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House could arrest Holder with inherent contempt power

Stephen Dinan
The Washington Times
Friday, June 29, 2012

Despite voting to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. [1] in contempt ofCongress [2], there’s little House Republicans can do in the short term to compel him to turn over documents — unless it wanted to revisit a long-dormant power and arrest him.

The thought is shocking, and conjures up a Hollywood-ready standoff scene between House police [3] and the FBI [4] agents who protect the attorney general. It’s a dramatic and unlikely possibility not least because Congress [2] doesn’t even have a jail any longer. But in theory it could happen.

Republicans say it’s not even under consideration, with House SpeakerJohn A. Boehner [5]’s spokesman flatly ruling it out.

But the process, known as inherent contempt, is well-established by precedent, has been confirmed by multiple Supreme Court [6] rulings, and is available to any Congress [2] willing to force such a confrontation.

Full story here. [7]