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Yesterday, we discussed the fact that the standard, statutory contempt of Congress procedure was probably inadequate to the task of enforcing the Democratic Congress' hard-won subpoena power:

The last time the Congress actually voted to hold an executive branch official in contempt of Congress was in the 1982 case of EPA Administrator Anne Gorsuch Burford. Gorsuch (who was later remarried, to Bureau of Land Management head Robert Burford) was found in contempt by a House vote of 259-105 (with 55 Republicans voting in favor). The charges were, in keeping with practice in statutory contempt cases, referred to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia for prosecution.

And a lightbulb switches on! The actual prosecution of contempt of Congress charges is the responsibility of a U.S. Attorney.

What an extraordinary piece of bad luck, given the current situation!

A few astute commenters observed that Congress has another weapon in its arsenal for backing up the subpoena power: the long-dormant "inherent contempt" process, described below in the Congressional Research Service's "Congressional Oversight Manual" (PDF):

Under the inherent contempt power, the individual is brought before the House or Senate by the Sergeant-at-Arms, tried at the bar of the body, and can be imprisoned. The purpose of the imprisonment or other sanction may be either punitive or coercive. Thus, the witness can be imprisoned for a specified period of time as punishment, or for an indefinite period (but not, at least in the case of the House, beyond the adjournment of a session of the Congress) until he agrees to comply. The inherent contempt power has been recognized by the Supreme Court as inextricably related to Congress’s constitutionally-based power to investigate.

The most obvious benefit of inherent contempt is that it's conducted entirely "in-house," that is, entirely on the authority of the legislative branch. The most obvious drawback? Spending time on a trial. Well, that and the scene of having the Sergeant at Arms and the Capitol Police physically barred from entering the White House to arrest those who've defied subpoenas.

But is there another choice? What other power, besides impeachment, does the Congress have in its arsenal to enforce the "subpoena power" we were all told this election was about? There are no other direct options, only oblique approaches to using indirect leverage.

The next question, then, is whether or not anybody in Congress has bothered to think things through to this point, and begin preparing for this possibility. And here, I finally have some good news.

Rep. Brad Miller of North Carolina, in his capacity as chairman of the Science committee's Investigations and Oversight panel, has encountered the same sort of intransigence from the Bush "administration" that is threatened over the investigation into the U.S. Attorney firings. Only in the case of his investigation, involving the Department of Education, the "administration" hasn't even really done him the courtesy of making up an excuse for why they're not providing the requested documents. They're just not doing it.

So as Rep. Miller has become increasingly pessimistic about the chances that the "administration" will relent in his case, he's been consulting the same Congressional Oversight Manual, and was dismayed to learn that the enforcement options are indeed quite limited. Inherent contempt, he's discovered, is perhaps the only way Congress will be able to enforce its subpoena power with this "administration," and he's been talking with CRS experts to explore how a modern inherent contempt procedure might be established. Even better, he's been sharing that information with Rep. Linda Sanchez, chair of the Judiciary committee's Commercial and Administrative Law panel that's handling the subpoenas in the U.S. Attorneys matter.

Unfortunately, the current thinking among most Members of Congress is that the subpoena showdown will be settled in court. But as we discussed yesterday, that's highly unlikely. Rather, it seems most probably that the courts will dismiss such a case under the "political question doctrine," as they did in the Burford case in 1982.

Is there a stronger and more direct signal to send to the White House that the Congress is serious about its oversight authority than the one that would come from the House taking the time to dust off the inherent contempt concept, and establish a modern procedure for it? If so, I can't think of it.

At the very least, it's going to pay to be prepared sooner rather than later. Once those subpoenas are issued, it won't be long before we know precisely what the White House plans to do when the chips are down. And if we're sitting around looking at one another when the White House signals its final defiance, we're likely to lose a lot of momentum.

Let's face it: if the "administration" simply refuses to budge, the Congress either has to fold its tent and go home, or enforce on its own authority the subpoena power the American people voted for. Given that we've reached this impasse -- and we knew it was coming -- over an investigation into the hyper-partisan and hyper-politicized nature of the U.S. Attorneys, inherent contempt proceedings would appear to be the first and most direct resort of Congress in enforcing its mandate.

It would also appear to be the last stop short of impeachment. And with that remedy currently "off the table," Congress needs to speak -- and speak soon -- about how it intends to protect its prerogatives.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:37 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Impeachment, perhaps? n/t (5+ / 0-)
    •  Impeachment needs to be "on the table" n/t (14+ / 0-)

      What is possible is changing very quickly.  And the dynamic nature of what is and isn't "possible" is changing because Democrats are choosing to fight.  

      A conscientious man would be cautious how he dealt in blood.

      by decon on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:41:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Demonstrates yet again what a mistake it was (10+ / 0-)

        to declare that impeachment is "off the table". At the most basic level, it comes down to this: An administration that has committed impeachable offenses has to remain subject to impeachment. If not, if Congress refuses even to consider impeachment, then that amounts to an endorsement of the offensive behavior.

        •  Impeachment is back on the table b/c of (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          david78209, MsCasey

          GONZOGATE

        •  wiggle room (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          creeper

          they said they won't impeach the President - and that can be argued that it was before we discovered all these other skeletons - but they never said we won't impeach the AG, or the VP or anybody like that.  Congressional power of impeachment is not just preserved for use against the President, you know.

        •  My politically uninterested office manager (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          smintheus

          asked me today if it was possible Bush might be impeached.  She'd heard it discussed seriously on the news.

          It's sinking in for the general public that impeachment is a real possibility.

          Anyone whom the House holds in 'inherent contempt' should also be impeached.  The House can impeach "all civil Officers of the United States" and it only takes a simple majority.  The Senate might not appreciate having to sit in trial on all those folks, but they might well blame that on the administration, and quickly convict everyone who has dissed the House of Representatives enough to be held in contempt and impeached.

          Impeaching the Secretary of Education might be a great warm-up before going after bigger fish.  

          We're all pretty crazy some way or other; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is just a setting on the dryer.

          by david78209 on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 07:34:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Unfortunately We Have Not (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jbeach, KenBee

        reached the point of impeachment yet. I am all for it but all the options must be ran through first.

        This may still be able to go to the courts.

        In the Burford case the issues was her conflict of interest as head of the EPA and refusing to disclose documents related to a conflict of interest involving the Superfund program. So that was a political question as the courts decided - it involved conflict of interest (non-criminal) and possible ethics (again non-criminal).

        However in the case of Gonzales this borders on whether a "criminal act" of lying to congress has taken place by one or more people. There is also the issue of whether a criminal act took place in the replacement of the US Attorneys where their replacement was knowingly to keep them from moving forward with cases that they had initiated. That is obstruction of justice - a criminal act.

        If the WH is impeding a criminal investigations by congress then the court may very well decide that the documents must be turned over.

        Criminal Acts are the key issue here.

        "You Have The Power!" - Howard Dean

        by talex on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:10:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Time? (0+ / 0-)

          How long will it take to "run through" all the options? We are operating under a time limit, here - Bush just wants to run the clock out. If he pulls that off, he effectively wins because, even though you can impeach someone after they leave office, the public will be sick of it and want to put it behind them by then.

          •  I Don't Know (0+ / 0-)

            how much time it will take to run through the options. I'm not sure anyone really knows what all the options are at this point. As Kagro X pointed out some of the options are just being rediscovered.

            The reality is that congress will not impeach until all options have been exhausted no matter how much you and I want to see Bush impeached yesterday.

            As for impeaching someone after they leave office - is that possible? I'd like to see a link to a reliable source if that is really true. And what would be the point anyway. An impeachment is for removal from office, it is not a criminal trial per se.

            "You Have The Power!" - Howard Dean

            by talex on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:46:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Impeachment when out of office. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              talex, BlackGriffen

              Secretary of War William Belknap was impeached, then resigned, but was tried in the Senate regardless. The Senate took a vote on whether or not the resignation mooted the impeachment, and held that it did not.

              Belknap was acquitted, however, and many Senators reportedly voted to acquit because -- despite the vote -- they felt the issue was moot.

              But one of the possible consequences of impeachment is that a guilty party can be barred from all future federal government service.

              •  Interesting (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                david78209

                How are the "possible consequences" of being barred from all future federal government service determined? By the Senate?

                On another topic what do you think about what I posted regarding possibility of the courts ruling that all documents must be turned over if the congress is investigating something that could lead to criminal violations?

                "You Have The Power!" - Howard Dean

                by talex on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 02:10:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The Constitution (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  talex, david78209

                  In Article I section 3

                  Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

                  The Senate decides

                  •  Thanks - - - n/t (0+ / 0-)

                    "You Have The Power!" - Howard Dean

                    by talex on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 07:05:56 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  I read here on daily Kos (0+ / 0-)

                    that after the Senate convicts someone in an impeachment (which requires a two thirds majority) it can then vote whether to impose that punishment of disqualification, which only requires a simple majority.  Apparently it's not automatic, but it's pretty likely in a Senate that just voted to convict by two thirds.

                    We're all pretty crazy some way or other; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is just a setting on the dryer.

                    by david78209 on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 07:38:54 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  You can't impeach if they're out (0+ / 0-)

            of office. But criminal charges would still be possible.

            And frankly, if we can marginalize them enough between now and the election, I'd rather have the US Marshals waiting for Bush when he gets off the podium after the next Pres is sworn in.

            Because as soon as he's out, he's fair game for every criminal charge that can be thrown at him. Him, Cheney, Gonzo, and everybody else.

            I'd much rather see them rotting in jail than just thrown out of office. Even if it has to wait a bit.

    •  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 ]

  •  Do it (8+ / 0-)

    Do it now.

    Palpably Extant: the death of the 4th estate.

    by spencerh on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:37:47 PM PDT

  •  Impeachment proceedings or the threat of it (10+ / 0-)

    Will cause a great number of GOP senators up for reelection in'08 to demand that the White House respect the rule of law.

    When Clinton was impeached, an overwhelming majority of the American public supported him. With the opposite dynamic in play and a criminal administration holding out over a lost war, there will be NO public support for the GOP Senators who oppose impeachment or who do not force a solution on the White House.

    There is no safety net for the GOP senators up for reelection in 08 and their colleagues do not relish falling further into the minority either.

    sláinte,
    cl

    Religion is like sodomy: both can be harmless when practiced between consenting adults but neither should be imposed upon children.

    by Caoimhin Laochdha on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:41:08 PM PDT

  •  I would give anything (10+ / 0-)

    To turn on my TV and see Bush administration officials arrested for "Inherent Contempt"
    How fitting. Poetic justice on a whole new level.

    "Letting Bush interpret the Geneva Conventions is like letting Hitler interpret the Talmud." Randi Rhodes

    by mrgrandefromage on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:43:09 PM PDT

    •  Really, who needs "another option"? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell, fiestygrrl, gatorcog

      I actually don't care very much what Rove and Miers may or may not say to a Congressional Hearing.  But the picture of Congressional (Democratic) police arresting Bush Admin thugs would be enough to make me die happy.

      Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set... -- Gandalf

      by dnta on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:04:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Impeachment would have to be the option. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smintheus, KenBee, Caoimhin Laochdha

    This would be a case where this extreme action is forced upon Congress, given that all lesser remedies have been blocked.  If that is the case, Speaker Pelosi must act forcefully and quickly, for the powers of the Congress itself are at stake.

  •  If Capitol police are prevented from taking (9+ / 0-)

    custody of the subpoena subjects at the gates of the White House, that's a de facto coup d'etat.

    Congress makes the laws, it's not unconstitutional for them to subpoena, and if they can't enforce their subpoenas, the executive has stripped them of an inherent Constitution right.

    "No man should have to clean up after another man's dog." --President Gerald R. Ford

    by Mogolori on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:43:39 PM PDT

    •  Huh? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mogolori

      That something is not "unconstitutional to do" does not make it an inherent Constitutional right.

      •  Well, it's more than "non unconstitutional" (6+ / 0-)

        It's a plenary power.

        •  Right, my poor syntax above... (0+ / 0-)

          "No man should have to clean up after another man's dog." --President Gerald R. Ford

          by Mogolori on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:03:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Where in the Constitution is Congress (0+ / 0-)

          given "plenary" power of subpoena?!

          It is an inherent power, not a plenary one.  And to whatever extent Congress may have that power, the other branches are not obligated to assist it in carrying out that power.

          •  Is oversight a plenary power? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            eyeswideopen

            You'll find it everywhere referred to as such, and yet there's nothing in the text about it.

            •  Given the fact that Congress is not assigned (0+ / 0-)

              "oversight" power in the Constitution, I think it is an ancillary power.  As in "in order to make the laws we need to know what the hell is going on out there."

              Nor is oversight plenary.  Plainly Congress cannot oversee say the Supreme Court.  They cannot call the Chief Justice to explain why a decision came outthe way it did and demand that he produce memos from his collegues and law clerks to make sure nothing untoward happened.  

              And again, to whatever extent Congress does have the power, it has to carry out that power on its own.  It is not entitled to cooperation from other branches.

              •  Congress can't oversee the Supreme Court? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                eyeswideopen, gchaucer2

                Great! So much for that stupid jurisdiction stripping ploy!

                What can I tell you? You think it's ancillary, and everyone else who writes about it calls it plenary. Take it up with the scholars. Google it, and write to the offenders.

                •  Congress can certainly LEGISLATE (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Focher

                  about the Supreme Court.  As it has from the beginning of the Republic.  What it cannot do is demand that justices show up and explain their opinions.

                  •  No, it can't make them explain. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    creeper

                    But it can bounce them out of office without any explanation, curtail their jurisdiction, etc.

                    Everything but get an actual explanation for why they oughtn't to do these things.

                    I suppose you could hang your hat on that if you wanted to. But the totality of the power available to the Congress overwhelms the point.

                    •  Of course... No question about it (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Focher

                      Congress can remove judges simply because they dont like the shape of their noses and the color of their ties.  

                      Now, perhaps some judges will cave and come and testify under threat of removal.  But it does not follow that Congress has an idependent power to compel judges to testify.  It can surely coerce them.

                  •  Sure it can (0+ / 0-)

                    Congress created the Supreme Court and it can take it out. It has frequently added to or subtracted from the number of justices who sit on it.

                    It has excluse legislative jurisdiction in the Capital which includes both the Whitehouse and the Supreme Court.

                    Congress has the power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

                    Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                    by rktect on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 02:09:49 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Nonsense (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Luetta, Focher

                      Supreme Court was established by the Constitution.  Check it out sometimes.  It's an interesting document.

                      •  Look at the history of Congress and the Judiciary (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        eyeswideopen

                        The Congress of the United States derives from First Continental Congress, a meeting of representatives of twelve of Great Britain's American colonies, in the autumn of 1774.

                        The Continental Congress sent a list of grievances to King George III. When the King failed to respond, and the American Revolutionary War commenced in April 1775.

                        The Second Continental Congress was convened—this time with thirteen colonies in attendance. A year later, on 4 July 1776, the Continental Congress declared the thirteen colonies free and independent states, referring to them as the "united States of America."

                        The Second Continental Congress, which was formed May 10, 1775, was the national government until March 1, 1781, supervised the war and diplomacy, and adopted the Articles of Confederation before the States ratified it in 1781.
                        ...
                        The Congress of the Confederation governed the United States for eight years (March 1, 1781 to March 4, 1789).

                        There was no chief executive or president before 1789, so Congress governed the United States.

                        The Constitution signed  9/17/1787, reads as below making it clear that the Supreme Court would not exist if Congress didn't from time to time ordain and establish it, and in fact did not exist for the first 15 years of the Congress during which the Constitution and Congress were still being ordained and established. It was during the Marshall court that Congress impeached its first Supreme Court justice.

                        Article III
                        Section 1. The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour

                        The clause as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish means that though the Constitution said there should be a Supreme Court, it was up to the Congress to ordain it (decide what it was going to be like), and to establish or create it through legislation.

                        Despite Marbury vs Madison which established in 1803 the principle of judicial review (the principle that the courts should determine the law) and the supremecy clause (that the Constitution comes before and thus is supreme over the laws of the United States, Congress still makes the laws.

                        The Constitution elaborated neither the exact powers and prerogatives of the Supreme Court.nor the organization of the Judicial Branch as a whole. Thus, it was left to Congress and to the Justices of the Court through their decisions to develop the Federal Judiciary
                        and a body of Federal law.

                        The establishment of a Federal Judiciary was a high priority for the new government, and the first bill introduced in the United States Senate became the Judiciary Act of 1789.
                        ...

                        The Supreme Court, the country' s highest judicial tribunal, was to sit in the Nation's Capital, and was initially composed of a Chief Justice and five Associate Justices.

                        ...

                        The Supreme Court first assembled on February 1, 1790, in the Merchants Exchange Building in New York City, then the Nation's Capital. Chief Justice John Jay was, however, forced to postpone the initial meeting of the Court until the next day since,
                        due to transportation problems, some of the Justices were not able to reach New York until February 2.

                        The earliest sessions of the Court were devoted to organizational proceedings. The first cases reached the Supreme Court during its second year, and the Justices handed down their first opinion in 1792.
                        ...

                        To ensure an independent Judiciary and to protect judges from partisan pressures, the Constitution provides that judges serve during "good Behaviour,"
                        ...
                        The number of Justices on the Supreme Court changed six times before settling at the present total of nine in 1869.
                        ...

                        [The foregoing was taken from a booklet prepared by the Supreme Court of the United States,
                        and published with funding from the Supreme Court Historical Society.]

                        Under the Articles of Confederation there was no Supreme Court.

                        To create one Congress had to draft and then work out legislation that said how many justices, where it would be located, what the salaries and duties would be and so forth.

                        To establish it the Senate had to pass the legislation and then

                        First Continental Congress 1774 Philadelphia

                        Second Continental Congress 1775 to 1781
                        Philadelphia → Baltimore → Lancaster → York

                        Congress of the Confederation 1781 to 1789 Philadelphia → Princeton → Annapolis → Trenton  → New York

                        United States Congress 1789 to date New York → Philadelphia → Washington

                        Article III
                        Section 1. The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour

                        Section 2. The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority;--to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls;--to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;--to controversies to which the United States shall be a party;--to controversies between two or more states;--between a state and citizens of another state;--between citizens of different states;--between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.

                        Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

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

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  That's just wrong on so many levels (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Focher

                          Congress can only ordain and establish inferior courts.  Existence of the Supreme Court is mandatory.  In fact the Constitution even specifies the office of Chief Justice and assigns him specific duties.  Of course Congress can modify the court, but there must be a Supreme Court.

                          Furthermore,I fail to see how the fact that Congress can establish courts even remotely suggests that they are entitled to courts' internal documents.

                          •  The word and is a coordinating conjunction (0+ / 0-)

                            (and, or, but) not a subordinating conjunction (because, when, unless).

                            Subject: The judicial power of the United States,
                            Future continuous auxilery verb: shall be vested in
                            Object: one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts
                            Clause: as the Congress may from time to time
                            Verb: ordain and establish.

                            Both the Supreme Court and such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish, are ordained and established by Congress.

                            Congress, which is defined in Article I, is responsible for the existance of the Supreme Court which in Article III is made its creature.

                            Article III
                            Section 1. The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.

                            The Constitution of the United States does not explicitly establish the office of Chief Justice but presupposes its existence with a single reference in Article I, section 3: "When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside."

                            Nothing more is said in the Constitution regarding the office, including any further distinction between the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, who are never mentioned in the Constitution.

                            While the existance of the Supreme Court and a chief justice is mandatory, the Supreme Court doesn't have to have a building, a budget, justices, law clerks, or anything else which gives it the ability to function, and the Chief Justice likewise. His only function is to preside over the trial of the President in the Senate.

                            Allowing that due to the ridiculus deficit run up by the blank checks of the 109th Congress, its time for some corporate restructuring and most of the court may have to be let go. Its justices, including the chief justice, can be impeached for bad behavior, its present building can be taken by eminent domain and declared to be a post office.

                            If the Supreme Court doesn't like that and enters into rebellion Congress can call out the militia to supress it.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:09:10 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  See the rule of the last antecedent (0+ / 0-)

                            the "ordain  and establish" applies only to lower courts.

                            As for salary, that is guaranteed.  See Art. III.

                            You are retarded.  Supreme Court bld cannot be taken by eminent domain because it already belongs to the government!

                            And everything thatyou say while within the power of Congress also essentially abolishes our republic.  Congress can also pass the laws suppressing freedom of speech and the press and then dissmiss justices who strike down the laws, and then call out militia to suppress everyone.  Yes it can be done.  But that ends the ocutry as we know it.

                            In any event, nothing that you wrote suggests that so long as courts exist, Congress has any authority to pry into their internal workings.

                          •  If the Congress could not ordain and estabish (0+ / 0-)

                            the Supreme Court, then there would be no Supreme Court.

                            The Supreme Court would have no funding, no justices, no building, no furniture, no law clerks and no legal function.

                            last antecedent rule n. a doctrine of interpretation (construction) of statutes that any qualifying words or phrases refer to the language immediately preceding the qualifier, unless common sense shows that it was meant to apply to something more distant or less obvious.

                            Example: "The commercial vehicular license shall not apply to boats, tractors, and trucks, with only four wheels and under three tons..." then the qualifier "only four wheels and under three tons" applies only to trucks and not boats or tractors.

                            "The commercial vehicular license shall not apply
                            to boats, tractors, and trucks, with only four wheels and under three tons..."
                            then the qualifier "only four wheels and under three tons" applies only to trucks and not boats or tractors.

                            Do you see the logical inconsistancy?

                            "The commercial vehicular license shall not apply
                            to ...under three tons..."

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 06:15:52 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Supreme Court had no law clerk (0+ / 0-)

                            for roughly a 150 years and was fine.  It had no building until early 20th century and was fine.

                            As for the Supreme Cour, it must be ther according to the Constitution and consist of at least the Chief Justice.

                            And again, you fail to see the point.  Congress does not have to create courts and can abolish them at their leisure.  But it cannot interfere in their internal operations.  

                            And furthermore, if Congress were to behave in a way you suggest, it would be a short lived Congress indeed.  No one would support it.  they can of course "call out" militia, but no militiawill show up.  And the states would be fully justified in refusing to followany Congrssional orders, just like the colonies refused to follow orders from Westminster.

                          •  Congress represents We the People (0+ / 0-)

                            We the People have given our representatives all the power so they need not be afraid to represent us.

                            We want them to stand up for us, aquire a spine, and act on our behalf in the strongest possible way.

                            If an entrepeneur were to come out with a clothing line that had IMPEACH printed on it like PINK, they would have trouble filling their immediate orders for 300 million outfits.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 07:11:00 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Why don't you try that notion? (0+ / 0-)

                            Print a T-shirt.

                            I do not recall "we the people" giving Congress the power to pry into internal operations of the Courts, to disband and defund them.  If they do, it will be a short-lived Congress indeed and no state will be bound to respect or abide such tyranny.

                          •  Article I Section 8. (0+ / 0-)

                            Don't you recall Congress writing the Patriot Act, and allowing warrentless surveillence? Before they repeal it Congress is going to investigate every Department of the Executive Branch, and every corporation that was given access to their rivals business records, they are going to be investigating, issuing supoenas, citing for contempt, and using the coercive investigatory powers of the bills they wrote.

                            I expect Congress to act like an architect whom the owners empower to oversee a contractor. They need to see the receipts for the bills which the contractor wishes to include in his requisition. They need to make sure the work they have authorized is being done in a workmanlike manner.

                            If there is evidence of a sleasy contractor engaged in illegal activity such as kickbacks from subcontractors and the courts ignore this or if the attorneys prosecuting the case are mysteriously replaced, then I want all who aided and abeted the illegalities disbarred and standing in front of the IRS guys with the wooden pencils with cardboard boxes full of every piece of paper they ever saw, every email every bit of extenuating circumstance they can come up with ratting out the next guy up the food chain.

                            To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 07:32:30 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Where in those bills was Congress (0+ / 0-)

                            given any additional "coercive power?"

                          •  coercive interrogation is in the MCA (0+ / 0-)

                            Congress already has all the power, it doesn't need to be given it. It has in fact authorized the use of coercive interrogation in the MCA (see Martinez)

                            At present, the legal status of terrorism-related detainees is far from settled. It is obvious, nonetheless, that the Bush administration's preferred approach is generally to designate suspected terrorists as "enemy combatants," not criminals. The effect of the designation is that the suspects are not, in the administration's view, persons who benefit from any of the basic procedural protections provided under the criminal law.

                            Viewed as a whole and in its details, the administration's approach to the detainees is an inquisitorial one. Lawyers--or any other potential advocates for the rights of the detainees--are excluded from the process. The executive branch has exclusive power to detain the suspects, interrogate them, assess their responses, and - if, and only if, it is satisfied that they are not implicated in terrorist acts - release them.

                            Under any fair assessment of their situation, the detainees held as "enemy combatants" are being subject to coercive interrogation. (Granted, this is a difficult assessment to make, given that no independent monitor has access to the detainees, but it is clear that the conditions of their detention are inherently coercive, and that the government has not been advising them of any right to remain silent.)

                            Indeed, in legal briefs submitted to the federal courts reviewing the detentions, the administration makes specific reference to the need for intelligence collection. And as these briefs emphasize, successful interrogations require the creation of an atmosphere of "dependency and trust" between detainees and U.S. intelligence-gathering personnel.

                            If Miranda were interpreted to extend outside of the scope of criminal prosecutions, it might be understood to lend some protection to the detainees. It is thus unsurprising that at oral argument on Wednesday in the Martinez case, Justice Antonin Scalia specifically questioned Martinez's counsel about the case's implications for fighting terrorism.

                            the MCA contains some of the same troubling provisions included in the old commissions’ rules. The relaxed rules on hearsay and evidence obtained through coercion mean that defendants could be convicted based on second-hand summaries of statements obtained through coercive interrogations – without any opportunity for the defendant to confront his accusers. In addition, beyond the procedures and rules of evidence that it explicitly mandates, the new legislation allows the secretary of defense to establish further rules and procedures at odds from their courts-martial equivalent if the Secretary of Defense considers reliance on courts-martial rules and procedures to be "impracticable."

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 07:51:32 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Aha... and where was the power (0+ / 0-)

                            to interrogate detainees in MCA assigned to Congress?

                          •  Congress is granted all the power (0+ / 0-)

                            in the Constitution. The rogue,republican 109th blank check Congress then wrote the Patriot Act, the detainee treatment act and the MCA attempting to overturn the Supreme Courts Hamdan ruling. The Supreme Court argued not that they were unconstitutional but against the Geneva Convention and the Rule of Law.

                            Essentially they told Congress that the Constitution is based on the common law consensus existant at the time it was written and has evolved to incorporate the rule of law, both domestic and foreign as contained in the ammendments, treaties, conventions and statuatory law written since then eo include the Bill of Rights, Civil Rights and the Geneva Convention.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Wed Mar 28, 2007 at 04:25:59 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Congress is NOT granted all the power (0+ / 0-)

                            Congress is granted all the LEGSILATIVE power.  Not Executive nor judicial.

                          •  Article 1 section 8 (0+ / 0-)

                            To understand the relationship think of how it works with owner, architect and contractor.

                            The owner pays, the contractor performs and the architect decides. Bush is not the decider, We the People and the Congress as our elected representatives are the decider.

                            If a contractor rips up the architects plans, redigns the project on the back of an envelope, fails to complete the work in a workmanlike manner, on schedule and on budget, the architect doesn't pay him, takes over the project management or gives it to someone else to complete, and sees that the incompetent administrators and crooks are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The power to do all that comes from the owners, We the People.

                            To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

                            Article II
                            Section 1. The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same term, be elected

                            The Executive power is to execute the instruction of Congress.

                            Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:--" I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

                            Before the President is allowed to enter office as the vassal of Congress he must take what amounts to an oath of fealty to the Congress.

                            In 1790 it would have been recogniaed as similar to the formal religious (fundamentalist) wedding vows where a wife promises to love honor and obey her husband

                            Section 2. The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

                            The presidents power to grant reprieves and pardons is limited by the right of Congress to Impeach.

                            He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.

                            The president has the power to suggest to Congress treaties and nominees. Congress has the power to just say no until he names one they like and then they establish both treaties and appointments by law.

                            The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.

                            Section 3. He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.

                            The President will from time to time get called on the carpet by the Congress to see if he is doing his job carefully and responsibly. He recommends his ideas to their consideration

                            Section 4. The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

                            If he or any other government official aren't doing a good job Congress gets to fire their ass.

                            The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.
                            ...
                            the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.

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                            by rktect on Wed Mar 28, 2007 at 10:00:28 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Congress cannot enter treaties (0+ / 0-)

                            It can ratify them or decline to do so, but it cannot enter treaties.  Just like it cannot name jduges, prosecute cases, adjudicate disputes and the like.  Congress has lawmaking power.  It does not possess either the executive or judicial power.

                            And of course, nowhere does it say that the President must appear before Congress.  All that president has to do is submit a report.  It does not even have to be annual.  It can be done from time to time.

                            So, no, Congress is not granted "all powers."

                          •  The President has the power to advise Congress (0+ / 0-)

                            He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur

                            In other words the President must appear before Congress in order to get the consent of 2/3 of the Senators present if they wish to give it. He is in other words designated to act as their agent, go to meetings, come back and report, and if he is skillful in this, possibly win their consent.

                            Congress does in fact enter treaties with the ammendment process necessary to make a bill a law.

                            If the president fails to communicate to congress what the treaties terms are he may well find Congress has the power to just say no.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Wed Mar 28, 2007 at 11:17:06 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Congress cannot negotiate treaties (0+ / 0-)

                            That is plain as day.  Congress cannot go and enter a treaty with a foreign government.  Congress' role is limited to accepting or rejecting the treaty.  (It can amend it).

                            Power to say "no" is quite different from power to proactively negotiate treaties.

                          •  Sure they can ammend it (0+ / 0-)

                            and provide advice as to whatever ammendments will be required to get the Senate to consent. That  obviously change the terms, so the abilities to just say no, to advise and to consent are much more effective in the decision making process than you may be aware. Essentially Congress gets to say do it our way or you don't do it at all.

                            There are other ways to tinker with treaties that may or may not be constitutional. The 109th Congress just revisited the Geneva Convention and in the MCA changed the terms meaning it is now not the same document that is approved internationally and is thus repealed.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Wed Mar 28, 2007 at 06:38:58 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes, they can tinker with treaties (0+ / 0-)

                            they can amend them.  But Congress cannot go to the government of Russia and negotiate a treaty from scratch.

                          •  What do you think all those Congressional junkets (0+ / 0-)

                            to for example Syria and Iran are about?

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Thu Mar 29, 2007 at 04:59:37 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Variety of things (0+ / 0-)

                            The point is Congress cannot negotiate a treaty and then present it to itself.  There is separationof powers.  President negotiates and signs a treaty and Congress gets to ratify and potentially amend.  Congress does not have the power orauthority to do that 1st step.

                          •  Of course it can and does (0+ / 0-)

                            Congressional leadership travels around the world jawboning what it thinks might be advisable and will consent to in regards to everything from trade and fishing rights to nuclear proliferation.

                            Thousands of staffers from Congressional offices work closely with other staffers in the Executive Branch in an ongoing and continuing process of negotiation.

                            This is then run back through the other parties to the treaty and then only after the negotiations are completed does the President meet with the foreign powers to get their approval and sign the treaty, which then goes back to Congress for their approval.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Thu Mar 29, 2007 at 08:06:54 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Do cite me a single instance when Congress (0+ / 0-)

                            has negotiated a treaty when the President was unwilling.

                            Of course often people work together.  The point is, unless the President is willing to sign a treaty, there will be nothing to ratify, no matter how much or how well Congress attempted to negotiate.

                          •  Give me an example of the President (0+ / 0-)

                            ratifying a treaty when the Senate was unwilling.

                            Ratification of Treaties

                            The word "ratification" when used in connection with treaties refers to the formal act by which a nation affirms its willingness to be bound by a specific international agreement.

                            The basic purpose of ratification of a treaty is to confirm that an agreement which two or more countries have negotiated and signed is accepted and recognized as binding by those countries.

                            The procedure by which nations ratify treaties is a concern of domestic rather than international law. The Constitution does not use the word ratification in regard to treaties.

                            It says only that the President shall have the power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties.

                            The Constitution does not divide up the process into various component parts which can be identified today, such as initiation, negotiation, signing, Senatorial advice and consent, ratification, deposit or exchange of the instruments of ratification, and promulgation.

                            From the beginning, however, the formal act of ratification has been performed by the President acting "by and with the advice and consent of the Senate."

                            The President ratifies the treaty, but only upon the authorization of the Senate.

                            The Senate gives its advice and consent by agreeing to the resolution of ratification. After it does so, the President is not obligated to proceed with the process of ratification. With the President's approval, however, the ratification occurs with the exchange of the instruments of ratification between the parties to the treaty.

                            Treaties, unlike any other business considered by the Senate, stay before that body once the President submits them until the Senate acts on them or unless the President requests, and/or the Senate adopts an order or resolution authorizing, their return to the President or the Secretary of State. In 1937, 1947, and 1952, the Senate returned numerous treaties, including some dating back as early as 1910, to the Secretary of State or the President.

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                            by rktect on Thu Mar 29, 2007 at 05:18:43 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Where did I say that the President can (0+ / 0-)

                            unilaterally ratify treaties?!

                            You are the one claiming that Congress possess all power, including executive and judicial.

                          •  The President is empowered to act (0+ / 0-)

                            as the agent of the Senate which is a part of the Congress which has all the power.

                            The thing about ownership is that you don't really own anything unless you can give it away. This is an example of where Congress finds it needful from time to time to call the President to service, and by giving him some of their power, accomplish a purpose.

                            In order to authorize him to speak for them with one voice, they give him their collective advice and consent to ratify the treaty.

                            From the beginning, however, the formal act of ratification has been performed by the President acting "by and with the advice and consent of the Senate."

                            The President ratifies the treaty, but only upon the authorization of the Senate.

                            Taken in the light of Article 1 section 8, which gives Congress all the power, its like the case in which the Speaker of the House recognizing a speaker from the majority party.

                            The recognized individual then gives some time to the minority party on the other side of the isle empowering them to speak and to be able to debate an issue.

                            The recognized individual then grants to themselves the option to speak for so much time as they shall consume.

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                            by rktect on Fri Mar 30, 2007 at 04:14:47 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Jesus... President may be empowered to act (0+ / 0-)

                            But he can Act on his own.  He can enter as many treaties as he likes whether the Senate likes it or not.  The Senate simply doesn't have to ratify.

                            And "agent" implies that Senate can do the work on its own.  It can't.  It can't enter the treaties.  See, e.g., Kyoto, ICC.

                          •  Actually the president can't act on his own (0+ / 0-)

                            From the beginning, however, the formal act of ratification has been performed by the President acting "by and with the advice and consent of the Senate."

                            The President ratifies the treaty, but only upon the authorization of the Senate.

                            or if you prefer it

                            From the beginning, however, the formal act of ratification has been performed by the President acting "by and with the advice and consent of the Senate."

                            The President ratifies the treaty, but only upon the authorization of the Senate.

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                            by rktect on Fri Mar 30, 2007 at 06:19:39 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  We are not talking about RATIFICATION (0+ / 0-)

                            we are talking about beginning a treaty.  The President can negotiate whatever treaties he likes.  The Senate gets a chance to reject them.

                            Furthermore, even if the Senate really really really wants a treaty, but the President does not, there is nothing the Senate can do.  It is the President who decides which treaties to enter and when and whether to submit them to the Senate for ratification.  The President can refuse to submit a treaty for ratification and again, there is nothing the Senate can do.

                            Again, see Kyoto & ICC.

                          •  Ratification is how a treaty is made (0+ / 0-)

                            without it no treaty is made, just a lot of noise, so we are indeed talking about ratification.

                            The Constitution, Article II, Section 2, paragraph 2
                            describes the presidential role in making treaties

                            He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur;

                            That makes clear that the president has no power to make treaties unless by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

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                            by rktect on Fri Mar 30, 2007 at 08:55:36 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  For the love of Pete... (0+ / 0-)

                            The treaty making power is obviously shared.  the point is Senate can do nothing without the President.  And vice versa.  Which means that neither has "all the power."

                          •  The treaty making power is (0+ / 0-)

                            by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

                            Thats shared like your dad giving you the keys to the car so you can go out on a date providing you agree to abide by his advice he will give his consent ... but ... if you don't get Pete and yourself home by curfew you aren't likely so see your Dad give his consent to handing over the keys to his car again til long after Pete finds another boyfriend...

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                            by rktect on Fri Mar 30, 2007 at 10:28:24 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Once again, Senate has a power of VETO (0+ / 0-)

                            over a treaty.  It does not have affirmative treaty-making power.  What's so difficult to understand about that.  Senate can advise all it wants, but if the President refuses to sign a treaty there is nothing for Senate to vote on or consent to.

                          •  The Congress shall have the power... (0+ / 0-)

                            In this case, the Senate has the power of advise and consent. Nothing happens without its advise and consent. No treaty, nothing. zip, nada...

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                            by rktect on Fri Mar 30, 2007 at 06:24:58 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That's why the Senate has a power of a veto (0+ / 0-)

                            Thatios just what I said.  But ifthe Senate wants a treaty, but the President does not, also nothing happens.

                          •  The Senate does not have a Veto (0+ / 0-)

                            it has the power of advise and consent and does not need a veto as there is nothing to veto if it does not consent.

                            If the Senate wants a treaty and the President doesn't, then the Senate may still get what it wants through legislation or regulation by for example making a law that all imports from China must comply with US labor laws.

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                            by rktect on Sat Mar 31, 2007 at 07:28:35 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Legislation unlike a treaty (0+ / 0-)

                            binds only the US.  It does not bind China.  for instance Congress can pass all the legislation it wants, but in the absence of a treaty there can be no extradition from China.

                            Furthermore, "refusing consent" and "veto" are one and the same.

                          •  To advise and consent is more than to consent (0+ / 0-)

                            if to refuse consent equates to a Veto, what about the part of the phrase that reads ...by and with the advise...?

                            Congress can take away Chinas most favored nation trade status simply by passing the legislation to do so. China may then refuse to trade with the US, call in its debts and bankrupt us.

                            We may then nationalize all their assets in the US and before long extradition from China is the least of our problems.

                            The time consuming investigations and deliberations of Congress that allow them to advise and consent are a big part of the process

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                            by rktect on Sat Mar 31, 2007 at 12:18:35 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Do explain how Congress can (0+ / 0-)

                            make an extradition treaty with China if the President is unwilling to do so.

                          •  And Art. I Sec. 8 most certainly (0+ / 0-)

                            does not give Congress all the power.  Congress' power is specifically enumerated and it is given power to pass whatever legislation necessary to advance those enumerated powers.  It cannot stray beyond those enumerated powers.  See also Amendment X.

                          •  Section 8. The Congress shall have power (0+ / 0-)

                            To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

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                            by rktect on Fri Mar 30, 2007 at 06:22:22 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You are completely misreading that (0+ / 0-)

                            It has powers to

                            1. make laws that are necessary to carry out foregoing powers and
                            1.  make laws to enable other people to carry out their powers.

                            Congress was certainly not assigned "all other powers."

                            Such a construction is contrary to the rules of English grammar, contrary to the rules of statutory construction, contrary to logic, and contrary to history.

                            1.  If Congress was assigned "all other powers" then there would be no need whatever to give a list of powers.
                            1.  Given the fact that the stated goal and belief of the Framers and ratifiers was a limited central government, it is hard to believe that they assigned all power to Congress.
                            1. The Tenth Amendment specifically limits Cognress to enumerated powers.
                            1.  As a matter of grammar it simply is nonsensical to say "The Congress shall have power and all other powers."  
                          •  Article1 § 8 The Congress shall have power (0+ / 0-)

                            To make all laws

                            which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers,

                            and all other powers

                            vested by this Constitution

                            in the government of the United States, or
                            in any department or

                            officer thereof.

                            Article1 § 8 The Congress shall have all power ... vested by this Constitution

                            You argue that:

                            Such a construction is contrary to the rules of English grammar, contrary to the rules of statutory construction, contrary to logic, and contrary to history.

                            Were that so the Constitution would be unenforcably vague, but yet it has not been overturned on those grounds in more than two centuries.

                            Such a construction is not contrary to the rules of English grammar, it says what it says.

                            You argue that:

                            1. As a matter of grammar it simply is nonsensical to say "The Congress shall have power and all other powers."  

                            Article 1 § 8 begins by saying The Congress shall have power , it then lists some examples and summarizes by clearly stating the power of Congress is absolute ... The Congress shall have power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers including those vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

                            Such a construction is not contrary to the rules of statutory construction. If you disagree then you should state why.

                            Such a construction is not contrary to logic.
                            The reason you give for this statement is based not on facts but belief. The document itself does not agree with your belief.

                            Its perfectly logical and indeed necessary that Congress in creating the Constitution, would do so in such a manner as to give itself the power which it then dispenses in authorizing the formation of a government by making its laws.

                            Such a construction is not contrary to history. See Findlaw for further discussion

                            You argue that:

                            1. The Tenth Amendment specifically limits Cognress to enumerated powers.

                            Read what Amendment X actually says.

                            The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

                            All powers are vested in the Congress by the Constitution.

                            That includes the powers enumerated in Article 1 section 8, including the power to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying them into execution and all other powers.

                            Of those some are delegated by Congress under its congressional authority to the United States and its departments and officers, and some are reserved to the states and the people.

                            Its very much like the way time is doled out to those who wish to speak to an issue.

                            The Congress shall have power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers including those vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

                            None of these arguments you make pass muster.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Fri Mar 30, 2007 at 10:16:57 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Nonsense (0+ / 0-)

                            First of all, youcannot "overturn" the Constitution.  that is plain as day.

                            Second, did you ever learn the concept of the modifier in high school.

                            Section 8 reads that Congress has power to make laws to enable other officers to carry ut their duties.  It most certainly does not empower Congress to assume their power.  Congress' power is limited to making laws, not to executing them or to adjudicating them.

                            Third, It is ludicrious to suggest that Congress' power is absolute.  The framers created a limited government not an absolute centralized government.

                            Fourth, under your construction, since all power is delegated to Congress Tenth Amendment is meaningless.   Since all power is delegated, nothing by definition is reserved to the states.  

                            Fifth, under your construction, the rest of the Bill of Rights is also meaningless.

                          •  Continuing (0+ / 0-)

                            Sixth,

                            If Congress has all the powers, the enumeration of powers would be utterly unnecessary and superfluous.  A basic rule of statutory construction is to not render any words a nullity.  Under your reasoning, all of the enumeration would be a nullity because it would all be encompassed under "all powers."

                            Seventh, it is clear as day that Congress does not posses powers to appoint executive officials.  See Bowsher v. Synar.  Its role is limited to approving and maybe impeaching them.

                            Eighth, Congressional acts have been repeatedly struck down as being ultra vires.  That of course could never happen if Congressional power was absolute.  Nothing could be ultra vires.  See Lopez v. united States; US v. Morrison.

                            Ninth, Framers purposefully did not assign absolute power to any single branch as they expected that structural separation of powers both within the federal government and between federal and states is the greatest bulwark of liberty.  See federalist papers.

                            Tenth, since the Constitution was created by assent of the states and by states voluntarily surrendering some of their own powers to the feds, it is bizarre to say the least to suggest that the states (some of which were quite skeptical about the whole thing) voluntarily surrendered the entirety of their sovereignty to a remote ruler.  It is especially bizarre to suggest that the states did it right in the wake of American Revolution.

                          •  Since your argument would require that (0+ / 0-)

                            perhaps you may be wrong.

                            Please do instruct me about all you have learned so far about modifiers in high school.

                            Section 8 reads that Congress has power to make laws to enable other officers to carry ut their duties.  It most certainly does not empower Congress to assume their power.  Congress' power is limited to making laws, not to executing them or to adjudicating them.

                            Maybe you have a different Constitution in front of you than I do, but mine doen't read that way at all.

                            mine says

                            Section 8. The Congress shall have power to ... To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

                            What kind of an American refers to the Constitution as ludicrous??? Your Federalist Society hears about this they will revoke your membership...

                            The framers created the Congress which then created the Constitution. Suprise, Suprise, ... The Constitution gives all the power to the Congress...

                            The Congress, since it has all the power and makes all the laws says in the tenth ammendment

                            The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

                            Rights can't be granted or taken away regardless of how powerful the Congress is.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Fri Mar 30, 2007 at 11:02:29 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  WHAT?! (0+ / 0-)

                            Framers created Congress that then created the Constitution?!?!?!

                            Which history book are you reading?!

                            Constitution was drafted by Constitutional Convention which finished its work on September 17, 1787.  It was ratified by states by June 21, 1788.  The first Congress convened march 4, 1789, a full year and a half after the Constitution was drafted!

                            Second, you are arguing that ALL powers were delegated to Congress.  Thus, under your logic, there is nothing left to the states.

                            Third, as to modifiers.  "all other power" is modified by "To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper..."  It is not a separate grant of power.

                          •  The Constitution was created by Congress (0+ / 0-)

                            Over a period of fourteen years. It began with the Declaration of Independance in 1776 and the Articles of Confederation which provided for a loose association of states.

                            The Constitution wasn't complete when drafted, It needed to be ratified and ratification wasn't an easy process.

                            The Congress of the Confederation or the United States in Congress Assembled was the governing body of the United States of America from March 1, 1781, to March 4, 1789.

                            It comprised delegates appointed by the legislatures of the states. It was the immediate successor to the Second Continental Congress; the membership of the Second Continental Congress automatically carried over to the Congress of the Confederation when the latter was created by the ratification of the Articles of Confederation.

                            On June 7, 1776, a resolution was introduced in the Second Continental Congress declaring the union with Great Britain dissolved, proposing the formation of foreign alliances, and suggesting the drafting of a plan of confederation to be submitted to the respective states.

                            Independence was declared on July 4, 1776; the preparation of a plan of confederation was postponed.

                            The articles of Confederation were precedent to the United States, the Congress and the Constitution

                            Articles of Confederation
                            It was not until November 17, 1777, that the Congress was able to agree on a form of government which stood some chance of being approved by the separate States.

                            The Articles of Confederation were then submitted to the several States, and on July 9, 1778, were finally approved by a sufficient number to become operative.

                            They were mostly based on English common law principles which went back as far as the Magna Carta.

                            The key idea was to make a union of Colonies which could stand together with enough power to resist the Tyranny of kings.

                            Ridding the Colonies of the abuses of kings and Tyrants was the central idea on which a Congress of representatives of We the People was based.

                            Thats why the Congress has all the power, and the President has to take an oath to preserve protect and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States.

                            The United States Constitution was partly based on ideas from the uncodified constitution of the United Kingdom, such as Article 39 from the British Magna Carta of 1215, which states:

                            No free man shall be arrested, or imprisoned, or deprived of his property, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed, nor shall we go against him or send against him, unless by legal judgement of his peers, or by the law of the land.

                            The British Bill of Rights also acted as a source of ideas for the United States Constitution. For example, like the British Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution requires jury trials, contains a right to bear arms, and prohibits excessive bail and of "cruel and unusual punishments".

                            The Declaration of Independence also acted as an important guide, keeping the minds of the delegates fixed on the ideas of self-government and preservation of fundamental human rights.

                            Ratification by the 13 colonies was begun in 1775 and completed toward the end of 1789.

                            The need for only nine states was a controversial decision at the time, since the Articles of Confederation could only be amended by unanimous vote of all the states. Despite this, the new Constitution was ratified by all 13 states.

                            Three members of the Convention—Madison, Gorham, and King--were also Members of Congress.

                            They proceeded at once to New York, where Congress was in session, to placate the expected opposition.

                            Aware of their vanishing authority, Congress on September 28, after some debate, unanimously decided to submit the Constitution to the States for action.
                            It made no recommendation for or against adoption.[4]

                            The Congress having begun the process did not abandon it. Madison, speaking for Congress continued to represent its interests in the discussion that followed

                            Two parties soon developed, one in opposition (Antifederalists), and one in support (Federalists), of the Constitution, and the Constitution was debated, criticized, and expounded clause by clause.

                            Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, under the name of "Publius," wrote a series of commentaries, now known as the Federalist Papers, in support of the new instrument of government.
                            ...
                            The process of organizing the government began soon after ratification by Virginia and New York. On September 13, 1788, Congress fixed the city of New York as the seat of the new government. (The capital was moved to Philadelphia in 1790 and to Washington D.C., in 1800.)

                            Though New Hampshire was the ninth state it was recognized that the maritime colonies of New England and the Carolinas needed States like Virginia to make an effective union.

                            It set Wednesday, January 7, 1789 as the day for choosing presidential electors, the Wednesday, February 4 for the meeting of the electors to select a president, and Wednesday, March 4 for the opening session of the new Congress. Thus, March 4, 1789 became inauguration day.

                            To no one's surprise, George Washington was unanimously elected the first president, and John Adams of Massachusetts, the vice president. Adams arrived in New York on April 21, and Washington on April 23. They were sworn into office on April 30, 1789. The business of setting up the new government was completed.

                            The United States Constitution was ratified by Rhode Island in September 1789 and is the successor to the Articles of Confederation, passed in 1778.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Fri Mar 30, 2007 at 03:22:45 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  English is an SVO language (0+ / 0-)

                            Third, as to modifiers.  "all other power" is modified by "To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper..."  It is not a separate grant of power.

                            In English Article 1 section 8 cannot have the dangling or ambiguous modifier you propose because the language is in the form of clauses rather than phrases.

                            1. we expect the construction subject verb object
                            1. a dependant clause or phrase cannot cannot be a sentence.
                            1. If its ambiguous its a dependant phrase.
                            1. An independant clause cannot have a modifier.
                            1. In English a modifier phrase is either an adjective phrase or an adverb phrase.
                            1. A dangling modifier is a dependant adverbial phrase that ought to modify one element of a sentence, but due to placement in the sentence, seems to modify another.
                            1. A phrase is a group of words acting as a single part of speech and not containing both a subject and a verb
                            1. A clause is a word or group of words ordinarily consisting of a subject and a predicate

                            The Congress shall have power...
                            make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

                            Subject: The Congress
                            future perfect verb: shall have
                            object: power

                            Ok, we have a sentence.

                            Then we have a series of infinitive enumerative phrases: To...

                            Next we have another sentence used in summary.

                            Its a(future perfect participle)infinitive verbal clause used as the subject of a sentence: To make all laws which shall be necessary

                            This is followed by a connective conjunction: and

                            Next up, an object of preposition gerund clause introducing a definitive participle as definite object:  proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers and all other powers

                            Finally a gerund (as object of preposition) adverbial clause as indefinite object: vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

                            Second, you are arguing that ALL powers were delegated to Congress.  Thus, under your logic, there is nothing left to the states.

                            No. Article I, section 8, in summary tells us Congress shall have power to...

                            Power is possessed by Congress (representing we the people)which may then choose to delegate some of it, with its advise and consent to the states and the people.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Fri Mar 30, 2007 at 06:05:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Nonsense (0+ / 0-)

                            Congress did not create the Constitution.  It was drafted by a Constitutional Convention.

                            Do cite to me a single authority that suggests that Congress possesses judicial power or executive power.  i have cited numerous cases to you,  You have cited nothing except a bizarre and gramatically incorrect interpretation of Art. I, Sec. 8.  Please cite some authorities to support your outlandish claims.

                          •  The Congress existed before the United States (0+ / 0-)

                            in order to form the United States Congress began with the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation.

                            During the revolution many members of the Congress were still part of organizations like the Sons of Liberty.

                            From the British perspective these were terrorist groups that had yet to form States. They undoubtedly still thought of themselves as part of colonies or provinces of Great Britain.

                            After The Articles of Confederation were agreed to they then evolved into the Constitution at the Philidelphia convention which were established by the members of Congress in their dominions and provinces when after Shay's Rebellion it was recognized that Congress needed more power.

                            The Thirteen Colonies were British colonies in North America founded between 1607 (Virginia), and 1732 (Georgia). Although Great Britain held several other colonies in North America and the West Indies, the colonies referred to as the "thirteen" are those that rebelled against British rule in 1775 and proclaimed their independence as the United States of America on July 4, 1776.

                            Not until 1786 did the Congress begin to revise the Articles of Confederation into a Constitution, possibly because of what happened with Shay's rebellion

                            The Annapolis Conference In September 1786 Virginia called together the states into a convention in Annapolis, Maryland to discuss the state of commerce in the country...only five states, out of thirteen, showed up. They did, however, suggest another conference in Philadelphia to discuss the problems in the current government.

                            Alexander Hamilton submitted a report, on September 14, 1786, to Congress saying it was needed to "take into consideration the situation of the United States, to devise such further provisions as shall appear to them necessary to render the constitution of the Federal Government adequate to the exigencies of the Union."

                            Congress approved the plan to hold another convention on February 21, 1787. This next Convention will later be known as the Philadelphia Convention.

                            The Philadelphia Convention(now also known as the Constitutional Convention, the Federal Convention, or the "Grand Convention at Philadelphia") took place from May 25 to September 17, 1787, to address problems in The United States of America following independence from Great Britain.

                            Although it was purportedly intended only to revise the Articles of Confederation, the intention of many of the Convention's proponents, chief among them James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, was from the outset to create a new government rather than "fix" the existing one.

                            It was not since The Annapolis Conference that the states had seriously considered the situation of the Articles of Confederation. The delegates elected George Washington to preside over the convention.

                            The result of the Convention was the United States Constitution.

                            The original role of the President was to preside over the convention of the Congress. It was Congress that created both the Executive Branch and the judicial branch as none existed under the Articles of Confederation.

                            This is a partial list of notable United States federal legislation, in chronological order. At the federal level in the United States, legislation (a.k.a. "statutes" or "statutory law") consists exclusively of Acts passed by the Congress of the United States (and its predecessor, the Continental Congress), that were either signed into law by the President or subsequently passed by Congress after a presidential veto.

                            Legislation is not the only source of regulations with force of law. However, most executive branch regulations must originate in a congressional grant of power.

                            Executive orders of the President; regulations of Executive branch departments and administrative agencies; and the procedural rules of the federal courts must originate in a congressional grant of power.

                            A regulationis a legal restriction promulgated by government administrative agencies through rulemaking supported by a threat of sanction or a fine.

                            This administrative law or regulatory law is in contrast to statutory or case law.

                            Regulation mandated by the government or state attempts to produce outcomes which might not otherwise occur, produce or prevent outcomes in different places to what might otherwise occur, or produce or prevent outcomes in different timescales than would otherwise occur.

                            Common examples of regulation include attempts to control market entries, prices, wages, pollution effects, employment for certain people in certain industries, standards of production for certain goods and services.

                            The economics of imposing or removing regulations relating to markets is analysed in regulatory economics.

                            Regulation as a legal term
                            A regulation as a legal term is a rule created by an administration or administrative agency or body that interprets the statutes setting out the agency's purpose and powers, or the circumstances of applying the statute.

                            A regulation is a form of secondary legislation which is used to implement a primary piece of legislation appropriately, or to take account of particular circumstances or factors emerging during the gradual implementation of, or during the period of, a primary piece of legislation.

                            Other forms of secondary legislation are statutory instruments, statutory orders, by-laws and rules. Some of these (but not all of them) need to be referred back before being implemented, to the primary legislative process.

                            Types of regulation
                            Regulations, like any other coercive action, have costs for some and benefits for others. Efficient regulations may only be said to exist where the total benefits to some people exceed the total costs to others.

                            Regulation are justified using various reasons and therefore can be classified in several broad categories:

                            The Judiciary Act of 1793 is a United States federal statute, enacted on March 2 1793.

                            This act of the First Congress established the structure of the federal judiciary, the basic structure of which has remained intact.

                            The Constitution stipulated only that the federal court system should consist of (1) a Supreme Court having original jurisdiction in certain cases and (2) "such inferior Courts as the Congress may ... establish."

                            Congress could have declined to create lower courts, making state courts rule first on almost all federal issues.

                            Such cases would then appear before the single federal court. Instead, the 1789 act created two lower levels of courts.

                            Federal district courts, each with a district judge, composed the lowest level. Their district boundaries generally matched state lines. Every federal district also fell within the circuit of one of the three second-level courts, the circuit courts.

                            Two Supreme Court justices and one district judge composed each circuit court bench; they traveled to each district to hear cases twice a year. When cases involved parties from differing states, they usually received their first hearing in the circuit courts. Occasionally, circuit courts also heard appeals from district courts.

                            In addition to creating courts, the 1789 act granted the Supreme Court a controversial power to order federal officials to carry out their legal responsibilities.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Sat Mar 31, 2007 at 07:23:16 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Again, you fail to cite any authority (0+ / 0-)

                            And after the Declaration of Independence each state was sovereign.  So Congress exists only pursuant to delegation of authority by states not the other way around

                          •  The links are the cites (0+ / 0-)

                            After the Declaration of Independence each State was Sovereign until they ratified the Articles of Confederation ten years later.

                            The Stamp Act Congress dated to 1754 but not many states or people showed up.

                            in 1775 the First Congress met to pass the Declaration of Independence, as late as 1786 Virginia called a convention and only five states showed up. There was no judiciary until the Judiciary act of 1793. In 1786 The Articles of Confederation United the States as a nation

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Sat Mar 31, 2007 at 12:02:14 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Articles of Confederation (0+ / 0-)

                            did in no way diminish state sovereignty.  

                            Congress did not pass declaration of independence.  Those people were not elected by anyone.  

                            And if you notice, the First Congress is the one that met after the adoption of the Constitution.

                            Please cite authority that even remotely suggests that all power resides in Congress and that the power of other branches and entities (states) is simply at Congressional sufference. Also explain how if Congress is all powerful can its acts be stricken down as ultra vires.

                          •  The articles of confederation and permanent union (0+ / 0-)

                            created a permanent union which enhanced the power of the states by combining them into a congress so they could act together to fight indians, pirates and other invaders, and enhanced the power of the congress because among other things, only the central government is allowed to conduct foreign relations and to declare war.  

                            The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, commonly known as the Articles of Confederation, was the first governing document, or constitution, of the United States of America.

                            It was written in summer 1776 and adopted by the Second Continental Congress on November 15, 1777, after a year of debate.

                            In practice it served as the de facto system of government used by the Congress ("the United States in Congress assembled") until it became de jure by final ratification on March 1, 1781.

                            At that point Congress became Congress of the Confederation. The Articles set the rules for operations of the United States.

                            The confederation was capable of making war, negotiating diplomatic agreements, and resolving issues regarding the western territories, and the ability to print money and borrow inside and outside the US.

                            One major weakness was it lacked taxing authority. A second weakness was one-state, one-vote. The larger states were expected to contribute more but had only one vote.

                            As Benjamin Franklin complained, "Let the smaller Colonies give equal money and men, and then have an equal vote. But if they have an equal vote without bearing equal burthens, a confederation upon such iniquitous principles will never last long."[1]

                            It was initially intended only as a weak national government designed to manage an emergency, and as such, following the conclusion of the War and the onset of new priorities, its many conspicuous inadequacies became glaringly obvious.

                            It was replaced by the much stronger United States Constitution upon the latter's ratification on June 21, 1788.

                            ...
                            Even though the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution were established by many of the same people, the two documents were very different. The original five paged Articles contained thirteen articles, a conclusion, and a signatory section.

                            Establishes the name of the confederation as "The United States of America" and says it is a "perpetual Union."

                            Explains the rights possessed by any state, and the amount of power to which any state is entitled.

                            Establishes the United States as a league of states united ". . . for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them . . ."

                            Establishes freedom of movement–anyone can pass freely between states, excluding "paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice."

                            All people are entitled to the rights established by the state into which he travels.

                            If a crime is committed in one state and the perpetrator flees to another state, he will be extradited to and tried in the state in which the crime was committed.

                            Allocates one vote in the Congress of the Confederation (United States in Congress Assembled) to each state, which was entitled to a delegation of between two and seven members.

                            Members of Congress were appointed by state legislatures; individuals could not serve more than three out of any six years.

                            Only the central government is allowed to conduct foreign relations and to declare war.

                            No two states can form an alliance without permission of Congress.

                            No states may have navies or standing armies, or engage in war, without permission of Congress
                            (although the state militias are encouraged)

                            When an army is raised for common defense, colonels and military ranks below colonel will be named by the state legislatures.

                            Expenditures by the United States will be paid by funds raised by state legislatures, and apportioned to the states based on the real property values of each.

                            Defines the rights of the central government: to declare war, to set weights and measures (including coins)

                            Congress serves as a final court for disputes between states.

                            Defines a Committee of the States to be a government when Congress is not in session.

                            Requires nine states to approve the admission of a new state into the confederacy; pre-approves Canada, if it applies for membership.

                            Reaffirms that the Confederation accepts war debt incurred by Congress before the articles.

                            Declares that the articles are perpetual, and can only be altered by approval of Congress with ratification by all the state legislatures.

                            And if you notice, the First Congress is the one that met after the adoption of the Constitution.

                            No, thats the First Constitutional or Federal Congress, but the fourth Congress engaged in forming the United States.

                            The First Continental Congress was a body of representatives appointed by the legislatures of twelve North American colonies of Great Britain in 1774. It met briefly then set up its successor, the Second Continental Congress, which organized the Americans into war against Britain.

                            The Congress met from September 5, 1774, to October 26, 1774. From September 5 through October 21, Peyton Randolph presided over the proceedings; Henry Middleton took over as President of the Congress for the last few days, from October 22 to October 26.

                            The Congress had two primary accomplishments. First, the Congress drafted the Articles of Association on October 20, 1774. The Articles formed a compact among the colonies to boycott British goods, and to cease exports to Britain as well if the "Intolerable Acts" were not repealed. The boycott was successfully implemented, but its potential at altering British colonial policy was cut off by the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in 1775.

                            Its second accomplishment was to provide for a Second Continental Congress to meet on May 10, 1775. In addition to the colonies which had sent delegates to the First Continental Congress, letters of invitation were sent to Quebec, Saint John's Island, Nova Scotia, Georgia, East Florida, and West Florida, but they did not send delegates.

                            Please cite authority that even remotely suggests that all power resides in Congress and that the power of other branches and entities (states) is simply at Congressional sufference. Also explain how if Congress is all powerful can its acts be stricken down as ultra vires.

                            The Constitution of the United States, Article I Section 8 Congress shall have the power...

                            You should know Section 8 by heart by now.

                            To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

                            Because it has all the power, Congress can delegate power as necessary without any confusion as to where it comes from.

                            It Declares War, it funds and defunds the War, it creates an army and navy and whatever else it needs to win. It makes the rules and when all is said and done to its satisfaction it disbands the army and the navy and whatever else is no longer needed and sends the militia it called up to serve home.

                            In terms of Presidential powers its sort of like employing a contractor or project manager. Congress tells the President what to do and he is empowered to do as he's told.

                            In terms of judicial powers Congress originaly used the justices as circuit riders but now uses the Supreme Court as competent administrators to check its laws for agreement with precedent.

                            Over the last couple of hundred years people have cleverly ursurped power from Congress using various excuses, its an emergency,  its necessary to have separation of powers, we need judicial restraint, executive privledge, national security, but if you are a Federalist and believe in preserving protecting and defending the Constitution and the laws of the United States then its probably a good thing to keep around.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Sat Mar 31, 2007 at 05:20:40 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Cite relevant authority that suppports (0+ / 0-)

                            your outlandish interpretation of Art. I Sec. 8.  Explain how acts of Congress can be ultra vires.

                            US Congress is not a continuation of Continental Congress.  That is evident in the fact that Rhode Island for instance was not governed by the US Constitution (even though it ratified Articles of Confederation) until such time that it chose to become part of the United States by ratifying the US Constitution.  It was not bound by the fact that other states ratified the Constitution and was not part of the Union.

                            Nor did Congress write the Constitution.  It was written by a Constitutional Convention that had no relation whatever to Congress.

                            For future posts, do not requoute Art. I, since we disagree as to its meaning.  Cite authority that supports your interpretation.

              •  I'm afraid you are absolutely wrong. (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                eyeswideopen, BlackGriffen, rktect, Luetta

                Congress has the power to Impeach a justice on the Supreme Court.  In addition, there's that pesky inherent power found in Article I Sec. 8 -- the necessary and proper clause.

                •  Bingo! (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  eyeswideopen, rktect

                  After all, how do you enforce the power of the purse if you can't investigate how the money is spent?

                  •  Of course Congress can investigate how the (0+ / 0-)

                    money is spent.  That is why investigatory power is ancillary to their lawmaking power.

                    •  That Word Doesn't Mean What You Think it Means (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      eyeswideopen, rktect

                      Something that is ancillary is axillary or secondary, kind of like how the VP has the ancillary authority as President of the Senate (to keep him busy). You might even link it with incidental.

                      Oversight and investigation are requisite to the power of the purse, lawmaking authority, impeachment, etc. In other words, every so called power that the leg branch has requires that they have investigatory powers. Otherwise they have no way of knowing if the executive branch is pulling a wool over their eyes. Thus the power is no an ancillary offshoot, but a plenary requisite for the function of Congress.

                      •  It is not plenary because it is limited (0+ / 0-)

                        by the considerations of other constitutional mandates.  Like the separation of powers.

                        •  That Would Imply There Are No Plenary Powers. (0+ / 0-)

                          None whatsoever since they're all limited to some extent by the separation of powers.

                          •  Not true (0+ / 0-)

                            Power of pardon is plenary.  Power of impeachment is plenary.

                          •  Ya Got me There, but Plenary != Unchecked (0+ / 0-)

                            Plenary powers are not unchecked powers. Plenary powers are "this is your main job" type powers. Naturally, anything that is a prerequisite to a plenary power is, by implication, also plenary.

                            So, without further ado, here is a short list of what I perceive as the main plenary powers:

                            Congress: purse control, war declaration, fair law making
                            President: enforces laws fairly, chief diplomat, wages wars
                            VP: checks on health of Pres
                            Courts: interpret the applicability of law to specific cases in a fair and consistent fashion, making stuff up if need be (called setting precedent).

                            Note that they overlap some - thus the need for ancillary checks (which, for the sake of simplicity, tend to be unchecked):

                            Congress: impeachment, setting jurisdiction of lower courts, treaty approval, judge approval, supreme court's size, approval of federal positions.
                            President: the veto, appoints judges, recess appointments, the pardon.
                            VP: President of the Senate
                            Courts: many would say that judicial review is one of their checks, but in reality that's just the logical extension of the idea that nobody is above the law.

                            I list these not because I think you're unfamiliar with them, but to make clear by example how I classify plenary versus ancillary.

                •  Of course... But like i said (0+ / 0-)

                  that does not mean that Congress can demand taht Justices testify about why they ruled one way or another.

                  •  If it involves a high crime or misdemeanor (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    eyeswideopen

                    your damn tootin they can ask.  

                  •  Yes Congress can (0+ / 0-)

                    They can say

                    "Get your asses up here and start talking or here's your walking papers."

                    Fortunately, SCOTUS does pay attend to public opinion and has been very careful over the years to always keep its powder dry enough. So it's never come to that.

                  •  Congress has all the power (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    eyeswideopen, Luetta

                    If it wants to it can declare the President and the Supreme Court in rebellion and call the militia out to enforce the laws of the nation

                    Congress has the power

                    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

                    If the President is employed in the service of the United States and or called to Service as Commander in Chief, then its Congress who governs him.

                    Congress has the power

                    To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;--And

                    To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

                    Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                    by rktect on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 02:16:46 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  This is the THIRD time you are posting (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Focher

                      these quotes.  Quantity does not become quality.

                      That Congress can declare President and the Supreme Court in rebellion does not need that they can legitimately access internal court files.

                      Much like the fact that we can execute someone does not mean that we can torture them.  A greater power does not always include the lesser.

                      •  Congress has the power to make all laws (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        eyeswideopen

                        which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

                        You don't seem to gather just how powerful the use of an absolute like all in regards to power can be.

                        They have the power to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions, so since they can declare war and or issue letters of Marque and or supress insurrection because all that is included in their powers under the Constitution, and they can make the rules for war, they can make it one of the rules to seize both persons and anything that may provide intelligence.

                        The 109th Congress has in fact written legislation permitting warantless surveillence and seisures, kidnapping, torture, murder and holding without rendition, and many other perversions of the law which the 110th Congress intends to repeal.

                        Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                        by rktect on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 04:16:49 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Yes, but obviously they cannot (0+ / 0-)

                          pass uncosntitutional laws.  They can't pass a law saying from now on President does not get to appoint judges and Ambassadors because it is necessary for something or other.  Just like they cannot pass laws assigning judicial power to themselves.  nor can they pass laws that encroach on other branches' constitutional prerogatives.

                          •  They can indeed pass unconstitutional laws (0+ / 0-)

                            The 109th Congress did so repeatedly. The Supreme Court may or may not choose to decide they are unconstitutional.

                            If they do not find them unconstitutional the 110th Congress may find that to be such an egrarious example of partisan behhavior as opposed to good behavior that they need to be removed from office.

                            Once removed from office a new Supreme Court might be appointed and reverse the earlier ruling.

                            The Congress can Impeach the President, impeach judges and ambassadors.

                            As to judicial powers The Congress has sole legislative powers in the District of Columbia and the Constitutional power to establish tribunals for which they make the rules. These rules may or may not be the same as for other inferior courts.

                            Basically there is no limit on their power. The Supreme Court, inferior courts, the president and the whole of the government all have to take an oath to preserve, protect and defend the laws they make.

                            Article III
                            Section 1. The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.

                            The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.

                            Section 2. The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority;--to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls;--to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;--to controversies to which the United States shall be a party;--to controversies between two or more states;--between a state and citizens of another state;--between citizens of different states;--between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.

                            In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction.

                            In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.

                            The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any state, the trial shall be at such place or places as the Congress may by law have directed.

                            Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

                            The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

                            Other branches don't have Constitutional perogatives outside the Constitution and the laws of the United States which Congress wrote as the representative of We the People.

                            To say otherwise is like saying the owners of a house can't hire an architect and empower him to draft up plans and specs and expect the contractor to adhere to them scrupulously.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:40:10 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Ok, then by your logic everyone must (0+ / 0-)

                            obey the Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act, etc.  And the Supreme Court should not dare to strike them down.  I also look forward to your defense of Partial Birth Abortion Act.

                            And, oh, so much for your vaunted checks and balances.  Last time we had a legislative Assembly behave in such a way as you propose we had ourselves a nice little revolution.

                            Again, you are missing the fundamental point.  Congress can remove judges and abolish courts.  What it cannot do is once such courts exist pry into their internal deliberations.  Nor can it arrogate to itself judicial power contrary to Article III or Executive Power contrary to Article II.

                          •  The checks and balances on the Supreme Court (0+ / 0-)

                            are the laws and powers of the all powerful Congress which can take everything from them and replace it with the will of the people whom the represent.

                            Ok, then by your logic everyone must obey the Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act, etc.  

                            So long as they are laws that is correct

                            And the Supreme Court should not dare to strike them down.  I also look forward to your defense of Partial Birth Abortion Act.

                            The Supreme Court can strike them down, and be struck down itself if its behavior be not good.

                            And, oh, so much for your vaunted checks and balances.  Last time we had a legislative Assembly behave in such a way as you propose we had ourselves a nice little revolution.

                            "I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."

                            Thomas Jefferson

                            Again, you are missing the fundamental point.  Congress can remove judges and abolish courts.  What it cannot do is once such courts exist pry into their internal deliberations.  Nor can it arrogate to itself judicial power contrary to Article III or Executive Power contrary to Article II.

                            Congress has not just the power but the obligation to ensure that anything it makes laws for, raises taxes for and spends money on, is accomplished according to its plans.

                            Congress has the power

                            To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

                            To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

                            To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

                            To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;--And

                            To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 06:36:03 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  But it cannot breach separation of powers (0+ / 0-)

                            And therefore it cannot inquire into the internal workings of the courts.

                          •  Separation of powers is not (0+ / 0-)

                            written into the Constitution.

                            Congress has the power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 07:04:25 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Separation of powers IS written into the (0+ / 0-)

                            Constitution.

                            It says that Legislative power is vested in Congress, executive in the President, and judicial in the courts.  Unlike the British system.  Learn to read.

                          •  The Constitution does not say (0+ / 0-)

                            that Legislative power is vested in Congress, executive in the President, and judicial in the courts

                            It says all laws and all power are vested in Congress.

                            The President has to take an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States.

                            He is responsible to futhfill that obligation. Since Congress wrote the Constitution, got it ratified and makes the laws, he does what Congress tells him to do.

                            Likewise with the courts, their role is to tell people to do what Congress has been empowered by the Constitution to tell them to do.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Wed Mar 28, 2007 at 03:48:18 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It most certainly does not that (0+ / 0-)

                            (ANd how do you vest laws).  Congress has only legislative Power.  It does not possess judicial or executive power.

                          •  Oh, and weren't you bemoaning (0+ / 0-)

                            "threats to 'judicial independence'" when people mentioned impeaching judges over the decisions that they make?

                          •  No. (0+ / 0-)

                            I'm all for impeaching judges when their behavior is not good.

                            When justices of the Supreme Court come to Congress asking for a raise in salaries on the grounds they can't get good people without paying them a competitive wage, I would consider that evidence of their lacking both a strong moral compass and good judgement.

                            Nobody wants judges whose decisions can be affected by how much money they are offered.

                            I would suggest all judges like that be impeached.

                            The better solution is clearly a maximum wage linked to the minimum wage, so that no lawyers can make more than say ten times the minimum wage.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 06:58:24 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That is ridiculous (0+ / 0-)

                            I make what the market pays.  If the client is willing to pay $250-280 an hour for my time, then that is what I am worth.  not to mention lawyers who work for contingency.

                          •  Not if Congress passes a maximum wage law (0+ / 0-)

                            tied to the minimum wage law, with provisions that no contract shall allow hourly compensation above that rate.

                            There is nothing in the Constitution that prevents them from doing that and then that will be what the market pays. It might be a better or at least more humane solution than taking Dick's advice to Jack.

                            Next comes land reform. A bill to penalize all the corporations that engaged in war profiteering by taking their assets and distributing them to We the People in the form of public lands would help undo some of the environmental and political damage

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Wed Mar 28, 2007 at 03:53:51 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  So you are for impeaching judges (0+ / 0-)

                            who struck down the Pledge and partial Birth Abortion Acts?

                          •  I'm for impeaching judges (0+ / 0-)

                            who lack a strong moral compass, good judgement and would give custody of an infant nation to those who would divide it by the sword to control it

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 07:13:19 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And that means what? (0+ / 0-)

                            Are you or are you not for impeaching judges who make decisions withwhich you simply disagree?  And if so, would you be perfectly alright when judges who uphold abortion rights are impeached?

                          •  It means I'm for impeaching judges (0+ / 0-)

                            who lack a strong moral compass, good judgement and would give custody of an infant nation to those who would divide it by the sword to control it.

                            I'm for impeaching judges who violate their oaths to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States.

                            I'm for impeaching judges whose decision making process can be influenced by money.

                            Abortion rights are not germane to any of those issues, but if they can't maintain good behavior and allow themselves to be influenced by ideas promulgated by groups other than the guys who wrote the Constitution and the laws of the United States then impeachment isn't enough, I'm for investigation and indictment.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 07:39:41 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh, so you are against citing foreign law (0+ / 0-)

                            and "evolving Constitution?"

                            Since neither of those are "ideas promulgated by groups other than the guys who wrote the Constitution and the laws of the United States."

                            Good to know.

                          •  I'm not against citing foreign law (0+ / 0-)

                            and as for an evolving Constitution, I'm happy to cite precedent back all the way to Moses and Hamurrappi.

                            That precedent changes and evolves over time but some parts of it such as the sovreignity of the written law over the divine rights of kings goes back to the middle bronze age.

                            Our Constitution ratified by the last of the original 13 colonies on May 29th 1790, had ratified Ten Ammendments  to it by December 15, 1791.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Wed Mar 28, 2007 at 04:06:55 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Whats your point? (0+ / 0-)

                            You said we need to refer to what drafter meant. How does that square with foreign law and evolving Constitutuion?

                          •  Oh, and which judge's decision (0+ / 0-)

                            is influenced by money?!  Name one.  Not which person decides whether to become a judge because of money, but show me a person who would have ruled differently because of money.

                          •  The Supreme Court recently complained to Congress (0+ / 0-)

                            that it needed a raise in its salaries because it couldn't attract good justices if they could make more money in the private sector.

                            Allowing we should accept the sworn testimony of Supreme Court Justices as their sincere opinion until proved otherwise...

                            If the decision as to whether or not to accept employment as a Supreme Court Justice or law clerk can be influenced by a little money, why should we not expect that more important decision would be even more likely to be influenced by a lot of money?

                            At that point we are no longer arguing about what they are, just how much they cost...

                            Any idea how many lawyers and judges have been impeached or disbarred for such improprieties as accepting bribes and kickbacks,and then lying to Congress about them?

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Wed Mar 28, 2007 at 04:15:13 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Ummm, that is a giant leap (0+ / 0-)

                            I can decide whether or not to take a job based on what it pays.  but it does not follow that once I take it (regardless of what it pays) I won't do my very best.

          •  Congress has the power (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            eyeswideopen

            To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

            Congress can establish a tribunal and call the President to stand in front of it and be tried
            for any law it decides may be necessary and proper.

            It can call up the militia to enforce its laws or declare those who act to obstruct its justice felons and outlaws, then issue Letters of Margue to bring them in dead or alive and if it needs more power raise armies and navies to go after them.

            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

            by rktect on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 02:05:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Focher

              Congress has the power to declare people felons?!  I guess your eyes glazed over the Bill of Attainder Clause?!

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

                (see below)
                to set up tribunals
                to make laws and rules for the government. Those can include making contempt of Congress, refusal to comply with its supoenas, and anything else it likes felonies.

                Congress has the power to exercise exclusive legislation over the District of Columbia.

                Its not a bill of attainder if Congress passes the law first. That may be one reason Congress has approved but not issued the supoenas.

                Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                by rktect on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 02:41:59 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, congress can declare all sorts of things (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Focher

                  to be felonies.  But it cannot declare a person a felon.  Congress cannot itself try offenses.  See Art. I & III.

                  •  It can define as a felony actions (0+ / 0-)

                    which are against any of the laws it has made.

                    If it suspects that when it issues supoenas the person to whom they are issued will ignore them, then it can pass a law making such a contempt of Congress, (and by Congress we mean the representatives of We the People), a felony and add that when its aided or abeted by the whitehouse a treasonous tyrany punishable by death, and then issue Letters of Margue empowering bounty hunters to bring the felon or felons before Congress dead or alive...

                    Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                    by rktect on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 06:44:39 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  The Plenary power of Congress is unlimited (0+ / 0-)

          plenary power or plenary authority is the complete power of a governing body. The concept is also used in legal circles to define complete control in other circumstances, as in plenary authority over public funds, as opposed to limited authority over funds that are encumbered as collateral or by a legal claim. It is derived from the Latin term plenus ("full").

          Plenary power in US law
          In United States constitutional law, plenary power is a power that has been granted to a body in absolute terms, with no limitations on how that body may use the power. The assignment of a plenary power to one body divests all other bodies from the right to exercise that power.

          A clear example of this is with the power of the United States Congress under the Article I, Section 8,

          That has got to be as plenary a power as it gets.

          To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

          Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

          by rktect on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:58:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Congress has the power to make the laws (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Luetta

        The President has the same right to disobey the laws Congress makes as anyone else.

        If he wants to kidnap, torture, murder, hold without rendition, commit treason by violating his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the laws of the nation, aid and abet the obstruction of justice, out CIA agents, lie, cheat, steal he should expect every bit as much permissiveness as any other criminal.

        Congress has the power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

        Congress has the power to constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court. They can if they wish try someone who tries their patience

        Congress has the power to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union.

        Section 8. The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

        To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

        To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

        To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;

        To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;

        To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;

        To establish post offices and post roads;

        To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

        To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;

        To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;

        To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;

        To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

        To provide and maintain a navy;

        To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

        To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

        To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

        To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;--And

        To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

        Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

        by rktect on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:56:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Language matters (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rktect

          Language matters.

          The President has the same right to disobey the laws Congress makes as anyone else.

          Actually, no one has a "right" to disobey the laws. They have the free will, but it is not a right. Consequences can then follow or not follow depending on the will of those who have the power to enforce those laws.

          It seems you are combining a few different things - granted powers and the political decision whether to carry out specific actions to enforce those powers.

          For example, Congress explicitly has the power to create and fund the military. However, they do not explicitly control the military other than through the select mechanisms they have created. The executive branch explicitly controls the military, but that military does not exist without the decision of Congress.

          All of the other stuff about the military is gray area that gets hashed out through politics and, in extreme cases, by the judicial branch. Does the president have the power to decide whether to allow blacks in the military? As commander in chief, one could conclude yes. However, Congress has explicitly defined that the money will only be provided if the president follows certain rules.

          So yes, Congress has the ultimate power because it can simply decide not to fund something unless it is specifically defined in the Constitution. However, that doesn't mean that Congress automatically has all powers reserved to it.

    •  Yup, sounds like grounds for impeachment. nt (0+ / 0-)

      "Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child."
      - J. Danforth Quayle

      by davewill on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:00:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think they would be. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jbeach

      I have a hard time thinking that the Secret Service would stop a duly authorized force from completing a legal action, especially against a non-elected advisor. The Secret Service is one of those organizations that has to be above partisanship, as they have to put their asses on the line for whichever party is in power.

      Of course, I would have said something similar about U.S. Attorneys not terribly long ago as well, so...

      Anybody know what turnover has been like at the Secret Service in the last year or two?

      The lone and level sands stretch far away. -Shelly

      by justme on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:09:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good point (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        justme, creeper

        The Secret Service protect the President, VP and their nearby staff from unlawful attacks...I would think that the Secret Service would stand down from preventing law officers from doing their jobs, in serving subpoenas and arresting suspected perps.

        I hope we don't have to find out.

        But this has to be pushed all the way. The Democrats absolutely must not, cannot back down on this.

        "Think. It ain't illegal yet." - George Clinton

        by jbeach on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:23:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Anticipation... (5+ / 0-)

    Good to know Reps Miller and Sanchez are forearming themselves with what seems to be a lonely arrow in their quiver.

    Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

    by bumblebums on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:43:49 PM PDT

  •  This is gonna be (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SeanF, justme, pdt, KenBee

    fascinating to watch. The Super Bowl of politics.

    "If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe" -Carl Sagan

    by LightningMan on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:44:41 PM PDT

  •  Whatever happened to just fucking with their budg (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Liberal Thinking, madgranny

    et priorities until they scream bloody murder? Hell Jack Wilson got us INTO a war in Afghanistan and he wasn't even a committee chair.

    In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

    by Windowdog on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:44:53 PM PDT

  •  As I pointed out in a diary last (7+ / 0-)

    week, only partly tongue-in-cheek, there is indeed an alternative. It is for Congress to exercise its appropriations authority to begin defunding strategic portions of the executive branch. Start with the Office of the VP. Dick doesn't need all that staff.

    •  Budget verification (0+ / 0-)

      On that note, once the money's been authorized and spent, what ability does Congress have - the GAO? - to verify that the money was spent somewhat in line with the stated requests? Say, if Cheney asked for $80k to pay for a new staffer, and spent it at a casino instead, does Congress have the ability to demand an explanation?

      "Civil rights have to do with individual rights and I don't think they apply to the gay issues." -- Katherine Harris, Republican, August 2006

      by porsupah on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:50:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  IIRC, Inherent comtempt (14+ / 0-)

    got bandied around in 1973-4 as well; the resignation (and pardon) took it off the table.  

    I'll not speak to Congress's prerogatives, but instead let's think like prosecutors here.  What does a good prosecutor do, faced with a similar situation, say, when a confession can't be used?  He/she develops evidence from another channel.  While I appreciate that we need to test all the weapons in the arsenal, the best set -- as proved in the Watergate scandal -- are the ones that provoke public outrage.  It was the drip drip drip of evidence from the Ervin Committee that set the stage.  

    To that end, we have a heap of people to invite/compel to testify.  My current list includes the interim US Attorneys (which, natch, includes the USA in the District of Columbia), the USAs who were on the list but kept their jobs, the DoJ staffers in the memos, Abu, the server admins at the RNC, and of course the Triumvirate: Rove, Miers and Sampson.

    "...We were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why." --Robert McNamara, In Retrospect (1995)

    by mspicata on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:46:26 PM PDT

    •  As always, right on point. (6+ / 0-)

      Prosecutors always have to deal with 5th Amendment issues, defendants not testifying in their own defense, etc.  If you relied only on the primary target of your investigation to give up the goods, precious few convictions would occur.

      I am not a fan of jumping the gun on Impeachment until the evidence is so overwhelming that it becomes the only logical conclusion.

    •  Chuck Schumer seems to agree with you. (8+ / 0-)

      I sure got the sense from his interviews that he thinks he'll find others to come forward. From his confidence, I surmised he already has them lined up. They do want the WH to have a tantrum and threaten around so the American people can see it. It's working. The polls show the people want supoenas and want to know who knew what when - not by a great margin, but 59% is good.

    •  Subpoena, then contempt, then impeachment (5+ / 0-)

      Good concept, but think it through a little more.

      If the Administration won't honor even non-controversial subpoenas from the Congress, then:

      1. have a committee vote on contempt.  If the Administration still won't budge, then:
      1.  have the full chamber vote on contempt.  If the Administration still won't budge, then:
      1.   By then, the public will be overwhelmingly in favor of impeaching anybody who has refused to appear before Congress.

      You'll only have to get to step 3 once.

      "When the going gets tough, the tough get 'too big to fail'.

      by New Deal democrat on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:51:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No argument, but (0+ / 0-)

        (and I guess the "but" means I have an argument :)

        The two things are mutually exclusive.  I'm inclined to think we should take all paths, including contempt.  I'm really saying that the more testimony we gather before we vote on contempt, the better off we are.  There is always a possibility that we can get Rove, Miers, et al. to testify if we can box them in with other evidence. Otherwise, I'm not convinced of your step 3.

        "...We were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why." --Robert McNamara, In Retrospect (1995)

        by mspicata on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 02:05:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My thought re step 3 is this: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eyeswideopen, mspicata

          Once a contempt citation is issued, you try to serve the citation on the offending member of the administration.  If they refuse to surrender (being barred at the White House gate so to speak), there's your grounds for impeachment right there -- and it would be overwhelmingly supported by public opinion.

          "When the going gets tough, the tough get 'too big to fail'.

          by New Deal democrat on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 03:30:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary (5+ / 0-)

    Very informative.  As for the Bushies barring the door to the Sgt at Arms and/or the Capitol Police, they do not need to go there.  Wait until close of business and then nab the criminal bastard, whomever it is, at their home/apartment and drag them off to jail.  Don't even allow the opportunity for there to be a siege at the Whitehouse with Bush barring the door, the wanted criminal hiding inside.

    Be quiet, be careful, set the deal up, don't telegraph intent to arrest, wait until close of business, nab the criminal as they are leaving the whitehouse or after they've gotten home (or even nail them, Law and Order style, while they are in the middle of a nice dinner in a nice restaurant).

    Reichstag fire is to Hitler as 9/11 is to Bush

    by praedor on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:46:27 PM PDT

    •  Better still, nail them Godfather I style (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jbeach

      while they are in the middle of a nice dinner in a nice restaurant.

    •  Right. No more Waco scenes. (0+ / 0-)
    •  The Constitution deserves this confontation (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eyeswideopen, porsupah

         That would have the greatest symbolism to the world, that we're not a bunch of imperial subjects, and we, the people have pitchforks and axes and we're saying, no we're the boss.
        And that would be the major issue there, this is the most serious Constitutional crisis since the Civil War.

        The people in the adminstration right now are the same ones who have been pulling thus crap since the Vietnam War and earlier. We need to assert the rule of the Constitution, not a political organization.
       
        That would be the statement to the world that this is how democracy is protected and the people's interests are served.
        I vote go to the Whitehouse.

  •  When was the last time that Congress (0+ / 0-)

    has exercised its inherent contempt power?  

    I just do not see Capital Police-Secret Service stand off happening.

  •  Brinksmanship inevitable (4+ / 0-)

    It's evident that Bush intends to pull out all the stops, so I think the notion of inherent contempt does have to be taken to its logical conclusion, of being willing to go to the White House, place it under siege, and arrest people there if necessary.

  •  The only option (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glitterscale, Caoimhin Laochdha

    left to the Congress by the extremism of this "administration" seems to be the extreme step of impeachment.

    More, impeaching Bush alone would be an empty gesture, considering the widespread contempt for the Constitution and the rule of law in this "administration."

    At the very least, both Bush and Cheney would be impeached, and then President Pelosi would fire everyone else and immediately institute legal proceedings against one and all.

    The governmental chaos -- even if Bush and Cheney obey the law this one time and actually vacate their offices -- will be a very dangerous time for this country.

    The danger -- like the dangers we find ourselves in now -- would be clearly the responsibility of the criminals now staffing the "administration."

    "Extremism in the pursuit of virtue is no vice."  Who said that?

    "He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression." from The Emperor's General, by James Webb

    by Noziglia on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:49:32 PM PDT

  •  Put impeachment BACK on the fucking table, (10+ / 0-)

    for crying out loud...  

    Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:50:07 PM PDT

  •  Why do I suspect... (7+ / 0-)

    ... that the WH long ago saw that it might face subpoenas eventually ... assembled a similar analysis to yours ... saw the need to shore up the US Attorney flank ... and ironically triggered the very crisis we now face.

    •  Given that the DC USA, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AndyT, Mike Erwin, KenBee, gchaucer2

      whose job it would be to enforce Congressional subpoenas, is an interim appointment: I'd say pretty good.

      "...We were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why." --Robert McNamara, In Retrospect (1995)

      by mspicata on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:09:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Pure speculation, but I think the whole Atty. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      martik

      crisis stemmed first from the need to get criminal prosecution power in the hands of gold-star Republican loyalists in those areas where party control is balanced on a hairline, politically. They knew in 2004 that they needed to do this and proceeded with bureaucratic lassitude until the losses last year suddenly snapped them awake.  Thus the emails, the meetings in November and the falling axes in December.  

      •  Then they wouldn't have bothered with DC (0+ / 0-)

        Which is the farthest place from a swing state.

        So they had something else in mind in this instance.

        No returns for privilege; full returns for labor! Labor has a right to all that it creates.

        by Mike Erwin on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 06:09:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  They said "total war," right? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee

    It's time for some Shock and Awe, Pelosi-style... (to be read in the Simpson's movie-announcer voice).

    "If I don't get my crackers, I'm going to get angry." -7.50; -6.21

    by sgoldinger on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:51:37 PM PDT

  •  Some say... (7+ / 0-)

    Some say (channelling Katie here)... some say that Congress would be unlikely to use this option since it has not been used for so long and upset the long standing precedent of refering contempt charges to the DOJ. BUT, in this case it is the DOJ itself that is the subject of the corruption inquiry. This investigation is already moving into uncharted waters. It is the DOJ that is being suspected of coopting the rule of law in this country. What could be a more powerful argument for reevaluating a long standing precedent of refering matters to the DOJ when it is the DOJ that is corrpted? This is a full blown constitutional crisis. Heavey times demand heavy measures.

    If the DOJ refuses to pursue the contempt charges, Congress must act to reestablish their rightful oversight role. A powerful option is to invoke their inherent power to prosecute Contempt of Congress.

  •  Pass a special prosecutor law? (0+ / 0-)

    Can't Congress pass a special prosecutor law to try contempt of congress cases?  One where (say) the Speaker and/or Senate majority leader appoint a special prosecutor, vote him/her a budget, and that person gets to try contempt of congress cases?

    The shrub would probably veto, but who knows, with the upcoming standoff and all that, maybe we'd be able to override!

    •  Even without a law, normally (0+ / 0-)

      a U.S. District Court can appoint a special prosecutor to prosecute a contempt (at least in normal non-Congressional contempt cases) when it would appear that a U.S. Attorney would have a conflict of interest.

      For example, in a civil case, often an attorney for the civil litigant hurt by the breach of a court order is appointed for that purpose.

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

      by ohwilleke on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:57:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  While we're dusting things off... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee

    How about "Constitution crisis"?  Sure smells like one to me.

  •  bold and audacious (4+ / 0-)

    I think this is definitely the time to take a lesson from those in the White House -- the Congress needs to think: what would Rove do? Be bold and audacious. Push the envelope. But, unlike Rove, use those qualities in the service of the greater good.

    Ahhhh, I love the smell of oversight in the morning.

    by ryeland on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:53:04 PM PDT

  •  For more on Inherent Contempt of Congress read... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kagro X, rktect, pdt, KenBee

    TerribleTom's excellent MacCracken's bad day. WTF is "inherent" contempt of Congress? This diary is MUST reading for everyone interested in this issue.

  •  Defying a subpeona seems like grounds to impeach. (5+ / 0-)

    Good clean, well documented grounds that could secure bipartisan support.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

    by ohwilleke on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:54:51 PM PDT

  •  John Dean (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smintheus, Five of Diamonds, adrianrf

    responded to questions on this topic in another diary -

    1

    2

    3

  •  Picture a siege at the WH (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pdt, wishingwell, mspicata, KenBee, adrianrf

    With Rove holed up in his office while the Capital's Sergeant at Arms is waiting for him at every entrance.  Would Rove really drag the WH down that far?  Mmmm, yeah, I think he would.  
    His wife could come by at noon everyday and throw his lunch up to him to the open window.  

    -3.63, -4.46 "Choose something like a star to stay your mind on- and be staid"

    by goldberry on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:57:04 PM PDT

  •  Guardian coup d'état perhaps? n/t (0+ / 0-)

    n/t

    Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. - Terry Pratchett

    by cherryXXX69 on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:57:05 PM PDT

  •  This could get really messy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BR Janet, adrianrf

    What happens if the administration refuses to surrender people for inherent contempt proceedings. Do we get an ugly standoff between Congressional and Executive law enforcement officers?

    That "Executive Branch secedes from Union" crack won't look all that funny if we have a Secret Service vs. Sgt. at Arms showdown.

  •  What the Bush White House needs: (0+ / 0-)

    A big can of cockroach spray, with a high pressure nozzle, to get into all the corners, and crevices. Forget the constitutional checks and balances. They only work on paper. Not with pathological liars and obstructionists.  

  •  Series of potential steps. (5+ / 0-)

    I think it ought to be played judiciously; this is potentially a tough weapon, and must be used

    There are a number of steps:

    1. A resolution to direct the Treasury to halt salary/disbursements paid to any Federal employee/contractor refuser of an authorized Congressional subpoena or inquiry, or to anybody who orders a subordinate to refuse such an inquiry, to make third-party compensatory payments illegal, or the third party and receiver liable for any additional compensatory amount.  

    This will be undoubtably vetoed.  However, there is another weapon, namely every year's budget.

    What needs to be done is that the budget authorizations always explicitly include a clause specifying the above contigency and authorizing non-payment upon Congressional vote, not subject to veto.

    This could appeal to both parties as Congress does have a proprietary interest in its own power.  So the power could start in the subsequent year.

    1. After that fails, a resolution directing the US Attorney to prosecute a Congressional contempt violation.

    If the US attorney refuses or is ordered to refuse.

    1. Impeachment of the US Attorney for failing to prosecute.   In current climate it is unlikely to gain 2/3rds majority in Senate.  However, Congress has strong fact-finding powers in prosecuting impeachments and the requisite testimony may be extractable in the process of impeachment.

    Or things sit until the next budget cycle.

    Fascism is indistinguishable from any parody thereof.

    by mbkennel on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:00:34 PM PDT

  •  I have a question (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    melvynny, jbeach, Churchill, adrianrf

    since this esoteric area of law is not my bailiwick.

    If, indeed Congress issues the subpoenas -- they are ignored, they pull the inherent contempt power trigger -- what is the subject of the trial?

    Is it a trial on the narrow issue of ignoring the subpoena or is it on the matter about which the subpoena is served?

    If the first -- there shouldn't be a long trial.  Question:  Why did you ignore the subpoena?
    Answer: Executive privelge.
    Congressional Response:  We disagree -- now cool your jets in jail.

    If the second, then you have a trial on the issues and Rove, Meiers or whomever can plead the fifth and Congress can proceed with other testimony.

  •  Maybe Joe Wilson will finally get his wish (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, KenBee, gatorcog, adrianrf

    of seeing Rove "frog-walked" into the halls of Congress by the Capitol Police!

    We can only hope so.

    "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

    by JNEREBEL on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:04:32 PM PDT

  •  Now this is would be sweet irony... (7+ / 0-)

    If Congress finds Rove guilty of contempt under its inherent power to do so, they throw Rove in the Capital Jail. (I'm imagining some rat infested dungeon deep in the catacomes under the dome, but I digress)

    Rove then files a habeas petition and rots in jail while his lawyers plead the case up through the courts to the Supreme Court. Of course, as has been pointed out repeatedly lately, that would take years, and it is not clear that there is a Constitutional guarantee of habeas corpus...

    Maybe he could be declared an enemy combatant and stripped of citizenship...

    Then we need to pass a House Detainee Treatment Act and authorize some waterbording?

    Just some thoughts...

  •  I'm just not at all convinced (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nimbus, adrianrf

    that our congress critters will issue subpoenas.  I'm inclined to believe that they'll do everything within their grasp to avoid a constitutional showdown, including and not limited to compromising away the demand for testimony UNDER OATH, WITH A TRANSCRIPT.  I don't have enough faith that the democrats will call BushCo's bluff.  Color me pessimistic.  Congress critters have yet to prove to me that they'll go the mat when push comes to shove.  I hope I'm wrong.

  •  Bravo, Mr. Miller. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kagro X, AndyT

    I'm proud to be from your district. Keep fighting.

  •  If there is to be an inherent contempt trial (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, se portland, gchaucer2, adrianrf

    then as I pointed out yesterday it would be best to engeneer it to be in the House.  Not only because our margin is bigger there, but also any trial in the Senate would be presided over by Cheney, in his role as President of the Senate.

    "When watchdogs, bird dogs, and bull dogs morph into lap dogs, lazy dogs, or yellow dogs, the nation is in trouble." - Ted Stannard

    by jrooth on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:15:30 PM PDT

    •  Good, then they can hand (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      adrianrf

      him his subpoena before he sits down.  Kidding, I know you can't serve a subpoena to someone in a courthouse, not sure about Congress.

      Cheney's role would be procedural -- and he'd have to stick to the rules.  That's where Byrd plays a pivotal role.  He has more procedure in his little fingernail than Cheney can muster through a legion of his lackeys.

    •  Maybe. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gchaucer2

      The trial might just as easily be held in committee, with the full House or Senate voting on the recommendation of that committee, as is the case with most lesser (i.e., judicial) impeachments.

      Also, the House can't hold a contemnor beyond the adjournment sine die of the Congress. But the Senate, as a continuing body, can.

    •  So what would happen (0+ / 0-)

      So what would happen if they used inherent contempt on Cheney?

      Would he have to keep jumping up and run from the podium to the well and than back to the podium? :-)

      "A great democracy must be progressive or it will soon cease to be a great democracy" Theodore Roosevelt

      by se portland on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:40:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  NYT op-ed today on appt of special prosecutor (5+ / 0-)

    in a piece titled, "Prosecution Complex" by NEAL KATYAL
    he says:

    IN 1999, when the Independent Counsel Act (the law that gave Kenneth Starr and Lawrence Walsh their mandates) was expiring, I was given the job of writing the new Justice Department rules for the appointment of a special prosecutor since the department would once again be responsible for overseeing such investigations.

    There was one hypothetical to worry about once the Independent Counsel Act lapsed: a case in which the attorney general herself and her deputy were suspected of possible misconduct. The rules were therefore written to vest the decision about whether to appoint a special prosecutor in the top Justice Department official not embroiled in the controversy.

    He goes on to say:

    The federal courts are not as reluctant to pierce executive secrecy and privilege claims when they are facing requests by prosecutors (as Richard Nixon found out the hard way). Congress, by contrast, would have a difficult time obtaining internal White House testimony, records and e-mail messages.

    Maybe it's time for a special prosecutor via these regulations.  At least it's worth a try.

  •  More nonsense from Abu (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Janie, wishingwell, gchaucer2, adrianrf

    Hot off the press, from a press conference in Chicago...Man, can anyone make any sense of this?

    "Certainly even before the disclosure of those memos, what was public was the fact that there was this review process. What was also public was that I had made the decision as to the designation of these individuals," Gonzales said. "I look forward to working with Congress. I believe in keeping accountability."

    "I've directed the release of 3,000 pages of documents. I directed that DOJ [Department of Justice] employees go up and present testimony," Gonzales said. "And I've asked the Office of Responsibility to work with the Office of Inspector General to reassure the American people that nothing improper happened here."

    Um, what?

  •  Karl says you can't come in (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, adrianrf

    The most obvious drawback? Spending time on a trial. Well, that and the scene of having the Sergeant at Arms and the Capitol Police physically barred from entering the White House to arrest those who've defied subpoenas.

    This is a drawback? At least it would keep the Chimpster penned in and on the defensive.

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
    George Bush announced the construction of a "freedom fence" around the White House today.

    The people who brought you the War on Terror are the same ones who brought you the War on Drugs.

    by Terminus on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:25:44 PM PDT

  •  Broken Beyond Workaround (5+ / 0-)

    The refusal of the White House to obey subpoenas, and even their possibly empty threats not to, atop their refusals to even supply documents to House oversight committees with normal business within their jurisdiction, shows that the US government is already unacceptably broken. The "comity" with which Congress and the other branches ordinarily work well within the bounds of legal requirements is like the modern requirements to avoid even the appearance of wrongdoing: the huge and essential workings of government are already too complex and important to slow them down with the friction of doubt that people are complying with the law. And even with those comity and appearance rules having force of law and regulation, we've got plenty of wrongdoing.

    But if that's all thrown away, and even laws requiring cooperation under duress are ignored, we've already worn the rubber off the tires. We're riding bare rims when we have to dust off obscure, even anachronistic rules for sending Sergeants at Arms with Capitol police to arrest Executive violators to be shackled in some Congressional brig.

    Look, I'm all for it, if that's all we've got. Especially if it means Gonzales chained inside some filthy cell not even cleaned since before electric lightbulbs were available. But the scene we just read,

    the scene of having the Sergeant at Arms and the Capitol Police physically barred from entering the White House to arrest those who've defied subpoenas

    is like a week in the early 1990s, when Yeltsin sent tanks to blow up the post-Soviet Duma whose holdout Communists refused to liquidate on Yeltsin's legal order.

    That means we've sunk further than even the "Soviet gulags" and Nazi institutions Democrats used to get into trouble for saying we'd repeated. But, each of those predecessors also contained seeds of hope. Though I guess we have to get through a Bush/Cheney bunker filled with the smoky remains of two fuherers who couldn't shoot straight.

    So we're really at the point where the best option is to impeach these remorseless criminals, for the good of the country, and even their own.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:26:26 PM PDT

    •  I know it sounds bad until (0+ / 0-)

      you look back into history where things were settled with duels and Representatives threw chairs and beat folks with canes.

      •  Can Get Worse (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MarketTrustee, gchaucer2, adrianrf

        Yikes, that's reminds me of the Republican apologists who defend our Iraq occupation as "not as bad as Saddam" or their response to the Nazi/gulag comparisons of "not as bad as Hitler/Stalin".

        FWIW, I was on the phone today with an old friend who's directly descended from Preston "broken cane" Brooks, and thereby related to Charles Sumner. While I'm glad they don't duel in the Senate these days, I also watched the House last week where Tom Price (R-GA) wasted over an hour of House business processing his demand to censure Gene Taylor (D-MS) for questioning Price's decency cutting off Katrina housing for his MS neighbors, from the safe distance of the House (or maybe next-door Georgia), while looking the other way from Bush crony payments delivering thousands of FEMA trailers at $16K per.  After much debate and several votes by the whole House, Taylor's speaking rights were (barely) restored, so he could amend his question to that of Price's "courtesy", not his sacred "decency".

        Sometimes I wish Taylor had just smashed Price with a cane. But I still don't want such literal violence to escalate between the Executive and Legislative branches, like Sargeant at Arms security posses shooting it out with Secret Service to frogmarch Rove. I prefer they impeach those executives, in absentia if necessary, and then watch the White House defend itself from the general populace armed with pitchforks and torches. I'm sharpening mine in anticipation.

        Because all that beats another day suffering these tyrants to walk among us like men.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:50:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  This isn't a cowboy movie (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DocGonzo, adrianrf
       I always hated it in the cowboy movies when the hero and villian would be shooting at each other and the hero would shoot the villian's gun out of his hand and then the idiot would holster his own gun and fight the villian with his fists. Usually almost losing his life but finally saved by his trusty horse or something!!!  That's why people like me cheered when Indiana Jones was confronting a big guy with a huge sword and took out his gun and shot him!  Srew this putting our gun, impeachment, back in our holster or off the table after we won the fight in the election.  Impeachment is the simplest Contitutional remedy for a criminal President.  If we can't gather enough evidence to convict George Bush we need to turn in our keyboards. i say it again, thei congress will get nothing done until it impeaches this President. No health care, no environmental progress, no troops coming home, no nothing!!!
        Waiting for the right time???? The right time was four years ago when he drug us into an illegal war based on lies. How many more troops have to die, how many families have to leave the Gulf Coast where they lived for generations, how many old people (like me) have to suffer without proper health care, how many ......you finish the list.  Before Congress does it's duty to those people?  

      Everybody eats, nobody hits.

      by upperleftedge on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 02:00:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I can't say I understand the intricacies (6+ / 0-)

    of these invaluable civics lessons but I can say I thoroughly appreciate having the opportunity to try and comprehend the possibilities and probabilities to the limits of my abilities.

    In addition I believe that if we bother we can use the information to give our elected representatives, through whom we officially impart our doubts, fears, hopes and dreams, a little backup.

    in fact, it would behoove us to try and give them (Congress) the balls and courage to use the system as it is ideally supposed to be used as a system of checks and balances, instead of hurling brickbats, slurs on their personal integrity and spinelessness because they are not reacting fast enough to our demands. Many of which are completely unreasonable and undoable.

    Maybe the unintentional consequence of this entire Bush travesty of justice will be better government. But that is up to us isn't it. If we lose our own moral compass we will inevitably steer ourselves off the edge of the abyss.

  •  Amen Kagro! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phonegery, gchaucer2, adrianrf

    ," Congress needs to speak -- and speak soon -- about how it intends to protect its prerogatives

    Next to the word, "Unselfish" and the word, " Courageous" in the Dictionary are two Words: Elizabeth Edwards.

    by wishingwell on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:37:55 PM PDT

  •  Let's do it! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    adrianrf

    What, BTW, is stopping the House from impeaching Gonzo?  I know they said Bush was "off the table" but Gonzo isn't, is he?

    We are gonna have to lay some cards.  The Democrats are terrible at the game of chicken.  Bush is daring Congress to smack him down.  And the more he gets us on the record as feckless blinkers, the easier he breathes.

    IMPEACH GONZO.  Or hold him in "inherent contempt".

    I don't think that any US Atty. is gonna go down for Gonzales, and it would seem a clear conflict-of-interest for Gonzo to have the ability to put ANY pressure on a prosecutor who is carrying out a contempt of congress order against him.  

    In fact, wouldn't it be the Capitol Police (not under the Justuce Dept.) who would carry out the COC?

    "Freedom for the wolves means death for the sheep." ~Isaiah Berlin

    by Thaddaeus Toad on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:39:25 PM PDT

  •  Don't vote on the funding for the troops (0+ / 0-)

    Just don't bring the legislation up to a vote.  Then the NeoCon thugs can't say that someone voted against the troops.  The Dems can say that due to administartive procuders they weren't able to vote on it in time.

    To BushCo:  You're lack of planning DOES NOT constitute an EMERGENCY on my part.

    80 % of success is just showing up - Woody Allen

    by Churchill on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:39:41 PM PDT

  •  US Congress: GO FOR BROKE NOW NOW NOW nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    adrianrf

    80 % of success is just showing up - Woody Allen

    by Churchill on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:41:38 PM PDT

  •  TORA TORA TORA TORA TORA Nt (0+ / 0-)

    80 % of success is just showing up - Woody Allen

    by Churchill on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:41:52 PM PDT

  •  Roast WHSmall Fish FIRST, the rest will turn (0+ / 0-)

    on their bosses, who really doesn't have any respect for the WH Small Fish.

    80 % of success is just showing up - Woody Allen

    by Churchill on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:43:07 PM PDT

  •  HERE, HERE! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    adrianrf

    Seriously, I don’t like to have a ruler in charge of our country that thinks he’s above the law.

    It’s quite unsettling.

    He must be bought down to the level of common citizen like the rest of us.

    Or politically castrated.

    (-7.25, -6.41) We at Daily Kos must demand more of our country and of our political representatives.

    by Pescadero Bill on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:48:54 PM PDT

  •  Send out the Sergeants-at-Arms (0+ / 0-)

    along with a well-paid contingent of mercenaries from Blackwater Security.  Round up the usual suspects, try 'em before the bar of COngress and hold them in the nastiest, most rat-infested, dank sub-basement of the Capitol Bldg - or rent at a suite at Walter Reed's Bldg 18.

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by bobdevo on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 01:57:45 PM PDT

  •  The 'inherent Contempt' process would be a good.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shaniriver, adrianrf

    ..first step and might work on the 'little' fish Abu Gonzo and PigBoy Rove, but let's face it...

    Pelosi and her troops are already getting ready for Impeahment.

    As they should.

    The 'off the table...' remark by Madame Speaker is over 4 months old.

    She has said nothing like that since then. And, even if she had and I missed it, things have changed.

    We have an out of control dry drunk in the White House, the AG is a self-admitted liar, the VP is bat-shit crazy and the ReThuglicans are all hiding under the nearest rock like the snakes they are.

    And....

    The American people are a angry as I've ever seen them and I was here for Nixon. It's a little over 90 days since the election and Bush is incapable of halting his slide towards the political gibbet.

    Impeachment!

    'I'm writing as Nestor since scoop in it's awesome wisdom won't let me use my real screen name: A.Citizen'

    by Nestor Makhnow on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 02:04:38 PM PDT

    •  The sequence (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      adrianrf

      Inherent contempt first, impeachment second.  And about impeachment being "off the table," I believe they were referring to Shrub and Vader.

      Even if neither work, it still puts on a great show of our new imperial presidency for even the most casual observer.  Video of the DC police and the Sergeant at Arms being turned away at the WH door!  Priceless!

      Immediately after, I'd suggest "King George" protests all over the country, but especially in DC, with Revolutionary War era slogans on their protest signs.

  •  While we wait... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MarketTrustee, adrianrf

    If this USA/EP issue ends up in the courts for years, why don't the Dems go down this path, one of MANY available to them.  This is potentially far more serious that the USA scandal:

    Waas: Gonzales, A Likely Target, Helped Block Wiretapping Probe

    http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/...

    Senior Justice Officials "Stunned" Prez Ordered NSA Probe Blocked

    http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/...

    Aborted DOJ Probe Probably Would Have Targeted Gonzales

    http://news.nationaljournal.com/...

  •  Direct confrontation is unavoidable (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shaniriver, wonmug, Mike Erwin, adrianrf

    if congress is to not only hold this administration accountable for its crimes and malfeasance, but, more importantly for the future, reassert its co-equal status as a branch of government, take back the unlawful and dangerous assertions of power by the executive, and restore the balance of power among all three branches that are essential to the proper functioning of our democracy. And some form of confrontation is unavoidable for this to happen.

    But if congress punts, folds, or tries to do an end run around the administration's obstacles, it might "win" this round, but it will only come back to haunt it and the country someday. This administration has overtly grabbed unlawful and unconstitutional power for itself, which is inherently dangerous for our democracy, and the ONLY way to take these powers away (and, more importantly, make it hard for future administrations to be able to claim them for themselves) is through some form of direct confrontation.

    I for one would love the spectacle of seeing congressional police march down to the White House and be barred from lawful entry. Does anyone actually believe that this would work in Bush's favor? Hell, if Reid and Pelosi are smart (as they're increasingly proving to be), then they will march at the front of such a procession along with the rest of the leadership and many other members of congress. The image of that would be absolutely DEVASTATING for the administration and score a big blow for the restoration of democracy.

    Much as Clinton's showdown with Gingrich ended up being a victory for Clinton and a disaster for Gingrich and the GOP (but, sadly, not nearly as big a disaster as we would have hoped), this would be a victory for congress and Dems, and a huge defeat for Bush and the GOP.

    I'm not saying that this is the only possible sort of confrontation possible. I'm sure that there are others. But one way or another, we cannot and must not shy away from one, because it is inevitable and unavoidable if we're to finally beat these fuckers and restore the balance of powers and some semblence of a functionaing democracy (remaining warts and all).

    "There's no doubt in my mind that the dialogue here in Washington strengthens our democracy. Period." -- General Peter Pace, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

    by kovie on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 02:19:41 PM PDT

  •  A compliment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    adrianrf

    More than any other single individual, it is my estimation that you are the diarist that most makes this site worth reading as often as I do.  Thanks.

  •  Impeach! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    adrianrf

    (already)

    If the Courts take a dive on this issue, Congress
    will have to impeach Bush.

    "In a system of immense power, small differences can translate into large outcomes." Chomsky

    by formernadervoter on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 03:02:27 PM PDT

  •  Senator Byrd (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    adrianrf

    Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) is the resident guru of all the more arcane Senate parliamentary maneuvers.  While I know most people here don't see eye to eye with the Gentleman from West Virginia on many issues, I think it's clear that we're all on the same side here.

    Perhaps one of the known frontpagers, or one of his WV constituents, can ask him to write us a white paper on Inherent Contempt, how it's been used, and how it might be useful?

    Even if he doesn't go ahead and write the paper, it might get his wheels turning on how to make sure that Congress gets what it needs out of the White House.

  •  Arrest Them at Home (0+ / 0-)

    If these officials live in D.C. and we have the use of the Capitol police, then why can't they just be arrested at home?

  •  After they bar the White House door... (0+ / 0-)

    That's when the public will really get mad at these Republican crooks.

    My advice in that case would be to post the House's cops at all the entrances, making the White House a prison for Gonzalez and his henchmen.

    I'm looking forward to an exciting stand-off!

    9-11 9-11 9-11, war war war, al qaida Iraq Saddam. Rinse, then repeat 20,000 times.

    by jimbo92107 on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 08:19:35 PM PDT

  •  A Strong and Unambiguous Signal (0+ / 0-)

    Congress really has one enormous power that can be used to compell testimony from federal officials. That's the power of the purse. They can defund anyone, save the President, who decides to oppose them, effectively firing them. They can continue to do so until George Bush is running the office by himself or someone agrees to testify.

    I'd stop paying Gonzales until I got some answers, myself.

    (The President's compensation can't be reduced while he's in office. See Article II, Section 1, Clause 7:

    The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

    Note that this says nothing about salaries for the VP or other officials.)

  •  Impeachment is necessary but insufficient (0+ / 0-)

    At a minimum, George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, and Alberto Gonzalez must each be referred to an international war crimes tribunal, if for no other reason than to restore the credibility and honor of the US.

    These men are each in their own way the blackest of tyrants, rivaling Saddam in the acts of butchery, torture, and murder committed on their orders.

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