A big step in the U.S. Attorneys case.
The House Judiciary Committee voted today to issue contempt citations for two of President Bush's most trusted aides, taking its most dramatic step yet towards a constitutional showdown with the White House over the Justice Department's dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys.
The panel voted 22-17, along party lines, to issue citations to Joshua B. Bolten, White House chief of staff, and Harriet E. Miers, former White House counsel. Both refused to comply with committee subpoenas after Bush declared that documents and testimony related to the prosecutor firings were protected by executive privilege.
It remains to be seen what this means, because after these contempt citations pass the full House they are referred to the U.S. Attorney of the District of Columbia, an employee of the Justice Department. And the White House has already said, in an unprecedented move, that it will block the DOJ from prosecuting any contempt charges. My dream scenario: Supreme Court showdown!