Earth to Jefferson: Resign
I usually like the Times-Picayune’s columnist Stephanie Grace, but sometimes she exhibits that myopia that afflicts newspaper writers who cover politics. They get so embedded into the established system that it doesn’t occur to them that it’s the system that needs to go. It’s like Stockholm Syndrome. In her column in today’s paper, she lists all the sleazy, gangster-like things that New Orleans Congressman William Jefferson has been caught on tape doing. Then, she says the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives should not kick him off the Ways and Means Committee because 1) It’s inconsistent with the way other crooked representatives have been treated, and 2) He has not been charged or convicted of a crime. She says that Jefferson should be left to serve out his term as a committee member because “as long as Jefferson is in Congress, he should be in there working on behalf of the people who sent him there.”
Stephanie Grace must be the only person in town who actually believes William Jefferson is going to do ANYTHING on behalf of the people who sent him to the Congress. As a law student, I certainly don’t advocate jailing Jefferson or criminally punishing him in any way unless he is convicted. However, “innocent until proven guilty” does not give you the right to sit in the Congress. There is nothing Jefferson’s constituents can do to get him thrown out of office before the next election. The only thing we can hope for is that he will do the right thing and resign. I think Stephanie Grace is bending over backwards to be fair to Jefferson and in the process she is being unfair to the people who live in New Orleans. She should be doing nothing less than calling for Jefferson’s resignation for the good of New Orleans. If he resigns, there is a slight chance that we can replace him with someone who has integrity. This faint hope alone is reason enough to call for the immediate resignation of someone who has acted in no one’s best interest except for those who share his last name.