The Law Library of Congress – a non-partisan entity of the Library of Congress – has come under attack by high-ranking Congressional Democrats for a recent legal opinion on the situation in Honduras. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.) are trying to politically browbeat Library of Congress professionals to change a Honduras legal opinion because the current one does not suit their political goals. This is somewhat similiar to what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is doing to the intelligence community as she tries to hide the truth of what she knew about enhanced interrogations of radical terror suspects. They can throw as much sand in our eyes as they want but, in both cases, it is an abuse of power and undermines processes designed to help policymakers make informed decisions.
As a matter of law, the current Honduran government is in the right (which, one wonders why, the Micheletti team signed off on an agreement yesterday that may allow the return of the legally removed former President Manuel Zelaya). This was not a military coup or a coup of any kind. The Law Library of Congress report clearly outlines the legal steps undertaken by the Honduran Government to remove and arrest former President Zelaya. This bothers Messrs. Kerry and Berman, as it does the Obama Administration and his Latin American team. The report does not take sides, it outlines legal arguments. For reasons that we may never know, the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats have been beating up on Honduras from the very first day that the Supreme Court determined that former President Zelaya had broken the law. And now they are turning their frustrations to the Library of Congress.
While the Honduran government has made mistakes such as expelling Zelaya from the country and canceling certain civil liberties, these errors in judgment are a far cry from the raw accusations hurled at them by Zelaya supporters in the National Security Council, the Congress, and certain pockets of the Department of State. As baseless as they may be, supporters of the constitutional government of Honduras are fair game for these attacks – that is part of the political process. However, the Law Library of Congress is one of several departments of the Library of Congress that serve Members of Congress and Staff, and do avery good job of it. They should not be dragged into political fights or forced to change an opinion because it does not suit the whims or political agendas of the consumer.
The agreement forced on the Honduran people yesterday by the Obama Administration and the politically inconsequential Organization of American States (OAS) should be challenged in the Honduran Supreme Court for it, much like this request by Senate and House leaders, is a legally nullity and another political misstep. Congressional Republicans should keep the holds on various nominees for Senate confirmation until after the Honduran elections set for November 29, 2009.