“A noble heart cannot suspect in others the pettiness and malice that it has never felt.”
— Jean Racine
Attorney General Michael Mukasey has refused to refer the House's contempt citations against two of President Bush's top aides to a federal grand jury. White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former presidential counsel Harriet Miers committed no crime according to Mukasey . . . and frankly Congress knew that already.
Despite the facts in evidence, the petty mean-spirited House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she has green lighted the Judiciary Committee authority to file a lawsuit against Bolten and Miers in federal court. She did so not because she expects to win but rather as a prerogative of power and because she can. The suit will fuel the partisan acrimony and divisiveness that serves a political purpose leading up to an election.
Pelosi’s contempt for the constitution and separation of powers far exceeds the procedural finesse executed by Bush to insulate his aides from congressional abuse of power.
One of the more brilliant innovations of the Founding Fathers was the separation of powers provisions established in creating three equal but separate branches of government.
Sure over time, each branch has overreached their constitutional mandates and at times each branch has avoided constitutional mandates and responsibilities.The Lincoln executive branch was at times imperial.FDR, Kennedy, Nixon, LBJ, Clinton and both Bushes exceeded their authority. Example: "I'll rule this country by executive order if Congress won't adopt my agenda (Bill Clinton, 7/4/98).Since 1950, Congress has routinely avoided its requirement to declare war. It has been politically more expedient to grant the President war-making authority without exercising the congressional responsibility to declare war. Examples: Korea, Vietnam, Gulf Wars, and Kosovo.The judicial branch has killed and tried to make law which is clearly not their job.
Contingent on whose ox is being gored, each branch has groused about territorial imperatives offended by perceived (real and imagined) poaching by other troika members, while at the same time defending their own indefensible incursions into turf not their own.
"The department will not bring the congressional contempt citations before a grand jury or take any other action to prosecute Mr. Bolten or Ms. Miers," Mukasey wrote House Speaker/Queen of Mean Pelosi.
Pelosi replied with a grossly inaccurate revisionist view saying, "The American people demand that we uphold the law . . . As public officials, we take an oath to uphold the Constitution and protect our system of checks and balances and our civil lawsuit seeks to do just that."
Yeah, Nancy, the American people do want you to uphold your oath to the Constitution and protect "our system of checks and balances." The Bolton-Meirs vendetta is not such a noble quest.
The executive branch can not and should not poach congressional prerogatives. Likewise it is counterintuitive to suggest an executive branch employee; having been ‘ordered’ by the executive branch not to testify is in anyway guilty of contempt of congress.
The Pelosi sparked lawsuit is a political animal.
It is almost amusing (and way hypocritical) that given criticism of Bush's use of executive power is a key component of the Democrats' platform; they would choose to counter with a petty abuse of congressional power fueled primarily by politics and partisanship.
Pelosi gave Mukasey a week to reply to her request for a grand jury. She threatened the House would file a civil suit seeking enforcement of the contempt citations if/when federal prosecutors declined to seek misdemeanor charges she wants against Bolten and Miers.
The economy is on the brink, congressional approval ratings are lower than the temperature in Waterford N.Y., American troops are engaged in two military theaters of operation, the sins of NAFTA are in play, we face challenges with Iran, Russia, China and North Korea, and oil prices are over $102 a barrel . . . yet Congress is hot to trot over nailing a couple of executive branch aides with misdemeanor charges? What is that smell?
It took the AG only one day to respond to the speaker. He had earlier joined his predecessor, Alberto Gonzales, in telling lawmakers they would refuse to refer any contempt citations to prosecutors because Bolten and Miers were acting at Bush's instruction.
The House resolution approving the contempt citations is the first of its type in 25 years. It was the first time that such action had been taken against top White House officials who had been instructed by the president to remain silent to preserve executive privilege.
Mukasey explained that not only was Miers directed not to testify, she also was immune from congressional subpoenas and was right to not show up to the hearing to which she had been summoned. Congress already knew that.
"The contempt of Congress statute was not intended to apply and could not constitutionally be applied to an executive branch official who asserts the president's claim of executive privilege," Mukasey wrote, quoting Justice policy, "Accordingly, the department has determined that the noncompliance by Mr. Bolten and Ms. Miers with the Judiciary Committee subpoenas did not constitute a crime."
Pelosi and her partisan minions don’t want to be confused or distracted with facts that contradict their preconceived partisan prejudice and political lust. There is an election in November.
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