As you may already know, Eric Holder, who was sworn in as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States on February 3, 2009 by Vice President Joe Biden, used EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE, approved of by President Obama, regarding the documents that were subpoenaed in the case of "Fast & Furious".
In a case with Clinton in 1998, when there was an attempt to use EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE to sweep the Monica S. Lewinsky investigation under the rug, he was denied because it became apparent that the details of the investigation were too important to follow through with to accept the EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE.
President Is Denied Executive PrivilegeBy Peter Baker and Susan SchmidtWashington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, May 6, 1998; Page A01
A federal judge has ruled that President Clinton cannot use the power of his office to block prosecutors from questioning his senior aides, rejecting Clinton's assertion of executive privilege in the Monica S. Lewinsky investigation, lawyers familiar with the decision said yesterday.
In a ruling issued under court seal Monday, Chief U.S. District Judge Norma Holloway Johnson concluded that independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr's need to collect evidence in his obstruction of justice probe outweighs Clinton's interest in preserving the confidentiality of White House discussions, the lawyers said.
source: WASHINGTON POST
Regarding the issue of defining EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE, I quote Wikipedia here.
In the United States government, executive privilege is the power claimed by the President of the United States and other members of the executive branch to resist certain subpoenas and other interventions by the legislative and judicial branches of government. The concept of executive privilege is not mentioned explicitly in the United States Constitution, but the Supreme Court of the United States ruled it to be an element of the separation of powers doctrine, and/or derived from the supremacy of executive branch in its own area of Constitutional activity.
The Supreme Court confirmed the legitimacy of this doctrine in United States v. Nixon, but only to the extent of confirming that there is a qualified privilege. Once invoked, a presumption of privilege is established, requiring the Prosecutor to make a "sufficient showing" that the "Presidential material" is "essential to the justice of the case."(418 U.S. at 713-14). Chief Justice Burger further stated that executive privilege would most effectively
applywhen the oversight of the executive would impair that branch's national security concerns.
Historically, the uses of executive privilege underscore the untested nature of the doctrine, since Presidents have generally sidestepped open confrontations with the United States Congress and the courts over the issue by first asserting the privilege, then producing some of the documents requested on an assertedly voluntary basis.
What happens if the panel cites Eric Holder in contempt? Here is your answer.
What happens if panel cites Holder for contempt?
updated 1:56 PM EDT, Wed June 20, 2012
(CNN) -- The House Oversight Committee is considering a contempt measure against Attorney General Eric Holder over documents sought by the panel investigating the botched gun-running sting called Operation Fast and Furious. On Wednesday, President Barack Obama entered the dispute by asserting executive privilege over the documents sought by committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-California.
Here are the issues around the dispute:
Q: What is a contempt citation?
A: Congress can vote to hold a congressional witness in contempt of Congress if it considers the witness to be obstructing its ability to carry out its constitutional powers. For a person to be held in contempt, Congress must vote on a contempt citation in committee.
The process involves a series of legal maneuvers including the president's ability to assert executive privilege, as he did in this case, which has historically made executive branch officials immune from criminal prosecution.
Q: Why is a contempt citation being considered against Holder?A: Issa may hold Holder in contempt for failing to hand over all of the documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious, the botched Justice Department sting operation linked to the death of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and a number of Mexican citizens from some of the 2,000 weapons that fell into the hands of Mexican drug gangs.
Q: When is the last time an executive branch official faced a contempt citation?A: Although this is the first time an attorney general has faced a potential contempt citation, other executive branch officials have been held in contempt of Congress.
Most recently, George W. Bush White House Counsel Harriet Miers and Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten were held in contempt of Congress despite Bush asserting executive privilege in their case. During the vote in early 2008, a large number of Republicans walked out in protest of what they saw as a partisan vote.
Miers and Bolten were accused of failing to cooperate in a congressional investigation into the mass firings of U.S. attorneys and allegations that the White House was using the Justice Department for political aims. Their citations marked the first time White House officials had been found in contempt of Congress.
This is becoming quite an interesting process and may be more scandalous than we already have been seeing. Will the Supreme Court make the right decision, or will they be threatened like they have been said to be regarding the Obamacare issue?