A Supreme Court filing from the Obama administration last month has set off alarm bells on the left.
The filing was a friend-of-the-court brief, and it mostly dealt with an excruciatingly technical question about the attorney-client privilege. But its last five pages were about the state secrets privilege, which was not at issue in the case. That privilege, a favorite tool of the Bush administration, allows the government to shut down lawsuits by invoking national security.
The Obama administration’s brief argued, though no one had asked, that the state secrets privilege was rooted in the Constitution.
The federal government files friend-of-the-court briefs in the Supreme Court all the time, and it is not unusual for it to alert the court to related issues, usually to make sure that the court’s ruling is no broader than it needs to be.
But the filing has raised eyebrows and suspicions among liberals already disappointed that the Obama administration has not rejected a number of legal doctrines associated with the Bush administration.
Jon B. Eisenberg, a lawyer for an Islamic charity in Oregon, said the filing reflected “the good old Bush-Cheney inherent presidential power theory.” Mr. Eisenberg said he suspected that the administration was hoping to use the attorney-client case to invite the Supreme Court to say something helpful to it about state secrets.
Mathew A. Miller, a Justice Department spokesman, said there was no reason for concern.
“The brief says only that the state secrets privilege, along with other governmental privileges, has a constitutional basis,” Mr. Miller said, “which is a position that has been taken by the Department of Justice for many decades under administrations of both parties.”
On the campaign trail and in more recent statements, President Obama has indicated that he wants to limit the use of the state secrets privilege. In courtrooms, however, there has been little evidence of a new approach.
Originally posted by Helious
reply to post by breakingdradles
Im staying away from the BC issue for now. This is about saying one thing and obviously and willfully doing another.
Slamming Bush for something then turning around and doing the same thing is a slap in the face, not matter if your on the right side or left side something shouldn't seem right about this.