Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Summary of D.C. Court’s Decision in Favor of Cheney

I’ve finally had a chance to read the U.S. District Court for D.C.’s opinion holding that the Comptroller did not have standing to bring a lawsuit seeking to force Vice-President Cheney to turn over documents related to his National Energy Policy Development Group. Unlike popular impressions, the case did not turn on or even raise the issue of privilege. Rather, the question was whether the Comptroller suffered the sort of injury which is necessary to allow standing in a federal case. The district court, relying extensively on an opinion by the Supreme Court finding that Congressmen don’t have standing to litigate the constitutionality of their legislation simply on the basis of their position as legislators, found that the Comptroller did not have this kind of particularized interest and therefore lacked standing. The court showed a notable restraint, suggesting that the judiciary was not intended to resolve these kind of inter-branch disputes, especially where there are other political means available. The full opinion is online here.

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