Why Inherent Contempt

Like most recent converts, I now have a certain zeal. My zeal is now for the use of inherent contempt power by the Congress in the face of the Bush view that a President's assertion of executive privilege in response to a congressional subpoena is beyond the purview of the courts. Before, I was very reticent about inherent contempt, for precisely the same reason I have reacted negatively to this unbound assertion by the Bush Administration that it is the President who decides whether a claim of executive privilege is valid -- it undermines our system of checks and balances. The Founders were primarily concerned with making sure the each branch was checked by the others. Inherent contempt is, in a way, the flip side assertion of unbound power in the Executive. But it becomes necessary here because the Bush Administration has chosen to argue against checks and balances. As Steven Benen writes:

Let’s cut to the chase: the president and his team are arguing that once the White House claims executive privilege, there is no recourse. The president is accountable to literally no one — not the Congress, whose subpoenas can be ignored, or the federal judiciary, which can’t hear a case that cannot be filed. We’re talking about what is, in effect, a rogue presidency.

In the face of this assertion, I believe the Congress has no choice now but to commence inherent contempt proceedings against those witnesses who refuse to testify based on the Bush claim of executive privilege. The claims, according to Bush, can not be tested in court. More.

What is inherent contempt?

Under the inherent contempt power, the individual is brought before the House or Senate by the Sergeant-at-Arms, tried at the bar of the body, and can be imprisoned. The purpose of the imprisonment or other sanction may be either punitive or coercive. Thus, the witness can be imprisoned for a specified period of time as punishment, or for an indefinite period (but not, at least in the case of the House, beyond the adjournment of a session of the Congress) until he agrees to comply. The inherent contempt power has been recognized by the Supreme Court as inextricably related to Congress’s constitutionally-based power to investigate.

Between 1795 and 1934 the House and Senate utilized the inherent contempt power over 85 times, in most instances to obtain (successfully) testimony and/or documents. The inherent contempt power has not been exercised by either House in over 70 years.

It has not been used in 70 years because the Congress has wisely looked to the courts to resolve such disputes. But faced with an Administration that rejects court adjudication of such claims, the Congress, it seems to me, has been compelled now to revive this undesirable tool, because there are no other options.

Of course, this all must take place in the House because Republicans in the Senate would block any such attempt through filibuster.

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    Looking forward to more diaries and (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:06:24 PM EST
    discussion until it hopefully takes place.  I want to thank all of the lawyers and political junkies for making this something that those of us with small legal knowledge something we can ingest.  I trust the voices shedding light on this in this diary and the legal voice of Talkleft.  It will take me awhile to internalize this topic and discussion so thanks for any help provided for laymen.

    I have many points of pride (5.00 / 5) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:07:59 PM EST
    But one of my main ones is what I perceive to be my ability to make the law more comprehensible to laymen, particualrly in the political context.

    I am also known for my modesty . . .


    You are always charming (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:11:50 PM EST
    as well as modest ;)

    I am also proud of my (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:20:34 PM EST
    typing abilities . . .

    Mr. Congeniality (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:30:28 PM EST
    teaches typing!

    Meteor Blades may have a thing of two (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:21:13 PM EST
    to say on these subjects!

    Contemptniks, mount up (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by scarshapedstar on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 09:02:30 PM EST
    Glad you've seen the light.

    A paragraph from Sat. NYT: (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by oculus on Sat Jul 21, 2007 at 04:22:04 PM EST
    The administration sought on Friday to tamp down suggestions that a crisis was looming.  'Obviously there are a number of steps that would have to occur before we reached a juncture where such a legal procedure [refusal by Justice Dept. to prosecute comtempt on behalf of Congress] could be considered,' said a senior Justice Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk about legal strategy in this case.
     [Emphasis added.]

    So the Bush Administration (none / 0) (#61)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jul 21, 2007 at 05:55:33 PM EST
    is making noises that other steps need to happen and fail before something like Inherent Contempt is on the table and in their future?  Am I reading that and putting that together correctly?

    don't you think (4.00 / 1) (#7)
    by profmarcus on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:20:17 PM EST
    we are now at the point where, even with the exercise of inherent contempt, that a stay would be sought so that such an effort could then be challenged in court...? i no longer have any faith whatsoever that the bush administration is going to observe ANY law... by now, we should be well past deluding ourselves into believing that there is any reasoning with these criminals or that they will accept ANY form of the rule of law... i say, yes, by all means, go ahead with inherent contempt, but i am as certain as i am sitting here that it has already been taken into account by the white house and that there is a strategy in place for circumventing it... if there was ever a moment that it felt like our constitutional crisis "hit the wall," it's today...

    everyone who is paying the slightest bit of attention and who has access to any media or internet platform whatsoever should be sounding the alarm at the top of their lungs about the constitutional crisis that is threatening to destroy our proud nation... our congresspeople certainly aren't doing it and neither is the sorry crop of 2008 presidential candidates of either party... that the majority of the blogosphere seems to have its head in the sand along with everyone else is a sad commentary on liberals, progressives, democrats, and our citizenry in general...

    a quote from glenn greenwald in today's salon...
    It has been six months since the Democrats took over Congress. Yes, they have commenced some investigations and highlighted some wrongdoing. But that is but the first step, not the ultimate step, which we desperately need. Where are the real confrontations needed to vindicate the rule of law and restore constitutional order? No reasonable person can dispute that in the absence of genuine compulsion (and perhaps even then), the administration will continue to treat "the law" as something optional, and their power as absolute. Their wrongdoing is extreme, and only equally extreme corrective measures will suffice.
    there can be no more delay... we've put off the inevitable for far too long... every day that passes, the danger to our constitutional republic increases dramatically... what's even worse is that in-your-face confrontation is only going to increase the danger, a reason perhaps why it hasn't been yet undertaken, but, seriously, what other choices do we have...? how about using your worthy megaphone, btd, and sounding the alarm...? it's sorely needed...

    And, yes, I DO take it personally

    Sought from whom? (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:25:48 PM EST
    The House has plenary power with regard to inherent contempt.

    The Supreme Court has spoken on this issue.

    It would be ironic if the President appealed to the courts to stop an unchecked assertion of power when it is the branch causing the crisis by asserting unchecked power.

    In essence, it would have to test its claim of executive privilege in the court in order to win a stay - which is precisely what they say they do not accept.

    This is why inherent contempt is compelled now.


    Head is spinning. Perhaps I should have (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:06:04 PM EST
    been reading KagroX? Your explanation of the why and how is clearer though.

    The why is what happened today (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:07:20 PM EST
    When Bush rejected the courts as possible arbiters of the dispute, my preferred method of having the courts decide became a dead letter.

    Inherent contempt has been compelled upon the Congress by Bush. They have no other choice now.


    It gives me a funny feeling in (none / 0) (#3)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:10:42 PM EST
    the pit of my stomach.

    Perhaps the House could fashion an impartial court and appoint a well respected judge to make a ruling. They could grant him a committee room to hold a proper trial.

    No (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:17:10 PM EST
    I don't think it can.

    The Congress can not delegate legislative powers.

    See the legislative veto cases.


    Point taken (none / 0) (#8)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:22:13 PM EST
    I suppose the fact that there's already a precedent makes me feel a bit better. But It hasn't been done since we went off the gold standard. . .

    And it has not been done because (none / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:27:32 PM EST
    the Congres WISELY felt that the procdure in keeping with the spirit of the Constitution required court intervention. A check, if you will.

    Since Bush has rejected that check, inherent contempt now becomes compelled.


    Yeah (none / 0) (#13)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:32:18 PM EST
    If the Democrats do this, and I think you've made a good argument that they should, I hope the find someone more engaging than John Conyers to say why.

    Nancy Pelosi should say why (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:35:07 PM EST
    Politically, it might be a winner (none / 0) (#19)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:40:38 PM EST
    It shows the Democrats being "strong."

    It shows them being provoked into it (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:47:43 PM EST
    My scan of the MSM blogs, like the Swampland, shows the reaction is shock at the President's assertions.

    He overreached, and this is a sure fire winner politically for the Dems.


    one never knows perhaps (none / 0) (#46)
    by conchita on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:41:01 PM EST
    they even strategized it...

    now this is the btd i know love and admire! (none / 0) (#4)
    by conchita on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:14:01 PM EST
    thank you for breaking it down so clearly.  i read john dean on it last week, but this is very helpful.  glad to hear about your conversion.

    Once the avenue to the courts is rejected (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:18:14 PM EST
    then the more drastic remedy becomes reasonable and proper in my view.

    IF Bush backed down and agreed to abide by a court decision, I would no longer favor inherent contempt.


    agreed (none / 0) (#14)
    by conchita on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:32:35 PM EST
    now what concerns me is that the dems plan their strategy appropriately.  as ianal, i will look to you and others better informed to educate me.

    I think the strategy is simple (none / 0) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:34:32 PM EST
    Use Bush's words against him. He has rejected the courts as an arbiter of his claims of executive privilege.

    Reluctantly, due to Bush's rejection of the courts, Congress is compelled to use this remedy.

    they would prefer to use the courts of course but Bush insists it can not be done.

    In other words, he mad me do it.


    as prof marcus states below (none / 0) (#17)
    by conchita on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:38:03 PM EST
    what do you anticipate the executive will counter with?  why would they set this up if they did not think they can win?  this worries me and i hope that the dems are on it - understanding that this is no more mr. nice guy.  there is just too much at stake.

    I think they would go to court (none / 0) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:46:25 PM EST
    thus demolishing their own argument.

    What would a court do? I dunno.


    THANK YOU. (none / 0) (#23)
    by Gabriel Malor on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:49:37 PM EST
    I see we have now come to the same conclusion. That only took a few hours.

    That is a different point (none / 0) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:59:59 PM EST
    What would the court do was the question we were discussing.

    I think they may punt. In fact, I think they would punt.

    In the meantime, Meirs and Taylor would be locked up.

    Here's an interesting question - would Bush even think about "pardoning"? Imo, he can;t because it is not a crime incarceration but a compelling incarceration, or at least if I was the Congress I would describe it so.


    Oooh, now that's clever. (none / 0) (#26)
    by Gabriel Malor on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:04:09 PM EST
    The pardon power extends to offenses under federal law. I have no idea if congressional contempt charges would be considered an "offense under federal law."

    That's really clever, BTD.


    I have my moments (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:06:10 PM EST
    I suspect it is- the problem (none / 0) (#31)
    by Molly Bloom on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:11:16 PM EST
    is, if Bush pardons them, what happens next? Congress re-subpoenas them and around and around we go?  


    Interesting (none / 0) (#38)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:23:08 PM EST
    I think if Congress goes that far, they might argue the pardon is unlawful and not recognize it.

    Yes, they should use it (none / 0) (#33)
    by Maryb2004 on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:15:16 PM EST
    for compelling performance not punishment so he can't claim it is criminal.

    It will be interesting if Bush pardons them anyway but Congress refuses to release them.


    The argument being (none / 0) (#37)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:22:25 PM EST
    You can't pardon them. They are not charged with a crime.

    Boy that would be something.


    uh huh, it would be interesting (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Maryb2004 on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:34:36 PM EST
    Here's the question no one will answer for me (or speculate on an answer).  How much can the House do in one proceeding?  They aren't a court of law so they aren't limited in the way a court is.  

    Suppose the House has a proceeding this month and compels Meiers to appear before the committee to answer questions.  Do they also find at the same time that there is no EP, so she can't go before the committee and then claim she can't answer certain questions a la Taylor?  But at this point Bush himself hasn't asserted EP.  Can they only find that Fielding doesn't have the power to assert EP?  Or do they just compel her to appear and wait to see what she does?  And then go back and have another hearing if she claims EP and/or the president claims EP.

    And if they can't deal with it all at once, maybe they leave Harriet off to the side until they deal with Bolton where they can get to the heart of the matter?  


    Here's a related question (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:37:59 PM EST
    How much "due process" if any, is required? Can this be a "military commissions" thing?

    If they take them to Gitmo, can they torture them?  


    Top notch medical care. (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:45:22 PM EST
    sicko (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:50:16 PM EST
    ah, but that would be WRONG! (none / 0) (#48)
    by Maryb2004 on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:46:33 PM EST
    The last trial was in 1935?  Pre-television.

    Inherent contempt isn't only legal, it's political.  So leaving aside due process as a legal issue, I don't see how the Dems win on the political front in these days of C-Span unless they have minimum due process.  The question is what does that entail?  And more important in some ways, how long will it take?  Especially if they have to do it multiple times.


    Oh of course (none / 0) (#49)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:49:53 PM EST
    Won't this be a TV redux of Reno's forces (none / 0) (#51)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:58:35 PM EST
    capturing "little Elian" from that Miami closet?

    Preemptory Pardons (none / 0) (#52)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 08:41:03 PM EST
    Has a nice ring.

    Inherent contempt not beyond the courts. (none / 0) (#10)
    by Gabriel Malor on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:26:36 PM EST
    Inherent contempt rulings are not beyond the courts. McGrain v. Daugherty is an example where a man, held in contempt of Congress, applied for and was denied habeas relief by the courts. The courts considered the merits of his petition.

    In other words, the executive branch officials who face inherent contempt rulings--be they fines or be they arrests--can challenge those rulings in court.

    McGrain disproves your point (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:30:12 PM EST
    McGrain involved a determination of whether the Congress could use inherent contempt to punish, not merely compel.

    The habeas petition was denied because the SCOTUS held that indeed the Congress can punish through inherent contempt.

    There was no challenge to the adjudication on the merits by the Congress but rather a sort of jurisdictional challenge - that the Congress did not have the power to punish.

    The Court found it does.


    McGrain v. Daugherty (none / 0) (#18)
    by Gabriel Malor on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:39:38 PM EST
    The Court in McGrain very carefully considered the merits of Daugherty's petition. It had to because the district court had already granted the petition and ordered Daugherty's release.

    It was a merits ruling, with very careful consideration of Daugherty's arguments about whether the Congressional investigation was asking "pertinent" questions.

    Similarly, should we see a modern repeat of Daugherty, expect the courts to be faced with the issue of executive privilege.


    No (none / 0) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:45:33 PM EST
    Merits means whether McGrain's "conviction" was valid.

    McGrain conceded that the conviction was valid, he questioned the Congress' power to punish as opposed to compel via a contempt conviction.

    You are dead wrong on this.


    I am mistaken but so are you (none / 0) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:57:24 PM EST
    I was thinking of the 1935 McCracken case.

    But McGrain basically precludes the line of inquiry you propose and is not at all what Bush's objection is. To wit, McGrain states:

    We come now to the question whether it sufficiently appears that the purpose for which the witness' testimony was sought was to obtain information in aid of the legislative function. The court below answered the question in the negative and put its decision largely on this ground, as is shown by the following excerpts from its opinion (299 F. 638-640):

    'It will be noted that in the second resolution the Senate has expressly avowed that the investigation is in aid of other action than legislation. Its purpose is to 'obtain information necessary as a basis for such legislative and other action as the Senate may deem necessary and proper.' This indicates that the Senate is contemplating the taking of action other than legislative, as the outcome of the investigation, at least the possibility of so doing. The extreme personal cast of the original resolutions; the spirit of hostility towards the then Attorney General which they breathe; that it was not avowed that legislative action was had in view until after the action of the Senate had been challenged; and that the avowal then was coupled with an avowal that other action was had in view-are calculated to create the impression that the idea of legislative action being in contemplation was an afterthought. ...
    'That the Senate has in contemplation the possibility of taking action other than legislation as an outcome of the investigation, as thus expressly avowed, would seem [273 U.S. 135, 177]   of itself to invalidate the entire proceeding. But, whether so or not, the Senate's action is invalid and absolutely void, in that, in ordering and conducting the investigation, it is exercising the judicial function, and power to exercise that function, in such a case as we have here, has not been conferred upon it expressly or by fair implication. What it is proposing to do is to determine the guilt of the Attorney General of the shortcomings and wrongdoings set forth in the resolutions. It is 'to hear, adjudge, and condemn.' It so doing it is exercising the judicial function. ...
    'What the Senate is engaged in doing is not investigating the Attorney General's office; it is investigating the former Attorney General. What it has done is to put him on trial before it. In so doing it is exercising the judicial function. This it has no power to do.'
    We are of opinion that the court's ruling on this question was wrong, and that it sufficiently appears, when the proceedings are rightly interpreted, that the object of the investigation and of the effort to secure the witness' testimony was to obtain information for legislative purposes.

    It is quite true that the resolution directing the investigation does not in terms avow that it is intended to be in aid of legislation; but it does show that the subject to be investigated was the administration of the Department of Justice-whether its functions were being properly discharged or were being neglected or misdirected, and particularly whether the Attorney General and his assistants were performing or neglecting their duties in respect of the institution and prosecution of proceedings to punish crimes and enforce appropriate remedies against the wrongdoers; specific instances of alleged neglect being recited. Plainly the subject was one on which legislation could be had and would be materially aided by the information which the investigation was calculated to elicit. [273 U.S. 135, 178]   This becomes manifest when it is reflected that the functions of the Department of Justice, the powers and duties of the Attorney General, and the duties of his assistants are all subject to regulation by congressional legislation, and that the department is maintained and its activities are carried on under such appropriations as in the judgment of Congress are needed from year to year.

    McGrain itself decides the question here - an investigation of the functioning of the Justice Department.


    You've lost me. (none / 0) (#29)
    by Gabriel Malor on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:07:21 PM EST
    When you write:

    But McGrain basically precludes the line of inquiry you propose and is not at all what Bush's objection is.

    Yeah, Daugherty objected on grounds other than assertion of executive privilege. But so what? EP can still make it to the courts this way. Do you mean something else?

    McGrain itself decides the question here - an investigation of the functioning of the Justice Department.

    I have no idea what you mean by this. How does McGrain decide the question? McGrain shows that congressional contempt rulings can be reviewed by the courts. That's what I've been trying to make you see all afternoon.


    I thought you were envisioning (none / 0) (#34)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:18:40 PM EST
    a challenge to the subpoena as not being part of the legislative function. To wit, the investigation itself being illegitimate.

    Since the investigations are of potential misfeasance (or even malfeasance) in the Justice Department, and since Mcgrain decided that such investigation ARE within the legislative function, the challenge would be defeated by McGrain.

    I see now you are envisioning a challenge to the CONTEMPT finding based on the defense of executive privilege.

    Your idea is that the witness was "directed" by the President to not appear on the grounds of executive privilege. This has been of interest to me before so I want to discuss it in more detail.

    Let's take Taylor and Meirs first. It is my view that they can not raise a claim of executive privilege and they can not claim that the President has legal power over them therefore they have no standing to raise that defense imo.

    They must testify. Now, if Bush wants to block their testimony, he needs to get a, get this, court order quashing the Congressional subpoena.

    But we are beyond that now. Meirs particularly FAILED TO APPEAR. She is in contempt, pure and simple. Indeed, I think, relying on McCracken, the Congress could simply PUNISH her for the contempt as well as seek to comple her testimony. Taylor appeared so it seems to me that it is too soon for that. They must first seek to compel her testimony on those questions she invoked executive privilege.

    In my view, Josh Bolten CAN raise a defense of being directed by the President to invoke  executive privilege, as the President does have power over him. So let's assume it's Bolten for further consideration here.

    Bolten goes to court and either before going to the contempt proceeding, seeks to quash the proceeeding, or after being incarcerated, filed a habeas writ.

    His argument? The President ordered me not to. Is that a winner? Not with that alone imo. Bolten would then have to argue the merits of the President invocation of EP.

    And then the Court decides.

    IT is an interesting strategy question for the House. Should you start with Bolten so you can get the eP question before a court? Or should you make hay with Meirs?

    I do not know yet what I think on that.    


    Roll some dice. (none / 0) (#40)
    by Gabriel Malor on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:34:12 PM EST
    Well at least we are on the same page now.

    I don't think that Bolton can ask the courts to quash the legislative investigation before the proceeding. As I wrote four hours ago:

    Congress possesses inherent investigatory powers including the authority to issue subpoenas, to grant immunity, to interrogate witnesses, and to enforce these powers by contempt. However, contempt proceedings in Congress are not exempt from judicial review.

    There's no way a court's going to tell Congress that it can't ask questions.

    But, yes, I think that Bolton is in a very good position for raising EP later if Congress rejects his claim and holds him in contempt. Then we'll just have to roll dice or something to determine what the courts will do.

    I'm not sure about your conclusions with regards to Meirs and Taylor.

    BTD, it's been a fun afternoon for me, but I've got to go meet a prospective roommate now. Moving sucks. If anyone needs a roommate in the LA area, my contact info is in my user profile.


    Ah roomates (none / 0) (#42)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:36:07 PM EST
    Been a while for me.

    TalkLeft=Craigslist (none / 0) (#44)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:38:03 PM EST
    Heh (none / 0) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 07:38:41 PM EST
    Presidential Pardon overruling inherent contempt? (none / 0) (#54)
    by Aaron on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 09:57:06 PM EST
    Can't the president simply pardon those being held under the inherent contempt clause?  And if so, does anyone doubt that George W. Bush, the traitor to the Republic, will do so?

    Cannot pardon - not criminal (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by conchita on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 10:56:13 PM EST
    bolten, miers, etc. would be held for curative purpose to compel them to respond to subpoenas - not punitive.  therefore no pardon.

    I, for one, have renamed my blog (none / 0) (#56)
    by chemoelectric on Sat Jul 21, 2007 at 12:22:32 AM EST
    I have temporarily renamed my blog until Nancy Pelosi takes charge and organizes the inherent contempt process.

    The process should be set up with the conservative assumption that it will have to be used repeatedly and frequently for the next year and a half. Better to be safe than sorry.

    Why not impeachment (none / 0) (#57)
    by yourstruly on Sat Jul 21, 2007 at 09:44:20 AM EST
    and take the court outta the loop.

    This way the shrubs "final solution" for that "gaddamned piece of paper" will be denied forevermore--- at least from him anyway.

    Those powers haven't been excercised in a long while...the last time was 1934, but the Constitution gives the Legislature the power to convene courts...or in the words of the Constitution..."""""""""""""""To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court"""""""""""""""

    Why not? (none / 0) (#58)
    by Edger on Sat Jul 21, 2007 at 09:52:09 AM EST
    UPDATE: King George to forbid Justice Dept. Action (none / 0) (#59)
    by Dadler on Sat Jul 21, 2007 at 11:33:14 AM EST
    Dubya now says he "won't allow" his aides to be prosecuted by the Justice Department.

    Won't allow it.  

    We are all just subjects of this tyrant's pathological disrespect for democracy and equal justice.  He would spit on all of us and complain that it was our fault for standing in the way.

    Hang him high.