Bench Memos

Politics, Justice, and the D.C. House Seat

Andy McCarthy and Ed Whelan are all over this story in the Washington Post about the shenanigans at Eric Holder’s Justice Department over the constitutionality of the bill to give D.C. a House seat (my short course on the subject begins here).  I am reminded of a scene in Robert Bolt’s A Man For All Seasons, when Richard Rich shows up to perjure himself at Thomas More’s trial and thus obtain the conviction that is otherwise beyond the government’s grasp.  Rich wears a chain of office and More asks him what it signifies; Rich replies that he has been made attorney general for Wales.  More rejoins something like (if memory serves): “Oh, Rich, it profits a man nothing to sell his soul for the whole world . . . but for Wales?!”

So too here.  It profits us nothing to sell out the Constitution and the integrity of the Justice Department for something big and important.  But for a D.C. House seat?!

Matthew J. Franck — Matthew J. Franck is the Director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey.

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