Friday, July 20, 2007


FishOutofWater's diary :: ::

at dailykos

Bush defied Congress today, telling them that he would not let the Department of Justice enforce contempt charges after he claimed executive privilege.

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.

Bush is claiming that the US Attorneys cannot and will not be allowed to enforce contempt charges following his declaration of executive privilege. In effect he is declaring that Congress only has the oversight powers that he is willing to give it.

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.

But because the Democrats kept their powder dry on Roberts and Scalia, judges who support authoritarian executive power, the courts will be more receptive to supporting executive power than they were in the Reagan years. If this case goes to the Supreme court it will likely be a 5-4 decision one way or the other. Justice Kennedy would likely decide.

In effect, Bush is saying fuck you to Congress.