In a motion hearing in federal court today, U.S. District Judge John Bates questioned why Congress didn’t simply arrest former White House counsel Harriet Miers and Chief of Staff Josh Bolten after both refused to respond to subpoenas issued by the House Judiciary Committee:
Congress has the authority to hold someone in contempt, U.S. District Judge John Bates said. Did it really need to go to court?
House counsel Irvin Nathan said it did.
The hearing is the latest in an ongoing battle between Congress and the White House, to have senior aides testify about the U.S. attorney firings.
Bates also queried whether he should make a decision at all:
“Both sides have the same argument,” Bates said. “Whether I rule for the executive branch or I rule for the legislative branch, I’m going to disrupt the balance.”
Bates promised a quick decision, but noted the likelihood of appeal.