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Separation of powers

2009

Cornell University Law School

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Executive Branch Contempt Of Congress, Josh Chafetz Jul 2009

Executive Branch Contempt Of Congress, Josh Chafetz

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

After former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten refused to comply with subpoenas issued by a congressional committee investigating the firing of a number of United States Attorneys, the House of Representatives voted in 2008 to hold them in contempt. The House then chose a curious method of enforcing its contempt citation: it filed a federal lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment that Miers and Bolten were in contempt of Congress and an injunction ordering them to comply with the subpoenas. The district court ruled for the House, although that ruling was subsequently stayed …