Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said Democrats’ threats of putting Attorney General Bill Barr behind bars for not complying with their subpoenas are “absurd.”
Napolitano told “Fox and Friends” Tuesday morning that the threats aren’t serious as it will be up to the courts to decide whether Democrats have legal standing to pursue such course of action that hasn’t been used since the 1930s.
“When two branches of government disagree who resolves it? The other branch. There is a very easy way out of this,” he said.
“The House Judiciary committee serves a subpoena on the attorney general. He believes the laws which he has sworn to uphold prevent him from complying with it completely as they want him. You take this subpoena, you make a motion to quash it – that is to suppress it – and a judge calls it and then you follow what the judge's ruling is.”
“If you don't like the judge's ruling. You appeal it. Will this make its way to the Supreme Court? I doubt it, but it could. The judiciary is the branch that decides what the law means, what the constitution means and how it should be interpreted rather than these threats about locking up the attorney general, that's absurd."
The judiciary is the branch that decides what the law means, what the constitution means and how it should be interpreted rather than these threats about locking up the attorney general, that's absurd.”
Napolitano's comments come amid the left’s new rallying cry after the attorney general refused to appear before the House Judiciary Committee last week amid disagreements over the format of the hearing.
Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., also imposed a Monday morning deadline for Barr to turn over the full, unredacted Mueller report and additional files – a deadline the DOJ apparently missed, prompting Nadler to schedule a Wednesday vote on contempt proceedings against Barr.
Committee member Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., over the weekend urged the panel to specifically pursue “inherent contempt,” calling for Barr to be arrested by the Sergeant at Arms and be physically brought before the committee to testify.
Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, meanwhile, said last week that the House can use various measures, including arrests or even jail time, to force Barr to comply with their requests.
But Napolitano said that Democrats’ warnings of holding Barr in contempt are a largely symbolic move that is being used a “political weapon.”
“Holding someone in contempt is a footnote in history,” he said. “In some states, it could impair your ability to practice law. I doubt that [Barr] is worried about that.”
“But they shouldn't use contempt as a political weapon. They should only use it when someone is truly defying them. So, when the law says do this and the subpoena says do that and this and that are the opposite. You present it to a judge” he added.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.