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U.S. Members of Congress above the law?


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#1    sear

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 02:59 PM

Quote

  United States Constitution:
ARTICLE 1. SECTION 6.
1 The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.
I've read reports that members of Congress (MOC) have been caught DWI, but being allowed to proceed, due to this Constitutional stipulation.

If so, is that going too far?
And if so, what's to be done about it?

==========================

note:
This lead edited because despite what I typed, the topic title originally listed as "U".
Nope. No idea why.

Edited by sear, 22 April 2013 - 03:05 PM.


#2    Dark_Grey

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 03:03 PM

I don't see what the problem is here...they receive a paycheck (paid out of the treasury and regulated by law,) and they can't be arrested while in the middle of matters regarding Senate.

Exploring your own consciousness is the fundamental right of every individual

Locking people in a cage because they choose to exercise that right should be considered a crime against humanity


#3    sear

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 03:21 PM

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"I don't see what the problem is here.." DG
Easily explained.

DWI = driving while intoxicated
It's not only a major threat to public safety*.

DWI is outlawed throughout the United States, for nearly everyone!

The only ones exempt, the only humans on Earth allowed to break this law, a members of the U.S. Congress.

Quote

"I don't see what the problem is here.." DG
MOC are just as dangerous to public safety when they drive drunk, as the rest of us are.
We're not allowed to.
They are.

* Statistically, intoxication is associated with a high percentage of automobile related injuries, property damage, and fatalities.


#4    OverSword

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 03:47 PM

All it says is that they can't be arrested during thier attendance at a session of thier respective houses.  It doesn't say they can't be arrested.


#5    Tiggs

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 03:55 PM

I believe the intent is to stop the government of the day arresting senators turning up for a vote.

Not sure how you fix it and allow the original intent to remain. Perhaps a mandatory breathalyzer test has to be taken and if found to be over the limit, a mandatory police escort to Congress followed by later prosecution.


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#6    Dark_Grey

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 04:01 PM

View Postsear, on 22 April 2013 - 03:21 PM, said:

Easily explained.

DWI = driving while intoxicated
It's not only a major threat to public safety*.

DWI is outlawed throughout the United States, for nearly everyone!

The only ones exempt, the only humans on Earth allowed to break this law, a members of the U.S. Congress.

MOC are just as dangerous to public safety when they drive drunk, as the rest of us are.
We're not allowed to.
They are.

* Statistically, intoxication is associated with a high percentage of automobile related injuries, property damage, and fatalities.

Ok in that context I see where your concern lies. All it would take is a small amendment to fix this. The stipulations listed are "They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace". It would be easy to add "intoxication"

Exploring your own consciousness is the fundamental right of every individual

Locking people in a cage because they choose to exercise that right should be considered a crime against humanity


#7    sear

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 04:16 PM

Quote

"It would be easy to add "intoxication""  DG
I've never seen a one-sided coin.

Surely they could do that. Of course, it would be a Constitutional amendment. And that would have to undergo the ratification process; a costly and time-consuming process.

But I think the embarrassment it would shine on them would be prohibitive.

Then there's the problematic issue of definition. What is "intoxication"?

The cut-off for DWI is 0.08% BAC in many States.
The threshold for Driving While Impaired is even a lower BAC.

The States of Washington and Colorado are struggling with this right now.
THC, believed the psycho-active ingredient in marijuana remains in the body long after the intoxication subsides.

In these two States where recreational use of marijuana is now legal, they seem to be settling on an arbitrary standard that may snag a lot of unintoxicated users.

//////////////////\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

Surely we need to allow our MOC unimpeded access to their legislative duties.

Sadly, some of them don't have the self-control to get sober before they begin the journey.

It's a problem.

Perhaps a better solution would be to allow drunk MOC to continue to the Capitol, but in a taxi, or chauffered by police; and then send that individual intoxicated MOC the bill.


#8    sear

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 04:50 PM

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"All it says is that they can't be arrested during thier attendance at a session of thier respective houses.  It doesn't say they can't be arrested." OS
Not only during their attendance. It also says:

Quote

"...  and in going to and returning from the same" Const.
I don't know what the next part means.

Quote

"... they shall not be questioned in any other Place." Const.
Does that mean they can't be charged after the fact?
What's the statute of limitations on DWI? I thought it was around a year.

Quote

"I believe the intent is to stop the government of the day arresting senators turning up for a vote." T
We may be of one mind on it.
My impression is they were trying to prevent manipulators trying to determine the outcome of specific legislative votes, by detaining enough Congressional voters, to toss the legislative vote outcome to the opposite vote outcome.
That what you meant?

Quote

"Perhaps a mandatory breathalyzer test has to be taken and if found to be over the limit, a mandatory police escort to Congress followed by later prosecution." T
Interesting point!
Here's some of the wording:

Quote

"They shall ... be privileged from Arrest ..." Const.
It doesn't say anything about an OST, or breathalyzer. They flunk the breathalyzer, and then are allowed to proceed without arrest.

NOTE:
The COP could take the breathalyzer evidence, and then tell the MOC, you are free to go. But if you do, I'll arrest you as soon as Congress recesses.
I won't arrest you now. But I can't stop you from following me to the police station, where you may ... (whatever, pay a fine, sleep it off, call a cab ...)


#9    and then

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 05:25 PM

View Postsear, on 22 April 2013 - 04:16 PM, said:

I've never seen a one-sided coin.

Surely they could do that. Of course, it would be a Constitutional amendment. And that would have to undergo the ratification process; a costly and time-consuming process.

But I think the embarrassment it would shine on them would be prohibitive.

Then there's the problematic issue of definition. What is "intoxication"?

The cut-off for DWI is 0.08% BAC in many States.
The threshold for Driving While Impaired is even a lower BAC.

The States of Washington and Colorado are struggling with this right now.
THC, believed the psycho-active ingredient in marijuana remains in the body long after the intoxication subsides.

In these two States where recreational use of marijuana is now legal, they seem to be settling on an arbitrary standard that may snag a lot of unintoxicated users.

//////////////////\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

Surely we need to allow our MOC unimpeded access to their legislative duties.

Sadly, some of them don't have the self-control to get sober before they begin the journey.

It's a problem.

Perhaps a better solution would be to allow drunk MOC to continue to the Capitol, but in a taxi, or chauffered by police; and then send that individual intoxicated MOC the bill.
AND make the offense public.  Several years ago I, to my everlasting shame, got a DUI.  I admitted my guilt, paid a fine of a couple thousand dollars and went to several classes required by the state for offenders.  I learned later that if I had refused to acknowledge my guilt and hired an attorney, five thousand dollars later I would have had a clean record instead of having the REAL stigma that attaches to DUI offenders these days - even first time offenders.  I was wrong and admitted it.  I'm thankful that I hurt no one and I know I did the right thing.  But where is the justice when a person of means can just walk away from such a mistake if they will pay an attorney?  Two classes of justice.

  Imagination is the power in the turn of a phrase.

#10    sear

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 07:48 PM

Quote

" But where is the justice when a person of means can just walk away from such a mistake if they will pay an attorney?  Two classes of justice. "  at
a)  "I feel your pain."
B) It has been ever thus!

"A good lawyer knows the law.
A great lawyer knows the judge."

money & influence


#11    Sir Wearer of Hats

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 09:04 PM

View PostTiggs, on 22 April 2013 - 03:55 PM, said:

I believe the intent is to stop the government of the day arresting senators turning up for a vote.
Except that "treason" is a valid reason for arrest - if any government was going to crack down on senators in order to control the vote, saying they were "treasonous" is basically the default position.


#12    Tiggs

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 09:27 PM

View PostWearer of Hats, on 22 April 2013 - 09:04 PM, said:

Except that "treason" is a valid reason for arrest - if any government was going to crack down on senators in order to control the vote, saying they were "treasonous" is basically the default position.
I think if you accuse a Member of Congress with Treason, then you'd better have a lot of proof to hand. It's really not the kind of thing you'd be able to get away with on a regular basis.

Whereas - If it turns out under further investigation that your blood test proves there's no blood alcohol in your blood, but the police "mistakenly" thought you had failed your sobriety test...

View Postsear, on 22 April 2013 - 04:50 PM, said:

We may be of one mind on it.
My impression is they were trying to prevent manipulators trying to determine the outcome of specific legislative votes, by detaining enough Congressional voters, to toss the legislative vote outcome to the opposite vote outcome.
That what you meant?
Yes.


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