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View Full Version : "King George" Coverup: Executive Privledge means I'm above the law


jAZ
07-19-2007, 11:48 PM
I've gone back and forth between my personal desire to remove Bush (and seeing technical justifications for doing so) and my caution about impeachment being too freely applied (ie, Clinton).

The cases where it's clearly justified are when the President is out of control and acting above the law or abusing it's authority. I think Cheney has clearly acted on several occasions in this way.

And if this article is correct, I think Bush might have moved into the impeachment region himself.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/19/AR2007071902625.html

Broader Privilege Claimed In Firings
White House Says Hill Can't Pursue Contempt Cases

By Dan Eggen and Amy Goldstein
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, July 20, 2007; Page A01

Bush administration officials unveiled a bold new assertion of executive authority yesterday in the dispute over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, saying that the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege.
...
Under federal law, a statutory contempt citation by the House or Senate must be submitted to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, "whose duty it shall be to bring the matter before the grand jury for its action."

But administration officials argued yesterday that ...

"A U.S. attorney would not be permitted to bring contempt charges or convene a grand jury in an executive privilege case," said a senior official, who said his remarks reflect a consensus within the administration. "And a U.S. attorney wouldn't be permitted to argue against the reasoned legal opinion that the Justice Department provided. No one should expect that to happen."

...

Mark J. Rozell, a professor of public policy at George Mason University who has written a book on executive-privilege issues, called the administration's stance "astonishing."

"That's a breathtakingly broad view of the president's role in this system of separation of powers," Rozell said. "What this statement is saying is the president's claim of executive privilege trumps all."

...

But Stanley Brand, who was the Democratic House counsel during the Burford case, said the administration's legal view "turns the constitutional enforcement process on its head. They are saying they will always place a claim of presidential privilege without any judicial determination above a congressional demand for evidence -- without any basis in law." Brand said the position is essentially telling Congress: "Because we control the enforcement process, we are going to thumb our nose at you."

Rozell, the George Mason professor and authority on executive privilege, said the administration's stance "is almost Nixonian in its scope and breadth of interpreting its power. Congress has no recourse at all, in the president's view. . . . It's allowing the executive to define the scope and limits of its own powers."

jAZ
07-19-2007, 11:51 PM
I think the following (from the same link) will likely be the alternate action by congress. I'll be interested to see them imprison folks directly for covering up this investigation.

Under long-established procedures and laws, the House and Senate can each pursue two kinds of criminal contempt proceedings, and the Senate also has a civil contempt option. The first, called statutory contempt, has been the avenue most frequently pursued in modern times, and is the one that requires a referral to the U.S. attorney in the District.

Both chambers also have an "inherent contempt" power, allowing either body to hold its own trials and even jail those found in defiance of Congress. Although widely used during the 19th century, the power has not been invoked since 1934 and Democratic lawmakers have not displayed an appetite for reviving the practice.

stevieray
07-20-2007, 06:57 AM
Jaz can't stand our system when it doesn't work for his personal bias and agenda.

I've never understood why some think popularity or the lack thereof is an indication of anything substantial.

trndobrd
07-20-2007, 07:25 AM
The parts of the story relating to the creation of this doctrine during the Reagan administration and not created out of whole cloth by the Bush White House:

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly, added: "It has long been understood that, in circumstances like these, the constitutional prerogatives of the president would make it a futile and purely political act for Congress to refer contempt citations to U.S. attorneys."

...

In defending its argument, administration officials point to a 1984 opinion by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, headed at the time by Theodore B. Olson, a prominent conservative lawyer who was solicitor general from 2001 to 2004. The opinion centered on a contempt citation issued by the House for Anne Gorsuch Burford, then administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

It concluded: "The President, through a United States Attorney, need not, indeed may not, prosecute criminally a subordinate for asserting on his behalf a claim of executive privilege. Nor could the Legislative Branch or the courts require or implement the prosecution of such an individual."

In the Burford case, which involved spending on the Superfund program, the White House filed a federal lawsuit to block Congress's contempt action. The conflict subsided when Burford turned over documents to Congress.

The Bush administration has not previously signaled it would forbid a U.S. attorney from pursuing a contempt case in relation to the prosecutor firings. But officials at Justice and elsewhere say it has long held that Congress cannot force such action.

David B. Rifkin, who worked in the Justice Department and White House counsel's office under presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, praised the position and said it is consistent with the idea of a "unitary executive." In practical terms, he said, "U.S. attorneys are emanations of a president's will." And in constitutional terms, he said, "the president has decided, by virtue of invoking executive privilege, that is the correct policy for the entire executive branch."

So, as I understand the argument, the White House is saying that Congress cannot force the Justice Department, and by extension, the President, to prosecute itself for invoking executive priviledge.

Mr. Kotter
07-20-2007, 07:26 AM
The assertion of executive privilege would need to be adjudicated FIRST (and decided in favor of the plaintiff,) before anyone could credibly demand the the Justice department be compelled to do as Congress has asked.

In their ideological myopia and blood-lust, Bush critics are attempting to do precisely what they criticized Republicans for doing during the Clinton years....turning the impeachment process into nothing more than a political tool to thwart the President, and policies they disagree with.

Give me a crime and real evidence of substantial criminal activities, and I'll join you on an impeachment lynch mob, Jason. Otherwise, you and others really should just S.T.F.U. about this nonsense. Until that crime is identified, and evidence is supplied....this is nothing more than an ideologically motivated circle jerk, intended to impugn and denigrate a President whom Moonbat extremists have come to despise in an irrational and psychotic way.

Chief Henry
07-20-2007, 07:34 AM
Jiz is definatley a spam miester .

Amnorix
07-20-2007, 08:15 AM
The assertion of executive privilege would need to be adjudicated FIRST (and decided in favor of the plaintiff,) before anyone could credibly demand the the Justice department be compelled to do as Congress has asked.


How is this possible? Congress has staff attorneys, but they're not trial lawyers?

I guess they could pay outside counsel to represent Congress in a dispute with the executive branch. Somewhat odd, but why not I guess.

Mr. Kotter
07-20-2007, 08:30 AM
How is this possible? Congress has staff attorneys, but they're not trial lawyers?

I guess they could pay outside counsel to represent Congress in a dispute with the executive branch. Somewhat odd, but why not I guess.

If you recall, Clinton invoked executive privilege a number of times during the Lewinsky affair...and on at least a couple of occasions had to be told by the Courts, "No, that is not covered by executive privilege." Same sort of deal here, potentially I'd say.

Frankie
07-20-2007, 08:40 AM
Can someone check into how many times Nixon evoked "Executive Privledge" compared to Duhbya? That could be interesting.

Mr. Kotter
07-20-2007, 08:44 AM
Can someone check into how many times Nixon evoked "Executive Privledge" compared to Duhbya? That could be interesting.

And Clinton.... :hmmm:

patteeu
07-20-2007, 11:28 AM
Jaz can't stand our system when it doesn't work for his personal bias and agenda.

That appears to be the case. I wonder how many people were surprised when, after very thoughtful deliberation I'm sure, jAZ came to this conclusion:

I think Bush might have moved into the impeachment region himself.

That wasn't predictable at all. ROFL

Frankie
07-20-2007, 11:37 AM
And Clinton.... :hmmm:
yup

Ultra Peanut
07-20-2007, 11:38 AM
oh god how did that other thread get here i'm not good with computers