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Note: The comments and questions on this page came from people who visited this website. Please feel free to send your comments and questions to Professor Brenner (brenner@udayton.edu). She will respond privately, and may ask permission to post your message on this page. No one's e-mail will be used without first obtaining their permission, and names and e-mail addresses are removed before a comment is posted. Starting in 2002, the responses posted to the site indicate which of us replied: The initials SWB mean Professor Brenner wrote the response; the initials LES mean Professor Shaw wrote the response. We are also putting the year down, to indicate when the response was posted. If no initials appear, Professor Brenner wrote the response.

 

Was the Starr grand jury a subversive organization?

I thought the responsibility of the grand jury was to look at both sides of an issue without bias and make a recommendation on indictment. This [e.g., the Clinton-Lewinsky] grand jury clearly acted as a prosecutor and freely leaked information. Doesn't that make it a subversive organization attacking the President of the United States of America, in violation of standing U.S. law?

Response: Well, in grand jury law, you can argue that this was a misuse of the grand jury, because grand juries are, as you point out, supposed to (only) investigate to determine if criminal charges are to be brought and, if they find probable cause to believe a crime has been committed, to bring those charges. It is an abuse of the grand jury to use one to investigate to obtain evidence for a civil case, which is what I think impeachment clearly is. (I think impeachment is clearly a civil case, not a criminal case, because the only sanction is removal from office; a President or Vice President is not fined or incarcerated if the Senate votes to impeach him or her.)

I think, though, that the real fault here lies not so much with the grand jury as with an Independent Counsel that no one, or no entity, was able to/tried to rein in. I think that was a fault because, personally, I think Starr's work on the Clinton-Lewinsky investigation gave every appearance of being politically motivated.

I guess the bottom line is that I tend to agree with you.

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