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What Would Happen If The Administration Continues To Defy The Subpoenas?

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DeSwiss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 12:44 AM
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What Would Happen If The Administration Continues To Defy The Subpoenas?
What Would Happen if the Administration Continues to Defy the Subpoenas?

Balkinization
Friday, July 06, 2007
Posted 9:40 PM by Marty Lederman

{Excerpt from article}:

....Congress can itself prosecute the contumacious official(s) to coerce them to comply -- a power that the Supreme Court has affirmed. See Jurney v. MacCracken, 294 U.S. 125 (1935); Anderson v. Dunn, 19 U.S. (6 Wheat.) 204 (1821); see also Groppi v. Leslie, 404 U.S. 496, 499 (1972). As Justice Scalia explained in Young v. U.S. ex rel. Vuitton et Fils, S.A., 481 U.S. at 820, this legislative prosecution authority is a constitutional anomaly of sorts -- a "limited power of self-defense" for Congress, permissible because "any other course 'leads to the total annihilation of the power of the House of Representatives to guard itself from contempts, and leaves it exposed to every indignity and interruption that rudeness, caprice, or even conspiracy, may meditate against it'" (quoting Anderson).

How would such self-help work? Well, believe it or not, the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate or House would personally arrest the officials and detain them in the Capitol jail or guardhouse (assuming such a facility still exists). (One of my students last semester noticed this gem on the website of the current Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, Terrance Gainer: "The Sergeant at Arms is authorized to arrest and detain any person violating Senate rules, including the President of the United States." We wondered in class: What could possibly have motivated Mr. Gainer or his staff to post that provocation?) The person would then be tried by the legislative house and, if found guilty (of civil contempt), could be detained until compliance with the subpoena or until the session of Congress ends, Anderson, 19 U.S. at 231, whichever comes first.

link: http://balkin.blogspot.com/2007/07/what-would-happen-if...


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Adsos Letter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 01:22 AM
Response to Original message
1. well, if the experience of the recent past is any indicator...
...not much of any real substance...unfortuneately...

But, one can hope (and demonstrate, and write the powers-that-be)...
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DeSwiss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 01:45 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. The best part of this article to me was....
...other than the fact that the Sargeant-at-Arms gets to lock up Presidents, is the part where Scalia has verified the Constitutional authority to do so.

So Georgie can't expect any help from The Godfather of the Supremes like he did before in 2000. And there is NO BAIL.....
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Vidar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 02:03 AM
Response to Original message
3. Hopefully impeachment, probably nothing.
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BeHereNow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 02:17 AM
Response to Original message
4. Nothing...as witnessed by years of criminal activity by this gang without consequence.
Sorry, but I am not counting on the corporate owned dems to save shit or shinola
any more than I would the corporate owned republicans.
Their stage show is more impressive, to be sure-
however, so far, the end result does not deviate from the
global elite's agenda.
I would be more than happy if someone would prove me wrong.
BHN
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Golden Raisin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 02:35 AM
Response to Original message
5. There will be more public heaving of
tsk-tsk-tsks and more "investigations". BushCo will continue to openly defy any Congressional subpoenas, laugh and smirk at the neutered congress for which they have open contempt, and that's about it.
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DeSwiss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 03:24 AM
Response to Original message
6. I vote for "all of the above"
I think you're all right.
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Philosoraptor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 03:26 AM
Response to Original message
7. bush will smirk, cheney will sneer, rove will grin like a possum eatin' shit.
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DeSwiss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 04:43 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. I know you probably hear this all the time....
...but you have a way with words.
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radfringe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 04:39 AM
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8. it's clear there is something the Dems can do
the question is - WILL THEY?

Will they move forward with contempt charges? Will they stay-the-course when the bushies surge back?

to the DEMS in congress: If you continue to weenie-out on confronting the bushies, how can we, the people, believe you will stand up against the threats facing us today?

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DeSwiss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 05:04 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. You're right, that is the question....
...and why should we have to explain to a bunch of lawyers what the Constitution says? To me what they're really saying is, they're more afraid of "fracturing" the Dem block and than are with the progressive wing of the party. Makes it pretty plain to me. However, this isn't simply an issue for political debate, but the essence of our liberty the way I see it.

These people have flaunted the laws of the country and internationally in their faces, and are daring them to do something about it. These are the same people that we punched the keys for on suspect polling machines last November. Now they dither, though they were so eloquent in their recriminations before. When they were running. In the end our fates are tied together. This is a constitutional crisis.

WillPitt was right. It'll look the same, but it'll all be different.
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Disturbed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 05:20 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. Maybe Rep. Conyers will issue Inherent Contempt charges.
The time would be in Sept. when Congress resumes.
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DeSwiss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 07:16 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. September would be a good month....
...provided we haven't already started a war with Iran by then.

I suggest he do it on the 11th....

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ikojo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 06:15 AM
Response to Original message
12. Absolutely NOTHING...
Not until there is a real opposition party with SPINE in congress. The Dems need to get on cable news and on radio and beat this into the ground about how the Bush administration is actively ignoring subpoenas.

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ContraBass Black Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 07:18 PM
Response to Original message
14. People who read and post on DU will get even more indignant.
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rolleitreks Donating Member (282 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 07:19 PM
Response to Original message
15. They could go to court and obtain a Writ of Mandamus
compelling the attorney general to convene a grand jury.

No thanks necessary, I'll bill ya'.
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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 07:21 PM
Response to Original message
16. Why do you bash "our party members"...
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 07:40 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. that article doesn't 'bash' the Democrats, it offers a different course, IF
IF the subpoenas are defied. It doesn't preclude charging criminal contempt as some are attempting to do, it just cites the obstacles to success and suggests a different way to get the accountability we all seek.

The piece is really rather sympathetic to the course of criminal contempt:


"Senator Leahy is correct in one important respect: In almost every single historical case where a House of Congress has issued a contempt citation or threatened to do so, that has prompted the Executive branch to further "accommodate" the legislature by providing information sufficient to allow Congress to proceed with its investigation. (One possible exception, from the Nixon Administration, was Senate Select Comm. on Presidential Campaign Activities v. Nixon, 498 F.2d 725 (D.C. Cir. 1974), in which the Administration successfully resisted a Senate subpoena.)

One might hope that the prospect of its officials being held in contempt would cause this Administration to do the same -- especially because the contempt is a crime punishable by up to a year in prison (see 2 U.S.C. 192), and because, as the Acting Attorney General has written, the court of appeals "has recognized that each branch has a 'constitutional mandate to seek optimal accommodation of each other's legitimate interests" (quoting U.S. v. AT&T, 567 F.2d at 127).
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