Sources Suggest John Conyers May Move to Compel Testimony on Ohio Voter Suppression from Ohio Vote Suppressor J. Kenneth Blackwell...
By Brad Friedman on 2/1/2008, 4:43pm PT  

Last week, Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), both of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to the former Ohio Secretary of State and Co-Chair of the state's Bush/Cheney '04 campaign committee, J. Kenneth Blackwell, inviting him to appear next week at a subcommittee oversight hearing on voter suppression issues.

To the surprise of almost nobody, Blackwell has refused the invitation to testify, claiming his "schedule [would] not permit" him to attend the hearings.

The snub, according to both the following report from Jon Craig at the Cincinnati Enquirer and additional indications given to The BRAD BLOG by a Judiciary staffer other than the one quoted by Craig, may lead to an escalation of the longtime standoff between Conyers and Blackwell. A congressional subpoena requiring an appearance by the controversial former SoS, who presided over one of the worst-run Presidential Elections in American history, may well be in the offing.

As Craig reports today at the Enquirer's political blog...

Blackwell, a Republican from Cincinnati, said he received the invitation, "however, my schedule will not permit me to attend the hearings."

Jonathan Godfrey, a Conyers spokesman, said Blackwell has not responded and could be subpoenaed if he doesn't appear voluntarily.

"I don't think it's unlikely," Godfrey said today of a subpoena.

Though our own Judiciary source spoke to the same point, if not quite as directly, the comments above from Godfrey offer an additional indication that we may be headed to a showdown.

Such a subpoena would require a majority vote of the committee, which likely wouldn't come in time for the hearings currently scheduled for next Friday, according to Craig's report.