The House has voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in civil contempt, in addition to criminal contempt. Twenty-one Democrats voted with Republicans for civil contempt. Civil contempt will allow the Oversight Committee to proceed with their quest for documents in front of a judge, rather than simply relying on the U.S. Attorney in Washington D.C. to assess the charge. More:
Legal scholars say there is no practical way for Congress to get the documents except to go to court.
That will put a spotlight not only on Holder but also on his boss, President Barack Obama, who has claimed he can withhold the documents under executive privilege.
“The contempt citation will go away,” said Todd Peterson, a law professor at George Washington University.