Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mediation -- That's What is Needed Here!

Is this not the classic case needing mediation?   

Congress needs to enforce its powers.  After all it is the legislature, and for many years the Courts have been giving deference to this branch of government.  Equally persuasive is that when an executive out and out defies the legislature's powers it needs to stand its ground.  So it is not surprising to see this Congressional committee move for contempt against White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and President Bush's former legal counselor Harriet Miers. (see WSJ AP here) (See Wash Po here)

And one would think that the Executive would want Congress to have oversight abilities.  After all this is a democracy with three equal branches of government. The perception of an executive that can do as it pleases would bring us back centuries.

But playing this scenario out presents some interesting questions:  if the full house votes for contempt and then it goes to the US Attorney for the District of Columbia, it seems likely he will have to recuse himself because of a conflict of interest.  And if eventually the matter does get presented what kind of result could be expected? Would the President pull a "Scooter" Libby on this one?  Could this be a situation of a lot of time and money spend on worthless acts?  This could go in circles for some time, and in part it is because we have a balanced system of government that is supposed to have three co-equal branches. 

So wouldn't mediation be a better solution here? Many have said that we need to incorporate alternative dispute resolution into our legal system.  Perhaps this might be a good time to start.


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I think Professor Podgor makes an excellent point. Mediation has saved countless hours, money and rencor. I have had done mediations, litigation and battled it out as a representative of a political body. I can safely say the mediation leaves the best taste in your mouth.

Posted by: Rod Thompson | Jul 25, 2007 12:27:36 PM

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