Bob Barr
Lance Armstrong, one of the greatest endurance athletes of modern times, who won the grueling Tour de France bicycle race a record seven consecutive times from 1995 to 2005, has been stripped of all awards and prizes he won during his storied cycling career. The reason for these harsh sanctions against Armstrong was a finding by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) that the athlete had used illicit, performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career. Yet, because of its status as unaccountable regulatory power, the USADA never had to prove its case against Armstrong.

Armstrong's unprecedented fall from grace has precipitated much gloating and smug cries of "we told you so" from the many jealous detractors his success inspired over the years. However, the manner in which the USADA conducted its prosecution of this athlete, should give serious pause to all Americans who believe fundamental fairness and basic due process should precede stripping a person of their career, their reputation, and their financial resources.

The USADA's actions also should precipitate action by the Congress, which annually appropriates $10 million taxpayer dollars for the Agency's operations -- operations which permit a small group of unelected, unaccountable men and women to investigate and punish athletes within its questionable jurisdiction, without so much as a passing tip of the hat to fairness or due process.

As a lawyer whose practice includes litigating cases in court, I rely on well-established rules of procedure to ensure fundamental fairness, so that both sides have a more-or-less equal opportunity to uncover and present evidence in behalf of their clients. Those procedures -- monitored and enforced by judges either elected or appointed as objective and uninterested umpires -- also permit both sides robust opportunity to challenge and test the credibility and strength of the other's witnesses and evidence. We inherited such procedures from Great Britain during the colonial era, and our Founding Fathers strengthened and enshrined them in our Constitution. Our Liberty rests on their continued viability.

But not for athletes subject to regulation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, as outlined in depth in papers filed with the federal court by Bob Luskin, one of Armstrong's attorneys.

Bob Barr

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990.