Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Executive Privilege

As former DOJ attorney J. Christian Adams points out at PJ Media, Obama invoking executive privilege to refuse to turn over 140,000 pages of documents to Congress is really raising the stakes:

One thing executive privilege can’t accomplish for Eric Holder is hiding his Department’s wrongdoing. Richard Nixon got that scolding from the Supreme Court in 1974 in a case deliciously named United States v. Nixon.
In that case, the Supreme Court held,
neither the doctrine of separation of powers nor the need for confidentiality of high-level communications, without more, can sustain an absolute, unqualified Presidential privilege of immunity from judicial process under all circumstances.
Executive privilege cannot be used to cover up criminal wrongdoing, such as lying to Congress.
Even more important: executive privilege is generally understood as limited to communications between the President and his Cabinet officers and other direct reports in the White House.  Essentially, Obama is claiming that Fast & Furious was not a renegade operation deep in the Justice Department.  He has essentially admitting that White House staff were involved, or he would have no basis for executive privilege claims.  From the June 20, 2012 Christian Science Monitor:
According to an authoritative Congressional Research Service history of executive privilege, at least three important elements must be present for a legally correct assertion of the power. First, the communication the president wishes to withhold must bear on a core power of the presidency, such as the right to grant pardons or conduct law enforcement. Second, the communication must have come from or to the president or a close White House adviser. Third, the communication can’t contain info so unique that investigators can’t figure it out by looking elsewhere.

This is going to get fun, especially watching the same people who were furious with Nixon's use of executive privilege to hide crimes by White House staff (and Nixon) justify why this is completely different.  With a little luck, Obama can make the Democrats rue the day that they picked this crooked fool.


  1. So if he is reelected and Biden is his VP and then he is impeached we get Biden. I guess the only thing good about that could be that Biden is even less intelligent than Obama! If you can call that a good thing.....

  2. Biden at least unambiguously loves his country and doesn't want to "fundamentally transform" it in the way Obama does.

    Pity he's generally inept if he has to replace Obama, but we could do worse (like Obama).

    And echoing an implicit position of yours, I suspect this last minute move is merely one to run out the clock before the November election. After which, if the Republican Congress has the courage (yeah, stop laughing), we'll be in a Watergate scenario.

    Although in the one discussion on the Left I dipped my toe into, we certainly won't see any good faith on the other side unless of course they realize the danger of getting dragged down along with this. One of the most common replies was "Bush did bad things too!"....