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New Bush claims Congress can not challenge executive privilege
[link|http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/19/AR2007071902625.html?hpid=topnews|Washington Post]
Bush administration officials unveiled a bold new assertion of executive authority yesterday in the dispute over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, saying that the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege.

The position presents serious legal and political obstacles for congressional Democrats, who have begun laying the groundwork for contempt proceedings against current and former White House officials in order to pry loose information about the dismissals.

Under federal law, a statutory contempt citation by the House or Senate must be submitted to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, "whose duty it shall be to bring the matter before the grand jury for its action."

But administration officials argued yesterday that Congress has no power to force a U.S. attorney to pursue contempt charges in cases, such as the prosecutor firings, in which the president has declared that testimony or documents are protected from release by executive privilege. Officials pointed to a Justice Department legal opinion during the Reagan administration, which made the same argument in a case that was never resolved by the courts.

Under long-established procedures and laws, the House and Senate can each pursue two kinds of criminal contempt proceedings, and the Senate also has a civil contempt option. The first, called statutory contempt, has been the avenue most frequently pursued in modern times, and is the one that requires a referral to the U.S. attorney in the District.

Both chambers also have an "inherent contempt" power, allowing either body to hold its own trials and even jail those found in defiance of Congress. Although widely used during the 19th century, the power has not been invoked since 1934 and Democratic lawmakers have not displayed an appetite for reviving the practice.

The battle continues. Bush has made it clear that this administration will fight at every step of the way. The Democrats are going to have to get more aggressive if they want to win. Their slow grind through the courts would probably prevail in court eventually, but by that time it won't matter.

Jay
New Impeachment needs to go back on the table.
-----------------------------------------
Atheism is a religion in the same sense that not collecting stamps is a hobby.
New All that is needed
is for the opposition to grow some stones.

This is the same argument made 30 years ago..needs to be legally challenged and defeated by the D controlled legislative branch so we don't see it again.

Too much of today's music is fashionable crap dressed as artistry.Adrian Belew
New All that is needed? Guillotines would be a start
What Next For the Bush/Cheney Administration? Maybe Guillotines!

Wonkette [link|http://wonkette.com/politics/dept%27-of-revolution-for-dummies/what-next-for-the-bushcheney-administration-maybe-guillotines-280860.php|weighs in:]
They're immune to all laws, they can throw you in the gulag for any reason at all, and they can lock up all your money and property if you're "impeding" whatever crazed satanic bullshit they\ufffdre doing now or in the future. So what can Congress or the Military or you, the hapless citizen, actually do to stop them? We\ufffdve consulted top historians and constitutional scholars—the ones that came up on the first page of the Google search, anyway—and they\ufffdve got some fun advice for America.
There follows a brief discussion of alternatives: "inherent contempt" invoked by Congress, military intervention, looting and burning of elected officials' DC homes to signal popular disapprobation, non-cooperation of federal employees in enforcing martial law. Myself, I like the guillotine option at this point.

Seriously: Beep's sunny "all that is needed" prescription notwithstanding (it is not to be wondered at that his take on Watergate remains in 2007 approximately as sophisticated as it was from the—fifth? sixth?—grades), it's not just a matter of "the opposition [needing] to grow some stones." Unless, of course, he means the Republican opposition in the House and Senate? This summer's Democratic majority in Congress, unlike 1974's, is razor-thin, and there is little sign of spine among the Republicans in either house. Where are today's Goldwater, Scott and Rhodes? No, today's zombie GOP shambles lockstep in fealty to the Dear Leader. The Cult of Personality trumps allegiance to the ancient prerogatives of Congress (what's that you say? The Constitution? Oh, dear boy!), and party solidarity will likely smother these last few spasms of the old Republic.

If Bushco prevails in this, it's "game over" for the quaint little North American 18th century experiment in self-government. Put a fucking fork in it.

I have suspected since the last election that the final two years of the junta would surpass in wickedness, depravity and disaster all that had gone before. I don't count myself among those predicting a state of emergency and cancellation of the 2008 elections hard upon a "Reichstag fire," but should such a thing come to pass I feel confident that IWT will be the logical first stop to learn from Bill P why it's no biggie.

cordially,
Die Welt ist alles, was der Fall ist.
New It needs to be put to due process.
Bush's legal team has given their OPINION. Its the duty of congress (and they don't need 60%...just that razor thin majority") to force this into the Courts. Of course, that means that they will have to do SOMETHING other than pass non binding resolutions and >threaten< contempt.

If they don't...well maybe its time for this Republic to die. It will CERTAINLY be time to vote out every incumbent in federal service.

I like beer anyway.
Too much of today's music is fashionable crap dressed as artistry.Adrian Belew
New That would be a step in the right direction
Bush's legal team has given their OPINION. Its the duty of congress (and they don't need 60%...just that razor thin majority") to force this into the Courts. Of course, that means that they will have to do SOMETHING other than pass non binding resolutions and >threaten< contempt.

That would be a step in the right direction, but a far to slow one. Taking it to court now will mean Bush can simply run out the clock. Congress really needs to take a step towards impeachment.

Jay
New I'm not sure the Democrats want that anymore though....
Bush is extending the powers of the Presidency beyond the Constitution or anything else (people don't even have to APPEAR before Congress) that attempts reign in the Presidency will just limit Hillary's power in office.

When the Clinton were in office, they --

  • Were investigated and had to REINSTATE the travelgate people (who were at-will). That won't happen again.
  • Had to testify before Congress. That won't happen again.
  • Had to open up notes about meeting and advice they received about Health Care Regulation. That won't happen again.
  • Hell, Congress even investigated the Marc Rich pardons, putting Libby on the stand. Congess won't be able to investigate Pardons again.
  • (and it continues) ...


With Hillary and a positive Congress (which is looking more and more likely by the day), they'll be able to do ANYTHING. (Hell, they'll even get to claim that we're "Fighting the War on Terror").

Ya gotta thank the Republican party for this one. They're handing it to them on a silver platter.
New You mean to tell me...
...that its possible that the Democrats are equally as power hungry as the current junta? and when in power will use all the exact same tactics to resist their opposition?

What a revelation to me!

[image|/forums/images/warning.png|0|This is sarcasm...]
Too much of today's music is fashionable crap dressed as artistry.Adrian Belew
New chuckle...
...that its possible that the Democrats are equally as power hungry as the current junta?


I think we're making progress. You didn't say the Democrats where MORE power hungry than the current junta.
New Re: chuckle...
I think we're making progress.


are we?
Too much of today's music is fashionable crap dressed as artistry.Adrian Belew
New The don't need 60%?
I call [link|http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2007/07/obstruct-this-by-digby-just-in-case.html|bullshit]
-----------------------------------------
Atheism is a religion in the same sense that not collecting stamps is a hobby.
New They don't
[link|http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/index.php/Contempt_of_Congress|http://www.law.corne...tempt_of_Congress]

And how do you establish jurisdiction? In the Courts.

Your link was on procedural voting. There is no need for that.
Too much of today's music is fashionable crap dressed as artistry.Adrian Belew
New Remember the point Bill
Impeachment. Votes. Filibuster.
-----------------------------------------
Atheism is a religion in the same sense that not collecting stamps is a hobby.
New Re: Remember the point Bill
Not an impeachment vote. Its a filing of criminal charges instead of being nice about it and citing Harriet Meirs with criminal contempt.
Too much of today's music is fashionable crap dressed as artistry.Adrian Belew
New ???
I thought Congress was [link|http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1647157,00.html|citing Miers] with contempt was a criminal charge.

Now it goes to Congress for the full vote. Once voted there (probably in September), if it passes, it goes to the executive branch who are supposed to then execute it.

The kewl part is, this will set precidence for the next President. If Bush doesn't move on it, it'll give carte-blanc to Hillary not to move on anything should a Republican majority get voted into Congress.
New Jury-nullification of the Constitution, then?
Except it's not a jury. Aren't there several labels for an officially dysfunctional successor to a 'government'?

This is beginning to smell like impending Dynastic succession, with each election-skit arrogating more autocratic power to the better-armed ... How then shall the various sub-species of cops decide to handle any arrest request? (or to decide Whose request to obey, especially if there are bigger armor-piercing bullets in Cheney's bunker and that famous walk-in safe.)

While our chosen form of disintegration may supply some amusement to the world, it would have to be pretty rollicking, I'd think - to come close to atoning for the heaped dead burned bodies to date.

(Will the non-Revolution be televised?)


Love. It.

New She was asked to come.
The contempt is thus one of a civil order.

If the Democrats want this to be a showdown they need to level CRIMINAL charges against the players and have a grand jury placed.

The way they are doing it now won't ever be resolved.

And I've a feeling they don't really want it resolved...given the likelihood that they will control the exec branch in 18 months.

My read is most here think that the abuse is somehow limited to this administration...this slippery slope has been in place for more than 30 years...

But Hillary will make it better, won't she.
[image|/forums/images/warning.png|0|This is sarcasm...]
Too much of today's music is fashionable crap dressed as artistry.Adrian Belew
New While I don't disagree on
whether or not Democrats really want this done or not (and I note that every Republican voted AGAINST the charge)...

I thought regardless of whether crimainal or civil charges are filed, that the charges had to come from the House as a whole rather than just a sub-committee. But I could be wrong.

[on edit]
Isn't asked to come incorrect? Wasn't she subpoenaed? (You mean you don't have to show if you're subpoenaed?)
Expand Edited by Simon_Jester July 27, 2007, 12:12:18 AM EDT
New Actually I agree.
If the democrats don't push this, Republicans will when Hillary tries it in a few years.

Time to nip this one in the bud.
New Glenn Greenwald parses the imponderables, pretty well
[link|http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/07/20/executive_privilege/index.html?source=newsletter| Salon].
Friday July 20, 2007 09:27 EST
Bush's magical shield from criminal prosecution


The Bush administration decided to announce to Washington Post reporters Dan Eggen and Amy Goldstein its view that it has the power to block the Justice Department, and its U.S. Attorneys, from criminally prosecuting Executive Branch employees who refuse to comply with Congressional subpoenas, notwithstanding a [link|http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode02/usc_sec_02_00000194----000-.html| statute] enacted by the American people through their Congress requiring such prosecution where Congress issues a contempt citation. We do not know who specifically in the administration announced this obviously radical position because the Post courteously granted them a shield of anonymity to hide behind.

The adminsitration's position is grounded in a [link|http://gulcfac.typepad.com/georgetown_university_law/files/olson.1984.opinion.pdf| 1984 Reagan administration memo] (.pdf) written by then-OLC official Ted Olson which made the same claim. Back then, the EPA refused to turn over to Congress subpoenaed documents as part of a Congressional investigation into Superfund enforcement, causing Congress to cite the EPA officials for criminal contempt. The conflict was never resolved because the EPA ultimately agreed to turn over the demanded documents.

There are several points worth noting here:

(1) What is most significant is, as always, the underlying theory on which this claim is based. From the Post article:

David B. Rifkin, who worked in the Justice Department and White House counsel's office under presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, praised the position and said it is consistent with the idea of a "unitary executive." In practical terms, he said, "U.S. attorneys are emanations of a president's will." And in constitutional terms, he said, "the president has decided, by virtue of invoking executive privilege, that is the correct policy for the entire executive branch."

Just contemplate what that actually means. One of the primary, defining attributes of a civilized society that lives under the rule of law is prosecutorial independence. Without that, political opponents of those in power can be prosecuted for political rather than legal reasons. And worse still, our most powerful political leaders are free to break the law with impunity because they control the prosecutorial process, which -- in this warped view of our republic -- means that presidents have an absolute power to block criminal prosecution of their subordinates who break the law, provided it was done at the President's behest.

[More links ... then concluding:]

Yes, it is true that, as various Democratic statements are claiming, this theory poses a constitutional crisis since, yet again, the President declares the other two branches of government impotent and himself omnipotent. But we have had such a crisis for the last five years. We have just chosen to ignore it, to acquiesce to it, to allow it to fester.

There is no magic force that is going to descend from the sky and strike with lighting at George Bush and Dick Cheney for so flagrantly subverting our constitutional order. The Founders created various checks for confronting tyrannical abuses of power, but they have to be activated by political will and the courage to confront it. That has been lacking. Hence, they have seized omnipotent powers with impunity.

At this point, the blame rests not with the Bush administration. They have long made clear what they believe and, especially, what they are. They have been rubbing in our faces for several years the fact that they believe they can ignore the law and do what they want because nobody is willing to do anything about it. Thus far, they have been right, and the blame rests with those who have acquiesced to it.

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.

-- Glenn Greenwald
Emph. added. Unnecessarily, less'n a retard happens to lurk.

What if:
NONE of these standard-grade bloviating Murican Pols -- can conceive of taking a. single. non-party-related. Action! whatsoever?

Wouldn't that pretty-much leave it to mobs/torches and - a modrin transistorized Guillotine with syndicated Guillotine-cam\ufffd\ufffd\ufffd? (Free croissants: There! bread AND circus.)

New starting to think that a gathering at the gates of smiling
people handing out garden torches, pitchforks and hoes with a daily gibberin is in order.
thanx,
bill
Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?
Any opinions expressed by me are mine alone, posted from my home computer, on my own time as a free american and do not reflect the opinions of any person or company that I have had professional relations with in the past 51 years. meep

reach me at [link|mailto:bill.oxley@cox.net|mailto:bill.oxley@cox.net]
New You already gibber daily.
I think you mean "gibbet".


Peter
[link|http://www.no2id.net/|Don't Let The Terrorists Win]
[link|http://www.kuro5hin.org|There is no K5 Cabal]
[link|http://guildenstern.dyndns.org|Home]
Use P2P for legitimate purposes!
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[image|http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h262/pwhysall/Misc/saveus.png|0|Darwinia||]
New :-)s___at the cut of yout giblet

New societal gibberin, to gibber en mass like sitin
Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?
Any opinions expressed by me are mine alone, posted from my home computer, on my own time as a free american and do not reflect the opinions of any person or company that I have had professional relations with in the past 51 years. meep

reach me at [link|mailto:bill.oxley@cox.net|mailto:bill.oxley@cox.net]
New Isn't it interesting that...
..the current junta "administration" bases their so-called opinion on a memo from 1984?

I'ts all two delicious; George (Orwell, that is) was off by only 25 years.
jb4
"It's hard for me, you know, living in this beautiful White House, to give you a firsthand assessment."
George W. Bush, when asked if he believed Iraq was in a state of civil war (Newsweek, 26 Feb 07)
New Maybe even three delicious.
     Bush claims Congress can not challenge executive privilege - (JayMehaffey) - (25)
         Impeachment needs to go back on the table. -NT - (Silverlock) - (17)
             All that is needed - (bepatient) - (16)
                 All that is needed? Guillotines would be a start - (rcareaga) - (14)
                     It needs to be put to due process. - (bepatient) - (13)
                         That would be a step in the right direction - (JayMehaffey)
                         I'm not sure the Democrats want that anymore though.... - (Simon_Jester) - (3)
                             You mean to tell me... - (bepatient) - (2)
                                 chuckle... - (Simon_Jester) - (1)
                                     Re: chuckle... - (bepatient)
                         The don't need 60%? - (Silverlock) - (7)
                             They don't - (bepatient) - (6)
                                 Remember the point Bill - (Silverlock) - (5)
                                     Re: Remember the point Bill - (bepatient) - (4)
                                         ??? - (Simon_Jester) - (3)
                                             Jury-nullification of the Constitution, then? - (Ashton)
                                             She was asked to come. - (bepatient) - (1)
                                                 While I don't disagree on - (Simon_Jester)
                 Actually I agree. - (Simon_Jester)
         Glenn Greenwald parses the imponderables, pretty well - (Ashton) - (6)
             starting to think that a gathering at the gates of smiling - (boxley) - (3)
                 You already gibber daily. - (pwhysall) - (2)
                     :-)s___at the cut of yout giblet -NT - (Ashton)
                     societal gibberin, to gibber en mass like sitin -NT - (boxley)
             Isn't it interesting that... - (jb4) - (1)
                 Maybe even three delicious. -NT - (CRConrad)

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