By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Thursday, June 14, 2007; 1:20 PM
White House spokesman Tony Snow yesterday dismissed the issuance of congressional subpoenas to two former White House aides as an attempt to "create some media drama."
..."One constitutional-law expert said yesterday that the White House is in a difficult legal position, with little ability to refuse the subpoenas. 'They're in the unsustainable position of refusing to explain the increasing evidence of a cover up,' said Charles Tiefer of the University of Baltimore Law School.
"...White House does not have standing to try to quash the subpoenas preemptively. That leaves White House ...with the choice of a negotiated settlement or a showdown in federal court.
"If the White House refuses the subpoenas, Leahy and Conyers could move to hold the White House in contempt, then forward those citations to the full House and Senate for approval. The contempt citations would then be sent to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Jeffrey A. Taylor, who is required to impanel a grand jury to consider indictments. Taylor may have to recluse himself because of his involvement in events as a U.S. attorney."
Richard B. Schmitt writes in the Los Angeles Times: "Except in cases involving national security or military secrets, the executive branch enjoys no absolute privilege to withhold documents from Congress. In most disputes, courts balance the interests of the administration to keep the documents private, against the public or congressional interests in learning about the material
But this President has demonstrated the personality of a petulant 4 year old, one who figuratively held his breath and stamped his feet because he did not get his own way during the recent War Funding bill. And unlike Reagan who at least showed a willingness to compromise, the Cheney Administration has held Congress as the equivalent of dog excrement that must be wiped off his shoe.
So let us assume that the D's actually show some spine and really push it and it ends up in Court. The DC Circuit is Chock full of Federalist Society members that specializing in twisting, ignoring or reinterpreting the law to conform to their ideology . Under any other Court that actually followed the law and precedent the President would be screwed, but I will bet a months pay that alchemist of the DC Circus will turn lead into gold (Claims of executive privilege denied to Clinton will change to Claims of executive privilege approved for Bush. )