From OpEd News, written by Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL):
Conyers Opens Door to Inherent Contempt for Rove
Karl Rove has simply refused to appear, as he is legally required to do. His actions, endorsed by the Bush/Cheney Administration, are a challenge to our system of checks and balances and Congress must respond to this type of outrageous behavior with appropriate severity.
Today, Judiciary Chairman John Conyers courageously stated today that inherent contempt will remain an option for the House of Representatives so long as Rove and this Administration refuses to abide by the law.
We must now bring Mr. Rove (and other renegade Bush officials) in compliance with the law.
This is a defining moment for Congress: Will we continue to allow legislative power to be eroded by an out of control executive branch that ignores the rule of law – or will we finally put an end to this congressional capitulation and properly force Administration officials to testify in full view of the American people?
It is time for Congress to hold Karl Rove in inherent contempt. I congratulate Chairman Conyers’ positive move in this direction, and we must work to move other Members of Congress in support of the use of inherent contempt. Inherent contempt properly enables the House Sergeant of Arms to physically take custody of Mr. Rove and bring him to the House of Representatives to testify.
How do you think a state or federal judge would react to a witness refusing to comply with a legal subpoena? The wayward witness would be arrested.
Should the Congress of the United States be shown any less respect than any courtroom in the nation?
Should the Congress react any differently than how any American judge would react? Absolutely not.
We are long past the time for threats and negotiation. We must bring Mr. Rove in front of the full Judiciary Committee, under oath. No administration official – not even the President – is above the law. They cannot be allowed to redefine it at will. We must all appear when called or suffer the consequences.
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Karl Rove, President Bush’s longtime political guru, refused to obey an order to testify before a House Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday.
Rove’s lawyer [Robert D. Luskin] asserted that Rove was “immune” from the subpoena the committee had issued, arguing that the committee could not compel him to testify due to “executive privilege.”
The panel is investigating allegations that Rove and his White House allies dismissed U.S. attorneys and prosecuted officials who they saw as political opponents.
Luskin responded immediately that Rove still would not appear, prompting a threat of prosecution from the Judiciary Committee chairman, Rep. John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, and Rep. Linda Sanchez, a California Democrat who chairs the subcommittee on commercial and administrative law.
“A refusal to appear in violation of the subpoena could subject Mr. Rove to contempt proceedings, including statutory contempt under federal law and proceedings under the inherent contempt authority of the House of Representatives,” Conyers and Sanchez wrote.
“We are unaware of any proper legal basis for Mr. Rove’s refusal to even appear today as required by the subpoena,” Sanchez said Thursday morning when Rove failed to show up. “The courts have made clear that no one — not even the president — is immune from compulsory process. That is what the Supreme Court rules in U.S. v. Nixon and Clinton v. Jones.”
Rove’s lawyer cited a letter from the Justice Department saying Rove is “constitutionally immune from compelled congressional testimony.” He said Rove is willing to submit to an “informal interview” or to answer written questions about the prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, whose ouster Rove is accused of orchestrating.
Luskin noted in May that his client had already received a separate subpoena from the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Luskin added that “issues of executive privilege and separation of powers” could limit Rove’s testimony.
In response, Conyers said the two committees are focusing on different matters, with the House committee delving into the prosecution of the former Alabama governor, a Democrat who lost his bid for re-election in 2002 and was convicted on corruption charges in 2006.
Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, called the subpoena “a sham.”
Lamar. Is it just me, or, when you hear of someone named Lamar, do you picture this…..?