If so, it makes more sense for the Congressional hearings browbeating Roger Clemens. This is not a judgment, on my part, about whether he did or didn’t take anabolic steroids, but, “Why Congress?”
According to the Human Growth Hormone/Steroids Statutory Overview there are laws already in force regarding the use of steroids, with penalties outlined as well. While others have pointed out that there are much more important issues that Congress could be focused upon, there is much more at stake here than the circus Congress has prepared for your titillation.
If there are already laws on the books addressing this issue, is it within the power or Congress to be conducting this hearing? The Constitution of the United States of America outlines the duties and limits of Congress (the legislative branch).
Where does this investigation of Roger Clemons fit within that scope? More specifically would it not be more in the jurisdiction of the judiciary branch?
Or as Rush Limbaugh puts it (emphases mine):
[…] This is eerie to sit here and watch a congressional committee go after a private citizen, Roger Clemens and this trainer up there, Brian McNamee. Now, I followed this. I understand what this is all about, but to paraphrase Bill Clinton, no hearing on steroids in baseball ever fed a hungry child. I don’t know what Clemens is doing there. Has he lied to Congress before his deposition this week or did they call him up there because of the Mitchell Report and he went public and said The Mitchell Report’s not true so then Congress said we want to get in the act? So I think that may be Congress’ reason for wanting to get involved in this. Look, nobody recommends people take HGH or steroids, athletes, kids being influenced by it and all that, but it’s sort of like Congress wanting to get involved in the New England Patriots spying on opposing teams. The league’s supposed to handle this kind of stuff. It’s really up to the league. They can hold over the anti-trust exemption over baseball. We’re going to remove it, we’re not going to give you that exemption anymore so baseball has to cooperate, go out and do this dog and pony show. […]
Yet, Congress is the one handling it. They have overstepped their bounds and took power away from the judiciary branch in the trespass.
What I find most disturbing about the affair is the superficiality of the criticisms such as: “Doesn’t Congress have better things to be doing with their time and our money?” while very few question whether they have the authority to conduct this hearing at all.
Admittedly it’s not the first time but when does it become important enough to question? When the judiciary branch is completely dissolved or made impotent? Or when ordinary citizens are hauled before a Congressional hearing to determine their punishment under legislation crafted to “fit the crime?”
Perhaps the next ones to be hauled before Congress so will be those of us who ascribe to federalist principles and the separation of powers between the branches of the federal government as “enemies of the state. ”
It’s a dangerous game Congress plays for TV ratings.