Fellow lawprof Mark Scarberry asked the following on a lawprof list; I asked him for permission to post it here, and he graciously gave it:
Twenty-four Democratic members of Congress (including nine from California) have written to the Los Angeles Times to "object" specifically "as Members of Congress" to the dismissal of Robert Scheer, a long-time LA Times columnist. See [here] (by way of [HughHewitt.com]).
I suppose that if a similar letter came from the administration, objecting to the dismissal at the same time of the LA Times conservative political cartoonist Michael Ramirez, we would hear complaints that the administration was intimidating the press in violation of the values underlying the First Amendment.
I wonder whether list members think that the 24 members of Congress should have considered those constitutional values and refrained from writing such a letter "as Members of Congress."
My view is that it's not improper for Congressmen to write such a letter; I doubt that a newspaper will find it particularly intimidating (in the sense of threatening government action, as opposed to threatening public condemnation). Nonetheless, it struck me as an interesting question that was worth reporting.