|Cheney loses appeal on secret Energy Task Force
Court rules Bush administration is not above the law
In a victory for the rule of law and the publics right to know, the D.C.
Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Bush Administrations request to overturn
a lower court ruling requiring the Administration to produce information about
the secret meetings of the Cheney Energy Task Force.
In a 2-1 decision, the Court of Appeals said the Bush Administration is subject
to discovery, and must comply with requests for information from Sierra
Club and Judicial Watch. These groups are suing the Administration to shed light
on how much influence polluting industries had over the Administrations
destructive energy policy that is the basis for the disastrous energy bill currently
before Congress. In rejecting the governments arguments, the Court noted
that the Administrations position would transform executive privilege
from a doctrine designed to protect presidential communications into virtual immunity
The public is one step closer to finding out how much influence polluting
industries had on the nations energy policy, said Carl Pope, Executive
Director of the Sierra Club.
Every American deserves a safe, clean, and affordable energy future. Fortunately,
the technologies exist to get us there. But the Bush Administration and Congressional
leadership are taking us down the wrong path with a destructive, expensive, and
polluting energy bill. Much of the bill stems from the Bush Administrations
Energy Task Force plan.
The Club is suing Vice President Cheney and the Energy Task Force under the Federal
Advisory Committee Act, seeking an accounting of energy industry participation
in crafting the Bush Administrations destructive energy policy, which relies
on subsidies to polluting and outdated fossil fuel industries. The District Court
ordered the Administration to provide information about participation from these
industries, which the Bush Administration refused to do, claiming Constitutional
immunity from such inquiries. The District Court rejected that contention, pointing
out that the Administration was attempting to cloak what is tantamount to
an aggrandizement of Executive power with the legitimacy of precedent where none
exists. The Administration appealed, asking the D.C. Circuit to make new
law that would effectively shield it from any legal scrutiny. The Circuit Court
denied their request.
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