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We're Itching For a Fight With Some Contempt

Michelle Richardson,
Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office
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July 26, 2007

Yesterday we saw the beginning of what the media is calling a “showdown” between Capitol Hill and the White House. We hope it grows into a full-on rumble. The House Judiciary Committee voted to hold former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten in contempt for violating their subpoenas over the firing of Justice Department Officials.

It’s a good start. We hope Congress sticks to their guns and holds members of the Bush administration in contempt for flouting their subpoenas on NSA wiretapping.

One day before Bush administration’s deadline to turn over information about the illegal NSA wiretapping program, the date was extended. We hope that extension ends soon. Congress has a choice: get the documents in their hands or hold the President in contempt.

Congress keeps resetting their clock on subpoenas, but Americans are keeping their own count. Reset the stopwatch, and we ratchet up the Subpoena Watch. It’s been eight days since the deadline passed and the President is still dragging his feet. Congress must put an end to this President’s excuses soon and make him own up to the laws this administration has broken.

Checks and balances define us as Americans and prevent any of the branches from grabbing too much power. If one of the branches grows complacent or corrupt, trouble starts brewing and the balance collapses. It’s a civics class staple, but with Bush abusing his power and Congress waiting in the wings, it’s a lesson that demands repeating.

We’ve got our eye on Congress. We hope they follow through and hold Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten in contempt. And we’re counting the days until Congress does the same for the NSA program.

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