Funny. The Republicans spent all that time warning us about "activist judges," when all the time, we should've been watching out for an "activist president."
Remember when the judge hailed Paris Hilton back into court to send her back to jail after the Sheriff of L.A. County had already put her on home confinement? I recall Robert Shapiro appearing on the teevee somewhere to announce that what the judge had done was illegal. And yet, somehow, it stuck, and Paris had to eat Cheez-Its for a week, instead of caviar.
OK, Ok, OK! I'm laying off Paris, already. There's a greater point here.
The point is, the Honorable Reggie B. Walton, whose judgment of Scooter Libby just got defecated on by George Bush, can do something similar, only easier and, in this case, perfectly legal.
Today, in announcing the commutation of Libby's prison term, George Bush said the following:
I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison
With a swipe of his special commutin' crayon, Bush once again eviscerated the will of OUR representatives, in this case a judge and a jury. No surprise coming from the guy who raised the "signing statement" to a high crime and vitiated the will of Congress on more times than I have time to enumerate. Moroever, George also wiped out the will of the Congress in this sentencing, too. Congress long ago passed the sentencing guidelines that Judge Walton applied to Scooter in reaching the sentence he imposed. Judge Walton didn't exactly consult a Ouija board to come up with the sentence. It was a process of applying the Sentencing Guidelines: the same sentencing guidelines he uses when he sends African-American kids up the river for ten years for having a rock of Crack in their pockets.
George also acknowledged that some portions of the sentence were untouched:
He will remain on probation. The significant fines imposed by the judge will remain in effect.
And therein lies the rub! Scooter is still on probation.
Judge Walton has the power, if he so chooses, to hail Scooter Libby back into court and revoke his probation, imposing a prison term on this treasonous monster, this liar, this affront to the dignity of the Republic.
Judge Walton should do so, promptly. Why? Scooter's probation was predicated on the imposition of a term of incarceration. In effect, it represents time Scooter would spend as a free man under the Court's supervision once he had served his setence. Since Scooter will serve no initial prison time, he is not entitled to the period of probation imposed by Judge Walton. Scooter, therefore, should spend the period of his probation in federal prison.
This is eminently reasonable and legal, and there's not a blessed thing, short of a pardon or another commutation, that George could do about it. Would George commute again? Would he just pardon him this time? Let's find out! The White House doesn't want to pardon Scooter because that would make him unable to resist a Congressional subpoena. He wouldn't even have to take the Fifth. If George is forced to commute twice, there's a slim chance the American People might even notice that the rule of law is being drowned in a pigsty by the Bush Administration.
Beyond that, with Judge Walton being a Bush appointee, how could the right-wing attack him? If he refuses to revoke the probation, Judge Walton opens himself to charges that he is part of the whole scam. Please remember that a judge on the Federal Bench isn't supposed to avoid impropriety. He is compelled to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.
Failing to revoke Scooter's probation would create an appearance of impropriety that would be cognizable by the Judiciary Committees of both houses of Congress.
If you'd like to send a letter to Judge Walton suggesting that he revoke the probation of Scooter Libby, you may do so by sending him snail mail at this address: