The D.C. Council started its new session in a fight with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's administration over the subpoena power for D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier.
As Hamil R. Harris reported in this morning's Washington Post, the council is concerned about protecting the civil rights of D.C. residents, but yesterday's vote was strongly criticized by Attorney General Peter J. Nickles, who, never at a loss of words, called the move "silly". The council took its 9-to-4 vote despite Nickles's letter on Jan. 5 trying to head off the opposition. Read the letter here.
But look for this issue to intensify.
Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), who chairs the judiciary committee, said yesterday, "The authority that was proposed for the chief of police is unprecedented and without any limitations."
And Lanier and Nickles have already found themselves in controversial territory over questions of civil liberties, whether it is the roadblocks set up in crime-plagued neighborhoods or the failed attempt to get residents to allow their homes to be searched for weapons.