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House panel moves toward contempt proceedings after Miers ignores subpoena

[JURIST] A panel of the US House Judiciary Committee [official website] voted Thursday to move forward with contempt proceedings against former White House counsel Harriet Miers [official profile] after she ignored a subpoena ordering her to appear and testify at a hearing regarding the firings of federal prosecutors [JURIST news archive]. The Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law [official website] voted 7-5 to sustain a ruling by subcommittee chairwoman Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) [official website], dismissing President George W. Bush's claim [JURIST report] that executive privilege makes his former advisers immune from congressional subpoenas. On Wednesday, Miers' lawyer told the committee that his client would not testify [JURIST report], under directions from current White House Counsel Fred Fielding. In a letter sent in response [PDF text], Sanchez pointed out that there have been 74 prior instances since World War II where serving White House advisers have testified before Congress, and threatened Miers with a contempt proceeding should she disregard the subpoena.

On Wednesday, former White House Political Director Sara M. Taylor [SourceWatch profile] refused to answer questions from the the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website], again pointing to Bush's assertion of executive privilege. Taylor did answer some questions, but refused to answer others, saying she would do so in the future if ordered by the courts [opening statement]. AP has more.

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