Kristy Mazurek, Queen for a Day; Interpreting the Constitution; A DC chain reaction

With all the things that have been happening in the world of local politics lately, this post is for doing a little catching up on some other stuff.

What shall it proffer a woman …

Ok, just one more speculation piece (for now) about Pigeongate. From what is being indicated in Sunday’s News story about Kristy Mazurek, and from what Joel Daniels is quoted about, it sounds like Mazurek has signed what lawyers call a proffer agreement, aka “Queen for a day.” It is a document that promises the prosecutors will not prosecutor you for what you say in an interview – unless they learn something else about you that they can get you on. A bit of a risky proposition for the interviewee, but certainly effective in getting someone to talk. Here’s what an American Bar Association article says about proffer agreements:

Determining whether to speak with government investigators must usually be made early in the investigation, and in many instances, there is significant pressure to cooperate with government or private internal investigators. The decision involves weighing the possibility of a referral being made to another agency, or the sharing of information if other agencies are already involved in parallel investigations. The decision is nearly always a crucial one, and is compounded by the timing, lack of complete information, perceived pressure to cooperate, and potential collateral consequences.

Alan Bedenko continues to produce great reports on Pigeongate.

Whose Constitution is it anyway?

Having won their freedom from England after the Revolutionary War, our founding fathers recognized that they needed to prepare a basic law outlining how the new government would be created.

The Constitution organizes the government into three branches. Pretty basic stuff. It also, through the amendment process, provides for a variety of rights we all hold dear. This does get complicated, however, when some people begin to think that they have the inside track on what the Constitution means and what the founding fathers really intended. Reasonable men and women can disagree about what it all means.

I bring up this subject because of a recent discussion I’ve read about where a member of the House of Representatives and a few of his colleagues think that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution means something different from what a lot of people have thought it has meant for the past one hundred fifty years.

The 14th Amendment provides that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State where they reside.” The Supreme Court has found that anyone born in the United States is a citizen of the United States.

Enter Congressman Steve King (R, Iowa) of tea party fame. Congressman King has introduced legislation (HR 140) that amends the Immigration and Nationality Act “to clarify those classes of individuals born in the United States who are nationals and citizens of the United States at birth.” Congressman King would amend the definition of who is a citizen to indicate that some citizens who are born in the United States are not really citizens unless that supposed citizen has at least one parent who is (1) a citizen or national of the United States; (2) an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States; or (3) a parent who is an alien actively serving in the armed forces.

So, in other words, some citizens born in the USA would not be citizens of the USA. And in other words, if you have already completed your service to the country but you are an alien, your child born in the USA is not a citizen of the USA.

I won’t go into all the code-talking involved in this bill, since it probably will not even be approved in the House of Representatives, much less the Senate. Fortunately, though, if it were ever to pass and become law, Canadian-born, former-Canadian citizen Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, current candidate for president, would be considered a citizen because one of his parents was born in the USA. At least, that is, he would be considered a citizen if that is true. After all, we haven’t seen the birth certificates of members of the Cruz family yet.

DC chain reaction

A George Washington University Law School professor, Orin Kerr, looking at Dennis Hastert’s predicament, made this observation recently in the Washington Post:

If I understand the history correctly, in the late 1990s, the President was impeached for lying about a sexual affair by a House of Representatives led by a man who was also then hiding a sexual affair, who was supposed to be replaced by another Congressman who stepped down when forced to reveal that he too was having a sexual affair, which led to the election of a new Speaker of the House who now has been indicted for lying about payments covering up his sexual contact with a boy.