February 13, 2008

The Gavel:

Today, Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers testified before the Committee on Rules in support of statutory contempt and civil litigating authority resolutions against former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten. Text of Resolution as Introduced (pdf)

Recommending that the House cite someone for contempt of Congress is a step that the Committee, and I as Chairman, take with great reluctance. Unfortunately, it is a step that is clearly necessary to preserve the role and constitutional prerogatives of Congress as an institution, in addition to getting to the bottom of the U.S. Attorney controversy.[..]:

If the executive branch can disregard Congressional subpoenas in this way, we no longer have a system of checks and balances. That is the cornerstone of our democracy, and it is our bipartisan responsibility to protect it. As our former colleague, Republican Mickey Edwards, has explained, taking action is crucial in order to defend Congress “as a separate, independent, and completely equal branch of government.”

Because the White House has refused to reconsider its confrontational position, I believe we have no choice but to bring this contempt resolution to the floor promptly and to ask that this Committee adopt a rule to facilitate doing so.

The wheels of justice are grinding, ever so slowly, but grinding nonetheless.

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