DC Appeals Court Allows Cheney Energy Task Force Suit to Continue
The Bush Administration has failed in its ongoing bid to hide the workings of Dick Cheney’s energy task force. After using the House GOP to threaten the GAO into backing down on its suit earlier this year, the Bush Administration just lost an Appeals Court attempt in the roughly similar Sierra Club/Judicial Watch suit.
A federal appeals court Tuesday rejected the Bush administration's bid to stop a lawsuit that seeks to delve into the energy industry's ties to Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force.
In a 2-1 ruling, the court said administration officials must turn over some information about the task force or list specific documents that they intend to withhold from the proceedings.
The administration argues that the lawsuit by the Sierra Club and a conservative group, Judicial Watch, is an unwarranted intrusion into the internal deliberations of the executive branch of government.
But Cheney and administration officials "have not satisfied the heavy burden" required for the appeals court to get involved in the case, wrote Appeals Court Judge David Tatel.
Bush administration officials have not even produced a log of documents they want to keep confidential, the appeals court said.
Appeals judges David Tatel and Harry Edwards rejected the administration's effort to stop the case. Judge A. Raymond Randolph dissented, declaring that "for the judiciary to permit this sort of discovery" into the actions of the executive branch "strikes me as a violation of the separation of powers." Tatel said that if the administration is so concerned about unwarranted intrusion, it can "invoke executive or any other privilege" in an attempt to keep the material out of the public domain.
It should be noted that both Tatel and Edwards were appointed by Democrats, Tatel by Bill Clinton and Edwards by Jimmy Carter. Randolph was appointed by Bush’s dad, which explains the dissenting vote. Let's see if Cheney wants to assert executive privilege or national security concerns to hide his misdeeds.