Friday, June 29, 2012

A solution to Fast & Furious "Eric Holder and Barack Obama you are under arrest!" ...but if only the Congress had the stones

Congress has the authority to arrest Eric Holder and Barack Obama... (see below)

If the House REALLY wants to have press the contempt issue... (from Of Arms and the Law )
Posted by David Hardy · 28 June 2012
There is the "inherent contempt" power, where the House orders the arrest of the defendant, and can try him then and there, and pass sentence. It hasn't been used since 1934, when the Senate sentenced a fellow who destroyed evidence to ten days in jail. It was upheld by the Supreme Court in Jurney v. MacCracken, 294 U.S. 125 (1935). ("Here, we are concerned, not with an extension of congressional privilege, but with vindication of the established and essential privilege of requiring the production of evidence. For this purpose, the power to punish for a past contempt is an appropriate means.") The House sends out its Sergeant-at-Arms to arrest the defendant, he is tried on the spot, and the House decides whether to convict.
All the more ironic, in that not too many years ago the Demos were suggesting its use against a Republican administration. One pointed out that the the Capitol has an unused jail cell for just that occasion.
Hat tip to Jim Norell, a husband of the late Nancy Norell and a former Senate staffer who reminded me of the Capitol "dungeon."

Photo at right snipped from Sipsey Street Irregulars ~ Norman E. Hooben

Congress has the authority to arrest Eric Holder and Barack Obama...
Following the refusal of a witness to produce documents or to testify, the Committee is entitled to report a resolution of contempt to its parent chamber. A Committee may also cite a person for contempt but not immediately report the resolution to the floor. In the case of subcommittees, they report the resolution of contempt to the full Committee, which then has the option of rejecting it, accepting it but not reporting it to the floor, or accepting it and reporting it to the floor of the chamber for action. On the floor of the House or the Senate, the reported resolution is considered privileged and, if the resolution of contempt is passed, the chamber has several options to enforce its mandate.

Inherent contempt
Under this process, the procedure for holding a person in contempt involves only the chamber concerned. Following a contempt citation, the person cited is arrested by the Sergeant-at-Arms for the House or Senate, brought to the floor of the chamber, held to answer charges by the presiding officer, and then subjected to punishment as the chamber may dictate (usually imprisonment for punishment reasons, imprisonment for coercive effect, or release from the contempt citation.)
Concerned with the time-consuming nature of a contempt proceeding and the inability to extend punishment further than the session of the Congress concerned (under Supreme Court rulings), Congress created a statutory process in 1857. While Congress retains its "inherent contempt" authority and may exercise it at any time, this inherent contempt process was last used by the Senate in 1934, in a Senate investigation of airlines and the U.S. Postmaster. After a one-week trial on the Senate floor (presided over by the Vice-President of the United States, acting as Senate President), William P. MacCracken, a lawyer and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Aeronautics who had allowed clients to rip up subpoenaed documents, was found guilty and sentenced to 10 days imprisonment.
MacCracken filed a petition of Habeas Corpus in federal courts to overturn his arrest, but after litigation, the US Supreme Court ruled that Congress had acted constitutionally, and denied the petition in the case Jurney v. MacCracken.
Presidential pardons appear not to apply to a civil contempt procedure like the above, since it is not an "offense against the United States" or against "the dignity of public authority."
See full article here

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