The vote won't break the stalemate over Operation Fast and Furious, but it's a good cudgel for Republicans.
Thursday was a climactic day in politics, with the Supreme Court handing down its highly anticipated ruling on the Affordable Care Act. But in the House of Representatives, anticlimax carried the day. Sure, the vote to hold Eric Holder in contempt of Congress was a major landmark -- the first time a sitting attorney general has ever been so held. But the vote was a surprise to no one, and we won't be seeing Holder tossed in jail, tendering his resignation, or contritely handing over banker's boxes full of documents any time soon.
GOP members of Congress are furious at Holder for refusing to turn over certain documents related to Operation Fast and Furious, a botched "gunwalking" operation. Holder has testified before Congress about the case nine times and turned over around 7,600 documents; the bone of contention here are documents from February on, which Republicans claim might show that the Justice Department tried to cover up Fast and Furious. After negotiations to turn over certain documents broke down, the Obama Administration asserted executive privilege over them. That didn't satisfy the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which voted to ask the full House to find Holder in contempt. The House voted to do so Thursday afternoon, with 255 members for it and 67 voting against. Seventeen Democrats voted with the GOP, while most of the caucus walked out and refused to vote. (Two Republicans, Ohio's Steve LaTourette and Virginia's Scott Rigell, broke ranks with their party.)