Writ of Mandamus: Another Path to Impeachment:
June 21, 2007
Barbara G. Ellis
Commentary: "For the last 18 months we’ve tried just about everything to “depose” our Edward II—petitioning, bannering, demonstrating, emailing, writing snail-mails, calling, teach-in, and voting in those we thought would support and defend the Constitution. So let’s all get our second wind in activism by trying something new: A Writ of Mandamus filed in your rep’s district. It’s a quick and easy way to get impeachment back on the table.
Writ of Mandamus to House Dems:
Quickest, Easiest Way to Get Impeachment on the Table
• For list of high crimes of Bush and Cheney:
• For text of Kucinich’s HR333 to impeach Dick Cheney
• Vote in the National Cheney Impeachment Poll
PORTLAND (June 16, 2007) — Because the Congressional Democrats in the first half of the 110th Session have paid no attention to voters giving them a House majority and a mandate to end the Iraq occupation and the Bush administration—but all attention to Pelosi/Emanuel’s frets about the 2008 election—a method exists to get their attention now, quickly, and easily that each impeachment group in all corners of this country can do.
It’s to have a Writ of Mandamus arrive in each of their local offices on Monday, July 16 charging each with breaking their oath of office to support and defend the Constitution and permitting the Bush Administration to overthrow the Constitution and our democratic form of three branches of government. And failing to apply the stipulated remedy—impeachment—designed by the Framers to prevent these high crimes.
They can prevent a court finding them in contempt by: 1) Signing on ASAP to co-sponsor Dennis Kucinich's HR 333 to impeach Cheney; 2) Authoring a bill to impeach both Bush and Cheney and dropping it into the hopper; 3) Compelling Rep. John Conyers, as chair of the House Judiciary Committee, to bring HR 333 to a committee vote and, thence, to the House floor for a vote.
Mandamus is a tactic that can be used as quickly on a spineless representative just as quickly as a group in her/his district can get an attorney to file this action in the federal court. A court may quash it, but in the last two years several favorable rulings have been issued in 6 states (Texas, among them, on Houston city corruption).
The thrust here, however, is more to get the rep’s attention that they are complicit in destroying the Constitution. If the courts grant mandamus, it’s a big bonus. If Karl Rove terrifies them and thoughts of losing big campaign funds terrifies them even more, let’s terrify them with this 700-year-old (Edward II, 1311 AD) court order compelling public officials to do their sworn duties.
Let’s make them accountable about
protecting the Constitution in a nationwide
Day of Mandamus
( July 16. 2007) — What each group needs to do is to find a local attorney—preferably one who’ll take a pro-bono political case that may make them famous. (In Portland, OR, our group is going to pick up filing fees, etc.).
For the charges of breaking their oaths in the case of Cheney’s warlord/financier ambitions, use the three in Kucinich’s HR 333 (SEE URL above).
For charges of breaking oaths for both Bush and Cheney, use the 7 from the Jefferson petition. The one thing needed is to tell the attorney this is a national campaign to have that writ on the rep’s local office July 16. It’s essential that somewhere in the writ, it be said they failed to employ the Constitutional remedy of impeachment.
The attorney has to be licensed for the court where the writ is filed or be admitted “for the purpose of the case,” and associate local counsel licensed in the state. Each federal court has a special admission process which generally requires admission in the state where the court is located.
Now, the House is in recess the week of July 2-6 (“Independence Day District Work Period,” their schedule says) and be back in session until August 6. If their local offices notify them on July 16 that they’ve been served with a Writ of Mandamus, they may brush it off as ridiculous until they take an afternoon break and co-horts tell them they also have been served. The aim is for us all to target everyone but those who’ve co-sponsored HR 333.
Some helpful background to use this tactic:
1) Causes warranting a Writ of Mandamus: Three causes must exist: a) dereliction must be of a public nature; b) the dereliction must be imperative—not discretionary; c) if no other legal remedy exists except mandamus. In the case of broken oaths to protect Congress, all three causes pertain.
2) Lawyer Myth: ‘Mandamus is hardly ever used anymore because it always gets quashed: Not true at. Litigation Clearinghouse reported May 21, 2007 that 9 favorable decisions have been made in six states, most of them immigration cases against public employees for footdragging on their papers ranging from 3 months to 5 years).
But in the last two years Houston attorney F. Richard Leach has won two cases (a whistleblower case against Houston city corruption; businesses attempting to flout zoning codes in residential neighborhood). In mid-March the Texas Supreme Court granted certiorari for a client ruled off the city council election ballot on a technicality by Houston Mayor William White (In Re: Ray Albert Jones, Jr. Relator). It was dismissed three weeks later on “law, not facts”, but should show any prospective attorney that if such a case makes it before the TSC, this writ is alive and well.
Add a NY patent-infringement case (Princo Corporation v U.S. Philips Corporation) that on March 1, 2007 got a favorable ruling from the federal court on mandamus against a ruling by US District Court for Southern NY refusing the plaintiff a stay pending the outcome of International Trade Commission proceedings.
3) History: England’s Writ of Mandamus, prior to the reign of Edward II, was a king’s mandate commanding a subject to do something. The country’s most powerful barons, irked that Edward was ignoring his oath of office, warring with Scotland, spending the country into bankruptcy, and dallying with a male favorite, finally drew up the famed Ordinances of 1311. They particularly limited his control of finance and appointments, barred him from going to war or leaving the country without baronial consent. (It also exiled his friend and protected the wool trade).
Sixteen years later—January 15, 1327—his incompetence and poor judgment were such that a huge public meeting of barons, judges, knights, burgesses, bishops was convened by thArchbishop of Canterbury and, as one historian wrote: “England set about doing something it had never attempted before—the deposition of a king by legal process.” The majority vote of this, the forerunner of Parliament, deposed Edward. He was locked up in Berkeley Castle near Bristol and on September 21, 1327 met his death in captivity.
Like all other activist groups, for the last 18 months we’ve tried just about everything to “depose” our Edward II—petitioning, bannering, demonstrating, emailing, writing snail-mails, calling, teach-in, and voting in those we thought would support and defend the Constitution. So let’s all get our second wind in activism by trying something new: A Writ of Mandamus filed in your rep’s district. It’s a quick and easy way to get impeachment back on the table. Maybe they’ll sneer or laugh, but if they worry about Rove and Nancy’s clout, you can be sure they'll think about this —and in their home towns with their staff.
Barbara G. Ellis is a member of the South Side DFA MeetUp Group of Portland Oregon.