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Hartselle Enquirer

Flap over Bush's military service involves Alabama

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY–Miracle of miracles, the State Senate has finally confirmed three new members to the Auburn University Board of Trustees and in so doing ended the term on that board of the Senate's most powerful member.
Henceforth, State Sen. Lowell Barron, D-Fyffe, the all-powerful president pro tem of the upper chamber, will be known as a former member of the AU Board.
The end of Barron's days on the board brought nothing but smiles to the faces of many Auburn faithful. For years he has been seen as Public Enemy No. 2 on the board, second only to Trustee Bobby Lowder of Montgomery.
Confirmed as new trustees were elementary school principal Sarah Newton of Fayette, the wife of the man who blocked two kicks in the "Punt Bama Punt" game decades ago; Gadsden City Planner Charles Bell, and Revenue Commissioner Dwight Carlisle of Alex City.
The departing trustees other than Barron are State Rep. Jack Venable, D-Tallassee, and Charles Glover of Vinemont.
Two vacancies on the AU Board remain…one caused by the death of Jimmy Samford of Opelika last month, the other by the resignation of Dr. Ed Richardson, who had to give up his seat after being named interim president of Auburn.
It has been a hot topic since State Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery, was pulled over on I-65 in Montgomery by a sheriff's deputy for erratic driving. The deputy testified that Holmes had been drinking, his speech was slurred and there was a strong smell of alcohol on his breath. Despite this evidence, Holmes was not charged or arrested because of the immunity provision in the Constitution.(Holmes, crying racism, has denied the charges.)
Several news accounts of this event said the law was enacted about a hundred years ago after several legislators had been arrested by local authorities to prevent them from reaching the Capitol and voting on a bill.
That is absolutely wrong. Legislators were given this immunity to arrest in the very first Constitution adopted by this state in 1819 (Article III, Section 19) and it has been in every Constitution since.
Where did it come from? Centuries ago members of Parliament were given immunity after a number of them were apprehended on trumped up charges while enroute to an important vote in the House of Commons.
This provision, like so much old English law, was later embraced by many states in America.
Members of the media should know this because that same provision also granted the lawmakers immunity for anything they say on the House or Senate floor. It is called "privileged" communication.
End of history lesson.
I could tell them nothing about his Guard service because I know nothing. What I do know is that on a couple of occasions I was invited by my late friend, Red Blount, to come out to his home to play tennis, and his partner was Bush.
I soon found out why Red wanted Bush as his partner…he was a heck of a tennis player. Red liked to win and with Bush as his partner he did.
A sidebar to this controversy. Has anyone other than me seen the hypocrisy of the Democrats who are ridiculing President Bush's military record while pointing with pride to the record of U. S. Sen. Bob Kerry, a bonafide hero of the Vietnam War? Where were those Democrats in 1992 and 1996 when their standardbearer was a proven draft dodger named Bill Clinton? And who did he beat in those two campaigns: The elder George Bush in '92 and Bob Dole in '96, both of them distinguished and decorated heroes of World War II.

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