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White House Wins Ruling On E-mail Records 243

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the unleash-the-shredders dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The White House Office of Administration is not required to turn over records about a trove of possibly missing e-mails, a federal judge ruled Monday. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly found the agency does not have 'substantial independent authority,' so it is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act."
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White House Wins Ruling On E-mail Records

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  • To sum up then: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16, 2008 @03:43PM (#23815105)

    The White House Office of Administration is not bound by the Freedom of Information Act, a judge says.
    What. The. Fuck?
    • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Monday June 16, 2008 @04:18PM (#23815499)
      Fuck the what.

      Oh well, only a few months left

      • by Clockwork Apple (64497) on Monday June 16, 2008 @04:36PM (#23815709) Homepage
        "Oh well, only a few months left.

        But this sets a legal precedent that similar emails will NEVER be subject to the FOIA. The next president will not even have to think twice about it, or bother to hide or lose them. They just don't have to let us see them.

        One more method of accountability has been lost. I don't see that as an "Oh Well," situation.

        C.
        • by raehl (609729) <raehl311@nOSPam.yahoo.com> on Monday June 16, 2008 @05:11PM (#23816103) Homepage
          Presidential communications are not subject to FOIA. If Congress wants the public to have access to those communications, they should pass a law requiring that.

          Access to communications required by subpoena or Congress, however, should most certainly be required.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by xSauronx (608805)
            now lets cross our fingers that someone almost-half-sane will sponsor such a bill before everyone else squashes it.
            • Re:Wrong way around (Score:5, Informative)

              by Kadin2048 (468275) <[slashdot.kadin] [at] [xoxy.net]> on Monday June 16, 2008 @06:34PM (#23816859) Homepage Journal
              They already have. It passed the House by a veto-proof majority; one Senator is keeping it away from a vote in the Senate.

              From the Wikipedia article on E.O. 13233 [wikipedia.org]:

              On March 1, 2007, a subcommittee of the Committee on Government Reform held a hearing on bill H.R. 1255, the Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007. At the hearing, several historians argued that Order 13233 has severely curtailed public access to presidential records and added to delays in obtaining materials from presidential libraries. The bill was reported favorably by the full committee, and on March 14, 2007, the House passed the bill in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 333-93. The bill also passed on June 13, 2007 in a Senate committee, but as of March 2008 has not yet been brought up for floor consideration, reportedly due to a hold placed on the measure by Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY)[4]. President Bush has threatened to veto the bill, but the House vote marked a veto-proof majority and the Senate Committee passage was unanimous.
              I wonder what he's getting in return for holding the party line until the destruction is a fait accompli?
        • Re:Wrong way around (Score:5, Informative)

          by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday June 16, 2008 @06:17PM (#23816681) Journal

          But this sets a legal precedent that similar emails will NEVER be subject to the FOIA. The next president will not even have to think twice about it, or bother to hide or lose them. They just don't have to let us see them.

          One more method of accountability has been lost. I don't see that as an "Oh Well," situation.
          Cool your jets.

          Presidential records are subject to the Presidential Records Act (PRA) of 1978
          That act was passed in honor of Richard Nixon's shenanigans.

          When the President leaves office, his records are given to the National Archives
          The Archives hang on to them for 12 years before making them public.

          You may recall Bush issued an executive order in 2001 that limited the scope of the PRA
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_13233 [wikipedia.org]
          And you may also recall that a lot of people were unhappy with it.
          I hope McCain or Obama repeals that Executive Order upon taking office.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by baboo_jackal (1021741)

          But this sets a legal precedent

          No, it doesn't. That "precedent" was set 26 years ago:

          The FOIA definition of "agency" includes an "establishment in the executive branch of the Government (including the Executive Office of the President)." 5 U.S.C. 552(f). Relying on the conference committee report explaining the 1974 amendment to the definition, the Supreme Court has held that the term "agency" does not cover "the President's immediate personal staff or units in the Executive Office whose sole function is to advise and assist the President." Kissinger v. Reporters Comm. for Freedom of the Press, 445 U.S. 136, 156 (1980) (quoting H.R. Conf. Rep. 1380, 93rd Cong., 2nd Sess. 15 (1974)).

          Sorry, but this story is a non-remarkable news item: News Flash! In a surprising turnabout of events, the Supreme Court upholds the unconstitutionality of slavery! ...

          OK, hyperbole aside, the point is that we (the people) want more transparency in government, but that the laws haven't caught up with what we want. Regardless of our personal political leanings, everyone (at one time or another) has wanted more government transparency - usu

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by iminplaya (723125)
        Oh well, only a few months left

        Till what? The return to Camelot? Dream on... You're gonna see Jesus first.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by colmore (56499)
        Here's the thing that apologists for the administration's abuses of power never seemed to get:

        The gained authority of the whitehouse is going to carry over to the administration of the next pinko commie liberal that gets elected. You've screwed yourselves.
  • by Skyshadow (508) * on Monday June 16, 2008 @03:43PM (#23815107) Homepage

    Openness is overrated in democratic societies, anyhow. I'm sure they wouldn't be keeping this all a secret if it weren't in the best interests of the people.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go send my credit card numbers to these nice former Nigerian heads of state.

    • by mollog (841386) on Monday June 16, 2008 @03:48PM (#23815167)
      Isn't Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly the same bonehead that overturned the Microsoft ruling?

      And, can we expect this ruling to be appealed?
      • by SirGarlon (845873) on Monday June 16, 2008 @03:58PM (#23815279)
        Yes. But don't blame the judge for the ruling; she can only rule based on the evidence before her. Blame the prosecutors who did a shoddy job of putting the evidence before her, and the Microsoft defense attorneys who drew out the case beyond the states' will to pursue it with the required attention and vigor.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kadin2048 (468275)

          Yes. But don't blame the judge for the ruling; she can only rule based on the evidence before her. [...]

          I think there's enough blame to go around.

          Kollar-Kotelly seems suspiciously like a party apparatchik, delivering the exact rulings the Republicans need, just when they most desperately need them. She did it in the Microsoft case and she did it again now. Perhaps that isn't yet enough to establish a pattern, but at the very least it's enough to arouse suspicion.

          And judges can and do decide cases based on many factors besides the evidence; the law leaves more than enough room for the introduction of person

          • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16, 2008 @08:18PM (#23817653)
            She's a Clinton appointee and other than this hasn't really been friendly to the Bush administration:

            "In August 2007, in a rare move, Judge Kollar-Kotelly ordered the administration of George W. Bush to give its views regarding records requests by the ACLU on the National Security Agency's wiretapping program"

            "On October 1, 2007, Judge Kollar-Kotelly reversed George W. Bush on archive secrecy in a 38-page ruling, which said that the U.S. Archivist's reliance on the executive order to delay release of the papers of former presidents is "arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and not in accordance with law."[3] The National Security Archive at George Washington University alleged that the Bush order severely slowed or prevented the release of historic presidential papers."

            Both via her Wikipedia page. I'd say if anything, she's refusing to be partisan either way.
      • by freenix (1294222) on Monday June 16, 2008 @04:05PM (#23815351)
        Select, Right-Click, Wikipedia search [wikipedia.org]. She did screw up Penfield's work on the M$ trial. She should have refused because Penfield was the only person who could have know enough to judge the case. More to the point, she just reversed an October 2007 ruling about Presidential documents.

        On October 1, 2007, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly reversed George W. Bush on archive secrecy, (38-page) ruling that the U.S. Archivist's reliance on the executive order to delay release of the papers of former presidents is "arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and not in accordance with law." National Security Archives, at George Washington University alleged that the Bush order severely slowed or prevented the release of historic presidential papers.

        Involvement with FISA should disbar anyone - the court violates the 4th amendment by being a secret court.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bovius (1243040)

        And, can we expect this ruling to be appealed?
        From TFA:

        The watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington had sued under FOIA. The group expressed disappointment in the ruling and said it is appealing the decision.
    • by AC-x (735297)
      Ignorance is Strength
  • by Hyppy (74366) on Monday June 16, 2008 @03:44PM (#23815123)
    IANAL, but I'm still surprised to hear that the FOIA only applies to government offices which have "substantial independent authority."

    From everything I've heard, it applies to all government agencies. Does this mean if a government office can make itself appear harmless enough, it doesn't have to cooperate?

    "Sorry, I'm only the FBI director's SECRETARY. I don't have substantial independent authority."
    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday June 16, 2008 @03:56PM (#23815257) Journal

      From everything I've heard, it applies to all government agencies. Does this mean if a government office can make itself appear harmless enough, it doesn't have to cooperate?

      "Sorry, I'm only the FBI director's SECRETARY. I don't have substantial independent authority."
      The FOIA does apply to all government agencies.
      However, if the "agency" does not have "substantial independent authority" from the Executive, then it is not considered an agency for the purposes of the FOIA, it is considered a unit of the Executive Office.

      Here's a 13 year old case that references even older cases supporting that interpretation
      http://www.ll.georgetown.edu/federal/judicial/dc/opinions/93opinions/93-5411a.html [georgetown.edu]

      5 U.S.C. 552(f) (emphasis added). The Supreme Court has held thatSo while I agree with the watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington that "The Bush administration is using the legal system to prevent the American people from discovering the truth about the millions of missing White House e-mails," I'd have to say its pretty obvious that the Bush Administration is on sound legal footing when they do so.
      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday June 16, 2008 @04:16PM (#23815481) Journal
        Crap, I munged the quote somehow

        Here's a 13 year old case that references even older cases supporting that interpretation
        http://www.ll.georgetown.edu/federal/judicial/dc/opinions/93opinions/93-5411a.html [georgetown.edu]

        5 U.S.C. 552(f) (emphasis added). The Supreme Court has held that

        "the President's immediate personal staff or units in the Executive Office [of the President] whose sole function is to advise and assist the President" are not included within the term "agency" under the FOIA.
        So while I agree with the watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington that "The Bush administration is using the legal system to prevent the American people from discovering the truth about the millions of missing White House e-mails"...

        I'd have to say its pretty obvious that the Bush Administration is on sound legal footing when they do so.
        • by goodmanj (234846) on Monday June 16, 2008 @04:35PM (#23815699)
          So, have I got this right? (IANAL):

          The President's records fall under "Executive Privilege", and cannot be subpoenaed or FOIA'd. Rationale: the Pres needs to be able to make independent decisions without being second-guessed or legally harassed.

          Federal agencies with authority independent from the President do not have this privilege, and must comply with FOIA. Rationale: the people should know what their government is up to.

          Legal question: Is the White House's internal bureaucracy part of "the President" or is it an "independent agency" from the president? Judge's answer: it's part of the President, and therefore privileged.

          Can't say I like what the White House is doing, but the judge's decision looks pretty clear-cut as I see it.
    • by sed quid in infernos (1167989) on Monday June 16, 2008 @03:59PM (#23815283)

      IANAL, but I'm still surprised to hear that the FOIA only applies to government offices which have "substantial independent authority." From everything I've heard, it applies to all government agencies.

      It does not apply to all government entities. The opinion in this case explains the relevant standards:

      In 1974, Congress amended the FOIA definition of agency to cover any "establishment in the executive branch of the Government (including the Executive Office of the President), or any independent regulatory agency." 5 U.S.C. 552(f). This definition "was not, however, meant to cover 'the President's immediate personal staff or units in the Executive Office whose sole function is to advise and assist the President.'" Armstrong, 90 F.3d at 558 (quoting H.R. Rep. No. 93-1380, at 14 (1974) (Conf. Rep.)). Indeed, Congress intended to codify the D.C. Circuit's decision in Soucie. Id. ("That the Congress intended to codify Soucie is clear enough.") (citing Meyer v. Bush, 981 F.2d 1288, 1291 (D.C. Cir. 1993)). Soucie, however, offers two possible tests for determining whether an EOP component is an agency subject to the FOIA: (1) whether the entity exercises "substantial independent authority," and (2) whether the entity's "sole function is to advise and assist the President." Soucie, 448 F.2d at 1073, 1075; see also Armstrong, 90 F.3d at 558. Following the 1974 Amendments to the FOIA, as discussed in greater detail below, the D.C. Circuit considered these two factors in determining whether a variety of EOP components were agencies subject to the FOIA.

      In 1993, the D.C. Circuit issued its opinion in Meyer v. Bush, 981 F.2d 1288, which "managed to harmonize" the two Soucie criteria "by using a three-factor test to determine the status under FOIA of a unit in the Executive Office of the President." Armstrong, 90 F.3d at 558. Specifically, the Meyer court determined that, in "apply[ing] Soucie to those who help the President supervise others in the executive branch . . . it is necessary to focus on three interrelated factors . . . [(1)] how close operationally the group is to the President, [(2)] what the nature of its delegation from the President is, and [(3)] whether it has a self-contained structure." 981 F.2d at 1293.

      In short, it is well-settled law that some executive entities are not covered by FOIA, and there is significant precedent for making the determination. That's not to say the judge was right or wrong, just that "FOIA applies to all agencies" is not the proper mode of criticism.

    • by mattwarden (699984) on Monday June 16, 2008 @04:04PM (#23815333) Homepage
      My question is: if the WH Office of Admin doesn't have independent authority, then that implies that it is under some other organization's authority, right? If so, we should be able to send the FOIA request to that authority.

      That is, if this isn't bullshit.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        My question is: if the WH Office of Admin doesn't have independent authority, then that implies that it is under some other organization's authority, right? If so, we should be able to send the FOIA request to that authority.
        The problem is the authority they report to is the Office of the President who is evoking his Executive Privilege [wikipedia.org] and not turning over information.

    • by conlaw (983784)
      Actually, it changed in 1996, after the case discussed below. The relevant subsection (5 USC 552(f)) now reads:

      (f) For purposes of this section, the term-- (1) ``agency'' as defined in section 551(1) of this title includes any executive department, military department, Government corporation, Government controlled corporation, or other establishment in the executive branch of the Government (including the Executive Office of the President), or any independent regulatory agency

    • REUTERS - June 17, 2008: In response to a recent Federal court ruling in the 9th circuit, the President released a press release indicating the Department of Defense has been renamed Department of Pink Fuzzy Marshmallow Kittens. As such, it is now deemed to be harmless and FOIA requests will now be rejected by default.
  • Kollar-Kotelly (Score:2, Informative)

    This ruling brought to you by the same judge who overturned most of Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's decision in United States v. Microsoft! Completely boneheaded as usual.
  • by sm62704 (957197)
    Is this another bone-headed IT mistake? [slashdot.org]

    It must be Monday. I really suck at Mondays.
  • In what way.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Paranatural (661514) on Monday June 16, 2008 @03:48PM (#23815175)
    ..Has this Administration NOT had 'Substantial Independent Authority'?? Haven't Bush & Co. been arguing that they have since the beginning?

    Not that the White house has ever given a damn what any judge has said anyway. If any backups of those emails had been made, they would have disappeared long ago.

    This administration sickens me when I think about it, so I'll stop.
    • The court did not find that "the Administration" lacked "substantial independent authority." It found that the White House Office of Administration , which provides "financial management and information technology support, human resources management, library and research assistance, facilities management, procurement, printing and graphics support, security, and mail and messenger operations" to the Executive Office of the President, lacked substantial independent authority.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vux984 (928602)
      ..Has this Administration NOT had 'Substantial Independent Authority'?? Haven't Bush & Co. been arguing that they have since the beginning?

      The FOIA only applies to offices that are substantially independant FROM the executive (ie Bush & Co). Obviously the executive is NOT substantially independant from itself, so the FOIA doesn't apply to them. The judge probably ruled correctly, according to the FOIA.

      Not that the White house has ever given a damn what any judge has said anyway. If any backups of th
  • I'm surprised that they even admitted there were missing e-mails!
  • by eln (21727)
    1.) Conduct all illegal activities through email
    2.) When I get sued, pay off court clerk to assign case to Judge Kollar-Kotelly.
    3.) ???
    4.) Profit!
  • by Loopy (41728) on Monday June 16, 2008 @03:52PM (#23815219) Journal
    Note that, unlike popular current trends, judges are not there to decide what the law _should_ be and rule on that but only to enforce the applicability of current laws to the specifics of the case at hand. Might think about that before you decry the ruling. Bottom line: if you don't like this, stop whining and playing the martyr and go vote for someone that will do what you want. Otherwise, see Catharsis(4)(a) [thefreedictionary.com].
    • Are you serious? No, you can't be, either that or you've missed the entire point of the supreme court. Judges are there specifically to decide how a law should be enforced or even if it should be enforced at all.

      • by bsDaemon (87307) on Monday June 16, 2008 @04:15PM (#23815465)
        No, I think you missed the point of his post. Judges aren't there to make law. They are there to interpret the law, as written, and weigh the merits of the case at hand as to what precedents apply based on current facts.

        The Supreme Court also is supposed to do this, its just that at that level they are almost exclusively supposed to put the law in the context of the Constitution. Then the thing is, if they are strict constructionist or not, as to what "side" they're likely to come down upon.

        Thing is, When Washington was appointing judges, its not like they had to reach very hard to find out what the guys who wrote the Constitution meant -- they were alive and kicking and hanging out down the block. The system was created before political parties when it was just assumed that people would know what they were supposed to do.

        Of course, things are different now. People who see themselves as "Democrats" or "Republicans," "Liberals" or "Conservatives," instead of just as "Americans" are in the position to appoint judges who will agree with their specific neo-tribalist sensibilities, slants and biases.

        However, I would venture to say that no matter what form of government was constituted, the end result would have been the same because the pattern is obvious since the time of Rome, if not before.
        • by jedidiah (1196) on Monday June 16, 2008 @04:48PM (#23815873) Homepage
          > They are there to interpret the law, as written, and weigh the merits of the case at hand as to what precedents apply based on current facts.

          The fun thing about the law... and all the caselaw that goes with it, is that there's so much of it.

          You could argue it either way.

          So underlying legal philosophies do come into play. That's why it matters who
          gets apointed to the bench. They can push the law in one direction or another.
          They may choose to only push inches at a time but they can still push.
    • Bottom line: if you don't like this, stop whining and playing the martyr and go vote for someone that will do what you want.

      If voting could actually change anything, then it would be illegal. You think shuffling around Congress and the White House will change the entrenched corruption, pay-to-play atmosphere and pro-corporate agenda of the US government (or any government)?

      Voting is little more than a democracy placebo. Every few years you are given a "choice" between corporate candidate A and corporate candidate B, both of whom support the exact same agenda--only phrased differently and with a few minor variations. Enter the compliant corporate media to highlight and magnify those differences and shut out any genuine challengers to the status quo.

      Meanwhile, everyone is so busy arguing over which of the terrible candidates is less terrible, that the task of building a genuine progressive, grassroots movement for change (against the war, for worker's rights, health care, etc...) is indefinitely shelved. The only way to win progress is through struggle. As abolitionist Frederick Douglass once said, "Power concedes nothing without a demand." So instead of actually struggling for change we're herded into the political system controlled by the same people who benefit from the status quo and resist our every demand for progress. All of our demands are dropped or watered down to suit the electoral needs of your chosen candidate--and after the election they are forgotten completely.

      The major parties aren't worth wasting more than 1 minute or 1 dime on. The real task is to create a movement powerful enough to win our demands regardless of which corporate tool sits in the White House. As famous historian Howard Zinn put it, "the really critical thing isn't who is sitting in the White House, but who is sitting in--in the streets, in the cafeterias, in the halls of government, in the factories. Who is protesting, who is occupying offices and demonstrating--those are the things that determine what happens."

      • WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Burning1 (204959) on Monday June 16, 2008 @08:39PM (#23817781) Homepage
        If the actions of President Bush has taught us anything over the past 8 years, it's that voting most certainly is NOT pointless. Sure we voted for the wrong guy, but his administration's gross mismanagement of this country showed very clearly that the two parties are not by any means identical, and that your vote for a president can have a very real impact on the policies that are put into place.

        At this point, I can only wish that we had an ineffective president who did not accomplish anything in the white house for the last 8 years. We would be a lot better off right now.
    • Note that, unlike popular current trends, judges are not there to decide what the law _should_ be and rule on that but only to enforce the applicability of current laws to the specifics of the case at hand. Might think about that before you decry the ruling.

      Yeah, in a perfect world, this is true. But in the real world, which judges sit where is such a hotly contested game precisely because personal bias and political allegiance does in fact make a significant difference and everybody with a brain knows it.

    • by Knara (9377) on Monday June 16, 2008 @04:21PM (#23815529)

      Well, they (judges and justices, all-inclusive) are there to both interpret the law and to determine if the law is constitutional.

      This is why people roll their eyes when wackjobs start harping about "activist judges". That's what judges are there for, to temper the will of the people (or their representatives), and the power of the executive branch, via applying the filter of the Constitution to their actions.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by Pichu0102 (916292)
      I've said it before and I'll say it again.
      The People have lost. Not enough people care about what happens as long as they have American Idol and Survivor, and credit cards.
      Those who do care are less than 1 percent, and are also branded as nutjobs.

      We have already lost, and can change nothing. Voting is a sham; the people we elect will do what they want anyways at the cost of screwing over the little people, and if we don't vote the way they like, they'll just mess with the votes of electronic voting.

      And don'
  • by BobMcD (601576) on Monday June 16, 2008 @03:54PM (#23815247)
    Time to get some mandatory email journaling voted in, folks.

    Seriously, what if the roles were reversed? The Feds are looking for some HIPAA-related email, and you can't produce it. What would they say??

    "You should have had a system in place that you could rely on..."

    Goose, meet Gander.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Qzukk (229616)
      mandatory email journaling voted in

      They have, it's called the Presidential Records Act.

      This ruling just says that the general public is not allowed to use the FOIA in order to find out whether the administration is complying with the law or not.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ScentCone (795499)
      Seriously, what if the roles were reversed? The Feds are looking for some HIPAA-related email, and you can't produce it. What would they say??

      "You should have had a system in place that you could rely on..."


      Well, sure. Because there are actually regulations in place that call for that. It's the law. In the case of people who have been hired by an executive administration to provide research, advice, and political guidance... they aren't subject to that same standard, for a reason. They're not an agenc
  • Excuse my ignorance -- does this mean they can file a FOIA request against some other aspect of the White House, then, who _does_ have substantial independent authority, and for whom the Office of Administration was acting?
  • Colleen Kollar-Kotelly [wikipedia.org], who just created this official, binding policy that the government is above the law, is a fascist judge. She might be familiar to Slashdotters as the judge who the incoming Bush "Justice" Department got to run the Microsoft monopoly verdict's appeal and toothless "remedy [wikipedia.org] phase.

    You might not know that Kollar-Kotelly ruled in the execution trial of Saddam Hussein that "the United States has no right to interfere with the judicial processes of another nation's courts", when such interfe
    • by Snowgen (586732) on Monday June 16, 2008 @04:10PM (#23815413) Homepage

      Colleen Kollar-Kotelly [wikipedia.org], who just created this official, binding policy that the government is above the law, is a fascist judge. She might be familiar to Slashdotters as the judge who the incoming Bush "Justice" Department got to run the Microsoft monopoly verdict's appeal and toothless "remedy [wikipedia.org] phase. You might not know that Kollar-Kotelly ruled in the execution trial of Saddam Hussein that "the United States has no right to interfere with the judicial processes of another nation's courts", when such interference might mean Hussein might live to tell more of what he knows about US interference in Iraq, or rather its lengthy cooperation with his murderous regime. And you might not realize that Kollar-Kotelly is the presiding judge of the Bush-packed FISA Court [wikipedia.org], that has rubberstamped Bush's regime's tens of thousands of "exceptional" wiretap requests that violate the 4th Amendment (which artificial loophole is the entire purpose of that court). Which is why today's Congressional Republicans are doing everything they can to put telco amnesty for violating FISA under the FISA Court's jurisdiction, instead of a regular court that actually obeys the Constitution. Kollar-Kotelly is the go-to judge for Unitary Executive [wikipedia.org] fantasy privileges, whenever they can squeak some out. After all, she kicked off her legal career as a lawyer for Nixon's "Justice" Department. Play ball!

      Wow. We should be very mad at President Clinton for appointing her to the Federal Bench.

      • Touche!

        Burn!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Doc Ruby (173196)
        I am. Almost as mad as I am for his appointing Republican senator William Cohen [wikipedia.org] as his Defense Secretary (1997-2001), who dismissed Wesley Clark from commanding NATO (apparently for winning the Kosovo War without any US casualties). Which gave us the Pentagon that backed Bush every step of the way lying us into the Iraq War, while letting Binladen go (despite Clinton forcing Cohen's Pentagon to bomb Binladen's bases).

        Aren't you mad about all that too?
      • by Knara (9377)

        Yeah, it's pretty funny how often the actions of a judge/justice have very little to do with who appointed them.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Slashdot Legal Lexicon:

        Rulings you agree with:

        Legally correct in every degree.
        Common sense.
        Right On
        about Time

        Rulings you don't agree with:

        Fascists.
        Bush brown nose.
        Incompetent
        On someone's payroll.

        I can't wait for the howls when the 2nd Amendment ruling comes down.
    • that may be all well and true, but don't call her a fascist. only because, much like the epithet terrorist, the word has lost all meaning due to overuse

      "fascist" was once reserved for the likes of franco, mussolini and hitler. it is now applied to small town planning and zoning boards, website administrators, and bad hairstylists

      pick an epithet with more oomph next time if you want to insult the woman, you terrorist ;-)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Doc Ruby (173196)
        No, she's a fascist. Fascists are people who support corporate rule of the people through force by a nationalistic government under a personality cult dictator (we call it a "Unitary Executive"). Since corporate rule, rather than by the people, cannot rely on the people's cooperation, it comes with all kinds of familiar coercion and propaganda. Scapegoating minorities, keeping them in concentration camps. Manufactured foreign threats trumped up into war. All for the profit and power of the ruling corporatio
    • by Software (179033)
      Yes, and damn that co-fascist Bill Clinton who appointed her to the federal bench [wikipedia.org]! (see the third paragraph).
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        I already have many times, and again just now [slashdot.org]. Clinton's brand of "bipartisanship" was called "triangulation" [wikipedia.org]. Which included all kinds of gifts to fascists, like some of his other "bipartisan" appointments, like Republican Defense Secretary William Cohen, who created the Pentagon that drove us into Iraq once they had all the points of the triangle covered with Republican control.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Kollar-Kotelly is the go-to judge for Unitary Executive fantasy privileges, whenever they can squeak some out.

      Really? Perhaps you can explain why she "ruled that the U.S. Archivist's reliance on the executive order to delay release of the papers of former presidents is "arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and not in accordance with law" [reuters.com].

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DaHat (247651)
      So let me get this straight... when a judge rules in a way you dislike... she's a fascist... despite the precedent her decision is based on... and yet when a week earlier the Supreme Court throws out a long standing precedent (see Johnson v. Eisentrager [wikipedia.org]) to give accused terrorists more rights than Nazi's had... it's ok?

      Riiight.

      (Before invoking Goodwin please see Johnson v. Eisentrager [wikipedia.org] to understand the validity of this comparison).
  • by MarkusQ (450076) on Monday June 16, 2008 @04:04PM (#23815327) Journal

    In case you are missing the context here, the emails in question are interesting for a whole slew of reasons. The probably contain evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors (most likely by Cheney, but who knows [firedoglake.com]) and pretty much have to contain evidence of perjury (with the morass of statements that have been made under oath, someone is surely lying, we just don't know who). And them there's the Hacth act violations, the Abrimoff issues [wikipedia.org], the election tampering, and on and on.

    These are the missing 18 minutes gone gonzo,

    --MarkusQ

  • And so the information stays in a lockbox forever, information which should be public knowledge and which could incriminate the heads of the administration, which would then affect the judicial branch and make the legislative branch look really, really good.

    A really good quote appeared in the footer of the page just now: "Presidency: The greased pig in the field game of American politics. -- Ambrose Bierce"
  • if you can't get the transparency from your democratic government that you deserve, petition the chinese government to air their copies of our government's email

    i'm sure they have a copy of the inboxes in question sitting around somewhere [slashdot.org]

    thank god for shoddy us government computer security and snooping totalitarian regimes: securing the transparency in our democracy that we deserve!
  • Wait, what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    Boo! Hiss! *cough cough BLOWJOB!!! cough cough*
    • That was NOT offtopic. Crude of me perhaps, but not offtopic. I suspect that the federal judge in question is in Bush's "good old boy" network -- therefore they may as well be performing oral sex on each other. :p
  • Wrong headline (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drquoz (1199407) on Monday June 16, 2008 @04:24PM (#23815551)
    It shouldn't be "White House Wins" -- it should be "Citizens Lose".
  • Ok. This is just a District Court, and with Judges like Kollar-Kotelly, it was bound to happen. This is just the beginning of an appeals process that will go all the way to the Supreme Court.

    Unfortunately, as with so many cases that appeal to the Supreme Court, a final judgement could take years by which time there will be a new President and the records (if any still exist) will be long gone.

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Monday June 16, 2008 @05:09PM (#23816093)
    BE DISHONEST! it pays. its the quickest way to succeed in the New America(tm).

    please don't believe in 'good guys win, bad guys lose'. clearly, bad guys WIN BIG. they cover their tracks, they lie and cheat and steal and kill and start wars to further their personal needs.

    we all take our examples from our highest leaders. if something is game for our leaders, it should be good enough for us, too.

    so kids, don't bother being honest and ethical. it does not pay nearly as well as being dishonest.

    I believe we should be as honest and ethical as our exemplary leaders. they set the tone and the pace for what our society is becoming. so take your cue, kids; its not worth it to be honest and decent. lie, cheat, steal and do whatever you want because ITS WHAT OUR LEADERS DO.

    "do not as I say but as I do"

  • by TheDarkener (198348) on Monday June 16, 2008 @06:06PM (#23816575)
    Long live King George II.

    I await King George III so the people may repeat history. Again.
  • I'm outraged; googled the Judge and called her office in Washington DC.
  • Isn't this the SAME JUDGE that oversaw the breakup of Microsoft after Pennfield-Jackson screwed things up? She decided the current agreement with the Justice Department (which the Justice Department claims in unenforcible and now regrets doing) was good enough for a convicted monopolist.

    Somehow we're supposed to trust this woman with proper interpretation of the law?

    Hopefully this will get overturned on appeal...
  • The terrorists have won.
  • As any comedian will tell you, the letter K is a funny letter. The sound, itself somehow adds to the comedic value of any words in a joke. Since this judge has not one, but THREE K sounds in her name, I have no choice but to insist this is a joke. There's no other explanation.

Little known fact about Middle Earth: The Hobbits had a very sophisticated computer network! It was a Tolkien Ring...

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