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View Diary: Dusting off "Inherent Contempt" (282 comments)

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  •  Perhaps . . . (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fred in Vermont, rabel, Mike Erwin, KenBee

    But I recall discussion of his issue during Watergate, IIRC as the House Judiciary Committee was taking up the articles of impeachment, and Nixon was refusing to turn over the tapes.  There was indeed speculation in the corporate media about the Sgt. at Arms imprisoning the relevant White House official in the Capitol lock up.  

    However, I would say that the chances of that happening are somewhere between zero and negative zero in this instance. We would have a constitutional crisis that would manifest in a physical confrontation between what amount to security guards, and the Federal Protective Service if not Federal Marshalls and conceivably other para-military forces at the command of the executive.  A very ugly picture indeed.

    •  Armed confrontation? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jbeach, KenBee, spencerh

      Yes, and Dems had better be prepared for just that eventuality.  They count on Congress to stop short of going all the way with this.  As long as they are willing to hold on tooth and nail they have already won.

      Terrorists win by bleeding us dry...of our finances. Stop being scared.

      by jrflorida on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:04:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  During W'gate, the court ruled in favor of Congre (0+ / 0-)

      There was a key event that occurred between Nixon's refusal to hand over the tapes to a Senate investigating the election time breakin, and the House 's articles of impeachment. The Judiciary ruled in Congresses' favor. That gave  Justice the responsibility to enforce the subpoena and Congress the green light to issue letters of impeachment. The situation moved from a binary disagreement to 2 to 1.

      May 18, 1973
      The Senate Watergate Committee begins its nationally televised hearings

      July 24, 1974
      The Supreme Court rules unanimously that Nixon must turn over the tape recordings of 64 White House conversations, rejecting the president's claims of executive privilege. Post Story

      July 27, 1974
      House Judiciary Committee passes the first of three articles of impeachment, charging obstruction of justice.

      Imo, there would need a Judicial ubreak to the standoff today also. Likelihood? Ad, Bush.

    •  We need professioinal help for this (0+ / 0-)

      We would have a constitutional crisis that would manifest in a physical confrontation between what amount to security guards, and the Federal Protective Service if not Federal Marshals and conceivably other para-military forces at the command of the executive.  A very ugly picture indeed.

      Yes that does sound ugly.  We clearly would need more than the usual guards to go up against the sort of forces that the executive can muster.  I think that we ought to use some of the existing funds for administration of congress to hire personnel from Backwater or some like security outfit.  The leaders of the House and Senate need to leave the planning and execution of any snatch of executive branch people to real professionals. I think that with professional planning and the element of total surprise on our side this could be pulled off without bloodshed.

      And to avoid the possibility of confrontation with rescue forces sent by the Whitehouse, we should not try to construct holding cells in the Capital building but rather should find some sort of black offshore place suitable for the  rendering of the targets.  We could dispatch people from congress to try them without fear of interference by the executive branch or judicial branch.  I bet, though, that no trial would be needed because once we got the targets in such a situation the relevant congressional committees would find them much more cooperative.

       

      •  Blackwater? (0+ / 0-)

        Jeez, Fred, what are you smoking? Blackwater working against the guys that brought in their gravy train? I don't think so. Fuck the professionals. We need citizens, and lots of them, with a don't-fuck-with-us attitude.

    •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

      I actually think you put the prospects of this particular scenario playing out at too high a number. As you mention, Congress is not going to put themselves in the situation where they rely on physical enforcement of a decision because the executive branch has considerably more resources in that area.

      What seems a likely scenario is that Congress could pass a bill specifically addressing what they need. Bush would certainly veto it, but most Congressional representatives are first and foremost protective about the powers of Congress - regardless of party affiliation.

      Possible bills are creating a new legal enforcement office for prosecution of Congressional contempt orders (if Justice refused to pursue it), a bill allowing the clear removal of any individual from the federal payroll for failure to appear, or many other options which fall clearly within their undisputed power of the purse.

      There are definitely some areas where Congress remains supreme. People often forget that it has only been because Congress has ceded certain authority to the executive because they haven't wanted the operational responsibilities for most things. These grants of power could easily be withdrawn. Imagine a law which repeals the establishment of the Attorney General in the executive branch.

      Of course, impeachment of the individual is the easier and most likely method for failure to respond but there are definitely things short of a physical confrontation.

      •  Congress has all the power (0+ / 0-)

        Congress is not going to put themselves in the situation where they rely on physical enforcement of a decision because the executive branch has considerably more resources in that area.

        Congress can call up the militia, the armed forces, anything they need, even issue Letters of Margue and let mercenaries like Blackwater take the contract.

        Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

        by rktect on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:49:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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