1. Welcome to CowboysZone!  Join us!  Come on!  You know you want to!

US judge: White House aides can be subpoenaed

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by BrAinPaiNt, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Winter is Here Staff Member

    61,732 Messages
    5,114 Likes Received
    LINK



    By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer 23 minutes ago

    WASHINGTON - 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.

    House Democrats called the ruling a ringing endorsement of the principle that nobody is above the law.

    In his ruling, U.S. District Judge John Bates said there's no legal basis for Bush's argument and that his former legal counsel, Harriet Miers, must appear before Congress. If she wants to refuse to testify, he said, she must do so in person. The committee also has sought to force testimony from White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten.

    "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 ruling is a blow to the Bush administration's efforts to bolster the power of the executive branch at the expense of the legislative branch. Disputes over congressional subpoenas are normally resolved through political compromise, not through the court system. Had Bush prevailed, it would have dramatically weakened congressional authority in oversight investigations.

    The administration can appeal the ruling.

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called it "very good news for anyone who believes in the Constitution of the United States and the separation of powers, and checks and balances."

    Democrats swiftly pledged to call Miers before the Judiciary Committee as soon as September to testify about whether the White House played any role in the firings of nine U.S. attorney's last year.

    Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., said he hoped that Miers and Bolten do not appeal the ruling, but that was far from clear.

    White House spokesman Tony Fratto and Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said they were reviewing the opinion and declined immediate comment.

    Nonetheless, Conyers signaled election-season hearings will be held on the controversy that scandalized the Justice Department and led to the resignation of a longtime presidential confidant, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

    "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," Conyers said in a statement. "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."

    Bates, who was appointed to the bench by Bush, issued a 93-page opinion that strongly rejected the administration's legal arguments. He noted that the executive branch could not point to a single case in which courts held that White House aides were immune from congressional subpoenas.

    "That simple yet critical fact bears repeating: the asserted absolute immunity claim here is entirely unsupported by existing case law," Bates wrote.
  2. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Winter is Here Staff Member

    61,732 Messages
    5,114 Likes Received
    I am temporarily happy.

    I doubt much will come from it as the people will appeal and wind up delaying it forever.

    However it is nice to get a legal ruling on it.

    This is something that should have been done long ago and something that needs to be in place for both parties.

    We need oversight and we need clear separations between the powers of the branches.

Share This Page