Friday, January 07, 2011

Oh, Republicans, why do you insist on violating the Constitution?

Two House Republicans have cast votes as members of the 112th Congress, but were not sworn in on Wednesday, a violation of the Constitution on the same day that the GOP had the document read from the podium.

The Republicans, incumbent Pete Sessions of Texas and freshman Mike Fitzpatrick, missed the swearing in because they were at a fundraiser in the Capitol Visitors Center. The pair watched the swearing-in on television from the Capitol Visitors Center with their hands raised.

"That wasn't planned. It just worked out that way," said Fitzpatrick at the time, according to local press on hand, which noted that he "happened to be introducing Texas Congressman Pete Sessions while glad-handing his supporters in the Capitol Visitor Center that he secured for them when the House swearing in began."

House ethics rules forbid fundraising in the Capitol. 

Wow, a violation of the Constitution and an ethics violation. Awesome.

As Steve Benen explains, "[t]here's some question about how far reaching this error might turn out to be," and, indeed, "Dems could argue that all business conducted with votes from Sessions and Fitzpatrick are void, and force Republicans to, as Roll Call put it, 'restart the entire process of opening the new Congress.'"

Oh, if only they would.

At the very least, this whole embarrassing incident shows just how little genuine regard Republicans have for the Constitution, which they claim to hold in absolute reverence -- how little it means to them compared to, say, fundraising.

Behind all the talk, there's really not much walk at all.

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