From International Herald Tribune:
Contempt for Congress
Published: July 18, 2007
The Bush administration's disregard for the rule of law hit another low when Harriet Miers, the former White House counsel, defied a congressional subpoena. A second former official, Sara Taylor, did testify, but she inappropriately invoked executive privilege to dodge key questions. Congress should take firm action to compel Miers and Taylor to provide the testimony it is entitled to hear.
Congress has been conducting a much-needed investigation of last year's dismissal of nine top prosecutors. The evidence so far strongly suggests that the firings were done for improper, political reasons, and that Miers and Taylor were involved. As part of its supervisory authority, Congress is entitled to question the two women.
Miers refused to appear before the House Judiciary Committee after President Bush, claiming executive privilege, took the extraordinary step of ordering her not to testify. If Congress is seeking any privileged information, Miers can decline to answer those specific questions. But executive privilege did not negate her legal duty to appear when Congress subpoenaed her.
The House of Representatives should vote to hold Miers in contempt. The Senate Judiciary Committee should review Taylor's testimony and demand answers to the legitimate questions she refused to answer. If she continues her recalcitrance she, too, should face contempt.
Any lesser response would be an invitation to this executive branch, and every future one, to treat Congress not as a co-equal branch of government, but as little more than an advisory body.