Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Taking the Fifth

Monica Goodling worked for the Justice Department and is rumored to be invoking the fifth amendment rather than testify in front of congress regarding Alberto Gonzales’s misbehavior. In my opinion, it should be inexcusable for people in the Justice Department to invoke the fifth amendment to avoid testifying to Congress. People there must testify. But astonishingly, they are beginning to “plead the fifth”, rather than tell the American people that Bush’s appointees are really a bunch of lying fraudulent hucksters.

Monica Goodling, a senior Justice Department official involved in the firings of federal prosecutors, will refuse to answer questions at upcoming Senate hearings, citing Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, her lawyer said Monday.

“The potential for legal jeopardy for Ms. Goodling from even her most truthful and accurate testimony under these circumstances is very real,” said the lawyer, John Dowd. [story]



  1. #1 Foster
    March 26, 2007

    Why is it alright to suspend the Constitution on an individual basis? Why would it ever be alright to suspend the Constitution?

  2. #2 Brian
    March 26, 2007

    It shouldn’t ever be ok to suspend the Constitution, and she’s perfectly within her rights to plead the 5th. But for an employee of an organization which by its very nature tries to suppress the Bill of Rights (the other side of every civil liberties suit is fought by the Justice Dept – not necessarily a bad thing), they should be thinking long and hard about invoking these rights themselves. Especially if they’re under investigation for how they’re doing their jobs.

  3. #3 Another Kevin
    March 26, 2007

    If the Senate is convinced that Goodling will lead to yet bigger fish, it can offer her immunity from prosecution and *then* compel her testimony. That’s how “corruption at the top” cases are usually handled – grant immunity to the little guy/gal to go after the boss.

  4. #4 blf
    March 27, 2007

    Whilst I think calling them “lying fraudulent hucksters” is being far too polite and overlooks far too many (possible and probable) crimes, it is nonetheless their right to “take the fifth”. Denying them that right is one way of starting down the path which too easily leads to things like the Gitmo gulag, internal passports, and kangaroo “trials”. The law applies to everyone. Always. Even Mr bin Laden, should he ever be caught.

  5. #5 judy roth
    March 27, 2007

    You cam only take theTH in 5tha criminal case. We’re not there yet!

  6. #6 blf
    March 28, 2007

    You cam only take [ the 5th in ] criminal case[s]…


  7. #7 David Harmon
    March 28, 2007

    an organization which by its very nature tries to suppress the Bill of Rights (the other side of every civil liberties suit is fought by the Justice Dept

    That’s not “by its very nature”, it’s as per current policy. My sister used to be a prosecutor in their civil rights division (that is, enforcement), until she bailed out for academia.

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