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Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Saturday | July 13, 2002

Open Gov't: 1, Cheney secrecy: 0

In a follow up to his oral ruling a few weeks back, a federal judge eviscerated Cheney and his efforts to keep the energy task force records secret.

The ruling, by U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, was issued Thursday night and follows an oral ruling Sullivan made on May 23. The opinion called "troubling" the administration's argument that the two groups should not be allowed to sue for documents and information about the task force under the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

Sullivan wrote that by the Bush administration's logic, "Any action by Congress or the judiciary that intrudes on the president's ability to recommend legislation to Congress or get advice from Cabinet members in any way would necessarily violate the Constitution."

"Such a ruling would eviscerate the understanding of checks and balances between the three branches of government on which our constitutional order depends," the opinion said. "The fact that the government may want to advocate a new theory of executive authority and the separation of powers is its prerogative. It cannot, however, cloak what is tantamount to an aggrandizement of executive power with the legitimacy of precedent where none exists."

The judge's order was in response to a motion to dismiss, and allows the suit to move forward. Judicial Watch, which has filed one of the lawsuits and has become Cheney's biggest nemesis, will seek to depose Cheney as part of its discovery process.

Posted July 13, 2002 10:27 AM | Comments (1)


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