Stephen Bainbridge: UCLA Law School:
"'House Republicans proposed changing their rules last night to allow members indicted by state grand juries to remain in a leadership post, a move that would benefit Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) in case he is charged by a Texas grand jury that has indicted three of his political associates, according to GOP leaders.' (Source: WaPo)
Based on everything I've heard about this grand jury investigation, I suspect that it has a partisan motive. The grand jury is being run by an Austin, Texas-based DA who is a Democrat. Texas Democrats are incredibly mad at Delay for his role in the redistricting of the Texas congressional map, which generated 4 new GOP seats. The DA may well be out to give a little payback.
Even if that's what's going on, however, it doesn't justify such a blatantly partisan response by the GOP. The rule that would be changed was adopted by the House GOP in response to Democrat Congressman Dan Rostenkowski's refusal to step down from his leadership post after he was indicted. It was supposed to be a blow against the old Congressional power structure and a blow for better ethics in government. To undo the rule now to benefit Delay is unseemly – indeed, hypocritical. The House GOP caucus should require Delay to step down if he is indicted and let the judicial process vindicate Delay (assuming this really is just a partisan witch hunt)." [November 17, 2004; ProfessorBainbridge.com has the post]