Delay and Conquer: GOP Politicians Appeal Troopergate Ruling

In a clear effort to simply delay an investigation until after the November election, Alaskan GOP politicians have appealed the recent ruling upholding the investigation of Gov. Sarah Palin. Anchorage Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski dismissed their lawsuit Thursday shortly before the debate. I discussed the ruling on the Rachael Maddow Show. This is precisely the same tactic used by Dick Cheney and the Bush Justice Department in filing motions and appeals to advance meritless claims for the sole purpose of delay. In political cases, justice delayed is justice.

The Alaskan Supreme Court has agreed to hear the emergency appeal next Wednesday.

There is no serious question that Palin and her husband and her aides are refusing to comply with perfectly proper subpoenas issued in a perfectly legitimate legislative investigation. This is a core matter for legislative oversight and the subpoenas were issued by both Republicans and Democrats. As I mentioned on the Maddow Show, I know of no prior candidate for president or vice-president who sought those offices while refusing to comply with such lawfully issued subpoenas.

The fact that the parties themselves are not challenging the subpoenas tends to magnify the clearly political and frivolous aspect of this lawsuit. It is perfectly appropriate for a party to challenge a subpoena when there are reasonable grounds. Here there is no reasonable ground and these GOP politicians are using the legal system to facilitate the political campaign.

Whatever your party or your politics, it should come as a very alarming position for not just a candidate but her spouse to simply refuse to comply with such subpoenas. She will be asked to take an oath to uphold the Constitution. If she refuses this basic demand of her own legislature, it is hard to imagine what she defines as her duties under that oath. The principles of not just the separation of powers but the very rule of law are undermined by such an obstructionist position.

She also risks starting office as vice president while facing the possibility of a contempt order in Alaska. The obvious assumption is that, if the GOP can delay this investigation, they can scuttle the matter once she is elected — or comply after the election when negative disclosures will not matter. However, she is also risking the possibility of a contempt order. While the office of vice president does not demand much, it is pretty difficult to preside over the Senate from an Alaska courtroom or jail cell.

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29 thoughts on “Delay and Conquer: GOP Politicians Appeal Troopergate Ruling”

  1. from LAT,0,7267478.story

    7 Palin aides to testify in trooper investigation
    By Matt Apuzzo, The Associated Press
    October 6, 2008
    ANCHORAGE — Seven aides to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin have reversed course and agreed to testify in an investigation into whether the Republican vice presidential nominee abused her power by firing a commissioner who refused to dismiss her former brother-in-law…

    **p.s. mespo, here’s a versatile ‘Spicy Vegetarian Chili’ just for you from Elise. com ( recipes/archives/006141 ). I add mushrooms for ‘meatiness’ to vegie chili and you can use beer instead of wine.
    More squash and pumpkin ones, too. Check out the Spicy Cranberry Sauce with Pinot Noir!

  2. Patty C:

    Thanks– I did just today.


    The English have a proverb, “Many a true word is spoken in jest.” I think it applies to attitudes too.

  3. Mespo,
    Mr. Mays “humor” is the bottom line of the McCain campaign. Lies and distortions are what they are going to stress during the last month of the campaign.

  4. Here’s a little tidbit from the LA Times, about the politics of race in good ol’ SW VA. To all of you who proclaim McCain is the “maverick” Repub who stands for truth , justice, and the American Way, here’s a little Virginia style race politics courtesy of McCain’s man in SW VA, Bobby ( I bet it’s Lee for the middle name) May:

    In “humor” he accuses Obama of wanting to paint the White House black, supporting reparations, changing the national anthem to the “black national anthem”, teaching “black liberation theology in all churches”, and replacing the flag with a “star and crescent logo”.”

    Read more heartening news about the Election of 1960, er make that 2008, in the Old Dominion at:,0,4024348.story

  5. Jonathan, the refusal of public officials to comply with lawfully ordered subpoenas is worrisome. In the cases of Rove, Meyers, and accomplices, one must not only fault them for refusing, and Bush and Cheney for their specious assertion of Executive Privilege; yet also Congress for not having the integrity to vigorously seek enforcement, which would mean incarceration in the capitol lockup until all appeals are heard and ruled upon.

    For Palin and company, at least the Alaska legislature is trying to enforce their subpoenas.

    Yet this is not the only decay in the effective authority of the Judiciary. The pre-sentencing commutation of Cheney Staff Chief “Scooter” Libby immediately comes to mind.

    And the events of Ken Starr’s witch hunt during the Clinton administration amply demonstrated, it seems to me, that there is absolutely no guarantee of confidentiality for Federal Grand Jury testimony that the courts are able to enforce.

    Do You think that is jumping to conclusions? If so, why? Is there any argument to be made that there still exists any veracity to a Prosecutor’s assurances that Grand Jury testimony will remain undisclosed? That there will be any consequences whatever for leaking such testimony, so long as those who leak testimony remain undiscovered, not prosecuted, and untouchable?

    It just appears to me that the Judiciary is powerless here. Or unwilling / unable to apply any remedy.

  6. Mespo,
    I hope your prediction or reflection that oblivion is the ultimate destination for these law breaking neocons fascists. If you or I tried to blow off legal process like they have, we would have been having our communal showers for quite some time already.

  7. rafflaw:

    “Sarah Palin is the worst kind of far right wing politician. Not only is she a lier and blinded by the religious issues, she is also incredibly stupid.”


    After almost a quarter century of seeing these types in Court and across a deposition table, I can opine with almost absolute certainty that these attributes go hand in hand (in hand, again?) — and usually into oblivion.

  8. These tactics by the neo-cons to obscure, obfuscate and then ultimately to overtake our democracy are nothing new. What is new is the tacit acceptance of some in the judiciary to give credence to these political machinations masquerading as legal issues. While striking down these absurd petitions time after time, the good justices fail to grasp that the point is not to win the legal argument, but to delay the public’s understanding of the threat it faces from the short pants authoritarians. The Courts should summarily dismiss this clouding of the public’s access to relevant information and not willy-nilly grant these “emergency” appeals. The neo-cons have become the “jail house lawyer” (some literally) bent only on advancing their agenda through waste of time and delay as they play for time before the inevitable execution of the judgment of the American people.

  9. Mojo,
    I think the answer to your last question is a yes. The MSM is suffering, but I am not sure that it is from ADD. I think it is intentional corporate decisions based on the fact that they do not want to rock the boat. The corporations that own the MSM are directly tied into the bailout and “owe” the Bush regime. The Palin’s snub of legitimate subpoenas is amazing in one hand, but expected in the other. She cannot afford to actually have to answer questons that someone hasn’t already written down the answers for her. We have seem how downright dumb she is. Can you imagine her having to answer questions from a prosecutor(or investigative body) who is allowed to ask follow up questions? McCain’s campaing is floundering now, but if she is forced to admit that she broke the law in Alaska, even Rove would not be able to spin out of that one.

  10. JT –

    I caught your appearance on Maddow and only wished you were able to finish your thought about how bizarre the refusal to comply with the subpoena really is. I realize Rachel has limited time and has to cram sometimes, but I think an entire 10-minute segment (or half-an-hour?) should be devoted to this issue the same way Dan Abrams used to devote to Governor Seigleman’s case. It’s amazing that the Palins are simply refusing to acknowledge the court order, as it is equally amazing that the MSM is not all over this.

    And sadly, it’s not surprising at all anymore. Has it really gotten to the point that there are so many scandals now that there just isn’t time to cover them all? Is the MSM suffering from ADD?

  11. Yea but I agree with JT that this is unprecedented and therefore someone needs to be saying something.

    Its be bad enough if she was just under investigation and had to be subpoena’d for questioning. But that she’s refusing to honor a duly authorized subpoena? In what world is this acceptable? When did we become a Banana Republic? How can she just thumb her nose at an offical subpoena? It doesn’t matter if she launched the investigation. Clinton launched his own investigation appointing a special prosecutor, Ken Starr who proceeded to spend millions in tax payer dollars dragging him through the mud. And he WAS President!

    Yet apparently this Sarah Palin has powers of evasion that even he didn’t have. She just ignores the subpoena and goes giddly and merrily on her winsome way.

    In what world would this be acceptable, for a person currently under investigation and who is refusing to comply with a duly authorized subpoena, to simultaneously be a major party nominee for Vice President?

    The RNC has lost ALL credibility with this nomination and their refusal to hold their nominee to the standard of at least complying with the law.

  12. Former Federal LEO 1, October 4, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Why is the law (and the court) so seemingly inept in the situation?


    This isn’t our October surprise???

    Not that long ago we were debating the ‘natural born’ question with respect to McCain and how we needed to have all issues clearly decided in advance.

    Not only before the election but before the ballots are printed, to assure that those duly elected are the same ones sworn – to lessen the chance of another ’00 challenge, also removing any possibility for the current administration (ie Cheney) remaining in office past 1/20/09.

    I’m not sure, yet, which way it cuts with respect to Palin.

    I would still like to know in advance, if McCain was to be elected, who his VP would be, but presently how much of a stink he can make if expected to drop his ‘soul mate’ amid these ‘allegations’.

    Up until now, her argument was that she ordered the investigation initially, and now that she is a nominee with different considerations, she should be able to halt it. Further, there are ‘scheduling conflicts’ – can’t be in two places at once…!

  13. Sarah Palin is the worst kind of far right wing politician. Not only is she a lier and blinded by the religious issues, she is also incredibly stupid.

  14. What were the last words that Sarah Palin said prior to her departure from Matanuska-Susitna University?



    What were the last words were that the Dean of Matanuska-Susitna University said to her as she left the campus?

    “Mam, you’ve got to leave the toolbox”

  15. I understand that Palin switched to the University of Idaho to finish her journalism degree after realizing one afternoon following an particularly difficult seer coil swap out on an 80,000 BTU two stage Rheem furnace that the there wasn’t a Journalism dept at Matanuska-Susitna College, and she wasn’t doing research on a story about the HVAC industry for it.

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