October 07, 2005

Lord, Howard Kurtz


But [Justin] Frank loses me with this sentence: "The only thing this appointment could be about is self-protection from impeachable offenses." Um, other than the chief justice ceremonially presiding over a Senate trial, the court plays no role in impeachment.

I was three years old at the time of Watergate, yet I know that an important role in Nixon's impeachment was provided by the United States v. Nixon decision, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the White House tapes were not protected under executive privilege. Furthermore, didn't the Supreme Court decision that Paula Jones could sue Clinton while in office play a role in that impeachment? What purpose does Kurtz serve exactly?

[AFTERTHOUGHT: And reading this reminds me that if the Supreme Court had heard and sustained Matthew Cooper and Judith Miller's appeals of their contempt charges, some White House officials would be getting more sleep these days.]

(Now, Kurtz is right that the sentence is far-fetched; I doubt that Bush is worried that the Republican Congress will impeach him. I don't think that it's implausible that the White House is worried about looming indictments of its top-level aides, not to mention the Republican Congressional leadership, and of course the Supreme Court might have an appellate role to play here. My bad feelings toward Kurtz are based on more than this one thing.)

Posted by Matt Weiner at October 7, 2005 09:54 AM