Luna Initiative Could Land Garland Behind Bars if Successful

Luna Initiative Could Land Garland Behind Bars if Successful

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
June 25, 2024

US Representative Anna Paulina Luna’s (R-FL) push to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt could result in the latter’s incarceration.

Representative Luna’s efforts follow the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) announcement they would not investigate AG Garland despite the House finding him in contempt of Congress.

Inherent contempt is one of three options available to Congress after a citizen refuses to comply with a congressional subpoena. 

Luna sent a letter to all House Republicans yesterday explaining her motive for seeking an inherent contempt resolution and explaining its mechanisms.

Under inherent contempt, an individual is brought before the bar of the House by the Sergeant at Arms and tried by the body, explains Luna’a letter.

Within the same proceedings, continued Luna, the respective individual can then be detained either in the Capitol or in D.C.

Luna claimed inherent contempt was created by the founding fathers to ensure Congress was not overly reliant on the other branches of government. 

“We can proceed with criminal, civil, or inherent contempt,” explained Luna. “However, both criminal and civil contempt rely on the other branches for enforcement, a situation that would have been unimaginable to our founding fathers.”

The last time congress exercised its ‘inherent contempt’ authority was in 1934, when the Senate incarcerated William MacCracken for ten days after refusing to comply with Congressional subpoenas.

Once Luna files her resolution requesting Garland be held in inherent contempt, lawmakers will have a few days to decide their stance on the matter.

The House previously voted along party lines to hold Garland in contempt 216-207.  

If Garland is to be held in inherent contempt, Luna must muster complete support from the House GOP, as a few defections would kill her initiative given all Democrats are expected to oppose it.

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Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo is a Miami-based political reporter covering national and local politics

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