NYU’s Brennan Center Supports Congressional Subpoenas

Citing the critical importance of separation of powers NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice has filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief in support of Congress’ authority to subpoena Harriet Miers and Josh Bolton.

The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed both former White House officials in its investigation og GonzalesGate, the political manipulation of Justice by the Bush Administration.  Miers and Bolten have refused to comply with the orders to appear and are claiming all White House officials are above the law.

The Brennan Center brief argues that if the Court dismisses the action, as requested by Bolten’s and Miers’ attorneys, it could deal a significant blow to the Constitution’s separation of powers and “would signal to future presidents that they could hide behind executive privilege regardless of whether their legal claim was weak or strong–or even baseless.”

pull quote “The Committee is investigating allegations that partisan operatives commandeered Congress’s criminal laws and the machinery of the Department of Justice for improper purposes,” said Emily Berman, the Katz Fellow in the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center and one of the co-authors of the brief. “Information supplied by federal officials has been riddled with gaps and inconsistencies, raising the possibility that the Committee and the public have been misled. Congress can obtain these missing facts only from executive officials allegedly implicated in misconduct.”

“This case raises questions of fundamental importance to our Constitution’s system of Separation of Powers,” said Berman. “Congress’s constitutional obligation to ensure that the Executive acts within the bounds of the law requires that it complete this important investigation. Should the court deny it the power to do so, Congress’s oversight authority will be compromised, and with it our constitutional balance of power.

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