Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I guess this is one right we do have! - UPDATED

At least this person still believes in some part of the Constitution:
WASHINGTON — Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' liaison with the White House will refuse to answer questions at upcoming Senate hearings about the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, citing her Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, her lawyer said Monday.

"I have decided to follow my lawyer's advice and respectfully invoke my constitutional right," Monica Goodling, Gonzales' counsel and White House liaison, said in a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Of course she has that right, and of course Congress is not supposed to draw any directly negative inference from her refusal to testify.

Still, I have to wonder...if, in Alberto-world, there is no express grant of the right of habeas corpus despite this language in the Constitution...
The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.
...then how do we really know that this grants us the right to protection from self-incrimination?
No person shall be...compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.
Of course, I'm being sarcastic, and I wholeheartedly disagree with the Alberto-world way of seeing things. I suppose I should be grateful that his peeps occasionally do see rights inherent in the Constitution.

UPDATE: Here's a pretty good analysis of the Fifth Amendment and the circumstances under which a witness is permitted to refuse to testify--in short, you can't take the Fifth to protect someone else from incrimination, and you can't do it to avoid committing perjury (which is a pretty lame excuse anyway).

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