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Clemens to challenge Congress’ authority to question him. Which is pretty darn rich.

Jul 12, 2011, 1:30 PM EDT

Roger Clemens departs with his wife Debbie Clemens after the first day of his perjury trial, at the federal courthouse in Washington

A lawyer for Roger Clemens said in court today that part of Clemens’ legal strategy would be to argue that the hearing that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held three years ago — the hearing in which he allegedly perjured himself —  had nothing to do with Congress’ responsibility for legislation and was therefore invalid.

Just to review, Clemens willingly agreed to testify before Congress. He wasn’t subpoenaed. At the time he and his legal team actually offered a bunch of “we’re happy for the chance to do this” bluster.  One would think that if he believed Congress’ authority wasn’t sufficient to hold such a hearing that he may have mentioned it three years ago.

That aside, Congress’ oversight and investigation powers are ridiculously broad. While not specifically enumerated in the Constitution, tradition and legal precedent has upheld Congress’ right to hold hearings on just about anything you can imagine, as long as the subject is something “on which legislation could be had or would be materially aided by the information which the investigation was calculated to elicit” or in an area that the executive branch regulates somehow. Given that there are tons of federal drug laws and entire federal agencies which deal with drugs and other controlled substances, a steroids investigation — while maybe not something you’d be a fan of — is safely within Congressional power.

So, hey, good luck with that Roger. Just don’t bank on any success there, OK?

  1. isdtyrant - Jul 12, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    I’ll bet Roger wishes he had an EDIT FUNCTION on his testimony.

    • kopy - Jul 12, 2011 at 2:00 PM

      I bet you wish you had an EDIT FUNCTION so that you could go back and add the html brackets to bold the desired text.

    • Old Gator - Jul 12, 2011 at 5:45 PM

      Given all the stupid things he’s said over the past year or two, Roger probably needs TWO EDIT FUNCTIONS just to keep up with the flow of his own imbecility.

  2. proudlycanadian - Jul 12, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    Open mouth! Enter Foot! Clemens and his legal team employ the similar tactics.

  3. frankvzappa - Jul 12, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    We should all be challenging the government’s authority over us. It’s not our government anymore, and it hasn’t been for a long, long time. We have been taken over by bankers and their fascist sell-out cronies in politics. Our armies are nothing more than the strong arm henchmen of the global elite forcing every sovereign nation that doesn’t agree with being terrorized through financial slavery to go along with their sick New World Order. Screw the police state and everyone who supports it or is too stupid to see it and actually thinks they are free.

    • royalsfaninfargo - Jul 12, 2011 at 2:09 PM

      As a retired soldier and member of “strong arm henchmen of the global elite”, I must respectfully disagree with your characterization. I volunteered to serve my country and all that entailed. If you consider that stupid than I feel bad for you.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jul 12, 2011 at 2:10 PM

      I for one love being a mindless government drone because the benefits are so good. Also, our government lunchrooms have excellent pie. Finally, I’d like to know your thoughts on this post since you so clearly missed the text above. Either that or you meant to post this awesomely profound comment under a Yahoo! news article.

      • royalsfaninfargo - Jul 12, 2011 at 2:23 PM

        Pie is good wherever it comes from!

      • jwbiii - Jul 12, 2011 at 2:43 PM

        I once worked for a guvmint agency in the state of Texas. The pecan pie in the cafeteria was excellent. Opiate of the masses?

    • Ari Collins - Jul 12, 2011 at 2:51 PM

      I’m pretty sure that people who live in actual police states might want a word with you.

      Or they would if they were allowed to speak.

    • Reflex - Jul 12, 2011 at 3:54 PM

      Last time I voted some of the people I supported won, some of the people I supported lost. Seemed like democracy as designed to me.

    • bigleagues - Jul 12, 2011 at 5:51 PM

      There is no one more pro-decentralization of government than me – I was championing it back in the early 90’s before it was en vogue – but Congressional oversight of a particular thing or person – particularly if its a House Hearing – is a little more complicated than simply “questioning” its authority over any one person.

      I could get into the why’s and whatnots but I’ve reached my extended diatribe maximum for the day.

    • patsandsox - Jul 12, 2011 at 6:49 PM

      A few comments here:
      1. Our country has faults, I will be the first one to admit that, but I am in no hurry to go and live anywhere else. In point of fact about 80% of the globe they would jail and or kill simplitions like frankvzappa for making these statements. If you are skeptical go to abroad to anywhere aside from Europe, Japan, Canada and the other remaining Commenwealth countries that have not become fascist states of the left or right.
      2. No one forced Clemens to go in front of congress and tell whoppers under oath, but he did and know he, like anyone else that did that, has to pay the consequenses.
      3. The real Frank Zappa had a really good sense of humor, you unlike him, seem to be one of those humorless political correct kneejerk creatures that have to react to everything as somehow being a wrong of the government.

  4. SmackSaw - Jul 12, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    Now he shows why he got in this mess in the first place.

  5. halladaysbiceps - Jul 12, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    Clemens’ lawyer: “If Congress’ responsiblity doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

  6. Jonny 5 - Jul 12, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    In the battle of overinflated egos Congress wins hands down, even vs. Clemens. To tell congress they have no right, well it’s akin to punching their mamma in the chin.

  7. lardin - Jul 12, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    Craig, your an attorney. Would you ever hire Rusty Hardin to defend you? It seems like hes in way over his head, and has no legit strategy to defend Clemens. It seems like hes just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. Would you hire this guy to defend you?

    • clydeserra - Jul 12, 2011 at 5:46 PM

      Can’t speak for Craig or anyone else, but no. no I would not. Nor would I let anyone I cared about hire him

  8. deathmonkey41 - Jul 12, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    I can’t believe I’m paying taxes for this…I really can’t.

  9. spudchukar - Jul 12, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    Plus isn’t there an implicit admission of guilt, when you resort to take on Congress. To me, it sounds an awful lot like yeah I lied, but you shouldn’t have had the right to ask me those questions.

  10. lardin - Jul 12, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    I havent seen it in this thread, but i have seen it in many others on this site and other sites.

    Congress is not trying Roger Clemens. The Justice Department is. Congress is not wasting its time trying to prove that Roger Clemens lied to them the Justice Department is. This is there job, to prosecute people they believe have broken federal laws. Like it or not, Clemens likely violated federal law when he lied to congress. Whether he should have been sitting before the committee in the first place is certainly debatable, but he was there. In my opinion he lied. Therefore the Justice department has the obligation to conduct the a criminal investigation and bring Clemens to trial.

  11. Ari Collins - Jul 12, 2011 at 2:50 PM

  12. nlfan865 - Jul 12, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    this is ridiculous and truly sad that our legislators have lowered themselves to no less then the jerry springer show…enron and companies that failed and skirted the law which cost taxpayers billions of dollars are not up in front of congressional hearings….this is a bud selig problem and if he had to testify as to the responsibilities of mlb management in this ordeal he will lie as well and say he had no involvement…..

  13. bigleagues - Jul 12, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    One thing is for sure, if you didn’t think he was using PED’s before, how could you ignore the facts now?

    I know that defense lawyering involves attacking every possible angle, but I also know that discretion is often used in eliminating some of those attack angles.

    If Clemens team didn’t use their discretion to not attack Congressional Authority (one of the one most absurd things I’ve heard to date) – isn’t this almost a a sideways admission of guilt?

  14. jerseydevi1 - Jul 12, 2011 at 5:12 PM

    I’m sorry. did someone say Pie?

    • Old Gator - Jul 12, 2011 at 5:52 PM

      I just put two fresh key lime pies in the oven. Fifteen minutes at 350, twenty more at 250, allow to set. A subtle, sweet key lime pie is for wussies only. A real key lime pie should never be subtle. It should pucker your brain and make you suck your face into your mouth. Lots of fresh squeezed juice from little key limes and a hearty dollop of lime zest too. Do this right and on your first bite you will reflect that you never thought it was possible to have a sensation like that so far up your body. The whipped cream is for orgasmic balanc only. Meringue? Dear Buddha….might as well put mayonnaise on a pastrami sandwich.

      • Old Gator - Jul 12, 2011 at 5:53 PM

        balance, dammit.

        Edit function!

        Edit function!


  15. toooldandtired - Jul 12, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    Before you laugh Clements out of court, you ougha take a look at the case of US vs.Icardi in which a charge of perjury was dismissed because the Congressional Committee had no legitimate legislative reason to question him.

    • clydeserra - Jul 12, 2011 at 5:47 PM


    • bigleagues - Jul 12, 2011 at 6:00 PM


      Clements? Who is Clements?


      Link to a pdf of the case:

      Appears to be on a website set up by a relative to the accused.

      • clydeserra - Jul 12, 2011 at 6:56 PM

        Interesting, but not precedent as its a district court opinion. (has to be a court of Appeal or USSC).

        I don’t really have time to read it, but it doesn’t appear to be analogous to the situation at hand.

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