. Hypocrisy across the board.

  • (Show?)

    Nope. Try again aptly named trollbot.

  • PistolPetey (unverified)
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    LiberalIncarnate: When you say Bush can take care of it, I'm not sure if you mean by a pardon? Bush can only pardon federal crimes, not state ones.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Larry Craig is a hypocrite and should have resigned. However, why the glee from those who did not lash out at their own (from Louisiana) when about $70k was "discovered" cooling off in his freezer?

  • Unrepentant Liberal (unverified)
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    Trollbot: It is not hypocrisy for our side to point out the hypocrisy of the other side. Nor would it be for them to point out such a failing on our part. Perhaps you should look up hypocrisy in a dictionary.

  • dartagnan (unverified)
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    Some right-wing "property rights" group is whining that poor Larry was "entrapped" as part of a political vendetta and is calling for a boycott of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. I'm sure the cop that busted him had no idea who the hell he was.

  • dartagnan (unverified)
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    Kurt: Yeah, I knew William Jefferson would come up. Look, if Jefferson committed any crime he should be prosecuted and, if convicted, sentenced. I don't know of any Democrat who says otherwise.

    However, for every Democratic crook or hypocrite you can name I promise you I can name half a dozen Republicans. Without lies, corruption and hypocrisy the contemporary Republican Party would cease to exist.

  • Laura C (unverified)
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    "I do think the senator's resignation [is] sad in some ways because many people will perceive this as 'Oh my God, if he's gay, he has to resign,'" said Rep. Nicole LaFavour, a Boise Democrat and Idaho's only openly gay legislator. "When really they should be saying, 'God, the Senator has been dishonest with us, and he has voted badly on issues that affect so many, and he's been arrested." Boise Weekly

    In regards to being off the hook, citing Article I, Section 6 as a "Get out of jail" free card, I don't think that will work, especially after you plead GUILTY.

    Craig might have been able to play the Article I, Section 6 card just like some Oregon Legislators used to do when caught speeding by OSP. But that ultimately doesn't work. Why? Because all offenses have a statute of limitations clause. In the case of the speeding legislator, the speeding ticket would be served upon the legislator after the session was over. The legislator would then have to deal with the summons just like any other citizen. The fact they were a legislator and in session does not count as an "affirmative defense". By the way, if you are under supoena for jury duty or as a witness, the same exception applies. But the same result applies, you get your ticket after you are no longer under that supoena.

    Craig was not cited nor charged at the time of the incident by the police. The incident (police report) was sent, most likely, to the local District Attorney's Office who issued the charges and summons to appear in court. Craig did not apparently assert the privilege at the time other than producing his card and asking what the officer thought about that. (Which may be what some attorney is trying to qualify as means to get the charge dissmissed.) In any case, I would think the argument was that Craig was not legally "arrested" at the time. I don't know for sure, but maybe the the interview and Craig's statements with the Police Officer might have gotten thrown out, if Craig had asserted the priviledge at the time. But even then, the elements of the crime had already been committed. In other words, had Craig not said a word (You have the right to remain silent stupid)the charge would have potentially stood on it's own depending on the analysis of the local District Attorney making the decision as to pursue a prosecution for the offense.

    With rumblings that Craig is going to try invoke this privelege is just another straw on the camel's back to show the hypocrisy and offensive arrogance of Sen. Craig and all of the other sinners.

    It's just really unfortunate that the statute of limitations has run out for Sen. Vitter regarding his prostitution scandal.

    Remembering Vitter's pickle, why has not Tony Perkins, President of the Family Council offered poor Larry Craig the same deal he gave to Vitter?

    Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, which agrees with Vitter's positions against same-sex marriage and legalized abortion, along with his support for the teaching of abstinence to teenagers, said some of the criticism is valid.

    "When you hold up the banner such as pro-family, pro-marriage, then there are certain expectations that go along with it," Perkins said. "You should be criticized if your actions aren't consistent with your public positions."

    On the other hand, Perkins said, Vitter can "re-establish the trust of the voters" if he acknowledges his mistakes and promises to move on, committed to strong family values both as a senator and "in his private life." The Times-Picayune

    So if Larry Craig acknowledged his mistake (Admitted he was indeed soliciting for sex with another man in a public rest room)and promised to move on, committed to strong family values both as a senator and "in his private life, would Tony Perkins have said he too could re-establish his trust with the voters?

    We'll never know for sure. But somehow, I really doubt that would have happened. It's just another palpable layer of offensively virulent moral and political hypocrisy.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    LiberalIncarnate:

    Perhaps he'd would have been off the hook if he had claimed this exemption at the time of his arrest. He did not.

    Bob T:

    You mean you expect a US Senator (or any other Congresscritter) to know what the Constitution says?

    Bob Tiernan

  • (Show?)

    Some right-wing "property rights" group is whining that poor Larry was "entrapped" as part of a political vendetta and is calling for a boycott of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.

    Yeah, Dartagnan an alert friend forwarded this one to me.

    Apparently the Minneapolis Police are long time members of the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy to deprive western states of property rights advocates.

    Talk about a Wide Stance........

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Steve Holland:

    Remember Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI)? Just over a year ago he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of prescription medication

    Bob T:

    Well, that would be a first if that's all he had in his bloodstream. The Kennedys have left a trail of crippled and drowned people due to their driving.

    Steve Holland:

    and he's in congress, with no complaints

    Bob T:

    That's because he's a Kennedy. They care so much about the common people that they will be elected to Congress just because of their name.

    As for Craig, his actions showed poor judgement and if his constituents have any brains they'll jettison this idiot come election time if his party doesn't get it done before then. It's like Clinton and Monica. For someone being watched like he was, to not even be concerned about whether or not she might blab this to someone (and we know she did and it was recorded) shows how stupid he was in terms of his supporters, for he weakened his presidency for the rest of his term. All he needed to do was keep his pants up for eight years and be presidential. He couldn't do it.

    Bob Tiernan

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Dartagnan:

    Some right-wing "property rights" group is whining that poor Larry was "entrapped" as part of a political vendetta and is calling for a boycott of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.

    Bob T:

    That would be a far-fetched theory to buy, similar to the kind of theories about 9/11 I've heard spewed up on KBOO the past six years.

    Anyway, don't ridicule property rights people. After all, thanks to "progressive" re-interpretations of property rights for many decades, we now have no national protection against having people like George Bush getting a local government to bulldoze old ladies out of their wellkept homes against their wishes so the millionaire can benefit. Thanks, guys. That's what happens when the only litmus test you care about is Roe.

    Bob Tiernan

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