The July 13, 2007, edition of the Washington Post reported,
"A court battle over President Bush’s broad but largely untested claims of
executive privilege grew more likely yesterday when a House panel took the
first step toward bringing contempt charges against former White House counsel
Harriet E. Miers.” From what has been
reported so far, it appears to me that the Bush administration has subverted the
principal that the Justice Department is not to be used for political purposes.
Congress, however, as yet does not have the evidence they need to substantiate
that conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt.
Nevertheless, it seems to me that Bush’s claim of executive privilege is
a strong one, given that the law apparently says that the U.S. Prosecutors
serve at the pleasure of the President, and does not limit the President’s
power to hire and fire them just to the transition period of a new
On the other hand, Congress could send a bill to the President changing those
Justice Department positions to non-political positions protected by regular
civil service regulations, or otherwise constraining the ability of the
President, and the Attorney General, to remove appointed U.S. Attorneys. Congress does not need hard evidence of
wrong doing to pass such legislation.
After all, the Constitution did not give Congress the power to hold
investigative hearings for the purpose of uncovering scandal and blame. Congress’ subpoena power was supposed to be
limited to Congress acquiring the information it needs to pass legislation in
an informed manner.
Remember how unjust we thought the hearings and investigations of the old House
UnAmerican Activities Committee and Senate
Internal Security Subcommittee were? It’s inconsistent to
think that today’s Congress should have criminal investigation powers.