In June, after White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers refused to comply with congressional investigations into the U.S. Attorneys scandal, the Justice Department claimed “that senior presidential advisers are absolutely immune from congressional subpoenas.” But today, a federal judge has ruled that “there’s no legal support for that stance” and “aides can be subpoenaed.” Federal Judge John Bates stated that Bolten and Miers must comply with Congress:
U.S. District Judge John Bates disagreed. He said there’s no legal basis for that argument. He said that Miers must appear before Congress and, if she wants to refuse to testify, she must do so in person.
“Harriet Miers is not immune from compelled congressional process; she is legally required to testify pursuant to a duly issued congressional subpoena,” Bates wrote.
He said that both Bolten and Miers must give Congress all non-privileged documents related to the firings.
Bates was appointed by President George W. Bush in December 2001 and was appointed to the FISA court by Justice John Roberts in 2006. On many previous occasions, his rulings have helped cover-up for the administration’s wrongdoings.
,Former Justice Department lawyer Marty Lederman calls the ruling “a landmark decision.”
,In a statement, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) says he looks “forward to the White House complying with this ruling and to scheduling future hearings with Ms. Miers and other witnesses who have relied on such claims.”