Congress's crucial oversight role

Sunday, October 31, 2010; 7:38 PM

Buried in the middle of Ruth Marcus's Oct. 27 op-ed, "Annoyer in chief," was the point that congressional oversight is "a crucial function," and overall, it would be better to "have too much than too little." Whatever the outcome of next week's elections, this point bears emphasis.

Congressional oversight should not be about party politics. It should be a vital component of our system of checks and balances, and the means by which Congress ensures that the executive branch is operating within legal and constitutional limits, regardless of how control of government is divided. It should be about congressional power vs. executive power, not Democrat vs. Republican.

Let's hope that whichever party controls Congress in January, its leaders will conduct vigorous oversight - and that they will do so based on institutional responsibilities rather than partisan gamesmanship.

Sharon Bradford Franklin, Washington

The writer is senior counsel at the Constitution Project.

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