Leahy subpoenas Rove re attorney firings. Another constitutional showdown?!

Story here:

Leahy gives Rove one week to appear.

Strong stuff. But Rove has been invited (not subpoenaed) to testify about this before, and he refused to do so publicly, on the record or under oath. Assuming his position has not changed, he will invoke EP and refuse to show. Then, as with Harriet Miers and Joshua Bolten, they can issue contempt citations, which must be referred to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, unless they dust off the “inherent contempt” power.

Where is all this heading?

Not much of a showdown if the administration can do whatever it wants and the Congress doesn’t mind.

Congress minds, obviously. The question is what they have the power to do about it – a question this Admin appears to be determined to keep out of the courts.

I’m sorry, BG. You’re right, the Congress does mind and would not like to see a continuation of its decline as an organ of government – a process which started long ago. Now is the time to stop it, to stand up and demand accountability.

I’m sure they will write an extremely angry letter, posthaste!

I’m not sure they have any other option except inherent contempt. There has been a lot of hair splitting over the obligation of a US attorney to bring contempt charges before a grand jury.

Would be neat to see the Sergeant-at-Arms go drag Myers and Rove in by the scruff of the neck.

So, who is currently the Congressional Sergeant at Arms, and does he have any idea what kind of crap year he’s in for?

What is “inherent contempt” and how does that different from turning this over to the U.S. Attorney for D.C.?

Does the U.S. Attorney serve Myers and Bolton with contempt citations or does he convene a Grand Jury or both?

Since the U.S. Attorney serves at the pleasure of the President, he does what the President tells him to do (in this instance, sit on his hands).

As for inherent contempt,

The question arises as to what facilities would be used to imprison a convicted wrongdoer.

The House Sergeant at Arms is Wilson Livingood (there’s also one for the Senate).

I think if Congress has any hope of reclaiming some of the power it has mindlessly ceded to the presidency over the past few years, it is going to have to gather its gonads and use its contempt power. Empty threats are just making Congress seem impotent.

How does the Sergeant at Arms arrest someone? Does he have the use of the Capitol Police? And suppose the Secret Service says “no, you may not enter the White House to arrest Karl Rove”. Could we have a shootout?

Well, Rove was a no-show. Jennings appeared but wouldn’t say much.