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Vice President Dick Cheney doesn't have to disclose the advice his energy task force got from the industry, an appeals court ruled Tuesday in what probably was a final blow to a politically charged lawsuit over public access to White House decision making.
The task force met in 2001 and produced pro-industry recommendations for sweeping energy legislation now before Congress. The Bush administration fought hard to keep the panel's workings secret, arguing that public disclosure would make it difficult for any White House to solicit candid advice on important policy issues.
A U.S. District Court ordered the Vice President and the NEPDG to respond to Judicial Watch’s discovery requests for records and information about the Energy Task Force meetings, including the names of participants. The Bush administration refused to comply. After the Appellate Court refused to intervene, the administration appealed the U.S. Supreme Court, which last April refused to dismiss the case, but sent it back to the Appellate Court for further review.
The Appellate Court today ruled against any discovery related to the make up of the Energy Task Force or its committees and dismissed the suit. According to the court, the open meetings law does not apply even if an outsider participates in or influences an advisory committee, but only if the outsider actually “votes” as a member of the committee or “vetoes” the committee’s recommendations. The court further ruled that statements provided by administration officials were sufficient evidence, by themselves, to conclude that no outsiders voted on or vetoed the task force’s recommendation on energy policy.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, “The court’s ruling is without any basis in the text of the open meetings law and is contrary to the intent of the law, which is to allow broad public participation in certain types of meetings between government officials and private lobbyists. Further, it means that, going forward, the public will simply have to take the word of the government that no outsiders are improperly influencing the decisions of their government.
“The American people have a right to know whether lobbyists became de facto members of the Energy Task Force, which helped to write our nation’s energy policies. Today’s decision means that now the public may never know the truth about how these policies were formulated.”
Originally posted by Rasputin13
This is all a bunch of bull. It's nothing but flames being fanned by liberals. One of the rights of the President and the Vice President that MUST be protected at all costs, is their right to seek advice off the record. How can we expect anyone to give their honest opinions and advice to our President and Vice President when they have to worry about it being documented and released to the public?
Although there may be wrongdoing here, we can't burn the house down just to kill a roach. Regardless of the party in office, the right of the Executive Branch to seek counsel without impunity or disclosure must be protected at all costs. And can someone please remind me why it is that we care what advice Cheney got from the industry for this energy policy that hasn't even come to vote to begin with???
Judge A. Raymond Randolph - eh?
Let's look him up. Appointed by shrub in 1990. Pal of Microsoft in the celebrated anti-trust case of 2001.
Judges poised to rule on Microsoft 31 May, 2001, 22:10 GMT 23:10 UK --Microsoft's fate hangs in the balance as a Court of Appeal considers whether to overturn the break-up order. A ruling is thought to be imminent and BBC News Online's Kevin Anderson in Washington takes a look at the judges making the decision...
In 1998, two judges on the appeals court ruled that Microsoft did not violate a consent decree when it bundled its Internet Explorer web browser with Windows. In that case, Judge Stephen Williams, appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1986, and Judge Raymond Randolph, appointed by George Bush in 1990, ruled that Microsoft did not illegally "tie" the browser to its market-dominant operating system.
...And SAY! what do you know?
He is with the George Mason University
Law and Economics Center - funded by Exxon!
George Mason University, Law and Economics Center has received $115,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.
Say Hey! Its good being a judge!
Additional source: Antitrust Law & Economics Review Vol. 25, No. 2, Judicial Seminars: Economics, Academia, and Corporate Money In America --by Nan Aron, Barbara Moulton, and Chris Owens '6 Mornings Per Week' "Although closely affiliated with GMU [George Mason University], the Law and Economics Center is run independently and is supported entirely by private donations. Corporate interests provide a significant share of the Center's funding.
In 1991, for example, when the Center spent $380,000 in 'direct' expenses for federal judges' seminars, 31% of the Center's total income of $967,917 came from corporate contributors. These donors included corporate giants Exxon, General Motors, Bethlehem Steel, ITT, and Pfizer, Inc., the General Electric and Mobil Foundations, and the Monsanto Fund.
Most of the remainder of the Center's 1991 budget (65%) came from independent foundations, including Olin, Bradley, and Scaife, which have been key players in efforts to mold a jurisprudence more favorable to business interests. The Center's basic 'economics institute' for federal judges is held once a year, spans a two-week period and is designed to familiarize participants with the fundamental tools of microeconomic theory." [Note: See original article for footnotes/references within '6 Mornings Per Week.']
A. Raymond Randolph serves on the Advisory Board of George Mason University Law and Economics Center.