Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Murtha Attorney: Congressman Above The Law

Legal counsel for aged Congressman John Murtha (D-PA) claimed in open court that his client is immune from laws which limit ordinary citizens.

Murtha is being sued for saying that Marines involved in an incident at Haditha, Iraq, were "murderers" guilty of "war crimes".

From the via Malkin:

Assistant U.S Attorney Darrell Valdez, who represents Murtha, argued that a member of Congress is “absolutely immune” from a defamation suit because there’s no circumstance in which speaking to the media is not within the scope of a lawmaker’s employment.

That is, a lawyer representing the United States Government asserted that his client is above the law.

It's not clear from the claims if the Congressman claims immunity for all defamation, or only that against members of the Armed Services in time of war. In particular, the question of whether members of Congress are free to say that government lawyers are guilty of malpractice will have to go unanswered.

Clearly, according to the United States Government lawyer, Murtha would be free to allege that the lawyer in question were guilty of murder and crimes against humanity, but alleging malpractice and incompetence may be a line even a Congressman must not cross.

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