Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Toss her in jail: The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is once again in the news because its chairwoman, Mary Frances Berry, has decided that term limits don't apply to her.
Mary Frances Berry's term as a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights ended at midnight Sunday, but as of this writing she maintains that her term doesn't end until January 21, 2005, and imperiously refuses to step down.
Her claim is nonsense. Her primary commission documents, signed by President Bill Clinton when he appointed her to her now-expired term, show that her term ended on December 5, 2004. If that alone wasn't enough, the Congressional Research Service issued an opinion to the House Oversight Committee to the same effect. Finally, the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals in U.S. ex rel. Kirsanow v. Wilson involving the specific issue of commissioner terms, uncontrovertibly instructs that her term ended Sunday.
Unimpressed, Berry clings to the seat she's held for almost 25 years, the last 12 as chairman. She's summarily cancelled this coming Friday's commission meeting in violation of federal regulations and over the strenuous objections of Republican commissioners. The action deflects a face-to-face confrontation between Berry and the newly appointed commissioners — at least momentarily.
Berry should spend a week in jail, just on general principle. What a nutcase.