Eric Holder's attempt to have the documents for the Fast and Furious case secret has failed at least for now. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, rejected Holder's attempt to have the case thrown out of court. Obama had claimed executive privilege on the documents and House republicans filed a lawsuit. After five months of deliberation, the judge has decided to let the case go forward.
The judge's determination was:
“This case presents the sort of question that the courts are traditionally called upon to resolve. Dismissing the case without hearing it would in effect place the court’s finger on the scale, designating the executive as the victor based solely on his untested assertion that the privilege applies,”
The DOJ and the White House has two choices. They can appeal the case to the federal court of appeals or they can not appeal and the case will be tried with the same judge presiding. The DOJ gave no indication which way they will go.
The Fast and Furious investigation covers as many as 2,000 guns sold to straw buyers and taken into Mexico. So far, they have been reported to have been used in over three hundred murders in Mexico and in the murder of border guard, Brian Terry.
The DOJ says that it has turned over almost every document they have on the operation, but many pages are heavily redacted and some are completely redacted. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight committee hailed the decision.
The case mirrored one brought by the democrats back in 2008 to subpeona documents on the firing of a group of US Attoeneys. In that case the judge ruled that Executive Privilege did not apply. Judge Jackson, is an Obama appointee and she decided that she does have the power to settle the case. She pointed out that all the dire predictions by Bush's lawyers, never panned out.
“One cannot help but observe that in the five years that have elapsed since [Bates’s] decision, the dire consequences prophesied by the Department have not come to pass.”
“The Court cautions that this opinion should not be taken as any indication of its views on the merits of the dispute, which have yet to be briefed, argued, or considered in any way.”
The case is now in the hands of the DOJ and it's up to them to decide whether to appeal or not.