Judges rap Cheney’s appeal

Judges rap Cheney’s appeal

By Joe Baker, Senior Editor

Attorneys for Vice-President Dick Cheney got a tongue-lashing last week from judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals.

The attorneys were before the court to present arguments on behalf of the vice-president in the continuing lawsuit against Cheney over his energy task force. Cheney has been stonewalling release of information about the group.

He is being sued under the Open Meetings Act by Judicial Watch, a public interest law firm, and the Sierra Club, an environmental group.

Cheney was after mandamus intervention by the appeals court in the case. The three judge panel was considering if Cheney and his task force should be immune from discovery of members of the task force, how it operated, and Cheney’s role in it.

Two of the three judges on the appeals court came down hard on Cheney’s attorneys. Judge Harry T. Edwards demanded to know “why are we here?” and declared the vice-president had no case. Judge David Tatel backed that position. Both judges said there was no authority for the appeals court to intervene to protect Cheney from discovery.

Judge Raymond Randolph, a Republican appointed by former president George H. Bush, was more friendly to the vice-president’s position.

Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit after Cheney refused to release information the law firm sought under the federal Open Meetings Law.

Cheney now asserts that he cannot be questioned at all about the nature of the Energy Task Force. Judicial Watch alleges the group included persons such as Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron.

“The writing is on the wall. Vice-President Cheney and his Energy Task Force will finally have to answer questions about exactly who was participating in the formulation of our nation’s energy policy,” said Larry Klayman, chairman and general counsel of Judicial Watch.

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