BlueBloggin

Taking Texas And The Nation Back

Archive for the ‘Judiciary Committee’ Category

RNC Now Seeks Shelter of Executive Privilege

Posted by nytexan on August 14, 2007

t r u t h o u t | Report: By Jason Leopold

  • The Republican National Committee said it will not abide by a subpoena and turn over documents to a Congressional committee investigating the firings of at least eight US attorneys last year because the RNC is waiting to see if the White House will assert executive privilege over RNC documents at the center of the controversy, according to an outside law firm retained by the RNC.

Are they freaking kidding me!!! So let me see if I understand how Executive Privilege works; you don’t have to work in the White House or even be a passed employee of the White House staff, you just have to have associations with the Bush gang. Well crap that’s have the country that now claim executive privilege.

  • The White House has asserted executive privilege to block senior administration officials from testifying before Congress about their involvement in the decision to fire the federal prosecutors. Moreover, the White House has cited executive privilege in declining to turn over specific documents to Congress that may shed further light on the circumstances behind the attorney firings. The US attorneys believe they were fired for partisan political reasons. In some instances, the US attorneys said they were pressured by Republican lawmakers and RNC operatives to file criminal charges against Democrats at the center of public corruption probes prior to last year’s midterm election as well as individual cases of voter fraud, which the attorneys said was based on weak evidence, in order to cast a dark cloud over Democratic incumbents and swing election results toward Republican challengers.
  • Earlier this year, internal Justice Department documents related to behind-the-scenes discussions involving the US attorney firings revealed some Bush administration officials have primarily used email accounts maintained by the RNC to conduct official White House business in what appears to be a violation of the Presidential Records Act. The RNC is believed to have thousands of pages of documents from White House officials in its possession, dating back to 2005, that could answer lingering questions about the role the administration played in the decision to fire the US attorneys.
  • The latest salvo between the RNC and Congress over the documents under subpoena sets the stage for a legal showdown between the House and RNC Chairman Robert Duncan, who Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers threatened to hold in contempt if documents and internal RNC emails relating to the Congressional probe are not turned over to his committee. Neither Conyers nor a spokesman for the congressman returned calls for comment on Monday. Presumably, any further legal action would take place when Congress returns from its summer vacation next month.
  • In a letter sent on Friday to Conyers, Robert Kelner, an attorney at Covington & Burling in Washington, DC, said the White House counsel’s office instructed the RNC not to “produce Category Two documents at this time.”

Full Read

Posted in Bush, Congress, Conyers, Department of Justice, executive privilege, Judiciary Committee, Oversight, Politics, RNC | 3 Comments »

Spector To Probe Supreme Court Decisions

Posted by nytexan on July 26, 2007

Is there anyone that Bush nominates, is associated with or appoints who doesn’t come under investigation or question? I think not. Arlen Spector, former chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, plans to review the confirmation testimony of Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito. It appears that after both nominees gave their assurances to uphold stare decisis, they swiftly moved in the opposite direction. Bravo Spector.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) plans to review the Senate testimony of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel A. Alito to determine if their reversal of several long-standing opinions conflicts with promises they made to senators to win confirmation.

Specter, who championed their confirmation, said Tuesday he will personally re-examine the testimony to see if their actions in court match what they told the Senate.

“There are things he has said, and I want to see how well he has complied with it,” Specter said, singling out Roberts.

The Specter inquiry poses a potential political problem for the GOP and future nominees because Democrats are increasingly complaining that the Supreme Court moved quicker and more dramatically than advertised to overturn or chip away at prior decisions.

Specter, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, who served as chairman during the hearings, said he wants to examine whether Roberts and Alito have “lived up” to their assurances that they would respect legal precedents.

Judicial independence is “so important,” Specter said, but an examination could help with future nominations. “I have done a lot of analyzing and have come to the conclusion that these nominees answer just as many questions as they have to.”

“Certainly Justice Roberts left a distinct impression of his service as chief justice. And his performance on the court since, I think, has been in conflict with many of the statements he has made privately, as well as to the committee,” said Durbin, who was unaware of Specter’s idea.

“They are off to a very disturbing start, these two new justices. I am afraid before long they will call into question some of the most established laws and precedents in our nation.”

Breyer, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, drew attention last month for suggesting that Roberts and the conservative majority were flouting stare decisis, the legal doctrine that, for the sake of stability, courts should generally leave past decisions undisturbed.

“It is not often in the law that so few have so quickly changed so much,” Breyer said, reading his dissent from the bench to a 5-4 ruling that overturned school desegregation policies in two cities.

Roberts has defended his rulings as applications of “existing precedent.”

Specter, however, said Breyer’s statement was “an especially forceful criticism of the Roberts court.”

Like other Republicans and many Democrats, Specter grilled the nominees on their approach to precedent, often as a way to discern their thoughts on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling establishing abortion rights. And Specter repeatedly sought assurances that Roberts and Alito would respect what the senator considered settled law.

Before voting to confirm Roberts and Alito, Specter cited their statements on precedent as reason enough to put them on the high court.  

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said the testimony from Roberts and Alito was misleading in light of their rulings.

“I very much got the idea, the strong chain of reasoning, that they had great respect for stare decisis and they didn’t want to be activist judges,” said Feinstein, who voted against both nominees. “As you know, some of these latest cases have pretty much shattered precedent.”

A review could put “judges on notice that they can’t come in front of the Judiciary Committee, say one thing and leave one impression, and then go out and do another,” she added.

Posted in "Supreme Court", Arlen Specter, Headlines, Judiciary Committee, Justice John Roberts, Justice Samuel A. Alito, News, Senate | Leave a Comment »

Judiciary Committee Passes Contempt Resolution

Posted by nytexan on July 25, 2007

UPDATE FROM CNN
The panel’s decision now goes to the House floor for a vote.

The full House is unlikely to take up the issue before the August recess, a Democratic leadership aide told CNN.

The Committee has approved the report recommending to the House that Miers and Bolten be cited for Contempt of Congress.

Subcommittee Chairwoman Linda Sánchez gives opening remarks:

Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-29) speaks on the contempt that Miers and Bolton have, in fact, shown for the Congress, and rebuts opposition criticisms:

Posted in Adam Schiff, Bush, Congress, Contempt, Conyers, executive privilege, Harriet Miers, Headlines, josh bolten, Judiciary Committee, Politics, Sanchez | 20 Comments »

Report Suggests Laws Broken in Attorney Firings

Posted by nytexan on July 25, 2007

I think there’s a good chance Miers is going to jail.

House Democrats, preparing for a vote today on contempt citations against President Bush’s chief of staff and former counsel, produced a report yesterday that for the first time alleges specific ways that several administration officials may have broken the law during the multiple firings of U.S. attorneys.

The report says that Congress’s seven-month investigation into the firings raises “serious concerns” that senior White House and Justice Department aides involved in the removal of nine U.S. attorneys last year may have obstructed justice and violated federal statutes that protect civil service employees, prohibit political retaliation against government officials and cover presidential records.

The investigation “has uncovered serious evidence of wrongdoing by the department and White House staff,” Conyers says.

The memorandum says the probe has turned up evidence that some of the U.S. attorneys were improperly selected for firing because of their handling of vote fraud allegations, public corruption cases or other cases that could affect close elections. It also says that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and senior Justice aides “appear to have made false or misleading statements to Congress, many of which sought to minimize the role of White House personnel.”

In addition, the memorandum asserts repeatedly that the president’s top political adviser, Karl Rove, was the first administration official to broach the idea of firing U.S. attorneys shortly after the 2004 election — an assertion the White House has said is not true.

In one of more than 300 footnotes, the Democrats point to a Jan. 6, 2005, e-mail from an assistant White House counsel that says that Rove “stopped by to ask . . . how we planned to proceed regarding U.S. attorneys, whether we were going to allow them to stay, request resignations from all and accept only some of them, or selectively replace them, etc.”

Last week, White House officials vowed that if the full House holds the two officials in contempt, they would block lawmakers’ ability to bring the charges before a federal judge by preventing any U.S. attorney from pursuing such a case. The administration cited a 1984 Justice Department legal opinion, never adjudicated in the courts, that said that a federal prosecutor cannot be compelled to bring a case seeking to override a president’s executive privilege claim.

In the memorandum, the Democrats provide the first legal justification for countering the White House’s view, saying that the 1984 legal opinion “does not apply here.” For one thing, the Democrats contend, Bush has not invoked the privilege properly because he has not furnished a signed statement or “privilege logs” specifying the documents being withheld. In addition, the memo says, “there is not the slightest indication” the 1984 opinion would apply to a former executive branch official, such as Miers.

Posted in Bush, Congress, Contempt, Conyers, executive privilege, Gonzales, Harriet Miers, Inherent Contempt, Judiciary Committee, News, Politics, Rove | 1 Comment »

Pelosi Promises Contempt Charge For Harriet Miers

Posted by nytexan on July 23, 2007

SF Chronicle

  • Congress this week will take the next step to force the Bush administration to hand over information about the dismissal of U.S. attorneys and the politicization of the Justice Department, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Saturday.

  • The House Judiciary Committee will bring contempt of Congress charges against the administration this week, said the San Francisco Democrat. She did not specify who the subject of the action would be, but Pelosi spokesman, Brendan Daly, said later it would be former White House counsel Harriet Miers, who defied a House Judiciary Committee subpoena to appear.

  • “They have disregarded the call of Congress for information about their politicizing the Department of Justice. We can document that. Those are actual facts and we will bring the contempt of Congress forth,” said Pelosi, who spoke with reporters at a San Francisco workshop for people who want to become U.S. citizens.

  • Congress has for months been seeking information about which administration officials were involved in the dismissals of the attorneys. The White House, however, has claimed “executive privilege” for many of those requests, meaning the executive branch is free from oversight of the legislative and judiciary branches of the government in those instances. A House judiciary subcommittee has voted to reject such reasoning.

  • Contempt of Congress is defined by federal law as action that obstructs the work of Congress, including investigations. If both the White House and Congress stick to these positions, the matter could become a constitutional question for the courts to decide.

On Impeachment of Bush 

Notice in Pelosi’s statement  she doesn’t address Cheney. I think the veep is on the table. With Cheney out of the way Bush won’t know what to do.

  • Pelosi also reiterated Saturday that she would not engage in what would perhaps be the biggest confrontation possible with the White House — seeking the impeachment of Bush over the Iraq war.

  • The speaker said she had “no hesitation” criticizing the president about his handling of the war, but said there were more important priorities for lawmakers — such as health care and creating jobs — than the divisive pursuit of impeachment.

  • “Look, it’s hard enough for us to end the war. I don’t know how we would be successful in impeaching the president,” Pelosi said.

  • She did note that calls for the president’s removal are not coming just from San Francisco.

  • “I’m not unsympathetic to the concern people have — I hear it all over the country. People here have said to me, ‘Well, people on the left want the president to be impeached.’ I hear it across the board across the country. It’s not just the left,” Pelosi said.

If Congress brings us the head of Cheney, I could very well look past Bush. For Bush will be lost without the puppet master.

Posted in Bush, Cheney, Congress, Constitution, Contempt, Conyers, Department of Justice, executive privilege, Harriet Miers, Headlines, Impeach, Inherent Contempt, Judiciary Committee, News, Pelosi, President, Republican | 6 Comments »

Indict Bush After Immunity Is Gone, Like Chirac

Posted by bosskitty on July 21, 2007

Chirac on trial

No other former president in the nearly 50-year history of the Fifth Republic has been questioned by a judge investigating criminal activities.

France’s Chirac Queried in Probe of Party Financing

PARIS — A judge questioned former president Jacques Chirac for more than four hours Thursday in an investigation into a party financing scandal that dates to his time as mayor of Paris, his attorney said.

Chirac faces investigators, his immunity gone

Mr. Chirac lost his presidential immunity from prosecution on June 16, a month after he left office. He has denied committing any wrongdoing during his time as mayor of Paris.

France: Chirac Faces Corruption Inquiry

chirac2.jpeg storiesbush.jpg

In light of these developments surrounding France’s Ex-President prior criminal activities, this country must have the resources to do the same to the Bush Crime Syndicate! Someone, please, gimme a legal take on what we must do to hold them accountable if impeachment fails!

Beware! Bush has a terrorist production in the wings to postpone coming elections! He is laughing from his ass now that the polyps are gone …

Posted in Accountability, Anti-War, “Corporate Corruption”, betrayal, Bill of Rights, Bush, Cheney, civil liberties, civil rights, Constitution, Corruption, criminal, Democracy In Action, Department of Justice, Election, Evil, Executive Branch, Executive Orders, executive privilege, Fear, Federal Court, Homeland Security, Hypocracy, immunity, Impeach, indictment, Inherent Contempt, Jacques Chirac, Judiciary Committee, Law, President, resonsibility, Scandal, terrorists | Leave a Comment »

Wexler, Waters, Schiff, Wasserman Agree To Meet On Impeachment

Posted by nytexan on July 20, 2007

There’s still hope to have Cheney impeached and more in Congress are listening.

  • It’s time — ImpeachForPeace.org is heading to Washington DC to meet with Representatives! On Thursday, July 26th, we’ll be presenting reps with thousands of petitions formally initiating the impeachment of Vice President Richard Cheney.
  • ImpeachForPeace.org members along with David Swanson of After Downing Street will meet with Rep. Maxine Waters and the offices of Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Robert Wexler, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and other representatives as they are available. These House Reps are part of the Judiciary Committee, which currently has a resolution (House Resolution 333) to impeach Vice President Cheney. We’ll be presenting the petitions and urging these representatives to support impeachment on behalf of the majority of Americans who have indicated that they support the impeachment of Vice President Cheney.
  • “Do-It-Yourself” Impeachment Petitions are described under the House Rules, Jefferson’s Manual Section LIII. They constitute a legal means of initiating the impeachment process, and were successfully used in 1830 to impeach Federal Judge James Peck. This method is the only means by which an individual citizen can legally initiate the impeachment of a federal official. While only one such citizen’s petition is necessary to begin the process, thousands of these are to be delivered on Friday.

Posted in Adam Schiff, Cheney, Congress, Debbie Wasserman, Impeach, Judiciary Committee, Maxine Waters, Robert Wexler | 12 Comments »

Democrats Move Toward Holding Miers in Contempt

Posted by nytexan on July 18, 2007

Congressional Democrats inched closer to holding Harriet Miers in contempt yesterday after the former White House Counsel reiterated her decision not to comply with subpoenas seeking testimony and documents related to the recent firing of eight U.S. attorneys.

  • The House Judiciary Committee is weighing what to do next but has few options other than moving to vote Miers in criminal contempt. “They’re on the road, and whether they go fast or slow, it is the road to contempt,” says Charles Tiefer, a law professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law and former deputy counsel to the House.
  • The committee could reach a decision soon, but the bill would then need to come up for a vote on the House floor. But even if a vote of contempt passes, the choice to prosecute lies in the hands of the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. That’s now Jeffrey Taylor, a former counselor to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The D.C. U.S. attorney is not required to prosecute such cases—and in the past has refused to do so.
  • The House could also vote to put Miers in “inherent contempt,” which would mean holding her in the congressional jail, though that hasn’t happened since the 1930s.

Inherent contempt would be the way to go since the U.S. Attorney probably won’t do anything to piss of Alberto and George. He’ll get a directive from Bush telling him not to do his job.

  • Or Democrats could turn up the pressure on the executive branch by subpoenaing other White House officials connected to the firings. Congress has already authorized subpoenas for a number of officials, including J. Scott Jennings, deputy political affairs director; William Kelley, outgoing deputy White House counsel; and Karl Rove, Bush’s chief political adviser. However, the president is likely to assert executive privilege over their testimony, as he did with Sara Taylor, the former White House political director, who testified last week under a subpoena by the Senate.
  • Another wild card is the House’s subpoena to the Republican National Committee for documents related to the firings. Conyers gave the RNC extra time yesterday for the White House to determine whether documents contain privileged material.

I love all these options. Bush can’t stonewall forever.

  • But if the last most significant battle over executive privilege is any guide, resolution may not come through the legal system. In 1982, then Environmental Protection Agency Director Ann Gorsuch Burford asserted executive privilege over a congressional subpoena, leading the House to hold her in contempt. The U.S. attorney held off prosecution, but eventually the White House, under the direction of then (and now) White House Counsel Fred Fielding, negotiated a compromise that allowed Congress to view the documents.

Posted in Bush, Congress, Contempt, Conyers, Gonzales, GOP, Harriet Miers, Inherent Contempt, Judiciary Committee, News, Politics, President, Republican, RNC | 6 Comments »

Miers Rejects Subpoena Compliance

Posted by nytexan on July 17, 2007

Former White House Counsel Harriet Miers has again rejected calls from the House Judiciary Committee to comply with a subpoena for her testimony on the firing of 9 US Attorneys in 2006 and 2007. The Committee had set a deadline of 5 PM for Miers to explain how she would comply with the subpoena.

“In light of the continuing directives to Ms. Miers and as previously indicated to your Committee, I must respectfully inform you that, directed as she has been to honor the Executive privileges and immunities asserted in this matter, Ms. Miers will not appear before the Committee or otherwise produce documents or provide testimony as set forth in the Committee’s subpoena,” wrote Miers’ attorney, George Manning, in a letter delivered Tuesday to Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

In his letter, Manning suggested that the prohibition on Miers’ subpoena compliance was ‘unequivocal.’

“The correspondence communicating these unequivocal directives has been previously provided to the Committee,” he wrote. “The Subcommittee has demanded that Ms. Miers do precisely what the President has prohibited her from doing.”

Conyers had set 5 PM, July 17, as the deadline for Miers to make her intentions known about complying with the committee’s subpoena. The Judiciary Committee had warned last week that it would contemplate other actions, including criminal contempt proceedings, if Miers failed to comply with the subpoena.

In a statement released late on Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Conyers said the committee’s next move was being planned.

“The subcommittee has overruled Ms. Miers’ claims of immunity and privilege,” he said. “Her failure to comply with our subpoena is a serious affront to this committee and our constitutional system of checks and balances. We are carefully planning our next steps.”

But even if contempt charges were being planned, Miers appeared ready to stand up to the possibility.

“In fact, the cases cited in your letter confirm that the contempt statute is inapplicable to Ms. Miers,” Manning wrote in the letter to Conyers. “None of these cases involves an assertion of Executive privilege and immunities at issue here. More importantly, as your letter acknowledged, these cases hold that the contempt statute does not apply where a witness has an ‘adequate excuse.'”

Manning argued that Miers did in fact have such an ‘adequate excuse’ against complying with the subpoena, and that she also was not acting ‘willfully’ in contempt of Congress.

Manning’s letter to Conyers can be downloaded at The Raw Story

Posted in Bush, Congress, Conyers, Harriet Miers, Headlines, Judiciary Committee, National, News, Politics, Republican, United States | 4 Comments »

House Panel Rejects Bush Privilege Claim

Posted by nytexan on July 12, 2007

Well this should be an interesting event to watch unfold. I took the highlights of the Washington Post article but if you read the whole article, the Republican are whining about Democratic political play.

Personally, I am sick and tired of the do nothing; complain about everything that is lawful GOP. Had the GOP bothered with oversight and accountability during the 108th and 109th Congress, the 110th Congress wouldn’t constantly be in hearings just trying to figure what in the hell has been going on for the past 6.5 years. Whine, bitch and complain all you want GOP, just remember the American public has had enough of the GOP BS.

A House panel took the first step today toward bringing contempt charges against former White House counsel Harriet E. Miers, further escalating the legal battle between the Bush administration and Congress over access to White House aides and documents.

Miers had been subpoenaed to appear before a House Judiciary subcommittee to testify about her role in last year’s firings of nine U.S. attorneys, but she declined to show up after President Bush instructed her not to appear.

The snub prompted a 7-5 vote by the House panel finding that Miers was out of order and that the Bush administration’s claim of executive privilege in her case was invalid.

“The White House could have prevented an escalation by engaging in reasonable negotiation,” said Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), the subcommittee’s chairwoman. “Unfortunately, Ms. Miers and the White House have chosen a path of confrontation instead of cooperation.

The procedural move amounts to the first concrete step by Democratic lawmakers to pursue contempt proceedings as part of the U.S. attorneys scandal and heightens the possibility that the constitutional dispute will end up in court.

Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the panel must pursue a contempt case or risk sending the message that witnesses can ignore its instructions. “Are congressional subpoenas to be honored or are they optional?” Conyers asked.

In the Miers’ case, the next step would require a finding of contempt by the full Judiciary committee, followed by a vote to issue a contempt citation by the full House. From there the matter would be brought to a grand jury by the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia or, if he is recused, a suitable replacement, officials said.

Miers finds herself in a more precarious legal situation than former White House political director Sara M. Taylor, who chose to respond to a similar subpoena from the Senate Judiciary Committee by appearing for testimony Wednesday while refusing to answer numerous questions.

Posted in Accountability, Bush, Congress, Conyers, GOP, Harriet Miers, Judiciary Committee, National, Politics, President, Republican | 1 Comment »