White House aides not immune from subpoenas, judge says
Congress can force White House aides to testify under subpoena, a U.S. District Court ruled Thursday, rejecting Bush administration claims of immunity.
Former White House Counsel Harriet Miers is not immune from congressional subpoenas, a judge ruled Thursday.
The House Judiciary Committee has been seeking to force former White House Counsel Harriet Miers to testify before Congress about the firing of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006. The White House has been resisting, claiming she cannot be compelled to appear.
But the White House position "is without any support in case law," Judge John D. Bates wrote in a 93-page opinion released Thursday.
He said the notion that "Miers is absolutely immune from compelled congressional process" is "unprecedented."
But, Bates added, the ruling does not mean that Miers and Joshua Bolten, the White House chief of staff from whom House Democrats have demanded White House documents, could not assert executive privilege during congressional testimony.
The court "resolves, and again rejects" the notion that senior White House aides are absolutely immune from subpoena, but the "specific claims of executive privilege that Ms. Miers and Mr. Bolten may assert are not addressed -- and the court expresses no view on such claims," Bates wrote.