Opinion

It’s Not a Constitutional Crisis, It’s a Crisis of Conscience

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Posted: Jun 12, 2019 12:01 AM
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It’s Not a Constitutional Crisis, It’s a Crisis of Conscience

Source: AP Photo/Mark Thiessen

Amid the current, apocryphal hysterics to impeach everyone in the Trump Administration, right down to the janitor at the Justice Department, an old, tired, yet scary chorus has reared its ugly head yet again.  “Constitutional crisis!” is being screamed, or screeched, from nearly every Congressional office currently occupied by a Democrat, and just about every talking head of the mainstream media.

Just to be clear, a Constitutional crisis exists when a conflict arises in law and government that cannot be resolved under, or by adherence to, the Constitution.  What is this week’s Constitutional crisis?  Well, apparently, Attorney General Barr has dragged us to the precipice of the apocalypse, by failing to comply with Congress’s shifting demands.  

With respect to AG Barr, the once principled purveyor of jurisprudence has ruffled the feathers of Congressional Democrats, by, get this, refusing to comply with a Congressional order, to make public grand jury testimony contained in the Mueller Report, which is illegal under federal law.  Federal laws, those annoying little irritants passed by Congress.  Yes, AG Barr will only make 98% of the Mueller Report public, and that has brought us to a Constitutional crisis. 

Still, a Constitutional crisis can only exist where the Constitution and governing law do not provide for a resolution to the underlying conflict.  Currently, Congressional Democrats are demanding that AG Barr make the entire Mueller Report available to the public, not merely the 98% already posted online, on the internet, for the entire world to see.  If only AG Barr, under the law, could find a manner by which Congressional Democrats could actually see the entire Mueller Report, without violating a congressionally passed law against making such information public, a Constitutional crisis could be averted.

AG Barr has in fact, miraculously, solved the conundrum.  He has invited the entire Congressional leadership, of both parties, to come to the Justice Department and view the Mueller Report in all its unredacted glory.  And guess how many of the Democratic leadership have come by?  Zero.No Jerry Nadler, no Nancy Pelosi, no one.  These leaders have, instead of making the arduous one mile trek up Pennsylvania Avenue, elected to flood every outlet from CNN to the New York Times, to Yelp!, in order to declare a Constitutional crisis.

Further, amid the screams of Constitutional crisis, calls for impeachment, and insistence upon being a co-equal (yet somehow dominant) branch of government, the Democratic leadership appears to forget that there is a third branch in our federal system that might be suited to resolve this stalemate.  Why is this judicial option left unexplored while sprinting to forewarn of our impending national doom?

This country has seen far greater crisis’ than this throughout our history.  Andrew Jackson supposedly declaring of Chief Justice Marshall, “He has made his ruling, now let him enforce it!”  President Lincoln suspending habeas corpus.  Richard Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre.  Does the current Congressional leadership really put the current stalemate on a par with the aforementioned?  Is the very foundation of our democracy truly threatened by requiring Democratic Congressional leadership to venture to the Justice Department to read the unredacted report?  If they ask nicely, AG Barr might even provide lunch.

Unfortunately, we are at an ugly phase of our national development where we count amongst our leaders people who would rather predict and declare our self-destruction than consent to an unflattering news cycle.  The Mueller investigation is over.  The Russian collusion narrative is a few weeks gone, a few lifetimes in a 24-hour news cycle.  If people want to declare this a national emergency and a Constitutional crisis, drag our country through an unwarranted and ultimately destructive cycle rather than move on, then it is really more of a crisis of conscience than Constitution.