I read a depressing article in The Atlantic recently called “The 5 Turnip Amendments to the Constitution” (only it didn’t cite a winter vegetable). The author argues that The Former Chode changed our system of government in five profound ways with the following informal amendments:
- Amendment 1. No president shall be removed from office for treason, bribery, or any other crime or misdemeanor, no matter how high, should a partisan minority of the Senate choose to protect him.
- Amendment 2. Congressional oversight shall be optional. No congressional subpoena or demand for testimony or documents shall bind a president who chooses to ignore it.
- Amendment 3. Congressional appropriations shall be suggestions. The president may choose whether or not to comply with congressional spending laws, and Congress shall have no recourse should a president declare that his own priorities supersede Congress’s instructions.
- Amendment 4. The president shall have authority to make appointments as he sees fit, without the advice and consent of the Senate, provided he deems his appointees to be acting, temporary, or otherwise exempt from the ordinary confirmation process.
- Amendment 5. The president shall have unconstrained authority to dangle and issue pardons for the purpose of obstructing justice, tampering with witnesses, and forestalling investigations.
Put another way, Agent Orange exposed the fragility of our system due to overreliance on good faith. Now that one party has discovered that shamelessness is a democracy-annihilating superpower, we should codify what we can while we have the opportunity. Here’s Senator Whitehouse attempting to claw back Amendment 2 above:
Sen. Whitehouse accuses FBI Director Wray of giving politically sensitive info to GOP while withholding answers from Democrats for years
“You’ve been asked questions for the record. Are they going to go into the same hole where questions for the record go to die at the FBI?” pic.twitter.com/fzd8v7FjhQ
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 2, 2021
Whitehouse is PISSED about the FBI stonewalling for partisan gain. Good. Everyone should be. As Whitehouse notes, oversight is as an important part of lawmakers’ jobs as legislating.
I really don’t know what to think about Wray. The Former A-Hole appointed him, but Wray has shown signs of independence. Let’s see if he coughs up the documents now without the “rigmarole,” as Whitehouse calls it.