updated 1/26/2009 5:39:36 PM ET 2009-01-26T22:39:36

The House Judiciary Committee chairman subpoenaed former White House adviser Karl Rove on Monday to testify about the Bush administration's firing of U.S. attorneys and prosecution of a former Democratic governor.

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The subpoena by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., continues a long-running legal battle with ex-President George W. Bush's former White House political director. Rove previously refused to appear before the panel, contending that former presidential advisers cannot be compelled to testify before Congress.

The subpoena commanded Rove to appear for a deposition on Feb. 2 on the firings of U.S. attorneys for political reasons. Conyers also demanded testimony on whether politics played a role in the prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, a Democrat.

Bush upheld Rove's legal position, but Conyers said times have changed.

"That 'absolute immunity' position ... has been rejected by U.S. District Judge John Bates and President Obama has previously dismissed the claim as 'completely misguided,'" Conyers said in a statement.

Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, did not immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment.

"I have said many times that I will carry this investigation forward to its conclusion, whether in Congress or in court, and today's action is an important step along the way," Conyers said.

The change in administrations may affect the legal arguments available to Rove, Conyers said.

"Change has come to Washington, and I hope Karl Rove is ready for it. After two years of stonewalling, it's time for him to talk," Conyers said.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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