On Rangel: To be Just, Congress Must be Fair

By Benjamin Todd Jealous

Cross-posted from Politico

Let me be clear: My objection to the House censure of Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) is not about race or politics. It’s about fairness.

This is neither a defense nor an indictment of Rangel. That split decision has already been rendered by the people of Harlem in his strong reelection results; and by the House ethics committee in its recommendation for censure. I have no quarrel with the committee’s finding that he violated a number of its rules and deserves a proper sanction. But I also agree with his Harlem constituents, who, by their overwhelming vote on Nov. 2, reaffirmed a bedrock principle of American justice: Punishment should fit the wrong.