>U.S. District Judge John D. Bates recently ruled the Bush administration officials must report to Congress and testify regarding the fired 9 Federal Judges. While Democrats are applauding him for his work, it wasn’t long ago that they were seething, castigating this same Judge for siding with Bush on wiretapping and other national security issues.
Judge Bates sits on the national security court. At that time he refused to allow releasing of the documents he was convinced would reveal closely guarded secrets that enemies could used to evade detection or disrupt intelligence activities. Apparently, there were no national securities involved in his latest ruling that the Bush’s White House advisors must testify in Congress. In the prior case, the judge was more concerned with sources that could destroyed, targets tipped off and diplomatic relations damaged.
At that time the Democrats were ready to lynch this judge. “All these possible harms are real and significant and, quite frankly, beyond debate,” Bates wrote.
Of further interest, Bates was the sole judge on FISA who signed the opinion, which means that he alone may have made the decision.
Before we proceed further, should we note that Bates writes in his own official court biography, “Judge Bates was on detail as Deputy Independent Counsel for the Whitewater investigation from 1995 to mid-1997.”
“Fancy that,” said angry Democrats. “If ever there was an indication of Omerta to the right wing, it was serving as a Federalist Club attorney with the Ken Starr jihad.
But let’s move on to the last few years.
When the General Accounting Office legally sought to compel Cheney to release the members of his secret energy task force, Judge Bates ruled on behalf of Cheney and against the GAO, an agency of Congress. Bates claimed that the GAO did not have “standing” to file suit against Cheney (echoes of unitary authority thinking here).
And remember that civil suit brought by Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson against various rogues in the Bush Administration? Guess who dismissed it? Judge John D. Bates. Bates claimed that the administration had the right to rebut Joe Wilson’s “criticisms.”
In 2002, Bates ruled that 32 members of Congress had no “standing” to sue the Bush Administration for unilaterally withdrawing from an ABM treaty.
I would have to say here is a judge who is in no one’s pocket. That is a good sign, for the judiciary must be independent even of the president who appointed and the Congress who approved his appointment. That’s the American way, so let’s not be harsh on him on the current ruling about the firing of lower judges by the Attorney General