Not only are Pelosi and company holding firm on FISA, they also voted this afternoon to find Josh Bolten and Harriet Miers in contempt for refusing to testify before Congress in conjunction with the U.S. attorney firing scandal (boy, does that seem like ages ago). House Republicans are predictably opposed, but their stated rationale is, in a word, pathetic:

Republicans argued that Congress should not seek a showdown with the White House on the issue, claiming that losing the case would hurt the legislative branch in the long run.

Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.) said the case “creates the potential to undermine the power of the first branch of government.”

That's right--congressional Republicans are so concerned about preserving the power of the legislative branch that they're willing to pre-emptively surrender to the White House. I'm sure that also helps explain why they didn't bother to conduct any oversight while they were in the majority.

Eric Posner made the semi-legitimate point in this interesting diavlog with Jack Balkin that Congress has been undermining the principle of separation of powers more than the Bush administration has--after all, it's not Bush's fault that Congress has continually rolled over and failed to assert its constitutional prerogatives. Nice to see the House grow some backbone for a change.

--Josh Patashnik