House Drinker….uh I mean, Speaker John Boehner is going to file a civil lawsuit against the President for using Executive Privilege. This is absurd. Pres. Clinton evoked it 14 times during his two terms. Pres. G.W. Bush used it 6 or 7 times during his two terms. Pres. Obama has used it only this one time in four years. So if we rely on statistical averages (all things being equal, in a perfect world), the odds are good he will only use it one more time for a total of two times in two terms IF he is re-elected. Wow, that’s some abuse hunh?
SCOTUS has said repeatedly that Executive Privilege is something that should be used sparingly and in modern times, Pres. Obama has been the one Executive to listen to that admonition. So he’s not being abusive in terms of frequency. But it’s not just frequency….it’s what it gets used for, right? President Obama is only claiming Executive Privilege in regards to “certain” documents. To date, Attorney General Holder has turned over tons of documents that were generated during the actual course of the Fast and Furious Operation. Since the Issa Lynch Mob Committee couldn’t find anything in those documents to pin on the Obama Administration , they then decided to subpoena the documents that came after the operation was over. The documents in question deal with the deliberation within the DOJ and the White House on what should be done after it was all over. These kinds of deliberations have pretty much always been considered legally acceptable to claim executive privilege on unless a criminal investigation needs to know. In which case the investigation’s need will outweigh the Executive’s right to maintain privacy. That right to maintain privacy is considered important so that Presidents can receive unfettered advice from their advisers that is not subject to the whims of the public, untainted by political machinations of the opposing party, and unflinchingly honest assessments. If those kinds of deliberations were allowed out, no one would ever want to advise a President because everything they say would be a matter of public record. Honestly, considering the kind of things the President has to deal with I don’t want everything that is said to a President out there, do you?
I do believe there are times where Executive Privilege does not apply and where it has been abused. For instance, during Watergate, the Supreme Court forced the Nixon Whitehouse to turn over his tapes because there was already evidence of a crime that lead all the way to the Whitehouse and those tapes were deemed substantive to the matter at hand. I.e., the need for the investigation to have it as evidence necessary to prosecuting a crime outweighed Executive Privilege. Likewise, with Pres. Clinton and the Lewinsky scandal. He tried to claim that he couldn’t be compelled to testify while he was still in office (if I remember correctly). In the end, Pres. Clinton lost that battle in court and we ended up with the infamous, “that depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is”. Again, there was a lot of evidence BEFORE Pres. Clinton claimed executive privilege to indicate his involvement in the scandal and the likelihood of his testimony being substantive to the Lewinsky investigation made it clear that he couldn’t hide behind Executive Privilege. Furthermore, whatever Clinton had to say regarding Lewinsky would clearly not endanger national security or reveal state related secrets (his personal secrets, most assuredly).
However, in the Fast and Furious Operation there is no evidence, not one scintilla of it, to indicate that anyone in the Obama Administration did anything wrong in terms of that Operation. In fact there is nothing to indicate that the ATF intentionally engaged in wrong doing. Did they screw up? Yes. Should there be serious consequences? Yes, for the ATF. Did this begin under Pres. GWB and end under Pres. Obama? Yes. Did President Obama have anything to do with the running of the Operation? No. Therefore, the documents in question are not substantive to the investigation. They didn’t even happen DURING the damn investigation. Furthermore, those documents contain information about other secret investigations and resources that the DOJ cannot reveal without putting agents and current operations in danger. So in this case, the evocation to executive privilege appears to be exactly what the situation requires and exactly what the privilege was created for. So, I wish a mofo would file a civil suit. I think House Drinker Boehner, Inquisitor General Issa and their long list of GOP bootlickers will get their ass handed to them in Court. I hope that President Obama will stand by Eric Holder but we will see. The GOP wants to make this election about everything but their crappy candidate. I think another court win for the President will only make him look better in the eyes of the swing votes and this GOP focus on conspiracies that don’t exist only serves to gin up their base that is already foaming at the mouth crazy any way. So make our day, punk.