In just “contempt of Congress” charges, the charge has to go thru and be approved by the partisan, aka voting-for-party-over-their-oath-of-office Senate. If the House brings “inherent contempt of Congress” charges against Holder, no such process.
“In an inherent contempt proceeding, the Senate or in today’s case the House, brings the contempt charges against the individual, in this case Eric Holder. The Sergeant-at-Arms for the House then arrests the person charged and brings them to the floor of the House. The charges are read, discussed and then voted upon. If the House votes in favor of the charges, the guilty party is then subject to the appropriate punishment, which may include imprisonment. ” source Godfather Politics
So there is no holdup for Holder. The option to do this is solely at the discretion of Representative Issa. It then falls on the House to reign in Holder. Or not. Depending on whether the House is also willing to put their oath of office ahead of other things, in this case their assessment of their accountability and electability based on their actions. It is no stretch to believe that we have plenty of representatives that would ignore their oath easily if they thought there would be too much flak and that voting to hold Holder in contempt might affect their chances for reelection. Or just as easily, if they thought that they could get behind-the-scenes benefits and payoffs and would not be held accountable even if they voted against.
Interestingly, if Holder appeals this, it might make its way all the way to the Supreme Court. But if he doesn’t appeal it, it becomes a hot potato for Presbo, who loses either way. If he allows his Attorney General to go to jail, essentially one more under the bus. Versus he chooses to try the ever increasingly imperial presidency route one more time and pardons Holder, essentially risking even MORE political fallout between now and November. Or he could let Holder sit in jail until after the election, where he could then pardon with impunity whether he wins or loses. A politically risky move since Holde is not likely to gin up much sympathy either way. Given Presbo’s history of abandoning his supporters, this is a risky choice for Holder. But not as risky as appealing it, where the proceedings could stretch out until the next presidential term, and then Holder could risk NOT being able to be pardoned.