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Monday, July 16, 2007

Time to play dirty, too -- Make Harriet pay! Correction: Make George and Dick make Harriet pay!

It seems to me Congress must pick up the gauntlet thrown down by Bush in Harriet Miers’ refusal to appear for questioning in the reprehensible and unlawful U.S. Attorneys political massacre. Even at the risk of appearing “weak,” because by definition it commands no armies and does not give orders to Executive Branch officers who answer to an uncooperative President, Congress cannot just sit there and effectively endorse one more outrage to the Constitutional system of checks-and-balances. The Administration and Miers must pay whatever practical and political price they can be made to pay. Congress and progressives everywhere must demand, demand, of the press, even with another khaki revolution punding on the windows of the major edia if necessary, that it make them pay. But first, here are some questions I would like to see answered.

1. Congress has the power to hold someone in contempt apart from enforcement by the Attorney General. It’s called the “inherent contempt” power, as I understand it. So couldn’t it do both (or does it automatically do both)? That is, upon issuance of a contempt citation, the Attorney General is obligated by law to pursue prosecution of the contempt, but if he (Gonzales) refuses, which he presumably would do, the “inherent contempt” citation stands on Miers nevertheless?

2. Congress has arrest power within the Capitol. If an unresolved contempt citation applies to Miers, wouldn’t it (a) make her unable to appear on Capitol Hill, thus possibly weakening any lobbying she could do; (b) force any bar to disbar or otherwise discipline her, preventing her from practicing law or being appointed a judge anywhere? Make George and Dick stick it to Harriet, while Harry, Hillary, Barack, John and every other prominent Democrats say over and over, “What does he have to hide? Why won’t they just let her answer questions that administrations in the past have always answered?”

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