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View Diary: Waxman unaware of inherent contempt? (347 comments)

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  •  Give the guy a break. (2+ / 0-)
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    Glenn in NYC, echatwa

    There's plenty of first rate lawyers out there who can't tell you half the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, yet they've managed to try and win hundreds of cases in Federal Court.  He's only been in the position of having to re-learn all the tools at his disposal for what--seven months?   HOW long were we in the minority?  And HOW many times before has the issue of inherent contempt been an actual concern?

    Waxman isn't stupid and he isn't "compromised." He's just busy as hell, that's all. He just made an omission, and that's all. It's been corrected.


    Who was Bush_Horror2004, anyway?

    by Dartagnan on Thu Aug 09, 2007 at 10:49:59 AM PDT

    •  Busy as hell? (1+ / 0-)
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      Yeh, he and all the rest are busy taking a month long vacation after kissing Bush's fat ass.

    •  There aren't that many options to choose from. (2+ / 0-)
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      YetiMonk, bablhous

      If someone ignores your subpoenas, you can either use statutory contempt, inherent contempt, ignore it, or impeach them.

      Four options, and one of them is doing nothing.

      How many do you think it would be reasonable to expect the Chairman of the Oversight Committee to be aware of?

      Leaving out "do nothing," you pick a number between one and three, and we'll see if you can get a consensus on that.

      •  Well let's assume that the quote is accurate (1+ / 0-)
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        Glenn in NYC

        and now he knows.

        And it's unreasonable that he didn't know.

        Let's say all those things are true.

        What do you want to do? Replace him?  If the above is true, I think the likely conclusion is he screwed up and he's human.

        If he was malevolent or just reckless in his ignorance, yeah, but I haven't seen anything suggesting that.  He does a good job.

        Who was Bush_Horror2004, anyway?

        by Dartagnan on Thu Aug 09, 2007 at 11:19:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have to want to replace him... (2+ / 0-)
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          YetiMonk, Susan Something

          to think it's important that he says he doesn't know what his options are?

          Really? That's your view of this?

          •  He didn't exactly say that. (2+ / 0-)
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            Glenn in NYC, KenBee

            He is characterized as saying that he's unaware what the questioner refers to as "inherent contempt" power. But there's no indication that either Reik or Waxman actually used those words, because they're not attributed, they're just put in quotes by The implication is that he doesn't know it, but that's not clear in the narrative, which, is, as you point out, paraphrase. I suspect it's not accurate, but if it is, while I agree that it's embarrassing, in the context of what he's done, it's also an anomaly. It doesn't mean necessarily that he "doesn't know what he's doing."  His career suggests he does know what he's doing.

            As a practical matter it's unlikely that if in fact he didn't know what "inherent contempt" power was, one of the hundreds of staffers for the twenty-odd Democrats on the Committee would somehow get it up the food chain that their boss was missing something essential. In fact I've got to think its practically impossible.

            While I understand the need to educate our Congresspeople and the public about what options are available for dealing with this Executive, the point of this diary appears to be to show that we are smart and they are lax and gosh if they paid more attention to us they'd get it all right. It succeeds in making that point, but very possibly it succeeds at Waxman's expense. I have a lot of confidence in Waxman and I have a reflexive urge to defend him when it looks like the cards being held against him are somewhat dubious. That's what this looks like to me. And because I have a lot of confidence in him I'm prepared to go so far and excuse this even if he did screw up, because it's an anomaly.

            Who was Bush_Horror2004, anyway?

            by Dartagnan on Thu Aug 09, 2007 at 12:05:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm sure it is an anomoly. (5+ / 0-)
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              YetiMonk, bablhous, KenBee, NonnyO, skohayes

              I'm also sure I never said he doesn't know what he's doing.

              While I understand your need to defend Waxman, and while I'll agree it's entirely possible that the cited report of the meeting might be explained in some other way, you'll have to forgive me if I brush past your inclination to clam up and keep your mouth shut, trusting instead that everything's going to be all right, if I can just sit on my hands a little longer.

              The point of this diary, if you'll permit me to discuss my motivations as opposed to having them guessed at, is to illustrate the fact that no matter how much we trust in them, it's almost never a good idea to simply assume that our Congressional Representatives know all there is to know, and that we needn't discuss these things with them.

              That was the point of the April diary I linked to, and it was the point again, today.

              My April diary was, in fact, motivated by having spoken to another member of Congress, and being told that in his conversations about the enforcement options for subpoenas, his colleagues eyes tended to glaze over, and they professed some confusion about exactly this area of the law.

              I felt that a reminder about those options was in order in April, and I believe they're in order today.

              •  In context of your prior diary (0+ / 0-)

                that makes sense.  I didn't read it before I wrote the above. I now have. In light of that, my characterization of what I suspected to be the "point" of your diary is inaccurate.  I apologize for assuming otherwise.

                Who was Bush_Horror2004, anyway?

                by Dartagnan on Thu Aug 09, 2007 at 12:28:32 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  No problems with your post, Kagro... (2+ / 0-)
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                KenBee, Dartagnan

                certainly not your motivations.  It's always a good idea not to assume your Congresscritters know more than they do.

                I could perhaps quibble with your apparent willingness to accept Marcy Winograd's version of the story as accurate, in light of (1) the fact that she said you could "bring criminal charges" through inherent contempt suggests she doesn't really know what she's talking about, and (2) it requires a rather huge assumption of ignorance on Waxman's part.  But your basic point is unassailable.

                I do take issue with the commenters who have taken this as a reason to assume that all Democrats, and Waxman in particular, are (1) morons, (2) feckless, and/or (3) in collusion with Bush, Rove, and the GOP.  But you're not responsible for the blatherings of your commenters.  Including, of course, mine.

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