Bates Denies White House Stay Request On Miers Subpoena

A federal judge has denied the White House's request for a stay in legal fight over a subpoena for former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, opening the possibility that Miers may be forced to testify about her role in the firing of U.S. attorneys.

U.S. District Judge John Bates, who has already ruled against a White House claim of "absolute immunity" for senior executive-branch aides in refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas, said today that  the House Judiciary Committee, which had subpoenaed Miers as part of its probe into the prosecutor purge, may move ahead with scheduling a hearing for Miers to appear, probably in late September.

Update - House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) said his committee would move quickly in scheduling a hearing for Miers.

“Today's ruling clearly rejects the White House's efforts to run out the clock on the Committee's investigation of DOJ politicization this Congress. I am heartened that Judge Bates recognized that the public interest in this matter is best served by the furtherance of the Committee’s investigation," Conyers said in a statement released by his office. “The Committee intends to promptly schedule a hearing with Ms. Miers and stands ready as always to consider any reasonable offer of accommodation with the White House.”

The White House, acting through the Justice Dept., had sought a stay in the case until it could appeal Bates' initial July 31 ruling, which was strongly in favor of the Judiciary Committee.. But Bates said the White House" has failed to satisfy its 'obligation to justify the court’s exercise of such an extraordinary remedy.'”

The committee has also subpoenaed Miers and White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten to turn over any relevant documents in their possession related to the firings. Bates has not ordered that step to be taken, but has told the White House to produce a "privilege log" listing documents that are beiing withheld.
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