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September 30, 2014

Boehner: Arrest of Lois Lerner Up to Eric Holder

John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, asked about using his power as speaker of the House to order the arrest of Lois Lerner, told Fox News he doesn’t think invoking the “inherent contempt” clause is appropriate.

The speaker, in an interview with Maria Baritomo that aired on “Sunday Morning Futures,” said it’s up to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to arrest Lois Lerner, the former Internal Revenue Service official the House voted to hold in contempt last week.

“Will he do it? We don’t know. But the ball is in his court,” Boehner said.

But, as CQ Roll Call’s Katy O’Donnell reported April 29, the speaker has the power, upheld by the Supreme Court, to order the Capitol Police to arrest Lerner and hold her for trial.

boehner 197 022714 445x296 Boehner: Arrest of Lois Lerner Up to Eric Holder

Boehner: House won’t arrest Lois Lerner. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congress’ “inherent contempt” power hasn’t been used since 1935, but it has been upheld twice by the Supreme Court, in 1821 and 1927, according to O’Donnell’s article.

The House first pursued inherent contempt proceedings in 1795 against two men accused of offering bribes to lawmakers, and more than a dozen inherent contempt cases were tried in Congress over the course of the next six decades.

According to O’Donnell:

“The people rounded up by the sergeant-at-arms ranged from would-be bribers to an attorney general’s brother who was imprisoned in 1927 for refusing to comply with a subpoena in a Senate investigation of the lack of prosecution of allegations of antitrust violations. The offending witness is supposed to be locked up in the Capitol, but Congress also has turned them over to the city jail.”

Boehner, who acknowledged during the Fox interview that “I’m not the historian here,” said the use of the “inherent contempt” clause would be unprecedented.

“There’s a provision in the Constitution that has never been used. I’m not quite sure that we want to go down that path,” he said.

“It’s up to the Attorney General Eric Holder to do his job.”

  • Tip

    Ms. Lerner, laugh in Issa’s face.

    We all hold him in contempt.

  • Brenda Huddleston

    Something is very wrong when you leave this decision to a man who himself is held in contemt of congress. Seems like a joke, doesn’t it!

    • Stephen Barlow

      HAHAHAAHA!!! The irony is amazing when it comes out a Republican mouths… isn’t it.

  • concernedvoter1604

    In my view Boehner is absolutely correct. Just because you have the power to do something, doesn’t mean you should actually exercise that power. In today’s society people expect that Judicial institutions, and only judicial institutions, authorize people to be jailed or imprisoned. The fact that the Attorney General fails to act on a prosecution/contempt proceeding doesn’t mean Congress should intervene and create an “alternative” prosecution/contempt proceeding of it’s own. Yeah they may have the authority to do it, but there are some pandora’s boxes that are better left shut…

    • DoucheOwebama

      Earache Holder is as lying, collusional, Blowbama d*ck sucking DOUCHE who has NO power to even cut his own fingernails. He is absolutely CORRUPT.

    • Dyann Jackson

      In today’s society, now more than ever, the People have a right to expect and receive Judiciary Jurisprudence and order of LAW! It seems this ADMIN believes (example set 10 times a day by Obama) that they are EXEMPT from the rule of law.

      • Stephen Barlow

        Like the Republican SCOTUS violating it’s OATH to NOT ALLOW political preferences to sway justice decisions on Constitutional Law?

        NO Corporation is a person. All the officers and board members are temporary, whereas the DOCUMENT that creates, defines and directs a corporation is permanent unless revoked or changed. Very simply put, a corportion is a PIECE OF PAPER on file in a cabinet in an office.

        It is NOT a person, and thus has no Constitutional Protections. If it were true, then TREES, which is where the paper comes from, would have Constitutional Protections and they CLEARLY do not.

        SO be careful how you ‘define’ jurisprudence and the order of law.

        • ExRepug

          Dyann is venting. She doesn’t understand law or jurisprudence. Be patient.

          • Stephen Barlow

            So am I, but I DO know the law and I understand those multi syllable words like Benghazi.

          • ExRepug

            LLOL. Thanks for perking up what has otherwise been a boring day!

          • ExRepug

            LLOL. Thanks for perking up what has otherwise been a boring day!

  • Forester Lorenelle

    So, could someone inform us why it is that so many executive departments of the Federal Government, like NOAA, the TinkerToy Security Administration, etc., not to mention other forces in the District of Columbia, like Amtrak and the National Zoological Park have police officers and are permitted to use force, but Congress has to ask permission of Herr Holder to grab Lois by the short hairs? Speaking of constitutional amendments, is there some possibility of one in this regard that might be crafted to make Congress a functionally co-equal branch? That, for example, would allow Congress to enforce it’s contempt resolution anywhere within the boundaries of the District of Columbia?

    • ExRepug

      Probably has something to do with the fact that Congress passed a law to make it that way. See 2 U.S.C. section 192.

      • Dyann Jackson

        The SPEAKER has the power, upheld by the Supreme Court, to order the Capitol Police, Sgt of Arms, to arrest Lerner and hold her for trial. The offending witness is supposed to be locked up in the Capitol, but Congress also has turned them over to the city jail.

        • ExRepug

          You are somewhat confused (understandably) about the distinction between civil contempt and criminal contempt. Rather amusing that you think you can lecture an attorney (me) about legal procedure. Let me educate you on contempt so that you don’t continue to spout erroneous talking points.

          The Speaker has the authority under the inherent contempt power of Congress to direct the House Sergeant at Arms to arrest Ms. Lerner and detain her for CIVIL contempt. Civil contempt is “coercive” meaning that she can be held in an effort to coerce her to testify. However, the House’s civil contempt lasts only as long as the current session of Congress. The 114th Congress will adjourn in December, at which time civil contempt will expire.

          I take it that you didn’t bother to actually read the House Resolution that was voted upon. You didn’t, did you? Had you done so (it’s only a few sentences long) you would know what the House actually resolved: CRIMINAL contempt, which can only be executed by the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. That is the statute to which I referred in my earlier post, and I will bet dollars to donuts that you never read that law, either.

          If you genuinely want to learn about the law and procedures of contempt of Congress (both types) the Congressional Research Service wrote a very good explanation of it last year. It is accessible online.

          Before you respond to my posts you had better do real research rather than rely on articles on blogs written by nonlawyers.

          • Dyann Jackson

            This is your legal citation:
            Every person who having been summoned as a witness by the authority of either House of Congress to give testimony or to produce papers upon any matter under inquiry before either House, or any joint committee established by a joint or concurrent resolution of the two Houses of Congress, or any committee of either House of Congress, willfully makes default, or who, having appeared, refuses to answer any question pertinent to the question under inquiry, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 nor less than $100 and imprisonment in a common jail for not less than one month nor more than twelve months.

            Tell me Mr lawyer; where you found the statute of jurisdiction? Afterall I am beneath your esteemed title and therefore deserving of platitudinous disdain.

            Surely Wikipedia wouldn’t LIE! *lmao*

            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).

          • Dyann Jackson

            And THAT was my original point.

          • ExRepug

            And my original point was that the House resolution referred the contempt citation to the Justice Department under section 192. The resolution was NOT for inherent contempt. Thus, Speaker Boehner is correct that there is no precedent for exercising his authority vis-a-vis inherent contempt when that is not what the House voted on.

            In law these details matter. Keyboard “lawyers” don’t understand the nuances.

          • ExRepug

            (((APPLAUSE))) You found the statute for criminal contempt. You go, girl!

            2 U.S.C. sec. 192 is enforced by the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. He is under the auspices of the Department of Justice, which exercises prosecutorial discretion in these matters. The House Resolution (I assume you have now read it) refers the alleged contempt to the AG for consideration under this statute.

            Inherent contempt (another Brownie point for you for finally looking it up) is the power of the Speaker to arrest and detain a witness for civil contempt. The Congress is a civil body and can exercise only civil authority. That is why, for allegations of criminal wrongdoing, the House or Senate cannot pursue criminal indictment or initiate criminal charges, and therefore is limited to making referrals to the law enforcement arm of the Federal government, the Department of Justice.

            Civil contempt is coercive. Criminal contempt, such as under section 192, is punitive. Ms. Lerner would be punished if she were to be successfully prosecuted under section 192, but criminal contempt won’t force her to give testimony since its purpose is to punish for a past transgression.

            See what a minimal amount of research will yield? Of course, it still doesn’t get any testimony out of Ms. Lerner, but at least you now understand why.

            Mr. Boehner has ruled out one of the three methods for the House to secure Ms. Lerner’s testimony. That leaves two alternatives, both of which require the House to seek a court order. If Issa really, really, really wanted her testimony his committee would have pursued those avenues.

          • Stephen Barlow

            Civil contempt, if I am correct is the same as not showing up for a lawsuit… you don’t get jail time, you just get a decision in absentia. Am I correct?

            NOTHING criminal has been alleged or has happened.

            I would LOVE to see the House impeach Obama before the Election. Then Reid can call for a vote before the witnesses are called and close it.

            But better still would be for the DEFENSE to trot out ALL THE CLASSIFIED FILES on the 92 wounded in the uninvestigated Bush Embassy Assault Scandal and the naming of names of all those republicans who covered it all up as “Good RED Patriots”.

            Just before the election!!! Talk about a swiftboating!!!

          • JM

            Lawyer: A person learned in the law; an attorney, counsel, or solicitor; a person licensed to practice law. Any person who prosecutes or defends causes in courts of record or other judicial tribunals of the United States, or of any of the states in whose business it is to give legal advice or assistance in relation to any cause in matter whatever. (Black’s Law Dictionary, p 614).
            Layman. One of the people, and not one of the clergy; one who is not of a particular profession (i.e. non-lawyers)
            2.3 unemployed Americans need you to represent them, that is pro-bono, after all you are a lawyer that can defend their cause.

          • ExRepug

            Depends on whether the clients are individuals or businesses. The .3 client might be the subsidiary of a corporation, contributing 30% to its taxable income, and two other members of the corporate group have more tax issues. That could conceivably happen if the group files a consolidated return. Or perhaps a partnership under TEFRA where I represent 23 of the 100 limited partners.

            I would be worried about the health of 3/10 of an individual.

    • Stephen Barlow

      i think a better question would be “WHY are Republicans NOT under arrest for Fraud and Treason for shutting the Government and sabotaging legislation? There are 80 of them who signed the FreedomWatch Letter calling for Sedition throughout the entire Republican party.

      more Republicans deserve to be in Guantanamo than there are Saudis Citizens who openly attacks us annually.

  • coffeeHouse1982

    In this video, we find the least popular Congressional leader – Harry Reid – callously brushing off the serious concerns of DC Mayor Vincent Gray: http://youtu.be/p0ZDyH020gA?t=20s

  • Yonatan YONATAN

    The Republicans have done themselves a huge disservice by not passing the unemployment extension bill in the senate. With more than 2.6 million unemployed families who had lost their benefits late last December, and have been struggling to provide shelter and food for their children, it was one of the cruelest and heartless moves for them to make. They have been at war with the poor and disadvantaged in our country, and have made it known where and to whom their allegiance lies. The republicans have been using the extension bill “hostage” for the past six months, in order to have the Koch brother’s oil pipeline deal passed in the senate. This is whom they truly represent. The republicans have shown that the average American citizen, takes a back seat to special interest groups, and wealthy lobbyist. The party which claims to represent family values, has let these millions of families left hung out to dry. These families have had to face evictions, home foreclosures, personal bankruptcy

  • Stephen Barlow

    Boehner once again proves he just doesn’t have faith in the rulings of his own caucus. He KNOWS the charges are fraudulent on their face and would never stand up during a jury trial. Because the Kangaroo Congress most certainly will rubberstamp it’s own fraud a it has for the last 3.5 years.

    The voters need to FIX their mistake of 2010.

  • Stephen Barlow

    To a guy he literally holds in contempt. By proxy, he is admitting Holder is a much more competent man and a more loyal American then Boehner is.

  • ExRepug

    Already asked and answered. Because that is not what the House Resolution called for. The short, unambiguous resolution called simply for referral to the Justice Department for further action under 2 U.S.C. section 192.

  • YONATAN C

    SENATOR JOHN BOEHNER IS A POOR EXCUSE FOR A POLITICIAN AND HUMAN BEING. THE REPUBLICAN SENATE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MORE THAN 2.9 MILLION UNEMPLOYED FAMILIES, WHO HAVE BEEN WITHOUT BENEFITS SINCE LATE LAST DECEMBER. THEY HAVE DELIBERATELY DRAGGED THEIR FEET, AND HAVE MADE DELAY AFTER DELAY. SO IT WOULD BE NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO APPROVE AN EXTENSION BILL . WHILE THE REPUBLICANS CONTINUED PLAYING “PARTY POLITICS”, MILLIONS OF FAMILIES HAVE FACED EVICTIONS, HOME FORECLOSURES, BANKRUPTCY, AND HOMELESSNESS. THESE FAMILIES HAVE BEEN RUINED FINANCIALLY, AND MANY MIGHT NEVER RECOVER FROM IT. THE REPUBLICANS HAVE USED THESE FAMILIES AS BARGAINING CHIPS, FOR POLITICAL LEVERAGE, TO FURTHER THEIR PARTY’S POLITICAL AGENDA. THEY HAVE SHOWN A TOTAL LACK OF COMPASSION AND COMMON DECENCY. THEY HAVE PROVEN THEMSELVES TO BE OUT OF TOUCH WITH THE COUNTRY. THEY ARE NOW ONLY REPRESENTING THE ONE PERCENT IN OUR COUNTRY, AND TOTALLY DISREGARDING THE OTHER 99 PERCENT WHO DO MOST OF THE TAX PAYING AND WORKING. SHAME ON THE REPUBLICANS FOR TREATING THE POOR AND UNEMPLOYED LIKE THIS

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