In a clear effort to simply delay an investigation until after the November election, Alaskan GOP politicians have appealed the recent ruling upholding the investigation of Gov. Sarah Palin. Anchorage Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski dismissed their lawsuit Thursday shortly before the debate. I discussed the ruling on the Rachael Maddow Show. This is precisely the same tactic used by Dick Cheney and the Bush Justice Department in filing motions and appeals to advance meritless claims for the sole purpose of delay. In political cases, justice delayed is justice.
The Alaskan Supreme Court has agreed to hear the emergency appeal next Wednesday.
There is no serious question that Palin and her husband and her aides are refusing to comply with perfectly proper subpoenas issued in a perfectly legitimate legislative investigation. This is a core matter for legislative oversight and the subpoenas were issued by both Republicans and Democrats. As I mentioned on the Maddow Show, I know of no prior candidate for president or vice-president who sought those offices while refusing to comply with such lawfully issued subpoenas.
The fact that the parties themselves are not challenging the subpoenas tends to magnify the clearly political and frivolous aspect of this lawsuit. It is perfectly appropriate for a party to challenge a subpoena when there are reasonable grounds. Here there is no reasonable ground and these GOP politicians are using the legal system to facilitate the political campaign.
Whatever your party or your politics, it should come as a very alarming position for not just a candidate but her spouse to simply refuse to comply with such subpoenas. She will be asked to take an oath to uphold the Constitution. If she refuses this basic demand of her own legislature, it is hard to imagine what she defines as her duties under that oath. The principles of not just the separation of powers but the very rule of law are undermined by such an obstructionist position.
She also risks starting office as vice president while facing the possibility of a contempt order in Alaska. The obvious assumption is that, if the GOP can delay this investigation, they can scuttle the matter once she is elected — or comply after the election when negative disclosures will not matter. However, she is also risking the possibility of a contempt order. While the office of vice president does not demand much, it is pretty difficult to preside over the Senate from an Alaska courtroom or jail cell.
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