In defending such a decision, Boehner might say something like this:
"I remember before we made that decision of what to do, not only checking out the precedents on the inherent power of Congress to hold a person in contempt, but what would be done if that occurred. Who would go out and arrest Ms. Lerner? And where would she be incarcerated?
"I checked out the location of the old jail in the Capitol Building. I actually went and met with the Architect of the Capitol, and he took me around and showed me where they [the Capitol police] used to hold prisoners."
House Democrat did say that
The preceding quote was actually spoken. It happened in 1982 as House Democrats — outraged by then-EPA Administrator Anne Burford — sought a legal means of punishing her for delaying the announcement of a Superfund grant in California.
The speaker was then-Georgia Rep. Elliot Levitas. As Powerline's Steven Hayward explains this morning, he and his fellow Democrats were angry that Burford cited executive privilege in refusing to hand over documents about the delayed grant announcement.
Ultimately, Levitas's visit with the Architect of the Capitol proved unnecessary because the battle with Burford was resolved without resorting to what is arguably the ultimate congressional weapon against recalcitrant executive branch officials.
Nothing has changed since 1982
Burford's sin of hiding documents behind executive privilege seems almost harmless compared to Lerner's use of the federal taxing power in the IRS to suppress the First Amendment rights of thousands of Americans whose political views she found objectionable.
Now that the House has found Lerner in contempt and asked Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute her, Boehner and his fellow GOPers are headed to an embarrassing dead end.
Holder will sprout wings and fly from atop the Justice Department building before he lifts a finger to prosecute Lerner.
Depends on the meaning of "shall"
And he will find some way — not excluding simply ignoring it — to get around the law that says the U.S. Attorney "shall" file charges against an individual found in contempt of Congress.
At that point, Republicans will have to decide whether to blink or to do what no House has done since 1935, which is invoke its power of inherent contempt and jail Lerner until she talks.
As a 2012 Congressional Research Service study noted, invoking that power has an "unseemly" feel to it. So they will blink. Count on it.
On today's washingtonexaminer.com
Op-ed/Rep. Mike Coffman: It's time for Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki to get out of the way.
Columnist/David Freddoso: Missouri moves toward stronger gun rights as Supreme Court wavers on Second Amendment.
Columnist/Philip Klein: Sen. Bernie Sanders could be the Ron Paul of 2016.
Columnist/Veronique de Rugy: Ex-Im defenders rely on misleading view of Reagan.
Columnist/Byron York: The Benghazi probe didn't have to come to this.
Beltway Confidential/Ashe Schow: Call of Duty Endowment aids vets with results, not hype.
PennAve/David M. Drucker: Sen. Johanns sees Dinsdale surge as Sasse, Osborn flame war heats up in Nebraska GOP Senate primary.
PennAve/Betsy Woodruff: Palin endorses long-shot Maness in Louisiana GOP Senate primary.
Legal Newsline/David Yates: NRA backs Paxton in key Texas AG race.
In other news
The Washington Post: Online tests are latest gateway to landing new job.
CBS News: Which state has the most working moms?
The American Spectator: The Sixties road to Rutgers and beyond.
American Thinker: Hillary and the face of terror.
Washington Free Beacon: The Devil wears Obama.
National Affairs: The new American System.
The Huffington Post: Hagan goes all-in for Obamacare in North Carolina Senate race.
The American Prospect: Cannes looks a lot like Hollywood where the power is all with men.
The Daily Beast: Syrian rebel wants new ally, Israel.
Mother Jones: Why the FCC is ditching Net Neutrality.
Jammie Wearing Fools: Obama unleashes the Left's intolerance on campus.
Yid With Lid: Growing anti-semitism is ignored by campus administrators.
Talking Points Memo: What now? GOP faces fizzle of its Obamacare war.
Democratic Strategist: Don't believe the hype about the triumph of the GOP establishment.