Congress is still steadily pursuing the investigation on the very dark spot on the Obama administration’s record that is Operation Fast and Furious — and when I say “dark spot,” I do mean that literally, because so much of the evidence was so thoroughly redacted. The administration is continuing to fight Congressional attempts to uncover all of the details into the deadly gun-walking operation, and the dispute has moved into district-court territory. In front of a federal judge on Wednesday, the Department of Justice argued that the court should really just decline to decide on the case and leave the executive and legislative branches to duke it out on their own:
A U.S. Justice Department lawyer said on Wednesday that if a judge agreed to consider a Republican bid to get administration documents related to a botched operation against gun-trafficking it would prompt a flood of requests for courts to referee Washington political disputes.
President Barack Obama is resisting a congressional subpoena for documents related to how the administration responded to the revelation of the failed operation known as “Fast and Furious” on the U.S.- Mexican border. It has already turned over thousands of pages of documents about the operation itself.
Justice Department lawyer Ian Gershengorn told a hearing the matter was best left to the give-and-take of the U.S. government’s two elected branches, the president and Congress, and should not be a matter for the courts.
“That is how it has worked for 225 years,” said Gershengorn, referring to the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788.
Mm hmm. “Best left to the give-and-take” of the legislative and executive branches, and not involve the checks-and-balances role of the judiciary? To me, that translation sounds an awful lot like “anything The Executive Branch doesn’t want to give, you’re not getting, ’cause we do what we want” — and it sounds like the judge wasn’t having it either, positing, “If you could have worked this out yourselves, wouldn’t you have worked this out yourselves?”
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson spent most of an hour-and-a-half hearing Wednesday sharply questioning Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ian Gershengorn about the administration’s assertion that a lawsuit the House panel filed last year should be dismissed and the legislative and executive branches of government left to work out their differences by themselves. …
Jackson, an Obama appointee, repeatedly suggested that Gershengorn was giving the judiciary short shrift.
“You keep talking about the two [branches] as if the third one isn’t there,” she said.
The judge called the fight over whether the documents are subject to legal privilege — in this case executive privilege — the kind of “classic legal dispute that this court has to [resolve] all the time.” …
House General Counsel Kerry Kircher complained that Holder was seeking “absolute and judicially un-reviewable authority to determine what executive branch documents are privileged as against Congress.”
Yeah, sorry, but there is definitely such a thing as abusing executive privilege, and how. The Obama administration is very clearly doing their best to thwart Congress’ oversight role on this one and would no doubt like to add this to the list of debacles about which they’d really prefer everybody just forgive and forget.