Judge reluctant to wade into White House subpoena fight
Congress was trying to be diplomatic when it brought an unprecedented lawsuit to settle its subpoena fight against the White House, a lawyer told a federal judge Monday. After all, lawmakers could've just arrested the president's former lawyer for refusing to testify.
The judge's response?
Maybe they should have.
Essentially, the judge (a Bush appointee) said the same thing we've been saying. Congress should have used its own powers to hold the Josh Bolton and Harriet Miers in inherent contempt. Congress should have taken it upon themselves to enforce their own subpoenas.
It gets better:
The judge spent much of the time, however, talking about whether he should issue a ruling at all.
"Both sides have the same argument," Bates said. "Whether I rule for the executive branch or I rule for the legislative branch, I'm going to disrupt the balance."
The article ends with this:
Bates suggested that the two sides might still settle the dispute before he rules, avoiding a final court showdown altogether.
That hinted at one option the judge has that could pre-empt his own ruling: He could order both sides to negotiate further and, if nothing came of it, Bates could just put the case on a shelf until the end of the year. When the new Congress begins its term in 2009, the subpoenas essentially vanish and the case would be moot.
So... our fearless Democrats will have once again engineered a Bush steamrolling.
Except maybe not.
Call me a cynic, but I anticipated this exact sequence of events on a conference call with Nancy Pelosi several months ago.
Let's go to the tape:
Yeah, I didn't like it either when she laughed after I mentioned inherent contempt. And I'm not sure this article bodes well for the period in which Obama is going to bring us all together and help us "heal".
But at least we have Pelosi on the record.
If she breaks her word, it won't be the first time a politician was a little less than truthful with us, but for those of us that really want to see the bad guys get what they deserve... well, letting contempt slide will be a really, really disappointing turn of events.