August 4, 2007


Rep. Jefferson Wins Ruling Against FBI: Court Says Office Search Violated Constitution (Allan Lengel, August 4, 2007, Washington Post)

A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that FBI agents violated the Constitution during their search of Rep. William J. Jefferson's Capitol Hill office last year, and ordered the agency to return all privileged materials.

In a 3 to 0 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit did not block future FBI searches of congressional offices. But it ruled that FBI agents went too far during the May 2006 search when they viewed paper documents before giving the Louisiana Democrat an opportunity to say whether the material was connected to legislative activity and thus protected under the Constitution's "speech or debate" clause.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 4, 2007 7:24 AM

But it's ok, of course, to raid a Republican's home in Alaska

Posted by: KRS at August 4, 2007 1:07 PM

As it's fine to raid Jefferson's home. That doesn't implicate the doctrine.

Posted by: oj at August 4, 2007 3:20 PM

Well let's hope he learned his lesson - next time, he'll put the money in Congressional folders, in his office, instead of in the kitchen.

Posted by: KRS at August 4, 2007 4:30 PM

This is a bad decision - being an elected member of Congress doesn't give a petty thief some kind of special sanctuary. Suppose Jefferson stood at the door, armed and shouting slogans? Should the FBI have just walked away? Or could they have called the Capitol Police, transferred the warrant, and let them search every nook and cranny?

I do chuckle, though, at the thought of Denny Hastert having the last laugh.

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 4, 2007 5:02 PM

Armed and shouting he's an insurrectionist. In his office he's a member of a coequal branch.

Posted by: oj at August 4, 2007 6:53 PM
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