The New Spousal Immunity Defense? Justice Department Reportedly Invokes Executive Privilege Over Holder’s Communications With Wife Related To Fast and Furious Controversy

holderericThere is a new release out of Judicial Watch, which has been meeting with success in its effort to defeat extreme privilege assertions by the Obama Administration in seeking records related to the infamous Operation Fast and Furious. The Obama Administration has been repeatedly criticized for expansive claims of presidential power and privilege. I have been one of those critics. A federal court has expressed growing impatience and even anger with the Administration’s claims and obstruction — recently ordering production of evidence over the vehement objections of the Justice Department. However, nothing likely prepared them for what they claim is the privileges asserted on the “Vaughn index” produced by the Justice Department. The Administration is now reserving the claim of executive privilege over emails between Attorney General Holder and his wife Sharon Malone – as well as his mother. That’s right, executive privilege over communications with your family. It captures the lack of any sense of limitation or logic to the Obama Administration’s view of presidential power, which now overshadows the claims not just of George W. Bush but Richard Nixon.

The index also invokes deliberative process privilege for communications with the “First Lady of the Justice Department.” Ms. Holder is a physician and not a government employee.

The 1307-page “draft” Vaughn index was emailed to Judicial Watch at 8:34 p.m. last night, a few hours before a federal court-ordered deadline. It covers 15,662 documents. The index reportedly already shows that Holder was directly involved in handling Congressional inquiries as well as public statements.

However, it is the assertion of executive privilege over nearly 20 email communications between Holder and his spouse Sharon Malone that are so notable for constitutional scholars. To add the deliberative process claim adds to the absurdity, since that claim is based on the protection of internal government deliberations. It would now be extended to cover family members? The result would expand both privileges beyond any recognition or limitation. It shows the radical approach of Holder to these claims and will serve to only undermine the credibility of the Administration with the court and the public.

Last July, Judge John D. Bates issued his order to produce the index after 16 months of delay and excuses from the Administration. The Justice Department sought for another delay until after the election but the court refused and gave it until September 23rd. Two days after that decision, Holder announced his resignation though he denies any connection to such orders or controversies. Congress is also seeking more information on the response to its oversight investigation into the program.

While the Justice Department can drop such claims, it has often been criticized for making frivolous claims of classification and privilege to obstruct discovery or public disclosures. It has spent roughly two years in court arguing the same type of extreme arguments before Bates and other courts.

I have not seen any coverage of these alleged assertions in the mainstream press, which has generally ignored the extreme claims of privilege of this Administration in such cases. Some more conservative sites have reported on the claims. The original source is from Judicial Watch below.

Source: Judicial Watch

60 thoughts on “The New Spousal Immunity Defense? Justice Department Reportedly Invokes Executive Privilege Over Holder’s Communications With Wife Related To Fast and Furious Controversy”

  1. Linda L.:

    My point is that the privilege should be invoked by either Mr. Holder or Mrs. Holder, not by the DOJ.

  2. @swm

    Hmmm. Lacks integrity, you say. You mean, kinda like Michael Brown who just robbed a store??? Or maybe Dorian Johnson who also helped rob the store, and had a conviction for giving false info to the police??? Or mebbe Trayvon Martin who was a burglar??? And who wanted a gun, and attacked an innocent man and was beating on him???

    There, Brown’s and Martin’s lack of integrity was directly related to what happened, but you and yours don’t think it relevant at all. Yet, with Klayman, whose lack of integrity is removed from the act of filing a lawsuit, is supposedly relevant. Strange world you Liberals live in. One would almost think you have no principles whatsoever and just pick and choose whatever argument suits your immediate situation and have no fixed set of values.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  3. It is my understanding that Holder is using the ExP to protect communications with his wife and family. Do not most people wish to protect their family from invasive questions?

  4. I agree with Mike Appleton, the spousal privilege argument is absurd in this case, especially in a public records request.

    There have been many public disclosure request appeals and precedents set here in our state and they most are not going in favor of the government. The behavior of Holder’s Justice Department is unacceptable in its lack of transparency and in my view is contemptuous.

  5. @Annie

    How does being a Birther and a deadbeat dad impact his organization’s IRS suit??? Aren’t you just looking for an excuse to dismiss the claims against the Obama administration???

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. Annie – I think I would be especially careful about calling people names.

      1. Huh? Paul, what the heck are you talking about? Sometimes it’s just best to ignore people.

  6. My understanding has always been that the only person who has standing to invoke the spousal privilege is a spouse. The Administration’s position is legally absurd. Of course, with a Supreme Court apparently of a mind to deem a household mop a person under the right circumstances, who knows?

    1. Mike – I think you are being a little harsh on the SC. It would have to be a closely held household mop before it became a person.

  7. @SWM

    I have given Klayman hell over being a Birther, but in fairness to him, I don’t think he really believes the crap. When he first started appearing on World Net Daily, he was way behind on his child support. His efforts in the Birther movement have been ludicrously inefficient.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  8. I may have an issue with the being asserted. But if this is not allowed, what will happen to the immunities of the courts and the legislative process?

  9. Imagining that this has anything to do with right or left is simply looking 180 degrees in the wrong direction. Right and left have undergone a corporate merger.

    The elite, the people who make decisions, use Democrats and Republicans alike to achieve their ends and who ever is in the WH, R or D, or frankly even third party, will reflect that going forward with only minor differences. Obama is indeed a loyal elitist, working diligently to make those in finance and banking richer than ever and part of the perks he can count on here and now (the monetary perks come after his presidency) includes this abuse of executive privilege which he can extend to Holder and family no matter how absurd it looks to the few who are paying attention beneath the smoke of perpetual war and the required consumption of ideology steroids provided by our MSM and our think tanks and our receptive citizenry.

    I’m going to assume that in general this is capturing very little media attention since that silence is a key part of the process of maintaining empire and will not change much regardless of whether one prefixes power with an R or a D. Call me lazy, but it’s a pretty safe bet.

  10. No rational citizen would defend ANY administration when the allegation is an abuse of power. If your gut reaction is to defend the government against ANY claim of abuse, then you have completely lost touch with the original purpose for government. We have to demand full disclosure and then demand that the rule of law is followed.

  11. The actions of DOJ and The Administration are not that difficult to figure out… just look at all the trouble they’ve gone through… They seem to be willing to go to any lengths necessary to keep almost all information related to Fast & Furious hidden from public view.

    Some folks (Maybe on the right.) want to know why, other folks (Maybe on the left.) seem not to care about government transparency and instead use the straw-man tactic of blaming someone else instead of facing the question… In this case, attacking those asking the questions.

    It is frustrating, but predictable.

  12. SMM, You don’t know (or won’t look at) the facts. If you aren’t willing to even think about the fact that Holder is making this claim before a court of law and what the implications of his doing so are, why do you care who picks up the information?

    If there will be no honest analysis of truth value by you, then aliens could broadcast the info from the dark side of the moon and it would remain as irrelevant as if the NYT put it out. It just doesn’t matter where information comes from unless one is committed to understanding facts.

    It only matters if people are willing to look at the facts. There is a history of lying and stonewalling and false claims of privileged in Fast and Furious. Here is a man going before a court of law a making an absurd and dangerous claim. To you, that is all irrelevant. To me, that is a sad statement coming from a citizen who should want to be informed, engaged and intellectually honest.

  13. SMM,

    Absolutely not. I do think it is wrong to redirect people away from the question at hand by saying a group has an “agenda”, then failing to speak directly about the issue at hand.

    The facts remain as they are, no matter who or what group is pointing them out. Looking at the truth, wherever it comes from, is simply having intellectual integrity.

    Now will you answer my question? Why do you think it is untrue information when the person is asking for the immunity directly before a court of law?

  14. SWM, I don’t understand your argument. So what if they do have an agenda. If the charges they make stick, the agenda is moot at that point in time. Kind of like the scientific method, if I don’t like it, but the results can be duplicated by others, then I am stuck with an obvious situation. I find it frustrating when people claim the high ground, but use the same tactics as other questionable folk. If there is a way to exploit the argument, please do, just don’t rush to shoot the messenger.

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