House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) today released the following statement regarding the of U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson to deny the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss the House of Representatives’ lawsuit concerning administration documents related to the Operation Fast and Furious scandal.
The President asserted executive privilege over these subpoenaed documents on June 20th 2012.
“This ruling is a repudiation of the Obama Justice Department and Congressional Democrats who argued the courts should have no role in the dispute over President Obama’s improper assertion of executive privilege to protect an attempted Justice Department cover-up of Operation Fast and Furious,” said Chairman Issa. “I remain confident in the merits of the House’s decision to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt; this ruling is an important step toward the transparency and accountability the Obama Administration has refused to provide.”
As former DOJ Attorney and Heritage Scholar Hans Von Spakovsky points out:
In its motion to dismiss, the DOJ made the startling argument  that the courts have no role in resolving a dispute between Congress and the President over the legitimacy of his invocation of executive privilege. This would permit the President to stonewall any congressional inquiry—as Richard Nixon tried to do by ignoring subpoenas—or invoke executive privilege in an improper fashion  to prevent the disclosure of embarrassing information or criminal conduct.
However, Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama nominee, was having none of it. In her view , “endorsing the proposition that the executive may assert an unreviewable right to withhold materials from the legislature would offend the Constitution.” She chided the DOJ for asserting that an assumption of jurisdiction by Judge Jackson to decide this question “would mark an unprecedented expansion of the role of an Article III court.” She pointed out that there “has been binding precedent to the contrary in this Circuit for more than thirty-five years.”
Judge Jackson was remarkably frank in pointing out the dishonesty of the DOJ’s arguments:
In the end, the civics lesson set out in the Department’s brief is flawed and selective, and it ignores the fact that almost 40 years ago the Supreme Court unequivocally rejected the notion that the separation of powers doctrine would bar judicial review of a Presidential claim of privilege.
When the Administration’s own judicial appointees are more or less calling them lawless, the nation and press needs to notice.