Who knew that White House party crashers would create a constitutional issue between the White House and Congress? You can’t make this stuff up, folks.
Yesterday, the House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing to examine the “system failure” that allowed unauthorized people to get up close and personal with President Obama at a White House state dinner last week. But the only witness who testified was Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan.
Tareq and Michaele Salahi, who started this whole thing by showing up at the White House with no formal invitation, had been called to testify but declined. The committee is now prepared to issue the couple a formal invitation to appear before lawmakers, in the form of a subpoena.
Republican members also wanted White House social secretary Desiree Rogers to testify, since her office too dropped the ball by failing to have staff checking arrivals against the guest list. But the White House nixed that idea, citing separation of powers.
That didn’t sit well with New York Rep. Peter King, who wanted Rogers to explain the gaffe.
While legal scholars ponder the extent of executive privilege enjoyed by a White House party planner, let’s take a look at the news:
House votes for death tax freeze: Yesterday the House passed a bill that would hold the estate tax at 2009 levels rather than allow it to be repealed next year before resetting to the highest levels in a decade. (Lawyers USA)
Leahy blasts SCOTUS, Iqbal: Note to Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy doesn’t like the job your Court is doing in several areas. In his fifth hearing called to complain about the Court’s rulings, Leahy blasted the recent decisions setting tougher civil pleading standards in federal court. (Lawyers USA)
Battle of opinions: In a rare move after a summary disposition, Justices John Paul Stevens and Clarence Thomas issued dueling opinions in a death penalty case. (Newsweek)
Ogden to exit: The Justice Department’s No. 2 is leaving early next year and heading to the private sector. (BLT Blog)