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On July 18, Bates ordered the Department of Justice to produce the documents list by October 1. The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates denied a motion by the Obama DOJ that it be given until over an extra month, until November 3, to produce the Vaughn index. Judge Bates noted that the Justice Department’s request showed the Justice Department was, “at best, it means the Department has been slow to react to this Court’s previous [July 18, 2014] Order. At worst, it means the Department has ignored that Order until now.”
In its FOIA lawsuit, Judicial Watch sought all of the documents the Obama White House was withholding from the House of Representatives under its June 20, 2012, executive privilege claims. The House had been separately litigating to obtain the documents but had gotten nowhere until after Judge Bates ruled that the DOJ finally had to disclose the document information to Judicial Watch. On September 9, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, citing Judicial Watch’s success, ordered the DOJ to begin producing information to Congress by November 3.
In denying the DOJ’s motion for an extension until the day before the November elections, Bates ruled, “The government’s argument for even more time is unconvincing,” and granted the government just 21 additional days to produce the Vaughn index to Judicial Watch.
The surprise resignation of a key member of President Barack Obama's administration may be a political move to avoid the resurgence of interest in exposing corruption and misconduct -- even criminal activity -- within the office of the nation's Top Cop who is ordered this week to release information regarding Operation Fast and Furious, according to political insiders within the D.C. Beltway on Friday.
A federal judge's ruling may have had a lot to do with Eric Holder stepping down from his office.
While most of the news media and politicians have "closed the books" on the Fast and Furious scandal, there is evidence that a federal judge's ruling -- pertaining to documents withheld by Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department -- has more to do with Holder's sudden resignation announcement on Thursday than Obama's hope to have a new attorney general confirmed by the Democrat-controlled Senate before any nominee has to face a probable Republican majority in the new year, according to several political strategists and watchdogs on Friday.
According to the public-interest group, Judicial Watch, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that: by October 22, 2014, the Department of Justice (DOJ) must submit a Vaughn Index. The Vaughn Index must list Fast and Furious materials that Judicial Watch had sought in its June 2012 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request application its subsequent September 2012 FOIA federal lawsuit. The suit had been filed after the DOJ failed to comply with the legal FOIA request for specific documents involving the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' (ATF's) gun-smuggling activity commonly known as Operation Fast and Furious.
As per a 1974 court ruling, a Vaughn Index must: (1) identify each document withheld; (2) state the statutory exemption claimed; and (3) explain how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption.
On July 18, Judge John Bates ordered the Department of Justice to produce the documents list by October 1. He denied a motion by the Holder's DOJ that the agency be given more than an extra month, until November 3, to produce the Vaughn index. According to Judicial Watch attorneys, Judge Bates voiced his concern that the Justice Department’s request showed they were “at best... slow to react to this Court’s previous [July 18, 2014] Order. At worst, it means the Department has ignored that Order until now.”