You guessed it: Congressman Goodlatte– who so piously defends the “rule of law” whenever he thinks it’s politically convenient— has not said a word publicly about President Trump’s outrageous pardon of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted for ignoring a federal judge’s orders to stop detaining people based solely on the suspicion that they were in the country illegally.
All Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee chaired by Goodlatte have written to him asking for hearings on Trump’s action.
The Democrats wrote:
We ask for several reasons. The pardon sends an unequivocal signal that institutionalized racial profiling as practiced by Sheriff Arpaio is acceptable; the pardon is disrespectful to the rule of law in general and to the federal courts in particular; and the President issued the pardon in the complete absence of any advisory role by the Department of Justice and after the President had already asked Attorney General Sessions to drop the case completely. As you are well aware, although the President has wide constitutional authority to issue pardons, there is also ample precedent for our Committee to review pardons as controversial as this one.
We are not alone in raising these concerns. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) disagrees with the decision, noting that “law enforcement officials have a special responsibility to respect the rights of everyone in the United States.” Senator John McCain (R-AZ) argues that the pardon “undermines [the President’s] claim for the respect of rule of law, as Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his actions.” Senator Jeff Flake would have “preferred that the President honor the judicial process and let it take its course.”
You were similarly critical of a pardon our Committee examined in 2001: “Many executives have this power for the purpose of accomplishing justice or mercy as a last resort, where fairness simply has not taken hold in other aspects of our judicial process.” You argued that President Clinton had “abused this power” and “not used it” for the purposes you described. These statements are directly on point with respect to President Trump’s decision and demonstrate why the Arpaio pardon is worthy, at the very least, of further discussion by our Committee.
The Committee’s Democrats pointedly noted that “this letter represents the fifth time we have written to ask you to conduct oversight of the Trump Administration.”
Eight months after President Trump’s inauguration, our Committee has yet to hold a single oversight hearing involving the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, the Secretary or Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director or Acting Director of the FBI, or the Director of the Secret Service. Given that our Committee created an entire task force to examine “executive overreach” last Congress during President Obama’s term, it is somewhat disturbing that we have not engaged in any comparable oversight of the Trump Administration.
You’d almost think Goodlatte is afraid to do anything which might suggest even a slight disagreement with Trump.
And all too predictably:
A Republican House Judiciary Committee aide told the Washington Examiner President Trump has “broad authority” to issue pardons under the U.S. Constitution.
And it is because of that, “the committee does not currently have plans to hold a hearing on this matter,” the aide said.