Now that the Republicans in the House of Representatives have succeeded in trying to shame Attorney General Eric Holder by making him the first sitting attorney general ever to be held in contempt of Congress, legal experts don’t expect the vote to mean that Holder will turn over any additional documents in the controversial ATF Fast and Furious case.
In such matters, when someone is held in contempt of Congress, it is the U.S. Justice Department that is called upon to carry out the order. And who runs the U.S. Justice Department? Ahem, Attorney General Eric Holder. So nobody on either side of the aisle expects the case to be resolved in the way that the Republican action would have us believe—Holder handing over more documents in addition to the 7,600 he already has.
In fact, in their statements on the floor of the House, Republicans focused more on the family of slain ATF officer Brian Terry than on getting documents, saying they were trying to get closure for the Terry family—and injecting some pathos into a case that had mostly been about political theater. The Terry family issued its own statement in support of the Republican action.
“The Terry family takes no pleasure in the contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder. Such a vote should not have been necessary. The Justice Department should have released the documents related to Fast and Furious months ago,” the statement said.
To add to yesterday’s political theater—on a day that had plenty of it with the Supreme Court surprising 5-4 decision to uphold Obamacare—108 members of the House, led by Nancy Pelosi (who said she was wearing her “lucky purple pumps” on the day of the Supreme Court decision) and the Congressional Black Caucus, walked off the floor of the House to protest the contempt vote.