House Representative Anna Paulina Luna Seeks Arrest of AG Merrick Garland

 June 24, 2024

In a bold legislative move, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., is mobilizing support among House Republicans to arrest Attorney General Merrick Garland using Congress's inherent contempt powers.

Fox News reported that following a dismissal of criminal contempt by the DOJ earlier this month, Luna aims to force a vote on this exceptional measure. Luna has initiated the circulation of a letter to gather support for her resolution, which calls for the House Sergeant-at-Arms to arrest AG Garland.

This push follows the Department of Justice's decision to not act on a contempt resolution passed by the GOP-majority House.

The core issue revolves around a set of audio recordings of an interview conducted by special counsel Robert Hur with President Biden. House Republicans argue that understanding Biden's state of mind during these interviews could be crucial for their legislative function, as these recordings were demanded via a congressional subpoena.

Luna Advocates for Using Inherent Contempt Powers

Luna's resolution to employ inherent contempt powers includes the possibility of detaining Garland. This process involves bringing the individual before the bar of the House for a trial, which could even lead to detention within the Capitol or facilities in D.C.

The inherent contempt power is a rare and potent tool that allows Congress to enforce its subpoena rights directly without the need for judicial intervention. The last recorded use of this authority was in 1934 against William MacCracken, who received a 10-day jail sentence.

However, using inherent contempt against a sitting Attorney General is unprecedented, especially when a presidential claim of executive privilege is involved as in this case.

Earlier in June, the GOP-majority House moved to hold Garland in contempt for his refusal to submit the requested audio recordings. This was followed by a criminal contempt reference to the DOJ, which subsequently declined prosecution, citing that Garland's action was protected by executive privilege claims made by President Biden.

Luna stressed that the DOJ and AG should not determine the enforcement of a congressional subpoena themselves. She firmly believes that such a stance threatens the legislative branch's independence and efficacy.

The resolution Luna is promoting must be treated as “privileged,” which would mandate House leaders to act within two legislative days. Despite the unclear prospects for success of the resolution due to likely insufficient Democratic support and potential Republican opposition, Luna remains determined.

Concerns and Reactions to The Radical Move

Practical implementation of inherent contempt poses substantial challenges, notably due to the high-security measures surrounding the Attorney General. Garland is protected by an FBI security detail, complicating any attempt to detain him.

Luna has made various public statements reinforcing the seriousness with which she views compliance with congressional subpoenas. She notes, "This is a broad power... necessary for Congress to fulfill its legislative functions," emphasizing that inherent contempt can lead to detention if deemed necessary by the House.

Despite her fervent advocacy, the approach remains controversial. The House-wide contempt vote previously saw vast Republican support but was not universal, with some like Rep. David Joyce, R-Ohio, refraining from support. The action is viewed by some as a severe escalation in the ongoing tensions between the Trump-aligned GOP faction and the Biden administration.

Luna's argument rests on the idea that allowing the Department of Justice to override a congressional subpoena would weaken the legislative branch’s autonomy and ability to perform its duties effectively. "Our ability to legislate effectively and fulfill our constitutional duties is at stake," Luna has stated, asserting the urgency and importance of her resolution.

"The only option to ensure compliance with our subpoena is to use our constitutional authority of inherent contempt," Luna declared, showing her commitment to upholding congressional authority.

As debates and discussions unfold, all eyes are on the potential historical use of inherent contempt against a sitting Attorney General. Such a move could redefine the boundaries of congressional authority and its interaction with the executive branch.


In summary, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna is advocating for the enforcement of a congressional subpoena using inherent contempt powers against AG Merrick Garland.

This follows the DOJ's refusal to prosecute Garland over non-compliance with a subpoena demanding audio recordings of President Biden. If successful, this could lead to an unprecedented trial and possible detention of a sitting Attorney General by the House of Representatives, highlighting the severe measures Congress is prepared to adopt to enforce compliance and maintain its legislative authority.

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