House Judiciary sues Harriet Miers, Joshua Bolten over constitutional clash

WASHINGTON – The House Judiciary Committee sued former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten yesterday, setting up a constitutional clash over the Bush administration’s refusal to provide testimony and documents about the firing of U.S. attorneys.

The lawsuit says Miers is not immune from the obligation to testify and that she and Bolten must identify all documents that are being withheld from Congress regarding what Democrats say were politically motivated dismissals of nine U.S. attorneys.

In a statement announcing the lawsuit, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers said, “We will not allow the administration to steamroll Congress.”

Conyers, D-Mich., said he is confident the federal courts will agree that the Bush administration’s position is at odds with constitutional principles.

The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge John Bates, an appointee of President Bush and a former prosecutor in the Whitewater criminal investigation of the Clintons in the 1990s.

The White House said House Democrats “continue to focus on partisan theater.”