|Roger Clemens/photo by Keith Allison|
"The acquittal yesterday of Roger Clemens of all charges that he had lied to Congress and tried to obstruct an investigation into whether he used steroids is a moment to savor for those who maintain a decent respect for the Constitution. It’s just not every day that an ordinary citizen throws a no-hitter in the courtroom against batters as powerful as the combined might of the Congress and the Department of Justice. The government’s five-years-long pursuit of the great hurler was ended by a jury in just a few hours."As for the "Hall of Fame" question, my own view is that the Hall of Fame stands somewhat higher, but in the same league, as the Nobel Peace and Literature Prizes. (cf. Dave Zirin)
. . .
"The whole thing got going in 2008, when the Congress of the United States dragged Mr. Clemens through the mud over allegations of his use of so-called “performance-enhancing drugs.” That was a hearing that never should have happened. It got out of control largely because of a disgraceful performance by Henry Waxman and became an action of Congress against an individual. Yet Congress is prohibited in the Constitution itself from acting against individuals. The prohibition is in Article I, Section 9, which is the part of the Constitution that lists what Congress may never do under any circumstances. One of the things is that it may never pass a bill of attainder."
. . .
"We like the way it was put by our erstwhile baseball columnist, Tim Marchman, who said of Mr. Clemens: “He probably juiced, he probably lied, and he’s probably the greatest pitcher who ever lived. It would be nice if it there were an easy way to separate those things from one another, but there isn’t, and anyway it’s a job for baseball historians, not prosecutors.” The government eschewed that wisdom and retried the case. It failed to reckon that the whole matter had long since stopped centering on the behavior of Mr. Clemens. It was really the government that was on trial, and what happened yesterday is that at the bottom of the 9th, the government struck out."