The Starr Chamber
and the Future of American Democracy The Starr Report
Monica did refuse, so
the next trap was set: Some woman (most likely La Tripp herself)
called Paula Jones' lawyers and filled them in on the questions
to ask Bill Clinton about Monica Lewinsky in his upcoming deposition.
Clinton, believing Monica when she told him she had told no one
about their affair (HA! Only eleven people!), walked right
into the trap.
Starr most deviously
went to Attorney General Janet Reno and asked for an extension of
his Whitewater mandate, citing obstruction of justice---- the so-called
"talking points" that Bill Clinton was supposed to have
given Monica to suggest to Linda. You will not find anything about
the "talking points" in the Report! Monica says she created
them herself with some help from Linda. (Linda denies any part in
their creation.) The grounds on which Starr obtained his license
to invade Bill Clinton's sex life turned out to be without foundation.
It's against the law
in Maryland to tape a person without his consent. But Linda is safe---
Starr gave her immunity from prosecution. Also Monica. Also Monica's
mother. Which I suppose means that Clinton could never be able to
sue them to recover damages.
of the Grand Jury Procedure
(or Alice in Wonderland Revisited)
The way a grand jury
is supposed to operate: First a crime is committed. There is a possible
or probable culprit. A grand jury is formed to subpoena witnesses,
hear testimony, and decide whether there are sufficient grounds
to indict the target for that crime. The records are sealed because
a) the target and his attorney have not had the opportunity to confront
and cross-examine the witnesses
b) there may be material that would be harmful to innocent people
c) the witnesses have been promised secrecy.
In this case first
the target (Clinton) is named. Two grand juries are formed with
unlimited powers to go on fishing expeditions to find a crime.
Supposed statements of witnesses are leaked with regularity to several
journalists favored by the prosecutor. Clinton has not had the opportunity
to confront and cross-examine any of the witnesses. First the
verdict and maybe never the trial.
What a monstrous perversion
of the law! Still it took over 4 years, over $45 million, a faithless
friend, and a most determined prosecutor to produce this pitiful
Maybe this injustice
to Clinton will cause this country to start evaluating the function
of grand juries. When we inherited this concept from English Common
Law, the grand jury was seen as a protection for the people against
the government or powerful individuals. Lately it seems to be used
as a fishing expedition by over-zealous prosecutors with no Bill
of Rights for the targets. Great Britain abolished the grand jury
several decades ago.
This is a CIVIL LIBERTIES
If this can happen to
Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, the same could happen to you or
me if our activities, influence, knowledge or opinions become inconvenient
in any way to those in power. We may be witnessing the decisive
battle in the Culture War that has been going on for the last decade
or so. If the Religious Right and the Christian Coalition win this
one, watch out! Are we going to have privacy in the bedroom or will
the government have the power to legislate what kind of sex is legal?
(Twenty-one states still have anti-sodomy laws on the books.) Will
Roe v. Wade continue to stand or will its provisions be whittled
away a month at a time? Will we have an Istook Amendment to the
Constitution or will we maintain our First Amendment guaranteed
separation of church and state? The Religious Right is determined
that THEIR ideas on what is RIGHT and MORAL must prevail and be
the law of the land for all. I urge everyone to write or e-mail
all in Congress and express your indignation--- ask for censure
of Starr, not Clinton.