The Obama administration argued on Wednesday that if a Republican bid to have a judge grant them administration documents related to Operation Fast and Furious that it would prompt a flood of requests for courts to referee political disputes in Washington. In reality, it would open up the truth a bit more on what is going on behind the stonewalling of the Obama administration over the Fast and Furious scandal.
While Justice Department attorney Ian Gershengorn said that the matter would be best to be left to be handled between the two elected branches of government, the Executive and Legislative, and not a matter for the courts, he forgets that has been tried and that the Executive Branch has stonewalled and not been transparent as the Legislative Branch has sought answers, resulting in a contempt of Congress charge against Attorney General Eric Holder, which the Justice Department would not pursue.
"That is how it has worked for 225 years," said Gershengorn.
David Ingram reports,
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson was skeptical and told Gershengorn, "There are three branches here, not just two." She did not say how she would rule, but questioned Gershengorn for more than twice as long as she did House of Representatives lawyer Kerry Kircher.
Kircher told Jackson that if she did not intervene, presidents could withhold documents from Congress at will with no consequence and thwart oversight of government agencies.
The fear about more subpoena cases is overblown, he added. "You will not be flooded by lawsuits," Kircher said.
Both sides agree that the question of whether Jackson will step in goes to the heart of how the U.S. president and Congress interact with each other.
Lawyers cited court precedents from the Watergate era and from a more recent document fight in which Democratic lawmakers sent a subpoena to aides of President George W. Bush.
In a decision that now helps Republicans, U.S. District Judge John Bates ruled in 2008 that he did have the authority to enforce a subpoena by congressional Democrats in connection with the firing of nine U.S. attorneys.
Thomas Lifson comments, "To my untutored eyes, it looks like there is ample precedent for courts forcing the executive branch to submit to congressional oversight. I am old enough to remember Watergate, in which documents and tape recordings were ordered turned over."
"We don't know what evidence exists in the trove that the Obama administration is hiding from Congress," he added. "Many conservatives suspect the worst, that this was a cynical operation designed to build pressure for more gun control legislation. Others suspect that Holder must have had to sign off on the program, since it involved cross-border operations in Mexico."
I can tell you that the documents which the Obama administration is not turning over and have not turned over to Congress are things that they do not want us to find out about. However, this is not only the case in the Fast and Furious scandal, but also in the Benghazi scandal as well.
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