On the Fourth Branch

Something occurred to me recently as regards the recent subpeonas issued by the Senate Judiciary Committee to the offices of the President and Vice President for documents relating to the domestic spying program.

The White House has thrown around a lot of words to explain why they won’t be complying with the subpeonas. “Separation of powers,” for one. “Executive privilege,” for another.

But “Executive privilege” would apply only to the Executive Branch.

Vice President Dick Cheney claims not to be part of the Executive Branch. He’s the fourth branch.

Does the Constitution say anything about the fourth branch having “Executive privilege”? It doesn’t say anything about the Executive branch having it, either.

So when Cheney asserts a privilege he doesn’t actually have, and doesn’t comply with the subpeonas, the Senate should find him in contempt and have the Capitol Police take him into custody one day he’s in the Capitol Building to carry out his duties as President of the Senate.

I wonder if the Capitol Building has a dungeon…

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