In its ruling yesterday, the court — with Justice Scalia in the seven-member majority — sent the case back to a lower court, instructing it to give greater consideration to Mr. Cheney’s separation-of-powers argument. Although the decision does not resolve the dispute, it makes it more likely that the task force records will remain secret. Even if they eventually become public, they are not likely to do so before this year’s election.The court is right that inquiries aimed at the executive branch must meet a higher standard, but its ruling leans too much toward secrecy. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg notes in a dissent, Mr. Cheney could have asked the trial court to narrow the questions it allowed. Instead, he challenged its ability to elicit any information at all.
When Congress passed the Federal Advisory Committee Act, it wanted the public to be able to monitor the influences exerted on government policy makers. The court’s decision is likely to frustrate that important goal.
Relax guys. As soon as a Democratic Pres or Veep tries to use the same arguments, the Scalia majority will be all in favor of openness again, just as they were when Clinton used them over the Health Task Force.
This is the most politicized SCOTUS we’ve had in a hundred years and it’s a mistake to treat any decision they make that involves this Admin as if it were objective or judicial.