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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

April 02, 2006
Congressional Record

So, for those of you following the story of Senators Graham and Kyle submitting court testimony about a debate that never happened.

First, upon more reading, I find ample discussion of the topic (being, for those not following the story, an attempt to prove what Congress meant by a piece of legislation by presenting a record of a conversation that never happened as fact).

Okay, so it wasn't specifically fraud. And it's good to read that there may be consequences.

Still. As I've argued before, it's just wrong to let people insert discussions, debates, and speeches into an "official" record when they didn't happen.

Wonkette said it and I agree The Congressional Record was a Wiki long before Wikis were invented.

The briefs filed in support of the government do not make clear that the Graham-Kyl debate was manufactured. In their friend-of-the-court brief, filed in February, Graham and Kyl note that the "Congressional Record is presumed to reflect live debate except when the statements therein are followed by a bullet . . . or are underlined."

The Graham-Kyl exchange is not marked in either way, although a C-SPAN recording and other records make clear that the discussion never happened.

It boggles the mind. You can submit this stuff to the Supreme Court with a note that it is "presumed to reflect a live debate" even though you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it isn't....and you're not lying.*

Typical of the semantic jiggery-pokery we see far too much of these days.

We can keep this from happening again. Amend the rules so that only errors and omission of fact can be changed in the Congressional Record before it goes to print (and mark even such changes).

(Law.com weighed in on the case itself, if you're of a mind to read about it instead of the kerfuffle.)



_________________________

* And now you're thinking, how fortuitous for them, that the staff at the Congressional Record didn't mark this fictional conversation as fiction, so that these guys could later use it in testimony before the Supreme Court to prove what everyone else intended by the vote they were taking.

Yeah. Right.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:41 AM


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