Shortly before the start of the Vice Presidential debate, Alaskan judge Peter Michalski handed down a major ruling threw out a challenge by Republican politicians seeking to block an investigation into Gov. Sarah Palin in the so-called Troopergate scandal. [Update: I discussed this last night on Rachael Maddow’s show, click here).
Republicans have tried to stop the investigation, which was ordered by members of both parties into Palin’s role in firing a state official. Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan had refused to fire a state trooper who was involved in a contentious divorce from Palin’s sister. Palin then fired Monegan when he wouldn’t dismiss the trooper, though Palin says he was fired over budget disagreements.
Judge Peter Michalski held that the Republican challenge was meritless and that the troopergate investigation is a valid exercise of legislative authority: “It is legitimately within the scope of the legislature’s investigatory power to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the termination (of) a public officer the legislature had previously confirmed.”
The obstruction of the legislative investigation — and Palin’s refusal to comply with subpoenas is extremely abusive in my view. It is precisely the type of frivolous claims that have been raised by the Bush Administration to stop legitimate inquiries — trying to use motions and appeals to simply delay cases until after the second term is over. It is astonishing to see a candidate for national office who is refusing to comply with a valid subpoena. The question is whether this judicial ruling will alter Palin’s position.
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