The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Federal court bails Cheney out 'till after the election

Two weeks ago, a federal court gave Dick Cheney a choice: turn over his office's visitor logs in 14 days or explain why they should be hidden from the public eye.

The White House, with help from a different court, chose a third option-- get a new ruling.

A new executive privilege battle is looming in Washington as a federal appeals court considers whether to intervene in an election-eve dispute over records of visitors to Vice President Cheney's home at the Naval Observatory, as well as his offices in the White House complex.

Last month, a federal judge in Washington, Ricardo Urbina, ordered the Secret Service to disclose two years of visitor logs to the Washington Post immediately or explain in detail why the records are exempt from release under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Justice Department has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals to block Judge Urbina's order to allow the parties to present more extensive legal arguments about the dispute.

"Disclosure of the records at issue could reveal an ever-expanding mosaic that would allow observers to chart the course of vice presidential contacts and deliberations in unprecedented fashion," government attorneys argued in a brief filed yesterday. "Such an unwarranted intrusion into the most sensitive deliberations of the vice presidency cannot be countenanced."

Judge Urbina and the Post cited the upcoming election as a reason for expeditious release of the logs.

Justice Department lawyers said the election was not a proper factor to consider. They also scoffed at the suggestion that voters might change their minds because of the visitor records.