Saturday, February 16, 2008

Bolton and Miers Cited for Contempt of Congress: Welcome to the Club!

A legal battle over "executive privilege" is looming, after the US House of Representatives cited Harriet Miers and John Bolton for contempt of Congress. This action was taken because of their refusal to testify about the firings of several US Attorneys, which Congress has no purview over, in the first place. Here's an excerpt from the (link):

Ahead of the vote, Republicans had walked out in an effort to show that they want to work on a permanent update to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) rather than be part of a "partisan fishing expedition," as House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) put it.

The contempt vote raises the stakes between the White House and Congress in the battle over the fired U.S. attorneys and could set up a constitutional showdown between the legislative and executive branches.

The matter will now be referred to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.

If the fight comes to a head without a compromise having been reached, it could pit Congress's power to hold White officials in contempt against the president's right to assert executive privilege.

Democrats passed two resolutions through the adoption of a single rule, a procedural tactic that limited the time of debate, angering Republicans. One resolution holds Bolten and Miers in contempt. The second sets the stage for a civil suit the House would file against the administration to compel it to force Bolten and Miers to testify.

This is going nowhere fast, folks. Bolton has been a target of Democrats throughout his career, and Miers, who was the White House counsel when the firings took place, is a "target of opportunity." The Dems remember the backlash over Bush naming her to the Supreme Court, and figure she won't have alot of GOP defenders.

By the time this thing works it's way through the process, Bush won't be in office anymore. Do the House Dems realize that they have lower approval ratings than Bush because of just this kind of stunt? If Bolton and Miers are in contempt of Congress, they join the majority of Americans who feel exactly the same way.

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