(Photo of a well pump via DanaWall.)
I have been really slammed at work trying to prep a trial and so have been mostly confining my FDL time to reading the front pages and trying to catch up on the comments late at night. Consequently I have not been able to be an active participant in the threads lately.
But I have seen many, many comments expression frustration about why impeachment is not front and center in the discussions on Capital Hill. Many of you believe that more than enough evidence exists to convict Cheney and maybe Bush as well. Let me give you a couple things to think about and I suspect that Christy may back me up here.
When you are going to bring a case to trial you have two standards to think about:
The first is, do I have a prima facia case? That is, do I have at least one piece of admissable evidence to support each and every element on which I bear the burden of proof?
The second is: Do I have a case that can win before the jury I expect to be before?
Here in NY, Bronx juries are legendary for giving out huge verdict awards in personal injury cases where the defendant is a big corporation or anyone who appears to be any kind of fat cat. So, if you are defense attorney in a personal injury case in the Bronx, you know that you really have to go very far above and beyond what the law requires if you want the jury to find in favor of you client.
Now let's think about the jury that we KNOW will be hearing any impeachment case that might come in the next 2 years. Unlike your average jury trial situation where you may have some ideas about the generic makeup of your jury pool, but no idea until after jury selection about your actual individual jurors; in the case of impeachment, we already know exactly which individuals will be sitting on the jury PLUS we already know (or can find out with minimal research skills) a great deal about what they believe and think and what motivates them. In short, it is not hard to figure out where their "buttons" are.
So, if you want to start a virtual think tank effort to put together an indictment in the form of Articles of Impeachment that can persuade THIS JURY, what would you put in it? What admissable evidence is there? How much of that admissable evidence and how persuasive is it? In what order and through what testimony or exhibits would you introduce it?
This is known as setting your "order of proof." In my firm is done as a written plan.
Next, you want to prime the pump. Unlike a regular jury where it is unethical and illegal to try to influence a juror, in this instance it is entirely proper to do so in a transparent way.
If you live in a state with a republican senator, it is entirely lawful and proper for you and as many of your fellow constituents as you can muster, to write to, telephone, email, telegram or in person lobby your elected representative to the US Senate and to express you opinion that that you believe the following acts (whichever ones you choose) violate the following laws (the virtual think tank can be a big help here). Aso, that you believe that this constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors and that you believe it is the duty of that Senator to reflect the wishes of the people that Senator has been elected to represent should that Senator be called upon to vote on the issue.
Believe you me, if they are flooded with constituent demands (this is not a one day effort, think in terms of weeks or months) you will see them at least soften up, and maybe outright start talking impeachment friendly talk. Among other things you will have given them a ton of political cover enabling them to vote the way you want.
Seeing that, our Representatives in the House will know that the time has come to start building that prosecutable case from the fruits of the now open ended investigations.
Further, we know that DC watches what we do, so the virtual think tank can provide a road map to building that case and selecting the strongest and most effective charges. You want Congress (both houses) to impeach and convict, you gotta give them some help and guidance, and some political cover.
This is what you call participatory democracy. Roll your sleeves up and start priming that pump.