Bush Administration Loses Ruling on Cheney Records

The Administration has lost another ruling in its opposition to open government rules. The Bush Administration and particularly Vice President Dick Cheney has spent a huge amount of time and money fighting efforts to preserve documents and emails. On Saturday, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that Cheney must preserve a broad range of records from his time in office under the Presidential Records Act.

Cheney has long argued that he is not a member of the executive branch, suggesting that he holds an almost mystical position somewhere between the legislative and executive branches. Judge Kollar-Kotelly found that the records are not excluded from preservation under the Presidential Records Act as argued by Cheney.

For the full story, click here.

29 thoughts on “Bush Administration Loses Ruling on Cheney Records

  1. To the shredder Fawn and call the Geek Squad now! Another judge unholds the clearly written rule of law, I’m guessing to no avail.

    Another question is: every piece of information that has come to light shows the “vampire of the limberlost” acting as commander in chief. There’s nothing in the Constitution about the V.P. acting as commander in chief. Another good reason to impeach them both (cheney for taking over and bush for letting him) but can’t Congress cut off all funding to the Vampire President until he coughs up the records, and/or stops illegally ordering our troops/special forces/national “security” agencies movements?

  2. SHRED OF EVIDENCE

    NEWSWIRE–Vice president Dick Cheney has been ordered to retain all records from his time in office.

    You say my records must remain intact;
    You’ll only ask to look as last resort.
    Some hope they’ll prove my good intent. In fact,
    Some might be better used as proof in court.

    http://www.newsandverse.com
    Light verse, ripped from the headlines

  3. Jill:

    “can’t Congress cut off all funding to the Vampire President until he coughs up the records, and/or stops illegally ordering our troops/special forces/national “security” agencies movements?”

    Absolutely; and I’m sure Nancy Pelosi will be leading the charge.

    I still think Bugliosi has the best idea.

    In The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, Bugliosi presents a tight, meticulously researched legal case that puts George W. Bush on trial in an American courtroom for the murder of nearly 4,000 American soldiers fighting in Iraq. Watch this video interview to learn why he believes we must bring those responsible for the war in Iraq to justice.

    http://www.prosecutionofbush.com/

    JUAN GONZALEZ: We now turn to a man considered to be one of the best prosecutors in this country. In his career at the LA County District Attorney’s office, he successfully prosecuted 105 of 106 felony jury trials, including twenty-one murder convictions without a single loss. Alan Dershowitz calls him “as good a prosecutor as there ever was,” and the legendary F. Lee Bailey calls him “the quintessential prosecutor.” His most famous trial, the Charles Manson case, became the basis of his classic book, Helter Skelter, the biggest selling true-crime book in publishing history. Two of his other books, And the Sea Will Tell and Outrage, also reached number one on the New York Times bestseller list.

    AMY GOODMAN: Today we’re joined by the renowned lawyer and author Vincent Bugliosi. His latest book is just published; it’s called The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder. He joins us from Los Angeles.

    Welcome to Democracy Now!

    http://www.democracynow.org/2008/6/13/citing_iraq_war_renowned_attorney_vincent

    Vincent Bugliosi’s opening statements during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the constitutional limits of executive power.

  4. “can’t Congress cut off all funding to the Vampire President until he coughs up the records, and/or stops illegally ordering our troops/special forces/national “security” agencies movements?”

    Absolutely; and I’m sure Nancy Pelosi will be leading the charge.

    I still think Bugliosi has the best idea.

    In The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, Bugliosi presents a tight, meticulously researched legal case that puts George W. Bush on trial in an American courtroom for the murder of nearly 4,000 American soldiers fighting in Iraq. Watch this video interview to learn why he believes we must bring those responsible for the war in Iraq to justice.

    http://www.prosecutionofbush.com/

  5. If Cheney wants to claim any piece of executive privilege, he better decide which side of this fence he’s on.

    “Under the principle of separation of powers, the Constitution specifically disallows legislative officials from also serving in the executive branch. For the Speaker or the President pro tempore to become Acting President, they must resign their position, at which point they are no longer in the line of succession. This forms a constitutional paradox to some.”

    All one need do is look at the Presidential Succession Act to know that Cheney and Addington are grasping, although they deserve points for creativity.

    Any junior senator can be President protempore of the Senate. The only time the Vice President as President of the Senate ex officio gets to vote is when there’s a tie – which is almost never.

    On the other hand, no one other than the Vice President is next in line for the Presidency except for the Vice President.

    Hypothetically speaking, the same would be true even if an Acting President had been ‘acting’ in that capacity for years.
    (no pun intended)

  6. I am not understanding how exactly DICK Cheney is floating this nonsense about the Vice President not being part of the Executive branch.

    This is not a question. It never has been.

    The Vice Presidency, by its very name is part of the Presidency, which is part of the Executive Branch. He’s the Vice PRESIDENT, not the Vice “Congressman”, or as he tries to suggest, the “Senadent”.

    The Vice Presidency is endowed in Article II of the Constitution, not Article I. Article II endows the EXECUTIVE branch of the government with its powers, not the Legislative.

    The only mention of the Vice President in the Legislative section (Article I) is for breaking ties in the senate. He is endowed with NO VOTE. NO POWER. He merely gets to break ties once the duly elected senators have voted.

    And he holds no power in the Lower House.

    His office is introduced and empowered in Article II, not Article I, so there just isn’t a question. This isn’t a matter open to debate. Its not an opinion. Its fact. Fact every school kid has known since the first public schools were built. No one doubts it. Other than apparently DICK Cheney.

  7. And what about the “Lame Duck” Amendment?

    Section 1 of the 20th Amendment states;

    The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January,

    Clearly there was no doubt in 1933 when the 20th Amendment to our Constitution was introduced as to which branch the Vice PRESIDENT belonged.

    President and Vice Presidents terms are clearly distinguished from the terms of the Legislative branch.

    There is clearly no confusion, so how DICK Cheney gets to float this kind of crap is beyond me.

  8. Cheney got exactly what he wanted with his weak argument. He got almost 8 years of time to do whatever he wanted. Legal or not, he has been screwing the American people and the Constitution at will. I agree with Bob, Esq. that Bugliosi has the best idea. I do hope his idea is utilized as soon as Obama is sworn in.

  9. Alfredo,
    If Cheney doesn’t honor any order of the court, he will have more trouble than even he can handle. I hope he does fight it and suffers the consequences. It would be fun to see a former VP held in contempt.

  10. rafflaw and Bob, Esq. –

    We can only dream. But I think we’ve seen time and time again that little is actually done to remedy the damage, let alone punish those who have clearly broken laws. To use a well-worn analogy, we’re like Charlie Brown hoping this time Lucie keeps the football in place.

  11. Actually the Charlie Brown thing may be a metaphor. Somebody should come up with a good analogy that describes a metaphor.

    I need to sleep.

  12. Cheney has demonstrated time and again that he has extreme indifference to courts, laws, Congress, and human life.

    And he’s gotten away with it.

    In all honesty: What good is our judicial system if there are no checks and balances, no consequences, for people like Cheney?

    This current regime has taught us that the rule of law is only as good as the (digital) paper it’s written on.

  13. Buttercup,
    You are correct. But we cannot give up on holding Cheney accountable. It may not happen until after he is out of office, but he will be held responsible either in criminal court or in a civil action.

  14. I’m with the Bob(s) re: prosecution.

    The simple fact is this: If Cheney and Bush are not punished, the U.S. will not regain any reasonable international credibility within our lifetimes.

    The entire world knows they are criminals and laugh at us for having put up with them this long. America will never recover any resemblance to it’s prestige and power before 9/11 unless they are imprisoned and possibly executed for their crimes. Will this happen? Probably not.

    The GOP would let those two monkeys start a nuclear war rather than send them to prison. All for their “legacy”. I won’t sleep easy until Obama has the football because I now distrust the GOP (specifically the Neocon GOP) just that much. They earned that distrust and more.

    The Dems will likely rollover too. They’ll be using “post-partisan” as a cover word for “we’re going to let the criminals go so it doesn’t look like a political prosecution – besides, we’d have to stop the graft, er, lobby gravy train if we did.” Screw that too. Bush and Cheney’s crimes go WAAAAAYYYYYY beyond political appearance considerations. If they aren’t held accountable, get ready for rank and file disregard for the rule of law. I already have anecdotal experience with “regular folks” deciding that the laws don’t apply to them if inconvenient. Imagine what the message of “the bigger the crime, the less the chance of punishment” will result in?

    As a practical matter I am also certain that, judicial order or not, Cheney’s staff is shredding and burning away with abandon. If anyone has shown he thinks no law applies to him, it’s that pig. My only fear is he’ll die before I get to see him in an orange jumpsuit. And before someone says “disrespectful”, I’ll say “respect is earned”. So is scorn, hatred and loathing.

    Time will tell.

  15. I agree with others who stated Cheney will just ignore every ruling against him. Parenthetically, Palin wouldn’t even take questions from the hand picked Republican audience in Florida. The judicial branch is standing up to the administration. They are ruling in favor of the law more and more frequently lately. The fact that the judicial branch isn’t buying the administration’s bullshit is encouraging. To me the worse problem is a fully owned justice dept which simply refuses to enforce direct court orders. We could really use a special proscecutor NOW. Of course that would require the Congress, formerly known as the third branch of govt., to grow a spine.

    Obama-sama,

    I was hearing “catharsis” used in the financial world last week after Lehman Bros. was allowed to fail. Are you hearing it in the world of campaign’s now? We’ll probably see a rush of business books about how the catharsis of your 401K leads to “living simply” and greater spritiual awareness. In fact, this has no doubt been a spiritual catharsis for people who have lost their homes, their jobs and any savings they had–a regular age of aquarius!

    For everyone who likes a joke about hard times: (this is from a financial blog)

    I suggest that for every separate asset these CEOs sell to the government, they be required to write a Hardship Letter over a 1010 warning (that’s a reference to the statute forbidding lying in order to get a loan) explaining why they acquired or originated this asset to begin with, what’s really wrong with it in detail, what they have learned from this experience, and what steps they are taking to make sure it never happens again. Furthermore, the Treasury Department will empanel a committee of the oldest, most traditional, and bitterest mortgage loan underwriters–preferably those downsized to make way for automated underwriting systems–to review these letters and opine on their acceptability.

  16. From Cro Magnum:
    I am not understanding how exactly DICK Cheney is floating this nonsense about the Vice President not being part of the Executive branch.

    Cro, Cheney’s absurd assertion was that since the VP has the right to preside over the Senate, he or she is ALSO part of the Legislative branch.

  17. Another disturbing action by cheneybush concerns the wall street “bailout”. They would like complete control over which assets they purchase and disperse with NO, NONE oversight by Congress. Another power grab by our king and his joker. Those people just don’t have enough power!

  18. rcampbell
    1, September 22, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Cro, Cheney’s absurd assertion was that since the VP has the right to preside over the Senate, he or she is ALSO part of the Legislative branch

    I understand thats what he’s saying rc. What I don’t understand is how he’s getting away with it. That the Vice President has a duty to perform in the Senate has never been in question. But the Vice Presidency is endowed in Aritcle II, not Article I. So how does he get away with this nonsense? His office is endowed in the Executive articles, not the Legislative so its just not a question.

    He is elected with the President, not the congress. His term is paired with the Presidents, not the Congress. To imply he is part of the Legislative branch instead of the Executive is absurd, and is an insult to intelligence.

  19. As I stated yesterday, If ‘the Cheney’ mythical branch wants to claim any piece of executive privilege, he better decide which side of this fence he’s on.

    “Under the principle of separation of powers, the Constitution specifically disallows legislative officials from also serving in the executive branch.”

    ******

    http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2007/jun/26/picking-which-laws-to-follow/

    “…Mr. Cheney might not want to push this line of reasoning too far. The Constitution gives the Senate and House — the legislative branch to which the vice president says he belongs — complete latitude in determining their rules and punishing offenders….”

  20. CMM,
    You are right with your discussion of the weakness of Cheney’s argument. It just shows us how politicized the Judiciary is getting. Jill is right that some judges are beginning to fight back, but too little and way too late.

  21. Thanks Raff. Heres the thing. He really does have power in the senate, to preside and break ties, but his office is empowered in the Executive Articles. He’s “assigned” duties in the senate because as the early framers suggested, “otherwise he’d be unemployed”.

    In the 20th Century Vice Presidents really became sort of junior executives to the President, and performing various functions under the Presidents direction, although technically the President has no authority to order the Vice President to do anything, nor remove him from office. But heres the thing. Regardless of what role Cheney thinks the VP office plays or what branch it is in, when he’s performing Executive functions then he’s subject to the the same guidelines and scrutiny that the Executive is under. So its really a Red Herring argument. A sideline thats a dead end even if proven right, which I cannot see.

    The office is endowed in Article II. You can see he does get functions in Article I which does show responsibility there, something some of the framers had a real problem with in regards to the seperation of powers, but it is there. But that doesn’t mean he’s not part of the Executive branch, and irregardless, when acting in Executive capacity subject to the rules of the Executive branch. Cheney wants his cake and everyone elses and he wants to eat it too. All of it. He’s playing a suckers game here, getting people to swat at flies over whether the office of Vice President is part of the Executive Branch. Perhaps if they sent the movers over and told Cheney he was being moved to the capital since he’s part of the Legislative branch, then give him one of those steam pipe rooms in the bottom, maybe he’d change his tune.

    You know, if Cheney really believes his office is not part of the Executive Branch of Govt, as it is listed in the Constitution, then perhaps he should take the web page for the Office Of Vice President, off of the Executive Branches website, and move it to the Legislative Branches website. Because right now his Website is located at the Executive Branches website, Whitehouse.gov.

    Not where according to him, it should properly be located, at http://www.Senate.gov.

  22. Palin is Cheney’s clone!

    Palin won’t say whether veep is an executive post
    By Kevin Bogardus
    Posted: 09/18/08 08:05 PM [ET]

    “…a spokesman for the Republican presidential campaign did not answer the question. Instead, he e-mailed remarks Palin gave at a campaign rally in Golden, Colo., on Monday.

    Palin did not say what branch of government she believes the vice president’s office is part of in those remarks. Instead, Palin said she and Republican presidential nominee John McCain had discussed what responsibilities she would take on as his second-in-command.
    A Cheney spokesperson declined to comment for this story.”

  23. rafflaw, Mojo & Obama-Sama, et. al:

    I completely concur with Obama-Sama’s summation of part of the problem:

    “The simple fact is this: If Cheney and Bush are not punished, the U.S. will not regain any reasonable international credibility within our lifetimes.”

    The problem I suspect Bugliosi has been struggling with is the idea that:

    “To sin in silence while others doth protest makes cowards out of men.” –Ella Wheeler Wilcox

  24. Cheney is hitting the backrooms of R house to give him the no oversight, no questions asked fascist economic power he wants. I’m certain he’s lying his “heart” out just as he did on the war. I hope Congress stands up to him, just this once.

  25. The answer as to which branch The VP belongs appears in the
    ceremonial title President of the Senate ‘EX OFFICIO’ which means by virtue of office or position; ‘by right of office’.

    ‘The Cheney’s’ legislative branch argument is just an argument. Just because he’s made it doesn’t make it persuasive, correct, or the rule.

    What’s so is so-everything else is just the story about it.

    Today the question is what happened to our economy and how to proceed?

    Why should we trust Bush et al? Maybe we don’t know the whole story this time either.

    History informs us. What we do with that information defines us.
    We get to write our own story everyday. It’s a no-brainer!

    p.s. I’d love to hear what Eliot Spitzer has to say…

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