Thursday, July 31, 2008

Breaking news: District Court judge says Harriet Miers does too have to answer that subpoena. KenInNY says: Don't hold your breath.

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"Harriet Miers is not immune from compelled congressional process; she is legally required to testify pursuant to a duly issued congressional subpoena."
-- U.S. District Court Judge John Bates, in a ruling issued this morning

"We look forward to the White House complying with this ruling and to scheduling future hearings with Ms. Miers and other witnesses who have relied on such claims. We hope that the defendants will accept this decision and expect that we will receive relevant documents and call Ms. Miers to testify in September."
-- House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers,
responding to Judge Bates's ruling


by Ken

Did I speak too soon? Only yesterday I was making fun of the House Judiciary Committee for imagining that Karl Rove could give a damn whether they recommend that the full House cite him for contempt of Congress. (And Howie too was wondering whether this would mean anything.) Why should he care, I reasoned, when White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former White House Sourpuss Harriet Miers, who've already been cited, clearly don't?

Well, now a District Court judge says their claim that they have absolute immunity, as presidential aides, from being compelled to testify before Congress is legal hooey:

Judge Rules White House Aides Can Be Subpoenaed
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Filed at 10:46 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush's top advisers are not immune from congressional subpoenas, a federal judge ruled Thursday in an unprecedented dispute between the two political branches.

The House Judiciary Committee wants to question the president's chief of staff, Josh Bolten, and former legal counsel Harriet Miers, about the firing of nine U.S. attorneys. But President Bush says they are immune from such subpoenas. They say Congress can't force them to testify or turn over documents.

U.S. District Judge John Bates disagreed. He said there's no legal basis for that argument. He said that Miers must appear before Congress and, if she wants to refuse to testify, she must do so in person.

"Harriet Miers is not immune from compelled congressional process; she is legally required to testify pursuant to a duly issued congressional subpoena," Bates wrote.

He said that both Bolten and Miers must give Congress all non-privileged documents related to the firings.

The Bush administration can appeal the ruling. The Justice Department did not immediately respond for a request for comment.

So now Harriet and Josh (and Karl too) really are shivering in their shoes, right?

Well, I don't think so. It means more lawyer's fees for those appeals, but those right-wingers always seem to find a way to pay the legal bills. And by the time the appeals process plays out, will anybody remember what the whole to-do was about?


UPDATE: CHAIRMAN CONYERS APPLAUDS THE RULING

In response to Judge Bates's ruling, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers issued the following statement:

Today’s landmark ruling is a ringing reaffirmation of the fundamental principle of checks and balances and the basic American idea that no person is above the law. Judge Bates’ decision makes clear that the Congress had the right to subpoena Harriet Miers to learn of her role in the US Attorney firings, that her claim to be immune from subpoena was invalid and that the Committee was entitled to challenge that claim in Court. The Judge also ruled that the White House may not claim Executive Privilege over documents without describing them in reasonable detail so that these claims of privilege can be evaluated by Congress. We look forward to the White House complying with this ruling and to scheduling future hearings with Ms. Miers and other witnesses who have relied on such claims. We hope that the defendants will accept this decision and expect that we will receive relevant documents and call Ms. Miers to testify in September.
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9 Comments:

At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Bil said...

I know Harriet Myers heart and she needs to testify...

 
At 11:24 AM, Anonymous IludiumPhosdex said...

How do we know that those covered by the ruling won't actually turn out being "advised" to play the "soverign citizen" patsy to protect His Fraudulency?

 
At 11:52 AM, Blogger KenInNY said...

I'm not optimistic myself. I think Chairman Conyers is doing his job as best he can, trying to investigate DoJ doings that his committee is required to investigate, and I think Judge Bates is doing his job, enforcing the law.

But when you have a regime that truly believes it's not subject to the law, I think you can shake your fist all you like, and you're still not going to get these people to obey the law. Maybe breaking the law is just force of habit for them.

Ken

 
At 1:33 PM, Anonymous me said...

Jeez, that picture of Myers is horrible!

I know what makes gop women so damned ugly - it's their soul showing through.

 
At 1:54 PM, Anonymous me said...

"I think Chairman Conyers is doing his job as best he can"

Wow, you're MUCH more generous than I am. I put Conyers in the same league as Pelosi.

 
At 2:58 PM, Blogger KenInNY said...

Hmm, me . . .

(1) Yes, our Harriet is a real sweetheart -- and just one of that corps of otherwise-unattached women who have been mysteriously drawn into the orbit of that prince among men, George W. Bush. (Let's see, there's La Condi . . . ) I don't want to pursue this any further, however; we're straying into Creepyland.

(2) As to Chariman Conyers, I was thinking specifically of this matter of trying to get testimony from people who believe they're anointed with special immunities. I can't say I've really thought about his overall performance.

Ken

 
At 3:02 PM, Anonymous wjbill said...

I know Harriet must be just "misunderstood" as she was working to protect America from the 'terrists' and how could we ever find her or her helpers guilty? Anyway, she has a lapel pin on so ........ get off her case!
This all seems like just so much theatrics anymore!

 
At 7:31 PM, Anonymous me said...

ken -

1. OK, I won't even mention Katherine Harris. Or ...

2. Conyers seems to be good at yakking. I suggest holding your applause until you see something actually happen.

 
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