Don Young Rises to Constitution’s Defense

Don’t worry, America! Rep. Don Young (R-AK) will ensure that the blessed integrity of our nation’s Constitution is upheld.

Last week, the Senate voted to require the Justice Department to open an investigation into how the language of Young’s Coconut Road earmark was modified after it cleared both houses of Congress, but before it was signed by the President. Young, of course, welcomes scrutiny of any and all of his beloved earmarks. But it’s the law of the thing that’s got him upset:

“What the Senate did was unconstitutional,” the Alaska Republican said Wednesday. “No other body can request an investigation on another body.”

Now, while there are a host of touchy Constitutional issues surrounding the Senate’s measure, this, to my understanding, isn’t one of them. Democrats objected to Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) measure to create a bicameral committee because it would have involved one chamber investigating another (that measure failed). And there are legitimate concerns that any DoJ investigation would clash with Congress’ Speech or Debate Clause protections. But no one else has put it quite the way Young has put it — that the Senate’s request for an investigation by the DoJ was unconstitutional.

Of course, just to underscore the circularity of all this, the Justice Department is already investigating Young’s Coconut Road earmark, along with his ties to Veco and who knows what else. So if the Senate’s possibly unconstitutional measure to force the DoJ to investigate Young’s unconstitutional earmark fails, the DoJ will investigate it anyway.

Somehow I think that the Constitution will survive all this. As for Don Young…